Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Of death and mortality...

There's only so much you can keep a child's vocabulary limited to all things bright and sunny. With more stories being told, videos being watched, conversations at camps and classes, our daughter has picked up a whole set of new words that always bring in awkwardity and discomfort - death, kill, dead etc. 

Interestingly, she has not directly asked me the meaning of these words - and I have let her go explore her own meanings and plan to wait for her to come to me rather than offer my explanations voluntarily. During some fighting game she loves playing (read jumping on the bed on me at nap time) - she said, "Mommy I am going to kill you and then you pretend die, okay?"

I was like okay but "What do you mean by die?". So she goes, "Don't move - you are going to be trapped and you can't move or breathe." I just played on. 

However, the other she took me by complete shock, when very casually as I was helping her put on her shoes to go out for her swimming class, she asked me, "Mommy dying also means going to sleep forever,, right? I am scared what if you and daddy die? Who will take care of me? Who will take me for classes? Who will love me?"

I was absolutely shaken and couldn't reply for a minute or so. Finally, I told her, "Don't worry - nothing's going to happen to mommy and daddy - we are going to be with you forever."

That has to be the biggest lie I have or ever will tell my child but still I decided that a 3 year old need not worry about the tryst with mortality at such a young age. God willing, I hope I'll get a chance to revisit that question with a more mature Manya.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

M goes to the planetarium!

All of last year, Manya used to say she wants to grow up to be an astronaut (she want to be a Vet now) and consequently she has learnt quite a bit about planets, and stars and moons. We thought she was ready for her first trip to the Planetarium and we were correct! 

She was awestruck the entire time, and listened so carefully and watched with such amazement that it was absolutely worth it to go into the chaos of downtown braving a rainy day and crowded streets!

Friday, May 13, 2016


One of those moments that need to be captured as is...

We are standing at a slightly secluded spot - there are the woods, a small pond and lots of birds chirping around. Manya says: "mommy I love how I can hear silence here"
Me: how can you hear silence - you just mean the noise the birds are making
Manya: you don't understand - you need to concentrate and then listen.
Me: Manya I hear nothing
Manya: that is right, you hear silence.
Either I have driven her crazy or she's driving me crazy! 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Rules of Engagement: Toddlers

Our little cub is not so little anymore - from a new born, to an infant, to a baby, to a toddler - she has crossed through quite a few stages; and as we prepare to say adieu to toddlerhood and hello to the preschooler, I thought I'd put in my learning in a post to share - with parents who are going thru or will be going thru this stage soon, so that they know it never gets easy - with parents who have already crossed this stage, so that they can sit back, laugh, and thank god they are done with - with friends who are not yet parents, so that they know exactly what all to consider before taking the giant leap! :P.

And I am happy that I haven't broken the tradition of a post around Mother's Day - fourth year in a row! Thank you and a very happy mother's day to you too (whatever that means, because I haven't seen a non-Mother's Day in the last 4 years :D)

Alright, ladies and gentlemen, based on limited experience and research, presenting to you Rules of Engagement for Toddlers (Age range: About 1 - 3 years) - written from their perspective (ofcourse)...

I Rule of Ownership
Everything is mine - my stuff, your stuff, the neighbor's stuff, the friend's stuff, the play gym's stuff. If it is in somebody else's hand, it is definitely mine. If I can't have it, oh yeah, it sure is mine. If it is dangerous, I was born to own it. If it is broken, lying within reach, or nobody's showing interest in it, I might consider for one fleeting moment, that it may not belong to me. This poem makes a fun read on the subject.

II Rule of Time aka Rule of "NOW"
There was no past, there is no future - no yesterday, today, or tomorrow. I live in the present moment - NOW. I want candy now.  Want to go to the park now. Play now. Eat now. Cry now. Kiss now. Jump now. There's only one small exception to the rule - I never ever want to sleep now.

III Rule of Appetite
I am never hungry except when - you are using the restroom, on the phone, working, cleaning up, in the grocery store 5 mins post evening snack, at an outing where food cannot be made immediately available, when guests are home, and most importantly at nap time and bed time.

IV Rule of Night time Sleep
Fed, cleaned, brushed, changed, bed time story done, song done, all snuggled up in bed, I need to talk. I feel hungry. I definitely need to use the potty. I need a drink. As that sweet kissing mommy changes to a monster yelling at me, I quickly fall asleep so that she spends the rest of the night in guilt of shouting at me as the last thing of the day.

V Rule of Napping
Refer to Rule IV on Sleep above. In addition to that, there's a strong possibility I'll skip napping altogether and then I'll fall asleep in the car, driving to the groceries, so that mommy is caught in the eternal struggle to wake a sleepy baby or spend time browsing on her phone in the parking lot. (My mommy is getting smarter - she has a book ready on her tablet for such occasions.)

VI Rule of New Clothes
If you have dressed me in new clothes, I am surely going to soil it, spill food on it and generally make it unwearable before we have even gotten out of the door.

VII Rule of Vocabulary Building
I will pick up only those words and expressions that you don't want me to. You can never be too careful. And I will keep repeating them for everybody, till every single person knows how bad your language is. Don't even try spelling it for my sake - people find it cuter when a curse word is spelt out correctly by humans of my age.

VIII Rule of Arms against Common Enemy
Nobody is on your side - not me, not your friend, not your own mom and dad. I act extra sweet and cute when with extended family and friends, because I get sympathy, empathy, and such support that I almost begin to feel sorry for your state. Life is unfair, you often tell me. Haa!

IX Rule of Potty
Resist potty training as much as I can - as if my life would cease to exist if I were made to sit on the pot. And when finally potty trained, I sit on it all day singing, playing with toilet paper and creating a mess - potty is my favorite place to be. Also, it is of utmost importance to use the potty when mommy sits down to eat, when she is cooking, when there are guests, when in a new place and never mind there's no nature call - I just fake it. Also, I talk about potty all day - it has become the center of my being.

X Rule of Persistence
If I am told a NO, keep asking, whining, crying, in the hope that one day that NO will change into a Yes. And if that is not achieved, I atleast get the distinct satisfaction of my mom pull out her hair in desperation.

XI Rule of Unpredictability
I hate when adults are so sure about my like and dislikes. Hello! Till you get it signed on a stamp paper, don't hold me to what you think my favorites are. That includes what you think are my favorite foods, clothes, games, activities, people etc. I like to experiment and not be so predictable!

XII Rule of Argumentation
I first want to know WHO and WHAT. Who is that? What is that? Everything - everything all over a million times. Then I want to know the WHY - an infinite loop of Whys. You don't think you can keep up? Why?

XIII Rule of Positive Action
Ending the list of rules on an ominous number, I just do it. If it looks dangerous, if I know they are not going to let me do it, if I think it might cause panic and alarm, I will definitely take the plunge.

Finally, one overarching Golden Rule: While following all the above rules, I don't forget the hugs and kisses and cuddles and snuggles and the innocent puppy faced glances. These adults are suckers for such. Just as I know the dam of patience is going to break, I say or do something incredibly sweet and that gets me the get out of jail card for free!