Yog has the habit of catching something in his hands before he goes to sleep, ever since he was a small baby. In the initial months, he latched onto my finger for comfort. Slowly, he transitioned to a soft Teddy bear and then to his fleece blanket. As his tastes and preferences advanced from just comforting items to items he could use to play and explore; he moved on to watches, scissors, sticky tapes, hair brushes, books and latest of all pencils and sharpeners. I realized early on that there was no point in trying to extract these items before he went to sleep. All I could possibly gain from this futile exercise was heartache, tears, screams and a few slaps and bites (meaning Yog actually hitting and biting me in his frustration). I decided to let him catch whatever he wanted to carry to his bed before he went to sleep. As soon as he drifted to sleep, I could easily remove them from his bed to ensure that he did not hurt himself while sleeping.
Today, as I readied him for bed, he quickly went on the grab an assortment of stationery items (3 pens, 1 pencil and 2 sharpeners to be exact). This was a little too much for his tiny fingers to maneuver, but as always, he insisted in catching all of them into bed. As he climbed up on the bed, the pens and pencil slipped out of his fingers on to the floor. He immediately bent down from the bed to pick them up. In order to prevent him from falling off the bed, I bent down from the bed myself and committed the biggest mistake of my day – I touched the pens before Yog had been able to touch them. As soon as Yog realized that his priced stationary had been violated by his mom’s touch, all hell broke loose. He jumped off the bed, sat down on the floor and banged his hands and feet on the floor. He then lay down on the floor and rolled around screaming as if the biggest injustice of the planet had just been done to him. I instantly retracted my actions and offered for Yog to pick the pens himself. But it didn’t work. Yog continued on his theatrics. I picked up the pens and the pencils and offered them to Yog, but it was too late. The damage had been done. The heart was broken. The trust was defied and the world was just about to end in the next two minutes (at least from the way Yog saw it).
In a vain attempt to console my baby, I held him in my arms and sang a lullaby for him, hoping he would calm down. I rocked him for a while, tickled him, tried to tell stories, but nothing worked. He continued to increase his pitch and play victim. The more I tried to console him, the more he increased his intensity. After about 20 minutes of the melodrama, I could almost sense the neighbors stepping out from their balconies and peeping into our home, to check if everything was OK. I decided that I would need a different strategy to calm him down today. I picked him from my lap and set him down on the floor calmly telling him that he could cry as much as wanted to on the floor. Mama was tired and was going to sleep.
With that, I lay down on the bed pretending to be sleep. Yog went into shock for a moment. How could this happen? How could his mom desert him in his darkest hour? Still sobbing, he climbed up on the bed, snuggled next to me and closed his eyes. Slowly his sobs settled down and he softly asked for his pencils again. Without a word, I handed all his pens and pencil assortment to him. He clutched them tightly and dozed off to sleep in the next 5 minutes. After another two minutes, all the pieces fell from his hands and he moved into deep sleep.
I removed the precious stationary from the bed, adjusted the blanket and kissed him on the forehead before leaving his bed. As I left him sleeping peacefully on his bed, I couldn’t help but wonder that we, adults, are pretty much the same as tiny Yog. We fight, scream and hurt each other over small materialistic things that we can carry with us till we go to sleep in our final sleeping abode. But just like Yogs pencils, all our materialistic assets are going to fall from our grasp as soon as we fall asleep. Yet, each waking hour we are struggling to acquire a little bit more of them. The only difference between little Yog and us is that Yog genuinely thinks that he can carry these items to his dreams and use them even when he is sleeping. But we of course know better.
In spite of all the spiritual enlightenment and the scientific advancement, if we cannot stop ourselves from picking and packing the stones that line our path, how can I ever expect little Yog to understand that he will not be able to use the pencils once he goes to sleep. While I brood over this thought, I enjoy the look on Yogs face as he sleeps contently, his eyes closed, his hands open and empty.