Well, not everyone knows how paranoid I am about someone abusing my children. Every night as I tuck them to sleep, I whisper a promise to protect them with all my might and wisdom and then I cry inside because I am scared that despite all my over-protection, some slimy hand would still get through those tight fences.
I have already talked about my story
once on this blog. I barely scratched the surface but going deeper means disrupting family peace and breaking fences that were mended. I have no strength to do that...not 23 years later.
Now, my Implet is very exuberant and outgoing. She readily smiles at strangers, is willing to play with them. How do I tell her to differentiate between good touch and bad touch without making her distrustful of everyone in her life?
And at times, I have asked her to hug family & friends much against her desire to do so. Some situations tend to be very sticky. Especially when you're visiting India after a year or two and your daughter refuses to go near her Uncle/Aunt for some reason, do I push her ? And if I tend to hold her too close, I am labelled as 'too-American'; over protective and I am told since I grew up in the same town and turned out so well so will my daughter and that she won't get cooties just by touching family.
All I ever want is to keep those bad apples away from my kids.
Where do I draw the line? How do I draw the line without pushing my loved ones away?
If I have realised one thing in these past 3 years of being a mom - I can do right by my kids. Or I can work towards appreciation from my peers & family. But I will never, ever get both. And doing right by them wins hands down. Any day.
I am trying to hold them close yet not suffocate them with all my adult fears and paranoia. It's not as easy as it sounds. I want them to run around free, chasing butterflies and come to me with aching legs. Yet I constantly worry that if I am not close by, someone would pluck their wings and they would crawl to me with aching hearts instead.
The Mr is an awesome Appa...he makes us laugh, gives the best bear-hugs and can calm us- mother & her brats- when we are agitated beyond control.
My first lesson in parenting was to trust him with our kids - trusting him to protect them from a bad word as much as from a wrong touch.
My second lesson which I am trying hard to teach myself and the kids is - our bodies are not objects of shame. I did sing 'Shame shame puppy shame' initially to The Implet, because, let's face it that's what I was told. That's how I grew up. And maybe that's why when I was first molested I didn't shout coz I felt ashamed. I felt it was my fault.
There's a difference between shame and privacy and somehow one always has linked the two inextricably.
I am learning and trying to teach her that they need not be. If she sees me naked, I shall not be ashamed and she shall not be reprimanded for the same. But I try to respect her privacy and teach her to respect mine. We are still not there yet, completely. [She asks me to close the door and stay outside until she's done her work on the potty but one needs to shout N times to stop her from barging into my bathroom. Selective learning!]
But most importantly, I am learning, as her Amma, to trust her instincts as much as I do mine.
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