TO is the gift that keeps giving. Sadly, I don’t know how to switch it off!
I was helping him out with some comprehension sentences when the name Elizabeth came up. He knows Elizabeth mainly in conjunction with the Queen and Buckingham palace and automatically tacked on “The Queen” in front of the name leading to a lot of hilarity.
A short while later while he was pestering me for a hug and I aquiesced, he jumped on me and called me his “Precious” in the tones Smeagol used to have before he became Gollum.
Yet another thing that they don’t tell you in the parenting books!
Parenting often comes down to reaching agreements with your offspring in order for lessons to be learnt, set and accepted patterns of behavior to be established and also for those invisible lines to be drawn that help kids know crossing which ones will make the parents go medieval on them.
When TO was a baby I really, really liked him. He was adorable, always had a smile on his face, wasn’t a fussy baby…he just wouldn’t sleep much but he was not a pain. And he ate pretty much whatever I held up to his mouth.
Image courtesy Kyle Nieber@Unsplash
Somethings he didn’t like from the beginning like ripe papaya, anything with too much crunch or things which left an aftertaste he was iffy about; but this kid ate his fruits and veggies just fine!
Fast forward a few years and this kid goes around spouting nonsense about being allergic to nuts AND fruit! No clue where he picked it up from but trust me when I say that the only allergic person in this house is me in regard to excuses this child makes when faced with something he thinks he won’t like.
Yesterday after one of those Eff-It moments when parents decide on the ‘my-way-or-the-highway’ kind of scenario; a historic fruit- consumption contract was drawn up which includes not one but THREE fruits! My mother’s heart was about to burst forth with joy.
Naturally, I had to make it worth his while. And no, I don’t mind using lures when it serves my purpose and gets him to eat and live healthier.
That’s how I got Red to eat more veggies too. I’d wait for the cricket matches to come on and serve him meals that had all the stuff he claimed he never ate and before you know it Mr.Zombie-In-Front-Of-The-Telly had eaten the entire lot of things “he never ate” and liked it too.
So kids, the lesson here is this…next time you want mom to buy the load of tripe about being “allergic” to something, be prepared to go into anaphylactic shock to really drive the point home.
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.
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.
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.
Last Sunday TO had some of his friends over for a pizza lunch. It went just fine. All the complaints, tears, sulks, hurt feelings and booboos turned up bang on schedule at the 2 hour mark like they do with x number of kids under the same roof for a given amount of time.
One of the little ones was happily lazing at the dining table, with his feet up on the opposite chair and drawing out the cheese from his pizza slice and his friend was peppering him with questions, one after another, with nary a break. And then this happened:
“Child#1– Hey J…did you see..blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah??? Child#2– munch munch, chomp, chomp, chomp…No. Child#1– But it was blah blah blah blah blah blah. Child#2– chomp chomp, more pizza…munch munch. Ok. Child#1– It was so blah blah blah blah blahx10!! Child#2- Hey M..shut the f*** up! And there was a bit of silence for a bit. Only because the rest had their mouths stuffed with pizza.
Child#1 comes over to me and says (sadly and loudly),”You know J said shut the f*** to me!!” Before I can decide whether I should have my outraged, sad, stern or even my controlling-my-laugh face, Child#3 goes, “You should NEVER say F*** because it’s a BAD WORD!!” Child#4 chimes in-” I NEVER say F*** because it’s not a nice thing to say F*** and I’m not supposed to say it! Child#1– “But J said F*** to me RIGHT NOW (and pouts)!!” And my very own Bratosaurus leisurely finishes the pizza in his mouth, burps and says “Parton me (he says ‘parton’ instead of ‘pardon’) and adds, “We should all stop saying F*** because my mother is right here!”
The lesson here ladies and gents is this- alwaysget the pan pizza with the thick crusts. Opt for the crusts filled with cheese if need be. It takes a while for these little yappers to get their tireless jaws around the whole thing. They can effectively talk AND curse with the thin crust pizza and spew half-masticated pieces of food all around in the process.
My son and I have no-holds barred conversations. These conversations often leave me with a gormless look on my face and at other times it’s a toss-up between laughter, crying and looking for a place to bang my head against.
Ever since TO and a bunch of little friends sneaked a peek at some horror movies on Amazon Prime and then went and got spooked about anything that went bump in the night, I’ve reinforced the embargo on scary movies till he’s 30. My hope is that he outgrows the wish to watch them way before that deadline passes but keeping it banned till the big 3-0 makes it sufficiently important in his head. If anything’s banned for that long then the repercussions surrounding it are going to be rather elaborate and possibly ouchie-inducing too.
I’m not too worried about him sneaking a peek again. In fact let him see Pennywise biting off a kid’s hand or pulling him into a sewer. Or Bathsheba possessing Carolyn Perron or worst of all, let him take a gander at the head turning scene in The Exorcist. Some lessons are learnt the hard way. Let’s see which way the little man’s headed..’cuse the pun!
But getting back to the freaky conversations we’re prone to having…TO keeps asking me how the doll in Annabelle comes alive. And explaining demonic possession to an almost 10-year old isn’t something I thought I’d have to tackle. I mean the facts of life..yeah sure. But how a doll is a host of a demon or that people use the occult to channel evil spirits and what is exorcism; all this wasn’t in any of the parenting manuals my husband shoved my face into unfortunately.
So after trying to explain the occult to him and failing, I tried to keep up with the rapid fire questions while evading the virtual helicopter shots coming off his cricket bat. I told him I didn’t know how Annabelle got out of the well or why they didn’t show Annabelle as walking and running or killing people or if he’d suddenly find Annabelle if he opened his closet door while he was home alone one day. But I told him not to worry about Annabelle at all…because I…his all-knowing mother was always watching and would ALWAYS know what he was up to. Always. Mwaaaahaaaa
The Offspring (TO) has been introduced to the world of peer pressure. He has met the “popular” kids, met the jocks, met the goody two-shoes and is trying to fit into the whole ecosystem as we speak…erm type.
Being of a slightly more touchy disposition, TO is at times inclined to want to change schools if he doesn’t have a good day or have a bad experience. Of course the very next moment he can be on top of the world as well. Am told such is the world of children.
This morning his reason for not wanting to get up and go to school was due to the kids he had a falling out with. He gave us more details while having his milk. The conversation went something like this- TO: ” So I’m not friends with X anymore. Me: Why? TO: She doesn’t want to be friends with ME. Me: (making sympathetic face) Whhhhyyy? What happened? TO: She says stop following me around. Me: Well…do you follow her around? TO: (looking sheepish)..only a little bit. Me: Well then, don’t follow her. TO: (huffily) ok fine!
The rest of the conversation consisted of words irritating, annoying, irritated and annoyed and why the middle finger is *not* to be shown and at least a 1000 reminders to finish his milk and go for his bath.
Turbulent Thursdays anyone? And to think that we have yet to navigate through the choppy waters of puberty. God help us.
Once upon a time there was a world which had movies and t.v shows up to the heavens. It was a lovely world. All (almost) the latest episodes and movies uploaded as soon as they aired and it was FREEEEEEE! There were heroes like Yify who made the world a happy, happy place.
This world needed slight maneuvering in stealth aka incognito mode because of the mine fields of toolbars, extensions and slithery worms that lurked and wanted to make their new home on your beloved instrument of happiness (click herefor to know about another take on the same).
Anyhoo, after quite a few years of binge-watching AHS, GA, HTGAWM, 24, Bones and whatnot, my online streaming rampage came to a crashing halt. TO was given access to his very own laptop at the start of the school year. To say he loves it like the sibling he never had would be exaggerating it. He probably loves it more. I have seen him caress the damn thing and look lovingly at it!
The first day he got the laptop he was schooled (‘cuse the pun) on the best sites to download music and games from; again in stealth. When he got home, proud to show off his prowess in downloading and claiming his place in the long-standing family tradition, he got a rude shock. Apparently it was *not* ok to download stuff for free from dubious websites. Gasp! Who knew?!
Red gave him a whole litany of reasons why it wasn’t the right thing to do especially since access to Prime and Netflix was so easily doable. The child absorbed the shock and immediately told his father, “So that means A can’t download movies anymore either, right?” And then, right there in that little moment, the parents got schooled. And were grudgingly proud of it.
So here I am, paying for Prime, Netflix and occasionally renting movies from Google during the movie&junk food weekends that all kids (big&small) seem to love. At times I wonder why I should have to pay to watch a movie like ‘The Meg‘ but then I remember that I didn’t pay a dime to watch about 3 Sharknadoes and awhole host of shark movies which most people wouldn’t watch even if they got paid to. Well Red wouldn’t. I still did watch this one and swore that I wouldn’t waste precious bandwidth on that kind of imbecility ever again. I’ve kept to that promise. I think.
When I was looking over my cc statement I found an ever-growing list of charges towards movie-viewing: in the theaters, on the telly and all totally 100% legit. Yup…we’ve turned a new leaf. And paying a pretty penny for it too. But we are not subscribing to Animal Farm!
I constantly swing back and forth from amusement to annoyance when helping my son with his homework. Especially his language homework.
My own language “skills” are middling to not-bad-at-all and my pronunciation of words (especially the word pronunciation) is usually correct. Of course Red did tell me that I’d been pronouncing ‘Audi’ and ‘apropos’ wrong my whole life and then sniggered his pert behind out of the room. In my defence I’ve hardly ever pronounced apropos; mainly used it in my emails and writing so there!
Anyhoo, the offspring gets help with learning his words phonetically. And while saying them out loud every now and then his eyes glaze over and I know he’s in the land where Korra the Avatar exists and his mother’s voice correcting him is a drone that he can relegate to the background and forget. And while doing so he mispronounces a sound he’s been saying 10xs over in the last few minutes. That’s when my angry eyes come into play…
See, the thing is this…I was taught English (my adopted 1st language) by crusty nuns who had no compunction about rapping delicate young knuckles HARD with their even harder rulers and following that up with DAMN-YOU-TO-HELL looks for mispronouncing words or not speaking the Queen’s English; never mind that the grand dame hadn’t been our queen since well before we were born or the nuns themselves were supposed to embody compassion and not be more like her! Psst….follow arrows down
My flesh and blood warbles while he reads, fluctuates between accents (courtesy yours truly and Youtube) and affects a sing-song reading style which would have earned me an entire class on my knees had I dared to read things any differently.
For those of us brought up on Wren&Martin ,English (the British variant) correctly isn’t a matter of choice. It’s a way of life. Add to it a few years of English literature classes where you’re liberally applying your penchant for poetry and prose with panache while being taught by teachers wearing a pince nez and you are stuck with correcting peoples’ pronunciation for life.
And you know it’s a bordering a disease when you’re correcting it in your head when you can’t do it aloud.
P.S: This bit from My Fair Lady is rather apt for this post methinks…