Before I became a mother, I used to wonder how many mothers managed to chatter so much with their little ones. I know some who would constantly talk to them, asking, telling, showing, instructing them… I used to be in awe of these mothers. “How do they do this!?” I used to wonder, aspiring to be like them.
When Isha was born, I started out with pretty quiet times with her. There is not much you can talk to a new-born! I then slowly began to talk a little. Before I realized, I was giving her a running commentary of my life as it went on! "Kannamma, look at this mess amma has made of this sambar! But, what will amma do? She did't have all the right ingredients, and this is the best she could pull off! Now, do you think amma trying is to cover up her pathetic culinary skills?" and on and on...
I am realizing there is not much fun or wisdom in doing so. I am realizing that, in the process, we mothers are only dumping all the constant noisy chatter in our heads on to the little ones. I am realizing that they are not here to listen to our noises about what we have made out of the world around us. They are here to explore and make sense of their world in their own ways. It is a matter of tuning in to know when to engage with a child, when to leave her alone, sitting back and watching to learn from her assuming the simple role of a care-giver, protecting her from dangers and removing obstacles in her own exploration. Very similar to Fukuoka's do-nothing farming philosophy!
These days, when I catch myself being chattery, I consciously quieten down, trying to listen deeply to what Isha has to share with me. (It’s a lot!) I am learning to simply smile back, nod my head, give her a hug, and when necessary, answer in a word or two, and I have a long way to go! And it is an experience so powerful that I don’t have enough command over English to write about it!