We learn from our experiences.
It was a family outing. We were all going out and were in a hurry to get ready.
“Auntie will bathe me today”, my 3 year old niece demanded.
Taking bath was fun for her and she was busy spilling water all over, singing, dancing. I asked her to be quick, but she was in no hurry and missing the fun of water, is not easy for kids.
Therefore, bathing her quickly, I wrapped her in pink towel and brought out, without paying attention to her requests. She wanted to choose her dress, but with a hard look on my face I made her wear a purple frock with two pony, matching bands and little purse ignoring her pleas to choose her accessories herself.
Taru was still angry with me, on the way. She whispered to my sister, loud enough for me to hear. “Mamma, tell aunty to say sorry or Taru won’t speak to her”. I laughed and said sorry, tickling her. Forgiving me instantly, she started laughing.
Incident 2: (Next day)
It was hot summer afternoon. I had to make some urgent submissions that day. So, there I was, at about 2:00pm, sitting in my room in front of my laptop, trying to concentrate. Taru knocked the door, ‘’Auntieee…’’.
‘’What is it, baby?”, I asked, opening the door.
“I want my tweety”. I closed the door, after she was out with her toy.
Hardly after 10 minutes, once again, “Aunty”.
“What is it now?” She walked in without replying, pulled out her colours and drawing book, sat on the floor. Expecting her to stay, I closed the door and resumed work again.
2:50 p.m: “Auntie, I wanna go out”. I hadn’t made any progress yet and was losing my patience. Trying to stay calm, I opened the door.
3:05 pm: “Auntie, open the door, I will sleep inside.”
Working seemed impossible like this. It was too hot, to turn off AC and leave the door open, so she could wander freely without disturbing me and she was too small to open and close the door herself.
“Sleep with mommy, baby.”
“No, with my cutieful aunt”.
‘Cutieful’ the word was her own invention. She used it for flattering, which she knew always worked with us. But, I was too pre-occupied for any of that stuff.
“Okay, but decide it once, whether you want to be in or out. I won’t keep on closing and opening the door.”
“I will sleep.” She went to bed.
3:15 pm: “I want to go out.” I opened the door furiously, “Fine, don’t knock again now”
3:20 pm: “Auntieeee…”
Now, that was enough. I got up and pulled her in by grabbing her hand, tight enough to hurt a child.
“What is it now, didn’t I tell you not to come back”, I yelled.
Tears filled her eyes and rolled down her cheeks. She ran to go out scratching her little hand, by table’s corner, but did not seem to bother.
I caught hold of her arm, pulling her to myself. Sitting on the chair, with her on my lap I said, “Sorry baby, really sorry. I won’t do it again”. She tilted her head towards right, wiping her tears and forgiving me instantly.
It was Sunday morning and I was still in bed. Taru came to my room.
“Auntie, wake up. Mamma is calling you.” I knew, no one was calling me. “Baby, play with granny, I’ll come in half an hour.”
She went just to come back in a couple of minutes.
“Auntie, half an hour is over. Come now”
It is difficult to reason with kids and almost impossible to make them understand concept of time.
“Let me sleep, Taru”, I closed my eyes again.
“No” She was stern and climbed up the bed, to open my eyes with her little fingers. Irritated, by her extra efforts, I pushed her aside and looked angrily.
Without a word, crying (silently) she got down from bed as swiftly as she could.
During breakfast, Taru was her usual self with everyone, including me. Afterwards, she was running in the house with basket on her head, pretending to be a fruit seller.
“Apple for 2 bucks”. Smiling at her innocence, I asked, “Did auntie scold Taru today?”
She didn’t utter a word, but her eyes were full of tears. I knelt down, to match her height and said sorry, holding my ears.
She didn’t say anything, but did not tilt her head to right as a sign of acceptance either.
“Sorry Taru, one last chance, please”, I was still holding my ears.
“Okay” Taru said slowly. I kissed her cheek, which smelled of some chocolate. I washed her face while she was still singing “apple for 2 bucks.”
In less than 72hrs, I had broken my promise of not shouting at her twice, yet she trusts me with the same promise for third time. Neither her trust has shaken nor her love for me. We think our kids are too young to understand anything, but they are way mature than us when it comes to love, trust and forgiveness. Only kids can love this way. Be it their Ignorance of possible dangers or their innocence, they are the only ones who know the art of truly loving, trusting and forgiving someone.
As we grow up, we don’t ever love, trust or forgive anyone, the way we used to as kids. Life experience teaches us hatred, doubts and keeping grudges for lifetime.
Do we really learn from our experiences as we grow up, or forget what came to us so naturally once?