Two incidents happened which I want to write about.
A little girl (I guess around 4-5) was being pushed on the swing by her maid. I didn’t see exactly what happened but she fell and started crying. When she didn’t quieten down after sometime I went to see if I could help. Anna was with me of course. She was so concerned and kept saying ‘Didi ro rai’ and was almost in tears herself. I told her that Didi fell from the swing and got hurt. After which she kept saying ‘Didi ro rai’ and “Didi chotu’ again and again. When the crying didn’t stop even after sometime she came and clung to me. Finally the little girl quietened down and went home. Anna kept asking about her for the rest of the evening. I was so touched to see how upset she got by someone else crying. Even at home if she ever hears some kid crying or screaming from another apartment she always asks ‘Baby ro raha?’ and wants baby to quieten down, ‘Baby chup’. I have to reassure her that baby is okay and baby’s mumma will take care of him/her. I hope she never loses this empathy.
The second incident was not a pleasant one. Another little girl of around 3 comes to the park with her mother. I noticed her screaming a few days ago because she wanted that when she was on the slide no other child should even try to climb on it. Her mother was trying to make her calm down. Yesterday I noticed her again when she was screaming to her mother to keep holding her sand toys lest some other kid take them. Later she started playing with those toys. A little boy tried to pick one up but she screamed and his mom dragged him away. Sometime later Anna got down from the slide and before I could stop her she picked up one toy. The girl started shrieking so loudly that for a second I was stunned. Anna immediately dropped the toy and ran to me. She didn’t cry but she was very upset. We left the park (it was already almost time to leave) and she didn’t let go till we reached home.
I was pretty upset and I’m still not sure how to feel about the whole thing. Sure some kids are possessive about their toys, but this seemed a bit extreme, or not, I’m not sure. Kids in the park play with each others’ toys all the time. Some don’t mind, some do, but I have never seen anyone screaming so loudly before. Anna always wants to play with other kids’ toys no matter how many of her’s I take along. It’s mostly okay and there are a lot of kids who play with her toys. If the other baby protests I always try to distract Anna and make her pick up something else. She herself mostly never minds if others take her things. If she does want something which someone else is playing with, I tell her to let the baby play and to play with something else. I want her to share. And till now it’s been easy because she doesn’t mind. If later she does mind I’m not exactly sure what I’ll do, but I’ll still keep trying to make her share. Most other mom’s I’ve seen do that too. But when she’s a little older how will I tell her to share but not to expect others to share? I don’t want her to be selfish, but as I’ve mentioned before, I don’t want others to take advantage of her either. I know I’m getting ahead of myself, but how will I ever explain to her that virtue (be it being polite, or sharing, or helping) is it’s own reward, when all around she will see kids and adults being the exact opposite and seemingly benefiting from it? Even I have trouble believing it myself sometimes. Sometimes I think that these qualities were valued in the past but today they’re redundant and maybe I’ll be doing my daughter a disservice by teaching them to her. But I just can’t tolerate a rude or selfish child or person so I know that I will end up drilling into her the importance of being nice and courteous at all times. I just hope that the importance of standing up for one’s self and not being meek in the face of injustice, in the name of manners, is also equally imbibed by her. Because no one’s going to put my baby in a corner. Ever.