… That has the “annoying” toddler that:
- Comes and strokes your chunni (scarf used to cover your head) while you’re trying to listen to the kirtan because I want to see if it’s the same texture as my mums
- Decides that poking the shiny mirrors on your suit would be fun – it’s sensory overload for me
- Sits in the middle of the matha tekh (where you bow down to the Guru Granth Sahib) queue aisle as it has the best view – I did sit there quietly for a little while 🙂
- Runs off to every child in sight – I like babies so much
- Your babies want to play with because I always share my toys
- Flashes a smile at you when your day may not have gone so great because I’m smiley and friendly
DancesMoves to the beat of the kirtan (religious hymns)
- Squeals with excitement and sings along to the kirtan
- Plays tabla (indian drums) on my snack box
- Likes to play peekaboo with my mummy and Masi (aunti)
So last night I decided to go to the Gurdwara (Sikh temple) to listen to kirtan. It’s been a while and I’ve been craving food for my soul! Bhai Niranjan Singh Ji was doing kirtan so I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to satisfy that craving.
My sister Goov, Arjun and I went together. I was armed with a few toys and snacks to keep him entertained.
I was so so nervous about taking him now that he’s walking. I was always one of those women that used to get distracted easily by children running around. My problem really for not being focused enough! I also had sympathy for the parents of those kids. I had no idea how difficult it was! My outlook and approach has somewhat changed after last night.
I honestly felt so out of my zone. I was so grateful to have Goov with me – it’s not something I would’ve done alone! My confidence isn’t great as you’ve probably been enlightened to. I kept questioning the situation, my mothering skills and whether my child was being a total nuisance:
- Is he disturbing the peace?
- Is he being disrespectful?!
- Should I go pick him up?!
- Is he annoying that lady?
- Is she only smiling back at him to be polite?
- Am I doing the right thing?!
- Should I just leave?
- Why don’t I just know what to do?!
- Is he playing nice with those kids?
- Are they playing nice with him?!
- When do I go pick him up?!
- If I keep chasing after him, will he think it’s a game?!
- What’s the limit?!
Not sure if there’s a general mummy status quo in the Gurdwara (please share with me if so!) but after a little while I figured that Arjun was actually really enjoying being there. He was enjoying:
- The open space
- Seeing so many other children
- The different surroundings
- The kirtan hence why he was trying to play tabla/sing along
After about 15 minutes, I became a bit more relaxed. He wasn’t being disrespectful to Maharaj (Sri Guru Granth Sahib – our holy scriptures), he was just being a baby. He doesn’t know the difference between a place of worship and a playground. And when I looked around, all the other children were doing similar. I didn’t want to get angry at him and snap. It’d only upset him and that would’ve disturbed everyone’s peace and would’ve meant we’d have to leave.
I remembered something a friend once said to me – I figured, as long as he wasn’t disturbing anyone’s peace, annoying anyone or being disrespectful (in which case I’d firmly stop him!) I think I can handle Arjun seeing the Gurdwara as a fun and happy place. As his favourite play house – after all it’s his father’s house. I want him to feel comfortable and happy there. I want him to want to go there. He’s a baby, he’s entitled to be a baby in God’s house. I don’t want him to miss out on the upbringing I had – the Gurdwara, kirtan and paat has always been a huge part of me and has helped me through life. I want him to have that same comfort. To feel that he can turn to God – to associate God with positive things. Letting him be free meant he was happier than me trying to restrict him.
Yes in an ideal world I’d love for him to sit in one place for an hour but unfortunately he’s just not there yet! I managed to enjoy some of the kirtan and felt at peace with my child’s behaviour at the Gurdwara too. I’m definitely not alone. But don’t feel guilty – it’s their fathers house as much as it is anyone else’s. As Arjun grows and has more understanding, I’ll slowly teach him. He’s a super friendly baby and isn’t shy to spread the love.
I try and be as considerate as possible:
- Sitting towards the back where before I’d sit towards the front
- Coming armed with snacks
- Having toys to keep him distracted for a little while
- Remain calm to keep him calm
To those that don’t have children and so may not have all the tolerance and understanding in the world (like I was before Arjun!), I’m sorry if you find my child annoying but I promise I do my best to eliminate the disruption caused to your peace. Remember we need a little bit of food for my soul too and mummyhood is a full time job so I can’t and don’t want to always leave Arjun at home xx