Category: Tweens

Bringing up Tweens

Bringing up Tweens

The twins are officially in their tweens now – that rather ambiguous age from 9 to 12 when they’re beginning to think of themselves as all grown up’ while we parents are still struggling to get used to them being ‘no longer babies’.

It’s worse, if that’s possible, for twins of different genders because this is the time when gender stereotyping takes over more than ever and their differences become even more pronounced.

The boys become more boyish with the painful ‘I hate girls’ phase at it’s peak before the decline begins when the teens set in. And no thank you I’d much rather not think what that’s going to be like.

As for the girls, well they become girly, annoyingly so – dressing and preening till the mirror throws up it’s hands in frustration.

If you’re looking for some help with your tween do check out my debut piece at Parentous and don’t forget to share your own dos and don’ts. I can always do with more help.

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 :-).

Of ‘well-meaning’ advice

Of ‘well-meaning’ advice

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Dear well-wisher friend,

This letter comes after much thought and heartache. I’m sure you remember yesterday’s incident. The kids were playing together on the slide. Of course they are too old to slide the conventional way so they were inventing a host of games climbing up, sliding down, crashing into each other, creating a ‘jam’. There was some amount of roughhousing but they were having fun.

After a while we heard a commotion and by the time we got there N was in tears while H stood looking guilty. Apparently as he pulled her down the slide he twisted her ankle. Worse, her dress climbed up embarrassing her and bringing out the tears.

Yes I felt her embarrassment every bit as acutely as she did herself. After all she gets it from me – this feeling of wanting to disappear from the face pf the earth at the slightest unfavourable attention. Given that some of it was witnessed by a bunch of boys and girls, must have felt terrible. I know the feeling. I’ve been there – many times over.

I took H aside, gave him a talking to and sent him home.

However, I seemed to have failed you in your expectation. According to you I should have meted out a harsher punishment. No, it wasn’t enough that I speak to him later at home. I was too soft on him, you felt. He deserved a dressing down right there before his friends. He should have been embarrassed just as he had embarrassed N so that he would remember it the next time, you said.

I wholeheartedly agree H needs to be sensitive in the playground. I know he gets carried away in a crazy sort of way. I agree he needs to be punished. However I do not think shaming him in public is the way to do it. You may not agree of course, and that’s your prerogative entirely.

While you remain my friend and have known the twins for some time I’d like to remind you that I do know them a little better than you. I know what H did wasn’t done with the intention of embarrassing N while should I have done the same to him it would have been very much intentional, that, when I’m decades older than him and hopefully more sensible.

Also, you were not there to see that by the time we got home H had done both our beds, warmed the food, set the table and served us all dinner – his way of saying ‘sorry’. I also know that he may err again. I know it might take him time to turn into the perfect gentleman that I hope he will become one day. I am prepared to wait.

Meanwhile I’m happy to inform you that the incident has done no permanent damage to N going by the way she was wrestling with H this morning.

Your comments hurt me terribly, even though I am convinced I did the right thing. Perhaps that is because, of late, I’ve been on extremely rocky parenting ground constantly analysing each step I take till somedays I feel I feel I’ll go completely crazy. I’d truly appreciate if you keep your suggestions, however well-meaning, as I’m sure they are, to yourself.

Also, if you do have some serious advice, I’d love for you to say it to me directly, rather than saying it came from one of the kids because then I am more likely to take it seriously.

Thank you again for your concern.

OM

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!

Meet me on Instagram @obsessivemom06

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