Kiss Your Right Bicep!

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Red is a very good teacher. Primarily because he wants the person he’s teaching anything to, to genuinely learn and enjoy themselves in the process even if it’s something that they didn’t seek out on their own. The prime example of that is the time spent with TO and getting his concepts clear in math. Red will research long and hard and find the best resources which simplify things in such a manner that it doesn’t seem difficult at all for the person trying to learn.

Red is also a very good teacher when it comes to sports. He’s good in tennis and pretty decent in cricket and has spent countless hours tossing the ball back and forth with TO over the years. Thankfully TO hasn’t inherited my spastic movements in any form of athletics; he’s a decent bowler as well and like all young boys, frequently dreams of hitting a BIG one over the boundary and taking his team towards victory in a major tournament!

For our first anniversary, Red and I were vacationing in a lovely waterfront resort which had a pool table. Being slightly clueless even then about the talents of his new wife; Red wanted to play pool and very enthusiastically I might add. After the first few balls left the table, one being airborne enough to nearly give him a lobotomy, he quietly and decisively gave me a book, led me to a pool side lounge chair and left me there to do what I do best- not be athletic in any form.

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This morning, possibly feeling enthused about having started off the year on a good note, Red tried to introduce me to tennis; again. He brought TO along as back-up for when I inevitably failed miserably but still persisted in teaching me the basics which kind of went like this: ” Try to find the sweet spot when hitting“, “wherever your racquet faces, that’s where the ball will go”, “don’t just hit the ball, brush it so it spins and moves better”.

In time his inputs became a bit crisper and to the tune of, “You’re using a racquet, it’s not a dosa pan!” And after a few times of my hitting the ball too high, too far away and once entirely outside the building fence, he told me to “kiss my right bicep“.

I thought that was too meta but I stopped and kissed my right bicep and got an utterly bemused look from him because he had meant that while moving the racquet I should move my right hand so far along that it would align with my face and close enough for me to “kiss my right bicep“. Ohhhhh…the a-ha moment had come in quite a bit late in the game. He did not, at all, intend for me to come to a standstill, turn and kiss my right bicep and ask, “Ok, now what?”

Photo by CARL HUNLEY JR on Unsplash

But you have to give the man props for his optimism. To try and nudge a myopic wife who’d rather be stuck in books all day long, to come and run all over a tennis court so she could develop a bond with the game after 17 years of knowing how bad her hand-eye co-ordination is truly the heights of optimism.

He also had to deal with my, “Oops, I did it again” look every time the ball left the confines of the court and went somewhere unreachable. Of course each time I did hit the ball with a wild swing he still ducked, because while he is optimistic, he certainly is not dumb!

Parenting Pitfalls: A Series- #1 Expectations

As a parent I find that I am plagued by expectations. Whether or not I mold my behavior accordingly isn’t the matter at hand but I find that I am so much more susceptible to having expectations from my child, about my child and basically it’s a never-ending story.

What started off this particular line of thought? I’ll tell you- I went to drop MLM to school today and had to have a word with his teachers and was waiting near the porch, reading their notices and seeing the work done by the kids they’d pinned up when I came upon this guy’s classwork sandwiched nicely between two other classmates. The assignment was just to color 3 fruits which the teacher later told them about and labeled but what was distinct in his work was that there was NOTHING within the lines and it basically looked like what I used to think little kids coloring looked like all the time. But side by side were papers hanging, where 2 girls from his class had done the same work, neatly, tidily and their respective comments from the teacher were- “Brilliant!” and “Excellent!“. This fellow had garnered a ” Good Try“.

I wasn’t upset but I have to admit the immediate though in my mind was, “Why can’t he do the same thing that his classmates do? Why isn’t he interested/capable in doing work that can generate a GOOD for a change?”

It’s pretty ridiculous to think that he’s reached the pinnacle of all his efforts and his current output is all he’s capable of when he’s not even 5 but when I became a parent my skin suddenly became so thin it’s not funny! It’s not that he had to be the best but I began to notice differences too and when other kids would, there’s no nice way to say this, outperform him, I would feel a twinge of something I couldn’t define. Later I began to get an inkling that I was disappointed in some measure when he didn’t do something that most people did. See I don’t use the word couldn’t because as a parent it’s almost inconceivable that your child CAN’T do something. It’s so much better to tell yourself that he doesn’t do it. At least it soothes your mind against the possibility of your child not knowing, not having…all the nots.

And believe me it’s pretty tough being a parent. This is that one person you actually would kill for. Forget love, honor and death-do-us-apart with the spouses…you obsess about your kids. You have dreams of their being this person when they grow even when they’re in their diapers and drooling like a leaky faucet. It’s tough being pragmatic when your mind, your love and aspirations for this one individual is abundant and limitless.

I remember when I was a teacher at Gymboree, there was a parent ( a mom) whose behavior would rile me to no end! She was pushy, loud and while she was a committed parent, I felt she used to push her child too hard. And the child in question was about 4 months then. We’d be trying out certain age-appropriate activities and all the kid would want to do is keep rolling over and playing with his toes and his mom would force him on his tummy to make sure he also participated in everything. I don’t particularly think she was doing the right thing even now but I guess as a parent you do lose a bit of your practicality because you aren’t always thinking with your head and it’s only natural to want to see what your child is capable of and seeing everyone else doing something that your child isn’t can be perplexing and tough for a parent.

And even if you aren’t one of those gabby parents who keep boring people with your child’s achievements, such as they may be, you always find that one person/people you tell that your’s is the most beautiful child ever and they are just SO smart. This smartness might be demonstrated very aptly in the form of mischief that usually has your hands busy spanking and your kid’s bum kind of sore…but hey! he’s not really naughty…he’s a creative, out-of-the-box thinker 🙂

But there are still times when a simple thing like a peach colored entirely within the lines and a comment saying “Good” goes a long way in making you smile and feel, “Yeah…that’s my kid! He colors peaches pretty damn well!” Till that glorious day comes…we’ll be celebrating “Good Try” instead.


A New Milestone

This morning when I dropped MLM off at school his teacher told me that she had heard him say ‘stupid’ in class.
Now this is a first for me. He normally parrots whatever I say even the rebukes so Red and I often have to spell out a LOT of things.

It often goes to a ridiculous extent and Red looks confused with the amount of spellings he finds coming at him 🙂

Anyhow since his teacher wasn’t too perturbed at MLM’s enhanced vocabulary I took it as a sign that he wasn’t making a it too conspicuous a thing.

Once he came home I spoke to him about it. I find he’s most amenable during bath times. So we spoke about saying that word could ‘give ouchie‘ to his friends and make his teacher think he was very naughty and not very polite.
So he promised & pinking swore (pinky swore) that he wouldn’t say the word anymore. In order to make to make him understand I was VERY serious I told him that everytime he used that word it would mean time off from swings and the playground.

Imagine my surprise and plight when he turns right around and says ‘That’s STOOPIT Ayu!!

This too shall pass. Won’t it?

*looks heavenward for deliverance*