Isn’t that what it all boils down to in life?
It isn’t always celebrating the things that go well or in accordance with our plans or even making our peace with the things that don’t. It’s finally just existing with what IS.
Sometimes we are able to do it gracefully and other times it takes a lot of plodding and prodding to get through each day.
There’s a saying by Oscar Wilde that people often smugly quote- ” There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.”
I’ve found that while tragedy might be too strong a word for it, it does seem difficult to comprehend and accept ,what you sought out, opted for even isn’t all that it’s cut out to be or even worse…it’s not what you want. Is inadequate.
So you shuffle the deck a few times and hope the next hand is better than the one that has you staring in bafflement.
Or you chuck the cards up in the air and don’t care if they scatter all over; since it’s mimicking life in doing so.
And some of us painstakingly make a house of cards. Trying to balance each card over the other and anxiously watching whether they stay up or come tumbling down.
In the end you either end up with a steady house you used up all your cards in making and are proud of or you decide to call it quits after you reach a plateau and are still left holding a few cards for later.
It’s all about playing with the hand you were dealt.
Any mother will eventually admit to this- they love their kids the most when the children are either asleep or doing something that doesn’t require them (the moms) to be an active participant all the time.
See the thing with kids is this- you are doing things with them, for them, watching them do things while doing things with them or for them; you’re never really just watching them. And often when you do get the time to stop and watch them you realize that they’re grown up or a little less of the baby you knew just a few months back.
Here’s a silly little anecdote but one that made me feel all warm and gooey inside so naturally it’s all good.
Once we moved into the new place I realized that the toilets were higher than at the old place. MLM had to get some help to get hoisted onto the pot initially and would need to stand on tiptoes to pee. Very banal stuff right? And then I walk into the loo one morning and I realize he’s not on tiptoes anymore and can hoist himself onto the pot. Give the kid a medal! In a mom’s book that calls for an “awww my baby’s growing up”.
We can often miss out on the subtext in day-to-day life. The stuff going on in the background and even the foreground while we’re going about with the essentials.
What I like to do these days since MLM learnt to swing on his own is observe him and his interactions with other around him.
I find it satisfying in a way when he doesn’t come to me with his problems but tackles them on his own because that too is a sign of independence and growing up.
He has a funny way of referring to certain children’s’ moms as ‘Mother’. When I asked him why he was calling a particular lady as Mother since she wasn’t his mother and why not call her Aunty instead, pat came his reply- “So many aunties”. That is his to-the-point way of telling me he’s trying to keep from confusing the issue and directly addressing some kid’s mom instead of saying Aunty and having half a dozen women look at him. That he didn’t remember the lady’s name was well evidenced as well.
But the overall dynamics are very entertaining and enlightening to observe. Just yesterday MLM told another child’s mother than her daughter was hungry and wanted to go home. Out of the blue. The child in question was happily playing around with no idea she was the topic of a conversation. Why this sudden benevolence towards a peer? Well MLM’s soon-to-be-ex-best-friend who has of late started playing with other girls and keeping him at an arm’s length was approaching the playground and my darling son decided upon a preemptive strike before he lost the battle!
It’s amazing how these little minds work, how complex and yet simple their thought processes can be. And I get to be a spectator and take mental snapshots…all because a little boy has learnt to swing and I don’t have to give my biceps a workout anymore.
Amen. And thank you Galactic Ameba for your benevolence.
Well most parents who’re reading this are going-DUH! But for the uninitiated and those who just “love” kids, here are some telltale signs that a mini-adult inhabits a particular dwelling.
Here we go-
There are mini shoes/flipflops/socks dotting the entrance of the house/apartment.
The surface of the house is kind of glossy. Upon closer examination you realize it’s sticky. If you really are a modern day Braveheart and explore further, you’ll see that it tastes sweet to.
You end up stepping on/sitting on/slipping on/finding-figures of dinosaurs, Hotwheels, clothespins, crayons, markers, color pencils,Play Doh, cookie cutters on the sofas, in the bathroom where the child bathes, out in the balcony, in kitchen drawers, within the folds of the comforters, on the bed, under the bed, in your shoes, arranged right in the middle of the room in a merry marching band fashion.
The walls have hand prints, scribble marks, smudges even though they look relatively new. Also, the marks are at a midget-level and usually not above 4 feet.
There are breadcrumbs not unlike Hansel and Gretel in a meandering path all over the house, on the bed and dinning table looks like a battle look place with the ketchup stains and jam streaks.
The TV remote is kept up high somewhere instead of being close to the telly like in other peoples’ houses.
Every decorative item is kept high up somewhere.
The potpourri looks like it’s been rummaged through and bits and pieces are lying around on the floor.
There are a trail of clothes- the house essentially resembles a laundry.
The surface of the laptop/computer has been scribbled on. Erased but still with colorful streaks.
The keyboard of the laptop/computer looks like a gap-toothed smile with keys missing.
There are shouts of, “No Spitting”, “Keep Your Clothes ON!!”, “No Your Wee-Wee doesn’t Want Cheerios!!” et al.
There’s a harried person, female usually, with bird’s nest hair, a red face, frown and steam coming out from the ears. Usually clad in sweats and a face that’s crying out for salon treatment.
There’s also a small person, or 2, oblivious to the minefield he has for a mother; happily skipping out, sneaking spoonfuls of peanut butter from the kitchen and bestowing sticky kisses to the deranged, about-to-explode aforementioned female.
This was not an exhaustive tutorial but an accurate one. In order to get the complete lowdown on this particular issue, please head to the nearest neighboring home with a stay-at-home mom. When the door opens and the swirling tornado inside is visible to you, all the truths shall be revealed.
I’ll admit it here and possibly have it engraved on a metal plate and hang it somewhere prominently…NO ONE CAN SHOCK ME AS MUCH AS MY CHILD!
While I was dropping him to school this morning he suddenly got very excited and shouted out, ” LOOK! FUCKS!” I nearly had a WTF moment myself and carefully asked him, ” What did you say?” To which the pat came the reply, ” TWO FUCKS!” By this time I had a sinking feeling in my stomach and was wondering how to tell Red that our only child had been initiated in the unholy world of profanity when the tiny paws that pass for MLM’s hands gripped my ponytail and started tugging to show me the “fucks”. And I saw them…2 dogs with small bodies, bushy tails and pointy ears like that of a FOX! DUH! DUH! DUH!
So like every ostensibly responsible mother I started to enunciate FOX properly and asked him to repeat after me but to no avail. And 15 minute car trips are hardly long enough to pass on life lessons let alone pronunciations so I let it be for then. But I’ve roped in his teachers so they can help him change his verbal outlook towards this poor poor animal who unknowingly almost caused a mother to screech to a stop in the middle of commuter traffic in the morning.
The toughest thing I find at times is to explain to MLM what something actually is. Since he lacks the experience and often the vocabulary, it’s a bit challenging to think of ways to get him to understand it in a manner that satisfies him or makes sense to him. Some children accept a lot of things their parents tell them but MLM actually mulls things over quite a bit.
Little things like why he can’t be swimming in an unheated pool in the height of winter, how it’ll most likely cause a cold; why his father and I are using chasing him around the house to clean his nose when it’s runny and most importantly why t.v or other visual digital media is curtailed after a point. Usually there’s a villain in the story viz moi but by and large there are questions coming up which I have to gloss over or fall back on euphemisms for him to stop his line of questioning.
Just today he suddenly asked why Littlefoot’s mother was sleeping and not getting up after the fight with the T-Rex. Till now he’s never watched anything where death has even been remotely implied and since he’s only 4, I haven’t even thought about how to explain those kinds of heavy concepts to him yet. Whatever cartoons he’s watched where the bad guy’s been defeated, he’s understood it as them having “gone away”. Whether that’s a permanent condition or not has not been touched upon. Come to think of it, I don’t know if such small children know and understand the concept of permanence either. Their little minds are usually so crammed with things in their immediate surroundings, their likes and dislikes.
So when he raised the query about Littlefoot’s mother I asked him why do you think she’s not getting up and he promptly replied, ” T-Rex did ouchie! Dinosaur got ouchie there and fall down. Now dinosaur sleep.” Phew! That’s a good place to start. I wouldn’t know what to do when the “die” issue comes up.
With children what they see is what you get and I guess that’s why he can’t understand how it is when I occasionally put my contact lens on…he keeps trying to get me to put my glasses on…thinking I’m unable to see 🙂
When he was a baby, he’d go and check under the beds, behind the toilets, everywhere possible when he wasn’t able to locate his grandparents after they’d left. He just couldn’t understand how something was *not* there or was different or in an unrecognizable form.
All a part of growing up I guess…I just hope I survive the phase of “whys”.
Red and I have always tried to use positive words rather than negative words when communicating things to MLM. Kids are like sponges and like mirrors…they’ll absorb everything and reflect them back on you…add boomerang to that list since they keep coming back no matter where you throw them. You *don’t* throw your kids? Pity….try it sometime…it’s cathartic!
Anyhoo…moving on from my not very maternal fantasies…we’ve been wondering how to get MLM out of his habit of saying NO to every damn thing that we ask him to do or not to do AND also his habit of justifying his actions by proclaiming- IT’s MINE!! Am tacking on only 2 exclamations…he adds a gazillion after his screeches.
The thing is…no matter how hard you try, it’s inevitable that the child hears NO from you on a fairly regular basis. If not NO then its loyal family of NOT, DON’T, STOP all hover inside our mouths just waiting to jump out and assault the child bent on doing things his own way.
Take today’s instance for example: MLM somehow got his hands on an extension cord that was happily wound up and kept out of reach- or so we thought. He unraveled the entire bit and dumped the rest onto his cycle carrier and was zooming around the house. I saw and asked him to stop knowing that the tangled cables would either mess up the bike or would cause a fall and a resulting ouchie; post which I’d have to kiss the aforementioned ouchie and tell the bike it had been very naughty for hurting MLM. Yup…my days are filled with fun things to do.
So the little man immediately acts like I’m the Gestapo and starts yelling IT’s MINE!! and NO! NO! NO! GIFF IT BACK!!! Seeing that the belligerence in my eyes hadn’t dimmed a bit he starts off on his impressions of a banshee (not a pretty sound especially on a day when I’ve been diagnosed with AOM) and just carries on till I box his ears and threaten to give the cycle away to the trash collector tomorrow morning. Yes…we’re the threatening parents…rather I am…Red still tries to strike a balance…when that fails he calls me and I promptly come in and threaten.
The point is it shouldn’t be this hard…you shouldn’t have to be a bad cop for your kid to understand that you want them to be safe. But given that children much older than my boy have deliberately done dumber things, with more serious implications just goes to show you that kids really don’t listen. It’s not done with malice either. They just don’t know any better. And since you know better and try to stop them and end up cementing their intentions even more. But the alternative isn’t a pretty one at all…isn’t the most important part of being a parent is to keep your child safe? Not every experience is worth having when seen from a parent’ s viewpoint and in reality.
But till that glorious day comes when my child actually exhibits that he has brains and can use them appropriately, I guess we’ll be keeping company with the evil twins- Mr.NO & Mr. IT’s MINE.
I just hope their family doesn’t grow any more…I have very few weapons left in my arsenal 😦 The most effective of which continue to be Mr.Bedtime (for the child) and Mrs. Glass-0f-Wine ( for moi).
The day the generation gap hits you is the day you start wondering if you were thought to be as silly and vacuous as you are thinking of the table full of young’uns who are ostensibly out to enjoy a Sunday lunch.
Let me paint a picture: girls with heavily outlined eyes tottering around like newborn giraffes all the while striving for the “hip” look.
Boys with the made up grungy-casual look which focuses on striving very hard to appear unwashed. And their pants were paying homage to gravity by reaching for the floor…what’s up with that? Is this a whole generation of people born with no discernable butts? Sir MixALot’s groaning in misery I should imagine 🙂
Anyhow the ensemble cast assembles at an eating joint we head off to now and then and I notice that after the rather exaggerated airkisses they start taking pictures. QUITE normal. Am an annoying wannabe shutterbug myself. But what I’ve never done is plan the upload of the pictures in Facebook and discuss the phototagging during the photoshoot. Or rather plan the photoshoot with the whole purpose of posting it on Facebook.
What about looking good for the heck of it and sashaying down the length of the room so people can see how good you look? That aspect of narcissism I get totally! But to get dressed to the nines and in accessories that you can’t even manage (bags that look more like packing crates! Seriously? Or with all sorts of feathers hanging out?) and just planning on which social media platform the pictures are going to be splashed on seems like a waste of the time spent getting dressed up.
When I was their age (here we go…this is prime time Fuddyduddyness) we dressed up to look good for compliments and get guys to notice us. That seemed like the natural order of things. These days things just seem absurd, dollying up to be commented upon by all and sundry via social networking.
I wondered how it would be when I found myself in this position…thinking these things which have been thought by countless people over the years…it feels perfectly normal and yet amusing to see myself on this side of the topic.
What I wouldn’t give to know what people thought about me and my friends when we were on the brink of adulthood like the group I saw today. I’ll bet it’ll echo my sentiments from today to a large extent 🙂
Youth is always seen as callow by someone no longer in the first bloom of their youth…sharpening their claws about someone else seems to assuage their sentiments about no longer being that carefree and light.