Saturday, March 01, 2008

Guilt : A mother's constant companion

LG hurt himself again for the second time in one week by falling off the sofa this time. And, I am quick to blame myself for all that he does or doesn't. I'm not too worried about his milestones such as sitting up late at 8.5 months or not walking by himself even at 14 months and barely able to speak a few words. What bothers me is not doing enough to make the house totally child-proof!

I wonder at times if I'm reacting too much..after all hurting yourself is part of growing up. Sure, it is. But, I'm constantly reminded that toppling over and hitting the head on the floor can't be good for anybody. And, he has managed to do that in quick succession; all it took was a moment of recklessness on my part and not able to foresee what was coming. In the first instance, he climbed over the bed by himself and was playing next to me when he dropped a pen. He bent down to pick it and before I could react his head banged the floor. In the second incident, I turned around to pick his clothes to change him for the evening walk. He climbed over the sofa and slipped over and fell backwards. He is cautious most of the times, careful about getting down with feet first - be it a half-foot high platform or 2 foot high bed.

My neighbor commented that he seemed a little dull after the first falling off episode. An active child otherwise who is quick to goto others and calls strangers on the road from the balcony as he watches traffic go by. He was a little resigned after the first incident even after 3-4 days, so she suggested I show him to the Doc. Doubt is a evil thing; I didn't want to lose my sleep that night and bug The Seniol too in the process imagining things that were obviously not true. Abandoning our evening walk routine, I took him to the Paed who examined him and said there was nothing to worry about. Proper response from the limbs, arms, no body part turning blue, no excessive crying and no vomiting after a falling episode are some signs that indicate the kid is fine. I was relieved and when he repeated the same thing the next day, I felt like an idiot. My mom taught him how to get off high raised places by getting on his tummy and placing foot down first while still holding on tightly to some sort of support with his hands. He quickly mastered the art and there were no accidents until this week.

I'm constantly asked by neighbors and friends what I was doing without keeping an eye on him. Family never questions me but advise me on what I could do to handle and engage him better. People who have been around LG understand what it takes to handle him single-handedly through the day. He doesn't do anything out-of-the-ordinary or is a very hyperactive child. Does what kids his age at 14 months do I guess - like climbing on the windows, falling inside his carton of toys, pulling out all utensils from the kitchen racks ten times a day, toppling a bucket of water, throwing his basket of folded clothes, picking up teeny-weeny things off the floor and putting in his mouth which are other visible to the human eye etc etc. I've considered having some sort of energy drink to match his :) Anyway, people who question me or pass sly remarks hint isn't that what I am expected to do as a stay-at-home - keeping a watch. Is it too much to ask of a mother to constantly supervise a toddler whose curiosity is at its highest? Which in simple terms means not a minute of looking away while he is awake. I feel guilty too every time LG hurts himself or gets bored. People suggest stuff such as to get a full-time part-time maid to increase the interaction levels of LG or play with him. I'm not against the idea and I've tried that in the past. The first half-hour or one is when they are able to keep him entertained after which he required momma's company. I'm not ruling out that option for a hired help again, but I just don't want to depend on that totally.

Parenting is not easy and I'm coming to terms with the fact that you can't prevent everything. I can only do so much and be careful the next time. I know I'm giving it all I can - playing with him while he is awake, a walk every evening, no TV, let him do stuff on his won too with his box of toys, watching people/animals/traffic from the balcony. Feeling guilty is not going to help me any better. I'm constantly evaluating my role as a good mother and parenting principles. It doesn't matter what others think so long as LG stays happy - the way he is now.