Thursday, February 21, 2008

He has come a long way

It had been going on in my mind the past week to ask Vansh's teachers at ECFE about his behavior in class. I was pleasantly surprised when Miss Cheral looked at Vansh attending to his teddy bear cut out and remarked

"Vansh is such a polite little gentleman!"

The thoughts that went on in my mind were

" Are you sure you're talking about him/I hope you are not confusing him with someone else"

I managed to ask

"He is? Really?"

"Oh yes! He is prompt with his sorry's and thank you's and handles conflicts very well. Doesn't yell when some one wants to have what he is playing with. He's doing very well."

I told her I was about to ask her myself as to how has been doing in class because he's way too different in front of mommy.

"And that's going to remain that way for many years to come," she joked.

Glad as I was, this little conversation set me thinking.

At the beginning of the school year in September, after a couple of classes, I had asked Miss Nadi (she is the teacher and Miss Cheral is the early childhood assistant) about Vansh's behavior in class. I was quite concerned at that time because he was being extremely self centered and loud when with other children. He would shout a loud NO and/or MY as soon as he noticed another child coming towards him and push him/her when he/she got too close. I felt bad, of course, for the other child, especially when his/her intentions were to just watch Vansh playing with whatever it was that he was playing with or at couple of times even to hug him. At the same time I felt bad for Vansh as well. He was struggling hard with the huge changes in his life - arrival of a new sibling (Jiya was barely 2 months old at that time); going away of his grandparents after having stayed with us for 2 months, during which time he had grown very attached to them; immediately followed in a week by going away of his best friend Arnav to India with whom he spent the better part of his evenings playing every single day (he still takes the whole family's name in the same breath as he takes our own's - he was that attached).

All of us went through a pretty rough phase and it took plenty of patience, spending a lot of time with him reading books, playing games, dancing, being silly, explaining to him during jovial moods, how its hurtful to others when he shouts and generous doses of hugs and kisses to make him get over the insecurity he very naturally felt and which manifested itself in ways described above. In a way, I am glad that we couldn't know what exactly went on in his little mind because I shudder when I think - Could it be

"Don't be friendly with anyone because then he/she is going to go away or going to vie for my parents' attention!"

And its relatively easy for me to write about it now that the phase has passed but at that time we felt terrible emotions that are hard to put down in words. Even though everyone told us that its a phase, but it crossed my mind several times, when Vansh continually turned away one prospective friend after another by his loud gestures,

"Is he ever going to be able to make friends?"

Things got better as time passed. With increased opportunities of socializing with kids the same age as Jiya grew up a bit and we resumed meeting friends for playgroup, started inviting more friends on weekends, he started to become less wary of other kids and even made an effort to be-friend them. The first time I saw him doing that with one girl, he had met a few times before, in the park - speaking something to her and then holding her hand and telling her to "Come on, let's go!", my eyes moistened at the hearty development. Even now, he has his moments, good and bad. There are times when he screams at the slightest provocation but there are others when he's a truly charming little guy, being the entertainer for the entire group - laughing out his silly infectious giggle and making everyone catch on. I sometimes wonder whether Arnav going away actually helped him in the long run to become more open and friendly as he was palpably longing for company.

With all these thoughts going on in my mind, when we were getting ready to get out of the school building, I met a friend in the corridor whose 4 year old daughter and Vansh have met each other briefly a couple of times and stopped for a brief chat. The kids immediately started running after each other and laughing heartily doing that.

And I knew that he has indeed come a long way!


My Memories said...

hmmm...neera sometimes, rather always we want what we dont have, but God gives us what we 'need' ....i dont know why m writing this...but its just the opposite with my extra soft boy....i want him to be a bit more aggresive and loud and be a leader not a follower...dont know when it'll come true...u know the other day his teacher told me that he had been heavy handed in the class and pushed and smacked few of his classmated without any reason(apperantly)...ofcourse on my face i was concerned and told her that i'll explain things to him but deep down inside i was smiling and asking myself 'can he really do that'....dont know if m being selfish or a bad human being by doing this but at times i literally have to fight and push and wrestle with my son to show and teach him how he can make use of his limbs when somebody smacks him....when somebody smacks him at school he tells me while returning home, on being asked why he dint tell the teacher, he very happily says "chalo kal ko bata donga"...i mean is he silly or what...I always similar r these kids and yet so different.

Neera said...

I totally know where you are coming from ..I mean being gentle is a virtue but not at the cost of being walked over. I think I too would have smiled inside like you.

Preethi said...

Neera - I read this and couldn't help thinking that you are a wonderful mother. Very often I see mothers with kids ho are aggressive or loud or do not want to share.. and parents ignore this.. or try to just please the child for peace to reign..Never attacking the root cause or taking corrective measures! This remarkable change in him is as much a credit to you as to his school..
A big round of applause for Vansh!!

Neera said...

Thanks for the effusive praise Preethi. Nothing like getting efforts recognized:)