Lessons In Parenting

Letting your kids win at games may cause tiny faces to erupt into smiles but it doesn’t always teach them how to aspire to win. Even worse, they often begin to expect that everyone who plays against them will also lose. 

When this happy state of affairs doesn’t come about too often, the little face is nothing short of woebegone with signs of tantrums lurking here and there.

So be a good parent and do your kids a solid…beat the pants offa them! Winning isn’t everything but they need to want to win enough to try for it. Everything else, the fun and giggles, is just the icing on the cake.

Nuff said.

The Flip Side To Classical Conditioning…

I run from my kid. It’s the truth. After the first hugs and kisses of the morning are done I run and hide; especially during his summer break. He’s like a bloodhound. He can always track me down. No matter where I am. SIGH.

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No loo is secure enough. No pressure cooker whistle is loud enough, or a hair dryer for that matter. His chipmunk voice always floats through…BIIIG SIGH.

I was thinking with a clouded headed today (before the caffeine hit my system and brought me to life) that if my life were a sitcom it would undoubtedly start with my kid standing near my bed and peering down at me and me waking up with a start. Every. Single. Time.

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It happened this morning as well. I was drifting in dreamland. When my semi-awake radar detected the force of a stare leveled at me for a bit. I woke up to see the flesh and blood, looking at me and saying something about some hand pointing up at something. As is my wont, I tend to kick out at anything and anyone who disturbs me from my sleep and then burrow back into the pillows and back under the covers. When said disturbance still didn’t get deterred, Red asked him to get into bed with us at the risk of letting things linger and setting off the near-feral wife before dawn.

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Between the whens, the hows, and whats we managed to get the child to brush, rinse, spit and repeat and have his milk and then started the actual “fun”. And yes, if I were to narrate this bit to you, the word fun would have had air quotes around it as well.

My kid has a habit of starting his chats with me as if we had been in the midst of a conversation and had taken a break. I could be folding clothes, doing laundry, stalking David Boreanaz (yum yum) on social media and suddenly a small (but loud) voice will say, “But Ayu….” and that will be it for the me-time bit. Until the curiosity has been satisfied completely, we will be beset by ‘But Ayus”.

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This morning the ‘But Ayu’ got delivered right into the ear canal while I was having breakfast. And I told the light of my life, “no butts, no noses, hands, ears or any body parts. And no talking till I ask you either.” A sad little body turned around and started walking back to his room, back hunched, body posture totally downcast. I felt bad. For a nanosecond. And then began to count in my head while I quickly gulped down my breakfast…10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5…and there it was..”But Ayu…when will you talk to me?”

Hey…the kid’s a monster. But he’s my monster. And hump days are meant to be wonky anyhow. Upwards and onwards peeps.

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A Blog A Day-Day 3

The offspring was an ADORABLE baby. He was plump in the right places without being a mini-sumo and he was always gurgling and drooling away to glory.

Didn’t cry much and definitely did *not* sleep much either but that’s a complaint that’ll never get old so we’ll keep it for another day, another time.

The mini-muffin had a myriad of expressions from a very young age (as do all kids) and I used to be amazed at each one. Now with the passing of time, my immunity’s grown stronger and I seldom melt at his antics.

But I still become a puddle seeing the baby pictures…a puddle that Red avoids like the plague lest I ask him to come join me while I go back in time,month by month and see a scrawny little infant grow into what I consider to be the cutest baby ever!

But mothers are allowed their delusions. Too bad we lose them so quickly once the weaning and the potty training bits start!

Of Middle Fingers And Snakes

I recently changed my ride from a hatchback to an MUV. When I say recent I mean just a few hours ago.

I was picking up the offspring from school and he was happily frolicking in the backseat, bouncing with joy and making crinkly sounds in the plastic covers that I’d not had a chance to take out as yet. All in all he was a happy camper. And as the case is while he’s camping happily, he asks me a series of ‘Do you know’ questions. Today was no different.

We started with a question trap that I’d inadvertently fallen into when I told him I’d seen a monitor lizard cross the street very close to his school. After interrogating me about the size and the gaping maws and the venom of the said reptile, he gave me a disdainful look when I told him I’d only paused briefly while trying hard not to squish the lizard when it scurried off into the bushes. It, unfortunately, hadn’t stopped long enough to give me its life history and venom potency details.

Then began the story of reptiles and their offspring. We spoke of ovi and viviparous snakes; something I’d rather not have spoken of at all. All while I was enjoying the smell of a new car, listening to songs on brand new speakers…which apparently is the most apt time to speak of baby cobras.

Anyhoo, on special request he agreed to stop talking about king cobra babies hatching and killing grown people and then he threw me for a toss! Here’s how he did it-” Hey Ayu…do you know a boy in the 2nd grade showed someone the middle finger in school and then he got into trouble?!! Have you shown (he said showed but my grammar mode refuses to let me be ungrammarly) the middle finger to anyone?

And this is where you cross the realm from being a good, honest parent into one who lies to their kid because isn’t 8 too young to be flippin’ the bird?! Or talking about it?

I told him piously that NO I hadn’t and what did showing the middle finger mean anyhow? I was told very solemnly that it’s a very bad thing and kids can go to jail for saying it. And that’s when I had to know more about this oh-so taboo word that sent kids to jail. So I did a dramatic,” Oh no…really??!!” And pat came the reply-YES!! It’s worse than saying F***!! I never say F*** because you told me that saying F*** is a bad thing so I never say F***. Ever!!”

I think some days the universe has a smartass mode it activates just to give parents their comeuppance and to prevent them from being smug-knowitalls!

Parenting: The Stuff They Never Tell You

I am a semi-helicopter mother and not proud of it. Here are some things I’ve gleaned in the past few years of parenting. I’m not sure how helpful this is but for those contemplating marriage and eventually kids, do read this once. It may give you a different perspective (read abstinence or hardcore contraception) or it may reinforce what you see and hear in front of you everyday anyhow.

So..here we go!

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#1 Having a conversation with anyone else barring your child is like being in a boxing match. It goes like this- you speak 1,2,3 and someone jabs you. You try to regain your balance and speak again 1,2,3 and this time it’s an uppercut.

There are rare conversations that you can have without being interrupted; till you decide to give it up and just focus on the kid. And guess what precious nugget comes your way when you do? It’s quite possibly something along the lines of – (imagine it being spoken in all caps) “You know what? My poop is all orange from all the nachos I ate yesterday!!” And you nod helplessly because you hung up on an overseas call with your BFF to hear about your kid’s bodily function.

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#2 Farts are important. If they stink, how loud they are. If you’ve noticed the abovementioned smell and noise. If you haven’t they’ll probably poop their pants trying to squeeze one out that the whole neighborhood can be proud of.

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#3 You have to watch everything you say. Literally. Imagine becoming a psychotic with visual hallucinations where the words you think materialize in front of your face. You reject a few and allow the rest of them to be uttered. If you don’t, the next time you may be subjected to a bout of , ” Gimme a break or a ” Oh for crying out loud!” from a 1st grader because you cut off digital media or pool access at pre-agreed upon times.

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#4 Pool times are deadly. The child *never* remembers that staying for too long in the water causes their skin to prune up. When you tell them their time’s up, they mimic dolphins and scoot away from you.

Wading into the pool and dragging them out leads to yells and screams tantamount to child abduction with people looking at you and your offspring in distaste for causing ripples in their recreation or serenity.

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#5 Some part of the body always hurts during homework or DEEEEP sleep to rival Rip Van Winkle’s comes on in droves and it goes away only when the threat of homework does. And then, the recovery is more miraculous than the walking on water phenomenon! Faster too!

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#6 Waking the child up in the mornings is a drama par excellence. The hands flung over the eyes a la Scarlett O’Hara, the burrowing into the covers like a mole and coiling up smaller and smaller like a worm or a snake makes you gobsmacked! One child going through all these changes in a matter of seconds is nothing short of amazing.

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#7 Say goodbye to your stereo and tv and tablets. The kid rules all and owns all. You don’t come in second. You don’t come in. Period.

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#8 Holiday destinations are decided by where the wild things are. Literally. The continent with the most venomous snakes, biggest crocs makes the cut. Relaxing at a beach? Sure…but can you also see the Inland Taipan or the Tasmanian Devil? No? Then it’s a no-go.

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#9&#10– these two are probably the most annoying IMHO. Your bedroom and your bathroom time are no longer your own. And that’s mystifying because why on earth would someone want to spend so much time talking to you through the bathroom door, wanting to know what you’re doing, when you’re coming out and even going to the extent of shoving their ever-growing drawings of dragons under the door for you to peruse while you’re focused on something entirely different and faar more important.

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They creep you out by looming over you in the weekends; the one time you don’t have to run and bundle them into clothes and catch the school bus. They whisper slowly into your ears, distorting dreams with reality; often shoving tiny fingers up your nose to wake you thoroughly and even body flop on your sleeping, unsuspecting self just to tell you they LOVE YOU. And you feel compelled to reply in kind while you blindly kick out, hoping to connect with that tiny butt and get them the hell out of your sacred sleeping space.

Ah parenting…what a ride!

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A Bloody Mary To End The Day

It’s been a while since I had a drink. A good one. A nicely made one. When I needed it. When I wanted it. When I longed for it. Wait…are we still talking about the same thing?

Some days are long. Some days are LOOOOONG. Everything seems upside down. Or downside up. And not many highs present themselves. The lows seem to abound and crowd the highs or rather the mezzos out of the picture.

On those days a well-made Bloody Mary hits the spot. It might be a pick-me up especially the tomato juice bit, for a hangover but sometimes, at the end of the day…it is just perfection!

I called the Significant Other home early today and it’s one of those rare occasions when he was able to oblige. Handed over the responsibility of the fruit-of-his-loins to him and made myself a cold one in the kitchen and for once had celery on hand to make it JUST RIGHT!

A splash of vodka goes a decent distance when you’re tired. Whiskey takes things into another realm altogether. But the beauty of vodka is that it keeps things light and yet allows you to just float away if you so choose to.

So here I am…watching the Big Brat feed the Small Brat his dinner and make funny faces while doing so. Am blogging and playing songs in my head because my shift is kinda over for the day. Or so I like to think. Another drink will make me believe it for sure.

Salut!

The Joys of Being Childfree

Now that’s not a word that means your kids are at summer camp or has Grandma babysitting while you take off on a holiday. No indeed. Childfree is a proper concept thank you very much and one that’s catching more momentum as well.

Today there are more people who consciously take the decision to not become parents, biological or adoptive, than there were a few decades ago. It’s not merely with an eye on the exponential rise in population and dwindling natural resources the world over, but also with a good look inside oneself that tells them that this is one area where they could take a pass. And happily so.

Having been a parent for a few years now and still a child for god knows how many more, I can honestly say that I applaud this decision. Not because kids are little monsters we have to groom into becoming humans but because the decision to give life is not one that should be taken lightly. Ever.

It is the highest level of responsibility an individual can ever expect to undertake and try to fulfill. Over millennia it has sadly become something that people do because it seems to be expected of them. Proliferation of the species aside, shaping and nurturing a child is something that ends only when the parent passes on. Even separated by continents, a parent can reach out and influence their child’s nature, emotions and ultimately behavior as well. That’s a heady thought to start with and when it occurs it’s a headier thing altogether.

This next bit is taken from Wikipedia verbatim “According to economist David Foot of the University of Toronto, the level of a woman’s education is the most important factor in determining whether she will reproduce: the higher her level of education, the less likely she is to bear children. (Or if she does, the fewer children she is likely to have.)
Overall, researchers have observed childfree couples to be more educated, and it is perhaps because of this that they are more likely to be employed in professional and management occupations, more likely for both spouses to earn relatively high incomes, and to live in urban areas. They are also less likely to be religious, subscribe to traditional gender roles, or subscribe to conventional roles.”

And it makes a lot of sense. There’s a shortage of resources, there’s a shortage of time to parent and see to it that a child doesn’t have to grow up too hurriedly, rise in crime and even with any dystopian constructs, there’s often a more pressing reason for not having a child. Simply, not wanting to.

A few monthly ago, the Holy See released a statement saying it was selfish opting out of having kids. And am sure quite a few religious and spiritual heads will concur. Proliferation of life can be and is joyous. But one can still proliferate joys and a quality life without bringing forth new life.

It is assumed that women yearn for motherhood. Some do. Some don’t. Some can be very nurturing towards others’ children and yet sleep peacefully every night despite not having a child of their own to tuck into bed.

These women come from a variety of backgrounds but by and large are enlightened enough to know where their fortes lie, where they can maximize on their potentials the most and have multiple avenues of not only keeping busy, but being productive and also being contented and downright happy.

So if kids aren’t *that* big a deal then why does the whole world and their Aunt Samantha go around having so many? Well…it’s like this. Seeing an extension of yourself (mind and body) have a corporeal form is akin to a miracle for most people. Myself included. No matter how many babies have come forth in this world and no matter how many would have come by the time the blog is posted, each one is special. They are the blank canvas that  reflect the glories of the world and not the vagaries and debaucheries.

But for me, I guess I just wanted another person to love. And now looking at my child there’s very few little I would do differently where he is concerned. But had I the benefit of hindsight before it became hindsight, I would properly think it through before opting to become a parent. Because I have also realized this while parenting -I would have been a good non-parent as well.

Acknowledging it isn’t a bad thing at all. Just honest. So if you are a childfree individual, that’s just who you are. Accept it. Don’t justify it.

You are still who you were supposed to be.