By Vidya Murlidhar
Children cannot be brought up on the wisdom in even the best baby books, but only through listening to your heart, says Vidya Murlidhar
I was awestruck. She was a vision of perfection. How could someone so tiny be so magnificent, so complete? My heart filled with wonder, I made a decision. My daughter deserved the best and I would do everything I could to make her world perfect. If ever there was a coveted trophy for the world’s best mom I would get it. I gathered every book I could on raising smart, happy kids. What to Expect in the First Year, Dr Spock’s Baby and Child Care, The Happiest Baby on the Block, adorned my bookshelf. Within their pages lay the solution to every problem I thought I would stumble upon on my journey to motherhood. All I had to do was parent by the book. And I did. I diligently followed the advice given by the doctors and the parenting gurus. I nursed, nourished and nurtured her with healthy doses of love and organic food, and of course, the perfect toys to enhance her brain development. That trophy was bound to be mine!
To create an atmosphere conducive to raising a genius I filled my daughter’s nursery with top-of-theline toys that were proven to stimulate her senses, increase hand-eye coordination and improve cognitive functioning. She listened to Mozart while on her baby swing, her crib mobile featured cuddly, colourful jungle animals while it played the alphabet song, her play gym had an electronic sun to teach colours and shapes, and her car seat was fitted with a baby safe mirror to increase self-awareness. (Smart phones were not available then.) Days soon turned to weeks and months. To my dismay, my baby was not fascinated by any of the genius-creating gizmos. She slept only if I rocked her in my arms, my not-so melodious singing was the only music she enjoyed, she preferred to gaze at my face rather than at the cuddly animals, my finger was her favourite chewable toy, my lap comforted her more than her play gym, and my tummy was her favorite bouncy chair. She was the happiest baby on the block, yes, but only when she was in my arms; and I was an exhausted mother. She rarely slept through the night and fussed greatly if I was not around. She did everything a baby would…she cooed, gurgled, laughed heartily from the belly, rolled over, crawled, held my hand and stood up but only if I was within her sight. She suffered from severe separation anxiety. “Was I raising a spoiled brat instead of a genius?” I wondered. That niggling
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