The bunny rabbit ears that wouldn’t knot

‘My friend A teases me about her all the time,’ says the Brat, unaware of the look that passes between the OA and I over the breakfast table. He digs into his eggs and is blissfully ignorant that our hearts just skipped a beat.

I have a feeling I know who he is being teased about. She’s a little girl who made it to the top of the list of his birthday invitees. She is one of the few girls he doesn’t mind climbing trees with. She’s a foot taller than him, very sporty and a well mannered little thing. But I ask anyway, ‘Who does he tease you about?’

The Brat tells me her name, confirming my suspicion. ‘And what does he say?’ I ask. ‘He says Aaaayi aayi, teri girlfriend aaayiii…. ‘ he says, matter of factly, shifting his empty eggy plate aside and moving on to his cornflakes.

The OA by now is grinning from ear to ear and ready to fall off his chair laughing if I take my gaze off him. I glare at him. I don’t want this silly girlfriend business to get over-hyped. I had friends of both sexes all my life and I don’t like the idea of making kids self conscious about their friends.

So…. I ask, ‘What makes him call her your girlfriend?’

‘Oh, he says that because she helps me to tie my shoelaces – I can’t do them as fast as she does. I make the bunny rabbit ears and twist them around, but they get knotted up…. ” and our little man drifts off into a thesis on the art of tying shoelaces, best friend and alleged girlfriend forgotten. I heave a sigh of relief. I am so glad I haven’t heard anything worse that would make my ears burn! And yes, in the past few days I have heard other 4-year old kids talk about kissing girlfriends on the mouth and what not.

He then pops his almonds in his mouth, grabs his bottle and bag and rushes to get the lift. The OA and I follow slowly, slipping into our sneakers to walk him to the bus stop.

He’s six years old and being teased about a girl who helps him tie his shoelaces. It’s the kind of thing we’d probably forget about in three days if I didn’t blog. But I want to remember and tell him about it when he’s 35 and has a couple of kids (I hope!).

On the other hand, this is precisely what I pulled him out of the last school for. I didn’t like the company he was forced to keep. Rich spoilt kids with a sense of entitlement. Kids who have maids running behind them with a plate of food. Kids who have never put their plates away in the kitchen sink. Kids who believe they have a right to do/say anything in classroom with no thought of consequence. I just didn’t want the Brat or the Bean growing up with these kids influencing them for 8 hours a day in school and even more as they grow and meet after school hours.Β I was idly looking through my facebook list and realised I know at least 8 couples who met in school and got married later. And another 40 who met in high school (Class 10) Β (including my parents) or college and ended up getting married. And I was only half joking when I told the OA that I didn’t want the Brat ending up with some girl from that school with the wannabe parents of fake accents fame, the maids carrying shopping bags and walking behind them in the mall and an inability to wash their own dishes if required. But then what can one expect if those are the only options and choices you are exposed to?

The lift arrives and we get in and the OA winks at me – ‘A girl who ties his shoelaces – what more can any mother want for her son?!’

At the moment? Just a good little friend who helps him tie his shoelaces!

PS: Oh my God, did my son just turn old enough to say the word girlfriend?! I must get out my walking stick.

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102 thoughts on “The bunny rabbit ears that wouldn’t knot

  1. LOL. kids get onto the such words so easily. my friend’s daughter’s hand has already been asked for by her classmate (in playschool). He has declared to his mother that he will be marrying Gauri (friend’s daughter).

    But I agree, I hate it when people/ kids make fun just because your friend or probably best friend is from your opposite sex. Why cant we have friends from the other sex? Why does our culture immediately ask us to relate it to “girlfriend” and not “friend who is a girl”

  2. They start really early these days ,don’t they?My daughter also first mentioned about the teasing when she was around 5 & innocently asked me what boyfriend meant.It stumped me for a moment & then I told her any boy who is a friend is a BF & vice versa & left it at that πŸ™‚

      • Oh, this is what I told my 6 yr. old. Within a week she came back and corrected me – ‘Mamma, you don’t understand, girlfriends and boyfriends are not just friends.” πŸ™‚ I asked her to explain. And she said they are somebody you marry when you grow up; thanks to the education that goes on in the school bus!

        • Yes, brat explained this to me, sadly, two days ago. In full Mohnish Behl style. Girls and girls can’t be girlfriends. They are just friends. Only a boy and a girl can be a girlfriend and boyfriend.

          I want to know who set this off. I’m going to shake them till their teeth rattle.

  3. I totally agree with your approach of not making kids conscious about their friends at this tender age πŸ™‚
    Having a caring friend who helps your kid tie shoelaces is definitely something to smile about πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

  4. Oh MM, this post made laugh so much. The Brat has a ‘girlfriend’ already. On a serious note though, I am surprised that kids tease each other about girlfriends at such young age. I thought that this happens only in their teens.

    “Oh my God, did my son just turn old enough to say the word girlfriend?! I must get out my walking stick.” – lol, you are so funny MM. Brat is super cute and I love him for his innocence.

    • I thought so too. But I think things change with every gen. I know my friends started teasing around age 9 or so. Making things very awkward. So to hear of a 4 year old who wants to know if another boy has kissed his girlfriend on the lips, is always surprising.

      • WHAT -4yr olds talking of girlfrinds kissing on the lips??? My 10yr old and his friends don’t talk that way. My ears would burn πŸ˜€

        My (almost) 4yr old doesn’t think there is any fundamental difference between boys and girls, still. Just that boys are N and appa…and girls are she and amma… And so the classification goes. Is she dumb or just innocent? If you think the first – it was a rhetorical question πŸ˜€

        • LOL! I think she’s a bright little doll. As for N, I think maybe the other kids do, he just isn’t the kind to either participate in it or stupid enough to come home and talk about it. I think in another year or two the Brat will figure that this isn’t the stuff you tell mama. 😦

  5. Hi MM,

    I have been reading your blog for quite some time now and I absolutely love the way you describe these moments in your life. πŸ™‚

    Maddie

      • My constant source of anxiety about Yohaan too. Dubai is shallow and full of wealthy people. I am not exaggerating! The schools are full of shallow-wealthy little people. And here the kids ask each other ‘what car does your dad drive and where are you going for your summer break?’ If it is not Europe and ‘just India’ you are so not cool. 😦 I am terribly firghtened now…

  6. Awww, darling baby Brat! It seems like it was only yesterday, that his blog- maasis were queuing up and fighting over who gets to be his girlfriend! And now he actually has one.
    Posts like these remind me why he is my first love (between him and the Bean, from the time I started reading you). While the Bean is a sure-fire ‘uterus- flipper’, the Brat is my ‘heart- stopper’. It skips a beat and turns into a huge puddle of mush, that I am still scraping up, hours after reading your post. Big hug.

    • Was just thinking of his kangiii post when I wrote this. That image of him stays in the head and you wonder when this all happened. I’m so happy to have so many people to share it with. Every mother cherishes these silly little things but not every mother is lucky enough to be able to share it with so many people. 20 years from now when he’s getting married I can see myself saying – hey anyone remember his kangi? and I’ll be so happy to know that there is someone who will understand what I am talking about. *sob sniff*

      • Awww. I know! In my previous comment, I almost mentioned Gentle Whisperer’s name; I come back later and see she has commented too, ruing the lost opportunity! πŸ™‚
        So many of the Brat’s pics are legendary, MM – the one of you and him in the filtered sunlight, of Nani tickling him with the rainflower, my favorite of his bald head and wicked smile, the little lion at the school fancy dress…I want to go back to your old blog and re- read all the posts now. That leedle baby is a big boy now.

  7. I dont remember growing up being teased about having a boyfriend if I got friendly with someone of the opposite sex, whereas today if my toddler smiles at another infant girl, elders dont wince when they comment that he is finding himself a girlfriend already. Guess if we dont take it seriously like you did at the table, things will be normal or so I would like to believe.

    • I think the trick is in joking in a way that the kid doesn’t realise, I guess. the brat was 14 months when we had his first playdate and the mother of the girl and i joked about it being their first date. they could barely speak, let alone understand us. That girl is still one of his favourite friends and we don’t make those jokes anymore because now it would make them self conscious and they’d lose out on a lovely friendship

  8. seriously MM, your future dil is one lucky little girl running around somewhere now. i can only hope and wish that anna eventually ends up with a sweetie like your son – and the (oh so very important) icing on the cake would be parents-in-law like you and the OA. i’m getting all teary-eyed thinking about my baby getting married some day – sniff sniff

  9. OK this might be a teeny weeny bit tough for you to deal with as a parent (teaching the Brat that it is OK to have friends who are girls), but your post sounds darn adorable. πŸ˜€ A little girl helping a little guy tie his shoe laces.. Awww.. Chhooo chweet. πŸ™‚

  10. Oh my goodness !! How sweet is that. By the way , didn’t you tie the OA’s shoelaces once (and he jumped two feet back ?) !!

  11. Your post made me smile:) Just the other day my son who is also 6yrs old came back from school rather irritated and i was like…what happened?? why are you in such a bad mood…he was like , kuch nahi…but i knew something was bothering him and i needed to know..after much cajoling he admitted, he hates “S” for sitting next to his friend(read girl friend) in the bus as he misses chatting with her..ufffffff.

  12. Awwwwwwwwwww…and wow! My first best friend ever was this little boy who lived a few houses down and his mom was the one who started calling us boyfriend-girlfriend, we were four or something. It always made me feel wierd but I was too busy running around and being a kid. He eventually moved away for a few years but when he came back, his mom was all, “Oh about time to re-unite the happy couple!” We were in our early teens and this time there was no overcoming the teasing and we never really spoke again. Sad!

    This teasing business can sometimes be such a pain!

    • That is so sad. It used to happen to me too and I got really awkward around that kid and never spoke to him inspite of him living down the road. He still lives there and he’s got kids and I still havent spoken to him!

  13. I am ready of fall off my chair laughing too πŸ˜€
    Yesterday was the first time my 4 year old tried to figure out how H and I met. “Were you in the same school ? Did you sit on the same desk?”
    We exchanged a look and said “No”. He did not dwell on the topic, but now we know that very soon he would want to know “our story”. It’s coming sooner that we planned for it!

  14. hi

    Hi MM,

    i am one of your regular followers well not from really long time but from just around the time i conceived(which is close to two years now). I admire your style of writing, the topics you choose and also generally the way its written. I eagerly look forward to your post (almost everyday). when i dont find one, i end up reading all your old posts. i guess i’ve read all of them now in fact some more than once actually. I draw a lot of inspiration from the way you handle your children and everything else that comes along the way. oh and love the way you decorate your home. have picked up an idea or two from you on those. Have commented once in your blog but guess didnt really get to write how much i love reading your blog. I am assuming that am one of the first few commenters and this appreication of mine is not lost this time around. pls keep writing

    • Your appreciation is not lost at all, and is in fact, much appreciated. It’s always good to have someone stop by and say they like what you’re doing πŸ™‚ Thank you.

  15. What a sweet girl!!

    I don’t think i have helped any boy tie his shoelaces when i was six !!

    Girlfriend…err…cant blame the kid , considering what he is being exposed to!!

  16. It’s not the first time I’ve heard / read / seen (on TV) it, but “4-year old kids talk about kissing girlfriends on the mouth” still made me go “Eww!” And yeah, go get the walking stick. What else is left to do if they kiss / smooch each other at age 4?!! Then, maybe, you can use it for some good old-fashioned Catholic-school-whacking instead of walking!

    • I was rather horrified myself. A 4 year old telling another little boy – is she your girlfriend? she cant be your girlfriend if she doesnt kiss you on the lips.
      i have nothing against girlfriends. or kissing. i am just shocked that the 4 year old made the connection!

      • Ooh – these kids are too smart for their own good. We poor oldies have to keep up!

        Adorable by the way – such sweet innocence…how amazing if we could bottle it up and have a whiff every now and then!

  17. Dear MM

    Loved the line “PS: Oh my God, did my son just turn old enough to say the word girlfriend?”…too adorable for words.

    On a serious note, really admire you for thinking about the impact your child’s social circle will have on him. In my friend circle, I see parents obsessed about sending their children to the “best school”. Never mind the fact that the children end up with a distorted and entitled world view. Not saying that they are completely wrong, but life’s success is dependent on so much more..

    Anyways, that is my penny bit. Am not a mother yet, but hope to be some day. Till then,…..

    warm wishes

    Anu

    • πŸ™‚ Well I think all parents are thinking of social circle impact in different ways. Most parents want their kids in Modern School or Sanskriti not for the education but the networking it gets. Your child’s classmate is the CM’s grandson or the PM’s granddaughter. The OA and I once saw a kid in a laal batti gaadi get out of the car at the traffic signal to buy something. The light was about to change to green so the driver got out and tried to get the kid back into the car. He and his brother turned around and hit the driver.
      I have a great horror of rich, indulged kids. I have an even greater horror of kids whose parents are in govt service. I have plenty of friends from the good old day who are really humble. But the current crop seem to think they’re the big shots who deserve the red light on top of the car 😦

  18. Kids talking about girlfriends does not bother me as much as the adults label innocent friendship of little kids, like hippy holly said in comments.
    My 4.5yr old daughter’s buddy is a little boy of same age. They are together in the same daycare for the last 2yrs and they will be same class for JK/SK as well. one day his father asking him “is she(my daughter) your girlfriend?”. I told him that there enough time to find out that, for now let them be friends and enjoy each other’s company. Another day someone we know, met after a gap of few months, asked my 7yr old son ‘do you have a girlfriend?’. Already grade 1 kids are gettting conscious of genders. do we have to rub it on them?.

    Brat, you go ahead and make friends with good kids, girl or boy. God bless

  19. The girl gives me hope. The fact that she takes care of the Brat in a way, and can also manage to climb trees…I like!!! And I am sure she is aware of the teasing too, and is admirably ignoring it πŸ™‚ Aah, my kind of world has finally arrived πŸ˜€

  20. Awwww!!!! Ur the cutest mother I can think of …for this moment at-least ! Awwwwwwwwwww! BTW for once..its YOU, the mother that I’m awwww-ing over…not your adorable son-a-ling!

    Just saying….the hubby ties my shoe-laces…I just can’t get them right….yet ya ! πŸ™‚

    n i’m of the opinion that it is very very inappropriate for tiny tots to be nurturing the thought of girlfriend and kissing and other stuff that could mabbe be saved for the teenage years!

  21. I like OA’s comment “β€˜A girl who ties his shoelaces – what more can any mother want for her son?!’
    The man has some sense of humour πŸ™‚

    • Well its a double joke you see. One on the typical mother in law stereotype. The other being the fact (as Minka pointed out in one comment) that I often bend down and tie his shoelaces as he’s getting ready for work. I blogged about it once. He was shocked by the humility of the gesture whereas I was just helping him hurry up and get ready. And somewhere there he realised that this is what parents want for their son – a girl who doesn’t bother with ego when it comes to her husband… and yet, his wife was not being loved or appreciated 😦

  22. This just brought a big grin to my face :)), my daughter and her best friend who is a 6 year old boy were born on the same day at the same hospital and part by 5 hours, they have been in the same day cares and same school and meet often during weekends on play dates. She used to get teased a lot, we gently reprimanded the other boys to stop doing so. I dunno where this will turn up, but for now, I will be totally ok if they end up at the altar as he is such a sweet heart :)).

    Deepa

    • πŸ™‚ We mothers are strange huh? They’re barely 2-3 and we’re thinking way ahead. I totally agree with you. I can’t tell you what terror it struck in my heart when we were at the old school and these women I couldn’t relate to would parade in, blue eyeshadow early in the morning, hot pants, fancy car, a maid carrying the kid! And I’d be like – oh my God, if my kids end up dating and marrying one of their classmates, I’ll throw myself off the Qutub Minar.

      • You won’t have to. Those women would likely have pushed you just so they don’t have you in their la di dah circles πŸ˜€ (not that you can’t beat them at their own game if you choose – and look WAAAAAAY better too)

        • πŸ™‚ Actually no. They all wanted to be friends. The Brat is a good child and they all loved their kids playing with him. And I was …er… entertaining. Mostly outspoken and unwilling to conform and they probably wanted me around as the entertainment for the day πŸ˜‰

          • Then…i can only say you’re a snob. *runs and hides*.

            We’re too high and mighty for blue eyeshadow and hot pants…unless it’s on our hot bod! πŸ˜€

  23. What caught my attention was this line ‘. I make the bunny rabbit ears and twist them around, but they get knotted up…’

    This is totally cute. Did you make the bunny rabbit ear connection while teaching him to tie his laces? Or is this his own imagination? πŸ˜€

    On another note, hasn’t it been really long since you pulled out a post from your old blog and posted it here?

    • achcha why does everyone think he is cute – when in this case it is that sweet girl tying his laces who should get all the credit?
      although i have to admit, when things like this happen I realise that life looks out for the gentle idiots like my son. no one else will find a girl tying his shoelaces….

      • Cos he _IS_ cute! well, the girl is cute too, to give her credit for all the hoelace tying and climbing n all… but Brat is something else!!
        πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  24. This is so cute! This is why I love your writing so much — you can bring tears to our eyes with one post, and a big smile with the next. My kids refuse to believe that I was their dad’s girlfriend before I became his wife πŸ™‚

    • πŸ™‚ Why? Do they think you’re not cool enough? My kids have no idea what a girl friend or the connotations are, so they believe the OA when he tells them that Priyanka Chopra is his girlfriend. Yes, I know he has poor taste in celebs. Thankfully he redeemed himself by marrying me πŸ˜‰

  25. Hi MM – seriously – Brat is old enough to say the word girlfriend?! Oh man I can’t believe he is so grown up! KB has not yet mentioned that word but he did talk about something that his friends were talking about in school along those lines. But didn’t seem to think anything of it.
    Oh man KB is still not comfortable tying shoe laces. Takes him for ever! And most often I am in such a rush I end up helping him. I should now allocate ten minutes for shoes before he leaves for basket ball etc. For school so far he used velcro shoes…this year it is with shoe laces.

    • Yes, I too buy velcro shoes. And no the Brat isn’t very comfy with laces which is why the ‘girlfriend’ helps him. I know the Brat won’t come up with it himself – its the other kids teasing him. Actually he is such a gentle soul that all the girls like him. I can see why the boys make a big deal of it.
      God Noonie, bum washing, lace tying – what else do we have to teach them?!

  26. Very very cute post πŸ™‚ You write SO well MM πŸ™‚
    If only we were to stop labelling friends into “girlfriends” and “boyfriends” and consider them just as friends-I believe, it would help even in the long run, in terms of acceptance to marriages outside of caste,religion and the works.
    Some people are so warped, in that, we believe any interaction outside of the same gender HAS to be because those two are in a “relationship”.
    Yes,they are in a “relationship” and the relationship here is called “friendship”. Perhaps unheard of a few centuries back,but certainly not in this time and age.
    And yet,we have stupid people who walk around labelling. It is outrageous to be teasing KIDS like this. As it is technology does enough to expose kids to every damn thing at the earliest age possible,but do people need to add to this unnecessary accumulation of knowledge and confuse those innocent minds?
    Sorry for the long rant,MM :O

  27. I think that was rather sweet of him to have been able to be so nonchalant about all that girlfriend stuff. It’s normal for everyone to have a soft corner for someone in the class or office or colony. I had soft corner for a boy in school too and I’d do stuff for him which I didn’t do for others, not in a boyfriend-y way. However, he was enraged and almost hit a girl who called us bf-gf all the while I was crying in the corner of a class. Even now I remember of those days and smile. Makes for lovely memories. I guess even now I have a soft corner for him πŸ™‚

    I’m sure Brat will be able to figure out things on his own, the grounded being he is.

    • Well I’d look back at my teens and say that unofficially we were dating by then too. We’d be in a big gang to cover up the fact that two couples out of them were in fact, on a date. So really, there would be nothing new. If at all, I’d try and keep it under my nose, at my place (dear God, how will I ever go back to full time work?!). I remember girls sneaking out to meet boys – two of them got raped by the boys they went out with. If only their parents had just let them meet in a peaceful public place like a coffee shop or the living room, it wouldn’t have been rape in the gardener’s shed or the car garage.
      Kids WILL sneak around and do what they want. The only thing you can do is ensure that they don’t need to sneak. That way if a boy is sleazy, they will know you are objecting to the boy and not to dating in general.
      My parents always knew what I was upto and figured if I was ready to do it, there shouldn’t be any other arbitrary age limit. After all hormones make a compelling argument – isnt that why you were married off at an early age? How can we deny that basic instinct? Middle class morality can set age limits, but it will do nothing to protect our kids from what they want to do, I feel.

      • Agreed. I think forcing kids to sneak around is the worst idea there is. I don’t find kids under 15 dating surpising or shocking, there were plenty of couples in class when I was around that age, and this was 14 years ago. Most parents were cool with them hanging out in a coffee shop or at home with parental supervision. I can’t think of any dire consequenses of dating at 13-14, as long its done in an age appropriate manner. Of course, now we hear of kids who are sexually active even before they hit their teens, that really scares me.

        • It scares me and I have no idea what to do about it. Do I stand around guarding my kids’ ‘virtue’ all day or get a life? Is teaching them sex ed and trusting them to do the right thing enough or do I need to do more?

          • OMG OMG OMG!!! I’m hyperventilating at the mere thought of kids going around at 13 and teen harmones etc. And hell, I don’t even have a kid! God please have mercy on the parents. Amen!

  28. Did you watch Trust? Its directed by David Schwimmer (Ross Gellar!). Its a simple, all-too-familiar but still scary-as-hell tale of innocence lost. I was deeply disturbed by the movie because the girl/victim comes from an educated, stable family with caring parents whom she shares a great relationship with. It really raises the question of what more can I do? My mum’s solution was to scare me to death about the consequences, sex ed extreme. Maybe you can show them a birthing video but that might scare them off sex for life πŸ™‚

  29. MM, does the OA also get as concerned about such fears which u have, e.g. Brat going to a school meant mostly for the rich and the famous, teaching them the value of money and self-reliance etc. I shudder on some of these things and the husband says I overreact and think too much, so trying to figure out if I should take his trip for saying this, or shrug it off thinking he’s a guy and a chilled out one, at that.

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