Snakes & Ladders

Before I begin writing about whats exactly going on in my mind, let’s begin with a question about the game I am sure everyone of us has played at some point of the other. Snakes & Ladders.

What is the most exciting thing about the game of Snakes & Ladders that tempts us to play the game over and over again?

I have noticed this phenomenon being reflected in many forms in our lives. But ever since

Snakes & Ladders ~ The Game of Life

parenting and motherhood stepped in my life I am able to see it better and in a different light from the way I have perceived it in my growing years. I am talking about the competitive nature of parents and their concealed/revealed desire to prove their kid is doing much better than the rest.

Till recently, I had always thought that the parents get competitive around the time their kids start their school lives. As the child grows, so does the desires and expectations of their parents. The outcome, every conversation between parents is like a virtual snakes and ladders game. Trying to let their child get to climb a ladder of admiration by throwing the dice of his achievements in academics, extra-curricular activities and even sports. The sole intention being, to bite the other parent with a pang of worry and inferiority complex for their child’s less superb performance like a snake.

Have you ever wondered who actually suffers at the cost of adult’s playing snakes & ladders trying to boost their ego or being snobbish of other children? Unfortunately, the kids are the real sufferers.

When we are talking about school-going kids or teenagers struggling to make choices about the subjects or the field they wish to pursue, we have individuals who have the ability to have their say in front of their parents. But, what I recently came across was something grave and disturbing to no-limits. The reason for my agony was, the kids in question were infants.

I had an extended stay in hospital at the time Pari was born cause of my medical condition. At that time, I came across several relatives of the patients in adjacent rooms. Many of them were the grand-parents of newborn kids born around the time Pari was born. Besides, the usual greetings the main topic of their conversation would be, what was the birth weight of your baby? is it a boy or a girl? On being told that it’s a girl, my mum and I would often (almost 98% times) be consoled that maybe next time it’ll be a boy.

It didn’t end with gender bias, but extended upto advises about how to ensure the baby has a snow-white complexion for she was a girl. Even though stressing was something I was strictly advised against, I couldn’t help getting furious at the ridiculous thoughts people had. My mum used to avoid small-talk with such people, but there were times when others just wanted to pour their mind or their worries (about having a baby girl, or her complexion,etc.) on my mum.

Why on earth would someone worry about such non-sense issues instead of celebrating the miracle of life, is beyond my understanding.

The snakes and ladders game started full on, once we had the masseuse come for Pari’s massages. I have no doubts in her expertise in the field for she has been practicing midwifery for over 40 years besides working as a masseuse for infants but her favorite topic of interest besides gossiping is telling mums about how well or poorly their kid is doing as far as achieving developmental milestones goes.

Keeping track of developmental milestones is important, but uselessly worrying if your neighbor’s baby started crawling before your baby or if the kid in a distant household is way heavier than your baby despite the same age is pointless. In my opinion, such futile thinking is a mere waste of time, with no fruitful outcome. When I would politely brush off the masseuse’s comparative accounts, she would jump on to narrate anecdotes on how her comparisons did good to the babies in the past.

I’ll quote one of her examples briefly for your understanding. The masseuse suggested to one of the mums that her son (then 4.5 months old) wasn’t as healthy as the kids of his age should be. The mother in reply expressed concern and requested for contact number of other mothers (who were the masseuse’s client) to get to discuss her plight. The next day she spoke to two other mums and they advised her to start feeding her son some semi-solids and solids to get desirable results. Without a second thought on the need to consult the pediatrician (to verify her doubts ) she started giving her son some mashed rice and the like.

The baby didn’t relish the meal for he was pushed to something new all of a sudden. But the mum pushed down three to four teaspoons on two occasions. The outcome, the baby developed severe colic, constipation and stopped feeding. The mum rang the other mothers again, the ignorant mums (who had not faced a similar situation) advised according their understanding only worsening the problem.

Finally advise from the pediatrician was sought. The baby was un-necessarily(for they could have been avoided) administered medications. Though he soon returned to normal feeding. It also turned out that the baby was actually healthy and had normal weight for his age. For the record, all the mums mentioned here are well-educated.

Who actually benefitted from this futile snakes & ladders game? No-one

Although we definitely have a sufferer at the hands of senseless competition among over-enthusiastic parents – the young baby who is just a few months old.

I am a new mum, yet to learn the steep curves of parenting. But, I strongly stand by the belief, every child is unique.

Never compare his/her development, ability, learning skills and even performance on scales set by others who have no scientific backing to their claims. If you are in doubt, seek expert advise. But, let your child be on his/her own.

Nature has a way and its own course of creating adults out of babies, let it work at peace and leave the game of snakes and ladders to be played as a board game and not with the lives of our dear ones.

Pic Courtesy:

The Song on my mind:

36 thoughts on “Snakes & Ladders

  1. I loved the song .. ik aise gagan ke talle jahan gam bhi na ho aansoo bhi na hon bas pyar hi pyar pale .. Beautiful

    Now to the snakes and ladders, I dont know why we indians are so competetive etc when it comes to kids.. Maybe i am or will be too.. The reason being I will give you a example my cousin had a baby boy in october, they came home the next day which they did not want to , as in india it takes longer then she came home and went upstairs to her bedroom and since then till now , they have remained upstairs because 1. the mother thinks she is weak etc 2. the kid will get cold .. I mean i went ot meet them and she would now come down , I did talk to her telling that having a baby is not a disease or she is not sick but she talks to her mum and in laws back home so she does what she does … on other hand another baby came home but this time the parents have been living in uk and all their family is here , the kid was 2 months pre matue and had to be done with a C section..

    this was in november ..

    but the second baby is much healthier touchwood and the mother is Running almost …

    You see the difference I dont want to undermine anyone here as i am not a authority but we can see the difference .. i hope you understand what i mean ..

    all i want to say is basically take time , each one is different and so on, and as you said yes each kid in unique.. and as a parent one knows what is best for their kid..


  2. wonderful post! 🙂
    couldn’t agree with you more that each child is unique and develops and blossoms into their own unique being with their own individual characteristics and talents.
    Sadly, the comparing just does not stop in infant and toddler years but leaves some parents running a rat race to keep up with other parents.
    Living abroad, I see this mentality mostly with Asian parents in general.


    1. The rat race seems to start right from birth and continues till death, for once we grow up and become parents ourselves we simply change shoes. We start pushing our kids with the expectations our parents once had with us and the unfulfilled dreams we nurtured now become the responsibility of our kids.


  3. I can relate to every word of your post……ppl take up this self designed comparative studies either to boast their own baby’s developments or to make you feel how best they are or their parenting style…
    Mishti is a lean baby(however, as per doc she has normal weight), many neighbor ladies tried to bombard me with’free advice’ on how to make her gain weight… elderly lady even tried to teach me ‘how to force feed baby’ as I never do that and wait for my baby to open mouth!!!!

    Regarding gender & complexion of baby…I already posted few days back abt my experience when Mishti was born.


  4. Superb post Era…I have been through all this…and still face this everytime I visit Samu’s school. There are SAHM…who never miss a chance to poke me….taunt me…and advice me…

    There are aunties (again the educated ones) who ask me”When are u planning for the second one..??”…Why the hell should I tell them when am I planning…it irks me…
    Samu is not chubby…she is lean…and tall….this attracts lot of unwanted stares…and advices. “Poor baby…mom is working na…so she must not be eating properly”

    Such comments irritate me…*sorry*…got carried away…I can write pages and pages…and still the anger will not subside. Let the kids be kids….please let them enjoy their childhood!!!

    Hugs to nanhi pari:*


  5. True true so so true…

    a girl – no time boy ho jayega
    dark – arey why didnt you drink kesar milk when you were give her a bath daily with haldi and besan and malai!
    you both are so healthy, why is your daughter so weak…

    so on and so forth….

    after all this

    I have realised what my ma said ‘A mother knows the best for her child’ holds true in most cases!


    1. Rightly said RM…free advise and free tension is available 24x7x365 from all corners of the world. All we need to learn is to learn to filter the content we want to follow for everyone’s good.


  6. If there is one thing in India you can rest assured is that “life” itself is very expendable! Thousands die and no one says a word… In a country where the population is brimming out of the cup, people have come to not celebrate a new arrival… Ofc unless it is a boy, who, they believe will carry the name forward…. Forget about that, 99% of these guys wont even look back at their parents and probably their daughters will end up taking care of them!!! Seriously something is definitely wrong in our society!!


  7. 🙂 This is only the beginning. BTW, I can’t help but compare my own two kids. More out of amazements at their difference in skills and natural tendencies (with the 1st child you tend to believe that all kids behave that way). So, I guess some of it is a little natural. But yeah, should be kept in check 🙂


  8. couldn’t agree more on what you’ve said here. The comparisons and unwanted advices about how to raise your baby, make him/her healthier, less cranky, more playful, etc, etc is quite sickening.
    R was demanding as a baby- he would be constantly asking for feed and would sleep less during the day (something the doctors said was quite normal). I received unsolicited advices from all and sundry including the maid on how to make R feed less or sleep more! gawd, was I glad to come back to my house where there were no pesky people around!


  9. I think that there is another dimension to this issue – With the first kid (or only kid) parents tend to be very nervous and hence they tend to over-react. So, they are quite sensitive to whatever is said by people around them / relatives. But by the time they give birth to the second child, they are confident and they know what can be ignored and what cannot. Even for the first kid, I think people should just take the advise of their parents/ parents-in-laws as they know the best for their grandchild.

    Destination Infinity


    1. If that was the case, I should be a paranoid, jittery mom who should be worrying to death on everything that happens to my little baby (she is just 6.5 months old). I say so, cause my little daughter is not only my first but also the only child.

      I personally feel, there is no basis and no valid excuse to let people bite others with unwanted, unscientific advise only to satisfy their parent ego. The point I wanted to make was stop comparing and stop filling other people’s lives with complexes and worries. Instead indulge in healthy debates and supportive arguments about parenting.

      Seeking help and advise isn’t wrong. What is wrong is trying anything under the sun on the pretext of making your child shine brighter and get taller,sharper and stronger (like the Horlicks ad puts it).


      1. I guess you’d accept that there are all kinds of people in this world. People who ‘bite’ and people who provide ‘supportive arguments’. People cannot fill up someone else’s life with complexes and worries, if that someone else does not allow them to. You’ll realize that they are totally powerless if they know that you can take only the positive arguments and ignore the negative ones.

        Next time, let them know why you think what they say is wrong. I mean, calmly. If they react in a positive way and offer arguments to support their claim, you should continue your discussion. If they show an attitude like ‘I know everything and you should listen to me just because I am saying it and no one dares to refuse me’, refuse them bluntly and then watch the fun. Its better to get disassociated from these people. And let them know that you are doing it.

        Destination Infinity


        1. I agree the world has a variety of people and not all are mean.
          The whole point is being careful and being able to filter what we information is useful and what is not 😀


  10. I wonder why people live for others and make their kids also live for others?
    if neighbor’s kid is learning dance,then my kid also learns it
    if colleague’s kid is going for karate class,then my also join the same class..why?for what?


    1. This clearly shows that problems exist among parents and their own complex-struck, competitive minds and the brunt of it all is pushed on little kids.


  11. Beautiful post, Era. This is a thought that’s been troubling me since long, though I’m still not a parent. You rightly pointed out that parents get competitive and want their children to accomplish all they couldn’t.

    Once again, it’s herd mentality, which forces parents to coerce their children to study hard to land up in a good job as compared to their peers. Most dropouts have done much better in their life than those who’ve spent 1/2 their lives rote learning and attending various classes.

    Life is so long it doesn’t matter if a child learns something a little late relative to others. Boman Irani and Vidya Balan are examples of late bloomers. But childhood cannot return; so it’s important parents let their kids live the childhood phase up to the fullest.

    Cheers. 😀


    1. Well said Vishal…it’s very important to realize this innocent, naive phase of life will never ever return…so let these little buds bloom at their own pace 😀
      Welcome to my blog 😀


  12. I am a new mum, yet to learn the steep curves of parenting. But, I strongly stand by the belief, every child is unique.

    Never compare his/her development, ability, learning skills and even performance on scales set by others who have no scientific backing to their claims. If you are in doubt, seek expert advise. But, let your child be on his/her own.

    Pari is lucky to have a mom like you. May you remain the same! 🙂 Amen.


  13. Loved the way how you compared people and their unjust expectations and judgmental attitudes with that of a game of snakes and ladders :).

    Its best ignore such people is what I’d say!

    As for the lovely song you’ve shared, it is what I used to sing to my daughter while putting her to sleep, and still do 🙂


    1. I am glad you could relate to my thoughts…I agree with your suggestion of ignoring the unwanted advises 😀 😀
      The song is among my favs too…welcome here Deeps 😀


  14. everyone thinks it’s their right to poke their nose whenever they see a mum with a baby… Earlier I used to try and convince them otherwise..but now I know better that to shut them up, just nod and walk away 🙂


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