Sunday, August 12, 2018

Parenting Lessons, Mostly from the Kids

God Vs. Ma

Pickle is very fascinated by an author of funny poems, whose name escapes me at the moment. But he has been reading out poems from a big fat black book to us and one of his favourites is one titled God Vs. Ma - all about the contradictory instructions that children get from God ( play with lovely stray dogs) versus Ma ( don't touch him, be careful). You get the drift.

So the kids were debating in front of me about who's right in general - God versus Mom. And Peanut says slyly -

'Well, you know, that's hard to decide...because God is also very important...and Ma, well, she's here right now and listening so it's hard to tell the truth.'

Thanks, kids.

What's the Time?

At the bus-stop, Pickle displays his usual patience. 'Mom, what time is it?'

'It's 8.15 a.m.' I say automatically.

'How can it still be 8.15?' He demands. 'That's what you said earlier too.'

'Yes.' I admit. 'But earlier was 10 seconds ago.'

'It's not 8.15, mom.' He whines. 'It's LATER and the bus is LATE and...'

'Oh, just give it a rest, Pickle. It'll be here soon.'

'Show me your phone!' He insists.

'No!' I put it out of reach.

'MOM' He grapples for it, and finally grabs my other wrist and looks at the time on my fitness tracker, just as the numbers on it changes.

'See?' He says sagely. 'I TOLD you it was wasn't 8.15!' The bus pulls up just then as he finishes triumphantly. 'And the bus is LATE.''

The kids pick up their bags and run off, and I swallow my irritation and stand waving at them. I silently wish them a good day, but even more, their teachers.

So Good a Tune

We're walking around the colony together, Pickle and I and he's humming to himself, a bounce in his step.

He's enthusiastic but a little tone-deaf and so it takes me a while to figure it out.


'Yes Mum?'

'Were you just humming...the National Anthem?'

He beams. 'Yes Mum.'

'Er, why? You know we're supposed to stand at attention with it, right, and...'

He bursts out. 'I can't HELP it MUM it's SO GOOD a tune they made it!'

He continues to hum the tune, skipping alongside me. I smile and let him violate the rule I don't even know who made up. It's nice that a kid actually likes the tune. It is a pretty cool tune.

Doesn't quite know me yet, but he will

The twins are excited to have been put into the Sports program at school. Which is nice because it helps channel their excess energy, of which they have a lot, and it keeps them at school longer these days which is always nice for me too.

Papad says 'I'm so happy with morning sports! And I made a new friend! He's SO nice and he plays really well, and he was on my team. I like him!'

I'm glad. 'Really? That's great. What's his name?'

Papad looks confused. 'I'm not sure. I'll ask him tomorrow.'

'Well that's great.' I'm always amused how kids don't think details such as names are necessary for establishing friendships. 'Yeah, ask your new friend tomorrow.'

Papad seems to be thinking it's time to confess. 'Actually, he doesn't know I'm his friend yet. But I'll tell him that tomorrow too.'

I stifle a chuckle.

'Yeah, son. Good idea. Do that.'

Bad Parenting

'So, Mom.' Papad says. 'I have a queschun. '

'Okay, what?'

'Is it Man Day Tory to go to college?'

'Yes. It's mandatory.' I secretly marvel at his growing vocabulary even as I swallow my horror at the question.

'But then how will I play football in the World Cup?'

'Er,' I don't know the details here but it's best to nip these things in the bud. 'You can play football in the World Cup and study, you know. You'll just have to make sure you continue to read and study for the exams even while you're on the field, in the bus, and so on.'

He considers this for a moment and then concludes. 'I think I'll just skip college.'

'Oh no you can't.' I say immediately, and then more gently 'It's Man Day Tory, remember?'

'What does that mean, Mom? Will the police come and arrest me if they find out I didn't go to college?'

I know very well what I'm supposed to say at this point.

'Yes, son,' I nod slowly. ' That's exactly what will happen. Best to avoid it.'

It's just easier this way. I'll tell him some other year, if it comes up again.

Making Herself Useful

Sundays are really weird for me. I can't quite wait for the chance to breathe. But when I do get an hour that looks suspiciously free, it bothers me and I become very restless and start tidying up. Just like my mother used to weekends.

Peanut has no such qualms - she can lie about on the sofa languidly for hours, reading or re-reading one of the three hundred books that she has somehow secreted into the house. But right now, she's been in infected by some strange kind of enthusiasm, possibly from her pesky brothers. So she's practicing some sort of Taekwondo kicks by herself in the drawing room, and narrowly misses kicking my ear as I pass her carrying an armful of books to put on the shelf.

'Peanut.' I scold crossly. 'Stop that. And why don't you do something to make yourself useful?'

Peanut stops with the kicks and begins bobbing up and down on the spot itself. 'Okay Mom. Shall I scream because I'm happy? Is that something useful?'

I'm about to tell her off but I open and then shut my mouth.

'Whatever. ' I manage finally, in a gruff manner. 'Go ahead if you must.' I walk away as quickly as I can, get into my ear and cover my ears as the high-pitched squealing begins.

Truth is, that's probably a pretty good way to spend a Sunday.

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