A little give and take

Took the Bean for a haircut today and the lady at the parlour asked me if I’d like to get something done. I didn’t want the Bean to sit there getting bored while I got my stuff done so I said that I’d come back another day. I also didn’t want her sitting there absorbing in that way children do, that ladies need every bit of them polished and shined before they consider themselves socially acceptable.
Sitting all alone on a chair, hanging on to a big handbag was a girl only slightly older than the Bean, dressed very shabbily and definitely from a poorer background. She sat there nervously and quietly, giving no trouble, making no sound.
And then her mother came out of one of the facial rooms. Shabbily dressed, definitely not well off, maybe household help. But she was glowing with happiness. The little girl lit up when her mother came out and asked in Hindi – Ma, did you enjoy the facial? Was it nice? Are you feeling good?
The mother grinned girlishly – Yes, it was such a treat.
They paid up and left.
And I wondered why we are so protective of our kids and their time. Why am I so reluctant to let my child sit for an hour and wait while I get a facial? Will they ever learn to be so considerate? Do our privileged kids care about how their parents feel and would they suffer an hour of boredom, sans TVs and tablets and books, while their parents get a rare treat?
Food for thought and maybe time for some change.


21 thoughts on “A little give and take

  1. Hi MM

    Has been a while. Hope all is well. I have always thought and pondered this about our generation of parents. I know times are changing and today’s parents can’t let children play out in the streets the way our parents’ could let us, but many a time i have caught myself thinking if there is an element of over-protection, though never in the context you mentioned. I guess different parents choose what things their child has to come to terms to and adjust about…whether it is get dressed by maids or spend after school in day-care, or the weekend with just dad or pick up their books and study on their own. I would be surprised if a parent said , they are there 100% of the time by their kids. And honestly, i would worry for the parents and the children in that scenario.

    On similiar lines here is an artilce on the similiar lines that i quite enjoyed – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/Mickey-goodman/are-we-raising-a-generati_b_1249706.html?ref=tw

  2. Interesting point. Husband ji wanted to go grocery shopping with 9 mo yesterday and I was reluctant because why should he spend his time strapped in when he could have “free play” time and “floor play” time which is where they learn most supposedly. Then husband ji insisted saying we can’t live two lives, one for the baby and one for ourselves. There is only just one life and baby will learn to have to accommodate too. I feel that as long as neither the baby nor us are doing all the accommodating, perhaps its okay.

  3. The bean and the breat defo care about how you feel. They give you massages, write you love notes when youre ill and bring you meals to bed and what not. Them and a handful of kids I have gotten to know, and who I see as “different” from most other kids out there are the few who probably wont mind being bored for a bit, if it meant you can treat yourself to a facial or any other luxury. But I know they are the exceptions and not the norm.

    I have some very firm opinions on the unnecessary fuss that is made of bringing kids up, but I refrain from airing them because I dont have any personal experience in the area. But from what I see, I think theres a thin line between looking out for them and pampering them, and it gets blurred and crossed over too often. I dont remember it being this way when I was growing up. We learned to suck it up and deal with so many things because my parents often didnt protect us from boredom or dealing with things we might not have necessarily enjoyed. I remember being dragged to music concerts all the time when I was too young to sit still, because my parents were avid listeners and didnt want to lose out. Also better there, than at a restaurant or movie. My mum would carry crayons and paper or a couple of books, and even though I didnt actively listen to the music, they believed the music would seep in by osmosis, and it did. Also taught me to be still, definitely calmed me down the right way and they didnt miss out on their weekly treats either.

    My younger cousins are totally out of the music loop because they were protected form being dragged to concerts early on, for fear of boredom and what not. Now theyre so out of sync, and its a shame for a family like ours thats so steeped in music. I feel terrible about it.

    • Let me tell you this..you cant have firm opinions ..If you don’t have personal experience in this area like you mentioned …get a kid , experience the ups/lows/ then you tell us about your firm opinions …
      mad momma is awesome about this !

      • I have to disagree, Nimisha. By that logic a judge would never be able to rule on a case if he didn’t have personal experience of disability, different sexual orientation, anything.

        Kids are a part of society. They affect everyone. And unlike any other issue we’ve all experienced childhood and have nephews, nieces, cousins. Most of all, I think as parents we are too close to the situation often, to have perspective.

        And to shut down opinions from those who can stand back and observe as a third party, would be our loss.

        • ‘firm opinions’ from someone who has no experience with kids ..raising kids is a very intimate complicated journey …I wont venture and give my ‘firm opinions’ on SAHM …because I have no experience in that area….or any other stuff that requires a deeper knowledge …
          We have to disagree 🙂 I think we are allowed that right 🙂

          • Totally. We must agree to disagree on this one. I think its important not to get on a parent high horse and assume that we know/do it all.
            I’ve apologised time and again on this blog for things I’ve said wrong or for opinions that have changed since I started blogging. Since I am a parent and by your logic allowed opinions, and I can still see myself getting it wrong, I’m going to stand by the opinion that being a parent can’t be the only qualification for having an opinion on things. For instance, I have many firm opinions on gay rights without being gay.

            So yes, lets agree to disagree. For my part, I welcome opinions from non-parents and defend to death their right to an opinion. If I disagree, I shall debate it to my last breath too, but no on the grounds that they don’t know what they’re talking about! 🙂

            Peace out.

      • And this is why I choose not to air my firm opinions, theres always a touchy mom somewhere waiting to tell me to “get a kid”.

        I may not have children of my own, but I do have my own childhood as personal experience, and my sure our parents went through the same highs and lows, and dealt with it the way I’ve seen them deal with it. I also watch a lot of younger kids in my family, and I can tell the difference — being the eldest of a generation of cousins gives me that perspective. Truth is even if I do have children, I am more likely to bring her/him up the way I was brought up, so my opinions will probably still remain.

  4. my daughter is 7 , hates learning our mother tongue ,to the point of phobia ,but the other day , she was (forced) watching some kids competing in a TV show with her dad and he was explaining the meaning of the songs to her …and when it came to one song …the kid is singing a lullaby to his mom asking her to sleep ,she immediately asked him to write it in English practiced the tune and sang it to me (I was about to take a nap) !
    Over and over ..
    She also refused to allow the dr take her temperature until I stopped weeping and she finished consoling me , because I was dead scared that she had dengue during our India trip she was 5 ,then ..waiting for me to do a facial …she can do that ..
    I really think that kid you saw is very lovely affectionate sensitive child ….I thought all kids are like that …

  5. I often take my six year old with me. Though there isn’t much that I get done but still she patiently waits through my hair cuts or the eyebrow being done. She would watch me while I got my things done and somehow somewhere there is a silent acknowledgement that Mumma needs these things to be done or this time for herself.

  6. Very poignant. My daughter actually uses a phrase I abhor pretty much every weekend (and one I’m sure your self-sufficient brants never do) – “but you are only doing adult things, no fun kid things for me.” Oh and what are these grand adult things? making the bed, cooking dinner and perhaps sitting down with a book in bed. This after I make sure we don’t design our worlds around them. When we travel we rarely think about what is or not kid friendly, we make them stand in lines without entertainment, she knows if I’m talking to an adult and she interrupts I’ll hiss. We do museums and things they’re not interested in just to show we can and they better suck it up. Still, somehow this generation has gathered that if the adults in their world so wished, the world would only be made of pink playgrounds and ice cream and Dora underwear. Some times I don’t take them with me to adult activities but more to give ME a break not them. I think of my childhood and boring trips to the post office, to the grocery store, to the bank when tellers were mini Gods and made you wait an hour and I thought well…that is life. Now they think it is some alien inconvenience.
    This is actually personal for me because I have always bragged that I won’t have kids that want every minute of the day catered to them but….somehow I have not succeeded. I still don’t give in but even to hear that frustrates me. There must be some cues the universe is giving her despite her mother ignoring her.

  7. Wow! I wish I could give that girl a big jhappi! What a sweetie pie she is to be so thoughtful and considerate… Sadly I don’t see that. Yeah kids have a room overflowing with toys and parents at their every beck and call, but rarely do I see a child asking his or her parent such a sweet tender thing like the one above. Thanks for sharing MM.

  8. Very insightful.

    They raise them considerate and street smart, we raise them over protected and confused adults (ladies do get shined and polished so why confuse them with this subliminal message that it is not okay to do so specially when they will probably be quite aware that Momma does it too).

    If I could do it all over again, I would certainly make them (learn to) wait at parlors, go to funerals, fight their own battles, etc etc ( just as our generation was, actually. We lost it somewhere along the way with too much education / information/ knowledge)

    Completely agree that if is time for a rethink for educated classes..

  9. Very insightful.

    They raise them street smart and considerate while we raise them self absorbed and confused..why give them subliminal messages that it is not okay for women to be shined and polished especially when they know that Momma does it too..

    Our generation was raised that way but we lost it somewhere along the way, I guess, with too much education and information..if I could do it all over again, yes, I would take them to parlors and funerals too..

    The comment by girlonthebridge about cues from the universe is apt, there is so much social conditioning that happens beyond family..so I guess it is simpler said than done..

  10. Thank you for sharing this experience TMM. Like you, I don’t dare to bring A with me to get eyebrows or facials or pedicures. (Part of the reason why my eyebrows are generally unkempt) In fact I try to hide that I had anything done. And she being Ms. Marple, immediately spots that I have something different about me. One part is that I don’t want her to think I need to be polished. The other is that I don’t want her to think she needs polishing. Before she hit age 4 we had tantrums and questions about “but my friends have nail polish, why can’t I?” Why, why why?
    Sometimes I wonder if making a big deal of it all has made things worse. She no longer asks. She believes when she turns 10 I will let her have nail polish.
    Unlike other chores, like grocery shopping or administrative errands, I feel like going to a salon really doesn’t provide any life lessons that cannot be learned at a later time. If anything, I avoid it because I want to avoid the negotiations that will ensue. And this despite the fact that A is a generally very well behaved child. But you make such a good point about children learning that their parents are allowed an indulgence every now and then and for them to be able to understand that it’s ok for them to be “bored” once in a while. When I was older, may be 7 or 8, I have accompanied my mom to a haircut or to a facial. Sat there and did nothing but ask “are you done?” LOL. I fear that by providing constant access to “keeping them busy” I am not allowing her to appreciate the state of being bored or not having to do anything. SIGH. Rambling I know, but what to do?

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