Jittery Nerves

The day the school reopened after summer holidays, Pari brought home a circular about a recitation competition in a week’s time and the elimination round in 2 days.

In the Internet age, finding a poem matching the guidelines isn’t tough. But while making the final choice like always I consulted Pari as to which one she liked best (much against my mum’s protests) and we had a poem ready to be learnt.

As the school had emphasized no props would be allowed, it all boiled down to the child’s recitation skills, memory, confidence, actions and the like. This is where Pari and me part ways. She is the cool, confident, composed one while I’m a freaking out, jittery parent, worrying endlessly for a recitation competition of a 4-year-old.

Reciting the poem twice and Pari was done. She wouldn’t practice a third time and off she went to play leaving me wondering if she’ll be able to recite it well during the elimination round. The following day, she declined all my requests for rehearsal and went straight to school. Surprisingly enough Pari was selected to recite on the final day.

This time around I wanted her to practice well before the day of the competition but Pari was her calm, casual self, doing what she likes, practiced twice and done with it. Though I was tempted to push my child I somehow resisted (with great difficulty). In my heart, I was imagining myself in Pari’s shoes with my mother making me practice repeatedly. I’d fail to sleep well at night, bitten by the anxiety bug and a simple poetry recitation felt like a Hollywood screen-test to me at Pari’s age. I have always been a curious case of stage fright going cold, shaky, pale just before stepping on the stage and on many occasions forgetting my lines or mixing them up.

β€œI am inundated with feeling. I feel like a pinball machine on tilt. All the buzzers are ringing, lights are flashing, and I am about to fry my circuits. Nothing is coming in,and nothing is going out. I feel electrified. The wires ignited, sparked, and fizzled. I want it all to slow down. I go right to the water to douse my flame.” –Β  Holly A. Smith

But my daughter is different. She slept well, got up on time and went about the morning like any other day. I was watching her closely, trying to warm up to her positive energy, working on tempering my anxious self and learn a tip or two from my offspring.

There is something so calming, comforting in Pari’s confident demeanour that I can feel her positive energy envelop me in its warm embrace. Pacify me in a reassuring way. Something similar happened that morning too.


I spent a busy day but at the back of my mind, I had this good feeling that Pari will do well in the competition irrespective of whether she wins a prize or not. That afternoon when she got back from school, she had no clue as to who had won and on being asked how did she go, she told me she’d recited exactly the way I had taught her. This reply left me baffled, wondering if I had done enough in making her put her best foot forward.

Later in the afternoon, Pari confided in me that as she was the first person to recite, she got a little nervous and missed out doing a few actions (that I’d taught her) though the recitation had gone well. It confused me further but I decided to put it all behind me learning my lessons well.

The following afternoon when Pari got home from school, I checked her bag for the home work and guess what popped out. A certificate. Pari had won the second prize and when I asked her, she said she’d forgotten to mention it to me in her familiar calm manner.

While I learn so much from my own trepidations, priceless lessons of keeping my nerves in control come from my child. I can’t stop being amazed by how Pari manages to control anxiety and exhilaration from swamping her like it does to me.

Picture Source: theberry.com

The song on my mind: Ek pyar ka nagma hai ~ Shor

23 thoughts on “Jittery Nerves

  1. fabulus1710

    Damn, if I were to get a second place in any competition, I would have gone home quietly and not said a word about it ever again!
    It’s good that Pari has good control over her nerves at such a young age. It will surely help in the years to come. A little more practice, and more recitation competitions, and I sincerely hope she becomes a pro at public speaking! πŸ™‚


    1. I am a very lax parent as far winning prizes go. My sole concentration is on making my child prepare well and perform her best. I generally don’t lay emphasis on the prize won to help Pari see how important participation is irrespective of (any) prize won.
      I’m hoping she’ll outdo her mother in all fields, public speaking included. Thank you for the good wishes fabulus, they mean a lot πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. She is going to be a lovely person. I loved the whole episode and how her strengths gave you a chance to overcome your nervousness. And this is all your fabulous upbringing πŸ™‚


    1. I’m learning heaps of lessons from Pari everyday, it helps to see things from her perspective because then I am not left acting solely on my whims.
      Thank you Parul πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations to Pari on bagging a prize at the competition. Congratulations to you too.

    It’s a great quality to be able to stay calm even under pressure. Encourage Pari to remain just like that. A very useful quality that will always hold her in good stead.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally agree with you TH. I am glad to have a cool-headed kid in the house when my nerves can drive me crazy for things that don’t really matter in the long run.
      Thank you so much dear πŸ™‚


  4. Arjun

    I’ve been following your blog for a while now. Can’t believe little Pari has grown up so much. And congratulations on the second prize. I guess parents do get over anxious when it comes to they children but it is in their own good interest. Thank you for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Arjun for breaking the silence and choosing to comment after being around for a long time πŸ™‚
      Not sure about all parents but I tend to get anxious pretty easily. Learning to stay calmer from my daughter, one nano step at a time.
      Thank you for the wishes, Arjun.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Totally agree Dixita, Pari loves being free to choose and she has an air of judgement I can seldom fathom. I’m working on trusting my 4-year-old’s judgments over time.
      Thank you dear πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I often wonder how could an anxious person like me have given birth to such a calm and composed child like her. I totally agree that kids are strange and have a way of surprising us every now & then.
      Thank you Tulika πŸ™‚


  5. Sara

    Wow. This was such an eye opener for me. I might not relate to this but parents get quite competitive and tend to start pushing kids forgetting what exactly they are trying to teach. In my opinion this competition is actually a fun thing, where us adults tend to forget and try to burden more than those little shoulders can carry. For me this post is also a lesson on not to take life too seriously and get sucked so much that the intention or purpose behind it is forgotten. Because if you do, the consequences can be quite bitter.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree Sara, in real life participation is all that matters. Giving your best shot is the way to go but taking the result too seriously does more harm than good.


  6. Loved the account, Era. Kids these days are pretty confident. So glad to read about Pari. I used to be a regular here. Realized how much I’ve missed reading your posts. Will catch up, slowly, Era. πŸ™‚


    1. Welcome back after the break Uma πŸ™‚
      I too have been on and off blogging many times in the past years but glad to re-connect.
      I agree, kids today are better informed and more sorted than I was at Pari’s age.


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