Thursday, June 26, 2008

Discpline your kids, they say.....

Scene 1:

Puttachi is chewing on one of her toys and I am teaching her not to do so.

Me: Puttachi, ringna baayige haakikobaaradu. (You should not put the ring into your mouth).

Puttachi smiles, and continues chewing the ring.

Me: Puttachi, listen. Ring.. baayi.. no-no (Ring.. mouth.. no-no)

Puttachi: nonnonnonnnnooo

Me: Yes, that's right. Ring.. baayi.. no-no.

Puttachi: Baayi.. nonnonnnoooo

Me: Correct! you got it. Ring.. baayi.. no-no-no *shaking my finger*

Puttachi: *wags her finger* baayi... nonnooo

Me: Yes! *Satisfied, settles back on the cushions*

Puttachi smiles and puts the ring back into her mouth.

Scene 2:

Puttachi loves the slippers I wear at home. She touches them at the slightest opportunity. I have spent weeks telling her not to touch them, that they are "Thoo... Cheee... Vakk"... and I make a big deal of washing her hands and I keep repeating it ad infinitum.

Yesterday. I am watching her play, when she spots my slippers where I have left them near the bed. Instead of jumping up and hiding the slippers, I watch to see what she will do. Puttachi goes up to the slippers, looks at them, starts to bend down, then straightens up and walks past them.

I exult. I jump up. I pump the air with my fist, and do a little jig. After I am done, I turn around and look at Puttachi, only to see her standing there, happiness written all over her face, and........holding a slipper in each hand.

Scene 3:

Puttachi is playing on the bed, and at short intervals, she takes a couple of toys and throws them off the edge of the bed, and takes great delight in it. And then she screams for me to pick it up and give it back to her. I have been telling her for the past half an hour not to do that, I have been refusing to give the toys back to her because she threw them. I have been pretending to be very angry.... all that. Finally it looks like it has worked, she goes nearly ten minutes without throwing toys off the bed.

And then she takes a couple of toys and goes up to the edge of the bed. I am giving her piercing looks. She pauses at the edge, looks at me from the corner of her eye. When she sees me watching, her eyes fill with mischief, a huge grin breaks out on her face, and with the utmost delight, she throws the toys off the bed, and giggling with glee, she turns a back flip, lands on her back, cycles in the air with happiness, all the while looking at me. And me looking stupid with the useless stern look plastered on my face.


But really, how do you make them understand? She watches me throw her dirty clothes into the tub kept for that purpose. Sometimes I just drop it in, sometimes I throw it across the room into the tub. She imitates everything I do, and so she does the same with other objects. Amma throws clothes, I throw toys. How can you tell her the difference?

How do you make her understand that footrugs and footwear and bathroom floors can be touched with the feet, and not with the hands? How will the poor kid make out the difference? Feet-ok, hands-not ok, why?

You encourage her and clap when she upturns her box of blocks with a flourish, and you expect her not to spill a glass of water with the same action, the same flourish. How will she understand?

But even when she does understand that something is forbidden, she does it all the same, with greater delight - what do I make of that?

It will happen with time, I know.. and until then... Puttachi! Puttachi! Stop! come back here this instant!


Anonymous said...

My take on this is ..As long as they don't hurt others or hurt themselves ... just leave them on their own.

One more thing with children is that when they come to know you REACT they do it more to get your attention.

- Anitha.

rajk said...

Beautiful beautiful post. Do you write poetry too?

Anonymous said...

Dear Shruthi,
Till kids become 7 or 8 years, every thing told as in NO NO means they will just do it again. They think they are making you happy and getting all the attention.

IF possible ignore such actions and once they dont get any response they stop doing it. If its impossible to ignore like chappals in mouth etc, remove such offending items from her vicinity.

Happy parenting :-)


Keshav Kulkarni said...

Wonderful piece of writing. We are experienceing the same with out little one too. But I do enjoy when my son does the things which we do not want to do. He bursts into laughter after he does his mischief. I pretend to be angry, but inside, I am also laughing with him.

Whenever he drinks juice, when he is satisfied, he takes the huice as much as possible in his mouth and watches us. Then we tell "Beda Krishna" with pseudo-anger. He pretends to keep quiet, closes his eyes, and then spits everything out, on the kitchen floor, or on the carpet. Then he bursts into laughter. We shout at him, show our pseusoanger. He tells "sorry" and asks for more juice!!

Keshav (

Manasa said...

Shruthi, this is still the beginning :)

My mom tells my childhood stories many times-that I would tare posts as soon as it was dropped in the compound. During vacations, when she took me to relatives house I would spill hair oil in the water storage tank and quarell with other kids for toys. When she took me for shopping, I would yell and cry-"ade bekuuuu" until she bought me my favourite stuffs...and many more!

In the near future, when you take Puttachi for shopping, you gotta be more careful :D

Devaki said...

Ha! She is one naughty girl, isn't she? :-) I loved your descriptions... made me smile this early in the morning (which is almost impossible)!

One stupid question from someone who has NEVER managed small kids yet. Err... isn't she too young to be disciplined? ;-)

Anonymous said...

You won't believe this, but I had practically the same discussion with my mom this morning, and the results, I'm sad to say, aren't exactly heartening! :)

Children will do exactly as they want. Just like us. :))


Anonymous said...

LOL! Welcome to parenthood. :)

Kids that age and up until they are about 6-7 years old have this unsatiable urge to do excatly the opposite of what we as parents tell them to do. Ask them to do something and they won't do, ask them not to do and they will!

Wait till they are about 2-3 years old and they have a new set of tantrums up their sleeves like asking for a dress of particular dress,shoes,hair band etc. etc. We as parents have to be very innovative to deal with such tantrums and those tantrums will push our patience to its limit sometimes.

Good post.


Dhanya said...

I'm not an expert but I guess kids do it just to grab attention. So how much ever times u ban them from doing something they repeat it.. Best is to learn to ignore :)

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snippetsnscribbles said...

hehhhee:-))) that was a very sweet post, Shruthi :) we demand some of Puttachi's pics now please :)

Sudipta Chatterjee said...

"She pauses at the edge, looks at me from the corner of her eye. When she sees me watching, her eyes fill with mischief, a huge grin breaks out on her face, and with the utmost delight, she throws the toys off the bed, and giggling with glee, she turns a back flip, lands on her back, cycles in the air with happiness, all the while looking at me."

-- qualifies as a classic for me! Now if I visit Bangalore, Puttachi is on my list of must-see!! :)

Kadalabal said...

it is best part of the growing child and u enjoy you teach but she will have own and yes they imitate what you have done for otheres once they understnd and then do it also you will not enjoy this phase is wonderful and catch them in action after words you will not get and also many things they speak now record after words they will not come back nicely put as usualy great skills enjoyed throughly in the early morning hours and good day for me to begin

Wunderyearz said...

I'm feeling relieved now that I know someone else is also going through the stuffs I've been going through for months now ;-)
Word to word this is exactly what Jelly does.....

Collection Of Stars said...

Puttachi is one now?
*with a wicked grin* Just wait and watch :)
- Mom to a 2.5 year old :)

Prats said...

Parenting is a challenge and it doesn't end at that age.
But if constantly say a NO each time they do something wrong, eventually it will register, ( though a few years later), but if not, it could end up as tantrums, disobedience in some form...
You've written this so well....loved this piece

Shruthi said...

Anitha: True, but what when this uncontrolled behaviour turns into "brat"ness? Where do we draw the line at reacting?

Rajk: Thank you :) And no, I am not into poetry... yet :) Why do you ask?

Mohan: There is only so much that we can baby-proof, esp in a rented house. Rest of it has to be controlled, don't you think? Else they will be uncontrollable out of home too... what do you think?

Keshav: Ha ha :)) That sounds like fun! (to us, but poor you!)

Manasa: ohh mannn!! You were one naughty kid! Oh taking Puttachi shopping is already a nightmare in a different sense.. She pulls down stuff from the racks when we are not looking :)

Devaki: It is never too early to start, is what I have heard. And i tend to agree - I would hate it if Puttachi turns into one of those spoilt, screaming kids!

Ano: Even now? And I was thinking it would be better in a couple of years! Oh kids!

Vish: Oh no! And you are right, we have to learn to be innovative and use our wits... it is us against them, all the time, isn't it?
Btw, Vish, I haven't had this opportunity before, I wanted to thank you for all your comments on my previous posts. They are interesting, and insightful.

Dhanya: If only it was that easy! :(

Snippetsnscribbles: not on my blog :)

Sudipta: you are always welcome home :)

kadalabal: Glad you enjoyed it!

Wunderyearz: Ah, my soul sister.. come on, give me a hug!

COS: Nooooo!

Prats: Exactly, that is what I tend to think too! And glad you enjoyed the post. :)

Lively said...

It's a delight to read about the adventures of Puttachi. I get a feeling that she is a storehouse of huge amount of energy.
Wait till she turns a teen.. ;)
Good luck Shruthi

Anonymous said...

Dear Shruthi,
Control freaks are not liked in this world - but as a parent you know the best for the kid at least till the kid can take its own decisions i suppose.


sumi said...

a few things that I have come to understand in my 10 years of parenting are;
1)there can never be 'a set of guidelines' for parenting :-(
2)your litle girl is going to grow up to be your mirror image (may be upto a point)- she is going to imitate your actions, you will hear her using your own words (something like a 'no' with a raised finger with a stern look) at you and at others causing some embrassing moments.
I feel that a package without the stern looks and so on would be a better deal

Mama - Mia said...


she sounds excatly like Cubby!! i even tried giving him a par of brand new slippers to get over his fascination of touching them!!

now if i say MMMMMMM as soon as he goes near the chappal he will stop and stretch out his l'il fingers and just touch with their tips and run back!!

such brats! :D

LOVED the post!!



pumpkins mom said...

ah..exactly as in the pumpkin household :) I usually try to ignore pumpkin when she does something she's not supposed to be doing or distract her with some other toy or tell her lets play only a fraction of the you know kids have a mind of their own. I dont know if its possible to discipline them at such a young age..they seem to think our disciplining act is a game we're playing with them

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