The alarm rang and I woke up from the bed like any other day. My eyes were half closed and my clothes felt a little loose. I thought to myself – Have I finally lost weight overnight? Has the miracle happened towards which I have been working all this while? I smiled to myself and looked in the mirror. Lo and behold, a miracle had happened indeed. I had turned into my five year old son!
We often say we want to get transported back to our childhood. Here was my opportunity to re-live that life. I decided to make the most of it. My husband and I often wished we were growing up in this generation so we could attend modern day schools that seemed more fun than what we attended as children.
I hurriedly went to wake up my husband (or papa as my son called his dad). He exclaimed “Oh baby, you want me to take you to the loo?” I insisted that I don’t want to brush my teeth so papa sweetly offered to do it for me. I enjoyed that pampering. I did my business. Mom was nowhere in sight but that worked well for me. I had papa’s undivided attention. I decided to enjoy this carefree life of a five-year-old thinking that’s the best phase – they can take their parents for a ride. Papa asked me what I wanted for breakfast, I insisted I want chocos. He said no, mumma gave instructions for porridge today. I protested a little with a promise to have that in the evening. So papa agreed and I had all the sugar and calories I could find without any guilt. In addition to a pack of chocos with very little milk, I also negotiated my way through to a few slices of chocolate cake we baked the night before and two chocolate chip cookies
Papa then helped me get ready for school and I told him I want to wear the white t-shirt with Spiderman print which gets dirty so fast but now who cares, I don’t have to wash it. On our way out, we bumped into neighbour aunty. She gave a broad smile and said good morning. I smiled back matching her enthusiasm with my greeting. She then asked me (again) what my name is and started clapping happily when I answered. And as expected that one answer led to a series of questions – which school, class, favourite colour etc. It made me wonder why elders ask the same questions over and over again. Some of which sound so dumb as well like “Oh baby, do you remember me?” – we meet every other week of course I know who you are Mira aunty! And “What’s this drawing you have made?” – I take offense if you cannot make out it’s a cow! Or “Oh look how big you got!” – my parents tried to keep me in a box so I would not grow any more but it clearly didn’t work!
Finally I was in school. The day started with circle time where we spoke about any topic we wanted to. I babbled about the next vacation we are planning and how excited I was about it. Then we did some writing. Soon after we did role play. I was thrilled with the access to new-age toys and had a great time. For snacks, I had a delicious cheese sandwich. We played on swings. The plastic swings nowadays are so much cooler with attractive colours and safety features.
I returned home to have lunch. I had stopped taking afternoon naps long back and was looking forward to playing with play dough and doing some colouring. In the evening I built a new Lego plane. It was so much fun. Papa patiently sat next to me and helped where I needed. I was able to follow instructions given in the booklet and built it mostly on my own. I was super proud of myself and went around and showed my creation, wearing a grin exactly like my 5 year old.
Papa then asked me where I wanted to go in the evening. As a 5 year old I can have all the junk food I want without worrying about calories. So I suggested lets have fries and then go to the ice cream parlour. For dinner I had home-made pizza that I made myself. It turned out really delicious and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Soon after dinner, papa asked me to go to sleep. I said no a little later since it was a holiday the next day but I gave up after a while. I was exhausted being up all day with so much physical activity.
I woke up the next day only to find that I was back as my original self in my own body. I realised this was all probably just a dream. But I had learnt my lesson. That was the most fun day in a long time. Life of 5 year olds can be so much fun provided we don’t stop them from exploring and let kids be kids. Our parents let us live our childhood fairly freely but we as parents of today are probably over involved in our children’s lives, watching their every move.
Childhood memories are the best and we should let them build as many as they can without stopping them at every step. Yes, we need to discipline and give them nutritious food and monitor their behaviour. But a little bit of harmless mischief is okay, a little bit of deviation from routine is acceptable and sometimes having tasty food which is not healthy is fine.
With these thoughts in my mind, I woke up my 5 year old and asked him what to do you want to today, it being a holiday. So we went to the mall, ate fries, had ice cream, opened a new box of Lego and finally took a stroll down the beach.
I realized how blessed I am to share my home with this little person. One day there won’t be scribblings on the walls, Lego pieces on the floor and toys strewn around the living room. My windows will be clear of sticky handprints, and my home will be quiet because my son will be grown up. Raising small children can be hard, monotonous work. At times it’s physically and emotionally exhausting and we wish they were older to make our life easier. But once they are actually grown up, we will realize how much fun it was seeing them as children in their full splendour enjoying as toddlers in footed pyjamas, reading bedtime stories, enjoying tummy tickles and revelling in elated squeals and laughter.
Childhood is a time for free play and discovery. When we rush children through it, we rob them of an innocent age they will never pass through again. More importantly, we may end up robbing ourselves of precious memories that will become our stories to tell our grandchildren.
This article was first published on Momspresso (erstwhile mycity4kids).