Of Middle Fingers And Snakes

I recently changed my ride from a hatchback to an MUV. When I say recent I mean just a few hours ago.

I was picking up the offspring from school and he was happily frolicking in the backseat, bouncing with joy and making crinkly sounds in the plastic covers that I’d not had a chance to take out as yet. All in all he was a happy camper. And as the case is while he’s camping happily, he asks me a series of ‘Do you know’ questions. Today was no different.

We started with a question trap that I’d inadvertently fallen into when I told him I’d seen a monitor lizard cross the street very close to his school. After interrogating me about the size and the gaping maws and the venom of the said reptile, he gave me a disdainful look when I told him I’d only paused briefly while trying hard not to squish the lizard when it scurried off into the bushes. It, unfortunately, hadn’t stopped long enough to give me its life history and venom potency details.

Then began the story of reptiles and their offspring. We spoke of ovi and viviparous snakes; something I’d rather not have spoken of at all. All while I was enjoying the smell of a new car, listening to songs on brand new speakers…which apparently is the most apt time to speak of baby cobras.

Anyhoo, on special request he agreed to stop talking about king cobra babies hatching and killing grown people and then he threw me for a toss! Here’s how he did it-” Hey Ayu…do you know a boy in the 2nd grade showed someone the middle finger in school and then he got into trouble?!! Have you shown (he said showed but my grammar mode refuses to let me be ungrammarly) the middle finger to anyone?

And this is where you cross the realm from being a good, honest parent into one who lies to their kid because isn’t 8 too young to be flippin’ the bird?! Or talking about it?

I told him piously that NO I hadn’t and what did showing the middle finger mean anyhow? I was told very solemnly that it’s a very bad thing and kids can go to jail for saying it. And that’s when I had to know more about this oh-so taboo word that sent kids to jail. So I did a dramatic,” Oh no…really??!!” And pat came the reply-YES!! It’s worse than saying F***!! I never say F*** because you told me that saying F*** is a bad thing so I never say F***. Ever!!”

I think some days the universe has a smartass mode it activates just to give parents their comeuppance and to prevent them from being smug-knowitalls!

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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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

The Joys of Living Alone

I am not averse to sharing my living space with another person or other people. I’ve lived in a dorm, as a boarder and lived with my folks till I was an adult and those things really drill it into one’s head about the utter necessity of having your own space for your own shit. I mean, it’s critical!! Especially after a more permanent cohabitation starts with someone and they just leave their things all over the place like goat droppings. It can vex you like nothing else truly can.

Picture this- a smallish studio space or Praise Be To The Gods Of Personal Space, a loft…a few bean bags or bean bag chairs scattered around the room. A few non-skiddy throw rugs with vivid geometric designs on them. A large white wall designed a la Jackson Pollock viz this-  

There needs to be an island in the area designated as a kitchen for the cutting and chopping and sleeping is either a sleeping bag or a water-bed in a corner.

Not a very pseudo boho-chic manner but a messiness that gets into every living space but also one which is just short of a tornado-hit area.

Because at the end of the day it all boils down to this- my shit is my shit but your shit is just bloody annoying!

The Benefits of A Neverafter

That’s right. Not getting your happily ever after with the one you long and pine for or imagine yourself to be deeply in love with has tremendous ROI.

Let’s take Romeo&Juliet as an example. Too bad they really haven’t found the Fountain of Youth else Will Shakespeare would have been a very rich bugger indeed, reaping benefits from all the royalty he’d have been getting from this one play he wrote. And it’s not even that a good one mind you. It lacks the depth of a Macbeth, the twists of a Midsummer Night’s Dream or and you don’t really feel the love. I know don’t. I mean take a look at this- 2 teenagers (it could only be teenagers being this impulsive and stubborn) decide that they have a crush on people their families find unsuitable. Families turn into big baddies to keep them apart and teenagers manage to muddle through it till they both end up dead. Yay…have fun making out in the afterlife nerds.

This tragedy of WS has been made into operas, movies, music videos, reenacted as a play and reread as a book and continues to persist even now. Why? Because a never after means the story can persist at least in your own head. A happily ever after means it’s over and done and you have no further role to play in it.

Everyone who has gone through unrequited “love” or has “love&lost” will forever be marked with the touch of that “what-if”. They may not moan and groan throughout their lives about it but they’ll wonder and they’ll hark back to that person or the people who “got back”, “could have been” etc etc. When you get the one you wanted, it turns into marriage, babies, mortgages and the story becomes dull at some point for sure. Happiness might still play a part in it but the depths to which your mind can run when it unleashes the potential of the unknown is massive! And I think it’s fun for people to do from time to time to wander off on this particular path.

Unrequited love has spawned an entire era of work in English Litt from sonnets to prose to modern-day stalkers who have transitioned into very successful serial killers and creeps in the movies. The Never after leads to illicit forays onto Facebook profiles of people you don’t have access to anymore while you take in their lives as they pose for selfies or check into some minuscule coffee shop on social media or tweet about the time they last sneezed.

You don’t check out the happily ever afters…they got their happy ending and started a predictable new story of their own…where’s the mystery in that?!

I remember going back again and again to read Love Story. Sad as shit but she died so beautifully on film and the way Oliver contemplated his life post Jenny dying…man! a man happy with his life doesn’t have half that appeal!

We like a little bit of the unknown in our lives. The places we could have gone, the things we should have done, the lives we would have led…it’s a fun exercise on it’s own and doesn’t hurt anyone. As long as you know you got exactly what you wanted- alive, hale and hearty and not swooning and dying or spouting nonsense from balconies…your very own happily never after!

But going back to R&J, ever think what might have happened if they had ended up together?

 

Burying The Hatchet

It’s inevitable that when people live together, work together, do stuff…again together, there’ll be occasions when there is acrimony.

Acrimony can get bumped up into enmity or also a severe case of I-don’t-recognize-your-existence yada yada yada. But in the whole scenario, the one thing that no one quite figures out how to do is burying the hatchet.

The question now comes- where the heck is it to be buried? In the head of the person you’ve had the falling out with or just in some neutral ground where it doesn’t bother anyone anymore?

Well till the hatchet is good and ready to be buried, we are ill-fated to carry it around like those unimaginative serial killers, dripping with blood and guts aka our angst and ill-will.

The hatchet bumps into things, nicking stuff, causing bleeds which are some extremely out there metaphors for saying it causes us harm in turn and growing heavier by degree since the ill-will hasn’t been washed away.

Laughter is an exceptional antidote for the hatchet. Either at yourself or at the object(s) of your derision. Laughter caused by the prolonging of a situation where even the absence of the provocative stimulus causing bile to surge up in your gut without any occasion for letting it out. Essentially at the futility of things.

Once the laughter bubbles over, a spot magically appears bearing the words, “bury hatchet here”. And thus it ends.

Till something or someone causes you to go medieval on their ass and again swing the hatchet.

Get Your Placebo Groove On!

“This is the follow-up post to this one. Both were written a while ago…am currently meandering down nostalgia lane at a less than sedate pace.”

I tried out a detox routine for a day. I did it all day yesterday and let go of my precious java (the drinkable kinds not the geeky one) as per the norms of the routine. And before I get to my observations on this I want to get on my soapbox for a few sentences and just say that our bodies are precious. We literally aren’t going to get another one. Might as well take care of the one you have or at least love the taste of the grub you put into it if you aren’t going to maintain it in a manner that gets you the most mileage. Because it’s no fun to be an adult and feel like you’re compromising on things on a regular basis especially highly personal things like food. It’s just NO FUN AT ALL!

Back off the soapbox and down to reality- I can’t lose weight. I can’t diet effectively. I need a whole new infrastructure and logistics around me to exercise in a manner that I want before my body becomes fit again. I have two adorable lumps at home- husband and child. They are lazy, complacent and very loving so me trying to be a hardass falls flat more often than not. The husband can’t be bothered to find stuff-essential stuff, on a regular basis and usually forgets things if I’m not around to marshal it all into place where he can trip over it and therefore remember to take it with him on his way to work.

The child needs work because he’s a child and doesn’t know a thing about the world. Loosening the reins at this juncture means he grows up to become his father, the less than attractive aspect of him i.e., and more work for me when I’m older and menopausal. Sounds like a recipe for murder at first glance.

Anyhow, various factors get in the way of my getting into the gym, working out, walking, dancing- whatever! On a regular basis. And while none of those factors are critical, I still haven’t been able to offload them courtesy the lumps I mentioned. So the looking better, feeling better has been taking a hit consistently and my perseverance has eroded over the years. Easier to be an overweight housewife in soft track pants watching tv while I fold laundry or vacuum the couches. Not a very sad or dreary existence. It needs to be done and I’m the one who has to do it. Period.

I thought trying out a detox might “fix” the problem, as it were. Give me a little edge or boost before I start the actual process of toning, slimming, getting fitter. But I realize that I don’t feel all  that different. More than anything else, the thought of actually doing something and getting off my cellulitey butt had me feeling better. Honestly, my body doesn’t feel so much lighter today than it did before. Whatever minute differences there are, are too slight for me to keep investing this kind of money (not cheap this treatment) on a regular basis.

But the fact that I tried something out has done more to release endorphins for me than a lot of stuff of late and that’s where the placebo factor comes in. I feel better without having done much to aid an existing condition of sorts. I took something akin to therapy and just the thought of it made me “feel better”.

We all need some placebos in our lives at times I guess. One less crap to flush out of our systems at the end of the day.

And what about my chubbiness aka lard? Well I’ve got a nice new playlist that makes me want to dance so I’ll get my jogging shoes on, pop the headphones in, ignore my kid and just walk. Not fast. Not slow but just walk.

You have to play with the cards you’re dealt. Mine is telling me to take a walk. And dump some dressing (low-fat) onto veggies next time rather than blitz them into a homogeneous mess of a juice that I tell myself is “helping me”. A honey-mustard piece of lettuce never hurt anyone 🙂