TO often asks me trivia questions especially about animals. Today’s query was about a bird whose name starts with P and ends with an N and it lives on an island. I initially said penguin and got an eyeroll for my troubles. Actually I led with pigeon because where don’t those little poop machines live?
When I said Puffin a second later, a disappointed TO told me that he was sure I wasnt going to be able to guess the bird and dang it! I did and he missed out on a chance to tell me about the bird.
Since we were talking about something other than cricket, the coronavirus and screen time, I encouraged him to tell me more. And he did. His opening sentence was classic- “If you were a puffin, this is how you would look and walk and he proceeded to describe it in great detail.
Before 2009 I never would have had a thought like ‘if I were a puffin’ not even if I were profoundly drunk. And those who have seen me such will testify that barring the rare barf fest, I just show a tendency to get louder and maybe climb on tables. But be a puffin…naah!
Apparently you become a parent sentences like ‘I want to have teeth like a walrus’, ‘I want to grow up and be a dragon’ or ‘ if you were a puffin’ is all in a day’s work!
Am sniffly, have a stuffy nose and my head feels like it’s full of rocks.
Once I gave TO his afterschool snack, I made myself a cuppa joe and leaned into the cup in DEEEEP appreciation. The brat looked at me contemplatively and asked, ” You love coffee more than me and P (Red) don’t you?
I told him, with my nose still vacuuming up the coffee aroma, that coffee helped me love him and Red just a little bit more.
Who’s going to tell a 10 year old that the Almighty Bean kept his mother from going loco on a *very* regular basis. I just LOVE euphemisms, don’t you?
The word ‘turbulent’ here refers to the frame of mind of the parents of tweens and not the tweens themselves. Honestly, I can even begin to take a gander at what these self-involved little hoomans are thinking, with half their brains trying to not give into the sociopathy that kids seem to have a blueprint for vs the sulky, snarky era that apparently spans the way ahead during their teenage.
While I have often wished and wished hard, that I could be one of those parents who fawn over their kids most of the times; I am unable to suppress my gag reflexes at the thought of constantly thinking of TO as my “little prince”.
‘My-little-pain-in-the-ass’ seems closer to the mark and I’ll tell you why. My usual interactions with him seem to go in these directions- A) I’m a slave driver and he’s a slave especially when it comes to getting him up in the mornings B) I’m not justified in asking him to bath properly rather than just looking at the soap and imagining himself as properly lathered, C) Expresing disappointment at the state of the loo post his using it (Ok now that’s the problem with most men but I’m trying to get him to be a bit more aligned to women in this regard), D) Me not behaving like we offer room service when the water bottle, glass etc is just two steps away. See? It’s not him, it’s CLEARLY ME!
This is the starting of the age when anything that comes out of my mouth is met with a “no”. And it’s not like when he was chubby, drooly and cute and saying no because it was a new word he’d just learnt and wanted to use it to death. Now the ‘no’ comes because he clearly has a setting activated in his brain that says keeping pushing that short, round woman in front of you till her head explodes. It’s not a fun time for me. And am told it gets way more interesting from here on. See how I effectively demonstrated the use of an euphemism? My English teachers are doing this somewhere-
But getting back to my causes of being in a snit- the kid’s growing up. Acting dumber at times sure, but growing up. He doesn’t fit into my lap, he’s not soft and squishy anymore and it takes more and more work to not flick his ear in irritation every damn day.
So pretty much on most weekdays and definitely on all weekends there’s a scene playing out which looks like this. For those of you who aren’t parents, that’s TO’s confused “What did I do look” followed by my “Eye of Shame/ I’m a part-time Medusa” look followed by TO’s nyah nyah attitude which in turn in followed by my “Now I’m seriously displeased look” and that’s all topped off with Red’s “Oh man! I have to run before they ask me to take sides” look.
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.
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.
So TO is a cricket buff. Am not. He has good hand-eye co-ordination. I don’t. He’s more like Red in this regard. Thank goodness.
This was our talk today- Me: ” Kane Williamson…ummm hmmm…hello there!”. TO: “He’s OLD Ayu!”. Me: ” He’s waaay younger than me baby!” TO: YOU. ARE. OLD. AYU”
After that bit of heartbreaking talk, I again made googly eyes at a clip of Kane Williamson Williamson practising prior to the match and TO piped up,” Eww…do you want to marry him?” Me: ” Can I marry him?” TO:” You should ask Prash (Red)”.
And that in a nutshell is enough of mother-son bonding for today.
We come across articles online or in the papers about the divaesque behavior of the celebs. But what about the diva that lives within us all? The one who is temperamental? Volatile even and turns away in a huff? The one who turns up their nose at some transgression-imagined or otherwise.
I am very closely associated with one such person. And another one makes a cameo appearance from time to time and then goes back to playing their usual full-time role.
Greta Garbo always had an anecdote attributed to her, “I vant to be alone”
One of my peeps sometimes becomes Garboesque and goes into ‘I want to be alone’ mode and there will be the sound of a door closing somewhere for about half and hour. After that time has lapsed, slightly subdued but ostensibly normal person emerges. But the diva lurks within.
The other diva is full-blown and totally OTT! There are lamentations of happiness being denied, lives being ruined and expressions of angst and agony to rival the actors of the Silent Era of movies.
That is followed by a body being flung onto a bed in a fit of pique.
Doors occasionally slam as well. But there is a zero-tolerance on door slamming so the anger is demonstrated in other ways. Things get flung around at times but there being an embargo on breakages; that line isn’t crossed.
I like to follow a ‘you break it, you bought it’ policy except mine is ‘you break it, you clean it up PRONTO’!
These divas are cute for the most part and not always very high maintenance. I have to write that because if they start writing their memoirs some day, I shudder to think how I’ll be portrayed. Yikes!