“You must teach him to say hello if someone speaks to him,” said my mother. This was after a neighbour tried making conversation with my 4 year old and he just refused to open his mouth or even nod in acknowledgment. “But amma, he does say hello when he wants to,” I said defending him. “No no, you must keep on telling him that if someone talks to him then he must reply. He shouldn’t just walk away or turn his head,” my mother went on. I nodded, not because I agreed but because I did not want to get into a discussion just then.
This happened and then a few days later I met my son’s school didi who said, “R is such a sweet child. Whether I say good morning or not to him he comes up to me every morning and wishes me. He also wishes all the Bhaiya’s (guards and helpers) when he sees them.” Now isn’t this what makes a mother proud and happy and all things mushy? I was super elated to hear this.
Made me wonder, the same child wishes a set of people on his own and chooses not to wish some others. It really should just be his choice to make. I have never coerced or forced him to shake hands, hug, kiss, smile, or talk to anyone who he chooses not to. We must learn to respect them.
Watching this clip and reading everything that is being written about Prince George not responding to the ‘high five’ by Canadian Prime Minister is what made me write this now. Let the kids be….
June 19th is going to be celebrated as Father’s Day, and perhaps the timing of this piece is just right. I have a huge issue and today I’m going to address that here today.
I was out for dinner with a few girlfriends a couple of nights ago and happened to mention this in passing to another friend who immediately asked where the kids were. “At home, where else?” I said. “Oh, you are so lucky. ‘K’ is able to babysit them so well in your absence. That too both the boys,” she said. I smiled and said nothing. Then ofcourse there is always the ‘friendly’ aunty in the park who is over enthusiastic in her praises for ‘K’. What a wonderful father he is, he plays with the boys so well, he is always looking out for them in the park especially when ‘R’ is riding his cycle, she always says to me when she manages to corner me in the lift.
I keep thinking of all these statements that are made to me and wonder what I am to say. Yes, my husband, the father of my sons is extremely hands on and can manage the boys just as well and sometimes even better than I can. I have no qualms in openly accepting it and why should I? Parenting should be gender agnostic and in our household we truly practise it.
K changes diapers, makes the boys sleep, constructively engages with them, reads to them, feeds them, and does pretty much everything that I do. Sometimes even my parents are slightly aghast at how easily K ‘handles’ the boys, but shouldn’t he be easy with them is my point. They are his kids too after all. So why all the fuss?
Next time someone tells me I am so lucky, I am going to say a few not so nice things to them, so make sure you don’t say it to me.
There are somethings I like to take time and enjoy eating; sandwiches for example. I like savouring my sandwich and eating it slowly. I eat the edges first and put aside the middle part so that I can eat it at the end of my meal.
Post motherhood I cannot remember the last time I ate that middle part EVER. Every time I keep that part aside to savour later, the older son comes in from somewhere, it’s like he has a radar and demands for that particular piece alone.
Now I would be a terrible mother if I said no to him. Well, I have said no, a couple of times 😁 not that it changed anything. He still managed to get his hands on that piece alone and run into the toy-room with a glint in his eyes.
I cannot be selfish and say no to him, though honestly, secretly I wish I could just say no sometimes. There are moments when I look at the piece being taken away from my plate in slow motion and feel like ‘Ross’ must have felt in FRIENDS when his sandwich gets eaten by someone at work 😳
But, I’m a mother, so I can’t complain, and I must be giving, especially to my own flesh and blood. Oh! well. I wonder who comes up with all these. Next time I eat my sandwich or something I want to savour, I’m just going to eat it when the kids are asleep, away, or after I ensure I have fed them their share. That’s a fair deal, isn’t it.
When one writes from the heart, chances are it shows. Shunali Shroff’s writing does just that. It touches a chord with the reader, all the more so if you are a parent. ‘Battle Hymn of a Bewildered Mother’ is exactly what the title suggests. A crazy account of one mothers tale, which could very well be my tale or yours. There are many chapters in her book that had me laughing out loud.
When Shunali describes her tryst with religion and spirituality, it feels like she’s telling my story. It’s hilarious to read her describe how she has to resort to YouTube to complete the aarthi during the puja. If I undertook doing a puja I wouldn’t be surprised if I did the same thing.
There is another chapter where she talks about how we rely so heavily on Google to self-diagnose on the basis of symptoms and then struggle to make sense of it, in the aftermath of all the information the Internet throws at us.
The need to constantly be connected to my doctor at a time when either of my children is unwell makes me understand the author’s need to change doctors whom she finds unresponsive to calls and texts. Yes, they are human too and have a life but as a parent whose child is unwell I can be crazy and would need a doctor who understands and treats that too.
Her struggles are real, well some atleast. Some are just ‘rich people problems’ which also make for fun reading. What’s refreshing is that the author isn’t being preachy anywhere, she merely puts down incidents that have occurred in her journey of parenting so far.
This is an easy read, pick it up if you ever watched a kid, have had a kid, intend to have a kid, like kids, get annoyed by kids, like reading about kids, like reading, basically just pick it up and read it 😀
….. because I can be a ‘model’ too 😉
Wail wail wail, he cried,
Rock rock rock, she kept at it;
Finally he closed his eyes, ding dong the doorbell rang.
Wail wail wail, it began again.