The case of the missing shoes

The case of the missing shoes

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The case of the missing shoes

It was 7 p.m., and I was hopelessly rummaging through the sand-pit. I could barely see, and kept getting poked by the meddling bushes. My little one was standing right next to me, screeching and making me instantly deaf. We were searching for her ‘Crocs’ footwear.

We had been invited to the local gymkhana club by the mummy of my daughter’s newest and ‘bestest’ friend. My little one was sprinting around the house like Bolt, refusing to wear shoes and wanting to be Mogwli. I was pursuing her, gasping and pleading that this is not Jungle Book.

By 5 p.m., I started with threatening, then went on to cajoling and finally begging, before she agreed to wear shoes. Thankfully, we made it on time.

The gymkhana was one of those upscale, pompous places with seating on the lawns, overlooking a play area for kids. My daughter joined her friends, while I gawked at the mums. All of them were perked up with shiny outfits, slick make-up, swishing immaculate manes.

I quickly tucked in my stomach and sat down, hoping to hide my mundane kurti. All that running and pleading at home had left me hungry, so I surreptitiously started stuffing my mouth with the fries that were on the table, while desperately trying to keep my stomach tucked in and mindlessly nodding at the others around.

Then, my daughter came to me complaining about some children in the play area. Not wanting her to grow into a tattle tale, I sent her back telling her to solve the issue herself. However, she was back in 15 minutes saying some naughty children were throwing her shoes around like a football. So I agreed and trudged along. The others insisted I shouldn’t bother as kids always fight and play.

My daughter pointed to an older boy and girl in the play area and whispered, “Mamma, they were throwing my crocs. I saw them.” I told those children sternly to stop, and hurried back, wanting my daughter to try and solve petty playground fights on her own. She came back, barefoot, mumbling again about the children. Before I could respond, all her friends came running back demanding snacks. More fries were ordered. With renewed energy the kids continued their play, screaming even more loudly. I continued to nod, wishing we could go home.

It was soon time to leave and I went to fetch my daughter from the play area. She said she can’t come as her shoes were missing and insisted the naughty children took them. Why would anyone take away a pair of old footwear? Rolling my eyes, I began the search. After much digging and poking, we finally found them buried in a corner. It looked like a hurried job by a child. “See, mamma, I told you, those big children were talking about hiding them, and you didn’t listen to me,” sobbed my daughter as I hugged her.

I had made a big mistake today: I had not trusted my child’s words. Every child seeks their parent’s trust, and it is our duty to give it unconditionally. Parenting is like a perpetual self-improvement course. We are learning more, and the most tedious task is to lead by example. Every time your child looks at you, they are mentally processing your every action.

So, today when I made a mistake I decided to say goodbye to my ego, stop portraying myself a self-righteous mum, and graciously accept my foolishness. That got me the best reward: my daughter’s trust in me, and in herself, were restored.


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