Living with a teenager is quite like living with an overly opinionated, randomly emo, rather ignorant, squaking parrot who you love to bits but want to silence by throwing a tarp over.
My family lived in the US briefly, many years ago. Prior to that life was smaller in many ways. There were no 75 channels on tv and there certainly was no Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Presidents Day and what have you.
We had Children’s Day where we most certainly did not get to escape from school; were “nudged” into elocution or essay competitions eulogizing the first Prime Minister of India. We had Teacher’s Day where the teachers got a break..sort of. The place I did my middle school from, had the 10th graders dress up in sarees or salwar kameez and the younger classes were allocated to us to manage while the teachers had a break for a day. Lunch was organized for them and there were no classes on that day for anyone. Good times all around. But the concept of Mother’s Day being a thing and a big one at that is something I got to know when I was in 3rd grade. Still a newbie of sorts to American life.
Our teacher who had an unfortunate way of looking strict while she wasn’t too bad in real life had us make little accessories for our mothers. Small pieces of what looks like particle wood to me now were available for us to color on and then a pin would be glued on the back and it would make a lovely brooch for our moms.
In theory so many things sound good. Doable even, but give a bunch of kids glue and craft products especially a goggle-eyed one from India who is new to the concept of pipe cleaners and googly eyes and you get something like this-
My mother in her infinite wisdom *never* wore this except for the time I gave it to her. Given that she had nothing which would offset this and she never went trick or treating either, this brooch was consigned to her drawer of special things, displayed prominently but sensibly not worn.
She preserved this, possibly as a reminder to herself that Art and her daughter were not intended to be friends. Over the years I’ve got a laugh out of jiggling the brooch so the eyes jump up and down but for the most part this work of art remains misunderstood and has more depth than anyone has possibly gauge.
Happy Mother’s Day all!
The car mats have got pretty dirty and I wanted to wash them out before we stepped out next. It’s a simple task actually…use a hand shower or a forceful spray to get the initial layer of dirt and dust off, sprinkle a bit of detergent on the mats, let them soak for a few minutes and use a hard scrub brush to get as much of the residual dirt off and let it dry out. Including soaking, the whole thing takes about 20 minutes unless you’re like my father who would probably want some bleaching agent to make the mats look clean and new.
Imagine me doing all of the above and asking TO for one teensy little help viz opening up the foldable drying rack so I could put the mats on it to dry out. But what is teensy in my world is unfathomable in his so our conversation went something like this: Me: “Baby please open up the clothing stand and keep the side flaps straight (they are adjustable in case we need some height).” TO: HUH?!! Me: Can you open up the clothes drying stand and keep the sides absolutely straight so I can dry the mats? TO: I don’t understand...Me: What don’t you understand (washing, scrubbing going on simultaneously)? TO: What’s the clothes drying stand? Me: (voice becoming slightly frosty) The folding stand where we dry our clothes? Everyday? It’s on the balcony? TO: Oh *THAT* thing? Why can’t you be more specific Ayu?” Me: (icicles becoming to form on the bathroom surface) How could I have been more specific while describing it?! TO: “You know, you could’ve said to me get that clothes thingie we put clothes on!” Me: “Oye ve!“
83 days till school reopens…
My kid’s school suddenly announced an earlier closure to the school year due to rising temperatures yesterday. When TO found out about it, the joyous whoop he let out probably was audible a few blocks over.
So this is Day One of summer break 2022 and Mr.Zombie-During-School-Days got up on his own before 6 am, bathed, brushed, wore clean clothes, combed his hair, had his chocolate milk and is languidly spread out on the bed catching up on his Netflix To-Do list. He has an almost beatific look on his face and very graciously informed me I needn’t keep the morning alarm on for the next two months since he’ll be getting up when he wants to…Watch this space for more of his shenanigans and my frequent eyerolls…
One of Red’s cousins will be visiting us soon and I was telling TO about him. He’ll be meeting a brand new set of cousins and an aunt he’s not seen before so I was trying to give him some background while we set out for errands this morning.
This uncle of his is a neurologist and the moment I told him that, TO exclaimed in an excited manner that he was a doctor of brains and probably treated people for dementia. And that’s when the Universe intervened and turned it into an ” Why-Hast-Thou-Forsaken-Me” moment” from a “Man-My-Kid-Knows-So-Much-Awesome-High-Fives-All-Around” kind of moment.
It went something like this, ” TO: So this doctor can treat you and P also right? Me: Why would he treat us, we’re fine?!!” TO: No! You guys are old and you keep forgetting things! Me:We don’t have dementia. Sometimes people forget when they are distracted or they are doing a lot of things at the same time. Dementia doesn’t happen much in our age (yes it does, but he doesn’t need to know that!);it happens to older people. TO: I can see *ALL* this white hair on both your heads and you are really old. Not as old as Avva (his great-grandmother) but OLD! So you could get dementia. Ask this uncle when he comes home.” Me: I don’t have dementia but I will become demented soon baby! TO: What’s that? Me: Nevermind, we’re here! C’mon out of the car you little quack! (muttered sotto voce)
TO is learning about genetics and most things associated with them. I’m ashamed to say that barring being familiar with terms, I can’t recollect the definition without looking it up and most times I look them up with a keywords “for dummies” because they have the easiest definitions to understand. Unless I understand them properly, I can’t explain it to Mr.2000 questions aka TO.
Red on the other hand, remembers pretty much perfectly and can explain it to varied audiences without having to recalibrate his verbiage much. He’s really *that* good. *Grumble grumble about smartypants husband*
Anyhoo, today TO had an off from school because of a slight bug and with exams coming up, Red and I decided to use the time to quiz him a bit on the salient points of the science paper. And as always, it had it’s funny ha-ha moments, usually aimed at the unsuspecting parents. When talking about traits, we were going through the list of traits that are easily observable and asking TO to see which ones he could spot at home.
We chanced upon the free vs attached earlobes ones and after some amount of ear pulling to see if they were attached or free, mine were pronounced the ‘pudgiest’ in the whole world. Apparently it was a compliment but TO’s not yet familiar with the dangers of using the words chubby, chunky, pudgy and other synonyms of “being healthy” to a woman.
A little while ago when I was in the middle of cooking the chicken curry for today’s lunch, TO came to get a hug. Now a hot and sweaty person usually runs as far away from being held as possible. Especially more so when she’s doing the taste checks for a new recipe she decided to make on the spur of the moment. However, TO is militant about his hugs and wouldn’t leave without one.
The conversation while waiting for the hug went something like this- TO (making a face): WHAT’S THAT GREEN STUFF??!! Me: It’s coriander. You love it so am putting more in the curry. TO: No, not that green stuff, THAT green stuff. It looks like PUKE! Are we having puke for lunch?! Me: It’s not green. It’s a light yellow from the turmeric. TO: It still looks like PUKE to me. Me: You don’t have to eat it…we have daal and aalu. TO: No,no..I can eat chicken anytime..it doesn’t look *that* bad Ayu (pats my back commiseratingly).
And that ladies and gentlemen is what comes of wanting to create new culinary experiences for your family…pukey chicken indeed!
It has been a while since I wrote. Been a while since I even thought of writing, to be honest. In the words of John Lennon, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans” and it it holds true even now, decades after he said it.
I turned a year older recently. Had my peeps around for a bite of birthday cake while TO manned or should I say preteened a live sundae counter. Kids were happy, dentists will be made happier still somewhere down the line.
The year started off well enough but came with a few hard knocks rather soon into the first week of January with us losing a loved family member and in March me losing someone very dear to me. My process of grieving is usually to write about my feelings or the person who has gone and pay them a tribute in some way but this time around it’s been rather hard and the words don’t want to come forth.
Apart from giving it time, I suppose there’s not much one can do but not everyone’s life is one we can celebrate in toto once they pass. Some lives you look back at and hope for all the turmoil they were in or caused, they gained a modicum of peace somewhere and didn’t feel agony or fear in their last moments. I find it a crushing thought to even imagine anyone I’ve cared about experiencing pain in their final moments. But one must try to accept what life throws their way, however jarring to the senses and move forward. I read an article sometime back about moving on vs moving forward; found it made sense. Posting it here for those who don’t mind a bit of gyaan but not an avalanche of it.
This morning when I started off with my morning routine of Wordle and a quick crossword, I realized how much TO’s influenced my life. The child isn’t a Ross Geller in the making from what I have understood. He can love dinosaurs and other buried prehistoric creatures without wanting to devote time in academia to truly enjoy it. The reptiles he loves have become integrated into our lives and our minds. One of the clues this morning in the New York Times Quick Crossword was Spitting _________ (a five lettter word) and I automatically filled in cobra. Once the crossword was filled, I found it was a different word entirely. Once upon a time I’d have been able to lead with the other word more easily but now life has a place which is dedicated to animal quizzes on road trips and amorphous plans around the world to see dangerous creatures or the slithering ones.
With summer break on the horizon along with exams, our days are busy and minds busier still. Hopefully the writing bug bites me again and I reenter the blogosphere properly and soon!
Once there was a little necklace. It was very happy and bright. It had rounded beads and was liked by everyone who saw it. It was a very happy little necklace indeed!
One day came the Little Grabby Fingered Imp. The Imp grabbed and pulled the necklace towards himself but the necklace didn’t want to go with an Imp. It wanted to stay with the girl whose neck he had made his home.
But the Imp kept grabbing and pulling and grabbing some more till the necklace broke and the beads danced away into the shadows. The Imp didn’t want the it anymore because it was broken now. The necklace was sad. The girl was sadder still.
After many, many years the girl was getting her toes painted and without knowing it, she chose the colors of the necklace…it was time again to make the necklace whole. She would do it very soon indeed!