Category: siblings

Jumbled mythological ramblings

Jumbled mythological ramblings


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The maid was on leave. I was dusting, sweeping and mopping while trying to keep an eye on the children studying for their geography exam. I glanced at the two of them. N was bent over her book while H lay sprawled on the floor, writing.

‘What are you doing?’ I asked him.
‘I’m making a soil chart – alluvial, black, red, laterite,….’

I tuned out rushing to switch off the tap as water overflowed from the mop bucket.

‘…… loamy, clayey’, the tail end of what he was saying brought me back to their massive Geography portion. I glanced at N struggling through the jungle of vegetations and soils and I remarked rather absentmindedly, ‘Whatever it is, share it with N after you finish, okay?’

And BAM! Right there I knew how Kunti got Draupadi in the five-husband mess. When Arjun won her (Draupadi) in a Swayamvar and entered the house saying, ‘Ma look what I got!’ her obvious response was, ‘Whatever it is share it with your brothers’. And so Draupadi landed up with five husbands.

I have always felt truly sorry for that poor woman, and I mean Kunti. Imagine having three boys and then a pair of twins; boys again! What’s worse, she lived in a joint family with her sons and their one hundred cousins, all boys again. I feel faint each time I think of that much testosterone packed under a single roof. Oh and her sister-in-law would have been little help with eyes permanently blindfolded.

You see now how her patience must have been tried? That sharing line was the most natural thing for her to say.

The thought of the brothers squabbling over whatever Arjun had brought must have freaked her out even before she knew what it was. And she said the obvious pre-emptive thing any mom with multiple children would say, ‘Share it’. Thank goodness they were in exile and the cousins weren’t around. Small mercies.

It’s been twelve whole years – take a few months off for when the twins were infants – but since then, with every living breath of mine I’ve been trying to teach them to SHARE and they still don’t get it. It has been one of my most epic fails as a parent. And yet I persevere, reminding them to share share share till it has become a reflex, I say it without thinking.

Just like Kunti.

H goes to a birthday party and comes home with cupcakes – share it, I say.
N wins a goody bag at a school contest – share it, I tell her.
Her friend gives her a chocolate – give half to your brother, I tell her.
He wheedles a computer game from us – okay we say, but share it with N.

I can completely imagine being absentminded enough to say the exact same thing as I work at my laptop.

Am I being fair? Perhaps not. Definitely not in the kids’ minds. After all, as N tells me, ‘When I win something it is mine alone, and it should be my decision to share or not’.

Right? I’m sure Draupadi would agree and Arjun too.

However, as a mom there comes a point in one’s life when all one wants is peace at any cost and fairness be damned.

I have to add that all said and done, this new age funda of I-for-myself doesn’t quite gel. It’s more than just about keeping the peace – I do genuinely prefer the old Indian way of sharing – sharing willingly and with love. And till the kids get that, they can whine and complain but share they shall.

 

 

Note to self: When your child says, ‘Look what I’ve got’ – check what the ‘what’ is before asking him/her to share.

Four tips to make sibling room-sharing easier

Four tips to make sibling room-sharing easier

Last week I wrote about how chaotic it can get when siblings share rooms. And yet it has huge benefits. That aside, almost everyone who read that piece had warm memories despite the squabbles. Also, one might not have the luxury of two (or more) separate rooms for each of the children.

So here I am, back today, with some tips that worked for me.

For once, I am glad I had twins because it made this a little easier. I wasn’t dealing with differing age groups where sleep times may not coincide. That would be a major issue with children of different age groups. One could perhaps let the younger one turn three or four before shifting them to a separate room.

We co-slept with the twins till they were about six. The Husband, I and the children slept on three beds – a double bed plus a single joined together. By the time they were six we were all squeezed together in one terribly tangled bunch and I, for one, couldn’t get any sleep at all. The Husband, by the way, had no issues. He’d start snoring as soon as the lights were out.

But I’m digressing.

Here are four things that have helped us keep our sanity.

Start early

I found six years a good age to start though a few years earlier wouldn’t have hurt too. The children were old enough to not need us at night and yet young enough to be glad of each other’s presence across the room. During those first few months they were comforted by each others’ company. In fact, I’d often find them snuggled together in the same bed. The thought that they had each other close was reassuring for me too.

Have clearly demarcated personal and shared spaces

This is the single most important factor. I cannot stress this enough. If you don’t want to tear all your hair out, demarcate which areas are shared and which are each child’s personal space, very very clearly. For instance H and N have separate beds and separate cupboards for their clothes and school books. But they have a common bookshelf and a common soft board. After a big row they even demarcated walls – because N wanted to put up posters of people H absolutely couldn’t stand.

Have basic rules in place

Since they are sharing the room both of them have to adhere to some basic rules. We have lights off rule by 9pm since N is an early-to-bed person. H likes to read late into the night on weekends so then he moves to the living room. Mercifully they share a taste in music but we make sure they have earphones handy if one of them doesn’t want the ‘noise’.

Have separate study areas, preferably in separate rooms

This was a bit of tough decision to take. Ideally I would have liked them to study quietly in their own room. But that didn’t really happen. When one wanted to read aloud the other one would protest. So now H does his school work in my study and things are relatively better.

Much as I try to separate them, they have a tendency to stick together like opposing poles of a magnet. They have periods of extreme affection when they are inseparable and then, in a flash, they are arguing. That’s something I have to live with.

On my other blog: Beat About The Book

The Bodyguard – A #Review

The Bodyguard – A #Review

Book Title: The BodyguardAuthor: Ruchi Singh I was eager to pick this one up as I had read Jugnu, by the same author and loved it. The premise was deliciously different and the cover was enticing. What’s not to like with a brave strong heroine and a rich handsome hero in a sort of role-reversal? That’s […]