Category: growing up

Why I sweat the small stuff

Why I sweat the small stuff

Dear H and N,

You know as well as I do that mornings aren’t the best time of the day for us. The stepping out of that warm quilt, the quick shower, the scramble for the id-card, the rush to the bus-stop – not quite your favourite things. I know.
A lot of these things aren’t really mandatory at school – like the bath or the ID card. And yet I insist. No you cannot stay up late on a school night, you cannot stay home just because you are feeling lazy today, you cannot go without a bath and you have to put your towel out to dry, yes you have to wear your ID card every day and yes you have to make two ponytails.
“But my teacher doesn’t mind,” you had whined today. You have a point, of course. So why should we struggle and worry and pick an argument every morning?
No I’m not crazy, though you may not quite believe it yet.
Let me begin at the beginning.
I was brought up in a disciplined household where we were taught to respect rules, at home and in school. Like you, I didn’t always agree with my parents. Many days I scrambled for the bus. I trimmed my nails on the way to school, I cut up my ribbon to make the mandatory two ponytails when I forgot. And when I couldn’t ‘manage the situation’ I was prepared for the punishment aware that I was at fault. Not that I had a choice.
It’s tough, isn’t it? Doing it the ‘proper’ way all the time?
As I grew I learnt that it was okay to stretch the deadline, be a little late, bend the rules and then further I learnt it was okay sometimes to not be completely honest. Yes I learnt all of that and I did it too.
So, I hear you ask, when we have to grow up to live in an imperfect world why not begin to learn its ways right now? Why struggle to learn things we will need to unlearn later? It’s the easier way, the more comfortable one, after all.
Here’s why..
Imagine my mum had told me it was okay to tell a lie occasionally, rules don’t much matter and punctuality was useless. Would I, then, have even tried to do any of those things? How would I have even known right from wrong?
There lies the difference.
Each time I took the easy alternative I knew it wasn’t quite right. And I did try ever so hard to stick to the rules before I took up the other way. Even while I’m aware that I live in an imperfect world, I continue to appreciate and value a good habit, a disciplined lifestyle, an attempt at doing the right thing. The awareness of good and bad is the first step to striving for the good and it is my job to pass on this awareness to you, dear children, in as undiluted a form as I possibly can.
For now you will simply have to believe that the rules are there for a reason. In another few years you’ll be gone, studying and living on your own. I know then you will dump many of them. Do that, by all means, enjoy the freedom, stay up late, skip the bath, miss the bus. I did it too. What you do later in life, how you use your childhood lessons, whether you use them at all, will depend entirely on you.
I am hoping, however, that when you’ve had your fill of freedom, reason will return, like it did to me. I am hoping, as you grow you will see the wisdom of these age old values. Not all will stand the test of time and that is fine. You will question them and change them and make some of your own.
But when it comes to the really big things, I am hoping, you will know right from wrong and that you will find the courage to do the right thing.
I am counting on it.
That’s why I sweat the small stuff now – because often it is the small stuff that makes a big difference.

Love and hugs
Ma

Pic: PIXABAY

When Chalk and Cheese decide to mix

When Chalk and Cheese decide to mix

The twins are back at school. This year is a bit of leap for them from primary to secondary and the sections have been shuffled pretty drastically. As a result they left all their friends behind. 

A surprise…
However something quite spectacular happened – something that we have successfully avoided for the past 6 years – they have landed up in the same section. This happened only once before when they were in nursery and such was the mayhem they created that the teacher begged us to ensure it never happened again.

Why we never want the kids in the same class
Not only are we worried for the teacher’s sanity, the Husband and I, dreadfully dread the C word – The Comparison. Up until now they have been very secure in themselves and their capabilities. I am afraid to rock the boat. Then there’s the other thing – Competition. The whole world does not matter to them but they compete with each other passionately. This has often lead to tears for one or the other.
But sometimes we have little choice
However, when I suggested I’d get one of them to change their section, in a rare show of extreme bhaichara and solidarity they broke off from their squabbling to protest in unison. An onlooker would have branded us evil parents trying to separate the joint-at-the-hip twins. So we have finally decided to let them be together and watch how it goes.
For now they are sitting together and coming home with new stories everyday, laughing good-naturedly at each other.
– She is the blackboard in charge, he is in charge of the morning prayer.
– While she sits like a lady with back erect and hands crossed (that’s how one should sit in class, says she), he sprawls on his chair (how can we concentrate if we aren’t comfortable, asks he).
– He lost his locker key on day 1, she discovered her key could unlock his locker too.
– She almost dozed off during Marathi class and he nudged her awake.
– She forgot to take her pencil box, he lent her a pen.
He resents it a bit that she gets more than her share of attention from the teacher purely because she is ‘better behaved’ – those are his words, not mine. Other than that it has been largely peaceful.
Change can be good
It’s been almost three weeks. I waited to do this post lest I jinx the whole camaraderie thing. It’s so good while it lasts.
This got me thinking and I wondered what it would be like if I shared a class or a workplace with my sister. I’d like it I think. Maybe that’s only because I don’t get to see enough of her.
What about you? Would you like to be in the same class/office as your sibling? Would it be one big party everyday or would the closeness get to you after a while?
You know your kids have hit the tweens when..

You know your kids have hit the tweens when..

1. You whip out phone to click a picture and you see your own eager-beaver face because it’s always turned onto selfie mode.

2. Music suddenly becomes a big deal – a very loud deal. Everything from tukur tukur to What makes you beautiful is sung all the while.

3. Your house smells gorgeous because the kids have just had a deo war  – the ‘if you spray mine I’ll spray yours’ kind of war. (Aunts please to take note: This is what happens when you gift things despite me expressly forbidding it).

4. Your daughter walks out wearing a most winsome smile till you see she’s also wearing your favourite stole. Apparently ‘Jo tera hai woh mera hai‘.

5. The demands for studs and stilettos begins to raise their ugly head.

6. Your son roams around with wet hair all day as he tries to style them into spikes and you have the unenviable task of telling him they will flop down back once they dry up and No he isn’t allowed gel for many many years yet.

7. On a similar note you also add – no makeup kits, no heels, no phones and no pocket money just yet either.

8. You resign yourself to the dangers of walking out in mismatching earrings or wearing a shrug inside out rather than wade through two kids to get to the mirror for a peek at yourself.

9. The ‘dude’ and the OMGs in the conversation go up exponentially.

10. The conversation sounds more and more like some kind of indecipherable code from a James Bond movie. ‘Meet me at the SS’, she says to her friend (That’s ‘Skating Spot’ in case you wondered).

Eye tests are good for health

Eye tests are good for health

Last week I took H for an eye-test. The ophthalmologist’s clinic was packed and we had a good one hour wait. H had taken along a book. It was another one from the Captain Underpants series. (On that note – When exactly do kids outgrow potty humour? I must remember to do a post on that someday) Yet, I was  grateful. One, because at least it was a book and not the iPad and two, because I was spared endless rounds of word games and Atlas (H sits poring at the world map picking out places, mostly Chinese, ending in X so Atlas with him is no joke).

Mercifully, he read his book quietly, asked the receptionist how many people before his turn then sat counting. In, with the doctor, he sat through the eye test, read what he was asked to and generally behaved impeccably.

We’ve been going to the same ophthalmologist for quite a few years now and as we were leaving he commented, “H has matured a lot.” An innocuous enough remark considering that the kids are growing up. But I remembered the nightmare of the first few visits. 

H was a little over three years old when I noticed he had an affinity for watching television sideways. He was also bending too close over his textbooks (which is a habit I’m still struggling to get him out of). The eye-test was simply a precautionary measure. As it turned out he needed glasses.

Then began rounds of eye tests. He refused to sit on that chair, when he did he wouldn’t sit still, he would scrunch his eyes, or blink rapidly or simply keep them shut, despite our repeated entreaties. Worse, he’d break into the ABCD song when asked to read the alphabets on the monitor.

The first time round it was funny. Then on it was just frustrating.

The most unfortunate part was that the doc couldn’t give him a hundred percent accurate pair of glasses. As a result his eyesight deteriorated further. I changed doctors many times over until I finally found this one who could handle him well.

That is why the compliment was such a huge deal. And I came home feeling very optimistic as I thought that maybe things will fall into place as the kids grew up.

Earlier in the day the kids had been exceptionally rowdy. Tired and upset as I was, I wrote a distressed post wondering where I was going wrong. And now I’m glad I didn’t publish it. That eye-test sorted out my day. 

Seriously, doctors are useful people in more ways than one :-).

Obsessivemom needs a break

Obsessivemom needs a break

The OM is upset. It’s the kids. They have been giving her a specially rough time. Put it down to the long Diwali break, the absence of the husband or simply to the twins’ terrible tweens. She’s been by turns, angry, hurt and frustrated. So she seeks out her better self – The Sane Mum. You might remember her from here here or here 
OM: Did you just see how the twins spoke to me? How unappreciative and ungrateful they have become? And how very rude!
SM: I did. Have you noticed that they’re growing up?
OM: I have. But does that mean they have to be rude and argumentative all the time? They’re children still and I am still their mum. I still AM the older one around here. Or does no one remember that any longer?
SM: It might do well for you to remember that you are the older one here. You aren’t really handling this like a grown up. Actually, I’ve been waiting awhile to have this conversation.
I’ve watched you being drawn into long fruitless arguments. I see you realising you’re going nowhere and yet unable to stop.
I’ve seen the endless war of wills and watched them all end badly.
I’ve seen you get into control freak mode the more they resist; the more you control the more they resist.
I’ve watched the kids trying to assert their independence and also seen with regret how you’ve waited for them to fail.
And then you’ve been ready with your ‘I told you sos’.
I’ve seen Mushy Mum (MM) run and hide till Mean Mum (MeM) takes over and then I’ve been witness to your heartfelt regret.
Cut them, and yourself, some slack will you!
OM: So you’ve been having a laugh at my expense? Well, they might THINK they’re grown up but I still have to guide them in a hundred things. They NEED me still. 
SM: … and they always will. But perhaps it’s time to guide them not by holding their hand and leading them but simply by showing them the way.
OM: It’s just easier to pull them along.
SM: Sure is. Keep doing that and watch them run the other way.
OM: There’s no need to get sarcastic.
SM: Uh okay..sorry. I kind of know how you feel. It’s the way you’re made – manufactured to obsess. But you need a makeover, and fast, or you’re set to lose them.
OM (panicking): Lose them? 
SM: Yeah. You need to remember that the kids are no longer babies. What worked for you might not work for them … or it may … they want to figure it out themselves. Let them do it. They need a break from your obsessing.
OM: So it’s all my fault? Exactly whose side are you on?
SM: Their’s. But so are you, aren’t you? We’re all on the same side.
OM: Yeah right but I don’t want to leave.
MM: Nor do I. They just don’t want me around these days.
SM: I don’t think ANY of us wants to leave. But OM you need to change into me, or at least disguise yourself really well as me. As for MM, you need to be around too but don’t ever, ever show up in public. Keep those hugs and kisses in check. When the two of you are in your element there really is no space for me. And you do need me most at this point of time.
OM: You’re unbearably pompous. So the two of us should go into hiding while you rule the roost?
SM: That’s right. Unless you want to lose the kids.
OM: No no of course not. I’ll give it a shot but I have a feel this is going to be a rough ride. Sigh!