Saturday, February 28, 2009

Mamma meets Doosri Nani

The brat had peeled mamma's eyes open at 6am today. A Saturday. It took all of mamma's Be Calm Be Zen training not to swat him one on his ear and command him to lie still and eyes closed tight. "Its very early in the morning brat. Go back to sleep."
At these words, taken as a signal that mamma was wide awake and all was well with heaven and earth, the brat clambered onto mamma's chest and prised open her unwilling eyes open. "Gerrupnow. Is morning. We gottugotomeet Ayaan."

Yes, the mommy bloggers of Mumbai, Rohini, Banno, Surabhi were to meet Dipali. Down from Kolkata for a few days to attend a wedding. Surabhi was gracious hostess offering her cosy home as a venue despite shooting late the previous night.

Mamma was wide awake instantly but put the critter back to sleep. The meeting was at lunch. BFF Ayaan was to be in attendance. The excitement ensured no breakfast was consumed. Just an edgy hopping around the house and the looped question playing on and on. When we gotumeet Ayaan? Till mamma swore the walls were echoing with the question. We had the small issue of the PTM at school to be tackled at 9am and mamma was so looking forward to that like an extraction without anaesthesia.

So, bathed, dressed, perfumed and lipsticked, mamma dragged herself like a goat to the slaughter. Her stomach churning as she waited her turn. Going through the brat's assessment sheets. Seeing the ridiculous spelling and counting mistakes in his sheets and hoping he knew how lucky he was to be safe at home and far away from the inevitable swats on the bum he would have received had he been close at hand. Nonetheless, a decent performance tempered by some serious pressure from the class teacher impressing upon me the need to get mine and son's respective act together quick. The child would be going into the first standard next year. And that was no joke. Mamma thought back to her own lazy SSC days when she hit the books as she pleased and knew a whip wielding academic virago mother she would not make, so panicked some and came away, vowing to make a study timetable for the brat. And knowing that was so possible, like mamma running the marathon and winning it without pigs flying on broomsticks to cheer her on.

Finally twas time to gotumeet Ayaan. Due to direction issues, Ayaan's car followed our car for a bit at the last stretch the entire duration of which the brat bounded on springs in backward facing mode yelling Ayaan Ayaan Ayaan at eardrum decimating level.

And yes, the twain met. And bonded over some serious mischief. Including pushing shoving fighting and meltdowns. And mamma met Dipali and her very dapper hubby the SRE. And it was like mamma was meeting her BFF too! Warm, vivacious, elegant and totally the kind of person you always would like as your neighbour. The pictorial evidence you ask? Dipali has it, since mamma always forgets to carry along her camera at momentous occasions like this, and when going in for her Csec.

Surabhi, thanks for the lovely spread. I am walking around like a stuffed python on a full goat.

And Ayaan, and beautiful, gentle, curls shorn to my dismay Sana, god bless you.

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Brat and friends

A new boy has moved into the flat opposite to add to the best friend in the whole wide world ever expanding quota in the world of the brat. We first had three distinct categories of best friends. For the uninitiated, mamma will provide a quick guide. Best friends from class. Best friends from the building. Best friends from among mammas friends' kids. These were further divided into category and subcategory. Rumbuctious best friends. Mentor best friends. Best friends he loves to hate. And now the latest, best friends to play in the compound/garden and best friends to play with in the passageway.
This new friend is older, a hostel boy and coupled with the current nextdoor BFF who is also older than the brat, mamma sees incredible games being played where the brat is generally some sort of prey/thief while the older duo chase him around in circles brandishing guns borrowed from the brat's basket. Mamma occasionally steps into the game to ask if the brat should not have the chance to play cop, to realise the brat is quite chuffed about playing the bad guy. Playing policeman is boreding. I be the chor. Iss fun. The chor hasturun very fas! Future career choices apart, mamma worries about the ideological issues implicit in this choice of role playing. Therefore mamma sat brat down for a quick discussion on why he should be looking at other roles from his current fave of being the hunted one.
Brat, says mamma in sternest tone she can muster given ridiculousness of discussion. You have to be the chor sometime and police sometime. You cannot always be the chor.
The brat doesn't buy the argument. Mamma. You is not pappa sometime and mamma uddertime. So why I be sometime chor and sometimes police. I will only be the chor.
Deep troubled sigh from brat.
All this be this be dat is conphusing. I only be brat. And dat is final.


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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Just a quick post....

To say all is well. At school. Mamma went in fortified with double black expresso and surly Pappa at side, only to be received by two very sweet and gentle special educators, who just wanted Mamma's signatures on the consent form to take special sessions with the brat to help him cope with the academics. Thassal. Mamma's sigh of relief was so audible you could have powered a steam engine with it. And they sweetly asked Mamma and Pappa which areas they felt the brat needed working on. And took some backgrounder. Not a moue like the insistence last time that Mamma hire a special educator to sit in with the brat for the entire day in class. But the brat too, is a different child now. And an acceptance and willingness to work with the brat's limitations. And an openness to sit with his tuition teacher in a meeting and work out a synergistic way to help him.
Be still my beating heart. Its just 10 am and the day is looking good already. And the nightmare of last night is past me.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

And so we've been called into school

Yet again by the special education department. To discuss the brat. My stomach is already a mess of writhing anxiety. I asked the class teacher yesterday at the school gate as to what prompted this sudden renewal of interest in his case from the special ed department seeing as this is the fag end of the academic year, and they have slept peacably on his file papers for the entire year. "He is slow academically."
This is a child who couldnt even write at the start of the term. He is now writing full sentences in print and cursive. He didnt have the concept of a number line when term started. He now does his addition and subtraction on his own. If the school is galloping ahead at obscene levels and beginning division and multiplication (dont I remember us learning the two concepts well after we had been introduced to the tables!), it is too far fetched to expect him to gallop too with the rest of the kids. This is senior kg. I am already shuddering at his syllabus and asking his father to sit with him for his arithmetic.
We go in tomorrow morning to hear them out. As to why they feel he needs a special educator. If he needs help, I am perfectly alright with him receiving that help. But I am not willing to sit and listen if they label him. Because he doesnt fit into labels anymore. He's a perfectly regular child. Superbright. Superinteractive. Supersparkly. And its not because I am his mother. It is because I have sweated blood bringing him here. And I know from what point he started and to what point he has reached. If this is labelling purely because he had a history, I'm not accepting it.
And I'm metaphorically girding up my loins. He might be slow but he has no learning disability and no other issues. That I am sure of. Pray for me. And my son. Yes, the husband accompanies me. I cannot be trusted not to become a blabbering, snivelling, nose blowing mass of sobbing flesh.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The two gorgeous men in my life....
















This is to both my boys, for giving me all my reasons be happy!


Someone send me that Kala Tika badge now!
Edited to add: Thanks Dottie. Flicked the Kala Tika off your blog.



Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Get thy kid to an etiquette class...

Read an article in the newspapers yesterday about kids as young as five being shovelled off to finishing schools in order to learn their Ps and Qs and how to hold their spoons and forks and knives, and how to wield chopsticks, and table manners and such like. Of course, I began hyperventilating immediately, given my aversion to anything that calls itself a 'class'. And etiquette classes? For five year olds? To learn how to behave at birthday parties?
Let me get this straight. In the good old days, when one was a child, and dinos still roamed the earth, and mankind had just emerged from the swamps, learning etiquette meant a hard rap on the knuckles when one was rude. A calm correction when one forgot one's Please or Thank You. And a Look at Us and do the same instruction when it came to table manners. I learnt my etiquette from my parents, as I am sure all of us did. And I dont think they did badly. After all, what is basic etiquette? Being considerate of the others around you, being kind, polite, ready with an apology and ready to help anyone in need. Ensuring you did not eat with your mouth open and spewing particles of food and spittle on any unwary soul in the vicinity, and not having your dining companions sit with open umbrellas to shield themselves from the particle attack. Ensuring most of what you ate went into your stomach and not on your clothes, the table cloth or the neighbours lap. When you answered the phone, you were taught to say Hello, Who is speaking, whom would you like to speak with. Basic stuff. But probably the most effective. And when you went out you were warned within an inch of your life that should you be a glutton in public or destroy any delicate items of show, you would see a caning like none you had received thus far, which would prove sufficient deterrent for you to ensure you behaved.
I think that worked pretty well, and we all came out from the finishing school called home pretty well etiquetted to take on the world and fine tuned our skills as we went along. I can just imagine sending the brat for such a class. Yup. He might need one desperately, given that his modus operandi of self feeding includes taking head to the spoon and not spoon to the head. Therefore you have the wondrous vision of the brat, spoon two inches above the plate, bending head to the spoon and almost landing into the plate. But then thats when I come in and yell at him to lift his spoon and keep his head stable. Thats a mom's job definition. I'm damned if I put my child in a class to learn his Ps and Qs and how to eat or how to behave in a public place (though I am the first to admit shamefacedly, that he could do with some training in that department). It just reflects on the fact that I've done a shoddy job as a parent. Fine dining etiquette is unimportant. There is the rest of their lives to learn that, and frankly, I have kittens too when confronted with an array of absolutely intimidating cutlery and no idea what to do with any, and admit to looking furtively around for cues on what needed to be picked up with what course, until I self educated myself (Jai Ho Google Baba). I'd rather the brat learnt that he needs to share his snacks with his friends, that he needs to apologise gracefully and immediately if he hurts anyone, that he thank anyone who helps him or does anything for him instantly, without being prodded, that he wish elders good morning and good night spontaneously, without Vile Mamma kicking him in the shins.
Etiquette classes. Bah. I need to find a spoonful of water to drown meself in if I'm told my child needs to go to one.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Why is it so difficult....

...to watch your child run in wild abandon and know he can just about lose his balance and trip face down, and stop yourself from yelling at him to slow down.

...to know that your child is being picked on at the playground, and watch from the periphery as he defends himself valiantly and takes on older kids.

...To see your child struggle with his homework and yet be hard hearted, and explain the task to him and take yourself out of his sight, and return to find he has done it wrong, explain it again and take yourself out of sight yet again...peeping in occasionally to see if he's doing it right.

...to insist that milk be downed, veggies be finished, hands and feet be washed and teeth brushed at bedtime.

...to see your son being teased for his eccentricities and not step in to keep him away from other children who can be so cruel.

...to hear your child sobbing at night, at the thought of going into school the next day, and not being able to cope with the lessons being taught.

... to see your child come last in a running race and yet cheer him with the pride you feel because you know he did his very best.

Why is so difficult to be a mom?

Friday, February 13, 2009

About the making of Orca Whales...

The theme in the brat's class for the current month is Marine creatures and today was show and tell day, where they had to bring in an image of any marine creature and narrate an interesting fact about it.
Mamma trawled google baba yesterday for a fact on some marine creature that the brat was familiar with. Thinking back, she remembered the mouth agape watching of Free Willy and the heated discussion of why Orkawail is black on top and white down, and decided to search for some interesting snippet on said creature. Add to this, the rapping on the knuckles I received a while ago for calling the whale a fish and not a mammal "Who givz berth toitsyung." I thought the whale was the best bet over Patrick Starfish and other exciting creatures of the deep familiar to the brat through Spongebob Squarepants and other such deeply educative programmes of which he is an addict.
Therefore I got a picture of the Orca whale printed out, and a little note printed on top which said that the Orca Whale once lived on land and had four feet which gradually evolved into flippers. Therefore I explained to the brat that as the whale, who once walked on the land like any regular dog or cow with four legs, went deeper and deeper into the water and began living completely in the water, it didnt need legs anymore so they became flippers.
The thoughtful pause came about. "Who made dOrcawail?"
Standard patent response from Mamma. "God made the Orca Whale brat, like he made everything on earth."
Brat mulled over it. "How God made Orca Whale?"
Standard patent response from Mamma, "God took a lot of clay, like play doh and moulded it in the shape of the Orca Whale and blew into it to make it come alive."
Brat pondered further, "God din tel Orcawail nottogoindwaterorhowhe'llswim?"
Mamma continued ironing, "Nope, God gives every creature on earth free will to do what they want. They want to decide what they want to do, good or bad. God doesnt stop anything or anyone. "
Brat looked up at mamma. A gaze so loaded mamma should have considered it fair warning. "Then orkawail donhaveamamma? To tell him dongoindwater so deep?"

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Shah Rukh Khan and the devout fan

Ever since Om Shanti Om captured the brat's vision of how life in technicolour should be, including slow motion walking backwards and falling back into a terrified mamma's arms with hand on heart and slow motion running across the home from end to end, yelling "Shaaaaannnntttttiiiiii..." with appropriate agonised quivering of lips, although not quite in rubbery Shah Rukh Khan fashion, the brat is a dyed in the wool Shah Rukh fan. His parents are not. His father pledges his loyalties with Aamir Khan. And his mother, after Dhoom 2, would sell her soul for a glimpse of Hrithik. Acting skills be damned. Mamma looks at the packaging. For acting skills, she'll go to Al Pacino, thank you very much.
Therefore, there is this clear divide in the house as to loyalties, and therefore, movie watching is always fraught with stress.
The brat sat down the other day to watch his beloved Shah Rukh Khan in Om Shanti Om for the umpteenth time while Mamma gritted her teeth at the overdone insider jokes, the bad costumes and Kiran Kher on hamming overdrive...
The brat chuckled at the "wah, kya fighting hai," sequence and then declared loudly. "I wanna meet Sarukkan."
The father raised an eyebrow and continued with the Og Mandino he had drowned himself in. Mamma lept up like a scalded cat. Fan-dom was upon the brat finally. This had to be a developmental milestone, albeit late, like the rest of the child's milestones.
"Really, brat, why do you want to meet Shah Rukh Khan, do you want to shake his hand?"
Brat turned twinkling eyes towards me, "Nooooo. I donwantudo sekkand. I want him to tell me, Yenda Rascala. Mindit! I wantu be his fren. I wantu call him for my budday pahty."
Shah Rukh, are you listening, a rascal wants to be called a rascal by you. And be your friend.
And next, he'll probably want you to do the birdy dance for him. And the Om Shanti Om number, which he's practised one million times at budday pahties, with fellow cronies, involving taking off of jackets and flinging in the air.
It starts.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Of alphabets and random orders

The brat's tuition notebook had a remark scrawled in bold red teacher's precise script which grabbed my myopic eye the moment I opened it. "Krish has forgotten the alphabet."
Mamma's heart sunk like a weighted stone around corpse in Pacific deep. True enough. A random alphabet scribble test which had prompted this remark showed random alphabets scattered all over the page, with no sequential order.
Mamma sat the brat down, and stilled her beating heart.
"Brat, tell me the alphabets." The brat stared at the sun setting outside, and mentally planned out the knock their eyes out outfit he was to wear to go down to the park. "Now!" barked Cruella de Mamma.
"Is boreding. Dalphabets is boreding," he squeaked in protest.
Mamma widened her eyes threateningly. Brat sighed deeply. The burden of the world on his shoulders. And rattled off. "A, B, C, D, E, Eff, Jee, Haich, Aie, Jay, Kay, ELEMENO, Pee, Kyu, Aar Ess, Tee, Yu...."
He paused. "Mom," he looked up. "Yu Kay. Or Yu Ess Ay?"

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

And the annual day is done with...

This morning the brat awoke with a start. "Mamma, you din get my hair gel?" This before he had even finished opening his eyes, or clearing them with a satisfactory rub. Mamma quailed in a corner. Yes, indeed. Bad mamma had forgotten all about Hair Gel and the dictat writ in stone, aka, the calender that the boys needed to have hair gelled back for the welcome dance. Aka one of the dances that the brat was scheduled for. The dance that had him in a shiny red satin shirt, with a black leatherite pant, a sequined black bolero and a black cowboy gallon hat. A costume mamma ran around to the ends of the earth, or to be precise, Lokhandwala market, to get into place, with the help of other, more dedicated mammas than she is, and hunted down in the gullies of Natraj market the precise floral shirt that the brat would wear with bermudas, floaters and a straw hat for the Konkani dance he was to do. Therefore, there we were this morning with no hair gel. And a tantrummy thundercloud faced brat. "Shhhah mamma. Now howiligo widoud my hair gellt?"
Mamma assured him she would pick some up on the way to the hall, and apply it before he was deposited with the teacher. Bathing and dressing up happened quick enough this morning. Gu gu was ingested with minimal fuss. Cheeks were proferred with no sulking to be painted a light pink for stage purposes, and two pink circles were patted on to enhance the critter's charms. And the cowboy hat was placed strategically on top and curled to perfect insouciance at one side. And the second outfit, packed and labelled neatly. And mamma's task was done. Well, ahem, not quite.
Mamma, where d gel, he screeched as we alighted in front of the hall. Its okay brat, said lazy mamma, anyway you are wearing a hat for both your dances, there really is no need of hair gel. Brat would have rolled on the floor if it could have been done without mucking up his look but since he was acutely aware of his entire outfit getting spoilt by a drop of water, he held his peace and just rolled around ambiguously protesting about lack of hair gel to hold his hair in place. Mamma shoved him towards his teacher who did not even notice the above mentioned lack of hair gel, until brat squawked in additional protest. "Mamma, you din gel mah hair..." in tones loud enough to ensure had he been on stage, the last person in the last row would have caught on. The teacher took one look at my harassed face and let me slink away into the crowd. Or maybe she had a tube of hair gel with her, reserved for last minute lazy moms without hair gel at home.
The welcome dance began, the brat came in jumping and bounding. And searching for our faces in the dark, applauding, whistling audience. A big broad smile plastered on his face. His steps pure perfection. The rhythm in his little body obvious even to the mother I barely know who sat next to me. He dances really well, your son, she said approvingly. Does he go for dance classes. No, I said, shamefacedly. I havent done so yet. But I should. I really should. I owe it to him. To his talent. I felt tears of fierce pride pricking my eyes and rolling down. The kids were glorious. And my son was brilliant. In the Goan dance, he moved to rhythm. Didnt forget his steps and stood back at the edge of the stage before going off, his eyes searching the darkness for us, I waved frantically and yelled, but the music was too loud. And he went off wondering if we had seen him.
And his father left the moment his two performances were over. As I picked him up from his teacher, he looked up at me expectantly. "Mamma, you see'ed me?"
"Yes, my love, I saw you. You danced very well."
He simpered like a little girl at a prom. His eyes looked around. "Wherez Pappa? Pappa see'ed me?"
"Yes, beta, Pappa saw you dancing and Pappa was very happy and proud of you. But Pappa had to go for a meeting so Pappa's gone to office."
"Wherez daadi? Daadi see'ed me?"
'Wherez naana? Naana seed'ed me?"
Reassured that the entire family had watched him dance on stage and were all now suitably awed by the greatness in the midst, he strutted to the car.
"Bud mamma, why you forgod to pud gelinmyhair?"
Mamma was taken aback, and asked him if the teacher had mentioned anything about the lack of gel in his hair having impacting the power of his performance.
"No, teacher dinsay. Bud I wanted to pud gelinmyhair. I luk very hansome wid gelinmyhair."

Monday, February 02, 2009

Mamma, open yer eyez

So the mamma was ill yesterday. Some errant bug had snuck into her system and caused her to throw up violently and often, enough to have her head spin and her go in for a lie down. When that happens, the household knows that mamma is really out of it, and brat duties get distributed. The Pappa sits down with the homework which gets done doubly quick because no lolling around, I feeling boreding, my hanizpainin, legizpainin, headispainin happens. The grandmother feeds and changes him for the night, which takes doubly long because tantrums are thrown, unlike Cruella de Ville mamma who shovels every green down the throat regardless of squawks of protest and firm zipping up of mouth into old man pout.
So while mamma lay down and tried to keep her head from spinning too much, the brat and his tasks for the evening were done. The pappa scrubbed his teeth to a shine that made a light bulb redundant. And then the brat suddenly realised that Whereizmamma? And he came skipping into the bedroom, where mamma had covered herself with a blanket and was desperately hoping for sleep or a throwing up of violent contents of stomach which were lurching around in oesophagus like a drunk on a ship galley.
"Mamma, mamma, gerrup. Why you is sleepin?"
Mamma opened one eye reluctantly and informed the brat she wasnt feeling well and covered her face with blanket, hoping to be left alone. She had a hope in hell. The brat clambered onto the bed and sat on mamma, as a tried and tested way to get her attention and almost squirted out all contents of stomach in riot on self.
"Mamma, mamma, open yer eyes," this facilitated by expedient process of prising both reluctant eyes open. "Don sleep. Gerrup. You is feeling better now."
No, croaked mamma. Lemme sleep. "Mamma, mamma, don be sick. I is sorry. I be gudboy now. Don be sick. Gerrup. You is feeling better now?"
And not letting the eyes stay shut on pain on tiny fingers prising them lids open. Mamma finally managed to croak that it was time to sleep. At which brat promptly, without any resistance, or grumbling or shin kicks, lay down next to mamma and held her tight. And stared at her face with wide open eyes in the dark. "Mamma. I be gudboy tumaru. You is feeling better now."
And mamma felt no medicine could have worked better or ensured sounder sleep, than holding a worried little boy.
This morning, the brat awoke and looked around for mamma. "Mamma, you is alright?"
"Yes, love."
Promptly, he began his rolling on the ground theatrics, "I is nodgoingtuskul. Skul is boreding."
And for good measure administered a kick on mamma's shin while at ground level. Then looked up with a start. "You is alright now, no?"

Sunday, February 01, 2009

And this, though late, is how we celebrated Republic Day

Pappa yelling directions, and brat refusing to stand in line, and being held back by daadi.

Cmon now, give me some space to create my masterpiece!!. Brat gets busy drawing random flowers and a triangular flag.
And the brat gets a prize for participation, which he promptly decides is because he won every race he ran and drew a MOMA worthy piece of art.