Parenthood has become incredibly complicated these days. It must have been rather tiresome even in the olden days but at least they were not bound by these new-found theories about how to take care of the kid. In good old days, if the kid was a brat, you called him (or her) a brat and whaled the tar out of the little fellow. Nobody gave a damn about whether it was going to traumatize the kid and leave an indelible scar on the tender mind or, for that matter, tender bum of the child. On top of it, there was also the golden rule of "children should be seldom be seen and rarely heard" which took care of the rest.
Those happy days are, sadly, things of the past. These days you are supposed to "interact" and "instill values" into the child but ensure that her "delicate mental framework is not shattered by the traumatic parental pressure". I had been strictly following this by not trying to instill any of my values into my child (and therefore ensuring that the right values are picked up by my kiddo) but I decided to make an exception a few days back.
In one of my daughter's school forms, there was a field where I had to fill in how many hours I spend reading to my child. After filling this up, out of sheer guilt conscience, I decided to be a "new age good parent" and read a bedtime story to my child. Let me present you a "blow by blow account" of what happened :Me : Three little pigs. Once there were three pigs who wanted to stay alone.
D'ter : What does alone mean?
Me: Staying without anybody else.
D'ter : But they are three of them - so how can they be alone ?
Me : Hmmmm - I think they meant staying without their parents
D'ter : Then the parents are also alone
Me : Yeah (aside : lucky bastards). Let's continue. The three pigs built three houses.
D'ter : Why did they built three houses? They could have stayed together in one house.
Me : They eventually did that because of the wolf.
D'ter : What did the wolf do?
Me : He blew the house down.
D'ter : Because they had build three houses?
Me : No. Actually the wolf wanted to eat the pigs. He asked the pig whether he can come in. And the Pig said "Not by the hair of my chini-chin-chin"
D'ter : Why did the pig say "chini-chin-chin" ?
Me : Because it is funny !
D'ter : Why is it funny?
Me : This word. It doesn't really mean any thing.
D'ter : What is funny about that? If you say things which doesn't mean anything, is that funny?
Me : Yeah - sometimes
D'ter : Dad - you don't know anything!! If you say things which nobody understands, people will make fun of you ("aapka mazak urayenge")
So it continued till finally, we reached the end of the story. Sadly, this "good parent thingy" did not work out well. Most of the queries of the daughter could not be answered to her satisfaction and at the end, she concluded that anyway, the first two houses built by the pigs should have been given to the old women and children who stay on the pavements. So, the wolf, in fact, did a good thing by blowing them apart and is the real hero of the story.
May be I should start writing a whole new set of "Politically correct fairy tales" instead of trying to be a new age dad!!!