More spirited behaviour

Yesterday I forced myself to do something that broke my heart. The Brat’s stubbornness is legendary. It’s the bad stuff that my blog is made up of. Now I am equally hot-headed – as you can see from my comments – and that makes it difficult for me to remind myself that I am the older person, the parent, the one who needs to stay in control of my emotions and let him get it out of his system. If only it were easier.

So yesterday he got back from school and I told him I was taking them out in the evening and suggested a  nap. The Bean obediently lay down and slept. The Brat said he didn’t need one. Fine, I suggested some quiet time. He lined up a row of AC and television remotes and began some game. A little later I realised he’d falled asleep.

I gave him an hour and got the Bean ready and then began to wake him up. He cried and wriggled and wailed and I carried him to wash his face, applied his sunscreen, dressed him and fed him a cool milkshake all the while talking him into a better mood. Please note, this is not easy for me because I was in a rush, I had errands to run along the way and the heat was getting to me too. And then just as we were ready to leave the Bean picked a book to read in the car. He threw a tantrum – it was one of his dinosaur books and he didn’t want her reading it. In a bid to reduce hostilities I siad I’d hold the book  and read to both of them. At this point the Bean picked up a dinosaur and said she’d like to hold it all the way in the car. Now I don’t know if she was doing it to annoy him or not, but it really pressed his buttons. He threw a huge tantrum saying it was his. The Bean rarely plays with his dinosaurs so I don’t know why she picked one. But he has about 50 of them  so I saw no reason for him to lose his shirt. I tried to reason, I offered him another, but he wasn’t having it and I didn’t think it was fair to take it back from the Bean. So I finally said I was leaving and he could come or not, as he pleased.

I went downstairs, cleaned my sandals before I wore them, filled a bottle of water for them to drink in the car, dialled my number so that the maid could redial me if she needed something. And basically gave him enough time to change his mind. But he was having none of it. I yelled out one last time that I was leaving and he could still join me. NOOO he screamed. I left with the Bean.

We were out for a whole 5 hours and he was at home with the maid. No TV I’d said, but he could go down to the park and play with the other kids or swim. He was so upset that he just sat with the maid when she took him down and didn’t even join his friends. I felt really bad being so heartless but on the whole I felt it was a lesson he needed to learn. We’ve had these tantrums before but it always ends with me either kissing him and hugging him and carrying him to the car or then losing my cool and picking him up and marching to the car. Either way, he cools off in a while and is fine. This time however, I wanted him to face the consequences of his choice and I left him alone.

The last few weeks have seen him get more firm on what he will do and not do, mostly ending in him cutting off his nose to spite his face. I want to help him but as someone who is guilty of the same crime, I am not really the right person. His birthday was an unmitigated disaster. Now that we live in an apartment complex we have to invite the kids who live here, we have our Delhi friends and now that he is older, classmates. The crowd was too much for our home. My cook was on leave and I got in a temp who came really late, delaying dinner, and the heat was unbelievable. Even with the ACs and coolers on we were all sweating, the plan was to take the kids down to play but one minute it was hot as hell, the next minute a storm brewing (this is the second time we have had a summer storm ruin the Brat’s birthday plans) and the humidity had us all cranky. I set up the cake and all the kids kept poking and licking the icing off it even while I was trying to put the candles on. The Brat wanted to light the candles and I said no playing with fire. And then just as I lit it, all the other damn kids leaned in and blew out the candles before he could (is it just my opinion or are kids getting more badly behaved everyday?) and he lost his temper – naturally, he’s only six! I would have lit them again but the room was full of people, everyone sweating more because the fans were off, and I couldn’t be sure the kids wouldn’t blow it out again and neither could I scream at them to leave his cake alone. So I gave it one minute of begging and then sadly let the Bean cut it because we just couldn’t wait any longer. Naturally he sulked some more and stomped off without even tasting the cake. I gave up – exhausted, sweaty, cranky and wishing I had thrown the party in Switzerland. Next year it is 6 kids to a kiddy movie and lunch. No need to return all the invitations we receive if it is going to kill us. And yes, doing it at McDonalds will also kill us.  And oh – this is one birthday we have no record of because the OA and I were so run off our feet that we didn’t take pictures.

The long ride in to Delhi with the Bean suddenly made me understand what parents of single kids talk about when they talk about feeling  complete. It’s happened to me before when I took only one of the children out, rare though those occasions are.  I don’t sit there feeling like a limb is missing. It is usually for a reason that one is not part of the event and they are always in good hands. And when you live in the moment you realise that it is very easy to feel very complete. Not because the other child is not important but because the relationship with each one is so complete in its own way that you don’t need the other around to make it feel whole. Do I make sense? Any other parents of two kids who want to explain that last bit of gibberish I wrote?

And oh, I came home to a very subdued Brat who has promised to behave better. Let’s see. Tomorrow is another day.

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119 thoughts on “More spirited behaviour

  1. Wow! That is big! A lot of my friends with kids the same age as Vansh have told me that ever since their kids moved into 1st grade, life has become difficult because the kids are away at school for a much longer time than they were till Prep/KG – they are much more tired, losing on health, longer gaps between meals et al. So its a big change on a regular basis which they’ll take time to adjust to. May be thats what happening with the brat too?
    The first thing I do when Vansh behaves this unreasonable way is slap him and thrust some food down his throat even if he keeps saying no, wash his face and head with cold water and he is a changed person in less than 5 minutes – the rest of the snack/food he can finish himself. With him its the hunger which triggers this most often.
    And no that last piece doesn’t hold for me ..I always miss the other child even if I am enjoying a lot with the other. A certain portion of the book I am reading ..how much Vansh would have laughed had he been here or the silly things that they would have said to each other and laughed some more; how much Jiya would have appreciated the flowers/dresses had she been here and how Vansh would have said thats all she talks about.

    • No, I miss him at times. But I don’t feel incomplete. There is a completion in each relationship. Which is where I understand parents of single children come from. You don’t feel a missing piece like a limb if you live in the minute.

      And yes I think you’re right. the days are longer, the school is bigger, more kids, more chaos.

      • Poor thing. But you did the right thing. Sometimes I wish I had the option – this is esp with KG – to really make good on my threat that I will leave her and go – for me either I grab her and go or don’t go at all because there is no one to leave her with. In her case it is just the endless playing and taking for ever to wear her sandals and sometimes KB too is the reason – irritating her and delaying me – esp when I am late…and his birthday – I can totally picture the scene. God you must have had some million kids there – it would be a nightmare to decide on the guest list – last night I was trying to limit the no of kids for KG’s birthday party to 6 or 7 kids – but that is so hard – but if I cross the first level then it becomes 25 kids or so.
        Of course here I have it in a park so it’s OK but planning all the goody bags…I feel like I can never enjoy the party if the crowd gets to be too big. Neera – what you slap Vansh?!!! Meanie! Dont’ say it out loud babe – you live in Chicago! Not Delhi!

        • ROFL. I love that last line. but listen, desi parents are desi parents. i know loads of them who will look around the room – if there are no firangs in the room, the kid gets one tight slap!

          • Ha ha ha!! I know till the time Vansh figures out his rights and privileges of getting me behind bars here and starts exploiting them, I am exploiting mine 😉 And oh u r right let me anonymize my blog totally in the meantime lest the Chicago police use that as a means to get to me.

  2. poor baby. but i guess you did the right thing. i think it must be one of the biggest challenges of parenting. being cruel to be kind. hugs to you.

  3. Well, I have a 5 yr old Brat and a 2 yr old Bean too, and gave up a well-paying techie job, the day my son was born, just because I wanted to be at home with my kids..(ok, I am also a control freak, who cant stand my towel being folded by someone else, let alone some maid raising my kids). And I do identify with a lot of what you write.

    And yes, what you said does make sense. The time ( so rare ) that I spend with either one of them alone – either doing something at home with either one of them, or taking one to an outing of his/her particular choice – is something I always cherish. Especially with the younger one, cos she had to share attention from the day she was born. Atleast the elder one had more than 3 years of being the centre of our affections !!

      • Well, to me I think the elder one has to come to terms with sharing his/her parents with the younger one. And because the younger one is born into the already family of 3..it is status-quo there.

        In my case, I am already spending a lot of alone time with my younger one when my daughter runs off to play with her buddies in the apartment. So, I think spending time with her is more important. And, I did it twice this month (which is a big thing for me!)….and it felt wonderful. I dont miss one kid in the company of another, if the other one is not there for say half a day or something. Beyond that I seem to want them both right then, right there.

  4. Hosting a birthday at McDonald’s or KFC is not usually because we are meek enough to allow our kids dictate big decisions or because we are pampering them with branded stuff, but more because it is practical. McD has child-friendly furniture and their crockery/cutlery is usually made of paper/plastic – so fewer chances of it breaking/hurting your child. Since is it takeaway mode, it is fine if the child carries her drink and walks around. The portions are also reasonable and neatly packed. There is no harm if you are taking them to McD/KFC/Pizza Corner as an indulgence on a birthday. It also gives some gifts in its Happy meal so u dont have to break your head on what to give as return gift (if u do want to give, that is). Usually the toys are age-appropriate with no small parts. And hosting a party in these places is also reasonably priced. In such places if u have 20 invitiees, u dont have to think or parking issues, or who will clean the leftover, what if there is a power cut (if u dont have a backup in your apartment) and also u have to keep monitoring other kids who may jump your bed or touch your expensive china.. While it is good to individualize parties and throw it at home without making it a big deal, sometimes the convenience these McD parties make you opt for it. As long as your kids dont dictate terms, no harm in hosting one at the place of their (our) choice.

    • I don’t think its a question of meek or branded or not. It’s a question of preference. I find parties at KFC boring and unimaginative. you’re locked into a room and after a while every party begins to look and feel the same. dullsville.
      Neither is about harm – I really don’t like giving into peer pressure just because all other kids are doing it. All other kids might also watching be watching tv all day – should i allow that? Not if I dont believe in it. And this whole McD and KFC thing goes against my personal beliefs. We can only raise our kids in a way we feel appropriate. In my opinion it takes nothing to book a venue and show up there like the other guests.
      I think the joy of a birthday party is the different food each household serves, the different games you get to play in each home, the planning, the decor and the music are what a child remembers as special to his own birthday. i don’t judge parents who want to do it somewhere without the hassle. but i’d judge myself if i took that option and didnt give my child the pleasure of a party that is very “us.”
      birthday parties are not just something to get done and out of the way. if one feels like that, one needn’t have it at home. to me they are a celebration of my child’s birth and i want to do it in a certain way and a fastfood joint is not my way.
      Also, how can my home not be child proof when I have two kids living in it? And for a day i move away anything else that is breakable. I take a lot of effort with the return gifts, giving something different to each child instead of getting some agency to just pack up X number of the same thing and hand it out. i dont think return gifts should be necessary but kids come up to you and ask for it and parents dont even make a pretence of shushing them. so no point upsetting them all by saying i have nothing for them.
      i’ve always done it at home and we’ve always enjoyed them. but the problem with the brat’s birthday this time is that our home was not big enough for the number of people we needed to invite. and the Delhi weather is always crappy in May. we just need to think better and faster on our feet and work things out better. its a learning process. we’ve only been parents for 6 years – we have a lifetime ahead of sticking with our beliefs while finding a way to work around things like bad weather 🙂

      • i keep telling my friends who think i am crazy organising each birthday at home, cooking from scratch etc that I only need to do it once in a year( twice actually, since I organise and cook for my husband’s birthday parties too)

        I would opt for the convenient ( and probably sensible) option if I had to do this every month. And yes, I would hire everything and everyone- the one who cooks for the kids, the one who makes the kids laugh at the party, the one who thinks up the decorations and executes the design, the one who blows the balloons that the kids will burst, the one who clicks the photographs, the one who chooses and packs the return gifts…

          • this year we also had a larger number (whats with age 6 eh – they are social butterflies by then or what?!) than what we could accomodate in our house (and ours is large believe me – at least i think it is after the london years!) and so took the middle path – hired the party hall in our complex. that way we got to do what we wanted – all food cooked at home with kids involved, a magic show the kids loved and then free play all around the place. it was not in the house but right there. the kids had a comlete ball esp’ly when a pigeon ‘magically’ appeared on the birthday child’s shoulder. that alone was wrth it all.
            and oh the return gifts custom-made and sourced from the NGO :). am not at all a fan of the plastic junk McD etc dole out.

          • see the party hall is covered so even if it is sunny/rainy it would not matter. one of the advantages of a gated community MM 😉 why not use it?!

      • I understand. Feel the same way about media, food, toys, education and birthdays. I prefer hosting the party at local parks with fun games and a mix of homemade and catered food. Return gifts are a mystery to me…used to be the birthday child was the only one gifts were meant for! Here, in the US, return gifts are usually, just a lot of plastic junk that never gets used much, so months before I keep an eye out for interesting, useful but relatively inexpensive return gifts. This year, I am thinking of a home baked goodie in a cute box. Or a book swap where kids exchange their old and in-fair-condition books at the party. But, yes, making “different” parenting choices than the mainstream is like swimming against the tide.

  5. You don’t know MM you are doing his future wife a huge favour! My hubby is a taurean and he is very much like the Brat. Sometimes I wish his mom was around and could have given him a big whack.

  6. I actually enjoy the 1:1 time more than 2:1. When the 2 kids are together, I have to watch out that the older one is not handling the younger one roughly as she is still learning to walk and can easily hurt herself and I have to watch out that the younger one is not constantly disturbing the older one if he wants to play by himself. Phew!
    You keep your paitence a lot MM. I actually lose it sooner. My son (also a Taurean) just refuses to listen sometimes. One day he made me mad by doing something that I was warning him continuously not to do. When he saw that I was very angry, he jovially started saying “You are so sweet mommy… don’t get angry”. Something his dad has taught him to pacify me when I am angry. I ended up retorting “But you are not sweet, you don’t listen to mommy.” That broke his heart and he started crying.
    I was immideately repantant and did all the hugging kissing apologising. He was quicker to forgive.
    Still makes me miserable when I think about it. Mommyhood is hard 😦

    • aww.. poor baby. but I understand why you snapped. the brat has this habit of kissing me everytime i tell him to do something he doesnt want to. and it breaks my heart to have to stretch an arm out and say no, first you do it, then I will kiss you. because if i let him kiss me, he thinks that is the solution and sits down instead of doing what i told him to. crafty little critters.

  7. It’s so difficult to bring up a child…
    I wish it starts well from this new page now…
    My heart completely broke when he dint get to blow the candles out or even cut his b’day cake… even I would have sulked royally at this ripe age of 30.

    • 🙂 I felt bad too. but I want him to learn that sulking will get him nowhere and the loss will be his. I could have spent more time cajoling him but then he will go through life waiting for people to pander to his whims.

  8. Well, it must have been a hard thing to do, but the right one. But poor brat got his birthday ruined by other misbehaving kids, good thing that you have decided celebrate his next birthday differently.

    • yes. the weather around his birthday is always awful. the house gets hot and claustrophobic and he gets cranky. I need to find something that suits the weather and his temperament better.

      • How about something by the pool ?? It’s outdoors, lots of space to run around, the pool keeps you cool 🙂

        • Which was the plan, until the storm. His third birthday was a splash pool party. so i got a swimming pool cake, a few friends and a nice inflatable pool. before i know it there is a storm and we all run like mad inside. but there was a lot of laughing over the misfortune and only a few friends so we had a nice peaceful dinner while the kids trashed the house.

  9. Tight hugs to you and him.

    As a single taurean child who (still) displays pretty much the same behaviours as Brat seems to, I think you should do more of what you did. I think I’d have been a more balanced and a more peaceful adult if my own mum had put her foot down a bit more than she did.

    I am much more accomodating with people who i dont take for granted, infact i am graciousness itself, but it comes at the price of my nearest and dearest ones getting bullied. As a kid it’s okay, but not quite the greatest thing as an adult, when you realise you hurt the ones u love most. Be strict when you need to be. Kids dont mind that or love you any less for it, i suppose.

    • phew. thanks for the hug. its good to hear from a taurean child who believes firmness is okay. too many books tell us to keep talking and indulging and it confuses me. I am also just human with my own limitations and to be able to move beyond them and continue to indulge him gets really difficult as well as something that i dont believe in.

  10. I am going off the actual topic but since you mentioned bdays, I recently went to one of the peapod’s classmate’s bday party and I was zapped(literally mouth wide open) at the number of slippers outside the house. And then I entered and I didn’t know anyone there and I saw the mother in passing & I atleast made out it was the right house. We couldnt even greet them because of the people flowing in and out of the house untill it was time to leave. I found a chair luckily but I couldnt move my foot because of the number of children sitting on the floor. About 40 kids in a house and their parents in a 1000 sqft house. I have never seen anything like this before. I haven’t seen my little one sit so still & watch before :).
    We have been considering of moving into a appartment complex for sometime now since the kids will need playmates and parks and the works but this aspect of bday invitations and presents and return gifts and stuff is giving my head the buzz buzzing sound.

  11. Hardening the lines that kids can cross/break is so damn tough and heartbreaking.

    Poor brat, and poor mommy, and poor bean who must be pretty bewildered too ( and trying to figure what lines she can cross with the brat)

  12. What is it about these May born kids ? Mine also has a stubborn streak and a mercurial temper to match ( both inherited from me 😉 . He knows every bad behaviour warrants 1 really sedate warning , 2 civilized ones and then all hell is likely to break loose. BTW, I feel horribly guilty sometimes when I see him dig his heels in and be so difficult and adamant. I’d like him to learn to choose his battles ( I don’t want him to think he needs to agree and bend over backwards everytime either )

    • i think there is a time and place and they will learn it, babe. You, and some of the other parents I know, wouldn’t be unreasonable. For instance, heart breaking though it was, I guess the Brat has to deal with the fact that his friends are all completely badly behaved! What can I do? they’re not my friends! He has to learn to grin with grace or then turn around and tell them off. For instance I made it clear that I do not want cake rubbed on my face at a party. I find it ill-bred and juvenile and wasteful. Now the brat has to learn to voice his displeasure to those who are responsible. Not sulk and cut off his nose to spite his face (which is something I still do and I wish someone had taught me to do the right thing).

  13. Why am I seeing a mirror? Will it help you if I told you its just a Taurean trait? I used to hate anyone who woke me up from my sleep and I still throw a tantrum and sulk for the rest of the day if my hubby accidently makes even a sound in the room while i’m napping.
    I guess you did the right thing. That time out would’ve relaxed him and made him feel better.
    And yes, Taureans are very possesive… be it a book, a last piece of cake or even a bit of string. If its mine, then its ‘mine’…

    • Is that so? Its so good to hear all this. I hate to rush them after a nap, but if we have a schedule – school, skating class, an outing, we have to keep it. I know he likes to wake up lazily but if he falls asleep an hour before its time to leave, i dont have a choice. but I do try and work with that and wake him gently, switch on the radio, sing to him, wipe his eyes with a damp towel and rock him in my arms until he is ready to join the living.

  14. Whenever I read such posts of yours, there’s so much that I feel and want to say. But don’t know whether I qualify to say or no, as I am totally inexperienced when it comes to marriage and kids. Still want to say, I respect you tremendously for the way you are bringing up your kids. Especially in keeping them so grounded while pampering them. If I’ll ever be a mother, I will keep revisiting your blog for the inspiration.
    These days, I see kids being spoilt generously by their parents. We have had many guests at our home who come with their children. It’s natural they won’t sit still and will behave as kids. But what I find irritating is when parents refuse to correct them up even when needed. Imagine a child carrying a glass and warning his parents he will throw it down, and parents just smiling and giggling, saying their child is so naughty. And even when he breaks it, they have no apologies to offer. Rather they say proudly, “Ab aap yaad rakhege yeh aapke ghar aaya tha.” Don’t know if to laugh or cry. (Apologies for being offtrack)

    • no no.. not off the track. you’re talking about discipline which is what this post is about. i don’t know why people without kids feel that they aren’t qualified to comment. You are – because you share this space with my kids. its also why i get mad when childless people object to kids in planes etc. This planet is for all of us to share. everything we do affects others. my badly brought up kid will some day serve you in some way and might do a bad job. your badly brought up kid might meet mine at the work place someday and cheat him. there are so many ways in which we are tied together. you using plastic adds to my problems. my wasting water adds to yours.

      As for badly behaved kids – one really can’t comment on what others do with their kids, where they throw parties and how much sugar they eat until it affects your life. in your case, if they are misbehaving in your house you have every right to object. if some kid gets more aggressive watching tv all day i have every right to object. just because you don’t have, doesnt mean you don’t have an opinion. yes, because i have kids, might mean i have a different perspective or some experience.

      • No MM! It’s just that with so many moms commenting with years of experience, it gets a little intimidating. Your blog is surely not only for moms, that’s why people like me read it so religiously. It’s like a life’s learning for me.

      • Yes, we all all far more interconnected than one would imagine.
        And yes, we need to share this planet amicably, and remember that it is not ours forever- we hold it in trust for the next generation, and so on. Making one child behave decently is a not insignificant part of this.

  15. True re the bit about having only one kid. But I still won’t trade my 2-kid status, just for the times *they* feel complete with each other.

  16. It is really tough to discipline kids. I always wonder how our parents did it with such ease, I think we were a lot easier than the current generation. 🙂

    I too am finding it very difficult how to discipline my 2 yr old. My m-i-l says that he is too young and wont understand when I try to reason it out with him. But I am afraid that if I let him have his own way for the next 2 yrs or so, then he might argue why I didnt object to it before…phew…confusing right.

    I am glad that Brat realised his mistake, but if you didnt have the option of maid at home, then you have no other choice but to take him along with you or you cancel your plans as well and stay at home right. I felt really bad that Brat had to suffer on his bday because of some badly behaved kids. He will ofcourse sulk MM, dont you think he is too young to accept that his friends are like that and carry on with the party with no complaints? I am sorry to disagree with you on this…just my POV.

    • I agree. There was less confusion in those days. You did the best you could with no dr spock, no ferber, no internet and no mommy bloggers (;)) to confuse the issue. You socialised with your own community and mostly with family.

      I am going to go with what you just said -if I let him have his way today, he will want to get away with misbehaviour in future too. In this case, my son was not misbehaving, it was the other kids. All of them know that they would want to blow out the candles on their own cake and were old enough to know better than to blow his out. Their parents should have said something. But the Brat has to learn early in life that as The Host, he has to grin and bear what his guests do. And in future, guard against a similar situation. I could not have lit the candles again and told all the kids to go to the other side of the table to ensure that only he did blew them out. It would have been a bad scene and very ungracious. Which is why I took a judgment call and moved ahead with the least amount of public display of drama. I’m sorry he didn’t get to do it. A sixth birthday comes only once in a lifetime 😉 and he is only a little chap. But we’re nothing if not good hosts and that is something I’d like him to learn, even in the face of badly behaved guests.

      Don’t feel sorry to disagree with me. We all take judgment calls and don’t have to pick the same option.

      • Hi MM,

        Its really sad Brat had to miss the outing but these difficult decisions have to taken as a parent. I have done these too.
        However, in my opinion, I wish you would have given him some consideration on the day of his birthday esp since its an one time affair (I mean the 6th b’day party). As you said kids should have special memories of their birthday and this one incident should not spoil his memories of this birthday.

        That aside, aren’t these 2 statements contradicting each other –
        “if they are misbehaving in your house you have every right to object.” and “But the Brat has to learn early in life that as The Host, he has to grin and bear what his guests do”

        • Actually I see no contradiction. They are totally different situations and you have to pick and choose your battles.

          It is one thing to tell a kid running around a house with a glass that they will fall and get hurt.And threatening to throw a glass and break it is just bad behaviour and dangerous and destructive.

          It is quite another thing to be the Grinch who stole the birthday and start yelling at about 20 kids. If it were one kid it would be easily handled. As the Brat’s parent it is equally my fault for not being able to do anything. blowing out the candles was gang mentality and childish mischief. they meant no harm to the brat – they just didn’t remember their manners or his feelings. thats another thing I object to – parents dont seem to teach their kids to put themselves in another child’s shoes. to be sensitive to another’s feelings.

          the thing is the line is a thin one and as the host you have to figure out where it is for you. a lot of bad behaviour seems acceptable these days. i see so many adults rubbing cake on each others’ faces, let alone children blowing out another’s candles. the brat and i could both have turned around and yelled at those kids we’d be very ungracious hosts and the party would have been ruined by them first and then us. first they behave badly and then we act ungracious. two wrongs don’t make a right. this way as the host he learnt to give a little so that his party was a success. What I’d want the brat to do, and have told him, is to tell his friends when he next sees them, that he didn’t like them blowing out his candles and that they upset him. might not make an impression on the little louts, but its worth a shot. i can only teach him what i think is right.

  17. 1. My heart breaks for the Brat. I know he is wrong and you did the right thing. This parenting thing is tough.
    2. You really must meet my dad – you guys are so similar in some of the things you strongly believe (and will probably defend to death, to!)
    3. My 8- yr old nephew came home for a day and I lost count of the number of times I came close to slapping him – he wouldnt sit still for more than 5 minutes and wanted to be entertained all the time. Not to mention absolutely bad behavior. Very few kids that I meet these days, that actually make me smile and think of them warmly. And that is alarming. Makes me worry about the kids I will raise, someday. Again, parenting? Very scary!

  18. Ohhhh….I can’t help but feel for little Brat but I know you did the right thing. Don’t know if I could ever be strong enough to not give in lol.

    Thinking about this actually – not quite the same comparison (and sorry if this offends you too!!), but funny if this is true coz my puppies are also both Taureans I guess lol and stubborn as hell! I have to make Evs be the firm one and I give in all the time, yet in return they love him more! 😦

    Btw – new blog too 🙂 I think I’m ready to come back to writing 🙂

    • LOL! none taken.
      I’ve been fairly peaceful as a parent but I think at six its time for me to firm up else I’d be letting him down and not doing my job as a parent. I can’t be his friend – he will have many of those. But only one mother to set him right 😉

  19. oh boy! But yeah, I think you did the right thing for sure!
    although I don’t have kids, I feel I’d behave the same way if they threw a tantrum… I think. 😛

  20. Tough love is also good love. And brats almost always go on to thank parents for it (I should know, I was one) … unless they turn into resentful psychopaths, of course. But we’l just dimiss that possibility.

    Also, #98 in the list of reasons. I try to imagine having to go out with a child who would be just like I was, and I’m quite thankful I don’t have to. My poor parents.

  21. im wondering if the crying on bday thing is normal for taureans?? im one myself and cried bitterly on my 7th bday. i had a pretty barbie bday cake which i wanted to cut in a certain way; mom obviously had no patience for me to stand around while i made my calculations & the guests were forced to sing happy bday again. she finally lost her patience and cut it herself. after which i proceeded to cry bucketloads and refuse to be a part of the party, because dammit they cut my cake the wrong way! 😛
    i think i was probably bribed with some gifts after.

    go brat! 🙂 😛

    i think i should ask my mom for tips on bringing up a taurean kid – esp if i happen to have one myself! it sounds perfectly trying!

      • You know what ! certain Brahmin communities in Karnataka actually practice this. Newly weds are suppoesed to abstain during the month of Ashaad (Jul/Aug) the reason is that
        if the woman conceives during this period the child is born during the hottest period of the year 🙂 But then again it is only done during the fist year of marriage 🙂 so general public service notice it is 😀

        • ha ha! I love the idea. I think we should do a public service ad. Am exhausted rearing a Taurean child. My Gemini husband, Piscean daughter, Capricornian father, Libran mother, Aquarian brother… the list goes on – have never given me as much trauma as this child.

          Seriously though, its an awesome idea. i had such a terrible delivery and my stitches wouldn’t heal because of the heat, i couldn’t wear a binder … i cursed so much.

          • This practice is prevalent in Tamil nadu also 🙂

            my sis and dad are both Taureans..so trust me ..I “know” 🙂

            • the practice is there and you still have two taureans in the family? gah. that is how stubborn they are. they won’t give up 😉

          • I guess this is commin in South India…it is followed in Andhra as well. Couples need to stay away from each other, and the groom is not supposed to step into the in-law’s house. So, what do the couples do. They meet up at a sister’s or a close relative’s place..ahem ahem.

  22. Kid #1 is as stubborn as the brat and he is not even a taurean. Brat is a gentle soul from what i have read of him. A gentle stubbron kid 🙂

  23. Plan your summer vacations around Brat’s birthday every year. Poor kid :(. God I can’t believe how the other kids behaved like that! I guess when I have some of my own and they get playmates, I’ll know how kids are and will learn how to bring up my own better.

    • I wish I could but schools in Delhi close only after mid-May. He’s stuck here 😦 and he knows his birthday so I can’t even wait till the holidays start to go somewhere else and celebrate. And you’re right, we live and learn. Next year I’ll figure out a way to ensure no one touches his cake. Maybe ask uncles and aunts to stand around the cake and make sure no kid gets to it before the birthday child.

  24. Have been reading your blog religously over years now. As a new mom, many of your posts make more sense to me now..and I am glad you are reposting some of your old blog stuff. This post on stubborn behavior set me thinking…maybe at a tangent.

    Over the last few months, I have begun to feel more and more, that values we were taught, like discipline, punctuality, respectful behavior are something that I dont want to teach my kid so staunchly. I see everybody around flouting them, and at the end of the day I feel stressed for expecting this behavior of others (read elders, other family members). Instead teach me, and help me teach the baby TOLERANCE….

    • So let me get this right. Do you no longer value them because others are flouting them or because you personally feel that they are defunct? I feel that you do need some discipline, punctuality and respect – because they hold you in good stead through life. Right from attending a meeting to catching a flight to saving money to buy a home. On the other hand, tolerance is getting to be equally important as we move out of our comfort zones and meet people who are so unlike us. What say?

      • PS: thanks for adding that new mom bit. Everyone has a right to an opinion but I get tired of those who feel that being a parent doesn’t change perspective.

        • Well, as is expected of a good mom, I would want to teach these to my kid. And I thought that they hold one in good stead too. But when everybody around you is flouting them and still getting by fine, I wonder whether I am on the wrong side. And I believe being tolerant, will help me get by too without picking at others for it is too late or needless to change the good that has been imbibed in you.

          • I’m sure you’re on the right side. here’s the thing. we should learn all the rules. only then can you figure out if you want to break them. an eye for an eye leads to a blind world.

          • Also Swetha, it is not about everybody no? If a person is disciplined, respectful and punctual, it will help their OWN self! True for all such things, what say?

            (Apologies for butting in Swetha and MM!)

          • Choxbox,
            I do agree with you that certain things are for your own self, and a principled person is one who sticks to his/her values come what may. Thats why I wish for more tolerance so that I can continue to be in harmony with the majority of those who dont value these anymore….and yeah, like the madmomma said, eye for an eye doesnt make sense in retrospect, but only in the heat of the moment.

  25. I learned something at a corporate training yesterday that I thought I could apply at home with my Capricorn daughter. Tough as a goat, stubborn as a mule. The apple and tree argument does apply, of course.

    “Match the intensity, not the anger”. I think it applies in any argument – even with kids. You matched his intense anger with an intense response – but you did not yell or scream or throw a tantrum. You did right. I can bet he won’t forget this in a hurry.

    In the birthday scene, I would have probably made a joke of it, lit the candles again and made a general PC announcement like “Kids, now that your turn is over, its Brat’s turn”. But heck, hindsight is 20/20.

    You are gold. Worry not.

    • what an idea sirji. you’re right. apple tree very true in our case. and also love the line on matching intensity instead of anger. i must remember this but i tell you i am so hot headed myself, so particular not to cause any more trouble to the guests that i didnt even consider this idea. you’re a gem.

  26. Nothing new to add about the incident (you did fine) – BUT – the Brat and my brother share a birthday, 30 years apart – and yes, the famed Taurean stubbornness still exists – but wanted to pass on this FWIW…bro also HATES being woken up – but got to terms with it over the years – and says he actually *disliked* being woken up gently because that was like prolonging the agony of waking up. An alarm or some other means of fast waking meant he *had* to get up and that was it….
    maybe worth a shot?

    M

      • Set an alarm and don’t be in the room when it goes off! That way he gets to wake up cranky, realise he has to deal, and by the time you get there, the worst will be over? I’ve started doing that to K – she has a really hard time waking up in the mornings, and is perfectly capable of dealing with it on mornings I have to start work early or whatever…so get started and they’ll adapt 🙂 Maybe you could go for a walk then 🙂

        • LOL – He sleeps through earthquakes. He’s been easy that way in the last few years. We watch tv in the room, chat, anything. he wont wake up. also, if i go for my walk he won’t get ready for school. will dawdle and get late. no concept of hurry-up-and-get-out-of-the-house-will-you?

          • Haha, I’m a taurean and I have slept through earthquakes ! Infact, I’ve slept when carpenters were working in the adjacent room ! So yea, I won’t wake up to alarms – I switch them off, drift back to sleep and then when I get up late I ask people – who dared to switch off my alarm ! One reason why I didn’t like to be awakened before my sleep gets over is that I would get a darn headache if woken in mid-sleep. And nobody but me gets to decide how much rest my body needs… These days things are better…I’m a light-sleeper after mommyhood happened. Wait out… I say 🙂

  27. Oh no…. Dahlin Brat ! Fellow Taurean … I’m sure on after-thought..he was wondering what on earth he lost his cool for? Darn the taurean tempers..if only we could help it! ..i know I have ruined several occasions due to my temper, which I have regretted later! My poor baby.. My heart goes out to him…Please tell me u got another small cake for him, and made him blow candles and cut it…even if it was just amongst the 4 of u. Please Please.

    You know we taureans get possessive… that’s why he felt that way about his book n toy…it was not just “bad behavior” for the sake of it. I love my jeej…but you should have seen the way I behaved towards him…when I saw that my sis was spending more n more time with him..hardly something u expect out of a 21 yr old!

    But I do u’stand why u made the decisions that you did. I really do. As an adult with a taurean temper..that’s exactly what I would have done. N honestly that’s the way one should deal with me to make me realize that what I’m doing is wrong.

    Hmm…I can’t speak as a mom..but as a child and a wife…I think I get what ur saying about completeness. Like I’ve seen wives who travel to spend time with their parents, without their husbands, talk about how much they miss their hubbies, But honestly..when I travelled to India without my husband…I had a blast.. I didn’t have to worry about making him feel at home and at the same time getting value time with my folks…I was in india for 3 weeks…n had a blast with my folks..and the excitement of seeing him helped me get over my sadness , when returning from India. so all was well and for the most part I am very complete at both places.

    • same here. i would like the OA to be with me, but I am okay if he isn’t.
      You know I wanted to get a cake for him and do it, but the moment had passed and i guess he too had a lesson to learn there. that you lose your temper and lose out on a moment and theres no bringing it back. i do it all the time and i wish i had someone to be strict with me long ago. instead i had a bunch of friends who would always coax and cajole me because i was the only girl and it was years before i learn to handle my temper.

  28. Hi MM,
    Is it possible to limit birthday celebrations to just family? That’s what we did this year — a small party at home with just close family, a movie night with the parents and three year old sibling, and then we took just my daughter to a place where you can paint your own pottery. My husband didn’t want kids running all over the house and I thought my daughter would be disappointed but she didn’t complain and had a great birthday weekend. As a mom of three, I know what you mean about enjoying 1-1 time with each kid. You realize how much easier it is when you have just 1 child patiently painting her plate.
    -NW

    • 😦 the problem (if I am ungrateful enough to call it one) is that we have alot of friends. people we are truly close to. people who love our kids. we love their kids too. we party together all the time. just not all of us at the same time. plus school classmates and now the kids in the condo – apparently if you dont call them, you wont get called and that is really hurtful for our kids too. i’m wondering if i should have two separate small celebrations…

      • Yes, two small celebrations may work better. I just thought it was really ill-mannered of those kids to blow out his candle and maybe the Brat would be better off without their influence.

          • MM, two celebrations for sure. We’ve done that for a while – have your kind of party (at home, with thoughtful games and return gifts) for family and your (hopefully :)) small group of close friends. Have an “easy” party elsewhere – don’t cut a cake if that causes angst – make it cupcakes and pizza in the park or something, with a generic return gift – that way, your obligation to the kids in the building/school is taken care of, and you still get to have the kind of party you want for the kids. Yes this will probably work out more expensive, but I am (slowly) learning that sometimes peace of mind is worth the expense.

            • M, I love you. This is it. Pizza hut for those who couldn’t care less.. and home for those who care. awesome idea. i’ll save all year round if that is what it calls for. we cant cut down on the number of people because these are our social support system.

      • We did 7 small celebrations when my firstborn turned 7!

        Her idea, not mine. She enjoyed every one of them. And except for one on her actual birthday, they were very normal no-stress affairs – the cake in one case was just a cupcake with a single candle!

  29. I see myself doing what you did – in fact I almost do it already.

    Mine is starting to be reeeally stubborn now :(. He’s only 3. Had a major meltdown last evening. I am still carrying around the confused/upset feeling around today. He started crying because he wanted his dad to take him potty and dad had gone to play tennis. Can you believe that he held it in until his dad came home?! I tried to change his mood, distract etc. He bawled a long time and then his mood got better after 30 min…but he still refused to go to the bathroom until his dad came home!

    Did the Brat ever do something like that? How did you deal with that – when he was younger?

    • yes, the brat did a lot of that. but somehow it was something i figured he’d outgrow. as you can see, i am tightening up now. and i hate being harsh but its for their own good as we all know. i wish i’d started earlier. i am far more strict with the bean and i worry that she’s getting second child trauma 😉

  30. Tough love – you’ve got to do it and yes, it’s tougher on us than on them :). Here’s my take – when I tell me kids that that don’t get something or get to go somewhere if they don’t do xyz, then I make sure I follow through and believe me, my kids listen to me. My husband thinks I am too hard on them but they will never listen the next time if you say something and don’t follow through. And I make sure my threats can be followed through – not something like “if you don’t stop screaming, I will leave you in the mall and go home” 🙂 I hate not taking them to a party or not taking them to a playdate that I had told them they could go to, but kids need to understand the concept of action and reaction and as a parent, you cannot reward bad behaviour with a treat at the end after promising a punishment, right?

    • absolutely. i’ve followed through on every threat even if it breaks my heart. which is why i don’t threaten to break their hands and legs which is clearly not happening :p

  31. MM, I am the same whose daughter shares Brat’s bday/year! I can so r-e-l-a-t-e to you here. They are twins born apart!! But we have realised that logical explaination always helps her. She puts her foot down, major rhon-dhona to wear full shirt tops/dresses when weather is chilly. So now we have made a rule that below this temp it is always fullshirt and it is her duty to check weather everyday and decide. Similarly TV time. We have 30mins timer and she is incharge of the timer. Any meltdowns, these days I make her sit and explain the reason.
    On the 2kids topic, I have only one but I can relate with regard to my younger sister. Even today she says I was the “tara” of my parents!!

  32. Can so relate to this post. Mine are not taurean but very stubborn. Especially when I have errands to run, appointments to keep, reach office on time, we land up in similar situations. Sometimes I feel that only when I lose my cool, then my kids will start behaving well and settle down. Retrospection does bring up possible ways of having handled the situation differently and in a better way, but then they do mess up my revised plans/methods! But when there are no plans and no time table they do behave so well. What is it that makes them behave the way they do when you are in a hurry. I hate to be late and it is an exhausting struggle to make it on time, most of the time.

  33. I have a taurean father, brother and now a husband! Reading your posts, I’ve begun to feel super-human to put up with three!! My mom and I are patient Virgoes.

    I’ve also realised that most Taureans along with being stubborn are more short tempered that hot tempered. What I mean is that the heat rises real quick and its best not to argue, reason, debate and or try to make them understand anything at that point. Stay clear is my opinion. But the good part is that their anger, subsidies with the speed its risen.

    And, once the anger subsides, they do become sane and quite open to reason. Test it out the next time. My mother’s perfected the art of getting her way once they cool down and I’m almost there 🙂

    However, I’m not sure how well it’ll work with kids, I should ask my mom how she dealt with my bro.

    • *falls at Sharmishta’s feet* please ask your mother. Because it’s all very well to say wait till anger subsides, but you know, the school bus won’t. its most frustrating.

      • LMAO…..MM you are hillarious!! *main apna pet pakkad ke has rahi hoon*. You are right the school bus wont wait. But still, your answer to this one with the drama of falling at your friend’s feet, got me rolling.

        On a serious note…proud of your parenting skills MM

      • Is the Brat susceptible to the teacher-knows-best myth at all? My daughter is – and we used that tactic. Emailed her teacher to ask that she talk about being on time to school/consequences of getting x number of tardies per semester etc. (TX law states that after a certain number of tardies they need to go up before a truancy court to explain why). And if he misses the school bus due to dawdling, can he stay home and be bored all day? No games/going down to play/swimming etc. ? Yes it is more work for you – maybe plan to take the day off on short notice or something?

  34. ok. take it from me. first hand. i am a taurean. a very very true one. and i guess my dad knew what he had signed up for. i grew up amidst Sunny Deol like love, whacks and tough words were as expected as the next meal. of course, till recent times, i held a very very strong resentment aginst my dad, who did the dirty job, of course. but now that i am older ( and wiser :)) i love him for the way he brought me up. i would have it absolutely no other way. i am proud of the way i have shaped up to be, and i only have my dad to thank for it. ok, mom too, but actually, dad.

    in no place to give suggestions, but i feel you are on the abolutely right track. if needed, whack harder. you will reap your sows twenty years hence. 🙂

  35. Pat on the back for you, MM, and I hope you’re not feeling guilty for leaving him at home. I think you did the right thing.

    We have a ‘ziddi whiner’ here in our house – the firstborn – a smart aleck who has finely honed her badgering skills in spite of my trying to nip them since she was 4 years old. I swear by 1-2-3 Magic; it still works for us a lot of the time……

  36. It is interesting when kids realise they are people too and can influence their life around them, the easiest passive-aggressive way is to sulk or refuse to do something. It is funny how they can manipulate the situation and also how good they are at pushing your buttons.

    Our girls so rarely fight we are lucky. The youngest has just learnt about lying.
    Recently we havebeen battling with ‘toothpaste on the bathroom towels’. Obviously you haveto rinse your mouth BEFORE drying it on the towel. When the girls come through to the livingroom to say goodnight after doing their teeth, we always check- “Have you done your teeth AND washed and dried your mouth?”. The youngest alwayssays yes howeverthe half smeared white cream surrounding her mouth gave her away.

    It is definitely hard not to smilesometimes at a bare faced lie.

    “Do I have to check the towel or would you like to reconsider your answer?” I asked.
    There was a pause and then the truth cameout.

    You still have to smile.

    Kids- don’t you love them?

    Have you got any examples of everyday lies that are totally see through?
    Howdo you deal with lies?

    http://beourbest.blogspot.com/

  37. Hi MM,

    I keep rather busy nowadays with no househelp and a husband who works long hours, so am unable to comment on every single post which is what I would love to do. But parenting posts are my fav so had to make time. Yohaan is 2.5 now and is begining to display some kind of delayed ‘terrible two’s’- I am now convinced there is no such thing is terrible two’s- terrible threes more like it! He was such an angel and now suddenly over night I have a teenager on my hands…sigh.
    Just wanted to share a link with you. It is all about parenting, albeit from a christian point of view. Nevertheless, I think all of us parents (mothers) will get some helpful insights as far as disciplining kids is concerned. Do take time out and have a look. It’s quite a bit to cover but I have personaly benefited tremendously from it and am seeing results. One thing which I have realised from my observations of ‘well brought up’ children (regardless of religous/faith of the family) is that parents of such children have been absolutely consistent in their disciplining in every area of life. Be it school. park, bday party, the elevator, a mall, a mosque, a funeral , a wedding, or just the bedroom. The kids seem to know the consequences of any ‘bad’ or ‘inappropriate’ behaviour will ALWAYS elicit a consistent response from the parent and WILL have consequences. The severity will ofcourse vary. It seems to be working with Yohaan although we do have a logn way to go. Anyway, here’s the link. I hope you enjoy it. http://www.raisinggodlytomatoes.com/

    I personaly think you are a totaly fab mom….really I do!
    cheers
    h
    dubai

  38. for some reason,i just missed this post.i am commenting after a long time just to agree with you on your last paragraph.i have 3 kids.and i have noticed it myself that when i take one out with me anywhere,it is so stress free as opposed to take them all three together,that i WISH for a second that it would have so nicer to have just one.may be its just the difficult years they are at(they are 6,3 and 1)

  39. tough love TMM, tough love!! Sometimes you just have to do it – you let them sulk and break your heart until they come to their equillibrium.

  40. Oh I just needed to read something like this today. My daughter (she turns 3 this Friday) threw a huge tantrum today when I told her no touching mum’s laptop. It was really bad with the kicking and screaming, and as a mom one can’t help but feel guilty about letting them cry. In the end I had to hold her tight till she calmed down, which took a while. I have a 6 month old son too. And I understand what you said about feeling complete. Living in the moment. Before my son was born, I couldn’t imagine loving any other child the way I did my daughter. I didn’t want a second one. But the second one happened. And now when I’m alone with my son and cuddling and cooing to him endearing words, I sometimes catch myself using the same words I once used for my daughter when she was younger, when I thought that I will never love another the way I love her. 🙂 Have I added to the gibberish?

  41. Pingback: The tooth fairy? | The Mad Momma Online

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