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No more complaining

I’ll admit it. I spend a fair amount of time on this column complaining and/or ranting about toddler shenanigans. They’re not unwarranted complaints, as I think most moms will agree (right, ladies? right?). And I do talk about the good stuff too. But I know that I do, on occasion, rant on a bit. One reader I met, who didn’t have kids of her own yet, even told me that reading the column had made her want to tread carefully into motherhood (that wasn’t my intention, believe me!).

Well, I’m not complaining today. You see, my toddler gave us all a bit of a scare this week when she fell particularly ill and, for nearly two days, lay listlessly on the couch or my lap. This is the kid who usually bounds around even when she has a fever of 102 degrees. I can handle (and have, for seemingly interminable stretches) crankiness or fussiness during and after illness. But this… this was heart-breaking to see. She didn’t want to read her books or play. She didn’t want to talk. She just lay there, staring at the TV, eyes glazed, or dozing. She didn’t even complain when I turned the TV off (that, I think, was the biggest red flag for us). Not even a single, solitary ‘No!’

And so, following that traumatic experience, I’m here to say that I’m going to significantly cut back on my grumbling. I will not, I have decided, complain any more when my toddler:

- Bounces off the walls, on the bed, on the couch, off the table and generally tears around with seemingly endless energy even at midnight, when I’m ready to crash. Because it’s far, far worse to see her lying on the couch for hours without wanting to move at all.

* Talks incessantly, asks 15 questions a minute in the car, holds philosophical discussions while sitting on the potty, interrupts any and all adult conversations with “Amma! Amma! Amma!” and sings non-stop at the top of her voice. Because I absolutely hated the silence in the house when she wasn’t.

* Does those naughty things – putting her toys into the laundry basket, draping dirty clothes over her head, plopping green play dough in kitchen utensils, and hiding the remote control in the magazine rack. Because I missed finding random doll accessories or Lego blocks while putting clothes for wash in the morning, and seeing that naughty “Yup, it was me!” twinkle in her eye when I asked her about it.

* Asks me to read her favourite ‘Wheels on the Bus’ book for the thousandth time or wants to watch the same episode of her favourite show over and over again, giggling each time over the same exact joke. Because I realised how much I loved her boundless enthusiasm for her favourite things when she was suddenly so apathetic about everything.

* Puts up a fight for bathing/dressing/eating/various activities through the day, and insists on doing things her way. (Well, okay. I might still complain a little about this one.) But it’s far, far worse to have her not fight you at all. Give me the light of battle in her eyes any day.

As I write this, she’s improved ever so slightly. Enough to attempt to hang off the wall-mounted mirror (and inform me gleefully that she had), to stand at my elbow and demand that I stop writing and come read for her (and to type ‘wazzkzk’ randomly in the middle of the text), and to loudly and clearly say ‘No!’ to all my suggestions for lunch and to give me her counter offer of “I’ll have cartoons for lunch.”

And I’m not complaining. As daddy put it, “the sass is back,” and thank god for that. Toddlers are a handful, and that’s how god meant them to be. Any different, and it just doesn’t feel right.

Of course, in a week or two, as the memory of those tough couple of days fades, I’ll probably start cribbing again. Feel free to prod me with a stick and remind me of my bullet points again then.


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Printable version | Oct 24, 2021 2:37:27 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/no-more-complaining/article6951945.ece

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