Thursday, 22 November 2012

Ma, you're right...as usual!

My mother is one of those people who has an opinion on everything. She can discuss cricket like a pro and dissect a game, better than Siddhu. She often corrects my English (usually when I am in mid-sentence) and tells me almost every day, that I fuss over my son.

Irritatingly enough, she is often spot on.

The other day, when we were discussing the problems new moms face today. I said some babies can be cranky, making like miserable for their moms. So Ma made one of her sweeping statements: "In my time, babies used to sleep more. Babies and children today fuss more, sleep less".

Of course, I saw red and we sparred back and forth for a while. "Ma", I told her, you had two helpers (she did too!) to take care of your daughters, so you were able to go work. You weren't really a hands-on mother."

But thinking back, I am convinced my mother is right. How it irks me to say that. My own little fellow is a prime example. When he was a baby, I used to walk holding him for hours, he just wouldn't sleep! That was great for my weight loss, but left me exhausted. Now, he is going to be four and still takes a long time to sleep.

The reason I think, is that he is exposed to and surrounded by too much technology, which in turn, leaves his brain overstimulated. Basically, I think the little fellow is unable to calm down. Let me explain what I mean.

I used to let him watch television for two hours every day (while he has his lunch). But for the past couple of months, he's been watching tv in the nights too (with us, his parents). And then, that's not counting the times he spends tapping and typing out letters on the laptop, or watching his fav cartoons (Spiderman, Green Lantern, Superman, et al!). So while he is and has always been active--he runs around, plays his version of football, cricket, run-and-catch, I noticed that despite the physical activity, he was becoming increasingly restless and hyper.

When we had guests over, he would constantly interrupt, demand that we talk to him, and not let us adults talk. When we went out (to the supermarket for example) he would instantly demand toys and candies. If we refused, he would have a tantrum, whine loudly, make a racket and so on. Plus, he could not sit still, or focus on anything (unless of course, the TV was on). Worse, at night, he would take upto an hour and a half just to go to sleep.

I realised something is seriously wrong. Now, we've changed our lifestyle. The little one is allowed TV only in the afternoons. Thereafter, TV is banned, for him and us--no laptop (I work when he sleeps), no games on the cellphone for him. So far, it seems to be working (touch wood). He is much more calm and less hyper, less attention-deficient. He actually likes to sit by himself and do puzzles, read his book (that is, look at the pictures). Best of all, takes less time to go to sleep (touch wood, again!).

When I was a child in Kerala, I would climb trees, play hide-and-seek or cricket (I was a fast bowler) or badminton. Or I would read--I began with Enid Blyton, then moved to the William (by Richmal Crompton) series, then Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer, Mary Stewart, M&Bs, crime thrillers, Sydney Sheldon... you name it, I read it. I used to watch TV but very little of it. And I only learnt how to use a PC in college. So yes, I had very little exposure to technology of any kind.

Now I work on a laptop and often, I get red-eyed and headachy after a while. And when I work late into the night to meet a deadline, I find I cannot sleep easily.

So ma, you were right, after all.