We lack discipline

Tyke is now at the stage where discipline is an important part of growing up. At least that’s what we’ve been told. For example, a common practice is to ensure the child sleeps in their own bed. Apparently it encourages independence. I think the real reason is that parents should get some “alone” time, but this is not something discussed outside of barely audible whispers.

We started this aspect of disciplining tyke almost a year ago. The transition was quite smooth. After the first few days of tantrums and alienation he took to his unique car-shaped bed (because he was crazy about cars then, trains now, I predict fire engines in a couple of years, airplanes and pilots soon after, rock bands as a teenager before settling into a practical desk job as an adult) without much fuss.

This continued for a long time till he fell ill a month ago. Terrible bout of cold and cough which lasted for an eternity, it seemed. The coughing bouts would be horrid at night as the temperature fell and he’d have fits lasting half a minute at a time. We found he slept better when he was with us. Every coughing-fit later he’d collapse onto the pillow, curl up into mommy and catch a few precious minutes of sleep, which meant we could too. Then the cycle would begin again. Despite the sleepless nights I think it was better for him because he was comforted by our presence.

The cough mercifully abated a couple of weeks ago and we went back to our routine. I came home from office last week, totally tired out. However there was work to be done and so I got down to it. Mommy San had had an equally tiring day and we both expected to drop dead for a night of dreamless sleep. We shunted tyke off to bed around ten. I settled into bed with a few obligatory tired curses, prayers for a better tomorrow, world peace, yada yada and hit the pillow with my eyes shut tight. Fast-forward one hour and I was wide awake. Mommy San was tossing and turning and I was keeping rhythm with some tossing and turning of my own. I was tired enough but I just couldn’t sleep. At 1am we thought we’d try some hot tea which turned out to be a useless idea by 2am. Then I tried something different. I scooped up tyke from his bed and brought him between us. As I snuggled into his warm neck and he snuggled into Mommy San’s, the last thing I remembered was the world fading away.

Then, nothing.

I woke up the next morning completely rested, happy and ready to weather more abuse at work with a smile on my face.

As I looked over at tyke, all warm and bundled between us, I thought of all those stentorian parenting articles and shook my head in shame. We had failed. We had no discipline.

Our presence comforted tyke but his presence comforted us too. It is so easy to forget the role children play in our lives because everyone is telling us how to be better at the role we play in their lives.

For now, Discipline has decided to take a break. Explore the countryside and maybe even take a running jump off a cliff.

As for me, I’m off to bed. That little bundle isn’t going to snuggle itself.



30 responses to “We lack discipline”

  1. Ankit says :

    Lovely post! I can completely relate to it as a child. Even though my sister got disciplined quite early and slept in her own bed, i would almost everyday make the ‘nind nahi a rahi’ bahana and go sleep with mom and dad. But then it was purely selfish of me. Now when i read the post, i would like to think that my parents felt comforted too :P

  2. Chuck says :

    Awesome post, DS :D

  3. Overrated Outcast says :

    I never thought one could talk about their children and not sound like an asshole. You, sir, have proved me wrong.

    You also make parenting sound easier than it is!

  4. Ketan says :

    I get to read your tweets occasionally, which are so ‘youthful’ that I’d no idea that the “daddy” in your handle was to be taken literally, but now I know. :D

    I’m unmarried & (hence) don’t have a kid, but I do sometimes worry on certain issues like ethicality of having a child (we bring an individual to life without their consent), but much more than that, I get jittery to think I’d be playing a huge role in shaping the personality of my child through the kind of nurture I provide. I’d be making lot of decisions on his/her behalf. Would they been in his/her best interest? What criteria do I use to determine what is “best”? Would my child upon growing up agree with my decisions?

    Would it be safe to assume what in retrospect I would’ve have liked my childhood to be like, would be the “best” for my prospective child?

    Those are the kinds of questions I struggle with. :)

    Not that your post helped in answering those questions, but yes, got more certain that those self-help books are junk. And perhaps, your post also made my apprehensions about having a child weaker.

    I somehow felt very sorry for the bout of coughs tyke had suffered from. They actually turn out to be very painful. :(

    • daddysan says :

      Haha, my Twitter account is just an outlet. The blog is more focused in terms of how I use it to chronicle milestones.

      Thanks for the perspective, yes it was painful for Tyke but I’m just glad it’s over.

  5. Sidin says :

    Superb stuff. Very touching and funny and… warm.

  6. Naveen Bachwani says :

    Totally agree. And, thanks for the reminder!

  7. The Restless Quill says :

    My first time on your blog. What a strange coincidence it had to be today. My kids — 31 months and 18 months, have been sleeping in their own beds since they were six months old. This morning, very early dawn actually, my 31 month woke up crying piteously for her Santa teddy (I have no clue what it is). I hadn’t slept well last night, nor enough. I usually let her whine a little and she falls back asleep. But today she was standing and awake while she cried. I took her into bed with me, turned on my side and hugged her, drifting back to sleep. And then the wonder of it struck me. Her little body, perfectly soft adn trusting against mine, her breathing, her hair. Magic. Few things in life are that precious :) I enjoyed this post.

  8. md610 says :

    I can relate with this post as my nephew is also not well. He can barely breathe in night. His mum-dad actually feel that even they can’t breathe. He will get operated soon. His parents face the same situation as you just expressed so beautifully.
    I forget all my troubles with just one hug from him.

    Good to know Tyke is feeling better now.

  9. Giribala says :

    Listen to the experts, but make your own rules :-)

  10. Gargi Mehra says :

    Wonderful post! I have no idea why parenting books and articles suggest putting toddlers to sleep in their own bed. I especially detest the ‘Ferberization’ method as they call it. I can totally relate to your post because it depresses me even when my daughter wants to sleep with her grandparents in the next room – I don’t know what to do with myself till I finally hear her gentle call for ‘Mamma!’

    • daddysan says :

      They are eventually going to paste “DO NOT ENTER” signs, or variations thereof, on their doors. So yes, we need to make the most of these years.

  11. Nandita says :

    As the mom of a 2 year old, I could totally identify with your words. We both are quite addicted to having his cuddly self inbetween us- esp when at this age, they keep catching a cold or some other bug every couple of weeks, we feel definitely more secure in having him next to us, so we can comfort him when he coughs or gets disturbed in sleep. Just a few days ago, he was down with fever all night, and I slept with my lips on his forehead so I was subconsciously aware of his temperature all night. Things only a parent can understand. We got a huge bed only so all of us can sleep comfortably in one bed. We wont have it any other way now. Discipline and independence can wait :)
    Being a dad, you have expressed this beautifully!
    (Sorry about the longish comment)

  12. K says :

    Posts like these honestly make me wish you’d blog more :) Highly resonant, at many levels.

  13. Atul Karmarkar says :

    Nice. I’m single, but can related to it courtesy the experiences my sis and bro-in-law have with my 3yr old nephew :)

  14. Natasha says :

    Unlike Purnima, I am a parent, yet this piece full of tenderness (don’t gag on that, now!) appeals to the Child in me. The warm, bundled up, secure sleeping child in me!

  15. Purnima Rao says :

    This was too sweet! I’m not a parent and don’t relate to most parenting-related writing…but your posts are so universally appealing that I absoltuely love them.

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