Saturday, March 31, 2007

What I have learnt from the brat…

I fooled myself when I thought I would be teaching the brat about life and its wicked ways. And have only just realized that its actually the other way around. I am learning more from the brat than him actually learning from me.
I’ve learnt to be polite and friendly with everyone, even if it is the leprous beggar at the signal whom my instinctive reaction is to turn away from in disgust. I’ve learnt that she is an aunty and she is also worthy of a Goodmonin when we pass that way to school every morning.
I’ve learnt that tomorrow is another day and this too will pass. Sickness will come. Good health will follow.
Its okay if one doesn’t complete what one set out to do today, one can always do it better tomorrow. Its okay not to do something if one doesn’t feel like it, even if Mamma is ranting about how we need to get out some more standing lines, sleeping lines from the crayon in our drawing book when all we feel like doing are circles on the wall of the drawing room.
I’ve learnt that its okay to eat when I feel like it and not eat when I don’t feel like it. And its okay to leave food on the plate. I and only I know when my stomach is full and not mamma’s vague calculations of how many calories of a balanced nutritious diet I must ingest to become a strong and handsome boy. (I’m still on the rib counting diet, BTW).
I’ve learnt that a butterfly flying by is worthy of my complete absolute open mouthed rapt attention. I’ve learnt to listen to the odd birdsong that penetrates the chaos of the concrete jungle and its more familiar sounds car honking and the like, and bring it to the attention of others, “Mamma, suno, birdy gaa rahi hai!!”
I’ve learnt to be relentless in the pursuit of what I want regardless of a surly mom, or a tired pop. I’ve learnt that one needs to be persistent to the point of irritation to get people to do my bidding. Even if it means repeating “Mamma, mall chalo,” in a whine one million times.
I’ve learnt that anyone can be my friend, even if it is that dirt encrusted overflowing snot nosed construction worker’s kid in the plot next to our building. And even she would love to play with me, but hesitates. Therefore I need to take the first step. “Chal aaja. Ball khelte hai.” I’ve learnt that differences between children are all in my head and every child is the child of God.
I’ve learnt that my womb has only been an instrument to bring this soul into the world and once brat is an adult my work will have been done, and what I do to bring brat up is only repaying my karmic debt to my mother for bringing me up. I believe now in the verse written by Kahlil Gibran which says your children are not yours to keep.
I’ve learnt that the sky is different colours at various parts of the day and Jai Jai Bhagwanji actually sits up there with his crayon and watercolours to keep changing the look.
I’ve also learnt to be very very very thankful of the blessings I have. A wonderful house, a loving husband, a full table, a full heart and no complaints on the health front. Not to mention this little parcel of joy, whom I seem to be barking at most of the time when he is awake but have my eyes mist over when he stirs in his sleep and calls for me, and then throws his arm and leg over me and holds me tight to protect him from all the monsters who invade his dreams.
But most of all, I’ve learnt that there is a God up there. Since I now pray to him unfailingly every night to look after my baby and keep him safe and sound.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A day in brat land

Today was a hectic day in the life of the brat and tomorrow promises to be even better. The brat had mother’s day at school where moms and kids were supposed to sing nursery rhymes and do music and movement together. The aim basically being to show the moms what a wonderful lot of kids we have handed over to the classteachers and the conclusion any right thinking mom would come to being that handling a class of 25 of these monsters deserved nothing less than a Padmashri in education or whatever highest comparable national honour that could be awarded to them. Of course, all that brat seemed to be doing rather than singing nursery rhymes or doing music and movement was run around in circles around the rest of the class to pick out the next victims for his dishoom dishooms. Finally, exhausted with his shenanigans, the hapless teachers were compelled to get him sitting right next to them in the vain hope that this would put some fear of the Good Lord into him. Suffice to say that in the 30 minutes I was in class with him he had poked one kid in the eye, made another small girl weep copiously and had interminably hugged one lil fellow till he was sick of so much luvin. Such is my darling son. Of course, I received many dirty looks from the parents of the afflicted, and had to shake it off with insouciance. Then we were off to therapy where Mamma was instructed to google semantic pragmatic disorder and read up on it, which she has so far resisted doing despite living on the internet thanks to some lost hope that her son is like any other child. Then to nana house and then to a birthday party of a classmate at Pizza Hut. Mamma took the opportunity, having a social life that rivals that of a mole in winter hibernation, to dress up and wore shiny sequined top with dangling earrings, to find to her horror that the rest of the mothers were dressed up pretty much the way they dress in jeans and tees when they come to drop the kids to school. What went wrong? The last time Mamma had gone for a kiddy birthday at TGIFs the mothers were swathed in diamonds and Gucci and Prada and Versace. Felt like a frog dressed in Christmas decorations. Brat spent the evening running the one minute mile up and down the narrow Pizza Hut aisle between tables with Mamma on red alert for a flying waiter and pizza in the air caused by hurtling brat. Another party tomorrow, again at Pizza Hut, another sipper as a return gift and another day. And another post.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Do I deserve to be a mother?

I often wonder if I am doing this job of mother adequately. There is so much guilt within me. This child has been hospitalized five times, four times for febrile convulsions and the fifth time for acute constipation. Did I do enough to bring his fever down, did I miscalculate the dose of medication, why did I let his bowels get so stuffed that medical intervention became necessary? Then comes his PDD/NOS. Did I do enough to stimulate his brain development or was I a lazy mother content to see him grow at his own slow pace not realizing that he was way behind on all milestones, and not concerned about making an attempt for him to catch up. Or did I rely on what I thought was the better judgement of elderly ladies who stated with definite authority that boys are always slow and they will all catch up by age three. And went by the anecdotal cases of boys they knew who didn’t speak till five and now were Mensa members..On both counts, a part of me wonders whether I could have done better, and a part of me knows that I am a paranoid mother. I did my best. I stayed awake all night checking his temperature every half an hour. I knew body weight converted to medication dosages like the tables I roted up in school. I spent all the spare money I had on toys to boost his interest and brainpower only to have him spin wheels of his cars and cycles. I took him to three pediatric neurologists in the best hospitals in the country. I took him to two epileptologists. I took him to five therapists before I zeroed in on this one, as she seemed young and enthusiastic and eager to try new things. But did I take the right decision? Everytime he falls ill with a cold I agonise whether it could have been something I fed him, or something I did aka let him play in the tub too long. Of course, things are better now. I realize that children will fall ill, and mothers are fallible and what saves us is our ability to go out on both limbs for our kids, regardless of slipped discs and broken fingers and such like. (I speak for myself). But then, such is life. And such is my agonizing. The therapist reports that brat is back to echolalia again despite all our efforts to get rid of it. And my agonizing begins again. Is it something I did or didn’t do? Am I a good mother? Did he deserve better? Or worse, do I deserve being a mother? After eight years of trying to conceive brat, did I do enough for him to justify God gifting him to me? Any answers?

Monday, March 26, 2007

Doin padhai on computer...

Therapy was cancelled today so had to do a 360 degree rewind of the entire schedule of the day at nine in the morning, and some hasting re planning of meetings and such like. The brat then had to be dropped directly to nana house, which he allowed under much duress and protestations, mollified only by the fact that bestest friend in the whole wide world Sonu would be there till quite a bit, considering he would need to get into school late today. So there are we, marching up the stairs to get to Nana house, looking dapper in our red and white school uniform, "macchin shuz" and matching red and white checked cap, when we turn around all of a sudden and say, "Mamma, you goin office, to do padhai?" "Yes son. I am going to the office to do padhai." Somewhere a light bulb lit in the recesses of his overcharged brain. "Tomorrow, I not go school to do padhai. I come office and do padhai on computer."

Friday, March 23, 2007

Happy Birtthday Mom

Forgive me, this is a common post to karmickids.blogspot and thirtysomething.blogsource. Lazy me. A cricket match on that I am dying to watch. And thought my mom deserved it.

The mother turned 68 today. I went over with hyperactive brat and a Dutch Truffle cake, which we proceeded to light a wax candle on, the sole candle she keeps wrapped and stored carefully for emergency power cuts (she is a thrifty person, this wonderful lady, quite unlike her spendthrift daughter) which we blew out swiftly, and she cut the cake. The brat then asked for his birthday present, and wanted the balloon bursting with the confetti overhead. Assuming, with the arrogance of childhood that all celebrations are about him. She had cooked a wonderful meal of jumbo prawns and fried pomfret and veggies and rice and basically everything she knows I like, and she even went all out to make something the brat could eat and enjoy. I bought her two salwar kameez materials which she said she loved and why did I spend so much and where does she go anyway to wear such jazzy stuff. Typical mom. As if two miserly salwar kameez lengths could even match up to one hundredth of what I owe her and can never return or repay, and am still gathering up karma to be repayed every time she bails me out when I am ill, babysits the brat, helps me organise my life or simply is just around like a rock of support, letting me know that whatever I do with my life, she will be with me. The brat knows his nana will buy him whatever he wants, cook his favourite stuff for him and run around behind him in the park when mamma refuses to play fetch anymore. She's doing much more for him, considering she is 33 years older than she was when I was born.What is so amazing is her incredible patience with him, she is so tolerant, so gentle, so understanding that I feel like a harridan in contrast. I wonder if I would be even one fourth as loving with my grandkids, or even be half as eager to spend the entire day looking after them. Here’s to my mother, a grand lady. One you probably pass by a thousand times a day and would never turn around and look twice at but a gritty survivor, who has lived life on her own terms, been an emancipated woman without even knowing the definition of emancipated and now lives alone, at 68, and manages her entire home by herself with only a selfish daughter landing up occasionally to greedily devour her cooking. Love you mom. Thank you for being you.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Ode to the Mango

Mango season is on us, as I write this brat is already on his third mango of the day. He is such a glutton for the mango that when the box of mangoes entered the house he literally did a tribal victory dance complete with jumps in the air and pirouettes of delight. This is the only fruit he downs willingly. The rest of the fruit family, any fruit, including the nicer ones like strawberries and cherries have to be forcefed to him, but mangoes he will sit down with by himself with the big plate and a newspaper spread under him and the plate to catch the spillage and proceed to make a mighty big mess of himself and the surrounding landscape. Experience and lack of success with removing mango stains from expensive white Egyptian cotton bedsheets has taught me that he now eats mango only on the floor. Sitting crosslegged Indian style. Since this year he has a desk and chair as a new accoutrement to his infinite ensemble of toys, have been experimenting with him sitting there and downing the fruit like a glutton. Its almost a meditation for him to eat the mango, the biting, licking and even the dribbles down the hand and chin.
“Here mamma. I finish everything. I good boy.” “Yes, darling, wish you were so good with the rest of the stuff I try to feed you.” Still counting bones on his chest. Wonder when he will get some flesh on them.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Hall of Modern Art

The brat is now on his fourteenth pair of shoes. Which translates to the fact that even if he wears one pair a day, he will repeat a pair only after two weeks. The miser in me is wondering if the damn pairs will ever wear out considering he outgrows them so soon, and given his fetish for matching shoes, some pairs never ever get their chance in the sun. Were in Inorbit yesterday thanks to the need to buy cotton candy for niece in Bangalore who is obsessed with it, and since MIL would be flying out today, had promptly conveyed her request for the same. Brat was in shop with hubby and me, while I tried to do some shopping of stuff for the home. Typical of the brat, he rolled on the floor, he rolled on the display bed, he bounced on the bean bag, he had me racing around in terror behind him lest he collide into some display stands with their exquisite handmade crockery. The husband barked occasionally and when beyond control lifted him bodily onto his shoulders from where he would proceed to wriggle down again and continue his running around at top speed. The store assistant watching this display of hyperkinesis as the good doc puts it, shuddered involuntarily. “If he is like this here, I wonder how he must be at home.” Suffice to say, I told him, that we have no showpieces on display. And all our furniture is purely functional. Which means sofas are for bouncing on. Curtains are for dangling and swinging on. Beds are for emptying out the sand basket (full of sand, of course) on. And so on, so forth. I look at other mothers with brats the age of the brat, with immaculate homes and die a million deaths from jealousy. I wonder when would my home ever start resembling a home and not the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. And yes, as I write this, we have unearthed an indelible marker from some corner of the cupboard and are proceeding to embellish the interior designer’s painstakingly textured wall surface in my living room. With designs that seem more like a million sperms doing tag…modern art. Maybe should frame it as a momento. Brat doing representation of the origin of me.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Therapy...

Help needed. Desperately need speech and occupational therapists in Malad, Kandivili area. I and brat are exhausted with this travelling up and down almost everyday.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Going nana house

Thanks to a rather long and lazy weekend, the brat was in no mood to get up this morning to make it to school. "Today holiday mamma, today no school." Ah so you think, unfortunately had a long day ahead, or else would have just curled up with him in his bed and slept without a care, but alas one has to earn one's keep, so dragged self and brat out of bed, with some help from a wet towel and much squawking that ensued proved the efficacy of the method. Was awake, although a little grumpy, but wide awake enough to realise that today was uniform day (they have uniform twice a week in this school) and began his howls of protest. "Donwanna wear this pant. This short pant, give me long pant." As you might guess, my sartorially inclined brat doesnt like wearing shorts. He wants to wear only long pants. Through the miniscule winter that we have, and thanks to the ungainly gait and lack of balance we have, plus the swarms of mosquitoes and other creepy crawlies that populate our parks, I have been dressing him in full sleeves and full pants, and he's come to the belief that it is only worth stepping out of the house if he is in full length trousers. Already he shrieks in disgust if I pull out clothes he doesnt think are good enough to wear in public. He decides which shoes match and which need to be consigned to the dog house, he even decides when he needs a jacket to feel all dressed up and whether it should be the distressed denim one, the corduroy one, or the denim one with the secals and such embellishments. He sure has an eye for fashion--in that too, he takes after me rather than his father who can throw on a bunch of rags begging for a spin in the washing machine and still look good enough to eat. I on the other hand, not having the luxury of so much good looks need to plan out what I wear and coordinate to be passably presentable. Who am I kidding? Am just clothes obsessed and am making a mini me of my son. Therefore here we are, at 8 am, in white school tee, bluecorduroy jacket, matching red and blue shoes, a red three fourth length trouser which is not part of the school uniform, but is red and therefore matches and yes, the red watch (like we can really tell time apart from it being "Toootirty" any part of the day and night). Little Lord Fauntleroy. He will then go up to the full length mirror in dadi's room which is unblocked access thanks to no baskets of toys, crib and such like and admire himself unabashedly. "Mamma, I looking very handsome." Yes, my darling, you're a regular rock star.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Watch over your kids...

This is not going to be a pleasant post. Am writing this while downing a Bacardi Breezer, and feeling rather highstrung about the front page news in the Hindustan Times yesterday which stated that every second child in India is sexually abused. The goosebumps rise on my arms as I read the report, my discussions with friends over hen’s night confessionals where we find, inevitably, that each and every one of us has had a lecherous uncle experience, or a horny cousin experience or some experience so unpleasant that it has still scarred our psyche till date. I dressed to conceal all through my adolescence, I overate to become fat and ugly and repulsive and then I dieted to anorexia to get rid of the breasts I thought were drawing all the attention I didn’t want. I’m still battling the hormonal imbalances I created in my body back then. So much guilt in me, the guilt that I had behaved in a certain way or dressed in a certain way to provoke the incidents. It took me years to come to terms with being a woman, and an attractive woman, if I might say so myself, I was in so much denial I yearned to be able to pass unnoticed in a crowd. Every time a random roadside romeo would brush against me, I would die of the guilt that I had in some way either through my dressing or through an unintentional look provoked the eve teasing. Consequently, I did much of my walking in public places looking down at the road, only raising my head to check for oncoming traffic. Yet, we bury it under the carpet, hush it up like something shameful, and forget about it. But the subconscious remembers. Our parents, too, when told, instead of confronting the family members involve chose to keep quiet about it and get out of any such situation. Interestingly statistic bear me out, 25 per cent of respondents had been abused by someone they trusted, someone from the family. I know that I will be the kind of mother who stands guard over her kid 24 hours to the point of neurotism. The world cannot be trusted. And god bless and watch over all those little babies out there who are calling out for help in the hearts. Wish I could do something for them, but know that my blood would boil over too much for me to think rationally, would probably bobbitise every offender I came across. Watch over your children, even if they are boys or they are very young. They’re all so innocent, so trusting and so damn vulnerable. I pray that no evil shadow falls over

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Lets do neenu without diaper...

Yes, the brat is three years four months and have only just dared to stop the night diaper. Put it down to sheer laziness. After a gruelling day travelling across the length and breadth of the city to drop brat to school, go into office, return to school, pick up brat, take him to therapy, drop him home, go back to office and then return home, and then go to the park or mall or whatever, I thought I deserved my unbroken sleep. But then the mother made me see sense and my selfishness. How long will he sleep with a diaper, she barked, he has to learn to get up and pee in the night someday, and the older he gets the tougher it will be. Therefore for the past week, brat has slept without a diaper and not peed in the bed, except for last night when exhausted mother was snoring her lungs out and forgot the 2 am pee drill. Am actually quite proud of the little chap. He woke me up saying, Mamma, su-su kiya. Sab gila hogaya. Change karo. Ah, the imperiousness of childhood. When we dare wake someone up from their deepest REM sleep to demand one's own comfort.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Magic Tree


Nope, wasnt Chak Dhoom Dhoom, but was a rather boringly slow Circle of Life number assigned to monkey brat and some other brats in the ambitious hope that they couldnt go much off target if all they had to do was go round and round in circles and raise hands in the air occasionally, no wonder brat was so fascinated by Chak Dhoom Dhoom, it had so much pizzazz in comparison, and was so much more peppy, he would rather be part of that than his own bit of music and dance. But yes, the brat danced. Maybe not perfectly, maybe not in tune, or in step with the music but he danced. And I am so damn proud of him I feel my heart actually swelling up and bursting with pride, understand now why my mother would shamelessly display all my worthless trophies and certificates in the showcase to my cringing embarassment. (This was the era of showcases with the mandatory crockery and such middle class showpieces). The chaos happened after the show when all the parents had to go backstage to collect respective brats. Went up, a little delayed since I just had to had to pee, or else would burst in public situation. Landed on stage, with brat nowhere to be seen. "Where's Krish?" I asked one teacher, busy handing back kids to parents, "He was right here," says she, asking the other teacher, "Where's Krish?" "He was here just now," she says, "Where's Krish?" she asks the third teacher. "I dont know, he was standing here right now," replied the third. At this point, my heart began doing the jungle tom tom, and a cold clammy hand gripped my heart, my mouth dried out, and I began rushing helter skelter on the crowded stage screaming "Krish, Krish, Krish...." A hand on my shoulder calmed me down, "He's right here, dont worry." Wanted to take a swig at her with my handbag, how could I not worry, if the child had got lost in the chaos, he is not even one who will be able to communicate his name appropriately, and is quite capable of wandering off out of the gate on his own. I grabbed him, hugged him, kissed him, his rouged cheeks all streaked with the tears streaming down my face, and brat looking at me quizzically, "Mamma why you crying.?" "I'm happy baby, because you danced so well." Could see him swelling with pride at a task well done. "Dipali teacher, I danced." "Yes, Krish, you danced." Prerna Teacher, the other one tells me, "We didnt think he would dance, but he did." Like he did on Sports Day, no one expected him to run, but he did. My darling son.