Nadine, my daughter’s Dussera holidays have begun.
The term exams have been quite stressful not just for her but also for me, as a parent. Waking up at early morning at 5:00 am, preparing with her for the exams, getting breakfast and lunch ready, and coming back to her after my work, and the routine repeats in the night as well until I retire to bed around 11pm-12pm. Amidst client calls, work assignments, domestic responsibilities, it was a harrowing month for me too.
I’ve been consciously trying to get her to watch more Indian movies, starting with Hindi for now, and then gradually moving to regional cinema.
Now that the holidays are here, it’s the perfect time to get started. Over the weekend, we sat down to watch “3 Idiots” on Netflix. She resisted at the start as she was more interested in watching Harry Potter or some other English movie. I told her to wait for the first few minutes, see how it goes, and if she still didn’t take to it, we could watch something of her choice.
She was engrossed in the movie which had English subtitles and pretty soon, we were done watching the whole film. But in between, she turned towards me and said,
“I’m not watching this scene.” She turned her head side-ways from the screen.
I glanced at the screen to see what was happening as I was multi-tasking some mundane activities. It was a birth scene. I smiled and told Nadine that it was okay to watch it.
“Are you sure?” she cross-checked.
I nodded in approval. I knew that they wouldn’t cross the limits in the movie since I’d watched it earlier.
I went back to my random tasks, and then heard her cry loudly,
“Mummy, you lied to me!”
I looked on ignorantly.
“You lied to me, Mom!”
“You said I came out of your stomach.”
Then, it hit me. I hadn’t foreseen this situation.
“No! You didn’t come out of my stomach.”
“Why did you lie?”
“Well, no! Technically, it’s not a lie. Babies come out from stomachs too.”
“Where did I come from?”
“Not from the stomach!”
She understood. Was upset. I understood (even though I couldn’t help laughing inside my head).
As a parent, I know what I did was right even though it’s hard to explain to a 10-year old why I held giving away all the information way too soon. It wasn’t prudishness as much as wanting to keep her childhood intact as much as I could in the supersonic digital age.
I know that I will be facing many more such accusations as time goes by. I don’t mind.
As a parent, I have my reasons. And I understand that she, as a child, has her reasons to feel betrayed. All my tall gyaan on why we must always speak the truth just flew out of the window with my white lie. S
She will be upset for a while. I know. I don’t expect her to understand my point of view, and I am not looking to explain to her as well.
Someday, when the time comes, she will understand, and perhaps even appreciate her mother’s prerogative.
Till then, Mum’s the word! And Mummy will be the “liar, liar, pants on fire”!
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