15th November 2018: For the first time in 2.5 months, my 20 month old crossed the line. She crossed this thick maroon line, which qualifies as the rock border of the sandpit made for the toddlers to play in her play school. I call it a play school – for no better word to describe the place for which it’s known – but in my words every play school is a school to teach parents – how to live and live happily.
Today, when my daughter crossed the line and stepped into the sandpit for the first time in 2.5 months, I remembered the first day in the school, when she went near the sandpit, used the frames in the pit to pour sand on the maroon surface outside the sandpit, but refused to go inside on my two attempts. Although, the mother in me really wanted to see her enjoying the sandpit from the inside, I reminded myself that I had decided I will not force her for anything and thus, we continued to play standing at the edge of the sandpit when other kids played inside the sandpit.
Each day for the last 2.5 months, after playing at the edge, she hinted towards the small brooms kept around the corner and cleant the surface that got dirty around the sandpit. I still enjoy the sight of seeing her clean the area with that small brown broom. Today, when she played inside the sandpit, there was no chance of sand spilling outside the sandpit, but as we say, ‘humans are creatures of habit’, she wanted to still clean the outside surface. So, after coming out of the sandpit, she took some sand from the sandpit and poured it intentionally on the surface, asked me (in her own words and hints) for the broom and then cleant it. I kept smiling as I watched her cleaning it so sincerely.
Half an hour back, my little angel was trying to pose like a camel in her baby gym session but after multiple attempts, she decided to walk like a dog on the mat. That moment, I was not tempted to reinstate to her to walk like a camel as I remembered how last evening, she showed us all at home, with perfection – ‘how crocodile snaps’. On many days, she does not follow the crowd or the teacher in the class, but at home, she does exactly as she was told to do in the class.
Everyday when she dances on the nursery rhymes at home, thanks to my Google Home – it takes 5 seconds to help her start dancing, when I command – “Ok, Google. Play Popular Nursery Rhymes”, I feel that those 45 minutes of music session at the school three times a week does wonders to her confidence level. When a friend asked me how does music help a child’s growth. I remembered the saying, ‘Music Is Mathematical’ and then I remembered how I could talk so much about the ‘Bachelors in Mathematics and Music’ course at University of Leeds in the United Kingdom to the students who come to me for overseas education counselling.
As a mother, I am waiting for my daughter to do the perfect camel walk much like the perfection of how she snapped like a crocodile. But, I have learnt that the way to get her there is not to have my expectations high of her, but by ensuring that her expectations from me are high. I need to hone my skills as a parent every day and give her an environment which helps her learn by being the role model to her – by showing her the perfect camel walk every day when she dances with me on the tunes of nursery rhymes, rather than standing on the side and telling her how to do the perfect camel walk. Now, I understand the parenting theory that I read somewhere in one of the 200 books that occupy good amount of space in my cozy home overlooking the beautiful Arabian Sea – “Showing Works, Telling Does not Work’.