Saturday began on a very very sour note. H threw a huge tantrum bemoaning the fact that he had to follow too many rules. Washing his hands before eating, wearing his chappals all the time, putting his clothes for washing after changing, wearing his night suit, brushing his teeth, not getting enough screen time (computer/TV) ..... Apparently I was forcing him to play, to eat, to sleep...
To be fair to him he is a pretty independent child. He enjoys his studies and is very meticulous about them. He's not a fussy eater either. In fact I have few complaints other than his computer addiction and his resistance to rules. He likes to do things his way which is often not the right way, of course according to me. And he argues! Gawd how he argues!
The Husband and I reasoned with him for about an hour. Then we both gave up and left him crying.
Freedom Day declared!
I got chatting with friend and blogger Shailaja and she directed me to a blogpost here by Sangeeta Sundaram on Freedom Day - a day with no rules, which children could be left to do what they wanted. Since we were at the weekend and as a mum I am always ready to try anything for a happier more peaceful home I decided to go with it. Besides, it was just a day, I reasoned, how bad could it get?
So Saturday was declared Freedom Day with just two rules.. No fighting and no messing the house.
H was ecstatic, though a bit unbelieving. N also thought it was a super idea.
The computer was switched on right then and H flitted between the television and the computer all day without signs of fatigue or boredom. He would come to check on me periodically to make sure I wasn't angry. He'd dart in for a hug or an 'I love you mama,' every hour or so.
N meanwhile ran off to play throwing an 'I-can-come-whenever-I-want-na, mama?' over her shoulder. 'Yes,' said I and that was that.
At lunch time...
I have to admit I am a bit of a Nirupa Roy when it comes to food. I strongly believe that half of the crankiness of kids is either food or sleep related. A little after 1 pm H was hungry and just as I was about to suggest lunch he said he wanted to eat mangoes. So mangoes it was. By 2, though outwardly calm, I was pacing up and down mentally.
N turned up after 2.30 and sat down to watch TV.
I'd made their favourite Aaloo-puri in a sly bid to tempt them to eat on their own. I even filled my own plate, pretending to eat and sat watching that wretched Doremon with them to no avail. Finally H picked up pooris, just pooris, and munched on them sitting on the sofa while watching TV... And I kept my mouth shut.
N, the non eater was celebrating by not eating at all. Finally at 3.30 I left them to the tele and walked off.
Freedom is not everyone's cup of tea
A little later N came in.. Crying. 'My head is hurting ma', she said, 'may I sleep with you?' I agreed then suggested.. 'Maybe your head is hurting because you haven't eaten anything'. That brought around a fresh bout of tears..
'I don't want this freedom say sobbed N. May I have lunch?'
I have to admit I felt a smug kind of happiness!!
And that was it for her.
But some truly take to it
H continued to have a ball till about 10. He refused his friends when they asked him to come down to play. N crashed by the television. H had major plans of staying awake till after 12 but exhausted by the marathon computer session he too agreed to go to bed when The Husband suggested it.
Now I am a bit confused about the outcome of the experiment. N told me pretty categorically.. She preferred an 'Angel Day' .
But what about H?
I have to admit there was total peace at home. The children didn't fight at all which is just so rare, it might be the single reason I try this out another day. They coordinated with each other taking turns at the comp and the tele. In any case since N is a more outdoor person there was barely any clash.
However, is it okay to let H spend the entire day at the comp? Or for N to stay outdoor for four or five hours at a stretch? Maybe it is, since it's just a day... I'm not sure at all. What do you say guys? Is it okay to have a Freedom day say once in a month?