Friday, September 26, 2008

Theology with a three-year old

These days, a new task to my routine activities is dropping my 3 year old daughter Nia to school. And this happens to be the highlight of my day, thanks to the invigorating conversations we have along the way. From discussing people to mythology, plans for upcoming holidays to holidays taken in the past, cracking mysteries of life to things that puzzled us yesterday- all in the drive of 12.5 minutes. Hard to believe? Here’s what happened today:

Nia verbatim and my internal reactions / responses to her

Nia (Opening question) - "why do i to go to school and you to office every day?"
e: 8 secs response - u need to study, i need to earn (i am not going to bore you with the details!)

Nia #2 - "They make me do so much work in school - why don’t they give me a salary?"
Me - a full one minute, importance of learning blah blah blah..."

Nia #3- "I am feeling very sad. My birthday is in the last month of the year.
Me: Rattling off names of people she likes who were also born in Dec

Nia #4- "Even Jesus Christ was born in December".

Me: Surprised - "who told you about Christ"

Nia #5- “Why don’t you tell me about him?”
Me: Nice long response - must’ve taken all of three minutes. Tried to mix reverence with practicality - Sister Joan from my convent school would have been so proud of me!

Nia #6- "Did he die?"
Me: "Yes" (didn’t bother to get into resurrection as i myself am not too clear about it - shortest exchange - as you can see)

Nia #7- "Will you die?"
Me: I cringed, not too comfortable talking about my own mortality and finally "YES"

Nia #8- (tears in her eye) "I don't want you to die" (awwwww!). "Please eat lots of healthy food so that you live forever and ever"
Me: i spent a full one minute contemplating about the shortness of my life and how cool it is to be alive and how much my daughter loves me and how to reassure this little one....until

Nia #9 : “Mamma i know there is no Santa Claus - Ankur came dressed as Santa”
Me: Ok move over death - time for Santa. That's one story i love - so i try convincing her how its cool to imagine about Santa. And pushed my two bits about how good behavior gets in rewarded. (it did feel weird tho' discussing Santa in September)

Nia #10: Mamma whoever thought of Santa has good imagination. You think Santa is watching me now?
Me: "yes"

Nia #11: Mamma you used a very difficult word yesterday - COMMUNICATE . What does that mean?
Me: Oh oh whatever happened to Santa? Anyway, Mamma Dictionary explained the word to her and also wondering why I would use the word ‘Communicate’ with her

Nia #12: "I am sorry for calling you an idiot yesterday - you think Santa heard me say sorry?"
Me: Mission accomplished - but i still went right ahead and used up all of two minutes to deliver another sermon on good behavior

Nia #13: "Now if anyone troubles me or calls me an idiot - i'll tell them not to or Santa will not give them gifts"

Finally silence in the car; guess she had something to think about .

And me, i was thinking about lessons on 'The Art of Conversations' that i learnt from my 3-year old over the last few minutes:

Lesson #1 - Keep it short and simple

Lesson #2 - Just get your basics right - no point goin in-depth

Lesson #3- Seek information - the variety of things you can ask about - the better it is

Lesson #4- All problems have simple solutions - move on with it!

Lesson #5 - Information is good only if you use it - so immediately apply it to your own life

Phew! that's a lot to get out of a 12.5 min ride I think as I park outside her school. The end to my morning ritual is me peering over the wall waiting to say the last goodbye for the morning as Nia enters her classroom. And today i stood thinking how proud I am of this little child of mine – her intelligence, her articulation….when she turns and yells: “Mamma you are very fat, please eat healthy food so that you don’t die”

Me – totally mortified! It’s not what you want to hear when you are standing on the road with a handful of parents AND her teachers around. So turning all blue, purple, red I try to slink back into my car – when again I hear her voice calling out again “And Mamma thanks for communicating with me”



Neelakantan said...

Nice! The takeaways, especially...

praneeta said...

I didnt read the conversation, I HEARD it...

Anonymous said...

S has also been having similar conversations. And it always ends up he being teary eyed and saying "Mama don't be 100 years old and become a star".


Anonymous said...

Soo cute and beatifully written! Kudos to you for gaining all that wisdom from a 3 yr old and sharing it. Looking forward to hearing more..


etripe said...

nice, Vijji!! I think what makes your post beautiful is both you and your kiddie are very articulate. make me imagine converations I'll have with someone yet to make it into my life.

purple pitara said...

Hey thanks everyone for leaving your comments for this blog. As much as I would like to believe that my little one is a genius, i have seen a lot of children who share this attribute of hers. the ability to look at life and talk about it in a simple yet deep way. I guess its good to remember that we need to take our children a little more seriously than we take ourselves!

sree said...

You could use a faster car or a shorter commute to school. I wonder where the conversation heads next.