A Slice of Life

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When I learnt about the unfortunate incident of my sister-in-law burning my nephew’s skin, I reacted with horror and shock. I confronted her as to how she could do it and when I realized she didn’t mean to do it and it was an accident, I still could not fathom how she could do it, even accidentally. Until I did the same to my kid.

It was one of the horrible days when N was hyper-active and I had to keep an eye on him every second. I and my husband were busy with preparations for the festival and we already had too  many things on our plate and N was intruding in every step. My patience was already running low and the straw broke when he bit the maid so hard that her finger bled. I lost all my cool and threatened to give a burn unless he behaved. N was at his worst and he mocked me and said ‘Do it, ma, I will bite her again, so do it’. I kept the ladle on the flame for a second (I swear it was a second) and threatened him again, hoping he will calm down, but he kept on insisting what he did was okay and he would repeat it again. I put the spoon on my skin to ensure it wasn’t really hot and then gently put it on his leg. The spoon probably touched his skin for a fraction of a second. N got scared that the spoon actually  made contact with the skin and immediately changed his tone. He didn’t cry, so I assumed he wasn’t hurt. He apologized to the maid and went on his way and continued with his terrible toddler behavior the rest of the day.

I didn’t think much about the incident and realized the damage I had done only in the evening. I realized, to my horror, that I had given a nasty burn wound to my son. The moment I saw what I had done, I felt so guilty for everything: for losing patience, for thinking of such a nasty punishment, for actually doing it and worse, not feeling bad about it until I realized what happened.

It doesn’t matter that I felt extremely guilty and cried for an hour, doesn’t matter I punished myself for this, doesn’t matter that my eyes welled up every time I saw the wound, doesn’t matter that I felt and still feel like the worst mother on earth – all it matters is I hurt my own kid. All the promises I had made to myself and my kid that I will protect him from being hurt flew out the window. I am deeply worried that this incident doesn’t scar my kid for ever and that he doesn’t start hating me for this. He has all the rights to hate me, though. Will he remember this and ask me ‘Mom, how could you do this to me? You brought me into the world for this?’

Nothing I do can change the horrible crime I have committed, but I tell myself this is my waking up moment. I need to rethink on how I am bringing up my kid and whether I am worthy of being a mother at all. If I had a genie granting me a wish, I would wish for that horrible moment to be erased from my life. I wish I could go back in time and stop myself from doing what I did. But, I know there are no genies, and I have to live with this guilt.


Written by A

September 16, 2011 at 5:39 am

Posted in Life, Parenting

3 Responses

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  1. You should not be too harsh on yourself. After all, parents and humans too and not another species. If you forgive yourself and also apologize to your boy in due time, he will learn that his mother corrected herself and will learn from you that mistakes do happen, it is important that you understand that and correct yourslef!

    Just my two cents…hope it helps.


    September 20, 2011 at 7:31 am

    • Thanks for your kind words, Namratha. I agree parents are humans too, but what aren’t mothers supposed to be understanding and patient? I feel I let down my kid because I wasn’t patient with him.


      September 20, 2011 at 8:37 am

  2. I agree that mothers have to be understanding and patient, but mothers too have a limit isn’t it? After all, we’re not saints.
    I can understand your guilt, but it’s ok, you can explain to him at some point where he understands and I’m sure he won’t keep it in mind. In fact, if handled correctly it can even become an amusing memory for the future – why I say this is, my dad has this burnt scar on his stomach that his great grandma had given him when he was a kid – all because he was too impatient to wait for his lunch! Later it became a point of leg-pulling that he was so notorious that he has a burn mark to show as punishment!
    So relax, the context and incident needs to be explained and understood correctly. You’re not a bad mother, every child needs some disciplining action and yes punishment, if the occasion demands it. Since your intention was not to hurt him and to only make him understand that throwing tantrums isn’t acceptable, it is ok.


    October 20, 2011 at 12:13 pm

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