Parenting: The Stuff They Never Tell You

I am a semi-helicopter mother and not proud of it. Here are some things I’ve gleaned in the past few years of parenting. I’m not sure how helpful this is but for those contemplating marriage and eventually kids, do read this once. It may give you a different perspective (read abstinence or hardcore contraception) or it may reinforce what you see and hear in front of you everyday anyhow.

So..here we go!

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#1 Having a conversation with anyone else barring your child is like being in a boxing match. It goes like this- you speak 1,2,3 and someone jabs you. You try to regain your balance and speak again 1,2,3 and this time it’s an uppercut.

There are rare conversations that you can have without being interrupted; till you decide to give it up and just focus on the kid. And guess what precious nugget comes your way when you do? It’s quite possibly something along the lines of – (imagine it being spoken in all caps) “You know what? My poop is all orange from all the nachos I ate yesterday!!” And you nod helplessly because you hung up on an overseas call with your BFF to hear about your kid’s bodily function.

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#2 Farts are important. If they stink, how loud they are. If you’ve noticed the abovementioned smell and noise. If you haven’t they’ll probably poop their pants trying to squeeze one out that the whole neighborhood can be proud of.

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#3 You have to watch everything you say. Literally. Imagine becoming a psychotic with visual hallucinations where the words you think materialize in front of your face. You reject a few and allow the rest of them to be uttered. If you don’t, the next time you may be subjected to a bout of , ” Gimme a break or a ” Oh for crying out loud!” from a 1st grader because you cut off digital media or pool access at pre-agreed upon times.

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#4 Pool times are deadly. The child *never* remembers that staying for too long in the water causes their skin to prune up. When you tell them their time’s up, they mimic dolphins and scoot away from you.

Wading into the pool and dragging them out leads to yells and screams tantamount to child abduction with people looking at you and your offspring in distaste for causing ripples in their recreation or serenity.

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#5 Some part of the body always hurts during homework or DEEEEP sleep to rival Rip Van Winkle’s comes on in droves and it goes away only when the threat of homework does. And then, the recovery is more miraculous than the walking on water phenomenon! Faster too!

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#6 Waking the child up in the mornings is a drama par excellence. The hands flung over the eyes a la Scarlett O’Hara, the burrowing into the covers like a mole and coiling up smaller and smaller like a worm or a snake makes you gobsmacked! One child going through all these changes in a matter of seconds is nothing short of amazing.

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#7 Say goodbye to your stereo and tv and tablets. The kid rules all and owns all. You don’t come in second. You don’t come in. Period.

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#8 Holiday destinations are decided by where the wild things are. Literally. The continent with the most venomous snakes, biggest crocs makes the cut. Relaxing at a beach? Sure…but can you also see the Inland Taipan or the Tasmanian Devil? No? Then it’s a no-go.

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#9&#10– these two are probably the most annoying IMHO. Your bedroom and your bathroom time are no longer your own. And that’s mystifying because why on earth would someone want to spend so much time talking to you through the bathroom door, wanting to know what you’re doing, when you’re coming out and even going to the extent of shoving their ever-growing drawings of dragons under the door for you to peruse while you’re focused on something entirely different and faar more important.

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They creep you out by looming over you in the weekends; the one time you don’t have to run and bundle them into clothes and catch the school bus. They whisper slowly into your ears, distorting dreams with reality; often shoving tiny fingers up your nose to wake you thoroughly and even body flop on your sleeping, unsuspecting self just to tell you they LOVE YOU. And you feel compelled to reply in kind while you blindly kick out, hoping to connect with that tiny butt and get them the hell out of your sacred sleeping space.

Ah parenting…what a ride!

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Gummy Flashback

8 years ago, someone stepped on the stage for the 1st time. They wore a gummy bear costume for the 1st time too, along with shoes that had laces….something that sadly hasn’t been mastered till date. They had whiskers painted on their tiny, chubby, kissable face and didn’t complain a bit for the long wait before everyone was seated and they got to do their thaang for the parents present in the auditorium.
This gummy bear has come a long way now. No longer chubby, but still cute (when he sleeps though), saying extremely interesting things and mangling up song lyrics with hilarious results.
The home is a louder, funner and definitely more laughter-filled place because someone learnt to shake their booty 6 years ago. Here’s a look through my trip down memory lane…
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Ps&Qs

I constantly swing back and forth from amusement to annoyance when helping my son with his homework. Especially his language homework.

My own language “skills” are middling to not-bad-at-all and my pronunciation of words (especially the word pronunciation) is usually correct. Of course Red did tell me that I’d been pronouncing ‘Audi’ and ‘apropos’ wrong my whole life and then sniggered his pert behind out of the room. In my defence I’ve hardly ever pronounced apropos; mainly used it in my emails and writing so there!

Anyhoo, the offspring gets help with learning his words phonetically. And while saying them out loud every now and then his eyes glaze over and I know he’s in the land where Korra the Avatar exists and his mother’s voice correcting him is a drone that he can relegate to the background and forget. And while doing so he mispronounces a sound he’s been saying 10xs over in the last few minutes. That’s when my angry eyes come into play…

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See, the thing is this…I was taught English (my adopted 1st language) by crusty nuns who had no compunction about rapping delicate young knuckles HARD with their even harder rulers and following that up with DAMN-YOU-TO-HELL looks for mispronouncing words or not speaking the Queen’s English; never mind that the grand dame hadn’t been our queen since well before we were born or the nuns themselves were supposed to embody compassion and not be more like her! Psst….follow arrows down

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My flesh and blood warbles while he reads, fluctuates between accents (courtesy yours truly and Youtube) and affects a sing-song reading style which would have earned me an entire class on my knees had I dared to read things any differently.

For those of us brought up on Wren&Martin ,English (the British variant) correctly isn’t a matter of choice. It’s a way of life. Add to it a few years of English literature classes where you’re liberally applying your penchant for poetry and prose with panache while being taught by teachers wearing a pince nez and you are stuck with correcting peoples’ pronunciation for life.

And you know it’s a bordering a disease when you’re correcting it in your head when you can’t do it aloud.

Alliteratively Yours,

Moi

P.S: This bit from My Fair Lady is rather apt for this post methinks…

Open Wide…

I had written this post on Livejournal, my erstwhile online diary many moons ago. And I remembered the incident which inspired the post during my dental check-up today.

I like to think my threshold of pain is about average. I know I got loud during childbirth but then again you’re expected to so that doesn’t count. Most people fear going to the dentist or any doctor who’s going to look into a body cavity simply because we’re mute spectators and we feel very vulnerable. We have to just lie back and let the doctor do what they will till they are done and we have no idea of how things are going till they deign to enlighten us.

One could argue that going to a cardiologist or a pulmonologist should provoke the same reaction, however it doesn’t always. Those doctors seldom have their hands in our bodies. They prescribe meds, xrays and use a stethoscope or have us undergo activities which tells them how well the organ is doing; or not.

A dentist has the total opposite effect however. They fishhook your mouth to get a better look, their scaling instruments inevitably draw blood; however little and they probe the inside of your mouth- a place seldom visited by anyone else since you were a baby and your parents were teaching you how to brush.

Today, when the dentist was getting the plaque off my teeth, I had nothing to do but wait. She kept taking my face from one grimace to another the way she kept pulling my lips this way and that and it was annoying.

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Like someone had more control over my face than I did. It’s like you’re a puppet in someone’s hands and there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s worse when you go to a gynecologist or a proctologist because you’re most vulnerable in that pose and hoping the doctor tells you that all’s well.

Anyhow, I kept thinking how my tonsils looked and if the doctor was getting bored while doing a “standard cleaning” without any challenges like rotting teeth, halitosis and tooth extractions to keep things interesting for her.

I thought about Darla from Finding Nemo-

I composed some blog posts in my head, wondered why they didn’t play muzak in the doctor’s office and how long it would take me to get home during the morning office rush. And then we were done.

Rinse. Wipe. Repeat. And leave the doctor’s office with instructions to floss more regularly than I had been till now.

Finis.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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When The Males Go the Ice Cream Route

Normally we find depictions of girls and women gorging themselves on ice cream as a way to take away the blues or mend a broken heart. Well we find that in depictions of life in the Americas or the non-Asian part of the world.

Indian women, with their funkier palate eat deep fried grub, things served with liquids of dubious origins et al but on the whole, ice cream works. It really works. Especially the ones with the semi-liquidy, fudgy centers…ummmmmm. But getting back to the matter at hand, even males are resorting to drowning their sorrows in ice cream when they feel the twinges of heartache and gloom.

Case in point- MLM and his usual playmate (a 4.5 yr old girl) who we are going to call A were playing happily when another girl arrived on the scene. Let’s call her S. Now A almost exclusively plays with MLM and might have wanted a change. Who doesn’t? And S was without her usual posse and came upon MLM&A and wanted some girl time so she and A hooked up. Where was MLM you ask? Sidelined. Without a glance.

Now before you get onto your ‘awwws’ for him I want you to know that when he came to know A he kind of severed all ties with the rest of the buddies he had and only occasionally stooped to say a hi and hello. So he kind of had it coming but given that they’re all kids and kinda dumb about life we’ll overlook all social transgressions.

So he trudged home, told me he was sad and had a big, pouty underlip to prove it. He moped here and there and finally zeroed in on the freezer and picked up a small tub of ice cream, picked up the biggest shovel-like serving spoon we had at home carved out a chunk of the ice cream that left only a teaspoon of it in the bottom of the tub.

When I came rushing into the kitchen to stop him, he made his most determined “fake-sad” face and said “I need ALLLLL to this to feel better”.

Whaddya gonna do? So I grabbed a spoon and joined in…I wasn’t about to let double chocolate chip get away from me!

Cheers!

 

Here Comes The Tough Stuff

Quite a few times it’s happened that I wrote something but couldn’t publish it because my inner crazy lady didn’t allow for anything to get sent out unless the requisite tags and categories had been ticked off. While cleaning up the blogging space, I’ve come across stuff I’ve left half-written, written but unedited or written with just the publishing bit left. This is one of them.”

The offspring is in Upper KG or Pre-primary-2. It’s the step before 1st grade commences from next year.

Last year, any homework he was given was just over the weekend and it was a rehash of the stuff done over the weekend. A minimal rehash. This year he’s getting homework almost everyday. Which isn’t a bad thing because 1st grade will come with homework assignments for multiple subjects irrespective of what kind of prior academic background the child may have.

Only, the problem isn’t with homework per se. It’s with *what’s* given as homework. It would seem that the little man is anti-Hindi handwriting practice and pattern writing.

I should explain that anything repetitive which seems non-fun from the beginning is entirely unlikely to hold his interest for more than a few seconds.

So we try to build up his interest by getting a fun pencil box, erasers, sharpeners…the works. Or rather as much as a kid in primary school is likely to require. And what does he do? He wants to sharpen his pencils down to nubs because the shavings can be made into flowers. He wants to scribble on his homework notebook because then he gets to erase and as all know how much fun that is!

When I tried to show him how to write his letters he stiffened his hand into near rigor mortis mode. Of course put a plate of cookies next to the same hand and Lo! and Behold! Resurrection occurs and a small hand reaches for the chocolate chips yummies at lightening speed!

Sheesh!

Waterloo-Circa 2014

Quite a few times it’s happened that I wrote something but couldn’t publish it because my inner crazy lady didn’t allow for anything to get sent out unless the requisite tags and categories had been ticked off. While cleaning up the blogging space, I’ve come across stuff I’ve left half-written, written but unedited or written with just the publishing bit left. This is one of them.”

Ordinarily I am a card-carrying agnostic but today I am ready to drop to my knees and give thanks to the Galactic Amoeba if it means that MLM will conk off early and give me a wide berth while he does so.

Today has been mind-numbingly exhausting and I have begun to think that I’ve lost my temper for the last time with no clear roadmap to find it again. I just wanted MLM restrained in one place. And since they don’t have straitjackets in preschooler size…well you get my drift.

Some days are so extraordinarily taxing that you end up questioning what the heck you thought you were getting into when you were happy to see those 2 little red lines. Let me illustrate…I’ve had dinosaurs in my food, in my coffee, in front of my face, going up my nose, peeking into my ear, poking in my gluteus maximus and all because I sought to foster his love for the wretched reptiles by buying him more dino figures to boost his pretend play and keep him from the evils of the idiot box! *bangs head against the wall*

Right about now I have no problem if he turns into a tater tot on his way to becoming a couch potato if it means I’ll get 2 minutes of peace while I use the loo.

Till then I’ll give my knees some workout and pray for sleep…

“He that sleeps feels not the tooth-ache.”
Cymbeline (5.4.176)

Or the aches brought on by the force of nature in the guise of a child!

Image courtesy-garthandkaceyhamilton.blogspot.com