… so bear with me as we try our luck once again at themadmomma.in. Yes, we’re persistent if nothing else. Read this post and then head there to the other post waiting for you.
FRIDAY, JUNE 16, 2006
….is my mother’s favourite threat. And this, is her beloved grandson feeding her popcorn. They have also been known to eat a single biscuit from opposite ends till they meet in between – this has him dissolve into giggles and he lies on the bed shaking like a little bowl of unset jelly, gurgling helplessly – positively the best sound I have ever heard in my life. And all the while the grandmother shrieks with laughter along with him while her eyes well up with tears of joy.
I don’t know what it is about grandchildren that melts stern, forbidding adults. I remember my mom and uncle shaking in their shoes when my grandfather lectured them. All the while I would sit on his stomach and play with his ears, while my brother ran dizzy circles around his armchair displaying creative genius and singing, ‘Dadu the bum, drinks only rum.’ This used to amuse my grandparents hugely and looking back I can’t imagine why we were not smacked and put in the corner.
My son was born in my family home and I tried hard to exercise some control over his care. I religiously worshipped atwww.babyfit.com
everyday and I was quite clear on how I wanted to bring up my baby. This called for a daily battle of wits and then one day, when my baby was about 15 days old I went shopping with my mother to one of the most crowded, dirty and busy areas of our small town. We decided to leave the brat with his grandfather (henceforth referred to as G’pa). How much trouble can a 15-day old be, we reasoned. G’pa’s chest visibly puffed up with pride at this great responsibility as he took over his grandson who had been fed and diapered and was fast asleep.
We got back after two hours and as we neared the room, mother’s instinct kicked in and I rushed to my parents’ room. There was G’pa with only a towel around his waist, holding on to the brat enveloped in a huge fluffy towel, the AC and fan switched off, G’pa and G’son dripping with perspiration and my son looking very unhappy and whimpering. All this on a sweltering May afternoon in the plains of North India.Apparently his grandson brought up a little milk after we left and G’pa had no idea how to hold such a small baby over the sink and clean him. So he filled the bathtub and got in with his grandson and bathed him. Now my son had shown a great love for water even at that age and would howl his lungs out every time he finished his bath, but G’pa was not to know that. No sooner did he get out than the brat decided to voice his disapproval – so he howled loud and long. The brand new G’pa has no clue what was wrong and finally came to the conclusion that G’son has caught a cold. So there he was, standing in the heat and rocking my poor brat to sleep.
This is just one example. Our home is fully carpeted and once G’son began to crawl, there would be accidents all over the place during our visits (I only cloth nappied in case you’re wondering how that happened). I would be horrified and mortified and all the other ‘fieds’. But G’pa would calmly tell me to take G’son and wash his little bottom while he picked up the ‘accident’ and disposed of it and cleaned up the carpeting.
The G’pa and G’son are inseparable when they are in the same city and G’son goes to G’pa’s office, sits on his desk and holds court. The staff love it when I am in town because the moment they see trouble brewing one of them begs me to walk in to the office with him. And G’pa is completely distracted and absolutely besotted and all is calm on the western front once again.
He eats on their bed and G’pa feeds him messy chocolate and is hugged and kissed by that mucky little face. They get up early in the morning to sit in the garden and listen to the koels singing, they watch the fish in the pond, they go for a drive in the open top jeep and they play in the mud with the three dogs.
I don’t mean to paint a picture of a filthy home! This is the home of two very houseproud people. The brass and silver shine and the vacuuming and plants require one dedicated person. Yet the grandson goes wild and both grandparents sit by smiling proudly and encouraging him.And this is not really an ode to the grandfather. The grandmother is as bad if not worse. She refuses to keep any social obligations if her grandson is in town. She has to be pushed out of the house and sent to office and she is back much too early. Her daily soaps are given a break and she is up and down and round and round the house with him. Her friends are welcome home only if they sit and adore her grandson and worship him.To his credit he doesn’t really get spoilt with all this attention but its more than I can handle. I mean I used to be the star attraction earlier. Now when I get down at the railway station, he is whisked out of my arms with out a glance being spared for me. The last time I watched them hurry off with grandson and luggage while I stood there feeling lost. Eventually, diva that I am, I threw a tantrum on the platform till they walked back and hugged and kissed me too. When they call, they barely get past civilities and want to know what new their grandson is up to. Which is not much considering they sometimes call thrice a day.
Where is this post going? I am not sure! I guess I am just surprised by what I see my son doing to my parents. Just like motherhood and fatherhood are special, being a grandparent is perhaps even more so. The old joke goes that God gives you grandchildren to make up for having given you children. Often I check my mother for spoiling my brat and she looks up at me with revenge writ large on her face and a “wait till you have grandchildren and your daughter gets in the way…”Sigh….ok.