January 3, 2020
These days, my reading chair is in the balcony most of the time (as can be seen the picture below) because that’s where I prefer to sit and read or write. I keep it right in front of the wall which has appeared as a background in many of my photos (also visible in the picture below). Now the balcony itself isn’t very dangerous because the railing is pretty high and reaches up to MY chest and is designed to avoid accidental falls even for adults. So obviously, there’s no chance that it’s a danger to Laddoo.
Unless of course there is furniture in the balcony that Laddoo could climb on when I wasn’t looking and then climb on the railing from there. It’s a highly unlikely scenario but something that has definitely crossed my mind more than just once or twice. Especially since our actual house is much, much higher than the one we are currently in.
A few minutes before this conversation with Laddoo happened, she had climbed up on my chair, not to stand, but so she could sit on it. The day before that, my mother had seen her do the same thing while we were on a video call and my mother panicked.
So, even though I knew Laddoo was not going to climb up and lean from the balcony, I decided to have a conversation with her about this anyway, as a precautionary measure because she was climbing on stuff and what harm could it do?
Once she was safely seated on the chair, I told her that whenever she’s in the balcony, she is supposed to stand only on the floor. If her toys are there or there’s some furniture there – like my chair, my footstool, or even her foldable kitchen that she uses as a mini stool, she can sit on all of those things, and she can definitely play, but under no circumstances is she supposed to STAND on ANYTHING OTHER THAN THE FLOOR in the balcony.
As a child, I didn’t like it when I was told that I was or wasn’t supposed to do certain things just because elders told me so. I still don’t. If there’s a reason, kindly explain, otherwise don’t bother.
So in the interest of ‘Do unto others…’ I decided to explain to her WHY she wasn’t supposed to stand on things in the balcony.
“If you stand on the chair, you might fall. Not just on the floor, but maybe down there,” I said pointing to the ground, presently, three floors down. “And if you fall, you’ll break.”
Now, breaking is a concept she understands. She seen the tip of her pencils and some of her toys break into pieces. And of course, because of Peppa Pig. So many things get broken on the show ALL THE TIME. She knows that broken things stop working and/or that you cannot use it them.
She’s also seen dead insects around her and earlier she used to say that they were sleeping, and I was fine with that. But of late, I tell her that they’re not asleep, because sleeping would mean that they would wake up. I had to talk to her about this sometime, and insects who were already dead seemed to be a good starting point.
So I started telling her that they were broken.
And that they could not be mended.
Thanks, again, Grandpa Pig for making it easier to explain ‘mending.’
Some things can be mended. Some, cannot. And humans and insects, once broken, cannot be mended. I agree, that that’s not entirely true, but try and understand that broken here means dead and not fractured. I’ll explain that technicality to her that to her once I feel I can call death, well, ‘death.’
One step at a time.
“And if you break, we won’t be able to mend you,” I added.
Some of you may remember that recently while trying to pull out a chipped nail she ended up skinning herself a bit too, and it bled because she pulled it a bit too hard. Thanks to that experience she not only knows that there’s blood inside our bodies (practical over theory, any day, LOL) but also that when you’re really hurt, you bleed.
“Do you remember how much blood came out when you pulled your nail? There’ll be so much more if you fall and break! And it’ll pain much more than it pained on your finger. Do you understand that?”
I had to exaggerate to get the point across.
“And my head will break,” she finally chimed in.
“Yes, and then we won’t be able to put you back together, and there’ll be no more Laddoo.”
“And I will not be able to breathe,” she added.
Wow. It was going better than I thought it would.
“Yes, you won’t be able to breathe.”
“I won’t be able to drink water. And watch TV. And eat chocos.”
What priorities, but okay! As long as she gets what may happen, I’ll celebrate my wins.
“Do you understand what I just said? What will happen if you fall?” I asked her.
She nodded her head.
“Say ‘Yes amma, I understand,’ if you understood that.”
She glared at me.
“Say it! Say, ‘Amma, I understand,’” I insisted.
“Amma, I understand,” she obliged.
And then she added, “Now you go!”