This Monday, my daughter started day care. She goes only for 2 days in a week, as I felt that she will enjoy some social interactions of her age and also have fun. Moreover, it gives me some time and she will learn to gradually wean off staying the whole day at home. Even if I am working from home or step out.
This was the very first time she was in the care of people outside the family. Yes, I was apprehensive as a mother, but not harried and worked up. Thankfully, she took it well and so did I. It is the wonderful temperament of most kids to be easily diverted and we are naturally wired to explore. There will always be actions and ways that have been learnt at home that will continue where ever she goes. I might want her to learn and evolve some, but there are some actions I think she is doing just fine in; such as saying a “thank you” when she takes something from me or anyone else.
One of the actions I don’t insist in her changing is despising eating with her hands. I want her to learn how to eat neatly with her hands and maintain the hygiene. I also want her to master eating with a spoon. The first thing I was asked about in her care was if she ate only with hands and this was asked with some part disgust. Though I didn’t give an explanation as to why she liked to eat with her hand and I didn’t mind as long as she ate and enjoyed her food, but I knew that most Westerners and in this Aussies don’t like to eat with their hands. In many of the conservative nations, other than middle east, some African countries and Indian region, eating with hand is not appreciated.
However, this is changing and people are beginning to realise that there are etiquette involved when eating with hand and only right hand and moreover, it adds a lot to the entire eating experience. As a child I was taught not to drop any food while eating with the hand. Wash my hands prior to eating. Not to let the entire hand, the palm to touch the food. Use only your right hand, even to break the roti/Indian bread. Only use the tips of the fingers and most importantly, take what is needed and never to leave/waste food. These eating habits and etiquette are as important to eating with your hand as it is with eating with cutlery. Moreover, something that my daughter needs to learn in order to appreciate her Indian culture in this world and be comfortable with it, where her next school could be in any country other than India.
I read an interesting article in New York Times to support this and I am glad that people are beginning to look at eating from other non-western perspective too. After all imagine struggling with a knife and fork to eat dosa or roti. It simply kills all the enthusiasm involved in eating.