Friday, 1 November 2013

Little Fears

A few days ago, Adiv returned from school looking rather pale and withdrawn. I knew something was wrong, as soon as he stepped off the bus. "Did you get into a fight?" I asked him gently. "No", he growled irritably. "Poopy in school?"  I continued to probe (albeit gently), and he finally told me what was worrying him. On the drive back, he'd seen a group of army guys cross the street. He was worried that the army was gearing up for a war. "Is Pakistan going to attack us now", he asked, looking so worried, I had to hug him. After I explained that no such thing was happening, he seemed relieved. "But what are they doing here", he asked again. "Must be training", I said and he seemed okay with that.

I thought his fears (though unwarranted) were endearing. Nonetheless, I knew his fears were very real to him. So I explained he had nothing to worry, just as I have on several nights checked under beds for monsters, or looked under blankets for dangerous spiders. This is something that comes with the job profile of being a mom. You hunt monsters, drive them away with prayers, and listen patiently to every nightmare (or simply look at his face till he is fast asleep, just because it makes him feel safe). Most importantly, you simply listen to everything your child has to say, just so you hear their fears.

According to Spock, Adiv is at that age when kids have a lot of fears. So if he isn't worrying about the strands of grey (that have begun showing with alarming frequency) on my head, he worries about when I will go to heaven (i'm glad he doesn't think I have a ticket to hell). Like a lot of kids his age, he doesn't completely understand death, but we had to have that talk, when Rohit's dad passed away a few years ago. Adiv was younger then, but since then, he has frequently questioned me about Big Dada. Telling him that he was in heaven, seemed to satisfy him initially. Infact, for the longest time he imagined heaven to be this beautiful place that housed God, Big Dada, and Micheal Jackson. Then came questions about where heaven was, why they didn't have telephones, why we couldn't travel to (and back) heaven for a visit. But now, at 5 (2 months away from turning 6), he understands death to be final, and it frightens him. But then, as an after thought he is glad we're all far far away from turning 100, because that's when he thinks people will die.

This stage is just a phase according to Spock, but I don't know if you ever really stop worrying or fearing the unknown. Only, as a parent, I now fear cycle accidents, falls from the slippery slide, accidents during a game of football, and illnesses. I worry when he is late, or when he is out and it has begun raining. I worry about whether he has enough friends and if he is happy. I worry about whether he will be bullied by the older kids, or beaten even. Then I also worry about whether he is growing up to be a decent human being, who in addition to being funny and entertaining, is also kind and good.

And just as I assure him when he is scared, he assures me of his safety.
"Don't worry, I'm very careful."
"Don't worry, when I see a car zooming by (!!!!!!), I pedal like a super hero and reach a safe zone."
"Don't worry, if anyone is bad to me, I will punch them because I am so strong" (!!!!!)
I bet this is something that no book on parenting talks about!:)


Maha said...

Very endearing Roopa. You said it right - we need those assurances as much as they need ours...!


(writing as Maha from WP these days).

Primitive Lyric said...

Thanks Maha!:)