I have a toddler and life is nothing but full of fun but then of late I have noticed that there is one word that I have been using too frequently and that’s ‘Sorry’. I keep saying sorry for everything that is actually a simple characteristic of any toddler. What made me realize this was when my husband said to me, ‘Stop saying sorry for everything. There is no need to apologize.’
I was shocked when he said this, angry and frustrated. Apologizing for causing inconvenience to people is a good manner and all I was trying to teach my daughter was a basic habit. I thought my husband was wrong. Then one day, my daughter was sitting next to me and we were talking and in that conversation I realised that she had used the word ‘sorry’ more than ten times for absolutely no reason. I told her, “Why are you saying sorry, baby? You did not make any mistake.” But it seemed like she was using this word after every two sentences. The word ‘Sorry’ has lost its significance for her.
REASON: She is seeing her mother using this word every now and then. That’s what she thinks the word means, that you have to say it every minute. Then suddenly she said, ‘Mujhe maaf kar do (Please forgive me)’ for absolutely no reason. I was shocked because I don’t want my little baby to apologize like this for no mistake.
That was the day, I did a little self analysis. I had been apologizing to everyone for the slightest of things.
I am sorry that my toddler blocked your way on footpath simply because she is a baby and walks slowly.
I am sorry that my baby did not say hello to you for she did not feel like it.
I am sorry that she does not want to share her things with your child. For she can be a little protective or possessive about her things, I felt guilty and apologized to you.
I am sorry that she disturbed us while we were having a conversation, simply because she wanted my attention.
I am sorry that it took me more than usual to open the door just because she wanted to open the door herself.
I am sorry that she touched a few things at the shop I went to, simply out of curiosity.
I am sorry that she did not give up her swing for your child.
These were just a few instances. A little speculation and I realized that this is a phase in her life where she is still trying to understand the ways of the world. And while it is important to teach her good manners, it is also important for me to understand that she is just acting her age and I need not apologize for everything. So, now I have sorted out and worked out on a list to differentiate the instances when it is important to say sorry and when it is not at all needed.
I understand she is a baby and most of the times she is sweet, caring and kind there are times when she gets cranky and moody. I also understand that there are times when she is acts difficult but at the end of the day she is just a toddler acting her age. As much as I am all for teaching good habits, I now understand that I can’t force things on her and she will learn things at her own pace. I am no longer sorry for the following things:
I am no longer sorry that she did not greet you. Sometimes she would smile at you and wave and sometimes she would not even look at you. There is nothing I can do about it. It is her choice and her mood and being a toddler, I guess she is still trying to gauge her emotions. Neither am I going to force her to greet someone if she doesn’t feel like it nor am I going to apologise for it.
I am no longer sorry that she blocked you way on the footpath and that I took up the footpath. I really can’t do anything about it. She is a baby, she takes baby steps and I can’t stop her every time especially when I am carrying a bag, some other things that we bought and holding her as well. Of course I will try to move as much as I can for anyone who needed it more than me (elderly, disabled) but in certain situation when I am genuinely not able to do that and when you are a group of young girls, giggling and then giving me a harsh look for simply letting my baby walk at her own pace… too bad but I am not saying sorry this one time.
I am no longer sorry that she wanted my attention when I was talking to you. I know we are having an important conversation but she is a baby and still she does not understand the concept of not disturbing people, especially when one of them is her mother, on whom she has all her rights, as of now toddlers think they own their mothers, that the mothers are there only for them. They are not really ready to share their Mom’s attention. I know she will learn that Mommy needs to talk to other people also. Till then I am not sorry.
I am no longer sorry that she does not want to share her tricycle, or any other toy with your child. See, I am trying my best to teach her that sharing is important but as of now, she does not seem to understand that concept too well. Sometimes, she herself gives all her toys to your child and sometimes, she just does not want to. As much as I would want her to share her toys with your baby there is a limit, I can ask her to do that. So, till then, I am not sorry.
I am not sorry that she does not give up the swing. This is just a toddler thing. Toddlers are all about themselves and no matter how much we try to intervene they have their moods. Some days she herself says, ‘Mamma, we will go on the swing one by one.’ Some days she would not share at all. Until she learns to follow the one-by-one rule completely. I am not sorry because I am too tired to say that anymore.
‘Sorry’ is an important word. It has some significance, it has some emotion attached to it. I want my daughter to understand that when we say sorry we have to actually mean it and not just use it to get out of a situation. For that, it is important that I stop doing so myself. I understand how important it is to teach good manners to my child but at the same time I want to allow her to take her own sweet time to understand the difference between good and bad; right or wrong, only then she will be able to understand when she has to apologise and mean it and when there is no need to be apologetic.
***This article was originally published on http://www.mycity4kids.com.