Nuts To You!

People tend to see shapes in the clouds, some even see things with their eyes closed but I think TO kind of took the cake today.

After he got home from school today and was having his snack, he suddenly said ‘Mustache’. For a second I thought he meant I needed to schedule an appointment with the beautician and then he said, “Look Ayu, there’s a moon and a kidney.”

By then I knew it wasn’t me he was referring to…phew! And then he pointed at the jar on the table that had cashews. And pointed out where the mustache, kidney and moon were.

So why am I not gloating over my child’s sense of abstraction and imagination? Well..a few minutes later when I asked him to pick up his socks off the floor and put them in his hamper, he needed help finding them. Guess where they were? Right at his feet!

Oh me, oh my. Kids!

Retroblogging#67

For anyone who’s wondering about the sudden jumps in the numbers on the blog posts, let’s just put it down to outright artist license and move onto the good stuff. Here’s another post which brought a smile to my face because life has interesting ways of teaching us lessons..

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Vengeance is mine, and I will repay.”

Or something to that extent I imagine must have passed by an old chappie’s lips when four loud, boisterous kids from his neighborhood would filch his precious stack of clothes pins and make them disappear day after day..

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The more he complained to his neighbors (the parents of the brats) the more clips kept disappearing. They’d go off the clothes line and end up in the oddest places, like the water tank. Which after a point of time seemed to verily have more clips lying at the bottom than coins in the Trevi Fountain!

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Anyhow, he’d rant and rave and often cuss at them, not that they gave a hoot! It was fun to see the crusty old man finally move his potato sack of a body off the swing and lumber after them. Else it was the swing where he sat, day after day and made it squeak and squeak as if it was his life’s purpose.

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The brats didn’t know that the irritable man who always told on them was actually retired and wanted nothing more to sit on his swing and sip from his stainless steel glass of booze that would remain undetected in that wettest of dry lands. So the sight of children causing a ruckus put a cramp in his guzzling plans indeed! And if he stayed compliant and ignored them, he would have to face the task of answering his not so little woman who would wonder about the regular disappearance of her clothes pins.

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Cut to present day- one of the brats is grown up now. Somewhat. When she finished her laundry today and went to hang up the innumerable little things that her child goes through daily, she found that she was YET AGAIN short of clipsies..!
How she gnashed her teeth and wished that for once her beloved dumpling would throw something else off the balcony or find other things to confiscate instead of the oh-so important clips…

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And while seething and doubling up the clothes (since there weren’t enough clips to go around) she thought of a curmudgeon whose clips she and her fine companions would to love to chuck into the water tank or use as marks to get badams off the tree.

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And then it came home to her…what goes around definitely comes around. And there was plenty more coming her way…!

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Retroblogging#23

Another one that caught my eye from the days of yore…

Right from the time my son was born, I was struck by how delicate he was. I knew babies are vulnerable and helpless but this one seemed to embody those qualities and more. He was a thin baby, weighing just on this side of an acceptable birth weight but he never lacked spunk.

That ‘scrawny’ baby’s learnt to run now and also balance himself on his toes to reach heights hitherto out of his reach.

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One thing that’s absolute about children is that you NEVER know what they’ll do next. If you think there’s a line they haven’t crossed yet, they always manage to cross it and then some! So if you threaten your kid with that ‘last straw that breaks the camel’s back’, you’d better be prepared to have a whole herd of camels waiting out there because your offspring will find plenty more straws and with it plenty of camels’ backs too.

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I used to think of little children (infant to toddler stage) as being fragile but it’s us as parents who’re the fragile ones. The kids are resilient and how! They fall, they bleed, they sprout bumps here, there and everywhere and they still keep going even after the tears have left tracks on their face.

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And speaking of tracks, while you may not need therapy to get over the minor cuts and nicks on your child; it definitely takes some doing to see your child hurt and you not being able to prevent it. And some things do stay with you. Whether it makes you a better parent or a hovering one is anyone’s guess.

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And by the time you’re over the initial trauma and your monkey is again gallivanting off for newer places to fall down from; you tell them what’s sure to become your motto in life- “Don’t cry! You wanna cry? I’ll give you something to cry about if you dare do something like this (fill in blank with your pet peeves about your kid) ever again!!!”

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And you go on. Both of you…sometimes with one chipped tooth, a brief black and blue mark and you with a near-paranoid obsession for stuff your child could hurt yourself on again. But you do go on.

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And before you know it, they’re onto newer things, more things they could make hurtful for themselves and with you still trying to be their life-long safety net and catch them before they fall. But that’s not to be…what is to be their ever-growing curiosity, activity and ability to bounce back each time.

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Amen to that! The rest will keep I suppose 🙂

P.S: At the time of this blog being posted MLM’s graduated to TO and has had 3 surgical interventions (nothing critical) which includes one broken hand being reset. And we’re still chugging along! Phew…

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Waiter..There’s A Fly In My Soup

Well…there may have been a fly and there may have been a waiter and there definitely may be some soup somewhere in this universe. But this morning it was just me and TO, sitting at the dinning table while it was still a bit dark out.

He was all agog about going to his cricket class after having a break of 4 days. I made him a quick breakfast of toast and jam and was just lurching towards the coffee mugs when suddenly this happened: “Ayu…come here please!” Ayu duly went and was faced with the crisis that would lead to humanity being at utmost peril…a portion of a bread that wasn’t covered with enough jam!

TO-” my bread is empty here. Me- it’s not empty..it just has less jam. TO- but it’s almost empty…that spot has jam but this corner doesn’t have any jam at all!”

Me (going back to the kitchen and gripping the butter knife the way Carrie’s mother held the cleaver)- “Shall I put more jam for you then? Why don’t you eat the rest of the other bread while I put more jam on this bit?” TO-” I want to eat it all together Ayu. I’ll wait till you put more jam. That’s it..a little more to the right, no..that’s going out of the bread! Yup..a little more to the left…perfect! The whole bread is covered now. I can FINALLY eat in peace!”

Me, bleary-eyed, sleepy and caffeine-deprived, ” Am so glad I could take care of your jam emergency baby. Nothing makes a mother happier than stuffing more sugar into her kid and being micromanaged into the art of spreading jam on a piece of bread.” And pat comes the reply- You’re welcome. Kissy kissy”

AAAAAAAAAARGHHHHHHHH!

Pointy Elbows and Drool

Everytime you think you’ve reached a time and place where you don’t have to be a crabby cakes about your kid, they prove you wrong!

Of late TO’s been climbing into our bed. Resulting in either one of us sleeping on our own somewhere else (bliss) or us getting through the night but with pokes and prods and occasional limbs flying about.

Early this morning but still at a time I choose not to be woken up at, someone went poke-poke at the soles of my feet. It was TO asking me to make room for him, his pillow and coverlet.

I made room for him and then did a quick recon of the room he’d been sleeping in to see if the fan or AC had still been left on. We apparently have mood lighting in this house you see- when one leaves a room and *if* they feel like it, the fan and lights get switched off. Else, they don’t.

Anyhow, I came back to my room within a few seconds and found a small child could take up a ridiculous amount of space; yet again. I squished him up and moved him down towards Red (who always sleeps like a baby I might add resentfully).

I kept dreaming of the world being all cold and wet and me baby proofing the house for some reason…putting those cone guards on the edges of tables and sharp pointy things and then realized why that particular dream had come to me…TO was sleeping with arms akimbo and his rather pointy elbow had caught me in the ribs! To add to it, he was drooling. Everything one likes to wake up to an extra hour early, for no good reason.

This parenthood stuff is a doozy!

Selectively Linguistic

My native language is Bangla. Am not entirely proficient in it. I can speak it but the “purists” can usually gauge that I’m not one of them. Apparently it reeks of being an “outsider” aka from outside the hallowed boundaries of West Bengal.

I can manage to read and write it but it’d be better if I didn’t. I can manage better with Gujarati and can more than scrape by in Hindi. Not counting English here since it’s the global ‘must-have’ language we were brought up to regard and revere.

Red’s native tongue is Telugu. He’s proficient in speaking, reading and writing. The less said about his spoken Hindi the better. I’ve written a few blog posts trolling it and he hasn’t been a happy camper.

The Offspring (TO) has chosen English as the language he’s most comfortable with and is sticking to it with the tenacity of barnacles on a sunken ship. See…all those years of cramming figures of speech in my head finally did some good.

Anyhoo, back to TO. He has been spoken to, yelled at, cajoled at, cooed at in both the languages Red and I speak in but somehow it was the whole water&duck’s back scenario.

But every now and then, he slips up and answers, verbally or non-verbally, in response to a question asked in Bangla. And it makes me annoyed and smug at the same time. Would it hurt his otherwise perpetually busy mouth to speak a few words in other languages? Especially if they’re a part of his cultural make-up? But noooo…one cannot hope to prevail upon children of today over these sentimental issues. They (the kids) are pretty pragmatic and don’t see much value to doing the ‘little things’ which make their folks giddy with happiness.

This morning over breakfast at a resort we’re staying in, I asked him if he wanted a repeat of his soupy noodles. I asked him in Bangla and he shook his head no. I asked him again just to be sure and he said “No”. When Red asked him a bit later, he still said no. So no was the way to go.

But am onto his little tricks. He pretends he doesn’t get what I’m saying when I speak in a different language but I know better. No kid can spend 7 years being scolded in a language and not pick up bits and pieces. No sirree!

Although, and am just playing devil’s advocate here, given his Bong genes that are predispositioned towards food and gluttony, he could just have memorized every tense of the phrase containing the words ‘eat’ and ‘more’. Going by my luck with this boy, it’s far more likely that’s what he did.

There go dreams of my conversing with him and teaching him the mix of Banglish (Bangla+English)+Hinglish (Hindi+English) I usually speak.

I is sad. I is annoyed. These kids! #smh but since every parent’s goal is to get their kids to do things without telling them 20,000xs or throwing stuff at them; as long as he answers back in ONE language I guess that’ll have to be enough.

Siiiiigh.

Lost In Translations#501

TO has an accent. We’re not sure which country it belongs to. It’s a relic mishmash of whatever animated programs he’s grown up watching. 

He, however, doesn’t know Hindi; a language he loves listening to songs in. His pronunciations are decidedly foreign and poor dear Alexa often has problems deciphering what he wants.

The new addition on the playlist is Dilbar. TO pronounces it as Dill(the herb)+Bar(the place where people go for a drink). Needless to say Alexa’s response of, “I don’t know about the DILL-BAR. Dill is a herb ah blah blah and bar is either blah blah blah”, wasn’t unforseen. By moi. TO was part- disappointed and part-annoyed that Alexa wasn’t “getting” it.

I was called in to speak Alexan and translate the song name into something darling Alexa could make sense of and finally when the song played I got the epithet of “My favorite mother’ and a hug…the rewards of a job done perfectly.

Hang on…I have to go again…someone’s trying to tell Alexa that there’s something called  ‘Abytoepaarteeshoeroueeaye’. My translator’s ears are picking up signs that it may be Abhi Toh Party Shuru Hui Hai. I’d better unconfuse the gadget before she blows a fuse.

Ta!

Lost In Translation #234

That’s a random number by the way. It just seems like there’s way too many lost in translation situations with TO.

Today’s was hilarious because of the kind of kneejerk reaction TO gave to the whole misunderstanding.

So the boy needs a haircut and as has been the case with the past few haircuts, he’s been looking at Indian cricketers’ hairstyles and then deciding which one he likes the best.

Today he kept telling me names and I kept searching for images from which he chose the ones he liked the most. We went through pictures of Pujara, Jadega, Kohli, Rohit Sharma and then came the bombshell-Hanuman! 

I kept asking him if he was sure and he kept saying yes, each time in a bit more annoyed tone. So I searched for Hanuman’s images and found one where some of his hair was visible. I showed that to TO only to have him slap himself on the forehead and go, “Hey Prabhu! I didn’t say Hanuman Ayu…I said Hanuma…”.

Apparently I was meant to search for him

Instead of him

Color me relieved! Taking on a powerful monkey God as a style icon was a bit far out even for me. Phew! Of course TO’s DUH expression floored me as well- complete with the right amount of sarcasm and the mandatory eye-roll.

Palpitations On A Saturday Morning

In the paraphrased words of Dolly Parton- I stumbled out of bed and tumbled to the kitchen and to pour my self a cup of salvation…and stopped still. There was a small rat on my dining table!!

I was still sleepy and did not have my wits about me so I swayed in one place for a bit, trying to think if I should throw a shoe at it or try to trap it under something when I thought again…why would we suddenly get rats when our pests have been lizards and roaches. So I did my Martha routine and crept up sneakily as much as a chubby woman can and saw it was MLM’s stupid armadillo toy!

That kid is going to get a lecture on keeping things back in the proper place once he surfaces from under the covers today! Jeez!

Note to self: Hear Salvation today, it’s been a while.

9

Red and I completed 9 years in our parenting journey. They have been a lot of things but never dull. 

We were handed a longish and skinny baby who filled out quickly enough and we couldn’t stop nom-noming on his cheeks, his nose and all his little limbs.

You have never been digustingly mushy and annoyingly gagworthy till you have a kid. The most absurd nonsense erupts from your lips. Goo-goo gaga seems normal. You string together the weirdest rhymes and play horsey and never think of your dignity at all.

Your offspring could be a bald, drooly, raspberry-blowing run-of-the-mill infant and you beam the instant you lay eyes upon him and think…isn’t that the most beautiful baby the world ever saw?! And the annoying baby talk starts all over again while the baby in question gazes at you in mild exasperation.

Time passes…baby gets weaned off, learns to poop at the right time, the right place and thankfully in the right way. He goes off to school and you keep watching for tears and separation anxiety; never realizing you’re the one going through it. The child will bounce back sooner than you.

Kindergarten gives way to grade school and then a laptop-toting 9 year old tells you exactly what they want for their birthday right down to the guest list, food menu and how they want to celebrate.

The next day you’re dragging their butt out of bed so they can get back on the school grind and the child is suffering from a post-party hangover. They are stuck to the floor doing a 500-piece dino puzzle and you’re giving them a minute-by-minute update of how late you’re getting and how the bus won’t wait and you see the same tot who looked at you with fuzzy eyes and no idea of how the world works. He’s not really 9..he’s still your baby.

Awww