Sunday, October 28, 2007

A change and a life lesson

DD completed one week of extended timing at daycare. Starting last Monday, we dropped her off at 8.45 AM and picked her up at 3.30 PM. I was not worried much about her sleep, coz I know she dozes off if she is really sleepy. But the thing that I D.R.E.A.D.E.D was that she would go on hunger strike, and as a result, throw tantrums.
On Day1, Monday, I tremulously picked up the phone and called the daycare at 12.30 PM to check if she had had lunch. And when they said that she had absolutely refused to have beyond 2 spoonfuls of lunch, it was like my worst nightmare come true. But when she came home that evening, her daily sheet from the daycare mentioned that she had filled herself up with healthy snacks at 3 PM. And from Day2, she started having reasonable amounts of lunch too. Day 2, when I was speaking with her teacher, I casually mentioned that DD is very averse to drinking milk from a cup, while awake - we normally give her a bottle of milk after she falls asleep for her nap (!!yes!!) and I could almost visualize the teacher sneering at me from the other end, while I just heard an "Oh...." over the phone. Day3 dawned. I was now fairly confident that DD would eat at least some amounts of lunch and snack. When I called the daycare, the teacher told me she had eaten quite well and then added: "But I thought you said she doesn't like milk. She drank a whole cup after lunch today." To say I was FLABBERGASTED would be an understatement. This was something I had tried about a zillion times with and without external aids like TV, books and what not. I managed to find my words after a minute, and asked "Are you sure?", to which the teacher replied that she was positive she saw DD downing the whole cup of milk. I know she must have thought I am one crazy nut, because I let out a long, semi-hysterical cackle and cut the call (I think I didnt say bye) to share this headline with DH.

I had never anticipated, even at my optimistic best, that DD would adapt so quickly, especially since this concerned the sore point in our lives - her food habits. And I am so very proud of my little tyke :-) Her ability to adapt to new situations has emerged clearly now- first, when I started her on daycare, and then now, she takes to this change in routine like fish to water. After the 2nd day, she has been ever-so-eager to go to school and gets ready so willingly. She has never cried or clung on to us. And now this.. Thank the Lord God and His small, ooppss... very big ... mercies.

Parents, and in particular, mothers, are always proud of their kids' ahcievements. I have seen parents comparing their child's milestones with other children - and feeling proud or alternately getting worried about them. I too have been guilty of this many times in the past. Until I realized the truth that thinking about these milestones is actually taking some joy out of me enjoying her childhood. Having said this, it is difficult not to wonder and I still keep fighting some of these demons in my mind. When I see a 20 month-old jumping gaily, I wonder why DD, who can walk, run, climb and manoeuvre herself well, does not jump? And then, in age-old wisdom, tell myself that each child has his/her pace. A week later, if I see another 2 year old happily doing a jigsaw puzzle, I wonder if DD would be able to do this. And probably this is true for most mothers and is never going to end.

But beyond all these physical and cognitive milestones, which I am fairly sure any normal child will achieve sooner or later, there are the life-skills. And the ability to handle change and adapt quickly, I know, is one of them. And that is precisely why this quality of DD means a lot to me. Not because it allows me peace and makes my life easier, but mainly because I believe this characteristic will make a lot of difference to DD's life, if she retains it into adulthood. And years later, if DD ever comes across this post, I want her to know that she has really really done me proud here.

DD also taught me a life lesson here - that the fear of something is always worse than the 'something' itself. It took me 3 months to mentally prepare myself for this change, and took her exactly 3 days to adapt to it.

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