Sunday, August 31, 2008

See on the other side of the week

Its Ganapati time again in the Manral household and as usual things are chaotic. Mamma spent the entire weekend hosing the house down top to bottom, cleaning it inside out, albeit with the help of two additional hired help and two existing hired help and found at the end of all the back breaking work, which included, hold your breath wiping down all the walls top to bottom, shifting beds around and cleaning under them, cleaning out the lofts and hosing down the balconies, that the house looked exactly the same as it did when she started out, minus of course, the curtains which were removed for hosing down purposes.

The brat, now that he seems to understand the enormity of the occasion, is adamant on wearing not his fancy schmancy Diwali sherwani that makes him look like a right royal prince, but current favourite outfit which is being worn incessantly day in day out, and already has threads unravelling, aka, the Spiderman outfit.

"I be Spiderman when Ganapati comes," he tells me. "Everyone tell me, Krish you looking very handsome..."

Mamma will cross that bridge when she comes to it.

Saturday was yet another budday pahty and Mamma being wrung out to the bone with the work of the past few days, was sitting peacefully in a corner gathering her thoughts to herself as much as thoughts could be gathered in the face of ear splitting music. The kids were dancing their feet off at the other end of the room, and the view to the dance floor blocked by adults watching on adoringly. Suddenly she hears the games host announce, "And the prize for best dancer goes to this little hero....whats your name?" And then, unhesitatingly, bold and clear, pipes up the brat's voice, amplified on the mike, "Krish Manral."

Mamma springs up like a pin poked her in her ample butt and runs throwing the crowd aside to get to the fruit of her womb. "My son, my son," she says, like a loony tune jingle, to people stepping aside quickly to make way for elephantine woman running amok. And goes and hugs the brat, who she sees, has clambered onto a spare table and is dancing a la Om Shanti Om.

At that moment, I knew what parental pride is, the feeling that your heart is swelling up in your chest and about to burst with joy because your child has, on his very own, done something that proves his talent. And with no dance classes, as most of the other kids in his class attend. On his own. The third best dancer prize this past month.

Anytime you need some table top entertainment for your parties, just holler. He comes cheap. A Spiderman costume should be incentive enough for the performance of a lifetime. Or a Diamond Head or a Four Arms action figure.

See you over the weekend. Ganapati Bappa Morya.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Of discs and the disco

The Mamma bought the brat a Ben 10 watch, one he had been whining on about in that infernal way that commands either a tight slap or absolute going to the next room, floor, planet kind of ignorance of the issue being whined about. And the brat is a whiner non pareil much to Mamma's disgust and shame, she who always crinkled her nose delicately in her pre brat days when confronted with a whining kid, has now been double whammied by a brat who can whine till the cows come home and finish masticating the cud from all four stomachs. Coming back to the above mentioned Ben 10 watch, the brat is under the delirious presumption that wearing said watch will automatically transform him at the push of a button to one of the many fantastical creatures that populate the Ben 10 universe. Much to Mamma's horror. Given that the Ben 10 universe comprises immensely ugly retch inducing creatures like Four Arms, Upgrade, Ghost Freak, Diamond Head, Rip Jaws, Heatblast, Grey Matter and some more whom I forget. Ah for those pleasant days of my adolescence when I salivated not entirely innocently over He Man action figures. Fuelled no doubt by the sugar fix of the Mills and Boons I read on the sly, away from the mother's questioning gaze.
Coming back to whining brat and Ben 10 watch, the original I saw in the shops for an obscene amount that didnt justify it being a toy, and could have well enough bought an adult a decent wearable watch from some of the simple no fancy label brands. And then, when floating in the dingy recesses of the wholesale market yesterday to put together the infinite samaan required for the Ganapati puja coming up next week, I spotted a wholesale toy shop. With a packet of said Ben 10 watch, China make of course, for Rs 50. So I picked it up and reached home to be greeted with squeals of delight and much gratification as a five year old who takes gifts and toys as his birthright decreed by the entire pantheon of Gods across religions can muster up, which translates into put it on right now excitement and tearing off packaging with unseemly haste resulting in much trash all over the floor, and a yelling Mamma insisting that he "will take the torn packaging to the dustbin right now, or the Ben 10 watch will be given away to the neighbour."
All these niceties dealt with, the watch was worn and the diskettes with the retch inducing figures inserted, and turned perfectly to cast said shimmering figures on the darkened wall of the room. The brat then turns to me and holds up one said diskette and asks in all seriousness. "Mamma what calls this?"
Mamma, linguistic gymnast, translates the query into understandable language. "This is called a diskette."
Brat looks at her and with one rapid dramatic gesture which instantly informs Mamma that too much saas bahu serial watching has been happening in the company of both grandmothers, smites said forehead. "No Mamma, not diskette. What means diskette? Say properly. Disc-o-theque."
And adds helpfully.
"Where you go to do dancing."
Mamma looks askance wondering how the corruptions of the modern world have infiltrated through the cocooned existence she's wrapped the brat in.
"This is only a circle. Round. See??"

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The child is the father of the man

Says the brat to the Pappa: Pappa you were born from?
Pappa stares quizzically at said brat.
Brat repeats the question at a higher volume accompanied by sleeve pulling.
Pappa ignores said question, pondering over the answer, no doubt thoroughly embarassed to deign replying.
Mamma answers for Pappa. "Pappa was born from Dadi's stomach."
Brat goes further, "And Dadi was born from?"
Mamma sort of figures out where this is heading, "From her mamma's stomach."
The questioning continues..."And her mamma's name is?"
Mamma replies patiently, "Basanti."
The brat ponders a while. " Why only mammas can have babies in the stomach? Why pappa dont have babies in the stomach."
The biology lesson unfurled all over again about the special place in mamma's stomach like a nest where babies grow and become big, and then they're born, etc, etc. Eyes widened and mouth half open in rapt attention, the brat listened. "Like how the baby kangaroo comes out of his mamma's stomach."
Mamma sighs. "Yes."
Brat lifts mamma's Tshirt. "Where's your pocket in the stomach?"
"I want to see it."
Mamma hastily pulls down coverage. "No no. Mamma's pocket in the stomach is inside the stomach, not open like the Kangaroo."
Brat looks at Pappa. "Why cant we just go to Hypercity and buy a baby? Is easy na?"
Then he looked sternly at his father, perhaps realising that his father's contribution to his rearing has been confined majorly to sperm donation.
Brat: "Pappa. Now you make a baby sister grow in your stomach. Mamma already made me grow in her stomach. Is your turn now."
Pappa snorted disgustedly and turned onto his side.
End of babymaking discussion.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

And that, my friends, was my weekend

The weekend started rather well. Saturday morning was the Parent Teacher meet at the brat's school. I would have been quiffing the spirits on the sly in the bathroom to work up enough Dutch courage to make it to the school, and grin inebriatedly through the whine session that I knew was lined up for me. But, I was delighted to find I was made of sterner stuff. And it also helped that I had been tossing and turning all night restlessly, so the husband knew it was something I was really looking forward to, like multiple root canals, and volunteered to hand hold me through it. Have I ever said how much I love this man? No? Well, saying it loud and clear here.
But given that for the past three years, I have been the luckless one going to these meetings on my lonesome ownsome, the rest of the parent gang were quite taken aback at the fact that I was finally escorted by spouse. I think some of them even had the vague suspicion that I was a scarlet woman pretending to have one, given that the husband has not fluttered near the school gates too, ever since the admission form was submitted.
Of the meeting itself, it went off better than expected. The conclusion being the teacher is going to work out why the brat is so terrified of her (any guesses?) and work harder with him, and try to give him some TLC. What more could I ask?

I have been working harder with him too. To his stomping on the floor disgust. I guess, I'm overdoing things a bit too. Making him count the number of mugs of water I'm dousing him with during a bath might be considered taking things too far.

As compensation for my ruthless educational overdrive, I have been extremely indulgent. Read, bribes are being offered left right and centre. Therefore we have new Ben 10 Tshirts. A new Ben 10 sipper. A birthday outfit bought much in advance by indulgent Dadi comprising, orange corduroy jacket and white pants. I just need the right white shoes, and a Sridevi with some pots in the background to complete the imagery.

And the most precious purchases of them all? A trip down Lokhandwala market which yielded the much sought, sobbed for, thirsted for, yearned for, bargained for and rolling on the floor tantrum causer, the Spiderman costume. And for good measure, and since it happened to be there at that point, Mamma picked up a Batman costume as well. The brat was kept waiting in the car, it being a rainy day, while Mamma hopped into the store to pick up said costumes. The expression, when the bags were investigated and costumes revealed was worth a photograph. If lightbulbs could shine under skin, this would be that moment. "Lesh go home," he cheeped, holding onto the plastic bag for dear life, refusing to part with it for even a second.
Mamma, being Mamma, had other plans which included prosaic things like buying crockery, laundry bags and other such sundry essentials that keep a home running smoothly. But brat would have none of it. "Cmon we go home."
"Why, beta, wait for a little while. Mamma has to finish some work."
His face darkened to match the thunder clouds squalling above. "I have work also. I have to climb the wall now."

So we went home where costumes were changed at the frequency of one million rpm. Which basically meant that Mamma sat in attendance till her butt cramped into stone, changing the brat and his ensemble close on one million times, and watching the action figure come to life. Some running around in the corridors done with best friend from next door, all of six but infinitely better behaved than brat, who also dug out his Spiderman costume in a show of solidarity, so we had two Spidermen racing on their scooties through the long passage we have between the flats in this building.

Sunday was as lazy as it was supposed to be. We skulked at home. Mamma glaring at the Pappa who refused to be parted from his Robin Sharma. Brat refusing to be parted from his Spiderman and Batman costumes.

At approximate eight pm, the realisation dawned on Batman incarnate that school day loomed ahead, and he pronto developed a crunched over tummy ache that one dispensed with a timely bribe of a bit of chocolate which resulted in an instant cure. Maybe Mamma should patent it and sell it to them gastrointestinal experts as a miracle cure. Cadbury Dairy Milk.

In the night, Mamma and brat lay back for an extended book reading session, where the spellings of such exciting words like Potty, su su and such like were discussed to much giggling and chortling.

"Mamma, if p-o-t-t-y is potty, then t-o-t-t-y is totty?"

"Yes, son," replied Mamma who could feel her snores breaking through her replies.

"And m-o-t-t-y is motty?"

"Yes, zzzzzzz," replied Mamma.

"B-u-m is bum? And s-u-m is sum?" enquired the newly scatalogical spelling bee winner.

Mamma had a flashing vampire like zen thought. Maybe she should convert all the sight words into scatalogical rhymes. Would guarantee a perking up of interest in said syllabus.

And yes, we slept in the Spiderman costume. No doubt we were web slinging through the night in REM colour.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Is that a bird?

Is it a plane? Nah, its a very very tired Superbrat? In his red undies, not held up by a belt, mind you. Pooped out by the calisthenics required by the role playing undertaken, he stops to catch his breath.

Any Kryptonites around to lend him support in his mission to save the earth from Vile Lex Luther like Mammas?

Not one but two...

Itchy ( and a more recent reader Confessions of a Blogaholic ( have decided in their earnest wisdom that I am worthy of being awarded this award, and me being me, sat on it for a while, before deciding that I need to accept, just to ensure that they keep coming back to read me.
Though I have my own internal debate going on about whether, a)my blogs are brilliant in content and design, and b) whether I'm brilliant enough to justify accepting such an award, who am I to debate another's good taste. So here goes, and thanks girls, keep the awards flowing in. Makes an old lady feel good.
This award is for blogs whose content and design are brilliant as well as creative.
The purpose of the prize is to promote as many blogs as possible in the blogosphere.
Here are the rules to follow:
1. When you receive the prize you must write a post showing it, together with the name of who has given it to you, and link them back
2. Choose a minimum of 7 blogs (or even more) that you find brilliant in their content or design.
3. Show their names and links and leave them a comment informing they were prized with ‘Brilliant Weblog’
4. Show a picture of those who awarded you and those you give the prize (optional).
5. And then we pass it on!"And the seven brilliant weblogs I award are:
Here are my seven:
The Mad Momma ( Yup, yup, she's probably got it before, but she really deserves more of it. She has two of them adorable terrors to handle.
Rohini ( The sane sensible voice of a working mom, with a wonderful, energetic son who reminds me so much of my brat at that age.
Dotmom: ( Another rumbunctious kid, Chip. You see a pattern here. I think I basically enjoy the realisation that I am not alone in dealing with a kid who doesnt know the meaning of down time.
Sue ( She gives me a glimpse into what life might have been like had I had a baby before I celebrated my first anniversary. And she is wise beyond her years to boot.
Parul ( The laughs, the laughs. I adore this girl for the fact that she makes me laugh anytime I read about her and her scrumptious little morsel, Adi.
Gauri ( I admire her for the effort she takes over every post, the effort she takes over her kids, with arts and crafts and such like that I need to be made to sit down for at gunpoint.
Poppins and Sweetpea's mom ( Because she's a gem of a person and it shines through in her posts.
And if I could add, Dipali and Suki, I would, but I've kept this list purely to mommybloggers. Next list girls.
Ladies, get down to making your lists now.

Book hunting...

Mamma is on education overdrive with the kind of manic frenzy that necessitates that had she got her way with the brat, he would be holding the roll that declared him a genuine holder of a doctorate, with the Dr. to go with it. But the brat, being the brat has other plans.
Since the current theme of the month at school is countries of the world, their currency, their capital cities, their customs and cultures, their languages, their landmarks and monuments, and such like which necessitates long arduous trips to learn from that eternal font of free wisdom, aka Google baba, Mamma has been on a hunt for a decent Atlas cum encyclopedia, cum picture book, with enough sight words contained within to tweak the brat's interest. So far, her success ratio has been zero. The ones available at the couple of bookstores she has been to are a) too grown up with too much text and too few pictures. And b) too map heavy.
Or maybe she hasnt looked hard enough, keeping in mind that she generally asks the driver to keep the engine running as she scoots into the stores and scoots out again, squeezing in them store visits in the five minutes extra she gives herself between leaving office and picking up the brat.
Any suggestions of titles would be welcome. A kind soul has suggested the Usborne Children's Picture Atlas which she is planning to go hunt down in the next couple of days, till then the mode of imparting knowledge about them countries of the world is through beautifully woven stories that have Pappa listening goggle eyed in the dark, and which have a wonderfully soporific effect on the brat and send him off without a squeak of protest into noddy land.
Last night Mamma outdid herself. She began with the story of Jean Claude, who was five years old and lived in the vineyards in Provence, from whence a wine of magical powers was distilled, and whoever drank the wine could go wherever they wanted to, so the little chump downed a bit and wanted to go see the big city aka Paris, (dont nobody come down on Mamma for encouraging underage drinking, in France kids sip wine in their milk bottles, or so I am given to understand. Okay, maybe in their sippy cups. Or whatever. You get my drift) and lands in Paris on top of the Eiffel tower.
The brat was not interested in Mamma's magic realism and concentrated on the nitty gritties, did Jean Claude swing from the Eiffel tower like Spiderman. No? Did he beat up a Goblin in Paris? No. Blah blech. Not nice story. Tell me about Ben 10.
Today Mamma's going to spin a tale about Mahfouz the camel driver in the sands of Egypt. And she's going to weave in Cairo and mummies, and the Pyramids and sarcophagi. And the brat will surely respond, there's a Batman in the pyramid? Nah? Then I donwanna this story. Tell me udder story wid Batman and Superman and Spiderman.
And Mamma will reply, ask your father. He's the man.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The lady and the tramps

This is what a Mommy Blogger Mini Meet looks like. Or rather, just an offline gathering of online friends. Rohini of (forgive me, am putting in rubbish links these days and dont have the patience to figure out what I'm doing wrong), her adorable, boisterous tyke, Ayaan, yours truly and the brat, were invited for lunch to Surabhi's (of lovely home. Surabhi made for an absolutely gracious and totally chilled out hostess. I'm the opposite, manic and frenetic and felt around two feet tall seeing the wonderful spread she'd cooked all by herself. I bow to thee, Surabhi. And Surabhi's friend from Bangalore joined us, with a scrumptuous two year old who was quite horrified by the two unruly terrors and promptly fled off to sleep in the inner recesses of the house. Surabhi's genial husband, George, was present, and fit in right into the conversation, without skipping a beat. We had all met before, last year, at Rohini's home, where we had been joined up by Y and Parul (promise to link to that soon). This time round though, there were just the two of us, Parul dropping out due to unforeseen factors.

And here's what happened.
I'm trying to hold Krish back from snatching the phone from Ayaan. Snatching, pushing and pulling formed a major part of the afternoon's entertainment.
Ayaan grins for the camera, with Rohini trying hard to keep him from the lollipops Surabhi thoughtfully handed out, giving us moments of peace and quiet while they kept them children still and busy.
Sana has a long conversation into her phone, while the brat is busy taking something apart in the background.
Sana and Ayaan share a rare moment of camaraderie. Obviously, Krish is being the floor show now.
I'm carrying, consoling and putting to sleep a very tired and upset Sana, Krish had been on his worst, pushing, pulling, aggressive behaviour. Made me want to curl up in some corner in shame.
The bubbles were discovered, and happiness and calm reined until the soap water got over. Most of it dropped on Surabhi's rug.

Surabhi had outdone herself with a finger licking meal of chicken, kali daal, paneer, and a palak corn thingie. And of course, me being me, was shameless enough to go for seconds and thirds, and I suspect, fourths. Had to haul myself up from the dining table and stagger to a corner to recuperate like a python after a hearty meal of a goat.

The kids had a ball. At least Ayaan and Krish, having already renewed their acquaintance in the car ride we'd taken together to Surabhi's, and caused both mammas to get a semi migraine in the process, and were, so to speak, in full form by the time they reached and were unleashed on gentle, unsuspecting Sana, who was terrorised by the duo. Krish, especially being the worst behaved of the lot. Shouldve put a kala tikka on that birthday party post I did. He outdid himself with his macho man behaviour, driving little Sana to tears more than once.
A great time was had by all. And that necklace of pasta shells around his neck? They did that in school, and was tied round his neck by his teacher, so I was informed on pain of death and dismemberment would I attempt to take it off. It quite added a certain je ne sais quoi to the Ben 10 tshirt me thinks.
For now though, lessons on good behaviour have to be continued with.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Is Singh King?

The brat didnt think so. It had been a tiring day for him. We'd just returned from a half day shopping escapade at the Oberoi Mall in Goregaon East, which had worn him out to bits, making him cranky and feverish. No not Mamma, this time it was the sister in law who'd come down to Mumbai for Raksha Bandhan and was skipping at the thought of entire malls on sale. And as it happens when his body temperature goes even one micro-degree above 98.6, Mamma goes into red alert panic zone, becoming like an army sargeant, barking orders left right and centre, expecting lifts zooming up and down to her convenience, and hopping from foot to foot if delayed for a millisecond. In this brilliant mood, Mamma spots Parul with a very content and sated Adi, standing near the food court, debating no doubt, what to eat. As Parul would unhesitatingly admit herself. I like this girl. She loves her food. I have a soft corner for women who unabashedly confess to enjoying a good meal. Gluttony loves company. But I digress. Pleasantries were exchanged, but the brat kept whining in Mamma's ear like an irritant mosquito, "Ghar chalo, ghar chalo." He was really feeling unwell, Mamma concluded, to not want to be social.
So we had fled home, smashed anticonvulsant with car tool box screwdriver and pummelled it to powder in car in the folded parking ticket and made the brat down it with water. And picked up a Crocin syrup from a chemist and force fed him the requisite dosage. And Mamma being Mamma, took out all the handkerchiefs and napkins from sundry bags and doused them in water and began application to extremities.
A very wet and irate brat reached home full of bitter complaints about his mistreatment at the hands of frantic mamma. Pappa, who was home, this being Saturday, listened patiently. The biggest whine of all, in the frenzy to get home, we'd left behind his Joker. Not any ordinary joker. The Joker action figure from the Batman movie. Pappa placated him and promised him another joker. Brat threw me glances that could kill. Glances that if they could be translated appropriately, would be on the lines of the stuff Western movies have when they get to the point of guns at dawn. Pappa being Pappa, got into mega pampering mode as he always does when brat gets down with a fever.
But we had tickets. To Singh is King. And we'd paid through our nose for them. Come on. I mean. Six people on those tickets could feed a family on the street for a week. Ugghhhh. Mamma feels around two feet tall thinking that, so did we want to skip the movie. Mamma was all for staying back at home, seeing as to fever and possible scariness of eventualities with fever when it comes to the brat. But the brat had other plans. The moment he was feeling half way better he trotted to the cupboard and took out his clothes du jour. Ben 10 tshirt and Spiderman bermudas. "Mamma, lesh get ready fer d muvee."
Indulgent Pappa brought forth brilliant arguing skills that have hitherto always been hidden, and put forth the sensible points. "I am going for the movie. I drive. You dont. So if anything does happen, he'd be better off with me around. And take along the medicine and water and napkins if he does get feverish again. And the theatre is next door. Better he stays entertained than stay put at home making himself and everyone else miserable."
Mamma has no arguing skills, so she picked up brat and stood in line. Yup we were a huge group.
The movie? Lets just say, we walked out before the interval, and didnt regret it one bit. Only regretted the waste of money. Could have taken the kid for Kungfu Panda which he would have enjoyed better or even The Dark Knight, which Mamma would have enjoyed better. If you are keen on an unwashed, grubby, unkempt Akshay Kumar, an inane script, and lots of stupid blathery dialogue, go ahead and watch it. The only saving grace? Katrina. The husband had a silly smile that lingered long after her scene of running in slow motion with a deep cut sphagetti top was dispensed with. No, no, she's not winning any awards for acting here too.
As for Mamma, being an Akshay fan, (nah, not acting of course. Purely hormone driven fan) she walked out too. The grubby, unwashed look and the suspicion of a head crawling with lice was too much to stomach.
And so we did. The three of us, Mamma, Pappa and brat, leaving the rest of the family behind to enjoy the show. And brat seized the moment. You have to hand it to him, he knows to grab opportunity. He didnt get it from his mother for sure. "Pappa, lesh go get d Joker from Shopperzshop."
Indulgent Pappa took him there. And brat knowing it was Pappa with him, and not Get-Down-To-His-Eye-Level-And-Say-No Mamma, went on toy gathering overdrive. Batman action figure so huge, that if it looms next to the bed in the dark, myopic Mamma will surely pass away with a heart attack brought on by fear. Batmobile. Bruce Wayne and Batman small action figures. Alas, no Joker. We hunted high and low. But couldnt find the Joker in any stores. Nor Lifestyle. Nor Shoppers Stop. "Sold out Maam," said the polite and helpful sales staff at both places. "In fact, the Jokers move faster than Batman," said the chappie manning the toy section at Shoppers Stop.
Totally understandable. He'd swallowed Batman whole in the movie too.
Sunday was spent in absolute laziness, rolling around the muck at home, and occasionally grunting at the piglet. And no, the brat didnt get feverish after that. Not yet, at least. Fingers crossed.
And how was your weekend?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Twist of fate

This story is one that has really pulled at my heart strings. And one that I am sure anyone with a child or planning a child has been tracking.
And below is the latest development:

Niketa, whose request for abortion was rejected by court, suffers a miscarriage
--> Niketa, whose request for abortion was rejected by court, suffers a miscarriage-->
Thu, Aug 14 02:28 AM
Eight days after the Bombay High Court rejected her petition to abort her foetus detected with a congenital heart problem, then in its 26th week, Mumbai schoolteacher Niketa Mehta suffered a miscarriage.
"Yes, there was a miscarriage," her husband Haresh Mehta told The Indian Express late on Wednesday. "It happened yesterday," he said. Niketa is well, Haresh (33), a stockbroker, added.
In a case that led to a nation-wide debate on abortion law, the Mehtas had filed a petition on learning about the complete congenital heart blockage during an echocardiogram in her 24th week of pregnancy. Their lawyer pleaded that extensive surgeries to implant a pacemaker and then further surgeries to change the pacemaker every five years would be economically unviable for the Mehtas, as well as traumatic for the child.
The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, does not permit a termination of pregnancy after 20 weeks.
Dr Nikhil Datar, 31-year-old Niketa's gynaecologist and a co-petitioner in the case, said the family had not informed him about the development.
Meanwhile, Dr Datar said he was still keen to take the matter forward with an appeal to the apex court. "We have not received a copy of the High Court order. We can move this forward only after we get a copy," he said.
Dismissing an application by Mehta, the court had observed that medical experts did not express any "categorical opinion that if the child is born it would suffer from serious handicaps."
A day after her plea for medical termination of pregnancy was rejected, Niketa had said: " I didn't want a nationwide discussion on abortion laws. I wanted a decision on my abortion. But now I will try to be happy and bring my child to this world."

I dont know how I would react in the circumstance. First to realise you are pregnant and feel the joy of bearing life within you. Then to learn that the child within you has a serious problem and could suffer and require extensive surgeries simply to survive. To reconcile yourself to the option of terminating the pregnancy, stifling your joy because you know that bringing a child to suffer thus into the world would be unfair. And then have to move court for the right to terminate that pregnancy, have your plea turn into a national debate on abortion rights. And then see your plea rejected. And then reconcile yourself again to bearing the baby, and seeing it through till birth. And now this. Losing the baby through natural miscarriage.

I know for a fact that my husband's primary objection to my having a second child is the issues we faced with the brat. And the fact that the risks intensify with maternal age. And I agree. Despite my desire for a child, I know it would be terribly unfair to take the gamble and bring a child into this world knowing fully that the child might not be like other children. That every day would be a struggle, and I would live my life in fear of dying the next day and leaving the child at the mercy of the uncaring world. Any parent who is a caregiver to a chronically ill child, or a child with a developmental disorder knows, everyday is a battle. Every moment is a struggle, both for the child and the parent. And the world is cruel and uncaring. As long as the parents are around, the child is insulated against it.

I wonder what I would have done in Nikita's situation. I wonder how I would be feeling at this moment. I wonder about the poor child who was not destined to live.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Budday pahty post

The brat had a birthday party to attend over the weekend. As is wont, he spent the entire day in a frenzied agony of waiting for the budday pahty. And agonised over his ensemble. His shoes. His hairstyle. Took out many mismatched combinations of clothes as options and finally decided to present himself as Batman to the unsuspecting non paying public at said party. The vision included a black nightsuit. A black scarf as a cape. Pappa's old fingerless driving gloves with two fingers mercilessly chopped off and made into a mask. And a blue undie worn over the nightsuit to complete the look. With a belt. Did anyone notice Batman has a belt to hold up his underwear worn externally. I sure didnt. The brat did. And he's seen the movie just once. Given Mamma is paranoid about Harvey Dent Two Faced's visage inflicting nightmares on the fruit of her womb, never mind that she herself screaming must play a starring role in his nightly nightmares.
Mamma, of course, vetoed the suggestion with a promptness and firmness of decisiveness that could she implement when it comes to meeting her deadlines and pursuing payments owed to her would have stood her in better stead.
Compromise was called for and reached amicably with the sound threat of not being taken for said birthday party. We reluctantly settled on a denim decalled jacket, matching decalled denim jeans with more pockets than any sane person would have things to keep in, and a rugby red and grey striped Benetton Tshirt which had mamma's jaw drop open when she saw the price tag. And for finishing touch to the dandyish appearance, a pair of "Drink Horlicks, Be Cool, Ishaan Awashti Sunglasses", perched on the nose. This for an appearance at an evening party. On a day that was so rainy, we needed a flashlight to find our feet.
The party, like every other party held at Pizza place, was full of games conducted by enthusiastic inhouse host. A cartoon character making an appearance and being gheroed by the kids who proceed to assault it in their glee leading to said cartoon character fleeing in horror and terror and complaining bitterly to manager on the next level that salary will have to be increased pronto should he be assigned cartoon character duty again.
Mamma was too tired and flu-ish to be bothered with dressing up and wore black head to toe, and her glasses much to brat's horror and dismay. "You not putting your eyes, Mamma," he shrieked, in angst. "Go put your eyes inside. You not look nice wid chasma."
After a bit, he noticed Mamma shuffling her tired feet in her everyday moccasins and threw a right out rolling on the floor tantrum. "Donch come likedis Mamma. Look nice na. Everybody wear high hills. You not putting your eyes also."
I snarled in reply that he could like it or lump it. And he went reluctantly, holding my hand, with a slight, as I saw it, sense of embarassment at this villager escorting him. I have managed to become an embarassment to my child before he hits primary school. By the time he reaches college, he will probably duck and run if I am anywhere in the vicinity in a public situation rather than bear the ignonimity of being seen with self by friends and thus being perceived totally uncool or whatever the damn phrase will be by then.
With such a morale booster Mamma smeared on her lipstick in much the manner of transvestites and sat primly in a corner. And watched the brat, hold your breath, behaving himself impeccably through the evening. Following instructions. Not damaging property or inflicting harm on smaller defenceless children. Dancing. Waiting his turn. Eating on his own. And zero pushing and shoving. This is what the Children of God must have felt like when they spotted the Chosen Land. I almost went down on my knees in gratitude but wondered if I would be able to make it back up on my own without collapsing and breaking a couple of floor tiles, so desisted and muttered my gratitude in internal monologue.
Smelling salts were called for. Other mothers pumped her hand in congratulatory fashion. "What is the secret? How did he sober down so much?" One meanie even dared ask if Mamma had put the brat on tranquilisers, Mamma had just chopped her nails down or blood would have been drawn.
The highlight of the evening. Brat wins a prize. For best dancer. He answers his name correctly loud and clear as a bell into the mike when asked, shakes hands and comes skipping to me with his prize. And the entire room erupted in applause. I think it was a day he shocked the pants off everyone. It was all I could do to prop a fork under my chin to keep my mouth shut.
And how was your weekend?

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Poppin becomes a big sister

It gives me great pleasure to announce that Poppins Mom has given birth a beautiful baby girl on Sunday. The baby was born after a brief induction didn't take, and a Csec was called for. She weighed in at 3 kilos. Mommy and baby are doing well. And Doula Kiran is bursting with delight at her new niece. May she grow up to be the pride and joy of her parents eye, and as naughty as every younger sibling is duty bound to be.
Which now begs the question, nicknames are invited for the little one. Something that goes well with Poppins? Put those thinking caps on folks.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Being an only child...

...raising an only child is not what I had imagined I would be doing. I had rather imagined myself as a Mother Earth figure raising a pack brood of ruffians and hellions and loving every moment. Well, if not enough to have a football team of my own, a couple of kids at least. Well, the best laid plans of mice and men...and all that goes with the territory have ensured that it seems, for the moment at least, that the brat is destined to be an only child.

And over the past week I have been thrown into the thick of discussions regarding only children and parents divided over the issue, dithering about whether to go ahead for various reasons, all very valid, I grant. And I wonder, yet again, whether I am doing the right thing by not having another child. Granted I am back to blimp land again and just a couple of kilos from my weight at full term when I was carrying the brat, so I might as well go the whole hog and pile it on with a valid excuse at that. But as this article says, recent research does show that only children are indistinguishable from children with siblings. And sometimes the grass is greener on the other side. Those with siblings they arent close to might prefer to swap my only child status with me anyday. And when I read of property wars between siblings, it makes me wonder how money takes precedence over wealth with nary a sigh. And then I read about siblings who rally around each other in times of crisis and sigh again. Having said that, the husband has four siblings. And they are close. But not exceptionally close. Each one lives their own lives, but they do rally around during crisis. Their bond is different. It is invisible but strong. Not fuelled by constant conversations or discussions or meetings, given that they are scattered around the country, but very present. My mother has nine siblings. And they are like rocks to each other. If one is ill, the rest come together like a single fist to help out. They might bitch each other at other times, but they're together. They're older. Empty nesters. They need each other. The mother in law has five siblings. None of whom are in any great contact with her. The occasional phone call a couple of times a year perhaps. I guess sibling relations vary from family to family.

What is my take on the entire debate, having reconciled myself to probably not having a second child? I would have preferred to give my child a sibling, but since thats not going to happen until both parents come around, I am happy for him to be an only child. I ensure that he has a social life so hectic, he could pay me a salary for being his social secretary. Playdates, parties, picnics, movies with friends, form the norm of the week for him. What also helps for me, I guess, is that we live in a joint family where there are already plenty of people in the house to keep him occupied, excluding the help, who happily pitch in for the occasional game of cricket or even doing the number and alphabet revision with the brat who happily learns his capitals and lower case from the maid who dredges her memory for the little she had learnt during her few years in school. So you have the rather quaint sight of the brat learning his ABCs from the maid, and me sitting in attendance helping the maid throw together alphabets and read words off the newspaper to me.

I'm ambivalent. I know he will turn out fine. I did. And my mother did a great job on me. I am sure I will do the best I can with him. And he, like his mother, is a social child. Until adolescence I guess, when he transforms inevitably into a black clad snarling antisocial stranger, who emerges only to ask for his pocketmoney.

Some of his friends have siblings, some are only children like he is. He seems unfazed yet with the seeming denial of a sibling though occasionally he does ask his father to put the baby seed in Mamma's stomach and make Mamma drink lotsa water to make the baby grow fast fast so that doctor can cut the stomach and take baby out. (Dont ask. Too much education on reproduction already happened thanks to friend's mamma's being pregnant and having new babies over the past couple of years). He also has many cousins he meets up with every vacation and assumes it is his birthright to have them around every vacation to keep him entertained.

On the whole, he's not skulking in corners yets whining about solitude and neglect and cruelty. And I do know I'm not either. I have my friends too, some of whom are closer than sisters could ever be, I think. I dont know. I've never had a sister. Or a brother. In the modern urban milieu, friends become surrogate family. And its true what they say, friends are family you get to choose.

I pray my little son chooses his friends well. And makes friends of the heart and not of the road. And doesnt grow up to resent me and his father for not providing him a sibling. But then, to think of it, I dont resent my mother for the same, do I?

What's your take on this debate?

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Threats and counterthreats

The brat is sometimes difficult. Very difficult. And Mamma gets very very angry. And throws her hands up. And no, despite her throwing her hands up so very often, no one mistakes her for a cheerleader of any sort.
"I am going to give you back to the hospital and get a new sweet baby home."
This is the ultimate threat of all threats that never fails to get his attention and prompt better behavior.
"No mamma. Dont take me to hospital and get other baby. I only your baby."
Mamma capitalises on a good thing. "Why do you trouble me so much? The new baby will not trouble me. It will lie in one place, drink lot of gu gu and not do any masti."
He keeps silent. A slight twinge of sadness in Cruella de Ville Mamma's chest, and she hastens to reassure brat that she has changed her mind, and he gets a term extension as baby of the house if he keeps up good behaviour. Which is an euphemistic term for not destroying any property on the premises, or inflicting bodily harm on any one.

The other day, Mamma and brat went to a hospital to pay a courtesy visit to family friend's wife who'd just had a baby. Brat was on his best slicked hair behaviour. He walked into the room holding mamma's hand rather than run screeching skidding through the corridors. He sat next to the baby and restrained himself from poking inquisitive fingers into her eyes, or tweaking her ears, he looked at her with the wonder he reserves when Superman carries an aeroplane through the stratosphere. He stared sadly when Mamma carried the baby and cooed over her, and tugged at mamma's hand to remind her of his presence in the room. When Mamma got up to leave, and put the baby down, he clutched onto Mamma's hand territorially. And in a big dramatic, theatrically aside said, "Mamma, you not taking baby? You not leaving me in hospital?"
Mamma gave him a hug and a kiss, and told him, she would never leave him anywhere. He was her baby.

The same night, Pappa sat with the brat on brat's reams of neverending homework. Alphabet practice, number practice, match the columns, colouring, etc, etc. Mamma read her book in the armchair, leaving the duo to tear each other's hair out. Pappa having lost the little patience he possessed in normal times within the first five minutes of one alphabet written then ten minutes of whining about a paining hand, leg, toe, knee and all other body parts that impede successful completion of homework unassisted. After the third alphabet was written and the regular song and dance begun about how impossible it was to continue further without wilting like a lily under the fog of tiredness, Pappa picked up precious Batman action figure and threatened to fling it out of the balcony should Brat continue such unseemly display of laziness in consonance with him bearing the genetic heritage from Mamma's side of the gene pool.
Brat bristles with rage. "Pappa!!!! You a very naughty boy. I take you back to the hospital and get new Pappa."
And while Mamma and Pappa stare, openmouthed in shock and dying to roll thrashing on the floor in paroxysms of laughter, he continues in his sternest voice ever.
"Mamma, what will we call the new Pappa?"

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Bratman in the dark night

The brat has been on a gift receive overdrive over the weekend. First came some shirts picked up by the Nana with requisite superhero motifs, namely Spiderman in red and Spiderman in black as per the newest favourite Spiderman 3 adorning front and back of said shirt. Then the uncle emptied his coffers on a Spiderman car, a gleaming red monstrosity that refuses to fit in the overladen toy basket in our room (three overflowing ones already in two balconies, and one more overladen one in the grandma's room set there for the express purpose of being overturned on the bed at the exact same minute that unfortunate grandma decides to shimmy away into the land of nod and needs to brought back to wakefulness with a scare that has her jump out of the skin.) and the father, stung one presumes by these random displays of generosity by all and sundry, rolled his sleeves and got into the act with a vengeance over the weekend.

First came the collection of DVDs of every conceivable superhero movie ever made. Psst, am opening a library here, wanna borrow some? Mamma should not complain, one protests, seeing as Pappa has exercised largesse and rare display of thoughtfulness combined with aforementioned largesse and waltzed home bearing pile of books almost as high as his nose to Mamma's indecent whoops of joy which could call cattle home from their grazings on a stormy evening. Add to the stackpile of DVDs of every Superman, Spiderman and Batman movie ever made, add The Hulk, The Incredibles, Xmen and few assorted more, and you realise the man has stood, scratching head in front of display at DVD store and asked said salesperson to empty his wallet for him, rather than use common sense and eliminate the ancient ones.

Largesse multiplied further with Batman and Spiderman and Power Ranger action figures. Pappa even apologised for not being able to get his large hands on a Superman action figure. Mamma gagged and bit back the sharp retorts springing like so much acid reflux in throat. And I get accused of over indulging the sprite. Naturally with so much Superhero being shoved down his throat, the brat decides to morph into the Bratman, black nightsuit being pressed into service with black discarded scarf erstwhile belonging to Mamma dearest making a decent retirement as a cape, and an old black woollen glove getting three centre fingers and base chopped off and eyes cut in for authenticity.

Mamma, to her horror, was pressed into service, to be d Joker. Methinks its the hair and the new Loreal Compact which I suspect a couple of shades lighter than actual skintone, bought as it was in great hurry, under great duress and during flourescent light time. And given the obscene intermingling of highlights with mehndi and such abominations on said hair, Heath Ledger's green mess as the Joker probably came close to the horror on my scalp.

So the Bratman spent a rainy Saturday afternoon jumping down on me from vantage point of sofa seats and dining tables while I tried to get a week's worth of dust cleant from visible and invisible surfaces. Finally I gave up all pretence at work and jumped so ferociously on him, he squealed and didnt try it again since.

Then it was homework time. Homework time is Sunday night. After the weekend is done with. Tis blasphemy to even suggest he lifts a digit in that direction before the day is done and the night fallen and the spectre of Monday looming ahead. Given he'd missed two weeks worth of weekend homework for the week he'd been at home and out of action, Mamma had been blathering about unfinished homework with the fear of years past and memories of being hauled over the coals for unfinished homework, the way only nuns at them convent schools can haul you over coals. Bratman was Blase with a capital B. "Issokay mamma. I can do it next week. I tell teacher. I being Batman. Batman dont do homework."

Oh yeah, says mamma, wincing at the memories of rulers brought on knuckles in them dark ages of corporal punishment. While she will personally rip from limb to limb anyone, including teachers who dares inflict corporal punishment on said apple of them myopic eyes, but an occasional bark of disciplining would be welcome. But brat's school is apparently as far removed from that as the moon is from the Great Wall of China. "Teacher dont shout if you dont do homework. She say isokay. Do nexcht week. Dont take tenshun mamma. Be Joker."

And that is my new life motto.

"Dont take tension. Be a Joker."

Rather apt, whatsay?