By NaSa That day Ayaan, my 4 –year-old son was being totally unmanageable. I was not being able to control him. All my expertise as a mother seemed insufficient to handle him. You know, you are this person who knew this kid even before his birth, sure an expert as far as he is concerned. But this little being who most of the times is your very own bundle of joy becomes a pack mischiefs on other times. The element of unpredictability is high in Ayaan. Sometimes he is the most sober child around and on the other times he becomes a menace; and that day he chose to be latter. That day he didn’t sleep the number of hours he used to sleep on other days. Anyone who has a kid or had ever raised kids would agree that kids hate to be put to sleep and when sleep-deprived become all the more irritable and mutinous. That day, he did all the things that I had asked him not to do and didn’t engage in any constructive activity. He would lie and roll on the floor, would spill water on the bed (and in winters it doesn’t take hours to dry, it takes days), would colour walls, would paint his shirt with chocolate, would run in the middle of the road unmindful of my shrieks to stop (and I had to run after him like I raced in a 100 meter race in my school days to save him in nick of the time from banging in a moving bike) and would even hit a friend (which he usually never does) to give a brief of multiple such activities. It was binding on my part to lose my cool. I pulled his ear hard and warned him that one more mischief and he’ll never ever get a toy. However, its effect was evaporated in 10 minutes and he continued with his deviltry. After some time, my husband too got a bit angry at Ayaan when he tore an important paper from his diary (obviously, Ayaan didn’t know it was important but he’s generally restrained from tearing paper uselessly). Minutes after that, he bit my husband just like that. Generally also, my husband and my son love to engage with each other in friendly fisticuffs or dogfights. It’s common with boys of any age that they like fighting, as a sport too. But this time around, it was one sided. Only my son was playing. He bit my husband all of a sudden and a bit too hard. As a prompt reaction from my husband, my son got a slap on his face. Ayaan’s face had the red marks of my husband’s finger on his soft cheeks till at least 20 minutes. After a couple of hours it was my husband’s time to leave for office. That day he had to work at night due to some professional obligations. Ayaan and I had dinner and after that it was time for Ayaan to sleep. He complained of a slight ear pain to which I said, “Honey, it’ll be fine when you get up tomorrow.” He closed his eyes and then opened them again. In a bit firmer voice I said, “What’s the matter with you? It’s not the time to play or even talk. Sleep now.” He again closed his eyes but opened again after a minute and said, “I want to sleep but my eyes are not closing. I’ve ear pain.” I was helpless. Had it been a stomach ache or a muscle pain I would’ve had a home remedy but ears and eyes are sensitive and I didn’t want to worsen things with my little knowledge. I said, “Ayaani, try to sleep as of now. Tomorrow we’ll take you to the doctor’s. Sleeping and resting also takes away half of your pain.” But it didn’t convince him so I narrated him the story of Pinnochio. Soon he fell asleep. It was 11:30 p.m. I find the ‘me time’ when my son sleeps, like most other mothers. So I started with my reading. Barely half an hour later, Ayaan got up and started crying again complaining of ear pain. The cries soon became screams. I was terrified. Suddenly, came before my eyes the picture of my pulling his ear and my husband’s slapping him. My heart was filled with guilt. I couldn’t control my tears when I saw my son in so much pain that more likely than not had occurred because of me. I was hating myself for my incapacity to alleviate his pain and for my sinful deed. ‘I am a devil of a mother. Mothers aren’t like me. I don’t know how to raise a kid,’ these were kind of thoughts that filled my mind. All the compliments that I had ever received on my upbringing were piercing my heart. ‘But what do I do to mitigate my little son’s ear pain?’ I wondered. All I could think was of a mother. My mother. She isn’t a horrible mother like me. She and my father are my angels with magic wands who have solutions for all the problems. Though I hated to disturb them at midnight but I had no other option. Calling my husband was no option because his office is far off from our place. So I rang up my parents and my father said, “Don’t worry. I am coming and we’ll take him to the emergency department of a hospital.” My son was crying incessantly so I switched on the cartoon channel on the TV to deviate the attention of my son from his ear pain. My father came within 15 minutes. While on the way to the hospital he asked, “What happened, suddenly to his ear?” I said, “I am not sure but some 3-4 hours back, I had pulled his ear and Deepak also slapped him so….might be because of that.” I can’t explain how terrible I felt while saying this. It felt like a little kid is in the guardianship of two monsters. My father got enraged. As it is he’s short tempered but he has a track record of never hitting me. I don’t remember a single instance of when he had ever slapped me or pull my ears or did any stuff like that. On top of it he’s my son’s grandfather and grandfathers or grandparents have a special bond with grandchildren. My father said, “How dare you do anything like that. I am not going to talk to you people again if you ever touch him again.” And I was all the more embarrassed and remorseful. We reached the hospital, parked our car and met the doctor. The doctor asked, “Does he have cold/cough/fever?” I said, “Yes.” She said, “It’s because of that. I am prescribing a syrup. Give him thrice that syrup and he’s going to be alright.” I asked, “I had pulled his ears some hours back. Does it have anything to do with it?” She said, “No.” “Thank God,” I sighed. I was relieved that nothing major happened but the incident shook me to the core and I resolved never to hit him again and to choose other means to make him understand things or to tune his behaviour. Most importantly, I resolved to better myself first.