A highly caffeinated and enthusiastic mother greets her only offspring first thing in the morning.
Seeing the zombie walk, the groggy look and the utterly gorgeous lashes fan his cheeks she chirps,” Oh why are you so beautiful?!!”. And the child replies, “Because you made me.” “You bet your ass I made you!” “Hey! You said ASS!! “You bet your ass I did!”
Such is the love fueled by the Almighty Joe. *does we’re not worthy* and silently bows out of the room.
There comes a time in every parent’s life (mainly the mothers) where they realise that their child is more like a cartoon character than they previously realized. It’s not always a happy realization. Imagine telling yourself, “Crap. I gave birth to Woody Woodpecker.”
Some people have trouble being cooped up. Even if it isn’t in a tiny space and even if they don’t suffer from claustrophobia.
Take my kid for example…sitting still is a challenge. He’d rather be running his mouth and legs off all at once and flit between shadowing bowling, getting jiggy with it and talking his distracted head off.
We’re on a train right now and off to visit my folks for the holidays and am wondering why we didn’t splurge on flight tickets instead. Spending time with our children is seriously overrated at times.
We have a comfy cabin and everything but it’s not big enough to bounce hyperactive balls on, or take a running lead and pretend to bowl out a phantom batsman playing cricket among other things.
Seeing him go through stages of being slightly tolerable to obviously obnoxious, I was reminded of the days when I used to work and he was in kindergarten. His school transport would drop him off at my office and between me and my colleagues, someone would keep him busy while I got on calls or spoke to clients or sent out emails; often at the speed of light just to be able to wind up everything super quick and get him back home
One day I was on a fairly important call with a team we wanted to partner up with while offering our services and an-almost 4 year old decided that post going to the loo he no longer wanted to wear his pants and wanted to moon all the people I worked with instead.
The person I was talking to was droning on and on, not letting me get a word in edge-wise so I couldn’t hang up either and this is the scenario that played out: an irate and striving-to-appear professional woman chased a half-naked kid around her office and hissed at him sotto voce to put his pants back on immediately while uh-huhing with a guy who was tripping on his own voice.
Finally I think I bellowed to a kid who was on top of a kiddy ladder and about to bounce onto a foam mat to behave himself and put his pants back on or he was going to get spanked!
There was an immediate pin drop silence from the phone while a semi-naked little boy flew through the air, giggled his butt off and again ran off to do something else that would make the veins pop on his mother’s head.
The call was hastily wound up and a new time scheduled. The new call went by in a blink, we kept to the main points and even skipped the pleasantries entirely. The synergy took place, bumbums were covered up and the world was at peace again.
Doesn’t make sense? Or oddly enough, it totally does? Whatever be the case this is the story behind it.
My sister from her own parents and I met in college 21 years ago and since then had made countless plans to go travelling together. Over the years, decades really, we have visited each other many times but never been able to get ‘our own trip’ off the ground. With a milestone birthday coming up for both of us, hers before mine, we decided that tomorrow never comes and today is what it’s all about….so a girls’ trip is taking place. One which isn’t falling through!
For the past 5 months we’ve bored the spouses thoroughly discussing places to visit and then what to do when we get there. And after 5 months of researches, plans and spending more time chatting and talking to each other than we have in all these years combined (time zones be damned!), the day is finally arrived…I’m enroute and she’s going to be starting off soon as well.
With Red happily pushing me out the door this morning and saying “Don’t calling me, you’re on vacation”, I’ve completed one leg of the journey and am about to start on the second leg shortly. The flight started with a surprise upgrade to better seats and deliciously-warm and eau-de-cologne scented towel to pushing all the seat buttons to see what each one did. Tt’s a gleeful time! I’m fairly sure I bounced once or twice.
Of course, me being me, I met my share of “interesting” people along the way as ever. Starting with the airport security guard who saw my ticket and got enthused because he’s a huge soccer fan and am off to a major soccer hub, to the elderly Arabic gent who kept tutting disapprovingly at the violent movie and booze that I consumed right in front of him, it’s been quite fun.
P.S: Reached Barcelona and had one of my country people as my cab driver. Waiting for the other half to arrive so we can finally kick things off good and proper!
The month of August is usually quite festive in this household. Both Red and TO have birthdays. Incidentally both had milestone birthdays this year- their 40th and 10th. Needless to say, the 10th birthday brouhaha was everything that it should be. Between 2 cakes spanning the loves of his life aka cricket and reptilian monsters which Hollywood makes tons of money out of; this child was left delirious with joy.
We also thought we should start a phase where the gifts would come in only from family and To start associating birthdays more with the fun factor, memories to be made rather than gifts to be counted. Check back with me next year to see how far we’ve come down this road.
By contrast the 40-year old baby’s day was fairly low-key because Red had already done a stag trip to Oz at the start of the year and wasn’t in the mood to enter his naughty 40s with a bang (‘cuse the pun) in the presence of his in-laws and his father all at once! Hopefully this weekend we’ll be able to engage in some amount of indulgence for the grey and dignified Java God.
We’ve also come a bit of a distance as a family as well. Getting TO settled into another academic year comes with its own set of ups and downs and some amount of anxiety on our parts…chiefly mine. Apparenty when your kid becomes a fifth grader, everyone’s focus gets onto punting the child up to the next grade in middle school and the whole year ends up being a prep for the latter. Phew!
However, striking a balance is what we manage to hack for the most part so not too worried on that front. Being an Indian parent, it goes against the grain to *not* worry about your child’s academics or their potential areas of excellence. After all, what would we put up on our social networks if it weren’t for updates of the child taking newer and greater strides in some or the other field. Of course there are the endless selfies with the puckered up face that most of us instinctively seem to excel at.
Speaking of which, I have rediscovered Snapchat with a vengeance! The initial disdain at the airbrushed faces and the boughs of flowers over the head-filters has melted away and I quite enjoy looking at a smooooooth, blemish-free face and have realized that I wish my eyes were a nice irridescent color and not the browns that I’m destined to sport life long.
TO on the other hand has gone so deep down the rabbit hole of cricket that I’m afraid he’s lost to the non-cricket loving junta. Luckily for him, he has a father with exceptional hand-eye co-ordination and inclination to listen to his soliloquies on the subject instead of the mother who looks for a pile of cushions to dive under to stop the flow of words from battering her already battered mind.
Red as always is the buffer between the two excitable entities that live in this house. He stays calm and collected and only loses his shit during tennis and cricket matches.
So as we gear up for a season of festivities over the next two months, am just happy that all the important stuff is getting ticked off properly and we’re back to the mundane bit where I just have to drag a kid out of bed and boot his behind out of the house on a regular basis and phone the husband with the usual, “when are you going to be home?” spiel. Bliss.
For anyone who’s wondering about the sudden jumps in the numbers on the blog posts, let’s just put it down to outright artist license and move onto the good stuff. Here’s another post which brought a smile to my face because life has interesting ways of teaching us lessons..
Vengeance is mine, and I will repay.”
Or something to that extent I imagine must have passed by an old chappie’s lips when four loud, boisterous kids from his neighborhood would filch his precious stack of clothes pins and make them disappear day after day..
The more he complained to his neighbors (the parents of the brats) the more clips kept disappearing. They’d go off the clothes line and end up in the oddest places, like the water tank. Which after a point of time seemed to verily have more clips lying at the bottom than coins in the Trevi Fountain!
Anyhow, he’d rant and rave and often cuss at them, not that they gave a hoot! It was fun to see the crusty old man finally move his potato sack of a body off the swing and lumber after them. Else it was the swing where he sat, day after day and made it squeak and squeak as if it was his life’s purpose.
The brats didn’t know that the irritable man who always told on them was actually retired and wanted nothing more to sit on his swing and sip from his stainless steel glass of booze that would remain undetected in that wettest of dry lands. So the sight of children causing a ruckus put a cramp in his guzzling plans indeed! And if he stayed compliant and ignored them, he would have to face the task of answering his not so little woman who would wonder about the regular disappearance of her clothes pins.
Cut to present day- one of the brats is grown up now. Somewhat. When she finished her laundry today and went to hang up the innumerable little things that her child goes through daily, she found that she was YET AGAIN short of clipsies..! How she gnashed her teeth and wished that for once her beloved dumpling would throw something else off the balcony or find other things to confiscate instead of the oh-so important clips…
And while seething and doubling up the clothes (since there weren’t enough clips to go around) she thought of a curmudgeon whose clips she and her fine companions would to love to chuck into the water tank or use as marks to get badams off the tree.
And then it came home to her…what goes around definitely comes around. And there was plenty more coming her way…!
Another one that caught my eye from the days of yore…
Right from the time my son was born, I was struck by how delicate he was. I knew babies are vulnerable and helpless but this one seemed to embody those qualities and more. He was a thin baby, weighing just on this side of an acceptable birth weight but he never lacked spunk.
That ‘scrawny’ baby’s learnt to run now and also balance himself on his toes to reach heights hitherto out of his reach.
One thing that’s absolute about children is that you NEVER know what they’ll do next. If you think there’s a line they haven’t crossed yet, they always manage to cross it and then some! So if you threaten your kid with that ‘last straw that breaks the camel’s back’, you’d better be prepared to have a whole herd of camels waiting out there because your offspring will find plenty more straws and with it plenty of camels’ backs too.
I used to think of little children (infant to toddler stage) as being fragile but it’s us as parents who’re the fragile ones. The kids are resilient and how! They fall, they bleed, they sprout bumps here, there and everywhere and they still keep going even after the tears have left tracks on their face.
And speaking of tracks, while you may not need therapy to get over the minor cuts and nicks on your child; it definitely takes some doing to see your child hurt and you not being able to prevent it. And some things do stay with you. Whether it makes you a better parent or a hovering one is anyone’s guess.
And by the time you’re over the initial trauma and your monkey is again gallivanting off for newer places to fall down from; you tell them what’s sure to become your motto in life- “Don’t cry! You wanna cry? I’ll give you something to cry about if you dare do something like this (fill in blank with your pet peeves about your kid) ever again!!!”
And you go on. Both of you…sometimes with one chipped tooth, a brief black and blue mark and you with a near-paranoid obsession for stuff your child could hurt yourself on again. But you do go on.
And before you know it, they’re onto newer things, more things they could make hurtful for themselves and with you still trying to be their life-long safety net and catch them before they fall. But that’s not to be…what is to be their ever-growing curiosity, activity and ability to bounce back each time.
Amen to that! The rest will keep I suppose 🙂
P.S: At the time of this blog being posted MLM’s graduated to TO and has had 3 surgical interventions (nothing critical) which includes one broken hand being reset. And we’re still chugging along! Phew…
Red doesn’t value my opinion in many things. Par for course since he’s a husband. But my choice in music (Hindi, loud and boisterous to some throat warbling that I’m ok to listen to), movies and books is where his skepticism is the highest. I can honestly say he reads stuff that’s lightyears away from being on my radar. He reads fiction, non-fiction both but it’s a bit cerebral for me. I’m more of the whodunnit, whytheydunnit and aretheygonnacatchwhodunnit– kinda person.
Now I have a friend who he gets along with quite well. She’s smart. She READS. And she doesn’t read fluff- some of the traits that have endeared her to him more than others of my circle. A few days ago I happened to see a book reco from this friend of mine and ordered it because it seemed like something Red would enjoy and I wouldn’t have to tax my fluff-lovin’ brain much either.
I’d just told Red that I ordered a book for him and his eyes widened in alarm! I had to tell him who reco’d it and he started breathing normally again. Sheesh! You give a guy Beloved to read once and he holds it against you for life! And this from a guy who enthusiastically read about ‘electric sheep‘! Bleh.
This post is more than 13 years old and when I was apparently going through an e.e.cummings phase:
the last 2 days have been quite a lot of fun. reason? took my parents shopping. it went something like this- Me-ma why are you eyeing that suit ka kapda? you want it? Ma-na re. expensive and i dont really need it now( eyeing it summore) Me-mum! stop ogling it already and take it. Ma-noooo. i dont need it now…have enough suits. Me-but you dont have this color, oh lord! wait, i’ll get the drool bucket! Ma-beshi bokish na( zyaada mat bolo!) but the color does catch your eye doesnt it? Me-mammaaaaa, he’s about to make the bill, it’s a lovely color, you dont have it.BUY IT NOW OR FOREVER HOLD YOU PEACE! Ma-why do you have to dramatise everything to this extent.i dont want you to spend so much on a suit right now. i said no. Me-ok. calm down. i wont force it on you if you dont want it. Ma-dint i say i dint want it. Me-ok bhaiyya, we wont take it. baaki sab ka bill bana do. Sales guy-ok ma. amma you want the blue one? Me-no she doesnt, she said she doesnt want it. Ma-such a fuss.FINE! if you insist…bhaiyya, usko bhi bill mein jod do. (turning to me)-not a word out of you and DONT TELL YOU FATHER!!!!
Last nite with the pater- Me-this is for you! surprise!! you may thank me now. Baba-is this black? you KNOW i dont wear black! it’s got front to back embroidery. it’s too much! M-it’s not baba, you dont have something of this kind. Ma& i thought you’d look gooood in it. B-it’s BLACK! M-it’s not. take it out of the cover and see it in the light and you’ll find that it’s… B-ok it’s blue but what are all these triangles? M-it’s made from jute and the latest style. B-alright,alright. dont breathe down my neck. let’s go the shop and let me see if anything catches my eye. M-alright. exchange it. why bother that your only offspring went and bought it for you out of love and affection. B-uff! chup thaak ma. M-maaaaaaaaaa. baba’s being mean.
so off went the happy family to the dukaan. once inside- B-can you show me all the dull,no-jhango colors and designs you have?( that’s what he meant i know it!) Salesman- sir, yada yada yada. B-NOT THIS ONE! it’s black. it’ll make me look like a sabarimala pilgrim! M-how many of those ppl do you know that wear 1800 ka kurtas to the pilgrimage? B-chup! after many agonizing minutes later. B-i think i’ll keep the one you bought, the salesman said it’s the latest design and i really dont have anything of this type. and i think i’ll take the black one also. it kind of grows on you after a while. it has a certain class to it. AND DONT TELL YOUR MOTHER!!! M-of course not! once we got home- M-maaaaaaaaaaa! guess what baba did. you 2 deserve each other..fickle shoppers. god gimme strength!