Every now and then I use slangs with TO and often it comes back to me in a very amusing way. He was using selective audition with me today when I was asking him to do a couple of things around the house. I rolled my eyes at him and told him not to be a doofus. And bang comes back the reply, “You’re a doofus!”
I walk off and mentally tell myself to wait for it and sure enough comes the query,”Ayu, what’s a doofus?” I tell him it’s a silly person and he mulls it over and says, “Ok..you’re a doofus Ayu”.
I have an almost-10 year old. He’s lazy like his father and me. We aren’t the gung ho types who jump to it and proactively clean and get shit done. We get to it when we can’t find things and usually at the last minute. Sort of defeats the purpose of being a housewife I guess but my parents’ cleaning gene escaped me but I wasn’t about to let it escape my kid. Not entirely.
We’ve made a deal; once he gets up in the morning he has to make the bed. Properly. Of course that’s when hands start to hurt and the bedspread seems to be made of cement rather than cotton but I’ve decided to be firm. What am also being firm about is the extent of halfheartedness I’ll allow in the task.
Today he went around the bed like a puppy chasing its tail in trying to get the bedspread to stay on the bed evenly. To say it looked like one of those asymmetrical dresses that seem to be the rage, would be downplaying it. Half the bedspread was covering the floor and the throw pillows were thrown on the floor and living up to their name and there was a little man brushing his hands with accomplishment saying, “Done!”
But I have learnt one thing from my father if nothing else…’The Stare’. My father is the master of ‘The Stare’. His stare is so potent that I could feel it burning through a crowded room, aimed right at me like a smack on the head. Btw, the beauty of this is that you don’t have to actually smack or even raise your hands…you frown and let your face settle in its most disapproving pattern and let it rest. The victim…erm the target is drawn by the vibes given off said face and is browbeaten into doing your bidding. It’s magic at its best. It’s a thing of beauty that I hadn’t appreciated while it was being leveled at me.
Over the years the stare as been leveled at others found to be lacking, an errant boyfriend here and there, friends who’ve been dressed inappropriately or when he thought I was dressed like a hobo (aka too casually for college and the sobriety of Chaucer and Matthew Arnold). And the stare burns into you…it’s like a Dark Mark that hovers till you’ve ceded to its commands.
Today, after TO kept playing tag with the bedspread I leveled my stare at him and after a few studied shrugs of nonchalance and innocence, he said, “OK FINE!!!” and made the bed. It could still do with a few tugs here and there but at least the bed’s covered and not the floor.
See, they don’t tell you these things in the parenting books. This stuff’s invaluable! Of course the stare’s something every married man is familiar with. They are also more familiar with the menacing tones of the phrase, “We need to talk”…
I think I’ll just dole out the evilness today…mwaaahaaa
Whether it was because of my turning a year older recently or me seeing that my child is slowly getting into the big kid phase of his life; I have been nostalgic to the core. It’s a very visceral feeling for me.
For every parent there can be a near-constant contradiction when you see and interact with your offspring. On one hand you see them real time, the way they are now and who they’re growing into. And on the other hand your mind tricks you into believing that it’s still the same kid who laughed, drooled, kissed you without rhyme or reason and just came for cuddles because he felt like it.
In our case, MLM has transitioned to TO a while back and still I can see the beautiful little boy he was with his infectious giggles, silly antics and utter and complete abandonment in the activities we used to do together.
He is quite close to his father as well with me having to put both on timeouts occasionally when they keep acting like…well, males.
But as I look back at the little home videos I’ve been taking of this child since he was a few days old, his utter silliness seems to have been reserved for me. From dusting my face to putting on pots and pans on our heads as helmets and me watering him and saying he was going to grow like a flower; it has been a gift every single day.
And while I usually make the snootiest possible face when people wax on eloquently or get sentimental about their little ‘princes’ and ‘princesses’, I have to say that I get where they’re coming from. But I can’t call my kid a prince…it’s too bland. Mine’s a wizard! Because he fills our lives with his own magic and inspires me even when I’m threatening to punt him off somewhere.
Good lord, the heat’s getting to me. Such maudlin thoughts right in the morning. Whaddya gonna do? We’re people with kids…going gaga over them is Parenting 101.
I’ll be the first one to admit it, my kid’s sticktoitiveness comes and goes. He’s tried his hands at roller blading and then suddenly didn’t want to do it anymore. He’s resisted all attempts at learning to swim properly; preferring to channel an otter as his spirit animal instead.
Red tried badminton with him and that took root for a while as did squash and then it flooped. For now cricket fever seems to be gripping him and how! He’s been playing for a while now and dare I say is passable. Of course I wouldn’t know a good cricketer from a bad one. Anyone who’s shots connect more often than not is good in my book especially since mine never do. And when they do, they go places Red grumbles while he has to retrieve.
But more about TO- he’d been asking for a whole cricket kit so that it’d feel like he was really playing. We held off on thinking that if this went bust too we’d be stuck with a lumpy bag to get rid off or store somewhere till the yen to play came upon him again. But after we heard from the coach that he’d been making progress and was trying more often than not to learn the game rather than play “stylish” shots, we got him kitted out.
And here he is in his kickass cricketer avatar, looking like he’s already hit one out of the park! And this pretty much him throughout the day. We just need to make sure we duck while passing by.
So while I can take the game or leave it, it’s pretty damn good to see TO this happy at doing something. So maybe he stops playing, maybe he doesn’t. He gets to make happy memories now. Better flip flop as a child and learn the ropes than end up as a 30-something who can’t make up his mind.
My kid has his own way of narrating things. He’s big on prepositions and paraphrases to his heart’s content and the end results are hilarious to say the least. However, we dare not laugh. Thankfully he doesn’t read (or get) my blog so this is my safe place.
He was interested in knowing about the Greek and Roman Gods and so I told him whatever I knew. But with the multihued Hindu pantheon up for grabs, it was just a matter of time till the mother-son team descended on the unsuspecting celestial beings and twisted them to our own understanding. So here goes a conversation between TO and Red. All the stuff in parentheses are my interjections.
” So there was this guy called Prahland and he totally liked Vishnu. His dad was a really bad guy, I can’t remember his name (Hiranyakashipu)..oh yeah, him. So Prahlad was good and his dad was bad and his dad wanted to kill everyone and so he kicked the holding thing in his palace (wtf…it’s a pillar not a holding thing…oh wait yes it kind of is) and the lion swami came out…he was half lion and half man and we had seen him in Pondicherry (Hampi), oh yeah Hampi and he was wearing a cap (a crown) and he ripped that guy’s dad’s stomach and he killed him.”
Red: semi-proud, more than a little confused and wondering what next
Me: this kid is going to kick ass in precis writing if that’s still part of the curriculum for him later
I came home from running an errand to find Red and TO at lunch. Red opened the door and told me with his usual straight face that our child was telling him a VERY interesting story which was catastrophic in its scope but had some pockets of optimism and redemption in it.
So it goes like this- It was the end of the world and I had died. Red had died too but TO had a way of bringing him back from the dead. That courtesy was not extended to me. Anyhow, I was dead, Red was dead and quite a few people who were known to us had either perished in the bad ass earthquake that leapfrogged up the Richter scale and touched a 100! For a few others who weren’t lucky enough to die of the super earthquake, a Megalodon came and swallowed them up.
TO was able to save a few (not all) people from the gigantic prehistoric shark by using a knife. Cue the ‘awwws’ people! And then there was a tsunami which came and swept everyone else away. All in all, it was not a good day for humanity.
The one bright spot, if one can call it that, was before I died and set off the chain reaction of humanity’s extinction, I wrote down the all-important, uber-secret, mysterious and obscure password to the iPad on a piece of paper that my darling son found while surviving an off-the-charts earthquake, killing 95 ft long sharks and apparently coasting through towering waves that drowned out millions. This is called unleashing the kraken (of imagination).