Monday, April 28, 2008

So does this make me an exploitative mom?

Yet another article on the perils of parents blogging about their children's growing years. A lot of us have taken on the demon by its horns and blogged about our children under their own names, a decision taken by me at least, with the tacit understanding that this was not going to become an online vomiting of intimate confessions of the sort that the brat would grow up to never live down. I hope I have stuck to it. My blogging began as an attempt to document the brat's life because I have the kind of memory that makes a sieve look dense.

Many of us blog under pseudonyms. Very valid decisions too, given those blogs are much more personal and bare your guts out than I dare to ever be, given that I blog under my own name. Yes, there is a line between journaling in the privacy of your home, a journal you keep locked to be discovered by your grandchildren, and an online journal that anyone can tap into. A line I am sure, every parent blogger tries to maintain, but there is an ominous little smarmy warning that comes with this article that smote me right on my forehead. Exploitative it says. I am feeding off the life of my child. My child, it says, might need years of intensive therapy to recover from the details of his early years being fed to an audience of worldwide strangers. Is that a risk worth taking?

I wouldnt call it exploitative. For me, it is more like inflicting the family album on unwary guests and expecting them to go through it oohing and aahing at appropriate places. Its a way of bonding with a slew of women out there, grappling with the same issues as I do, and getting love and understanding from them. Its seeking reassurance from them that I am doing the best I can, and it doesnt really matter that I dont follow the so called Rules of Parenting to the tee.

I also dont have the kind of traffic that these bloggers do that they say, has compelled them to play to the gallery. Nor the kind of revenue that a Dooce generates, that compels me to stay online. Its the sheer pleasure of crowing about the funny things that happen through the day that makes me want to write.

But what really really got my goat was this line. Catherine Connors sees her daughter and her blog Her Bad Mother as intimately intertwined. "In a way I think of her as my property, my work of art," she says from her home in Bowmanville, Ont. "She's a work in progress that I'm involved in. To that extent, I have some licence to be public about having her as my muse."

The Good Lord help her. If she cannot disconnect between the blog and her child she has some serious issues that not the child but she needs to consult a therapist for. Which brings me to the next point. That of seriously damaging his self esteem and sense of self by a warped portrayal of his childhood as put down by me.

I have rationalised that I might have a very angry adolescent on my hands, but the adult brat will definitely know, through my blog, how hard I struggled with him. And perhaps forgive me the blog.

And finally, I dont blog for an audience. I blog for myself. Is it ethical to blog about my child? I dont have the answers, hell, I dont even know whether it is ethical to blog about myself. All I know is that I am not hurting or harming anyone, or spreading false propaganda or writing anything inflammatory against a particular person, religion or creed. I am writing about myself and my child. Surely, in a world with so much emphasis on the freedom of expression, an individual should be granted this much freedom to write about one's own self. And how is the child disconnected from the self, when one is a parent, the child is even greater than one's self.
What do you feel?

Biker brat

Perhaps we should now be called on stage and garlanded and presented with the World’s Greatest Mall Rats award, certified in triplicate. Entitling us to our own little corner under a staircase where we can pull out our bedding and grab a quick snooze in Inorbit.

This being summer vacation, and our friends being the sorts who have scooted off to better climes, the brat is all on his ownsome lonesome with no company through the long sunny evenings, except for those he makes in the half an hour for Rs 50 slots that are dumped in the playpen and the soft play areas by their parents.
Yesterday, when we had spent four consecutive evenings in the Inorbit playzone, and the cacophony of the video game play area was drilling holes into Mamma’s already turning soft brain, we awoke to the true meaning of life.

“Mamma,” said the brat, in between zipping down a real mean highway with bandits and gorgons and gargoyles and death eaters and whatever mish mash the animators could think of to make the bike ride real horrific. “I want a motorcycle.”

Mamma, being Mamma, was busy deleting the horrifically clogged inbox on her phone for reasons you all know too well. Put a bunch of women on a group and they will gossip. Even if they are across timezones and continents.

“Okay son,” says Mamma. Thinking in the back of her head of a dinky motorcycle, battery operated with remote control is what the brat meant, not making the connect between the lean mean fake machine that the brat is precariously perched on, and the sudden request. Yes, yes, mamma can be quite dense sometimes.
So dense that when the crowd parts when she passes through she would rather think it’s her overwhelming presence, rather than her overwhelming size that mandates it.

Therefore, she says grandiosely, lets go to the shop and get it. Brat hops off his ride happily and walks patiently with his shoulder swing and bobbing head gait that could have been patented by them rapstars, straight off the ghetto route. “I want a beeeeeeeg bike,” he says, arms spread wide open and knocking a couple of laden food tray bearers with the expanse of his dream bike. Mamma nods absently.
We reach the toy section. Mamma reaches down and plucks up a remote controlled biker, in Dhoom Machale costume, and stuffs it into the shopping bag, noting the damages mentioned on said item, and moving towards cash counter.

Only to note sullen faced brat staring like Damien incarnate at her, drilling hate holes into her head. “Whaaaayyyy??? What happened???? You wanted a motorcycle right?” she sputtered in confusion.

“Not this motorcycle,” spat out furious brat, bristling with rage, newly cut hair spiking itself up in the static generated by said anger. “This is for small children. I want big motorcycle. To ride on the road. I’m a big boy now.”

The Good Lord save us. My four year old is now a leather jacket wearing, spike haired, sunglasses wearing, motorcycle riding teenager.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

For your reading pleasure.

So now it is official.

I am now the official birthday party expert. Much like the page three wannabe who compares party hosting techniques, and spouts wisdom on hostessing techniques and themes, and decor and menu options, by virtue of attending too many parties. Here's why. And why. And it all started here.

So now am officially printing a card and setting up a table as the birthday party consultant. Drop a line for tips on how to throw an absolute over the top party that will have you fishing for the small change till pay day.

My charges? An invitation for the brat to attend the do. Anything to keep the fellow occupied every evening. Am running out of malls and parks and birthday parties. Always said I came really cheap.

So we had a party

If the husband decides to serve me the divorce papers, you know whose to blame. A gang of girls, across continents, emailing each other like they were all high on speed, while another gang of MTBs or Mothers to be for the uninitiated whizzed past clues we had painstakingly set up in the form of riddles across multiple blogs, all leading towards the great prize, the baby shower blog. Since I was too lazy to pull out the laptop and log in, kept leaping up through the night to check the emails on the phone, and then couldnt resist replying while Boo, Moppets Mom, Poppins Mom and the other MTBs raced through our clues in absolutely killer professional style with excel sheets and strategy conferences and stuff that makes me wonder what the professional world has lost when these brains took time out to be full time mommas to their wonderful babies. (All ye HRD heads, hear and know that you need to come up with better options for us mommas than telecommuting and flexitime). And I have no thumb left after deleting some 1000 odd messages one fine morning on the phone.
Tharini take a bow. As well as Gauri, Altoid, DDMom, actually all of us who put our heads together, gave of ourselves, our time, our energy and all our love to make this possible.
And what is the most beautiful part of this entire crazy weekend? We bonded bigtime. Even those whom we had never read, or who had never read our blogs, we felt a kinship, a connection that went beyond merely doing this together. We were all women wanting to make something beautiful for the MTBs and so we did.
More power to us.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Riddle-me-Ree, Who can she be?

Greetings wonderful MTBs!!!

and good work to all of you!

For having solved the riddle before

I give you all this clue.

The letter " I "

Write it down, add it on...

And let's move on to the next little song.

“Her thoughts, her emotions, her musings

She would like to smack people over somethings

She blogs in the name of a pretty flower

And her morning walks give her a lotta power

Musings are her domain too

And Oh ! She misses good filter coffee too !!”

Solve it and you get your lead

Misguess, and you lose your speed

Solve it slow but solve it now

And before you go, take a little bow

Go to 'Comments' and leave me a clue

Tell me which blog you are off to.

Good luck! Good luck! Be on your way.

You have your work, cut out for the day!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

So I am a little bored...

So I decide to do a bit of beautifying of self, and slap on a mash of haldi and besan and dahi on the mug.

The brat being asleep, this being the crack of dawn.

It dries as I get round the very essential tasks of making the morning tea, clearing the house, doing the dusting, putting the clothes in the machine, putting the previous batch of clothes to dry, you know the drift.

And in that time the mask dries and hardens and begins to crack.

I switch the geyser on for a shower, when the brat stretches langorously and opens his eyes.

And then widens them in shock and sits bolt upright.

"Mamma," he shrieks. "Your face is breaking."

He jumps up, and scurries to the drawers, and pulls out cellotape and a pair of scissors.

"Come fast, we'll stick it back."

Hmmmmmphhhh. So much for beautification routines.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Self defense is the best defense, I hope

So call me paranoid. Can’t help it, inbuilt into my hardwiring. So here, I pass it on to my son.

Scenario thus: Mamma in the kitchen making a cup of tea for Nana who has dropped by casually. The brat announces he needs to go potty, and undresses himself, and perches himself on the commode. Mamma yells that he is to call for her when he has done the deed.

After around five minutes, blood curdling scream. Mamma drops strainer and cup like a dog bit her in her ample butt and runs as fast as she can to source of said scream, hands and feet all atremble.

To witness a flustered Nana, holding a mug of water, trying to wash a very affronted and irate brat’s butt. One must add here, that the Nana is of the old school of bum washing, and doesn’t believe in faucets and jet sprays and such like installed in said commode.

Mamma: What happened Krish, why did you scream so loudly?

Brat: Mamma, shout at Nana.

Mamma, confused, perplexed: But why should I shout at Nana? What did she do?

Brat, with the self righteous air of one who has followed strict instructions to a tee and is expecting at least a chocolate, if not an entire shopload of Kitkats for the same: She touched my bum. I shouted loudly. You told me to shout loudly if anyone touch my bum and nun u. So I shouted loudly. Now you shout at nana.

Mamma doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry. At least she knows that’s one lesson that has been imbibed.

And Nana hands me the mug, and goes sits down on the bed with air of absolute disgust and resignation.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

More intern pics

Trying to get into character for the Dhoom Machale Dance. Notice the jacket has been chucked off. Pity he doesnt have the Roshan boy's muscles to match.

Do you think I can make some money charging an entrance fee for the performance?

50k down, and back to the blog

Vanity has been gratified. The stat counter has crossed 50k. I did a little cheerleader routine, and the husband drily asked if this translates into any money earned, or whether all he was doing was funding vanity publishing. I mentioned that Google Adsense, has in the early days of this blog, sent me a firmly polite note stating that they did not find the contents of this blog interesting enough to consent putting their ads on it. Therefore, the likelihood that I was about to make millions sitting on my butt, and cannibalising my life was unlikely.

The most wonderful part about the roster call of comments that came in on request with the previous post? Names I had never seen or read before, people I didnt know at all lurking away, and never never delurking to leave a comment. Thank you, thank you, for raising up your virtual hands.

Now to the more important task of what needs to be done with the brat during the entire seemingly interminable stretch of two months that is lying before us, stretched out like a somnolent anaconda. My totally inappropriate leaping in the sky excitement, and announcing to the world schoolgirl type glee about my Bangalore trip, scheduled after much cribbing and unseemly sulking about how I never get a break, has borne its just rewards. The trip is on the verge of being cancelled for reasons I will not get into here, this being a place where people come to get guaranteed laughs, and not the whinings of yours truly sulky fat old woman.

Therefore, now the task of getting the brat back to the various classes/camps is immediate. All the camps are now full up, given that the batches have already taken off. Went to a Sports Club next door to enquire about the swimming camp, and fortunately happened to go there at the time the camp was on, and all I could see was a sea of heads in the pool, a throng of mammas, and just two instructors. All the kids were holding the sides of the pool and thrashing around aimlessly. An instructor was chatting on his phone.

I ran home and ranted a bit at the husband. National level swimmer, with breast stroke record set by him during his hey day just broken a couple of years ago, and no inclination whatsoever to teach the brat swimming. Phtoie to you.

Of course, nothing came of that rant. He just switched channels from CNBC TV 18 to 9xM and then handed the television remote over to me, like that would resolve every argument. And me a non television watcher.

The brat, who was till then, in another room, harassing his grandmother to find him a dinosaur movie (Jurassic Park) on all the random channels he could find, meandered over and promptly did one of the insanely cunning acts he sometimes does that make me wonder if he is spawned of me (given my absolute zero ability to do anything with a hidden agenda), and goes sits on his father's beached whale belly and says, "Pappa. I going swimming class. Every body go swimming class. B, A, A, L, I (these being names of all his very best friends in the whole wide world). B knows how to swim. His Pappa taught him."

Pappa rose from the beached whale position like a lion challenged to battle but hapless slave in amphitheatre. Hurt ego all atremble. "Your Pappa will teach you swimming. And you will be the best swimmer among your friends."

Mamma resolved immediately to enquire at swimming pools after the madness of the summmer camps is over, and she can find a coach available to personally teach the brat one on one. Left to Pappa, the brat will learn swimming when pigs fly.

Having got swimming out of the way, what remained were other sports, and dance classes. Today we make the rounds of the dance classes and drawing classes to find any vacancies in batches that suit us. Evening batches of course, given that our internship is still very on at the office.

This surely is sweet revenge for all those years when my mother would start getting antsy in February itself, thinking of April and May, and yours truly at home for the entire day.

Our generation spent the summer holidays just playing like maniacs on amphetamines the entire day, eating all the mangoes we could lay our hands on, running in gangs like pack dogs through the buildings in the vicinity, surfacing at home only when food or water or su su was the immediate compelling requirement that needed us to show our sun blackened faces back at home.

Every night the mothers would struggle to bathe us clean, and the more ambitious among them moms would run behind us trying to coat us with some malai and besan and haldi goop to get that tan off, while the less brave among them, would just smite their foreheads at the visions of horror we presented.

Those who were lucky enough to have a native place to go to, went there and returned a couple of days before the schools were to reopen bearing tales of village life, and potty in the fields, and ghosts outside the village boundaries, and brave encounters with dacoits, and tilling the fields, making them heroes in our awe struck city kid eyes.

I for one, knew that the immediate fallout of the summer vacation approaching would be that the mother would enroll me in a second library, one being a permanent fixture the year round. This was when every road had atleast a couple of lending libraries, something I am hardpressed to find in this era of glitzy bookstores. Is this a conspiracy theory of sorts, kill the lending libraries, so that people are compelled to buy new books all the time? I went through books like a bulldozer, surfacing only to meander to the toilet or to sleep. Eating too happened with a book by my side. Yes, the secret to my 'healthy' childhood was too much time spent eating while reading books. But then, I dont blame the mother, she was at work the entire day, television was zilch in those days, what could she do to keep a 10 year old occupied through the day at home, while she went off to office to keep the home fires burning.

We didnt have summer camps those days. But we had friends in the building and the neighbourhood we hung out with, we had our first lessons in team work, negotiation, and strategy during the games we played. We fell into our natural roles of leaders, followers, negotiators, and experts. The fastest runners, the best throwers, the most agile ones, the cunning brains, we leveraged our abilities to the best within the limited circuit of the wonderful games we played. Chor Police, Seven tiles, Sankhli, Hopscotch. And so many more, which I cant remember. And then tired and spent, we sat in huge groups to play Antakshari, during the height of the afternoon sun, when it was too hot to play. Or we took ourselves to a friendly home, where the mamma of the home encouraged kids coming over, and played indoor games. Snakes and ladders, chess, cards, scrabble.

We set up skits, made costumes, wrote and staged plays and dance events, we organised terrace parties and picnics. We went in huge groups to watch movies in the neighbourhood theatre, first day first show.

And we all did fine. Without any dance class, singing class, swimming class. Those who had the talent, and the interest to pursue these further went to specific classes to hone their talents. But these were few and far between. We played. We had a great vacation. We enjoyed our childhood without being rushed from one class to another. Our parents had the time to sit with us and work with us on our masterpieces of school projects, rather than outsourcing them to neighbourhood fine art graduates at Rs 300 per project, which seems to be the norm now.

Our children dont know how to play any games any more. They run amok in a park. They have their own games, which they invent on the spur of the moment. They donot know what to do with themselves in a group other than get into scraps. They dont know the games we played, and they dont have any new games they can play in groups. They need the stimulation of video games, and remote controlled cars, and such like to keep them occupied in the house.

Is this a sad commentary on how we are failing as parents in helping our children be children, with our haste to force them into 'learning' something during the time they have away from school instead of just letting them be.

Would it be nicer, I think, if I give all these classes and camps a skip, and just for this one year, let the brat enjoy being a child, and do nothing in his summer vacations except play, play and more play?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Small favour folks....

The stat counter tells me I have 250 more visitors to get to 50,000. Would be highly obliged if all who come here can just leave me a "I was here' comment...
Please make an old fat lady feel good.

Thank God it's Friday...

The brat completes one week of his internship today. He's learnt a lot, rather we have learnt a lot in this past week. For one, I have realised that all he needs is lots of people around him to be in his element. This includes a cheering audience. And the staff in the office, and the neighbouring offices. Therefore, when the audio device of someone's mobile is set to loudspeaker, and Nagada Nagada starts blaring out with the brat peeping up with his own version of the lyrics, I know there's a song and dance session happening somewhere with an appreciative audience, and hurry to drag him back, and get people back to work, before miffed bosses from neighbouring offices send in legal notices about distraction on our premises.

He isnt being whiny or cranky a bit, given that there is so much to distract him. Add to his good fortune, the McDonald's a hop skip and jump away makes it that much easier for the onechickabugawidcheez to keep coming, as and when the palate craves the fat attack. (Where does that fat go? I wish I knew the secret. He is packing these deep fried roundels of transfatty hell away like no one's business and the bones are still winking slyly at me. And I swear, I so much as look at them and feel the buttons on my jeans burst.)

The chocolates are coming in, and how. He now seems to expect it as his birthright. "Kya, chocolate nahin laya?" he demands of the poor sod who gifted one to him on day one, little realising it would be demanded with furrowed brow and stern voice every day for the entire week.

I guess I am lucky that I am able to cart him along to the office I know. But for once, I would like to get through a creative briefing without having to mop a snotty nose for the umpteenth time, and go through proofs without having sticky chocolate covered fingers grabbing the positives from me, to play office office with.

I have many volunteers to get him to practise his writing and reading skills, the trouble is the entire shebang of pretend classroom setting, with him playing teacher and the rest of his lackeys playing student has to precede any effort at getting them three Rs attempted. And of the lackeys, the most common bellowing from the brat that I hear from my vantage inside the cabin is the following, "Go to the naughty corner. And sit there till I tell you to get up." Said with the ease of having heard that one million times before, and having followed the dictated instructions to a tee.

I spend half a day in the office, and then try and work from home. We sashay our skinny and garguatuan (respectively) butts back home by fourish, by which time he nods off happily. Tired and spent. Assured that the sun shines out of his you know where. With such a willing audience of yes men, I see the beginnings of a spoilt rockstar happening here and now. I have warned the staff not to titter at every cute little thing he does, he seems to think now that a sideways glance merits a round of applause, never mind if he does it, with sunglasses on, and jacket collar turned up. Rajnikanth??? How, where??? He's never seen any Rajnikanth movies to the best of my knowledge. Probably SRK in OSO is to be blamed for the Spaghetti South Western action mode he gets into when he wants adulation.

This one week has given me a renewed sense of gratitude for the fact that I have it so easy. And immense respect for all ye out there who juggle work and home, and have your children with inlaws, parents, babysitters, day care centres, maids, wherever you are comfortable. I bow down to you.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Am I paranoid or am I just a mother?

I scotch tape sharp ends of tables. Never mind the aesthetics.

I have been known to have him gargle with filtered water.

I used to boil filtered water. Have only just steeled myself to let him get inducted to plain filtered water.

I used to cut the tags from all his clothes. They irritate me, so I figure they would irritate him too. Only he is used to it now, and cribs no end when I forget.

I taste the first morsel of anything before putting it in the brat's mouth. To check for pungency, hotness factor, salt and general yuckiness or tastiness.

I condescend to enter the kitchen to make pasta or noodles for the brat. From packets, yes, but that is the height of my culinary expertise. I dont trust the cook to get it right.

I put my hand inside a shoe before putting it on little feet to check for any stray bugs that might have made a temporary nest with curtains and wallpaper within.

I carry along a bag with a bottle of water, a change of clothes, a couple of napkins, some fruit, some snacks, some juice, some chocolates and lots of tissues.
For a trip to the mall which is two minutes from home.

I have to hold up any garment I buy for the brat to my cheek to check how it feels against skin before buying it. And he's four.

I wake up and sit still and watching if the rhythm of his breathing changes in the night.

I agonise if an extra line of bones start showing through skin.

I feel miserable if his friends gang up against him and leave him out of their play. Though, as a matter of principle, I never interfere unless violence erupts.

The night he cries in his sleep I agonise about what could have happened through the day to upset him so. The night he smiles and chortles in his sleep, I am at peace.

A sad face when he emerges from class makes my heart sink like a stone to my feet.

If he refuses to eat, I lose my appetite.

If he refuses to eat consistently, I overeat in panic.

And if he doesnt eat more than a couple of morsels over a couple of months like he did sometime ago, I go grey and ballistic. And even tie on all sorts of amulets and pendants.

I used to stand behind him as he climbed up the slide till recently. Its only now that I am confident that I will be physically incapable of doing anything to prevent a fall if it happens and falling on sand isnt damaging to anything but his ego.

I dare leave him in the sandpit and walk round the park. Without hovering around. Which is a big leap of faith for me.

and last but perhaps the most telling.

I have double layers of grills on all four of my balconies. Never mind the husband complaining that feels like he's behind bars or an exhibit at the zoo, the version depending on the mood he is in.

Any more paranoid mommas like me around?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Happy Summer vacations to you too....

I remember my summer vacations with the kind of wistful longing I reserve for first crushes, my old waistline and my innocent belief that everyone in the world was a Very Nice Person. Obviously, things have changed since. But the brat's summer vacations, which began on Monday, whooshed me right back into the land where time stands still. It started at 8 am on Monday morning. Brat sat up and rubbed his eyes open. "Mamma," staring at me quizzically. "You not had a bath?" I smiled graciously, oblivious to vision of unwashed beauty I presented to him. "You not kept my school uniform and bag out?" he persisted. "No son," I replied. The news had to be broken gently. "Today is Monday?" he asked again, darned sure that Mamma had lost all her marbles in her struggle to lose weight. Of course, nothing had come yet of the losing weight bit of it all. She was definitely going great guns on the losing her mind part of the deal.
"Today is no school?" he repeated. A little confused. "Look look. It is eight oclock. We are so late."
I sat down beside him, and took his hand gently. "Beta, there is no school today. There is no school tomorrow. No school for many days. It is your summer vacation. You have many holidays."
He stared at me quizzically. "Then what will I do?"
Ah, the infernal question. Plagued by a plethora of choices, we have opted for none, since mamma in her wisdom hopes to get out of town for a couple of weeks. Therefore, we are confronted by the vision of endless days with nothing urgent on hand, except playdates and more playdates and evenings at the mall.
"You stay at home," I ventured gently, "And in the evening I will take you to the park ...." His eyes widened in disbelief.
"Naaahhh. Mammmmaaaah....I will come to office with you. I will do lots of work. Lots of padhai. On the computer." And he sobbed big fat tears. "Please dont leave me at home."
I stared at the husband and the husband stared at me. And then the husband shrugged. "Get him along. The sooner he starts learning the better."
Thats how the brat got inducted into the family business. Bet he's the earliest anyone started off their kids, regardless of industry.
His duties for the day. Today he made colour washes with watercolour and brush, which was required for a background fill.
Yesterday, he helped tear up waste paper before it was binned.
On Monday, his first day on the job, he appropriated a computer and a chair for himself, by the expedient strategy of chucking his father out of his cabin.
He's a fast learner. Whaddya say?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Here's our newest recruit in the office.

In for his summer internship, he spends almost all his time scribbling on waste sheets, peering over shoulders while people attempt to work, insisting on a computer and a workstation to himself, while he does very serious work aka, decimate every stray piece of paper that floats his way.

We do serious target consumer tests and research with him. Like, "Krish, do you like this colour or this colour?" He does his innie minnie minnie mo, and the colour he picks gets to be background shade of layout. And we've found they get approved. He has it, the finger on the client pulse.

Occasionally, when he's feeling peckish and isnt being indulged by mamma, he trots over to neighbouring offices to get his chocolates from super indulgent staffers. Much to the dismay of shrieking mamma.

No salary demanded, only keep the stream of chocolates coming.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Mithai baat ke...

My teeth were chattering so badly, I was sure everyone in the room could have heard the rhythm. I was sitting, ostensibly, patiently, waiting my turn, my ten minutes with the teachers. To whale away the time, I was handed the brat's class worksheets, where I saw the absolute recalcitrance with which he'd attempted to do any work. Every worksheet had "With Help" written on the top, in bold. Branding themselves in my brain. The only sheets where he'd written anything independently were heiroglyphs, which even I was hardpressed to decipher. And I flatter myself that I can understand almost everything he writes, oftentimes most of which start out meaning to be some alphabet and end up being another. Or which he doesnt even intend to be an alphabet at all.
His activity worksheets were a beehive of activity totally unrelated to the activity needed to be done. I could have put my head down in my hands and wept. I'd left the brat at home for this once. Other parents had proudly brought their offspring with them, and basked in the SA ranking in all parameters that most achieved. Then I was called forward. And handed a lovely folder with the brat's photograph stuck on it.
The first page, beautifully written in cursive, told me that "Krish is a very friendly and cheerful child. He is excellent in poetry recitation and music and movement." That I already knew.
I couldnt bear the suspense any further, "So what have you decided?" I asked his classteacher, hesitantly. "Does he go to Senior KG?"
She smiled. "Of course, he does. But you need to work really hard with him through the holidays."
If I could have fallen to the ground and bowed in thanksgiving I would have. Not because I didnt want him to repeat his class. I was totally okay with that. In fact, I would have welcomed it. But because I was dreading him losing his old group of friends, who are so thick now that I am told one of them prays at every mandir he is taken to that Krish also gets a baby sister. And joins the gang of the big brothers with the baby sisters.
Yes, the brat goes to Sr Kg. And he has sentence writing next year I am told. And multiplication and division. Heaven help us. Am going to slave drive him through the vacations.
Poor baby. Cruella de Ville Mamma.
I cant remember being this stressed out even for my Standard ten results.

Poppins Mom....

Forgot to put this one up, the last time round. So here it is. Baby pictures of the brat, framed in wenge. All computer printouts made sepia.

Martha Stewart wannabe signing off.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Good evening. Whose birthday party are we going to now?

The brat awakens from his afternoon nap. And asks the infernal question. Notice the beginnings of a 'tantum'?

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Humour me folks

After having sold our souls to buy this house, one has been painstakingly putting things together to make it a home. Here's a view of what it was like earlier, after the bare civil work was done. And then the first lot of pictures are me, scrounging around, rescuing furniture about to be junked, and polishing it, and placing it in strategic places.
Since one had exhausted all one's funds on buying the place and doing the basics, and was living on chewing gum, ingenious thinking was the need of the hour. And what my husband, uncharitably, terms as my kanjoosi. Yes, I call it my love for antique, and we have enough of new laminated and veneered wardrobes in the three bedrooms. But I was damned if I had that in the living room.
Therefore, Kiran, the scrounger came to the fore. There was this beautiful burmateak sideboard, at least a hundred years old, which was used to keep the mixer grinder and such trash in our previous home kitchen, and which was almost disposed for Rs 500 to the bhangarwallah. It got a lick of polish and now occupies pride of place in my living room. Along with a shelf, also of carved wood, which was also languishing in my mother's attic. Unfortunately, a carved wood corner unit successfully reached the bhangarwallah before I could intervene, and I still rue its loss.
The brat got framed in wenge wood and sepia prints. Two unused drawers became book shelves. Miniatures were downloaded from the net and printed out, and framed in wenge to match my wardrobes. And my old about to fall apart sofas became the morning newspaper reading place in the balcony.
Miles to go still, but am halfway there. And am feeling pretty chuffed.

Of Mamma's and diapers

Brat: Mamma, have you put your diaper on?

Since being a dinner table situation at night, with the joint family arranged around the table, I dismiss the question with the disdain it deserves.

Mamma: Mammas dont put diapers. Only children do. And little babies do.

And then, not content with leaving well enough alone,: If you make su su in the bed today, I will put a diaper for you too.

Brat, marches determinedly to mamma's cupboard and returns, bearing a white square, neatly wrapped. With them whispery wings tucked in nicely. And proceeds to hand it over to Mamma, while she wishes she could disappear under the table.

Brat: Mamma, go put your diaper on now. Naughty girl. Dont you know that without diaper you will make everything dirty.

The earth swallow me now.

Just a yaaaayyy!!!! post

The brat's assessment results are in. He went through a week's therapy sessions with an independent therapist to assess him, given that we felt he was doing okay now. I went in trembling at the knees to hear out my doctor give me the results and the conclusions.

The most telling statement in the entire long stapled together sheets would be the following:

"Above average IQ, but lacks application."

Translated, he didnt sit still enough to complete any tasks to allow a number to be alloted for his ratings. And managed to find something to distract him, and moved away from task at hand.

"He's fine, Krish's mom," said his therapist. "Dont you worry."

I didnt realise I had tears flowing down my face till I saw the expression on hers.

He stops therapy this friday. We will take a two month break and then review his progress in June. He probably wont need anything more, feels his therapist. His hyperactivity needs to be tackled. Physical activity and tiring him out seem to be the only solution right now. Yes, I still refuse to put him on medication. That is not the solution for me. I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

But, thats one huge huge load off my chest. If only my hair could now start to ungrey itself, all the super accelerated greying it has gone through in the past two years, life would be perfect. But then, not quite.

Part two happens this Saturday. The annual Parent Teacher meet along with the brat's results. I have requested the school to detain him if they feel his is unable to cope with the syllabus and is not at par with the rest of the children. Let me see what they decide to do in their infinite wisdom.

I'm somewhat getting him ready for the fact that he might just have to do Jr Kg again. I dont really mind, infact, I think it will be great for him, but he's dreading losing all his friends, friends who know him and his idiosyncracies, friendships he has built up over the past two years. My heart aches for him, but I know it will be for his own good. Fingers crossed. Say a little pray for the brat, folks.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Said the brat to mamma

The bedroom. Circa 8 pm. The time dinner was on the horizon, and being resisted valiantly in favour of more exciting things like chocolates, pastries and ice cream. Mamma was picking up the mess from the room, which through some force of magic seemed to get as messy if not worse, the moment she thought she had completed the task at hand. Finally, she gives up, and runs into the kitchen, ostensibly to get the brat his dinner. Which he will have while reading a book. Yes, yes, mamma is slowly transferring all her bad habits to the brat, but she's not complaining about this one.

Brat: Mamma, mamma, see, see an astronaut. (Pointing to picture of said creature in above mentioned book.)

Mamma (Eyeing the unfinished PJ Orourke languishing on her bookshelf, replies, distractedly): Yes, darling.

Brat: An astronaut goes to space. On a rocket. To the moon.

Mamma (Now shifts gaze to the latest issue of Vogue, lying neglected on the bedside table, squinting to catch details of the dress being showcases on the page left open): Yes, darling. He goes in a spaceship.

Brat: No mamma. Astronaut only goes to moon in a rocket. A spaceship goes to other planets. Without astronaut.

Mamma (snaps to attention): How did you know that? Did teacher tell you this?

Brat: No, moon is close by. Astronaut can go. Planets are very far. Jimmy Neutron goes in spaceship. In space.

Mamma tries hard to digest this reasoning. And furrows brows thinking of appropriate reply on the lines of how Jimmy Neutron is make believe, and a cartoon character like Power Rangers and Superman and Spiderman, and stutters along until interrupted.

Brat, butts in, angrily: Superman and Spiderman are real. Not cartoon. I see the movie. And Superman also goes in space. Without rocket. Without spaceship.

Mamma, beaten, backs off nodding her head, attempting feebly: But Superman was actually a cartoon character, which then they made into a movie with real people acting the part....

Brat, interrupting: Superman has gu gu?

Mamma, pounces on the moment: Yes, of course, ten glasses of gu gu.

Brat: I will have ten glasses of gu gu tomorrow. And then I will fly in space. Without rocket.

Ah yes, the Superbrat.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Heavens, the holidays are on us

If you see a fat woman marching down a street, tearing out her hair by the handfulls, muttering to herself, desist kindly from throwing some stones, and do come across to shake hands and say hi. Am going frantic at the thought that the brat will now, from the coming Friday onwards, be at home, the entire day, for two entire months, completely, as the colloquial term goes, vela. With me at his mercy. The thought makes me shudder. Therefore I am running around trying to narrow down and zero in on various summer camps and such like that will keep his days busy and happy, and his nights spent in a happy tired out sleep. Add to this the fact that therapy will also end on Friday, we will now have more time on our hands than we have had in the past two years.

Unlike other years, this year beloved cousins are all in standard ten simultaneously, which means no visits to good ole Mumbai, for the first time in the twelve years that I have been married. Which means that the house will also be rattling like an empty tin can, and the brat will have no horde of kids to entertain him and keep him like the bees knees like he has had for the past four years of his life.

Any good suggestions for something interesting in the western suburbs for four year olds? Or any recommendations as to what I could sign him on for? I was thinking swimming and dance class, along with a class for drawing and other art and craft activities, but all these may be too ambitious for my poor multitasking skills.

Okay let me get back to muttering and waving hands in the air. It will help me get some clarity on the issue.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Krish gets his first tag

Birdseyeview, one gadzillion apologies. But life really has been mad. But since I believe in the law of karma, will do the tag now, pronto

8 Things I am passionate about (right now):
1. Shahid Kapur in Jab We Met. Unfortunately, mamma doesnt share my good taste.
2. Sitting in buckets of water the entire day, battling Power Rangers with Spiderman
3. Remote controlled cars. Crash banging into hapless Power Rangers.
4. Inorbit. Inorbit. Inorbit. And at times Infatymall. (Infinitimall, to the uninitiated).
5. Doing the Nagada Nagada dance from Jab We Met
6. Ninja Hattori.
7. Making up long extended stories involving helicopters and dinosaurs and astronauts and naughty boys who dont drink their milk and get hauled away to jail.
8. The Great Khali. And his black harem pants.

8 Things I do that drive My Mom crazy:
1. Change my clothes one million times a day and throw out all the contents of my carefully arranged cupboard each time.
2. Ask mamma for food just when she's wound up the kitchen and is about to touch head to pillow.
3. Refuse to pee before nodding off and then puddle up the bed.
4. Dip anything within a foots distance into my cup of milk.
5. Insist on swabbing the floor with the maid and making a big right mess.
6. Drink water in sips. Resting the glass on the table between sips. Like Pappa does with his highball.
7. Go under the dining table when its time to have milk. And refuse to emerge.
8. Want to do potty when I am fully dressed and ready to leave for school, and we're already ten minutes late.

Things that I say often:

1. Where's Pappa?
2. Shut up, shut up, shut up.
3. Potty, potty, bum, bum. nunu nunu. And then dissolve into uncontrollable laughter.
4. Mere liye kya laye ho? This to anyone who returns home. Or any guest. Much to mamma's embarassment. We have been known to ask guests coming home empty handed, "Kya, ek chocolate bhi nahin laye?"
5. I dont know only how to do it. This when Mamma is tearing her hair out trying to get me to do my homework.
6. My stomach is full. This when the food on the plate is unappetising.
7. Mamma, I like you. Mamma, you happy. Mamma, why you sad. Mamma, you talking to me?
8. Mamma, lagi, bandaid dettol lagao.

8 Books that I have read/ scribbled on/ torn :
1. Every magazine Mamma owns
2. Nursery rhymes
3. A cat in a hat
4. Noddy Tales from Toyland
5. Bubbles finds a red ball
6. One Two buckle my shoe
7. What lies beneath, the big book
8. Our universe (Dont tell me, this was part of their syllabus, therefore mamma dutifully went out and got the book)

8 Things that make me the person I am:
1. Naughtiness galore
2. My ability to butter up people to get what I want
3. My sartorial sense. Jackets and ties, and scarves and raincoats and chaddis worn over blue nightpyjamas.
4. Incredible energy levels.
5. Incredible ability not to focus on anything but the task at hand.
6. The most popular kid on the block.
7. My dancing skills. Shahid Kapur move over.
8. My ability to make people go aaaawww.

8 songs that I listen to over and over :

1. Mauja Mauja, this to be danced too with jacket and white shirt and jeans. Ah, my poor cupboard.
2. Nagada Nagada. Worn with long shirt and rolled up sleeves for perfect effect.
3. Ganpat, drunken swagger and all.
4. Incy wincy spider, with matching hand action.
5. Dhoom machale le, complete with jhatkas and matkas.
6. Mamma singing Rockabye baby.
7. Little baby so ja, sung by daadi. To a flat monotone.
8. Mamma humming anything. Mamma, please sing song.

I'd like to tag Poppins Mom (Poppins), Moppets Mom (Moppet), and Dotmom (Chip) for this one.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Two two birthday parties

I have birthday parties coming out of my ears. The biggest tragedy according to me, is not that I have exhausted almost a months worth of spending money on gifts, but that I have also exhausted all wearable non repeatable outfits at said dos. The brat of course, couldnt care less. He tops whatever he wears with a jacket, which he then proceeds to remove and swing around in the air, a la Om Shanti Om title track, and throw randomly, from where mamma has to run squealing to save said jacket from being crushed under a throng of little feet and spilled cake and juice and other edibles which leave nasty stains which then never ever completely get removed which make the garment in question look shabby, and which mamma will never ever get down to handwashing and just keep soaking in different detergents to find out that they lie through their skanky teeth in every ad, and they should be so sued. But then, as is my patented dialogue, I digress. To come back on track. Last week I attended six birthday parties. I think. Yesterday I attended one. I have another on Saturday and two scheduled as of now on the next weekend. Is this the price Mamma has to pay for the brat being among the most popular kids in school?

Its reached a stage where the brat gets up and rubs his eyes open and before he can even get to pee, begins asking, "Mamma, whose birthday party is it today?" And hell will be raised if this is one of them dry days with no party to enjoy. How dare people keep days without birthday parties? Unthinkable. So we have to create some. So we gather kids from the building and demand mamma orders cake and puts up balloons to celebrate.

Yesterday, a brave mother tried to have a birthday party at home. (Post on birthday parties at DMC will give you a backgrounder to this). Over 30 kids. It was suicidal. I ended up with cake all over my new white strappy sandals. I of course, being me, couldnt sit quietly in one corner and watch the anarchy unfolding before my eyes, so in between pulling the brat away from the fisticuffs he was getting into at periodic intervals, I was also serving, cutting cake, getting spoons, and wiping cake messed faces. While their mothers sat and chatted away. All sympathies to the hosting mother. This was also the day her maid decided to do the bunk, in wisdom and foresight.

The moral of the story? I am even more convinced about not having a birthday party at home, or if I ever do, not to invite more than five children especially if three happen to be boys. The girls were sitting politely in a corner comparing their tattoos and their hair braids, while the boys were running amok, mine included, pulling out the painfully put up balloons to burst, destroying the buntings and streamers, tearing up the happy birthday banner and generally running to riot. Mine included. And I felt, apart from one other mom, who was tied down by her six month old also with her, I was the only mom out there trying to put an end to mayhem and separating my kid from the hordes when he was getting aggressive.
Is no one out there even bothered that the kids are bashing each other up, and what is it with this generation? I thought it was my son, but I saw through these birthday parties, that all the kids are the same. What are we feeding them or doing to them that has hardwired them such. The kind of aggro they have could fuel a power plant.

The best thing about the round of parties, at one such held at a pizza place, I am dancing with the kids, when suddenly something makes me look at the door, and there she is, vivacious and curly headed and looking for me. On an absolute offchance that I might be there. Sur, meeting you was fabulous. Serendipity, folks?