Tuesday, March 4, 2008

And what about discipline?

Two days ago we took Anjali to bukit Timah hill. Granma, a few days ago in one of her and Anjali's forays into the playground, had come across a baby, not much older than Anjali with red rashes all over his arms. The verdict given by the baby's house maid was mosquito bites, on the playground.

So , when it was decided that Anjali was going to walk in Bukit Timah, Granma kept on reminding mummy and daddy to put a lot of anti mosquito lotion on Anjali before bringing her there. As Anjali was alseep, the said lotion was packed in her haversack and packed in our arms along with the little girl.

Alighting at the bus station a few minutes later I decided to put the lotion on her. The imp, sitting in her father's arms looked very politely curious at the light blue bottle with its clear liquid, patiently smiling and waiting for me to finish putting the lotion on her arms and legs.

"A tantrum is going to come" I said to husband, as I finished putting the lotion, cloed the bottle, put it in the haversack and closed the zip.

And come it did, the minute the zip was closed and Anjali realized that she would not be given a chance to play with the blue bottle.

Now the question to ask is this: I let Anjali play with all her lotion abd cream bottles after using them on her, and closing them. I would have let her play with this one too, had it not been for the mosquito repellent in it. So it was natural of her to expect the bottle, and to cry a bit when she realized that it did not come to her. i felt guilty about not giving it to her.

So where should you draw the line? At the truly dangerous stuff like mosquito repellents, or at all lotions, so that she would not even expect the bottle after it has been used? I would think it would be better for her to throw a tantrum at not having a dangerous thing, than to not know about the class of items in general. But the cry is heartbreaking all the same.

At the brunch on Sunday, we were visited by a short tropical downpour, which left all the tables in Rajah uncle's garden with puddles of water. Anjali went straight to the table and splashed with the water, in short, having a ball of a time. A friend, who was watching, remarked, "You are having a good time, arent you? Would mummy let you do this at home?"

Mummy was suddenly overcome with guilt. As she remembered the time when she let daddy take Anjali downstairs and the two of them came back sopping wet from the rainfall (on purpose, as they had gone down to enjoy the rain). Instinctively I kow that it is the right thing to do, to let Anjali experience the world, play with water (all montessori schools are supposed to have several activities involving kids playing with water), but traditionally it is not correct.

So, besides your instinct, what is correct and what is not? What is socially acceptable, as opposed to what makes your child happy? When do we draw lines, other than what our insticts tell us, and how right are our instincts?

husband's now reading a lot of books on bringing up babies, activities for teens and such. Myself,I want to raise the questions and introspect with them.


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