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Lessons From My Daughters

April 2005
Lessons From My Daughters

My daughters, Lekha and Divya, are both under 3, yet I've learned more from them than I've learned from many adults. These aren't the type of lessons you'll get in college, unless you happen to have one of those radical professors who decides, for a change, to teach you something practical.

My daughters are always teaching me practical stuff, mostly by turning my life into a practical joke. From them, I've learned about the importance of love, patience, and a good stain remover.

I've learned that love is the greatest gift you can give, that when you give a child a hug or kiss, you are giving her something she will cherish, something she will appreciate, almost as much as a lollypop.

I've learned that patience is a virtue, but it tends to run out when you're late for a dinner party and your daughter insists on dressing herself, struggling to fit her head into the leg hole of her pants. She knows it's not a shirt, but is just experimenting, trying to make her own fashion statement.

I've learned that a child's imagination is a beautiful thing, especially when the child imagines that doing the dishes is a fun activity. But a child's imagination can also be a headache, especially when the child imagines that your head is a drum. And the remote control is a drumstick.

I've learned that there's nothing so sweet as an afternoon nap. It's amazing how peaceful life can seem when your children are asleep. Even 15 minutes can refresh you, make you feel like having more children.

I've learned that the natural state of a home is chaos and disorder, that any attempt at tidying up is quickly corrected. Better to let nature take its course than to keep removing the Britney Spears CD from the toaster.

I've learned that if you play a tortilla on your CD player, you won't get Mexican music. But if you play an onion, a tomato and a chili pepper, you might get salsa. I've learned that it's easier to get pigs to fly than to get my daughters to eat vegetables. As far as my older daughter, Lekha, is concerned, there are three main food groups: milk, spaghetti and ice cream.

I've learned that it's natural for a big sister to take care of a little sister. When Divya touches one of Lekha's toys, you should see how Lekha takes care of her. We've tried to teach her the importance of sharing, but the only thing she's eager to share with her sister is the side of her foot.

I've learned that tantrums are natural. Not a day goes by without my wife and I throwing one. It's the only way we keep our sanity.

I've learned that there's no one as biased as a parent. If your daughter draws a bunch of squiggly lines and tells you it's the Mona Lisa, you're apt to call her Leonardo da Vinci. And if she draws those squiggly lines on the living room wall, you're apt to call her several other names.

I've learned that nothing is unbreakable in a home. That's why it's a good idea to always wear a helmet. And to hide the remote control.

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