You know what they say? That we better tell the kids truth than tell them big fat lies. For example, if the kid doesn’t agree to go daycare, you don’t say that if he doesn’t go to daycare, a big monster will come and bite him. You tell him that going to school is his activity just like mom has her activities, etc, etc, etc. I don’t disagree with this. Kids will soon figure out these lies and it will come bite us back straight. It’s truly better to be honest from the beginning. No matter how young they are. They understand soon enough.
Okay, that parenting lesson was free…free….free. Now, getting to the point of this post; You know, as much as it is not good to tell these fake stories, let me tell you, they are so amusing. SO amusing. They capture kid’s attention so well. It’s unfortunate to turn a fascinating story to scare kids to doing stuff for us. So, I was never going to tell my stories to kids that way.
I came across reading this parenting tip accidently somewhere, but I really learnt my lesson only after we created a fake character. The first fake character we introduced to kids was tickle monster. I think it was our nanny’s kids idea. He was the one randomly tickling kids and making them laugh. All is well, because he was only a happy monster. Then came my mistake. Suddenly, I called out one day someone named “Diddu” is in the closet and will come out if Abhi or Achu don’t eat food/not sleep etc. Soon, nanny was talking about Diddu. It was a bit scary for kids; They ate silently in the fear of something happening. But soon they were over it. Back to square one. That’s when it occurred to me, it was not something they were scared of that made them eat, it was just that we grabbed their attention. So, I switched gears, pretty fast. (You know, for a while there, even I was scared of Diddu. Each time I mentioned the name, I used to think of that devil character from Paranormal Activity3 movie. So, when I was telling Achu that if she didn’t sleep, Diddu will come out, I used to be scared about something really coming out of the closet too 🙂 ).
Anyhoo, I started telling them the story of how Diddu will be hungry if kids didn’t eat. How Diddu is tired and needs to sleep etc. And other animals too. That worked just as good. And most importantly, Abhi and Achu were also learning to care for others. Ha! Win-Win situation for us. Of course, the point to note is we need new stories every day. Which wasn’t a problem at all since we have tons of stories to tell them.
I started out with stories of how Rapunzel was stuck in the tower; How Aladdin found Genie; How naughty Abu was; I told them few bits of stories of Ramayana; Most of the stories, we altered to make a moral out of it. Whatever lesson we were trying to teach them. Like, when I wanted Abhi and Achu to ask for things nicely and say thanks, I told them that Ramudu went to asramam and told raskshas to not to disturb the yagam, nicely and raskshas obliged. In our version of Ramayanam, Ramudu and Ravana talk nicely. Even soorphanaka goes away without hurting because she was asked nicely. 🙂 Every story ends with question, “What is the moral of story” and we add something like, “We should always ask nicely” or “We should always help others”. If we miss concluding with the moral of the story, Abhi and Achu do. “You should always ask nicely”. 🙂
All that they really needed was a story that could capture their attention and get the job done. At some point, Abhi was so fascinated with hearing new and complicated words that I used to change his diaper uttering words like, “Irresponsibility”, “Aggravation”,”Implication” to keep him still. 🙂 Worked super for few days. Although, not with Achu.
We kept on inventing tons of stories, with everyday objects, cups, toys, that raccoon we never really saw, mushrooms in the dark forest, many of harry potter characters, etc, etc. Abhi was afraid of Hagrid and we told him stories of how Hagrid helped lost kids at Hogwarts station by taking them to the castle safely. And that Abhi doesn’t have to be scared of him just because he is big. I also told them the story of how Anjaneya Swamy (Hanuman) ate the sun thinking it was mango. That was one of Abhi and Achu’s favorites. This Christmas, we also told how Grinch stole all Christmas ornaments at the mall. (Of course, we all asked him to give the ornaments back nicely and Grinch did 🙂 ).
Then, Halloween came and from then on, spiders, skeletons, bugs, animals, dragons have been the biggest part of our stories. While I was making dinner tonight, Murali told kids story of how he and I got up in the middle of the night to some sounds, only to find cricket in dishwasher, spider on humidifier, crab in fridge etc. Abhi and Achu listened with such curiosity while nanna told all the animals and creatures nicely, that they had to go home. In the middle of the story, Achu turns to me very seriously and tells me, “Amma, Don’t open the refrigerator. There is a crab in it” 🙂
If we wrote down all the stories, I could be blogging so much. Don’t worry, I wont even try that. This is just a fun part of our days. For diaper changes, for feeding (now that we cut down TV to only dinner time, we need more stories), for calming them down, for diverting their attention. My friend was saying the other day that she wished she could tell stories like us. Lucky that Murali, nanny and I can cook up any kinds of these stories involving anything. 🙂 The wonderful thing is watching Abhi and Achu’s faces while we are telling these stories. They are so curious, so immersed in the whole story like its really happening. They love it even more when they are featured in the story. 🙂
Of course, now our little people tell stories too. Wait, that should be just another post or even a blog. 🙂