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Winning Against Ourselves – Mind Games

V comes up to me this morning and starts talking about school.

“Mommy I’m really getting fast at running, I ran past S and K when we had games period yesterday.”

“That’s great V but isn’t the running part more fun than the running past other children part?”

“Yup, I love running with you in the park mommy, and we run together. So, I loooooooove running. It’s almost like flying a bit. But mommy I can’t go faster than the boys you know. That’s okay coz A (my nephew) told me that boys are stronger than girls.”

That put me in a dilemma, I didn’t want to encourage competitiveness in a child not yet 5 years old, but I also didn’t want to leave her with the weaker gender idea. That’s when I had a half-formed brain wave.

“V do you know far we run together at the park?”

“Yup 3 rounds?”

“Right and that’s one and a half kilometers darling. I’m sure no one in your class, boy or girl, runs that long and far.”

“I don’t know mommy. Their mommies don’t take them running so how will they know?”

Okay…… that was the second spanner in my works. Still, I decided to gamely plough on.

“Right, darling but here’s my point. See we are both girls and we are doing something nobody else in your class is doing, boy or girl. It doesn’t matter who’s stronger or weaker. All that we need to think about is this. Do we really want to do something? If we do, we keep doing it and enjoying it. After a while we will become the best at it. So the next time A or anyone else tells you that someone is stronger or weaker, tell them this. ‘The person who really wants to do something and enjoys it, is stronger and the person who doesn’t is weaker.'”

I don’t know if I got through to her this time or if the the idea was too convoluted. However, I’m making a promise on this Women’s Day to keep reminding myself, my daughter and my nieces that we can be and achieve whatever we want as long as we really want it and enjoy it. Gender is just a category like hair colour or height, it can’t affect who we are and what we choose to become. Yes, we’ll have a lot of battles to fight as women, but let’s win the one in our minds first. 

P.S. – Funnily my first ever post on this blog was on gender discrimination 🙂

P.P.S – It doesn’t matter if your little girl chooses to play a princess game or climb a tree. As long as she is confident in herself as an individual, she will make the right choices for herself.

P.P.P.S – Wow! I just realised (when I went to get the link to my first article) that today is this blog’s two year anniversary! I somehow missed the first one! Yay! Happy Anniversary to me.

Update: A couple of days back I found a new trophy in V’s prayer basket. She apparently won the girls running race for her LKG batch. That’s like first among 60 kids, I’m guessing the boy- girl ration is 50-50. Now I know where that boys being faster/stronger than girls discussion came from. It’s the school making them compete separately. She never mentioned winning and she just shrugged when I asked her about it!

Photo Credit: Image 1

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The Talk

V and I had the big talk yesterday, no you sillies not the bees and birds one, this was the ‘D’ one. DEATH.

V has been on cold medication for a week and it culminated in a 3 am surprise potty break. So she was hanging out on the toilet and I was sitting on her little footstool, when she asked me, out of the blue, “Mummy will you become old?” Now you have to understand, that for V, the potty is her place of contemplation and we have a lot of deep meaningful conversations while I try not to gag.

“Well, when you become a mommy, I’ll become a grandmother, so that’ll make me a bit old,” I smiled reassuringly.

“So, will you be very old.”

“I’ll be like nani,” (my mother), “she’s not very old is she and I’m a mommy.” That seemed to satisfy her and she gave me a small smile and was soon lost in thought.

Suddenly, she looked up with a worried expression and asked “When you become very old and die?”

That got me on the back foot and I took a minute to answer, since I didn’t want to lie to her, “Well, baby, when you become a grandmother, I’ll probably be very old and die.”

“Then I’ll be without you and daddy?”

“Well, you’ll have a little baby and a big baby who’ll be a mommy right , so you can have fun with them and then you’ll get very old too and die and you can come be with us.”

“Does everyone die?”

That’s when I reverted to something I had told her before. She was going through our wedding album a few months back and she couldn’t find a picture of her little cousin ‘A’ or her self, so she obviously questioned me on it. That’s when I told her the story about the two of them looking down on us from heaven, where there were with God, and then deciding to come down to be part of our family.

“You remember how you and A were with God before you came down and joined all of us. Well, we were all the same and after a while God starts missing all his friends so once you have enjoyed a lot on earth, he calls you back and every one goes up and lives happily ever after with God.”

“Then that’s okay mommy. We’ll all be together and I’ll always be your baby,” she said beaming at me.

I don’t know if I gave her the right explanation, but I tried to let her know that death is a reality without scaring her.

What I don’t get is, when did three year-olds start asking such stuff? Aren’t we supposed to happily oblivious to such death and disaster till we hit 7 or even 9?

P.S. – WordPress is acting silly and I’m just unable to turn on comments for this post. So please follow this link to comment. I’m sorry about the mess.

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2011 in Lessons in Parenting, Uncategorized

 

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