I get the best thoughts when I am about to fall asleep, on the pot, or brushing my teeth. Well the percentage of good thoughts while brushing my teeth is a little lower than the other two because I am usually almost touching my nose to the mirror to observe my new pimples popping up. But sometimes some thoughts do takeover and I totally forget to brush one quadrant.
So, while brushing my teeth today, in case you totally did not get the point of my previous sentences, I saw Moo’s texts about a kid at the bus stop who was asking her certain things. I hit a thought. It was about kids and their seemingly innocent aura. I just laughed to myself and pushed the thought aside. Then, at work, I opened the Red Handed Blog and saw her post on kids and their innocence ! I was like, OMG OMG! I have been thinking the same exact thing! So Red Handed, I am not trying to steal your post, I promise, but just building on it and agreeing with you while vigorously nodding my head. Same goes for you, Moo, and if you would be kind enough to note down that experience(I do think the mom should have said something), it will be awesome.
So, for the record, people consider that children are innocent angels and can do absolutely no wrong. They represent innocence and purity. In the painting of the world, if adults are all black and gray, children are that pristine, virginal coat of white. These people are so mistaken. I was not innocent for the record. All my antics are firmly etched in my memories, partly because I always knew what I was doing and partly because relatives or family friends love telling how I made their life utterly difficult in gatherings and functions. I also remember most of the kids from my childhood who left me, sort of, scarred , by a number of methods. Plus, my niece is 6 years old, and though I love her, sometimes I just want to send her to her room and make her stand facing a wall. These are the best punishments I could think of to remain within legalities.
When I was a kid, I was attracted to shiny new things. They might or might not have belonged to me. Every time I would go to my three Mausi(Aunts)’s place in Jaipur or in Ratlam or to my grandparents’, at the end of the trip, my mom and they would search my bag. They would find at least 6-7 items that belonged to them and had gotten lost during my stay there. The items were miscellaneous. Hand held mirrors, combs, one earring, coin purses, even a single chess piece. They knew that I had magpie like tendencies even back then. Now my inner magpie just hoards her own stuff. Ticket stubs, chocolate wrapper, a stone picked up from some beach, stickers that Moo gave me while leaving India, gift wrapper from the scrap book made by Ani and co. and so on.
I was a master at lying. Somehow, lying came very easily to me rather than the truth. Even if it was totally not needed, I would just tell weird stories to my teacher, or my relatives. When I was 4, I went to all my neighbors and invited them for my birthday celebrations in the evening. They all came with gifts. My very bewildered mom told them that my birthday was in September, a good 4 months away. Well, I just wanted some gifts! I got grounded instead. I have lied about sickness to get away from going to school or from studying. It used to work exceptionally well at school specially during the subjects periods that I hated. And during PT, when I would lie about having breathing issues. I hated PT. Yeah, so I was a scheming kid if you can call that and I was perfectly aware of what I was doing. Also, I remember that I used to pray to God to never give me a sibling otherwise I would have lost my ‘favorite kid’ status. I also remember instigating some friends that their parents loved their younger sibling more. I was 5. Innocence be damned.
When I see my niece, I see a sweet innocent child only when she is asleep. When she wakes up, I see a Miranda Priestly(The Devil Wears Prada) or a Naomi Campbell type of diva in her. When she was a year and half or two, she would ask for something at home or in a store by pointing. If ignored, she would make her eyes really wide and make a grrrrr sound. If ignored or told that she couldn’t have it, she would clench her fists and jaws, and would make her body tremble in a very scary way. Like, shaking in anger. It was very freaky to watch that! She knew how to use her crying, or yelling, to get what she wanted. My cousin brother had this ‘no one should scold her and use only love’ approach to her. He was forced to swallow that back and had to begin grounding her, but alas, the damage was done. When they moved to Chicago, the same continued. I have witnessed her full blown temper tantrums where she would scream and cry and then cough really bad and that is enough for my cousin and his wife to totally melt down and grant her wishes. I used to think that such tantrums happen when you get older and you know how to use it. But I did not realize that kids know it too. Of course it is another story when a child is sleepy, or hungry or tired. Then, crying is a natural mechanism to deal with it. There is a difference when a kid is being a kid and when the kid knows how to use it to their advantage.
On a more serious note, comes bullying. Kids can be extremely cruel. I got my glasses when I was in the 1st grade and I became the butt of jokes and pranks. I have done a very detailed post on my experiences as a part of a healing process. I don’t want to repeat all that. But to summarize, kids as young as 3 years are known to ostracize certain kids. They are known to call other kids dark/fat/ugly/poor, etc. A lot of children with disabilities have it rough at school. My mom is a tuition teacher and she sees her 4-5 year old students be very cruel. Specially the prettier girls are extremely mean to others. It starts from childhood it seems.
I read a very interesting article today that shows how recess can be extremely cruel for immigrant kids. The article mentions how 1st and 2nd grade peers can be li’l devils in disguise and how intervention of an adult/teacher can put a positive spin on this whole situation. Do give this eatocracy article a read.
Here, I realize the importance of mature parenting. It is very important for parents to go beyond mollycoddling and believing that they are just kids and it is a part of their cuteness or innocence. They have to try and catch these traits young in order to help the child suppress such behavior and to help them distinguish between right or wrong. They are never ’too young for all that’. Some of the blogs I read, are of some parents who are being totally normal, but still exceptional. I am not going to preach about how parents should do it, because I have no experience in that matter, except from observation.
So all in all, hey, you who thinks children are sweet angels and a gift from the heaven? Bwahahahahahahahahaha!