16th October 2005: This is my experience with my 1 year old, when he first shared his secret with me.
I had seen Ahan climb up the small window by the bed several times. He would climb on to the front of the bed, hold the window grill tightly in his little grip and look out excitedly. He used to do this often, during the day, evenings and even nights.
For a one-year old, Ahan is quite a playful child - probably the most
playful I have seen in my life. But then, 'There is only one best son
who was ever born, and every father has him!' He rolls on the bed, jumps, dives and performs every possible acrobatic stunt his little legs can allow.
I imagine, it is among his many favourite mindless frolics. But Sunday
(16th October) was different. Ahan and I started our 'game' after an
elaborate European lunch! He was as usual excited at the idea of
playing with Dad on a Sunday afternoon. First it was the roll - with a lot of tickle and laughter. We jumped on the bed, pushed each other and then fell flat and laughed. This is something Ahan thoroughly enjoys.
Then it happened. He suddenly stopped and looked towards the window, while I caught my breath. He turned quiet, and then swiftly moved to the window. It seemed as if he had received an SOS call from his inner-self .He quickly climbed on the front of the bed, tightly held the grill and looked outside. For a moment he focused outside, as if looking into the eyes of his secret friend whom he admired so much. He still kept his serious quiet look on.
As always, my first reaction was to pull him away from the window.
I leapt to hold him and then to smoothly pull him away, fearing that he
may slip and hurt himself. When I held him, he showed no reaction and
remained unfazed. He kept looking outside, and without a word, turned
and looked deep into my eyes. I had never seen him in such intense and
That afternoon, my son introduced another side of his personality to me.
He nodded slowly to himself, as if agreeing that I qualified to be let into his secret world. He then looked outside and pointed his little finger intensely at the wall outside the window
(this little window opens into a little space, facing our neighbor's
little window - which is closed all the time. You can largely see the
wall). By then I had understood that my son wanted to say something to
me. I listened. He started talking to me in his blabbering language,
finger at the wall, nodding his head continuously.
If you, in your haste of life, look at a child
doing this, you would pass this as his little frolic. But it all
changes, when you make an effort to listen to him, try to connect with
him, and respect his individuality. I didn't want to lose this moment
with my son in haste. He had never revealed his little secret story to anyone until then.
Maybe, no one ever made an effort to listen to him or had the time to spare for his little secret. He had collected this story in bits and pieces, through his innumerous visits to the small window.
Today, he had his first confidant in his father. He was excited - and
it showed in Ahan's eyes. His serious look slowly turned into slow
excitement, as I continued to listen to him and follow his instructions
to look outside where his finger pointed. Gathering that I was
interested in his story and understood his language, he became more
excited. He spoke even more to me, nodded more and pointed at the wall.
Several times, he would pause, to allow me a breather in his fast paced
story and clarify any queries or problems I may have faced in following
his story. He would continue only after I looked at him, and nod in
This lasted for over 15 minutes, and then Tuhina, my wife, walked into the room. As if his little secret would be out to many, he quickly stepped down from the bed and jumped away. He turned around and looked at me, asking me for a promise not to share his secret with anybody.
What was the secret? I don't know. I will never know. But that is
not important. What mattered to me was that my son engaged me in his little secret
for the first time! It means a world to any father when his son lets
him into his world as a confidant. It is the start of a very long
To see other article by Chaitanya Prakash or contact him: click here
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