Parenting Bloopers#1

I’ve often mentioned the focus on English language that was given during my education. That I also ended up studying English literature during my undergrads was of no surprise to many.

One of the things we’ve been taught over the years, in appreciation of poetry and prose, is the figures of speech that add that little extra sumthin’ to the written word. It would be fair to say figures of speech figure heavily in my speech. That was an example of a pun just fyi and probably something else but my ever-present brain fog prevents me from figuring out what exactly.

Alrighty, enough of punning…yesterday on our way back from his cricket practice TO exclaimed loudly that his stomach was “fully empty”. My years of being at the beck and call of my education rose to the occasion and I mumbled something about an oxymoron while trying to park between a pillar and another car. It was purely reflexive on my part but I forgot about the ears of a fox that children have when they’re about to get the wrong end of something. Pat came the repartee, “You’re the oxymoron!”

And for a rare moment, I was speechless.

If only my teachers could see me now…

Aftermath of a Movie

We watch one movie as a family every week. We usually do it on Friday nights since it’s a good way to bring in the weekend for TO. And since it’s usually a family movie, we all end up being either parts of “awwww” or “siggghhhs” or just have lots of laugh-out-loud moments.

With TO growing up the focus is moving onto movies which aren’t always in the kiddy genre although this topics are usually not too varying. Just the presentation of it changes from time to time. Last night he chanced upon Pacific Rim after I had nixed all the horror movies as being unsuitable. I had done in thinking about all the what-ifs he gets into when he sees the paranormal stuff apart from the fear which lingers when he sees scary stuff. With Pacific Rim I thought we’re on safe and familiar territory with Kaijus, sea creatures, aliens and people protecting the Earth.

I was W-R-O-N-G. So so so W-R-O-N-G.

He LOVED the movie. He was entertained. Mission accomplished. And then came bedtime. It kind of went like this:

TO– “Ayu, the last one that came out of the Breach…it was that 5 thing right? Me– Yeah, a Category 5 Kaiju (yawns widely). TO: Is there a Category 6 one also (more than a hint of hopefulness in his voice). Me: Baby why don’t YOU draw a Category 6 Kaiju the way you think it should look like TOMORROW. Good night!

TO (even more excitedly): What if that happens…IN REAL LIFE??!! Me: Not going to happen. It was a movie. Got to sleep (does air kisses and none of the kisses connect due to an extremely sleepy mother’s bad hand-eye co-ordination). TO: (wide awake) You don’t know that! It was an INTER-DIMENSIONAL portal Ayu. It could exist!

Me: Look, no portal exists under the Pacific Ocean that will let alien beings from other dimensions come back and attack us. And even if it did, the movie showed us how to defeat them so don’t worry about it. We’re good. TO: I’m not worried! We’re gonna NUKE the suckas! Me: (in my head) DAYUM! That movie choice backfired, didn’t it?”

And the chattering went on till I slept off. I could still hear him going on and going as his voice faded into the distance

(Excerpt taken from one of the seemingly endless conversations between a boy and his mother)

Note to self: NEVER underestimate the power ugly, sea-aliens who spit neon blue acid will have on your child. We’re back to Ninja Turtles.

PS: I also blame the distributors of Deep Blue Sea 2. If your movie was available to stream or rent and not just buy online we’d never back gone to this movie.

Ye Gods…

Problematic Pet Peeves

I was largely educated in convent schools where wooden rulers and thick books (Wren&Martin) flew through the air and landed on unsuspecting hands and back with unfailing frequency. They were almost always accompanied by beady-eyed looks of utter disapproval and disappointment by nuns sporting sparse to scary amounts of mouthbrows. Yikes!

Add to that my father’s continuous litany of ‘Perfection Is NOT an accident!!’ and you have a person who is a bit uptight about her language and the way it gets expressed.

Red has some lovely memories of me scrunching up my face going ‘what the..!’ during the time we were dating; they usually involved something he said which I knew was pronounced differently and it was *quite* a task not correcting him then or even now.

This is not to say my spoken English or English comprehension is sublime. It’s good, that’s all there is to it. And given the number of girls who studied with me, there are hundreds of us out there with a good level of competency in their English grammar, syntax and expression.

But habits die hard. Good or bad; they really do die hard. So when I come back from the gym achy, sweaty, wondering why the space below my knees feels like it’s tied up in knots and my kid, seeing me for the first time in the day, starts talking by using double negatives…the experience is just GAH!!

Sadly, I’m not sure what the more painful part of that whole thing is.

Duodecim

TO turned 12 recently and barring the beginnings of a slight sprinkling of hair on his upper lip, am seeing very few signs of him growing up per se. There are plusses and minuses to this as can be expected. Let’s tackle the minuses first so I can get them out of my system; for now.

  1. He’s SUCH a kid even now! I can’t fathom one conversation that happens without him “but-but-but-ing” all through and interrupting us in his hurry to speak up.
  2. He’s still quite self-indulgent. ‘I’ features predominantly in his speech.
  3. He’s still quite naive about life overall and is fanciful (not entirely a minus in my book).
  4. He’s deeply embraced the tween life and is giving us a look into what teenage angst is- for the parents.

Now the plusses-

  1. He’s become quite independent wrt his needs- has turned on the stove by himself to make a snack; all without burning the house down.
  2. Is gradually learning to make tough choices from time to time- when to choose the high road and when to get down&dirty and spew *#@&E$&^#$ during the bust-ups. In case it wasn’t clear- the former is the plus here and not the latter but if I had to look for a silver lining it would be that his vocabulary’s grown!
  3. Is more understanding of our shortcomings as parents and people overall.
  4. Is a kind person and quick to forgive.

Note: I still had to tell him a little while ago that if it doesn’t look like food, don’t put it in your mouth.

S-I-G-H….

Gaah! A Pre-Teen Lives In My House

The brat is officially a preteen effective yesterday. He’s also officially a slightly bigger brat than he was before. I was telling Red that it’s as if I gave birth to a Valley Girl instead of a kid living in South India. But am told the rolling eyes, the general disdain for any parental advise and touchiness which goes from 0-100 in a nanosecond, is just a teaser of the years that will follow from next year onwards.

Harking back to my own tweens or teens- there wasn’t much of a differentiator there to be honest. It’s not that I was a model child but when I checked with my mom about the stuff that I did or didn’t do, she simply said that I did what was expected because there wasn’t any other option! And that seems heavenly for me now as a parent.

Our kids have OPTIONS! They shouldn’t. Not much anyhow. In a nutshell; I think keeping them alive, getting medical intervention when they’re unwell and basically making sure they don’t look like hobos looking for handouts is what’s needed. So the access to Netflix and every other kind of OTT, the choice of vacation locations amongst other new fangled expectations is the icing on the supremely expensive, uber rich and delicious cake that parenting the Get Zs has become.

Earlier a cake with a cherry on top was considered having arrived. Now there’s frosting (coloured), cherries, sprinkles (also coloured) and no nuts (allergies) on top of a triple layered chocolate layer which has chocolate ganache and chocolate flavoured butter cream frosting!

But seriously, it’s a mixture of difficulty+absolutely dafuqery parenting kids these days. TO’s taken to grumbling and mumbling snark at us more frequently these days. The ‘tude is crossing newer levels as well and I’m quite sure if these kids are not reigned in, we’ll all be facing a world there the adults have been taken hostage (properly this time around) and the small to mid-sized hoomans are ruling the roost and we’re all basically doing room service 24/7!

The plusses, if there are such things, are that you pretty much know what your kids are feeling. Not thinking, because thinking is all about screen time, games and self-indulgent things which make you want to slap them upside their head! The kids these days express A LOT.

Whether its angst, joy, anxiety, vulnerability..they express things at the drop of a pin. Sometimes while the pin is dropping even. Some more than others and as a parent from a generation where this level and extent of expression was relatively rare and therefore not encouraged much; it can take a lot of doing to have to discipline your child and then have a beady-eyed kid look you straight in the eye (yes, I am *that* short) and tell you that he’s very disappointed with the disciplining process and how it played out.

You try to take the moral higher ground only to have that smh-look leveled at you and before you know it the balance of power that was so firmly in your grasp is now slipping out like an eel and you are grasping desperately in front of a kid who’s poopy diaper you changed not so long ago.

So parents to Gen Z’ers…load up! It’s a bumpy road ahead but give thanks for the night when the imps…I mean our beautiful children sleep like they used to as babies and the remote is finally back in our hands. AMEN!

Color Me Vengeful!

TO and Red have their little skirmishes from time to time. It mainly arises from TO growing into his teenhood and Red being the perennial good cop who realises that he can also be the bad cop from time to time instead of punting it to me.

This morning’s conversation with TO brought to light a streak of vengeance that seems runs a mile wide especially when it comes to someone who done him wrong. We’ve been pretty strict in enforcing bedtime routines since TO has difficulty getting up in the morning and going for his online classes.

Yes, it does sound ironical that a child can get up without too much rancour and board the school bus at 7am for his in-person classes but treats getting up by 8 am to join a class that starts at 8:20 am, just a few feet awake from where he’s been sleeping as a task akin to that of the Labor of Hercules!

Anyhoo, Red’s had a slight sore throat since yesterday and we let him sleep late this morning. When TO got up, I asked him to go check in on Red and ask him if he wanted a cup of hot coffee to make his throat feel better and immediately the temperature fell a few degrees and a very somber and frowny child turned me to and said, “I don’t think he deserves his coffee! He was up till late watching tv when he should have gone to bed. He has his work in the morning too! He sent me off to bed saying I have classes and he stayed up late…that’s what gave him the sore throat probably too! Does he really deserve our loyalty Ayu?”

Whoever coined the phrase about hell hathing (yeah yeah I know what I wrote) no fury like a woman scorned clearly didn’t factor in children who have had their screen time cut down by parents who then binged on their own shows without thinking about getting caught! I mean to deprive one of coffee as a punishment…oh the agony!