Me: Bean, stop making the fork and spoon fight. You’ll spill your milk.
Bean: Yes, that was my plan.
Bean: Mama, when you were young and there were no gadgets, what did people do for company?
Brat hiding in a corner, looking mighty distressed.
Me: Wassup? Why so sad?
Brat: I’m playing hide and seek against my will. Bean wants me to.
Me: Aww.. you’re such an angel. You’re playing it to keep your ill baby sister happy.
Brat: No, I’m playing it so that I can hide and not have to see her face for sometime.
Love is… your son walking up to you as you work, gently slipping your glasses on to your nose and saying, ‘Wear this. We don’t want your eyes getting worse, do we?’
Such a simple gesture, but so full of affection and concern.
After a long day of attempting to work from home (something I’ve done for 8 years now :-/) while the kids go about their various activities, back from school, lunch, nap, swimming, homework, playtime, the OA collapses in exhaustion and observes – Raising children builds character.
Absolutely. That is why I am so character-ful.
Brat, after a prolonged show on Animal Planet: Mama, did you know, sex doesn’t just mean what your gender is, it’s also another word for mating and making babies.
Me: Err, yeah. I heard something like that.
Brat: And a female mantis eats the male mantis’ head after mating and so does the black widow.
Me: Uh huh.
Brat: So sex and mating is a very dangerous thing. It could kill the male. One should avoid it. Never know.
Aaaannndddd we have a winning argument here. Lets hope this takes him through college and more!
Me rushing between kitchen and dining room, feeding the kids breakfast before school: Bean, there’s no salt on your fried egg.
And I proceed to add some.
She looks at me in horror – Mama, I had already put salt.
Me: Oh shit, shit, shit. So sorry, baby. Shall I wipe it? Make you another egg?
Bean: Naah… I hadn’t put any salt. I was just messing with your head.
Bean: I want to learn alien language. Teach me.
Me: How am I supposed to know alien language?
Bean: Ask google. Google knows everything.
So, ours was the last generation that thought mum and dad knew everything.
The Bean and my mother make a deal and shake on it.
Me: Now remember baby, a lady doesn’t go back on her word.
Bean: I’m not a lady.
Me: Fine, a gentleman doesn’t break his promise either.
Bean: I’m not a gentleman.
Me: So what are you?
Bean: A cross breed.
Me to Cousin K as I pop in a handful of pills for my knees: If after all this I don’t get better…
Bean, helpfully: You’ll kill yourself? Throw yourself off the building?
Clearly my kids take after me. We are on the train and a little girl is wearing a green strip cloth tied around her arm.
What is that? They ask her.
Its a taveez to keep us safe says her father. We wear it when we travel, she says
How can that keep you safe, the kids ask. See.. You just bumped your head. How safe is that?
The father and child smile but had no answer.
We are doing okay, OA. They think, they question and they don’t blindly accept.
Bean: Mama, today was the worst day of my life. X (good friend) hit me outside the watercooler and I cried a trail of tears back to my class.
And now Mama is crying a trail of tears.
Bean, rushing to get ready for our visit to the local Dusshera mela, gets stuck in her kurta.
Me: Don’t get excited yaar, one arm at a time.
Cheeky Miss, getting arms out but getting the kurta stuck around her fat head: Yes, but which head at a time?
Brat, answering questions on a poem on tigers – What is this? Tigers found in forests and high grass! Is that an answer? They should be more specific and say that tigers are found in South East Asia.
A poet he is unlikely to be.
A change in mindset needed for Cousin K too, who is helping him with his homework and saying – You can’t do that. Your teacher will cut marks.
Brat: What are marks? And why will she cut them? She gives us happy faces.
Cousin K is torn between bashing his head against a wall and crying over his comparatively deprived school years.
I am shopping in a grocery store and I get tired of the Bean dogging my footsteps and getting underfoot. I shove the trolley at her and say – Now stand here for two minutes and let me quickly check these glasses out.
And I walk a few steps ahead.
The Bean nods and says understandingly – Are you abandoning me?
I ask some science related daily life question and the kids answer it immediately, like the Greek chorus.
How did you know that, I ask.
Dada, told us.
Uff. Dada teaches you all the useful stuff. What do you need me for?
A kind-hearted Bean pats me and says consolingly – We need you for love and cuddles.
The OA, pushing 40, got his first pair of reading glasses. We spent a fair amount of time picking the frame and he put them on, walked in and posed for the kids.
His day was made when the Brat looked at him and said – Dada, you look like the hero of a blockbuster.
Bean filling water in her doll’s milk bottle and drinking from it.
A disgusted Brat: Ohmigod, she’s regressing – she’s getting the shrinks!
There is nothing so cutely earnest as a child counting on her fingers as she does her maths homework.
There is nothing so annoying as her dragging your fingers off your keyboard to count on when she runs out of her own.
As if to say wearing a saree and heavy jewellery in the heat is not enough, they sit side saddle on a two wheeler holding bags and often a child. What really upsets me though is the way they have to hold their pallu jammed tightly between their teeth for hours because God forbid a strand of hair should be seen by a stranger. The day every woman can dress for travel as comfortably as a man and her virtue doesn’t depend on her display of hair, I’ll be happy to put away my feminist badge.
Brat to a nursery full of kids: So Australopithecus might have been what man descended from – did you know that? Come see the brain size.
Studied silence in the room as all ignore him.
And then Bean does what every sibling should but rarely will: Come Brat, I’m interested. Show me.
I could hear the fake enthusiasm dripping from her voice, but hey, she did her duty!
Bean: Mama, when I run very fast my legs hurt. I think the screw has dropped out.
Strange how you can give birth to one child who will tell you about the difference between the human brain and the Australopethicus’ brain, and another who thinks joints are held together by screws.
Me: Bean, I hope you’re not walking out of class during studies, anymore.
Bean: No, my teacher sits at the door so that I can’t walk out. So I wait till she’s looking the other way and I jump out of the window.
I’m going to be dead before she hits her teens.
Brat: Mama, can I have some milk for an experiment?
Me: Sure. What’s the experiment?
Brat: Befriending a cat.
An exhausted me after I’d made the Bean’s hair for the nth time and she’d dropped her clips: Beanie! People are going to say I’m a terrible mother who can’t even keep her kids clean!
Bean: Don’t worry Mama, they won’t say it aloud to you. They will only think it.
Gee thanks. That makes me feel better.
Bean and friend spend a pleasant hour colouring and painting and then bring me the results to judge. Not wanting to hurt either, I tell them both are equally beautiful and send them off.
Bean takes friend into the next room and apologises – “I’m sorry about this. My mother has a problem making a choice. We’ll have to ask someone else.”
Kids wrestling on the bed and some of the lines I got to hear.
- You give me no choice -but to die.
- Brothers and sisters don’t have to get along.
- Waitamminit, I just lost an eyelash and I’m looking for it.
- Don’t try that technique on me – it makes me very happy.
- Oh, the blood rushed to your cheeks and made them pink. I’m going to kick your bum and see how that works now.
How kids react to things says so much about them.
The kids are looking at a mineral water bottle full of some liquid in the bathroom and discussing it.
Brat: I think its acid to clean the bathroom.
Bean: No! Mama doesn’t use chemicals in the house – it’s leftover beer to wash her hair.
Need I tell you which of them was right?
The OA and I woke up feeling rather Christmassy. We put on some carols and warbled along with them as we went about our tasks. And then this carol came on and we began to dance to it.
The kids looked out of the bathroom, toothbrushes tucked into a corner of their mouths, took a look at us, rolled their eyes and said, ‘Psycho!’
Apparently we hit the teens earlier than we’d anticipated.