Out of the Mouth of Babes!

Written by Mrinalini Ponappa Banerjea on Saturday, 05 March 2016.

This blog has been contributed by Mrinalini Ponappa Banerjea, Parent Educator at Parenting Matters

apple child
  During our early years of parenting there are so many moments that, in hindsight, we wish we had documented. The kinds of lines that have come out of our children's minds have left us speechless, both in amazement and quiet wonder. It's hard to recollect stories later but some of them which come effortlessly to mind are the ones that have made the most impact either for its wisdom or for simply being zany.

When our son was 5 years old he went on half day camp with little children his age. We were told that food would be provided for the trip. So I kissed him bye with a bottle of water and juice. He came back and was full of news of the different things he saw. As we were settling in for bed that night I asked him more about his trip and was appalled to hear how hungry he was on the way out in the bus. So I asked him how he managed. He said he had a few pieces of apple from his friend who was sitting beside him on the bus. I was concerned and asked him if that was enough for him, and he said, "Mama, if I had anymore, my friend would have gone hungry."

One quiet evening my son and I were sitting down for dinner. He must have been 3.5 years old. And out of the blue he asked me," Mama, when will you die?" I was quite unprepared for that question but managed to say something about not for a long time to come and he will be a fine young man by then. I was quietly wondering if he is going to be pondering about these natural fears of loss when he simply said, "Who will fix my dinner then?!"

Our daughter around this age of 8 years loves to question a whole many things about life. One evening while we were tucking her into bed she says, "You know, I read this book that talks about ape to man... so where did the women come from?!". Questioning gender equality in common terms used seems to be a natural thought for this young generation.
Like a lot of the thinking and questioning seems to happen soon before bedtime, these questions have left us stumped. "Papa, how are people born poor?" "Mama, where is my soul, is it in my fingers, feet or all over my body?" "Mama, you keep saying, 'in our times', were you born in the BC?!" And ," Papa, instead of asking people how old they are, it's better to ask them How long they have walked on earth?!"

We always wish we write down what they say. It's so interesting to read about it later. The best stories we pass down generations are those of our own. Our children love to hear from the elders in the family about stories of their papa and mama when they were little. So when the time comes for us, we would like to gather our grandchildren around us and share with them the part of their papa and mama when they were little children just like them!

About the Author

Mrinalini Ponappa Banerjea

Mrinalini Ponnapa Banerjea is a facilitator with Parenting Matters. Mrinalini has a 5-year college education in Social and Child Psychology.

She feels that the time that we spend as children with our parents and siblings is so definitive in character building. That made her sit up and take a fresh perspective of the time she was spending with her children.


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