My little rock stars

Memoirs of my mommyhood


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The bully talk

The husband is on a business trip. Tunmun has slept off. Venky has viral fever. He is lying on the sofa. I am stroking his hair to make him feel better.

“Venky, who are your best friends in class these days?” I ask. This year the sections got reshuffled. He does not have any of his old pals in his section anymore.

“P, AV and AB”

I discuss his new friends with him. Then, I ask him about one of his long time classmates,

“What about G? Where is she?”

“She is in another section now.”

“She was your best friend last year, isn’t it?”

“Nah. I did not like her!”

“Why?”

“She was rude. She would always threaten us with her big brother!”

“Really?”

“Yes. One day, her brother came to our class. He called out Z and shouted at him badly!”

“But Z was very naughty, isn’t it? You told me that he used to hit other kids.”

“Yes. But G’s big brother should not have shouted at him. It was scary.”

“Well, won’t you do the same if one of the boys from Tunmun’s class troubles her?”

“NO WAY! I am never to going to shout and bully little kids.”

“But shouldn’t you protect your little sister?”

“She should be able to manage her classmates on her own. My sister is not a weakling!”

Venky’s refusal to bully smaller kids and regarding his little sister as a strong individual made me feel warm and happy. So far, he is growing up just right.


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A second chance

As the year winds up, celebrations begin. Festivity is in the air. Our company threw us a party last weekend to celebrate our hard work and appreciate our families. There were shows and songs from some small celebrities.  There was a dance floor too, but it remained empty as the crowd was shy. The singer repeatedly kept asking people to come up and dance but no one volunteered. At that moment miss T declared

“Mamma, I want to go and dance!”

I paused for a moment. That clearly meant that I had to accompany her to the dance floor in the front. I am rather shy and dancing in front of a crowd is clearly not my forte. But Tunmun is uninhibited. As a parent, I could not let my daughter be stopped due to my inhibitions. So, I had to break out of my comfort zone.

So, miss T and I were the first to begin dancing in the whole goddam crowd. Soon, we were joined by other moms and daughters and then by the other men too!

As I continue to explore parenthood, one thing is becoming largely clear to me. Parenting is not about the child at all. It is about the parent. Kids grow up in many different circumstances. I am not sure how much parents really effect the kids’ personality. However, for the parent it is one hell of a learning experience.

They help us break our barriers like my daughter did last night. We strive to be better human beings as we are the default role models. We care a little bit more about everything. About child labor. About the state of affairs in the country. About the environment and the air quality. About he paper littered on the road. For this is the world that we will leave behind for our children. We notice the flowers and butterflies and birds and fish and stars a little more and we discover the magic of these moments. Their innocence put you to shame and their questions make you question yourself. They help you see the futility of ego and the power of love.

Parenthood is all about the parent’s personal growth. It is literally your second chance to become more human.


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More Tunmunisms

I have been trying to get miss T into a habit of wearing footwear. My daughter whose shoes cover most of the racks in the shoe shelf is mostly found running around bare foot! I have tried all techniques – lectures, threats, emotional blackmail, confiscation of her favourite shoes, punishment. You name it. Nothing works on Tunmun who continues to conveniently forget her chappals! So, one day she came running down the stairs, you guessed it, barefoot.

“Tunmun! Where are your slippers?” I asked in a stern voice.

“I don’t know!” Tunmun looked at me directly as she made herself comfortable in her fathers lap.

I glared at her. Tunmun met my eyes steadily.

“You asked me a question, I gave you an answer!”

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Tunmun has her dad wrapped around her little finger. She says “Papa will feed me.” and lo, there is her father putting spoonfulls in her mouth. “Papa, I am tired!” and papa carries her rest of the way. But there are times when Papa refuses. For instance a request like “Papa, I want a chocolate!” might get a firm no. These are the occasions reserved for her brahmastra threat

I will not show you the universe!

Well, miss T’s dad can see the universe inside her mouth, just like little Krishna.

“Tunmun please show me the universe!” Vibhu requests and Tunmun promptly kisses him and pop opens her mouth. Her dad is able to spot some planets and stars inside.

One fine day, Tunmun declared matter of factly.

“I know that there is no universe inside my mouth!”

“What? Who told you!” asked Vibhu, disappointed that his little daughter is growing up fast.

“I know!” she shrugged.

“Then why do you open your mouth when I ask you to?”

“Because you like it that way!” Tunmun shrugged again.

And hence the duo still go on playing the universe-in-a-mouth, but there is confusion around who is kidding whom! :)


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A dad’s profession

We are taking a walk inside the colony. Tunmun is skating with us. Actually, she is just rolling holding our hands on her either side. We are making random conversations with her.

“Tunmun, do you know what does your papa do?”, asked the curious dad.

“Yes!”

“What does he do?” I asked wondering what she makes of his work.

“He kisses me!”

That indeed is the most important thing that her dad does! :)


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Not to be fooled.

R.I.P APJ Kalam.

When the alarm woke me Vibhu up today, he found the sms stating that school will remain closed to mourn the ex president. Hence, we let the kids oversleep. When Venky woke up, he realized that it was way past school time.

“Why did you not wake me up for school?”

“What? What school? Today is Saturday!” Vibhu teased.

“No! Today is Tuesday. Yesterday was Monday!”

“What are you saying Venky? Yesterday was Friday. You finished your Class 6 exams.”

“What? I am in class 4!”

“You have forgotten everything Venky! You are in class 6. You are 10 years old!”

“You are kidding me!” Venky started getting worried.

“No! Don’t you remember anything?”

Venky decided he cannot trust us. So he went to the most reliable source. The smartphone.

“Ok Google, what day is today?”

“Today is Tuesday, 28th of July 2015.”,  answered Google.

Venky pumped his fist in the air and walked off with a winning smile! :)


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Vacation snippets

 

Location: Alaska

It’s a cold rainy day. We were wandering around , halting randomly for views and pictures. We were driving towards the Byron Glacier trail. We had found out that it was an easy trek with the kids and were hoping that the weather will clear up. But that was not to be. It continued to be cloudy and drizzly. We were not sure if the kids were up to it. We were not sure if we were up to it.

“Who wants to go for a trek in this weather?” Asked Vibhu

All of us exchanged looks. Unsure.

“I am game.” Added Vibhu.

“I am game!” Shouted Venky.

“I am game!!” Yelled Tunmun.

“I am game too.” It was my turn to encore.

And thus our adventurous family trekked a mile to the snow in cold and rain. And boy, we made a memory of a lifetime!

Location: Snoqualmie Falls, Redmond

Vibhu is in office. I drive the kids for a picnic day out. Oh yeah, I even cooked fried rice and packed to have a picnic lunch! Kids love the view of the falls from the top and want to trek to the bottom. I don’t want to do that. It is a steep trek. I am worried that if Tunmun gives up on return, I will be in no position to carry her. My adventurous kids continue to insist. I finally relent and we start trekking down. There is jungle on both sides. There is warning about wild animals living in the jungle including the mountain lion.

“Venky see, its not safe!” I point to the notice.

But the kids are not ready to let go of the trek. We make our way down and suddenly there is a ROAAARRRR. Venky is the first one to scream.

“Mommy! Its a lion. I know it! I have heard on it on animal planet!”

He hops, skips and jumps and makes all the way back to the top. I drag Tunmun behind me. I am a little scared too. Tunmun would have made an ideal catch for the mountain lion.

Anyways, we are back and safe. We’ve had enough adventure for the day!

Location: St Lopez Islands, WA

We took a cruise to San Juan Islands. We chose the tiniest and most thinly populated amongst them – the St. Lopez islands. We roamed around in the un inhabited wilderness of the area. You could actually hear the birds chirping crystal clear. What’s more we got to see the sea lions in the wild!

There was an abandoned wooden boat in one of the wilder beaches. It was such a perfect setting for a picture. Venky ran ahead of all of us and jumped inside the boat. Then he started screaming. We ran towards him asking what was wrong. I was worried about snakes and scorpions. Venky just kept screaming. Finally, when his dad made it to him, he calmed down and said that a bee came out from his shoe and had probably bit him.

“Now what will happen papa? Am I going to die in 3 minutes?”

“Well… let’s wait for 3 minutes and see what happens!” Answered the dad.

As for three minutes, they passed without any happenstance. Venky still insists that there are bee varieties whose sting can cause death in 3 minutes. Who am I to challenge him!

Location: Grand Canyon

Tunmun was incredibly excited to see the canyon. She climbed over the rocks and kept jumping with excitement.

“Mommy! I wish I was an ant!!!” Said Tunmun.

“An ant! Why?”

“Then I could climb all the way down to into the canyon!”

Only it would take several lifetimes! :)


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My little big girl!

Tunmun is officially big now. All of five! A first grader.

Her birthday was celebrated with a small cake in our Alaskan hotel room. She was alright with not have a big birthday bash. Tunmun just enjoyed her USA adventure. She trekked with us, in snow and rain. She climbed the rocks of Grand Canyon, ahead of her brother. She surprised us by her adventurous spirit.

I always thought my girl was girly. She loves her barbies and accessories. She always wants fancy glitter shoes. Always likes to be dressed up in frocks. Strictly prefers her hair long and flowing. Decides her color of nail paint and wants to change them every week. Such girls are not expected to be climbing trees. Adventure is primarily considered a boys thing. Girls who are adventurous (like moi) are the ones who are tomboys. They prefer pants and play outdoors.

When I saw Tunmun race ahead in every adventure, I was delighted. Her confidence and comfort in being herself is so heartening to see. She does not try to fit in into any given mould. She is a girly girl and also a tomboy. She is neither. She is both. She obsesses over Queen Elsa and insists on buying pink Legos.That does not stop her from enjoying the twisty roller coaster. What’s more, she self learnt to cycle and got rid of her trainer wheels! We have no idea of how and when she picked up the balance. We just found her cycling someone else’s bicycle with no side wheels one fine day!

When I was in the engineering college, it was said that the college has only males and non-males. No females. I think we were conditioned to think that if wanted to have careers like men, we should be like them. I am not sure if we deliberately imitated them or if the psychology played in our subconscious mind, but we did try to be not bothered about our clothes and earrings. We never had nail paints and never visited beauty parlors. We shunned the girly stuff hoping it will make great professionals out of us.

My daughter’s ease with self and surety about what she wants is exhilarating. She is the girl who climbs trees in her shiny dress and glittery shoes. She does not shun her identity to do things that she likes to do. She just picks and choses what she wants from the complete spectrum.  In her I find the little girl, I would like to be!

The uninhibited next generation girls are coming up. I so hope the world is ready for them!

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