Getting wheels

Many years ago I wrote a post on how disappointed the OA and I were that our son didn’t have a sense of rhythm and music. I faced a lot of flak for it. But hey, I’m human and the entire point of this blog is to share or overshare, as the case may be. We didn’t want him to crack math or rock  football – we just wanted him to find joy in music the way we do. And he does – but when he dances.. err.. lets say its not a pleasant sight. He looks like he is getting a series of electric shocks. And when he sings.. .oh God, the less said about it, the better.

Anyhow. For the last 6 months I’ve been grappling with another problem that I haven’t had the chance to write about. I’ve been wanting to put the Brat into some sort of extra class – music, art, sports, anything. Some way to figure out his talents and then hone them. As a child I was sent to a couple of classes to figure out where my interests lay. I went to Kathak (and hated it and quit) and finally ended up playing the harmonium (hated the piano) and singing Rabindra Sangeet. The brother played guitar and learned taekwondo and learned to use the Nunchaku. We both also sang in the choir. That was not considered extra or optional. We just did and loved it. I plan to get back to the choir once the kids get on with their lives and allow me a life of my own.

So sometime last year when the Brat turned five, I began to worry that I was being neglectful. You know, what if my son woke up at 18 and said ‘Hey Ma, how come I’m not doing anything other than school?  Have I no talents?’

Now I love my son and if you’ve read this blog for even 3 weeks you’ve probably figured that out. But even at my most doting, I can’t claim that he has a great talent of any sort. He has no talent for drawing, singing, dancing or any sport. Wait a minute, did I say sport? Actually he has fantastic balance and coordination as I have seen time and time again. He was walking beautifully at ten months and never fell over like other kids. He also has a natural caution that he inherits from his risk-averse banker father. So where the Bean and I step blindly and blithely into nothingness, both father and son dip their toes until they feel solid ground. It was amusing to watch a 9 month old child slide off the high bed, reach with his toes until he felt the ground and pull up if he didn’t.

He’s just never shown any interest in doing anything on his own. The OA spends weekends taking him cycling, playing football, basketball and whatnot, but the Brat loses interest if left to himself and falls back on his dinosaurs and animals. Now the OA is a jock – I remember I once got a comment on the blog that sounded almost sarcastic, saying – ‘Investment banker, good looking, dances well, boxes, plays sports ; this sounds like a Harlequin romance.’ Now the truth is that the OA has his failings that we won’t get into in this post but all of the above, he is good at. Choose to believe it or not, it doesn’t matter. So for him it was an even bigger disappointment that his sturdy little son showed no interest in any sport.

Sometime last year we also decided that if he is going to be meek and mild and not hit back, the least we can do is teach him the skills and let him take it from there. So I began to take him for the neighbourhood taekwondo class every week. I just took him to watch and suggested that he might like to join. He shrugged and walked away. I tried it many a time. Cousins K and J who stay with me over the weekend tried in their own ways to take him there, mess with him and wrestle in the grass and generally encourage him – no dice. After 4 months of this gentle suggesting, the OA and I decided this was it. It was now or never. Our son was going to learn to defend himself, if it killed us.

So armed with the Bean, we headed off to the class again. The Brat refused to go near the teacher – a sweet young guy who was really patient. Before we knew it, the Bean who is as flexible as a pipe cleaner, jumped in and began to do splits and warm up with the rest of the class. The Brat by now had two fat tears rolling down his cheeks. The OA and I stood firm. On the one hand was this crying child. On the other hand the knowledge that if he didn’t begin to learn to defend himself, he’d be crying for the rest of his life.

We begged, we cajoled, we bribed, we threatened, we gave up. He turned a corner, sat under a bush and cried. I lost patience and went off to proudly watch my daughter kick butt at twisting herself into a pretzel. The patient OA followed his son to reason with him. The Brat looked up at him and said – “Whether I hit first or second, fighting is bad.”

What do you say to a 5.5 year old who has non-violence so strongly ingrained in him? And the best part is that if you mock wrestle with him, he has so much strength that he ends up hurting me. The OA often nurses aches that the Brat playfully gave him. And the moment he realises that he is hurting you, he stops wrestling and begins to kiss the pain away.

Father and son talked for a while and finally the OA emerged from under the bush saying that the Brat did finally voice a desire. He wanted to learn skating. I fell to my knees and thanked the Good Lord. Because this is the other problem with the Brat – he won’t voice a desire and he has very few interests. Digging them out of him is near impossible.

So we bought the skates and I didn’t even buy the knee pads and helmet the teacher suggested because I wasn’t sure if the Brat meant it. He started his class and as we got ready to leave he looked at me and said – Mama, will you stay and watch me?

Of course I will, sweetheart.

Okay – then I’m going to skate nicely and show you.

I laughed to myself, sure that the only thing he’d do in the first month was land on his butt. It would be a long time before he reached ‘nicely’.

But he started and with typical Brat caution took a few hesitant steps. And then another few and before I knew it he was running around the rink, without falling over. I sat there wide-eyed in awe. The child has brilliant balance and such amazing motor skills. The Bean and I tend to fall over our own feet even while sitting still (I promise you – last night she fell off the bed and hit her head on the OA’s bedside table, all for no reason. And of course you know I just went down a flight of stairs and broke my butt).

I can’t begin to describe the sense of relief and the weight that lifted off my chest. A few days ago we were discussing Amy Chua and only a couple of weeks before that I was asking Ro what I should do with a child who won’t do anything. She said I had to be firm and figure it out. I am glad I talked to her because I insisted that he come up with something more useful than lying in the lawn 7 days a week, talking to dinosaurs.

He is only a child with no knowledge of what is important. But he does know his own mind and as I watched him walk around the rink, faring much better than kids who have been at it for some weeks and months, I was so proud of him. His movements were smooth, his face unlined as he moved his body from side to side, his arms naturally taking the angle they should – he was almost a natural. I called the OA who smiled down the phone and then laughed happily. And made an OA comment – ‘Why doesn’t this boy realise that he might have brains but it is his body that will really make him a star?’

And so a chapter ends here – the one where we think our little Brat is a sunshiny but useless child. And the one that begins is one that reminds us that the possibilities are endless. We just need to help him find them. So if it takes us the better part of a lifetime, that’s okay. No one’s going anywhere in a hurry and this is what we’re here for. As a child – he is one big mystery wrapped in an enigma and he needs help unraveling himself. It might frustrate us, but everytime he does something like this and shows us where his natural skills lie, that one moment of realisation, pride and relief will be worth it. Sometimes I forget that as a parent, it is my job.

And oh – so what if he won’t hit back when another aggressive kid goes for him. Maybe this is the answer – he will put on his skates and zoom away!

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119 thoughts on “Getting wheels

  1. Ooh great! Ayaan loves his skating class too, most of the time. He just gets upsets when they move his cheese and upgrade him to newer, faster skates and he goes back to falling on his butt 🙂

    In his case, I picked skating to improve his balance and co-ordination. He would be at home with you and Beanie 🙂

  2. Nice to hear; I usually know only the other extreme – kids who are into a gazillion classes. Probably the first time I’m hearing about parents who have to really so hard to figure out what the kid might like/be good at!

  3. Awesome Brat! Skate to go 🙂 I guess we all go through this thing about wanting to do something additional apart from studies…in my case my parents got me into Bharatnatyam…my first teacher was very strict and I refused to go..after that my mom tried again with another teacher when I was slightly older and boy I was hooked…so much that I managed to do a B.A. in Bharatnatyam 🙂 So its good that Ro asked you to push him a bit and he found his hobby 🙂

    • awesome. you’ve given me another tip. you’re right. at times its not the activity but the teacher you dont like. now that i think of it, its the Kathak teachers i wasnt too fond of 😦 I could have learnt from someone else na?

  4. As always….nicely written MM. I love these posts of yours – small lessons that I tuck away into corners of my mind in the hope that I can use your wisdom when my wee one grows up. All the best to Brat..and did you put Bean in the martial art classes?

    • So true, so true…
      MM.. your small lessons help me so much in getting a second perspective when it comes to handling my boy.
      Lots of love to the kids…

  5. Give him his space. He is really a kid who knows his mind. Why try to put violence in a kid who does not want to learn it (anyways, there are very few kids like that around). May be, he will find his own way of protecting himself

    • I know – but its not violence. Its self defence. We all learnt as kids and i think it gives you confidence and discipline and strength. it has nothing to do with violence at all, if you ask me. Violent kids are just violent anyway :-/

      • I know re, but somehow when i hear about Brat, it just shows he is just not ready to be there now. He will learn how to defend himself, may be in a different way which will surprise us also 🙂

        • See – you can tell that he is not ready by reading my post at the end of everything. But that process of getting to know whether he is ready or not, is one that i spend six months over and then fit into a small post! and the only way we’ll ever know that he is not ready, is by asking him na? 🙂
          its easy for a stranger to say he will learn to defend himself. its not easy for a mother to stand by and watch her child getting hurt. if i dont keep trying to protect him, its a bit of a failure on my part.

  6. You know MM – i felt the despair in your voice. and i can’t tell u how relieved i am at the end of your post…i guess u are lucky, Brat actually knew what he wanted to do.

    What if he didn’t – do u keep searching for the kid’s talent? Does everyone have talents?

    • I think so. They may not be fantastic at something, but there has got to be that something that you do better than anything else na? Maybe an interest in cooking or reading? Might take a while but i think you find it.

  7. So he can’t join me on the beach in my old age. I thought we could bum around. But, then I have enough bum for the two of us.

    Give him a kiss and tell him I will love him even if he is talentless, toothless, anything less, because he is more than I could ever have asked for.

  8. Hey …loved the post. I am so glad Brat asked for it himself. And the fact that he actually started running around without falling is awesome! Really, he has an enormous sense of balance.
    I do have a question though on the lines of the discussion u had with Ro – what if the child is really eager to try out something and then just backs out because he feels its a lot of hard work. It happens with Vansh in almost everything u know. Because he is a lazy laid back sort of fellow right now. I have to keep encouraging him to the extent of forcing him because he is good at it and asked for it himself. But what is it I wonder? Is it the same with all children their age – too young to be self motivated? Or is it just him?

    • Well in Ro’s books as well as mine I’d think, if they are good, they need to be pushed. Pick any two that you think he is really good at and keep pushing. Not just him, we adults too lose interest in things so often. Kids need someone to give them that little push – do be that person 🙂

  9. Give my tightest hugs for the brat from me, will you? – I request, plead!! What boy who says, hitting first or second, fighting is bad!! Its aching within me to see this boy!!

    *Have been a regular reader, but this is my first time comment, couldn’t resist this one. Commenting with two fat drops of tear!!

  10. MM :Was about to comment that you need to get the DNA testing done , but for the way you have ended the piece, difficult but couldnt agree with you more..

    PS: are the plants still “freezing to death” , its nearing 30 degrees now..

  11. Posts like these from you really make me feel lucky that I chanced upon uour blog! There is so much you make first time parents like me realise…. things which are probably there but need articulation :)-These are lessons!

    Grateful to you and love the Brat for his new found interests. Keep them coming big lil fella 🙂

  12. Yayy Brattie! Way to go. Doosi Nani is delighted with your choice:)

    I love skating- though now of course I only watch it if I can! My sis and I were self-taught, we left tracks all over the house!
    My youngest kid was very good, managed to use his roller skate skills to skate on ice without much difficulty.

  13. Frankly I don’t get why you were so worked up in the first place. Maybe dinosaurs and animals is his thing? Maybe he would like studying species and evolution and then one day work at a museum or something, or be a great palaeontologist? Maybe he will take natural history as a hobby(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_history)? Why is that bad? Why does every kid have to have a creative hobby? Why does everyone have to either dance or play sport or paint or play an instrument?

    • Why was I worked up? Because I believe every person needs physical activity in their life as well as creativity. Both are needed to develop different parts of the brain and body – fine and gross motor skills. So on one hand its important for his development.

      Also, as a parent its part of my job to let him know he has options. How else will any child know that they have any talent at all? Maybe we’d have gone through an entire gamut and realised he has no interests and is a rather boring child with only one facet to his personality- dinosaurs! but its a rare person who is so boring and unidimensional na? I believe God and nature have given us interests, we just need to find them. You needn’t excel in anything – that is not the point. The point is to be able to have at least 3-4 things to make conversation about, to have some knowledge, some extra skills… even a paleontologist should like to play football or go out and dance with friends na? 🙂

      If as a parent I hadn’t persevered, it would have been the Brat’s loss. A lot of things that parents get worked up about are things that will eventually bring joy to a child. I could have let him lie on the grass all day. But now he is raring to go skating from the moment he gets home from school and has to be begged to eat his lunch at least. Would we have wanted him to lose out on that joy?! Maybe it would have been basketball and he’d be on the school team or something and loved it – how will a 5 year old do that without a parent’s help?

      • I agree that there should be multiple dimensions to a person’s personality, but I still don’t get why you were so worked up for a 5 year old’s disinterest. Pardon my naievete in asking you this over and over again, maybe when something similar happens with my kid I will be furiously digging up this post to see how you handled it.
        But I agree, sometimes a kid might have to be pushed a little bit extra to realize he/she loves something. Ugh I am making no sense here.

        • Because when you have a five year old, you will realise that most of them show some inclination by then. Mine didn’t! And I felt that it was my problem for not being able to figure it out and help him. Also because when between two parents you have a good sportsperson and a musician you are very disappointed if the child has none of those skills. its all very well to be zen and say – oh he is his own person. but the truth is, most parents are hoping to pass on something good to their child. a good education, some money as security, and yes, any talents if they have some. i guess its all part of the parenting process where you want the best for your child. you cant just leave it to chance because for many sports/hobbies, there is a sort of correct time to start. and you dont want the child to grow up and say – “hey ma, why didnt you ever bother to send me for guitar classes? i’d be so popular with the girls!”

          • Hmmm….I guess I will come back after a few years to talk about it.
            Here is another thing I was thinking of. Since he is 5 and just barely started real school, won’t he see his friends enrolled in various activities and talk to them about it and maybe come to you in a year or so saying – mom I want to try blah blah like my friend is doing?

            • i should do a second post on this 🙂
              the other problem we were having is that when he goes to play downstairs, most of the kids are in some activity and there was nothing for him to do and no one to play with. he’s going to be 6 in four months and soon will go past that lovely stage where almost everything is easy to do and his mind is open.
              and no, he didnt ask for any game even though his friends were all playing something. see, not all kids are alike. he isn’t a demander. he’s quiet. most things are left to us to push him on to and then he loves them.
              another thing – i think all kids should play a team sport and learn to be in a team. if his sport ends up being skating, so be it.

            • PS: you dont need to come back in a few years… every question you asked is a good one and you make some good points. i can only tell you about my child and why i chose what i did. other parents have other reasons and other problems.

            • I guess I see the merit in what you did, and since I am the only commentator harping on about letting the brat be, I shall shut up now. Thanks for your patience MM 🙂

            • sigh. i am not really a patient person you know. the kids taught me that 🙂
              and you’re right about letting the brat be. i do let him be. which is why unlike other kids he goes to only one extra class in the day. at times we think that kids are overscheduled. but the truth is that they enjoy a lot of the classes because things are so different from the way they were when we were kids. everything is planned in a fun way. and also, they make new friends and have different gangs and end up enjoying them.

  14. Wooow! A very insightful post. It’s interesting, how you don’t write about problems(if they can be called that) while they occur, n instead choose to give us the complete picture after you have dealt with it. Makes me realize that everyone has a whole bunch of things going on in their life about which they are stressing out…n they lead life along with/ in spite of that. Also makes me realize that every problem can be dealt with. Intentionally staying away from sayin that every problem has a solution ‘coz sometimes what it results in eventually, doesn’t feel like a solution!

    N now to talk about the star of the post…. Go Brat ! Here is wishing him All the Very Best as he begins another learning in his life !

    • yes. I used to blog about problems while they were going on but I found a lot of judgmental readers who treated this as just their daily entertainment and being very nasty. not realising that this is someone’s life they are commenting on and that i was already grappling with enough. So now I deal with it and then write about it. and yes, at any given time i have about ten things i am juggling – so when one reads a person’s blog and they write about a small problem and you think how silly.. you’ve got to remember that this is just the straw on an overladen camel’s back. i realise that when i read other blogs now…

      and thank you for wishing the brat. he is lucky to have all of you caring..

      • I do that too, MM…present the ‘success story’ after struggling and suffering thru’ it. I just reach out to the ones who will not judge.

        P.S. Dhruv just joined Div’s KATHAK class…I’m over the moon! 😀

        • yayy!!! that is awesome 🙂 he must be enjoying it. i hope he sticks with it. i know two little boys who dropped out because other boys teased them. i felt like slapping the other kids. good job babe.

          • He is totally thriving and loves it! As for teasing, he’s got two parents willing to back him up all the way. Doesn’t matter what others say…we haven’t even shared it with most ppl, because we’re not interested in their raised eyebrows! But I’m aghast at the gender stereotypes abt what boys ‘should not do’. How did we get Birju Maharaj then?

          • It happened to my son too. He loves Bharatnatyam. Last year i enrolled him for dance classes. The Woman who taught was !!! HORROR!! Used to yell at the kids. He was the only boy and a lot of them ended up making fun of him and he just refused to go after sometime. 😦

      • Ya, I was actually quite shocked to read that someone had something sarcastic to say about what YOU had to say about YOUR OA. I mean Give me a Break… n I remember one other post when a lot of people demanded that you reveal your identity or share pics with your face in it. Some people asked in good spirit(hec! Even I would love to FB you, but I know that, that is crossing a line) and to be honest, some others I thought were only trying to get over smart. It’s unfair . I agree blogging is a public forum and readers have as much a freedom to express as the author, but there has got to be a line drawn somewhere and each person has to be given their space. People have got to understand.
        Last year I hardly wrote ‘coz when I write I bear my heart open and then people want to know more than what I have already said. Had an opinion of every feeling and every action. I have been foolish enough to blog with my original name and even share my email-id with people, and people used to mail me with advise all the freaking time! Advise that I wasn’t asking for.I know some people did it our of care n cocern but my life was starting to become entertainment n drama for few others…and that I wasn’t okay with. No one has the right to do that. So I just stopped writing on my blog and wrote long emails to close people…well, even you’ve been the recipient of some such mails.

  15. Go Brat, Go! Even before you mentioned the Tiger Mom on this post, I was going to comment and say this post somehow reminds me of the Tiger Mom book that I JUST started reading last night!

  16. Hi MM,
    its been a while since I commented here, but this post touched a chord and I felt like sharing. I cannot claim to understand how you felt or why you did what you did but I will let you know this – my friends and I will be 30 yrs old soon – and I am now coming across friends who realise that their parents never encouraged them when they were younger. Never encouraged them to explore things that might be of interest, never recognised and created opportunity for them to hone their talents and worse still, when they ended up doing nothing more than their 9-5 jobs, never saw that there was more to life than this. It is true to a certain extent that everyone makes their own life and should be left to their own devices for the most part, but everyone works better not with a push, but with a support system.
    You know you have done right by your son and you don’t need anyone else to tell you that. But as someone witnessing, rather subtly, what happens when things go otherwise, I say good on you!
    And skating! Wow, barely does he get his feet on the ground and he wants to fly – that’s the way to go!

  17. I was like Brat. I so totally identify with him. My folks took me everwhere. I cried and cried till I got myself out of it.

    The only thing I liked was reading/ studying. So I ended up topping negg college (batch size 400 something) and getting 3 medals (including that of rank 1) during MBA.

    I never felt the need the do anything else for a long time. When need arose, I hosted shows on campus , hell even TV once, took part in debates(only when really requiired)…but no sports, no dance, no music….

    Now i feel like starting to dance again ( I was trained in bharatnatyam for 4 years by the time I was 10!) But now I feel like it. I feel like it and so maybe soon I will also.

    This is just to tell you that if Brat likes taking to dinasours, dont you worry too much. Trust me he will be fine , even with out the skates. 🙂

  18. YaY, the brat has a hobby :). I think it is super great that you gave him so many choices.

    My parents tried the whole singing dancing thing ( major flop 🙂 )with me.
    But since they encouraged me to try, to date I try anything and everything once 🙂

  19. Lovely post MM. So true how each child is different and special in their own way. My daughter liked everything extra curricular we enrolled her in and didn’t want to stop doing any of it. We had to then force her to make choices. On the other hand, my son didn’t want to enroll in any activity and the husband and I were keen that he learn some form of music to appreciate it. After many attempts, in sheer desperation, we registered him for piano lessons at school for one quarter and he ended up loving it. So could completely relate to this post.

    Kudos to the brat on getting his skating right the very first time. Having learned it myself as an adult, I know how tricky it is and am so proud of him 🙂

  20. Another sport to consider is tennis. It takes good balance as well – ok, not a team sport, but Brat sounds just like my brother – they share a birthday anyway 🙂 Didn’t really like team sports (but cricket and hockey were compulsory in school then, so he played anyway), but excelled in solitary pursuits.

    Also, TWD – I don’t know what the Indian affiliate of the World TWD association is – but no teacher should be teaching TWD as a means of fighting – here, they emphasize over and over again, that they teach body discipline, the patterns and 1-steps they are taught all focus on gymnastic-like skills. Sparring and Grappling is *only* for advanced students – and the whole self defense attitude is taught only after a few belt levels….maybe you just need a different teacher? Also, try the other martial arts as well, if you have access to them…I know of friends’ kids who disliked TWD’s focus on patterns in the early stages, who enjoyed Karate much more. or Aikido – the kicking seems much appreciated by boys especially.

    M

    • 1. He’s been offered tennis and he refused *rolls eyes*
      2. No one told him it was fighting. Least of all the poor teacher. I think that was his own understanding of it and God help anyone who tries to reason with him. He didnt even try it. He just watches and refuses to join. Also, there is a constraint. I can only offer him courses in and around our immediate vicinity because Gurgaon is huge and driving all over won’t be possible. And yeah, he knows it is self defence and not ‘fighting’ but he still refuses.

  21. So happy for the brat and you. Brat might not even realize at this point that he has good balance, but I guess instinctively or subconsciously he knew he would be good at skating. That’s amazing. My daughter too has wonderful balance and fine motor skills. And I can totally relate to that 9 month old carefully getting down looking for the ground.
    Skating is a good idea for her too.

    • you make a great point. he probably knew what he was good at. but you know what bothers me now? the brat is rather like me in that if he isnt good at something, he refuses to try it. i feel that is a failure in my own character and i wish i could help him deal with it.

  22. Go Brat! My 11 yr old would read all day if we let him. In addition to sports he takes Guitar lessons and he absolutely loves it. Just when I thought that he will soon quit, the magic happened.

  23. Your boy is a superstar! I love reading about him and telling his stories to my friends and family.

    If I ever have a kid, I would want her/him to be as much of a gentle soul as your boy. His love for animals, his non-violence agenda and his interest for other creatures on planet at such a young age make him very special. He is not like regular folks, he is a beautiful soul.

  24. Great job, MM! Kudos for persisting…I know a lot of parents, mine included, who’d have blamed it on the child and made their peace with the situation…”yeh kuchh karna hi nahin chahta to hum kya karein..”

    • yaar i dont blame them. i was almost there. i even blogged about it. as a parent you are all excited when you begin. you try, you try, you try. and its so damn frustrating to come up against a blank wall. just like with any other project you are working on. you have the best of intentions and then you end up getting so mad you say things you regret. i cant tell you the number of times the OA and I say he is useless – not in his presence. because we’re tired and disappointed. its worse when you can SEE that the child has it in him. He is so good at sports (proof – school sports day) and its all so effortless. and you think of other kids sweating it out when they have no damn motor skills and you fall back on what your parents said about wasting what God has given you.

      • you know what though – I feel like some children know really well what they can and cannot do. But they don’t want to do it on demand. They’d rather do it when they want to. But you know the brat way better obviously! At 8.5 months I am worried Ah will not crawl. She hates being on her tummy and will sit and reach as far as she can for her toys but WILL NOT CRAWL. Sometimes I feel like she knows how to do it, but she’s either scared or not interested. I don’t know if our parents went through the same worries when we were babies, but apparently I did the one legged crawl when I was 6 months old. So what is this kid waiting for?

  25. MM,

    I take a snippet of advice from every post of yours. From this post, I have learnt that it is good to push the kids to a certain extent till they find some activity that they enjoy. I agree that its important to have at least one hobb/activity other than the usual school/lessons. The activity will help you in expressing your joy or fear or sadness.

    SS

  26. I had tears in my eyes by the end of this. Kya kare – maa ka dil! I am glad he found his voice and asked for the skates. He’s a free spirit this lovable child of yours!

  27. I haven’t even gone through the whole post yet, but I have to chime in. From what I’ve read so far, I see your little boy becoming a wildlife photographer or conservationist or a marine biologist. Relax, dear MM.

  28. Got to the end of the post now. Aww, MM, what a lovely child. And skating is one of the most fun things to do! He could make a champion one day. Or at least a VERY cool dude 😉

  29. Read through the comments. I am so glad that you pushed the Brat to show an interest in some activity and will now help him pursue it. I sure am not too happy that my parents didn’t push me to do anything. Mom did try to take me to dance classes but the poor lady could do only so much without house help and a decent mode of transportation. I do repent not having any activity that I am *passionate* about.

  30. He decided to learn what he is naturally good at, isn’t that amazing? So glad that he came up with this himself. He will surely enjoy it, work hard at it and excel in it.

  31. I think the Brat is a crystal child..or an indigo child. He seems to me a very evolved soul-so gentle, so forgiving, non-violent, loving and very intuitive…Imagine a child knowing so well what he would be interested in….
    He has chosen you people as his parents and it seems so right!!!

    Take care of him..
    LS

  32. Yay for Brat! So glad he found his spot in the sun.

    But you know, while I am all for parents goading the child when they see talent being wasted, I tend to believe (and have experienced) that a lot of it is timing. Maybe he was only ready for formal classes at age 5. Pushing him before that would have just resulted in tears on both sides; but at this juncture, he picks it up quickly and willingly.

    Being patient for that Aha moment is not easy, of course. I would rather my child learn to swim when I have the time and inclination to take her to the class 😉 [KIDDING, of course]

    But, good for you. Your job as a parent is to keep asking.

    • LOL! yes. that is the thing. the parent has to keep asking. some kids will come and ask for food when they are hungry. others wait for you to ask them if they want to eat. with the Brat we had to ask through the year because sports are seasonal. he is learning to swim in summer and loves it. i have to drag him out of the pool. this year will tell the instructor to teach him. until last year he would just bop around and have fun. i wanted him to be comfortable in the water which he is – so it is time to get serious now!

  33. Very nice post Mad momma, being a mother of a shy child, who always is worried about staring eyes, who is extremely cautious, who walked when she was 17 months but then never fall down, who fall from bed only once in her life, who if fell on the road would sulk for many hours, I feel vulnerable many times. Outside India, teachers at school were patient, they always told me that she is never first but she does it all perfectly specially writing or coloring, mothers of her friends were non competitive, non judgmental, so little bit of peer pressure that she felt after loosing in a sport or so used to vaporize very easily.We encouraged her to participate always. She is very good in a team though. We also figured out that she likes cooking and loves baking cake from almost when she was 3, she loves art and craft and making things from anything, she loves swimming and dance and chatting! But she shrinks into her shell if anything is forced. On coming back to India teachers are complaining about her slow speed in almost everything, writing and all, mothers of her friends are quite judgmental and they comment a lot, and she feels extreme peer pressure from all the solo competitions happens almost every week in her school. She keep asking me why don’t they do anything in a group? I am learning to be patient and giving her time and trying to keep going with her interests at home as cooking classes for kids are hard to find in India, I found out some like minded parents and involve their kids to do some team activity at home, baking a cake or making a tent. Art and craft at hobby classes I think they are almost academic where certificates are needed to be acquired, so that too we find ways to do them at home, I am looking for pottery class as she loves playing with clay and in the mean time as I know I cannot change the society, and as if we have chosen to come back to India we need to prepare our daughter for existing system of education, society, I am trying everyday little by little to improve her speed and increase the quantitative learning. Sometimes her extreme consciousness drives me crazy, but then I remind myself I was a very shy child who always used her mothers ‘pallu’ to hide when we had visitors at home, specially those who would ask me to sing a song or recite a poem, but then one day I learned to face the world, I now can held my hand forward for shaking to any stranger I meet. And I know my extension will find her own way too in this world to survive and shine in her own way.

  34. Just logged in here to say that I had no ”hobbies” – was a vey shy sensitive child, who would do ”nothing but studies”. I am a scientist today – and am more happy and satisfied with my job than many of my peers who did a lot of ”something other than studies”.

    My lab is my happy place, and thats how it stays. I am grateful to my parents who recognized my nature and did not push me to take up things i did not show interest in. I shudder to imagine what would have happened if i had been sent to various classes where all i would have felt was worthless.

    • Well I’m very happy for you and glad that it worked for you and your parents. I have to ask out of curiousity though – did you ever try anything else at all?

      I am personally of the belief that you will never know what else might have made you happy if you dont try it. The Brat was very happy in his rut playing in the grass with dinosaurs until I sent him for swimming last summer. Once the pool closed for winter he drove me nuts because he missed it so much and is now waiting for it to open. I’d hate to just leave him thinking the world is nothing more than animals and dinosaurs. Similarly the skating. It is now easy to get green vegetables down his throat at lunch because a simple threat of – no skating if you dont eat your veggies works. Imagine – he might have never done this if we hadn’t pushed, and missed out on one of his greatest joys!

      As a parent it is my job to show him every option I can afford out there. As an individual it is his right to reject those choices and my duty to leave him alone if he doesn’t enjoy them. I have to admit I wish my parents had pushed me to stick with the singing or the dancing because at times kids are simply lazy. At 32, I really regret them not being more stubborn than me. Every parent understands their child and needs to work with what they have.

      I also believe its a mistake to think of yourself as ‘worthless’ if you’re not good at something – as opposed to not enjoying it. This seems to be another great failing. We can’t all be the best at everything we try, but there is only one reason to stop and that is if you don’t like it. I’d love to paint as well as sing even if I wasn’t the best in class – simply because its so much fun. Why let the ego get in the way of enjoyment and think of yourself as ‘worthless’ just because you aren’t topping something? Why must everything be aced? This is not aimed at you really – just something I often wonder about. The Brat is great at skating, which is good. But I’d have wanted him to keep at it even if he wasn’t good, if he just enjoyed it. And finally – there is the small matter of perseverance – winning over yourself. Its a milestone in itself to be able to fight your own failings and do something new.

      • Since you asked, lemme tell you that I did. I tried dancing, singing, painting, sports, you name it. Somehow I did not feel interested to pursue any of them 🙂

        And worthless I did feel, in many places, even though I should not have. Even though everyone says that winning is not everything – yet, I did not feel comfortable doing things I did not feel I was good at !

        • well then they did what they could and its great that the eventual choice to do nothing was yours. no parent likes to think that they chose to give their child nothing. its a huge risk to take with someone else’s life i suppose.
          you’re right – no one likes to do things they are not good at. i dont swim or drive because i am terrible at them. but i do PLENTY of other things. playing some games, painting, cooking – all of which i am very average – even poor at. This is my effort after marrying the OA and learning to conquer ego in such matters. He is very comfortable with learning new things and making a fool of himself but persevering. its something i’ve learnt from his example, not his words. now i see him push the Brat and i realise that i dont want the brat to be like me. scared of making a fool of himself, to proud to be less than the best in anything. its set me free. i feel happier and the pressure to excel at things is gone. i wish i’d learnt that years ago.

          • I agree with you, its an individual choice and varies in each case.

            But I liked one point you made. Ego needs to be conquered in order to live happily. I was not able to conquer my ego.

            Maybe thats one issue that one needs to address – most children take up extra-curricular activities and then view it in exactly the same kind of aggressive way as they would to their studies, and when they cant handle it, they drop out. Sad ! Maybe thats what happened in my case too.

            • well i did. i took on everything like a 5 year old warrior and broke down when i didnt conquer. this time around, i am 30 and wiser. i’m enjoying the learning process without wondering what the ultimate goal is. for the last one year i have only baked chocolate cakes. i am great at it now. i still cant make a good dal. i tried to roast a chicken last month and it was a disaster. the OA bought a convection oven last weekend for me. i asked him why waste money on me when i am such a terrible cook and he said it was simply because i was trying so hard. i am touched that he appreciated it and was willing to risk money on a losing proposition 😉

  35. Skating is super fun. I did it every summer holidays till I was 12 and discovered cycling was cooler and faster.
    Just remember no toilet breaks and no quitting till he can do backflips on those skates 😉

  36. Came back to read the post and the comments. I used to be one of those I-won’t-do-it-cos-I-think/know-I-am-terrible-at-it’ people. My folks tried to get me interested in a lot of things, but I used to give up easily. And then, last summer, swimming happened. I have always been a water lover, but just never tried swimming. Thanks to a friend who refused no for an answer, I signed up for classes. I loved it. My swimming style is a mix of breaststroke and freestyle (meaning its a style that is all my own). I probably look like an ass, swimming, but I

  37. Came back to read the post and the comments. I used to be one of those I-won’t-do-it-cos-I-think/know-I-am-terrible-at-it’ people. My folks tried to get me interested in a lot of things, but I used to give up easily. And then, last summer, swimming happened. I have always been a water lover, but just never tried swimming. Thanks to a friend who refused no for an answer, I signed up for classes. I loved it. My swimming style is a mix of breaststroke and freestyle (meaning its a style that is all my own). I probably look like an ass, swimming, but I love it and I am waiting for summer now.
    I followed up the swimming with driving. Same friend, who followed me to the driving school to ensure I signed up. After spending 10 yrs petrified of traffic and driving, I got into the car on my first day and was surprised by just how comfortable I felt. 🙂 What these 2 simple activities did to my sense of achievement and general happiness, is hard-to-put-down. So glad I tried.
    Now if only I can get around to learning to dance – I currently make the Brat (going by your comments on his dancing style) look like a stud dancer in comparison! 🙂

      • Absolutely. 🙂 If I can drive, then anyone can -I haven’t seen a bigger darr-pok than me. I started out telling myself I am getting an automatic car, but now I am confident enough to get the full- geared one. You totally can and you will.
        The OA can teach me to dance? Damn, if only I had known this, 2 months ago!!

        • oh no. there is a bigger coward. its me! also, in such matters there is no point anyone else saying anything. either you have the incentive to do it or not. in a city like delhi with so much public transport, drivers, everything, i have no need. had i been stranded in the US i might have learnt! right now it seems like a waste of time.

  38. For the love of God, woman, let him be. Better still, pack him off to me. I’ll sign him up for the violin classes with the Brentwood Orchestra.

  39. what fun for Brat!! 🙂

    and yes, some kids need to be pushed. i have seen Cub refusing to do anything new. even a jungle gym in the park. and we need to keep pushing him. the smile on his face and sense of achievement he feels when he CAN do something is amazing!

    ofcos, my parents didnt send bro or me to anny classes. somehow our schedules stayed in a way that life just went on. but they did take us for best movies and plays, good restaurants and fun holidays. we got helluva exposure but yeah no skill to talk about!

    i hope to send Cub to dance class by next year. i think he LOVES dance is fairly OK at it!

    cheers!

  40. Wow MM! Amazing. And Im glad he finally figured out what he wanted…

    And I have to say this – I always – ALWAYS get a new learning from your posts 🙂 These days Im making hubby read them too – where it concerns the kids. A Huge THANKS! for that.

  41. Wow! Lovely post! 🙂
    Taught me a whole lot of little lessons – which will probably come in handy later in life. I’m so glad for the Brat and you guys.

    It’s amazing that the Brat knows his mind so well!!

    BTW didn’t know of the incident where you fell off the stairs. 🙂 Any link??

  42. Keep on trying.. eventually he’ll figure out what he wants to do. For e.g. I remember learning Tabla and Bharatnatyam (yes!!) at the age of 6 from my mother.. despite being *girly* stuff. Lost interest after sometime. Then when I was in 7th grade, I had a crush on this girl in our colony. There was a cultural function coming up in 3 months.. so what do I do? I go buy myself a Hawain guitar and start learning it from a teacher.. within 2 months I was doing decent job. Ended up playing ‘Pyaar maanga hai tumhi se.. na inkaar karo’.. got that smile from her.. job done.. and there goes my guitar practice 🙂

  43. An awwww inducing post. I’m glad you both were firm and helped him figure out what he wanted to learn besides doing the usual.
    So, did the Bean join Teakwando now?

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