Day-24: Learning to say No…have I succeeded yet?

To continue with my previous post, as I said it’s weird how the dynamics of saying no change as we grow up. So probably it’s because of the way I am conditioned, I have always found it difficult to say no to anyone. Irrespective of how close or not I am to them. If they come up to me for any sort of help or favour, I invariable end up saying, “OK! Sure! I’ll do it” even when it is utterly inconvenient to me.

Now my parents, R & Namnam are people I can say no to for I know they won’t judge me. It’s the other people, friends, relatives, acquaintances, even rank strangers that I end up trying to please even when I don’t need to. Why do I even worry about being judged by strangers…even I dont know!!

No, it is not a good trait to possess. Definitely not. I know how unsettling and weakening it is to not say no when your heart tells you to say otherwise. This inane urge to be in the good books of everyone is not something to feel proud of. It is unreal, impractical and very unhealthy. I know that. Cos at the end of the day I end up cribbing about that person or that situation and heavily cursing myself for landing in that situation which I could have avoided. So whether I am in any one else’s good books or no, I am certainly not in my own good books!

Now, in a normal scenario, if I don’t like the way someone behaves with me, whether the person is rude or sugar-coated sweet, both the scenarios making me awfully uncomfortable, I would keep my feelings to myself. But lately, I have managed to convey my dislike for that person’s conduct in my own way. I’m learning to be politely dismissive. I still can’t be blunt, much as I would want to. But this ingrained trait of mine where I try to please everyone, forever wishing I wouldn’t want to be in their bad books, seems to be wearing off. I’m off late able to express my discomfort with a certain situation or person, a bit more explicitly, either through my actions, or my words, or simply by way of my facial expressions! I am probably getting a wisdom tooth, who knows!

Somehow I have started to get bored and annoyed by this habit of mine where I am forever looking to make every one happy. Sometimes I end up committing myself to people at the expense of my family’s comfort zone. Which is so wrong on my part, I realize. They know and I know that I don’t do it willingly or purposely, yet it doesn’t make it right, right?

Yesterday a friend of mine and I were on our way back from a school where our kids had an activity. Now the understanding was that the kids would come back with us from the venue and I would drop my friend and her child home. But upon reaching her child expresses a wish to travel in the school bus which was to drop the kids back in their school from where the respective parents were to pick up their children. So my friend let her go and told her she would pick her up. When we were about to reach her place, she asked if I could drive the car past and take her to school. Clearly she didnt want to take her car and drive down to the school. She’d rather avail the free ride service. Now if it was just her kid who needed to be picked up I would have still considered driving her there, but her child was to be accompanied by another friend who was to be dropped off too. So obviously she was trying to wriggle out a bonus favour too. So while I initially had nodded my head and said ok to drive her to school- because I didnt want her to feel bad- I managed to refuse her straight a little later and eventually drop her home as was the understanding at first.

It won’t be wrong to say that I felt immensely lighter at having been able to say no to her and, for once breaking away from the ridiculous people-pleasing trait.

So let me ask myself again, have I succeeded in learning to say NO yet?

Well, I’m not so sure. But I am getting there. That much I know for sure. Slowly but surely.

I need to learn to stop blowing my top at the drop of a hat!- Day 7

What’s wrong with me! I blasted my domestic help earlier in the day for coming in late for work. She must have had a late night enjoying her weekend like any of us. Or something more pressing must have kept her from reaching on time. I should have understood that. I should not have lambasted at her right at the doorstep. I could have waited for her to settle down, even offered her a glass of water before setting my drilling-motor-mouth on!

R is right. I should be more conscious about people’s feelings and self-respect. What right did I have to spoil her day? She had got in with a smile and a chirpy ‘Good Morning’ and now there she was going about her work with a sullen face.

Yes she should have informed me before hand if she was going to be late. I had my day planned based on her schedule, which meant that my plans were delayed too. But. But. That still didnt mean that I could be so inconsiderate.

R, while trying to put some sense into me, said something wonderful that he felt I should always keep in mind while dealing with people.

It’s just a twist of fate that she is in a situation where she has to work for me and my family. Tomorrow, there’s every chance that she chucks it all because she doesn’t need to for whatever reasons. Then, would she begrudge or respect me for my treatment of her? Her opinion of me would be a direct reflection of my treatment of her. If I want her to treat me with respect, I need to treat her the same.

In the same breath of the day, barely a few hours later I lost my cool with Namnam too. I was on my way to drop her in school for an activity. All charged up and excited about the workshop she was going to attend, she sat in the car reading a book, in between listening to music and happily humming along too. Now remember we were already late, so I was running around in a crazy mode trying to get her dropped in time, to make it worse we also had to stop by the grocery store to buy a pack of wet wipes which her teacher had instructed to bring in, because we realized in the nick of time that we had run out of them at home! And then just when we were walking to the store, Namnam realized that she had forgotten to take her water bottle. Its a small thing, I know. But it didnt stop me from shooting my mouth off again! That too all through our walk to the school gate. A perfectly excited girl till a few minutes ago was now walking in all glum. Could I not have kept my mouth shut and let her excitement stay on till the class was over? Was it really such a grave issue that I couldn’t wait for her to finish the class before blowing my top?

What a nincompoop I can be on some days, I tell ya!

Rambling #14- decoding the F-word, the dilemma of it all

This again is more like an introspective post like many of my other posts where I seek an answer to my confusing thoughts as a parent. Now before I begin I must mention that I am one of those parents who believe in being honest and truthful to their kids, especially when it concerns their growing curiosities. I don’t like covering my child’s curiosity or doubts howsoever uncomfortable they may be with a garb of lies. I’d rather explain things to her in as appropriate for her age as possible than cook up some stories which may stub her curiosity for the moment but later on  confuse her even more if and when she comes across a finding far closer to the truth.

She and I have had chats about breasts, about giving birth and such in the past. And yet, recently when she wanted to know what the F word stood for, I found myself evading the question. I dont know if evading would be the apt term. Rejecting would be more like it I guess. I refused to tell her what it stood for and also told her in clear terms that she was not to utter the word ever to anybody. She was quick to reply though, “How will I utter the word when I don’t even know what it stands for, Amma?”

I personally am dead against mouthing cuss words. Probably because of which I panicked when I realized that my daughter was getting exposed to them and I couldn’t possibly have any control over it. Having said that, I must admit though that I did enjoy the AIB roast. But that’s besides the point 😛

Anyway, it got me mulling over and a bit critical about my own method of tackling the situation. I have been wondering whether it would be better that I deciphered it for her and explained what it meant, than letting her learn about it from elsewhere. I did ask her whether her friends from whom she got to know about ‘the word’ knew it themselves to which she said that even they were as clueless as her. To make me ponder further, the other day she came up to me asking whether raising the middle finger meant ‘that F-word’. I blurted a quick yes and left it at that. 

And now I am seriously pushed to think whether I should just decode the word to her. Should I or shouldn’t I? Frankly speaking I cannot afford to have her thinking that she cannot come to me whenever her curious mind seeks answers. But at the same time I’m not sure whether she is at the right age to know the answer yet..

february ramblings

Rambling #5- Reading vis a vis Watching- the conflict

This is what greeted me in the morning when I went up to wake Namnam up




Now being someone who simply cannot kickstart her day without brushing her teeth, I felt compelled at first to scream at her for not doing the same. But then I also felt nice and proud to see her so glued to her book. I feel this way every time I see her taking to reading far better than I did while growing up. Touchwood.

Even though I love reading, I have never considered myself to be an avid reader and have certainly never done what Namnam does in the pic above. But I have had many people recount their stories about how they used to read at any given opportunity. Amma has told how there had been so many nights when she used to read in the dead dark, under her quilt, using a torch! And there have been plenty of occasions, when I have caught Namnam reading her books in the same manner. Under the comforter, using the torch on my or R’s phone. I have even had friends tell me how they would read while eating, drinking, washing. Even ironing, yes! Smitha tweeted this and I couldnt help myself from laughing and also feeling much in awe of her at the same time! The kind of reading-stamina that she has, is something that I wish I could imbibe from her. However I see a similar drive for reading growing in my house when I observe my child. For which I couldn’t be gladder.

Namnam has been jumping around all excited about her grandparents’ visit, the reason for which has also got  a great deal to do with a bundle of books that they are bringing for her :).

Having said that, I must also mention that Namnam has shown similar dedication towards watching shows on YouTube as well! She sometimes insists on watching it while having her dinner, in the same way she insists on carrying a book to read in the car, even if the journey is a 10 minute ride! Oh she has even woken up once in the middle of the night, to watch a scene from her favourite show that she had missed out. Now R & I are fully aware of the shows she watches. We have kept a tab. We can safely say that she has benefited a great deal  even from a lot of them, in terms of learning, enhancing knowledge and improving her command over the language.

Probably the exact similar way reading helps.

Of course there are times when we have had to curtail her watching whenever it bordered on addiction. But that’s something we have had to do a couple of times with her reading-fixation too. Especially whenever it interfered with her studies or some important activity. Imagine a situation when she decides that her books need her more than her assignments and homeworks. Or when we are already late for her after school activity and instead of rushing out, she is found sitting with her book oblivious to pressing situation. You get what I mean? 😀

And yet what I find worth pondering is how the reaction changes drastically when we speak about our kids’ reading vis a vis watching. To speak for myself, I know how much pride I take when I tell people that my daughter loves reading. Even when I sense her addiction towards it, I love it! But when it comes to acknowledging her love for watching shows that are just as entertaining and informative, I feel the enthusiasm lacking.


february ramblings