Some mornings are just bloodthirsty and sadistic. Or maybe…it’s a not-so-smart smartphone?
Some mornings are just bloodthirsty and sadistic. Or maybe…it’s a not-so-smart smartphone?
My kid rates fairly middling to high on the maintenance scale. As a family am sure we all do. In each others’s eyes if nothing else
We rate above average on the drama scale too. And not the kind that rates the good drama and invites curtain calls and huge bouquets of roses. This is the soap opera kind which has varying quantities of MELOdrama, pathos, angst and ire. And that’s all in the first few sentences uttered by TO. I am perpetually the evil witch and boy am I glad! It maybe in the genes but when I see a kid who acts up, my palms itch to connect with their backsides and bring out all the shades in the spectrum of red.
One thing that TO has been pulling on us is threatening to run away each time he gets UBER exasperated with us. The first time he pulled that nonsense I admit, I was taken aback but then knowing his love for peanut butter and the telly; I knew he’d be back. And he was.
Fastforward a couple of years and this morning suddenly the “I’m leaving” bomb gets dropped on our head. Again. Red was no help at all being the good cop.
Thankfully I was fully caffeinated and had happy things to do for the rest of the weekend so I didn’t sweat it. I asked TO to make out a list of places he thought he could go and stay in and keep the list a bit long in case some people were unavailable to have him crash at their place long-term or use their wi-fi free of cost- whichever is the bigger transgression.
Not surprisingly, he quickly changed his tune. He started negotiating with me and started tell me that for the low, low cost of screen time, I could have the pleasure of his company at home forever. Clearly this mom found that too high a price to pay so I insisted that he keep the list ready since he was going to get the digital media taken away sooner or later and he’d again get upset and want to leave.
I even suggested putting the list up on his door, in big, bold font and colors so it would be easier for him to choose where he wanted to go and live. Weird how soon the threat fizzled out soon after that. If this were a cartoon, TO would be like a balloon, whizzing around the room, rapidly deflating.
Evil Mom-1. Whiny Kid-0
We’ve been having slightly wonky weather here. It’s rainy and overcast one minute but suddenly bright rays of sunshine will burst through the clouds and blind us all.
TO has been slightly under the weather. His usual scheduled spell of cough-cold-almost-guaranteed throat infection during the monsoons is slightly delayed this year but it’s finally made an appearance.
He’s been home since Monday and my good cop’s taken a hike and left the bad cop on indefinite duty.
This morning after meeting our family physician, I told TO that he’s not really sick so he should get cracking with his chores and not spend the whole day whining about screentime.
The love of my life, flesh of my flesh did his chores…with aplomb! He made his bed by folding the bedcover in halves like a door. And he proclaimed it was a coffin. For ME.
I told Red that I’d need a lot of alcohol to get through today. Or maybe a Valium. It’s all the same when your kid prepares a coffin for you with glee and adoration.
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.
Have a good weekend…Salut!
When Red and I moved houses to where we currently live, the clincher wasn’t just the community living but also the view we’d get from our floor. It’s neither too high up, too far down and definitely doable whenever the elevators are out.
But the view is something that’s been rather remarkable over the years. For urbanites, seeing concrete jungles and cars bustling along the roads are the norm. For us, apart from the usual view of a city life, we get to see peacocks every now and then. We get to see the cityscape change in front of our eyes whenever new ground is laid for another building. We get to see cricket matches galore and also interact with the feathered ones that seem to love the aircon units we’ve so thoughtfully put up on our balconies.
And while the changing landscape doesn’t always spell progress all around, what with cutting of the trees, noise pollution, air pollution, ground water depletion…you name it and it’s happening as I type this out; but it’s happening right in front of our eyes. It’s a sense of comfort to be able to see the evolution of this city.
I have words buzzing around in my head most of the times. Some times they come out as blogs and at other times they come out as stories. They’re all stories at the end of the day. Here’s one written primarily as a short story. Cheers
THE SUMMER OF BROKEN GLASS- A VERY SHORT STORY
It started with a tinkling sound. Followed by a deep silence. So deep you could reach out and touch it. She hated silences like that. They were eerie and there was never anything good at the end of it; of that you could always be sure.
This entire summer had been tinged with what stray but nearly regular occurrences of glass breaking. Had she been superstitious, she would have pegged them as happening due to mal ojos. Her brand new Spanish classes kicked in at its convenience she thought wryly.
From her mom’s favorite vase to the beer mug, to the little Dresden shepherdess that she had labelled as super lame; each thing broke with a bang, a smash and there always seemed to be shards of glass shimmering on the floor…dangerously pretty.
She once had a couple of those shimmery pieces jammed into her big toe and while it didn’t hurt that bad; they sent shivers down her spine when she tried to probe the wound. It had taken forever to get the splinters out and then hobble around with her toe wrapped up in gauze. Lame, lame, lame!
She shook her head to clear the fuzziness and sighed in frustration about having to clean up glass YET AGAIN. Getting up to get the broom from the closet, she heard a muted kind of smash-crunch behind her. She turned only to hear the cocking of a hammer and the barrel of gun level with her face.
Her last thoughts as she saw the finger press down on the trigger were about the stupid glass…the memories that distracted her from running and hiding or even calling 911…stupid lame glass she thought, while looking into the mal ojos that were the last thing she ever saw.
People tend to see shapes in the clouds, some even see things with their eyes closed but I think TO kind of took the cake today.
After he got home from school today and was having his snack, he suddenly said ‘Mustache’. For a second I thought he meant I needed to schedule an appointment with the beautician and then he said, “Look Ayu, there’s a moon and a kidney.”
By then I knew it wasn’t me he was referring to…phew! And then he pointed at the jar on the table that had cashews. And pointed out where the mustache, kidney and moon were.
So why am I not gloating over my child’s sense of abstraction and imagination? Well..a few minutes later when I asked him to pick up his socks off the floor and put them in his hamper, he needed help finding them. Guess where they were? Right at his feet!
Oh me, oh my. Kids!
I crashed by myself last night…was listening to music, sorting out playlists…everything you need head space for and which can’t always be done effectively with someone staring at you with googly eyes and asking, “what are you doing?” for the millionth time.
I avoided weird bedtime conversations but couldn’t avoid them during the next morning when someone decided to wake up and smell the roses with unbounded enthusiasm before his mother got caffeinated.
Imagine having slept off to music spanning the decades along with conversations with friends on and off till the middle of the night and then waking up to the most #dafuq question one can imagine first thing in the morning viz, “How old do you think De Villiers is?” And on seeing my glazed, semi-blurry vision starting to go the angry, snorting bull way, TO preemptively turns his face skywards and says, “Why me?!!” Nothing quite like having your angsty moment stolen and impersonated by the person who brought it on in the first place.
So on we went with the good morning kisses and inane questions till my brain cried out for coffee once more. Red being the coffee guy at home was hollered at and he promptly went and made some for HIMSELF and not me. There’s only a few things a woman can say to her husband at such times and I tell back on Barb#1 aka ‘ I gave you a kid, can’t you even get me a cup of coffee?’
We are fond of our drama in this household. Be it me trying to bury myself under the covers so I don’t have to hear my kid drone on about some ODI post which Tendulkar decided to retire from cricket
or trying to bargain for more screen time or me giving the evil eye to the placidly coffee-sipping spouse who’s going to need me to find his stuff for him soon; this is just how we roll.
TO’ school’s set to reopen come next Monday (does a mini jig of joy). I like my kid being at home provided he doesn’t get into that mode of where he wants me to generate things for him to do and then proceeds to shoot down each and every one of them just because!
Anyhoo, yesterday we drove up to his school in a lovely semi-cloudy weather and got him kitted out for the academic year. On the way there he kept fiddling with my phone and kept changing songs like it was a speed dating event. So I kept a strict no-phone only radio policy for the ride back home. Apparently retro English and Hindi music just don’t cut it with kids who’re growing up listening to DJ Snake and Maroon 5 *rolls eyes* So we decided to chat instead. And when I say “we”, I always mean HE and HE alone.
So there we were, zipping down a good, smooth road and then comes the question, “Did Tony really die?” Now I know who the Tony is but we’re trying to teach the brat to be specific in his talk so I asked him who Tony was. In the meanwhile the radio decides that playing Ecuador would be a great idea! So there’s foot tapping music going on, a finger poking me on my shoulder and talk of some random Tony dying…all in a day’s work. By the time it emerged that Tony was actually Tony Starke and I reminded my child that it was actually a movie and not to take everything too seriously he’d moved onto something else. This is what he moved on to. Our conversation takes me to lala land sometimes…
TO:”Hey Ayu, I want to move to New York.!” ME: Cool baby…it’s a fun place…but why New York though? TO: Because that’s where the radioactive spiders live. DUH!!
ME: Ummm…there are no radioactive spiders. And if you want spiders you can stay in India, why go to New York? TO: BECAUSE.AYU. THAT’S. WHERE THE TALL. BUILDINGS. ARE. DUH! DUH!! ME: Ok…walk me through this. You want to be Spiderman?! TO: DUH! Yeah!! ME: Stop saying DUH it’s annoying. TO: Ok F-I-N-E!! But I want a spider to bite me and swing from tall buildings. New York has tall buildings.
ME: That’s true…but if you really want to bitten by a spider and turn into Spiderman maybe you should visit your grandfather (My father-in-law who lives in a less urban set-up) and just walk around the gardens there..there’ll be loads of spiders to bite you. [Yes, I did honestly say that to my only child].
TO: Wonderingly…do they have a science club there though? If I don’t have a science club then I’m just going to get bited and not get superpowers. ME: You should ask your father…he grew up there. Am sure they had science there. TO: But he doesn’t have superpowers…I need radioactive spiders. Do you promise to send me to New York so I can get bit? ME: I promise baby. Be quiet now because there’s too much traffic for me to navigate through. TO: Ok Ayu…you drive, I’ll sit here and think of spiders.