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Turbulent Tweens

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”.

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‘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-

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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.

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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.

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P.C: Paolo Nicolello@Unsplash
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P.C: Ruth Caron@Unsplash
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P.C: Drew Beamer@ Unsplash
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P.C: Dmitry Ulitin
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P.C: Bruno Figueredo@ Unsplash

S-I-G-H.

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The Stare

I have an almost-10 year old. He’s lazy like his father and me. We aren’t the gung ho types who jump to it and proactively clean and get shit done. We get to it when we can’t find things and usually at the last minute. Sort of defeats the purpose of being a housewife I guess but my parents’ cleaning gene escaped me but I wasn’t about to let it escape my kid. Not entirely.

We’ve made a deal; once he gets up in the morning he has to make the bed. Properly. Of course that’s when hands start to hurt and the bedspread seems to be made of cement rather than cotton but I’ve decided to be firm. What am also being firm about is the extent of halfheartedness I’ll allow in the task.

Today he went around the bed like a puppy chasing its tail in trying to get the bedspread to stay on the bed evenly. To say it looked like one of those asymmetrical dresses that seem to be the rage, would be downplaying it. Half the bedspread was covering the floor and the throw pillows were thrown on the floor and living up to their name and there was a little man brushing his hands with accomplishment saying, “Done!”

But I have learnt one thing from my father if nothing else…’The Stare’. My father is the master of ‘The Stare’. His stare is so potent that I could feel it burning through a crowded room, aimed right at me like a smack on the head. Btw, the beauty of this is that you don’t have to actually smack or even raise your hands…you frown and let your face settle in its most disapproving pattern and let it rest. The victim…erm the target is drawn by the vibes given off said face and is browbeaten into doing your bidding. It’s magic at its best. It’s a thing of beauty that I hadn’t appreciated while it was being leveled at me.

Over the years the stare as been leveled at others found to be lacking, an errant boyfriend here and there, friends who’ve been dressed inappropriately or when he thought I was dressed like a hobo (aka too casually for college and the sobriety of Chaucer and Matthew Arnold). And the stare burns into you…it’s like a Dark Mark that hovers till you’ve ceded to its commands.

Today, after TO kept playing tag with the bedspread I leveledĀ my stare at him and after a few studied shrugs of nonchalance and innocence, he said, “OK FINE!!!” and made the bed. It could still do with a few tugs here and there but at least the bed’s covered and not the floor.

See, they don’t tell you these things in the parenting books. This stuff’s invaluable! Of course the stare’s something every married man is familiar with. They are also more familiar with the menacing tones of the phrase, “We need to talk”…

I think I’ll just dole out the evilness today…mwaaahaaa

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Redemption At Long Last…

I don’t always deal well with extended weekends where my kid’s a part of the equation and Red isn’t around or not going to be around to be a buffer. We, TO and I, get along well for a few hours and then I feel like asking his school principal to keep the school going all days of the week for the sake of my sanity. And just a day back I wrote this rather sentimental blog post. Oh well, lunacy in all its forms is also par for course in parenting!

Anyhow after a whole day of playing the 5Ws and 1H series of questions I was looking for divine or devilish intervention when the skies opened up and the rains fell and whole petrichor experience did its bit to soothe the savage beast aka Moi. And then the offspring asked Alexa to play my favorite Def Leppard songs and sat next to me, semi head banging.

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Bliss. Oh bliss bliss bliss. Oh damn…I spoke to soon. The queries about all the icons in the Macbook’s dock have started up while I wind up this post. I know when I’ve been bested.

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Offspring-100, Me- 1

 

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Who’ll Blink First?

Raising a child often turns into a staring contest where the winner is the one who blinks first.

I rarely win. I imagine quite a few parents share my plight.

Whether it’s to get MLM out of the bath, get him to not whoop it up in his birthday suit when others are around or just about anything under the sun…I throw down the gauntlet and he immediately ups the ante.

I am severely confused in my mind about what would possess a child to get on his mother’s bad side. I hold the keys to his happiness as it were. I am the cookie dispenser. I also dispense paint, ketchup, bubbles, body cream and Play Doh. Anything that gives him happiness outside his school and let’s him muck about, I obtain or make available for him.

Logically he should be the world’s best brown noser where I am concerned instead of the polar opposite! And yet the battle rages.

Some days it’s skirmishes and other days it’s a no-holds barred, all-out war where the spoils that go to the victor usually lie with MLM and I lose a bit of my poise and sanity each time.

It’s got to the extent that the ‘Look of Shame’ parents cultivated when I was a tot has rather rudely been blown off and instead he’s got me dancing to his tune more often than not.

It used to be that a changed inflection in my voice, a particular gesture would be enough to signal the beginning of parental censure for him. Once I nipped the naughty plans in the bud I’d give a small or big reward depending upon whatever I’d managed to forestall. I thought Pavlov had it right…condition them well for desired behavior and it’s life on the easy street. Balls!

Instead the offspring deliberately goes quiet, knowing fully well no matter HOW noisy it is in the world, I will always hear the sounds of him *not* making any noise. When I sneak up on him to see what’s he’s doing so noiselessly, he looks up and aims a grin at me that’s full of cheeky impertinence and without a care in the world. Rubbing my nose in it so to speak.

I often end up giving him something (read cookies) to prevent the onset of activities that will take a long time to clean up. Somewhere…Pavlov’s dog’s laughing it up big time!

No I won't and you can't make me!!
No I won’t and you can’t make me!!