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A Bloglet: A Mother Realizes…Yet Again

When you’re sitting in front of a mini monster with curious and wandering hands, make sure you forgo the quilled earrings. It doesn’t take long for little buds to become danglers.

Wear in haste and rue in leisure.

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After School Huffiness

The brat got off the school bus with two holes in the school uniform that hadn’t been there when he’d got on the bus in the morning.

When I asked him (with a slight frost in my voice) he told me that a “Screaming Death” had made the holes.

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For the uninitiated, a Screaming Death is one from the stable of Dreamworks Dragons. It’s an ultimate badass dragon ergo also the love of MLM’s life ever since he laid his dragon-loving eyes on it.

Anyhoo he flat out refused to tell me how his school uniform happened to get ruined in that holey fashion and kept saying it was the dragon who did it. I told him that because of his behavior the tv was off-limits and I wasn’t going to talk to him till he told me the truth. And he threw a tantrum. A typical one with the screeching and minor feet stomping.

And then it got atypical. He sat and watched me ignore him for a bit and got out his trolley bag. Then this is the conversation that took place between us:

MLM-“Ok Ayu. I’m leaving.”

Me- Bye.

MLM- I’m going to count to 3 and you are going to put the tv for me.

Me- snorts in derision. “Yeah…not going to happen kid.”

MLM- ONE. TWO. THREEEEEE! Ok. FINE! I leaving now.

Me- B-Y-E.

MLM- while making a show of pulling his suitcase along and grumbling the entire time, “I’m not going to be your friend,grumble grumble. I’ll go and live in Kolkata (where my parents live) and never come home again!grumble grumble. I’ll watch tv there every day because (mentioning his grandmother’s name) loves me and you are MEAN!!”

Me- So go already. Bye.

MLM- Going till the main door and struggling to open the lock. “Open the door! I can’t leave, it’s locked.”

Me- opening the door for him…”Don’t forget your shoes. Bye”.

MLM- Struggling to get his trolley over the doorway…Ayu help me. I can’t leave…”

Me- Helps him put the bag outside the door and leaves.

MLM- Comes back in a bit and says, “I’m hungry”. I want to be your friend again. Please give me peanut butter and jam sammich?”

Me- So when do you want to leave the house and go stay in Kolkata?

MLM- I’ll go tomorrow. After the birthday party (mentions a friend’s birthday party he’s supposed to attend tomorrow).

Me- rolls eyes heavenward and goes to make PB&J sandwich.

Two minutes later I get a hug and someone plants a kiss in the vicinity of my hip and says you’re my best friend. These sammiches are DE-LI-SHUS!

And life goes on.

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A Bloglet on Introspection

There are days when being a parent seems akin to being a modern-day Sisyphus.

Or did I mean Prometheus?

Either way it’s a (Greek) drama of epic proportions and you end up wishing someone or the other to Hades atleast once.

Finit.

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Bengali Parents: A Glimpse Into The Paaglaami

‘Paaglaami’ is a favorite word of the Bengali people. It means madness. The word paaglaami is derived from one of the uber favorite words of theirs as well…”paagol”. This word is never said in a droll, flat manner. Oh no..the word paagol is uttered in a manner which reeks of food being relished and tasted thoroughly before it goes down the gullet.

Why did I start the post with these particulars words? Well today at lunch at a restaurant we frequent, well…frequently…I eavesdropped on a youngish Bong couple who had a cute little daughter who was being a typical toddler. The father was incessantly trying to get her to behave…a losing battle if there ever was one. But the specific verbiage that he was using made me realize that Bongs really are a very peculiar kind of parents on the whole.

Right from the birth of the baby, the obsession with the kid catching a cold is apparent. Ergo the crazy knitting of booties, mittens and horror of horrors…the blasted monkey cap aka a balaclava. Each family will have legions of old women who have foisted these elements of torture on their own offspring (and will swear by it till their dying breath) and who voluntarily knit these caps for the newborns and toddlers and insist on pulling the itchy and scratchy wool onto their heads and don’t let go till the kicking and screaming kid (who looks like a banker robber in the making) is thoroughly uncomfortable!

As a Bong parent myself, I have to admit that the urge to discipline and have your kid heed your words is nearly an overpowering one. It’s almost as if it’s a motto- Am Bong. Must Scold. Loudly.

Take today’s couple for example. What the heck is a toddler to do at a restaurant but play with the cutlery and the place mats and basically turn things topsy-turvy?

The father, who clearly envisioned himself in the role of the Lord and Master, kept telling his wife rather pompously “ekta thaapod lagao toh”. Translation- smack her one! Now this wasn’t seriously meant. This was just for the kid’s ears. And that’s the oddity that makes the Bong parents who they are.

The child must be made aware of all the potential spanking that lurks in its present and future. This is parenting 101. Then come the non-verbals. The non-verbals are rather short-lived because Bengali parents can’t go too long without being verbal. It’s a disease. But they can’t be silent. Call it a gene mutation if you will.

Even if one of the parents resorts to silent treatments, the other circles the child like a hyena closing in for the kill and starts muttering what the immediate future will hold viz spanks, red cheeks, and threats of all shapes and sizes and in ever increasing theatricality.

The father I saw today was hilarious! He kept trying to give his daughter the “eye of shame” but clearly he hadn’t cottoned onto the fact that pre-preschoolers won’t really maintain eye contact especially in a public place where there’s so much going on all around them. Seeing that his daughter wasn’t responding well to the unspoken rebukes, he repeatedly told his wife how ‘dushtu’ (naughty) their daughter was and” uff bhishon badabadi” (another favorite word meaning something is being taken to its limits!) was taking place! His entire speech was highlighted in bold and he had clearly got a good deal on exclamation marks as well!

The mother placidly mentioned that their less than hyper daughter (Hey I know hyper…I have a boy) must be sleepy ‘eyijonye..,nahole eto paaglaami kothay korey’? Meaning…she must be sleepy else why would she be acting up this way.

The response from the daughter? Banging the fork and spoon together. Yeah…that’s lunacy for you! Someone get the Adderall!

So during the meal that was punctuated with “aar paarchhina re baba eyi meyeta ke niye” (can’t manage with this girl anymore!) I noted that more and more Bong parents tended to express dissatisfaction even if the situation wasn’t quite so dire.

Rationale? Maybe if things are envisioned as being tougher and more difficult but they fall short of the mark, the result is a happier situation for the parents. Who knows?

But Bongs will scold. And happily so.

Even if it’s a kid who acts like a mini-hurricane or a rather placid little girl who is behaving true to type, the paaglaami we see and express is truly of a ‘orey baba’ extent!

That’s how it’s been for generations and so it shall remain. For that’s who we are. Proudly so.

Eeesh!

Note: the author is a Bengali. Descended from Bengali parents and basically an affectionate observer of all things Bengali. Never a critique..oh no! Lokey ki bolbe?! (what will people say?)

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Yet Another Epiphany

I had another Ah-HA! experience this morning while “attempting” to explain to MLM why something is desirable and why something isn’t. People (parenting experts, those whose kids are no longer a pain-in-the-ass and those who are blissfully childless) usually say that it sets a bad example to communicate with a growing child using largely negatives viz “NO”, “NOT”. “DONT” et al. However, given that the vocabulary of most children who aren’t prodigies or savants of some kind are largely rudimentary till the middle school years, it becomes a tough job navigating the world of communicating what you want with what your child can comprehend.

But I have finally realized the biggest challenge I face day in and day out while trying to bring this boy up- I have to be an adult in the face of his childishness. And therein lies the rub. I no longer know how to be a child and he’s not reached that stage where he knows anything else but how to be a child.

Just a few minutes back, I had another locking-horns session with my offspring. Reason? He’s been using a turtle stencil to draw outlines on an otherwise pristine ivory colored wall. Again.

The first time this was noticed and commented upon, he apologized. In a flash. And went off to do whatever it is he does when one road to mischief has been shut down. Today when I noticed the second drawing I called him to ask why he had drawn on the walls again when he knew it wasn’t appreciated at all. He simply replied that he wanted to. No defiance. No attitude. Just a simple statement of fact.

And that in nutshell is how children usually are. While some are more compliant, for reasons known only to them, others are more willful in the sense that they are guided largely by their whims. A state that many older people fall back into in their advanced years.

But try as I might, I couldn’t explain to MLM why I was upset. He finally came up with a solution of wiping it off with water. But the crux of the problem escaped him and it entirely escaped me how to clue him in.

As adults we live with and in cliches. We stay in the lines. It starts by learning to color in them, writing within in, standing in them and also driving in them. We don’t always turn into lab rats or hamsters in their wheels but we become regulated. And can also see the benefits of such a life for its opposite is chaos in some form or the other.

But a child, especially one right out of early childhood is all about seeing his or her environment as a giant canvas, playground or anything without boundaries. They want to color furiously all over the paper. Never mind that the dam fruit they were to color got buried under the strokes. They want to scribble on walls because that’s the largest unending surface that surrounds them everyday. They want to climb higher, use the bed as a trampoline because everything that gives them a sense of freedom, even briefly, is exhilarating. Never mind that you’ll be replacing the mattress or the bed springs will poke through before long. It’s just so much more fun than just calmly lying down somewhere and sleeping.

And this is why I blogged this. Right here and now. So when I’m about to have an aneurysm tomorrow or day after from whatever my son wasn’t supposed to have done but did so anyhow; I can take a quick peek at this post before my head blows up. Hell! I’ll have to clean up that mess too so I might as well read these pearls of wisdom and count to a 1000 and keep telling myself there’s always school and the next summer holidays are a year away.

Amen!

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There’s A Dinosaur In My Bra!

No. I’m not high. Yes, I wish I was. And yes, I have a child. Ergo the weird things ending up where they ideally ought not to.

Sitting down and finding a clothes pin jammed up in your butt crack is passe. Stepping on Batman and theoretically emasculating him when you get up to pee at 4 in the morning is also so-been-there-done-that.

Now, having a wee serpent stare at you balefully while you rub the sleep out of your eyes and cope with an imminent heart attack is the new definition of normal. And while your nervous system gets even more nervouser and tells you to flee, the mother part of your brain tries to calm it down by saying, “There’s a 5-year old on the loose. That’s all.”

Having kids is honestly an adventure. And for quite a while, you’re going in blind. It’s a war on some days but for the most part it IS fun. They can wake up one morning and tell you they want to see stingrays and whale sharks (making you think you have a mini-Animal Planeteer on your hands and feeling good that the boy is growing up) and by evening on the same day they are watching the television upside down because apparently Pink Panther looks better that way.

And that’s what I’m going to tell myself while I fish out the mini-extinct lizard from my cups and set it down carefully next to the Triceratops, the hotwheels car and the Batman who has his head on backwards.

Never a dull moment!

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Parents Vs. Kids…Tis A Losing Battle

Ever since my kid’s been old enough to blink he’s had me in the palm of his hand. There was no one more fragile, delicate, beautiful than he. Even now, although far from being a baby, he’s still the most beautiful face I’ve beheld; in my humble opinion.

And because he knows his power over his parents, especially moi, it often leads to tres annoying situations where I wish I could spank that bottom cherry tomato red. And then immediately feel guilty for thinking it. Aargh!

Today’s interaction went like this. I was being stern because he’d decorated the inside of his school van with PURPLE CRAYON. Big. Long. Purple. Squiggles. Wiggles. All . Over. The. Inside. Makes my head hurt to think about it.

The driver was understandably miffed and conveyed his miffedness to me with clipped tones and showed me my offspring’s handiwork. The culprit in question bounded from the vehicle with joy and cheer for all mankind and said big, magnanimous goodbyes all around and regally went his way home.

Realizing after a few seconds of silence that his mother wasn’t pestering him with the usual rapidfire questions about school and what he’d eaten, the brat started an interrogation of his own. This is how our conversation went:

MLM: Why you not talking?

Me: I’m upset.

MLM: Why you upset? Wha happan? (not typos, the kid talks like that).

Me: You made a mess all over the van. That was very naughty. Poor School-Van Uncle will have to clean it all up. More work for him. That wasn’t nice at all.

MLM: I made pretty puhple snakes!! See…they go (makes undulating gestures with hands).

Me: You are ONLY supposed to use crayons on paper. NOT the FLOOR and not the VAN.

MLM: You angry? (kind of tentatively asked)

Me: Yes. I’m upset. You never listen to your mother!

MLM: Nooo…I LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER!! (protesting his innocence)

Me: (trying to cover up my laughter in snorts..) I mean you don’t listen to ME…I’m your MOTHER, Einstein!

MLM: You want a kiss? (puckers up)

Me: NO I DON’T! I don’t kiss naughty boys.

MLM: You want hug then?

Me: Just go bathe and get that purple color off your face and hands and think about why I’m angry and what you’ve done…(steam coming out of my ears)

And the gurgling laughter of a brat who jumped into the shower greets me while he happily sings, “London Bitch Is Falling Down”.

You. Just. Can’t. Win.

 

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Zero. Dark. 2:37 AM

I wanted my first post in the new year to be witty, funny, tongue-in-cheek but I guess I’ll be falling back on my old form of ranting about my kid. My forte in life et al.

This morning my darling ray of sunshine switched on all the lights in my room at 2:37 am and tapped me on my face till I woke up; to tell me he could feel the germs in his stomach moving around. Yikes.

I thought it was time for a visit to the loo and suggested as much, while scrambling from the bed and trying not to fall over the Batman figurine that mysteriously ended up underfoot or getting tangled in the bed sheets. But no. Apparently it wasn’t about going to the loo at all. My brat couldn’t sleep and had been thinking about the rumblings in his tummy and decided that a middle of the night bout of calisthenics would ease his mind and body.

So there I was, puffy eyed and puffier-faced with a severe case of bed hair, trying to focus myopic eyes on a 5-year old who was exercising in front of me and who wanted to discuss his tummy germs at length.

After pondering about tossing him out of the window and eventually nixing the idea, I managed to get him back into bed so we could discuss the way ahead. It seems he knew the course of treatment- no doctors but quite a bit of medicine, the yummy kind. And of course, no school. NATURALLY.

Kids are funny creatures. Their minds work in mysterious ways. They process information, look at things in a manner which is unique to their ages and bent of mind. Those were the things I was trying to tell myself as the hands of the clock crept closer to 3:00 am and the verbosity of my kid kept increasing.

Finally, I did the only thing that made any sense. The only thing that was a viable and legal resolution to the entire situation- I woke up his father, passed the buck and went off to sleep in another room.

I think that’s what I’ll try to do in 2015 more and more- react less. Not fight against the inevitable or the inexplicable. I’ll figure out how to tackle things and if I don’t succeed I’ll pull in an unsuspecting person and pull an escape routine on them 🙂

But seriously. Happy New Year blosgosphere peeps. Have an excellent year. May your thoughts and words never fail you and may you end up on more and more people’s’ reading lists as time goes by.

Salut!

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Reblogged: Marking Territory

Everywhere I look, I sit the offspring’s presence prevails.

The jar of Gummybears are usually within hand’s reach although with the child-proof caps it’s still a bit in our control when we want to hand the bears over.

There are clothes clips on the futon, tigers and lions (figures) under the sofa cushions and Play Doh and khakhra crumbs all along the path he’s taken through the house. Very Hansel and Gretel and one can guess who the witch in this story is too 🙂

Point is- kids take over your life in toto! And when they sleep you reclaim it and the house which has their artwork all over the walls instead of the nice designs you and your husband picked out as newlyweds.

But then again they surprise you in the MOST UNEXPECTED manner. After a terribly taxing day when you’ve restrained yourself from leaving them on some unsuspecting person’s doorstep they turn to you and execute a deep bow and say Thank You Very Much Ayu in the cutest manner ever and all’s forgiven till the next transgression.

Damn! Check and mate to the offspring. Mommy’s still figuring out her opening gambit!

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The Lure Of Online Retail

There is something fantastic about shopping! It’s akin to a discovery. No matter what you’re buying. I remember on a family trip years ago to Europe, my father was overjoyed on seeing a large, ripe, pumpkin in a supermarket where we’d gone to buy (and become disappointed yet again) water. I guess the pumpkin reminded him of the food he loves to eat and seeing it in a foreign land was quite the thrill for him.

But getting back to shopping…it’s more than just spending money although that does become an integral part of it; but there’re a lot of sensations associated with it that elevate it to more than just a girly thing to do. Whether you possess estrogen or not, some of us like shopping for the high it gives rather than the acquisitions that are actually just the byproduct. Shopping, believe it or not, actually releases the happy chemicals that give you a high and in many cases, take your credit card to Mach speed. Shopping has been pooh-poohed as a cathartic experience but honestly speaking, those who haven’t tried it out shouldn’t knock it because the looking for something specific, finding it and being able to acquire it gives a sense of accomplishment. That kind of high stays with you and takes you through a few low spots as well.

Personally? I love going to flea markets although in all these years I’ve gone to just one. The new-fangled flea market also called pop-up bazaars haven’t really taken my fancy because they seem to have a rehash of things from stall to stall. In a real flea market there’s no end to the kind of things people can think of selling- jams&jellies, quilts, old stuff, new stuff, really old stuff, barely new stuff and from books to bookends to spoons and tshirts…it’s ALL there!

When Red goes abroad for his work I ask him to go down to the farmer’s market for me…not for a vicarious thrill because let’s face it, I”m not going to “get” any thrill from more than 13000 kms away. And yes, I *did* look it up. I like to know what I’m writing about. Call it one of my nicer quirks 🙂

But getting back to shopping, clothes, shoes, jewellery (something I just don’t do unless it’s junk jewellery), the variety is what is so attractive. The colors, the shapes, and of course the prices. While a lot of people just love freebies, I personally love a bargain. Not the one you have to haggle over and feel like you won back the Earth from the invaders but a good bargain where you like what you see, you like the price tacked up on it and it’s something you’re actually going to use. I’m a bit of a hoarder but with a kid around, hoarding is possibly the worst thing you can go to yourself, OCD or not!

Now traditional shopping entailed having to go out and walk up and down sidewalks and then browse around but in this day and age of parking problems, limited me-time et al, online retail is the new king in town! You can shop from comfort of your home, your bed and your loo even!

And it feels so, so nice and comfortable. Sit on your favorite spot on your favorite couch, get your coffee/tea/alcohol (for the revenge shopping- an explanation will be forthcoming eventually in a new post) and start clicking. It’s convenience galore and that’s why it’s the new addiction. A term’s even been coined for it, well for the broader term actually viz Oniomaniaand we all know it’s just a matter of time before a specific term is coined for the online aspect as well.

But be as it may, this isn’t a post on the perils of it. Far from it. I encourage people to try it out at least once. The kind of insight I get about myself is amazing. Do you know you can be a window shopper online as well? It’s fun, it’s not harmful and it’s actually quite a distraction from the everyday humdrum.

As long as you know that caveat emptor applies everytime and everywhere…you’re good to go!

So log on, find out what’s new at Bergdorf, Barneys or Babyoye and maybe, just maybe cause a bit of ka-ching while you’re at it!