I always have terrible earaches on flights and so does the Brat. The OA and Bean are used to us dissolving into a puddle of agony by the end of the flight. Years ago, after a particularly turbulent flight, I lost my hearing (and balance) for over six hours and needed a lot of treatment and rehabilitation.
The kids have heard this story many times and last evening as we landed, the Bean was watching me carefully for signs of distress. I did the chewing, the Valsalva’s manoeuvre, the yawning, and kept my fingers crossed. The Bean in the meantime, kept telling me stories in an attempt to distract me from my pain (how the child becomes the mother!).
And then my heart sank – I could feel my hearing go. Her voice became fainter and I focused harder, desperate to hold on to my hearing.
That’s when it struck me that I couldn’t hear *her* too well, but I *could* hear everyone around me perfectly.
The little devil was messing with my head and gradually lowering her voice, just to drive me bloody insane with terror.
The moment she saw the look on my face and realised she’d been caught, she fell over laughing. So much for child becoming mother.
I was walking the Bean to the park, a mere five minutes after I’d changed her clothes etc and she already had chocolate all over the front, the sleeves and unbelievably, the back of her tee too!
Me (in despair): Beanie! What are people going to say when they see how dirty your clothes are, baby? They’ll think your parents neglect you.
Bean (in a misguided attempt to make me feel better and to flatter): Yeah, but they’ll see your clean feet and pretty nails and say, it’s okay, her mother must be busy taking care of herself.
Err. Gee. Thanks?
Bean sneezes and follows it up promptly with, ‘Bless me’.
I absently look up from work and murmur, ‘Sorry, darling. Bless you.’
Bean: ‘That’s okay. I’d rather bless myself than wait for someone else to bless me.’
Brat working on a project on Martin Luther King. We’re discussing racism and colour.
Bean pipes up: Oh! This is news to me. I thought white people admire darker people and want to be like them. Why else do they lie in the sun and try to get a tan?
Bean lays the table, nods approvingly at the setting and says aloud, talking to herself, ‘I have good taste,’… and then rubs her belly and says, ‘… and soon I’ll have a good taste in my mouth too.’
So the kids are singing in the choir and practicing at home with me. I told them to enunciate properly. The Bean looks at me severely and says – You mean pronunciate.
So I corrected her and couldn’t help grinning.
And she looks at me and goes – I’m just a baby. You have to respect that!
New Delhi station and the coolies descend on our coach. They see a lone woman with kids and their rates sky rocket. I tell them to get lost but they sit down and grin. Waiting for me to fold. Until they see a sleepy faced little pint bend down and start yanking out 30 kg suitcases with all her strength. Determination writ large on her little face.
Clearly these ladies can’t be intimidated. Fortunately Cousin K arrives and we tell the coolies to go jump.
As we walk out the Brat asks me in honest bewilderment why they would overcharge us. I tell him it’s because they imagine that a woman is weak. And that her children are a liability, not her strength. But that mama doesn’t give in to blackmail or to people who mess with her.
The Bean thinks about this and then asks – When I grow up, can I mess back with the coolies just a little bit?!
Hah! I’d like to be a spectator to that.
OA to me – Btw, which scotch did you take for your dad this time?
Me… err…I took the.. the…
Bean: Don’t ask her. She took Haig but doesn’t remember.
For all the years that I let my family down on the alcohol front, the Bean will make up.
Me: Goodmorning Bean, did you sleep well?
Bean (the frowning, grumpy, sleep-deprived artist): Hmm, not really. I’ve been working on my dream and part 2 is coming up.
Me: Bean, I LOVE you to bits… and pieces.
Bean: I love you to.. to crumbs.
Bean: Mama, what is a press conference?
Me: When people open a store, build a hotel, launch something, write a book, achieve something, they call the press, the media, journalists and tell them about it so that they can write about it or show it on TV.
Bean: That sounds as bad as boasting. Here look, I have so much money and I’ve built something so great. Huh!
Well when you put it that way….
They’re born to the same parents, they have the same upbringing.
But you realise how little nurture matters in the face of nature when you tell them to sit down to homework and within minutes –
He says – I’ll start with maths. It’s fun and easy.
She says – When’s the next party? It’s been two days.
I think he was switched at the hospital.
After being tricked by the Brat for the nth time the Bean snaps: “What do you mean this is the oldest trick in the book, oldest trick in the book? You’ve said that for three different tricks. What about second oldest trick and third oldest trick?”
A fly on the wall while the OA teaches his daughter and loses his mind. She’s trying to explain her homework to him.
Frustrated OA to daughter – Don’t worry, I can figure it out, I have two post graduate degrees.
Err, of course she understands that.
Bean to father – You said blah is written this way and now you’re saying blah blah. You have to learn to make up your mind.
OA holding head in agony.
Me? I believe in unschooling.