It is always fun discussing parenting with Ravi, my nephew and Swati, his wife. They come up with innovative ways of addressing issues concerning Kartik, their son, my grandnephew.
The last time we met, I asked Ravi whether Kartik, otherwise a very well behaved toddler ever causes ruckus. And how do they calm him. Ravi said that Kartik doesn’t normally cry. He cries when he has a genuine reason to do so. Say, when he hurts himself. But then, he becomes quiet soon enough, on his own.
Ravi added, when Kartik cries because of a genuine problem, they try to pinpoint the problem and resolve it. On very rare occasions, Kartik cries purely to draw attention. He even says: “See Papa, I am crying.”
Ravi says that they have discovered a way to deal with those situations; and it works.
In rarest of the rare cases when Kartik cries for no apparent reason, Ravi initiates the following conversation:
“Kartik, let’s play carom, now. Or, shall I read the story of the tortoise and the rabbit, now?” Or, would you like to drink a glass of milk, n-o-w?… … You can resume your crying later.”
Note: playing carom, being read a story, drinking milk,… are some of Kartik’s favourite pastimes.
Says Ravi, “Most often Kartik chooses to indulge in an activity of his choice and postpones his crying for an opportune moment later, which never returns.”
Agony deferred is agony lost!