Friday, June 28, 2013

Day 28 - Spirit

People who know Puttachi well know that she is very cooperative, which has worked very well for me.  But there was one aspect of her cooperative nature which has worried me for a long time.  And it is this - she doesn't resist much to anything, doesn't put up too much of a fight.

Here is an example of a regular occurrence at the park, when she was younger.  She is about to climb the steps of the slide, and someone comes, and asks her to move aside.  She dutifully moves, lets the other child go before her, and then she climbs up.  Or worse, the other child pushes her, and she frowns, her face crumples, but she doesn't fight back.  If she is on the swing, and some other child aggressively asks her to get off the swing, she climbs down without another word.

And except when she was physically hurt, she didn't seem to be affected by it at all.  

And if I convinced her about something being good for her, she would accept immediately.  That also worried me - why doesn't she protest even a little bit?  Am I doing something wrong?   Here's something from an old post of mine - a conversation on the way to an ice-cream shop

Amma, I want pink ice-cream.
Amma, will there be pink ice-cream?
          I don't know, let's go and see.
If there is pink ice-cream, I will feel happy and eat it up, but if there is no pink ice-cream, then I will see which ice-cream they have, and I will like it (ishTa maDkotini), and eat it up. 
Should I rejoice that this child knows the secret of happiness? Or should I worry that she is going to become too accommodating and compliant?

We had once been to someone's house, and the lady of the house gave her child and Puttachi some snacks in two bowls - one blue, one purple.

Puttachi: I want the purple one.
Other child: No, I want purple.

The lady gave her child the purple one and said, "See Puttachi, blue is also nice."

Puttachi said, "Yes, blue is also nice," and ate from the blue bowl.

The injustice really bothered me.  Now, there are two things here - one, Puttachi laid claim on the purple bowl first.  Second, the bowls are at the other child's disposal, and the child can eat in that bowl even later.  So if it were me in the lady's place, it would have been a no-brainer.  I would have convinced Puttachi that the other child had dibs, and that Puttachi could eat in the purple bowl even later.   In fact, such things did happen at our place, and Puttachi had compromised several times.  Now, because people know Puttachi's nature, they take advantage of it and she has to compromise even when she has first rights?  I was very upset.  But Puttachi didn't seem to be bothered.  Later on, I asked her casually if she had wanted to eat in the purple bowl, and she said, "Yes, I would have liked it, the purple was so beautiful, but blue was also okay."

Or could it just be a kind of maturity?

 Puttachi:  Amma, am I taller or is X (her friend) taller?
Me: What do you think?
She:  I know I am taller than her.
Me: okay.  (Puttachi is taller, but I don't want to make these things an issue, so I don't offer any comment.)
She:  But X keeps telling me that she is taller.
Me: So do you tell her anything?
She: No, I don't.  I just let her think she is taller.  I know I am taller, so I just keep quiet.
If only she retains this wisdom even in the future...

Or is it just that she avoids confrontation?

Whenever I worried, my friend M would tell me "Perhaps that is Puttachi's strength."  Yes, perhaps.

But come on, some kind of resistance? Tantrums? Anything?

I'm glad to report that she is finally showing that spirit that I had always wanted her to show.  On one hand, she is still accommodating, empathetic, understanding, and kind..  On the other hand, she has started recognizing injustice, and she reacts appropriately to it.  The other day, some kid shouted at her to get down from the swing, and she stood up, put her hands on her hips and said, "Ask nicely.  Even then, I will get down only after five minutes.  Wait for your turn."   Few things have pleased me more!   I realized that this is what I wanted, and this is what I was bothered about.  I did not want her to take things lying down, but stand up for herself.  Not to compromise.

I'll keep you updated on this  journey!


Rohit said...

interesting, but then may be she understands which fights are worth fighting... which are irrelevant esp considering the last incident. But yes, as a parent one must reason both paths.

PeeVee said...

Awwwieee :( :(

Radhika said...

Love that!. One can be kind and tough depending on the situation.

Revati Upadhya said...

As I was reading it, I was thinking in my head, that there is no thing as "too accommodating or compliant" because I think it is human nature to have a threshold. I was happy to read at the end that she has one too. Clearly she is wise beyond her ears, and is easily satisfied and knows when to give people a long rope, but also to stand up when she thinks she is being unnecessarily taken for granted. And those are all great qualities to have. I hope she hangs on to them. Especially in schools where you are constantly taught to adhere to some set standard/template of right and wrong, and most often lose sight of what is right/wrong for YOU.

austere said...

She HAS to do this. MUST.
I learned pretty late to say NO-- Std II in fact,and my aunt had to prime me that I was right to refuse giving up my seat... did not come too easily. Even today I feel bad when I cannot meet some stretch demands...
It is an aggressive world we live in!

Shruthi said...

Rohit, I hope she understands that - and recognizes the line between the two.

Peevee, :) what does that reaction mean?

Radhika, yeah, it is difficult, though, I think.

hAAthi, absolutely right.

austere, aggressive world - that's the reason - I'm afraid she'll get trampled over.

KA said...

Yayyy for Puttacchi! The last bit cheered me up :) Yes, I would be worried too to see my little one making way for others and (unlike you!) I would be seriously annoyed when others take advantage of her good nature.But she is doing well for herself!

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