Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Toy Story

Ok, this toy story calls for a disclaimer first. The views and opinions expressed in this post are solely mine and they do not in any way reflect my capabilities as a parent. My conclusions on child behavior and nurture are based on a very limited experience of 5 years plus 1.5 years and they should in no way be regarded as reflective of the children or parents of the whole universe.

The phone rings and before I can go pick say hello, tiny pair of hands make a grab for it “Hello Hello….who is it?? As if there was a knock on the door. I am watching the champions episode of “chopped” and just when the winner is about to be announced, the channel is switched, what happened? Even smaller pair of hands decided it was time to chop mommy’s TV time. And I haven’t even got to the details  of what happens when I decide to use my very own laptop, yes the one which has a couple of keys missing, more than a few visible scratches and has all the signs of being manhandled by a BABY!

Ever wondered why kids don’t play with toys these days? Because your cell phone, the TV remote and the laptop offer much more. And these are the same kids who want every possible toy in the store.

Go on, read the conversation that demonstrates my futile attempts towards trying to persuade my kindergartner to make use of her toys in her room.

Mom (which is me) : How about you play with your dolls in your room?

5 yr old: They are sleeping, it’s their nap time (playing with her toenails and not looking up while answering)

Mom : ok then, how about you play that princess game we got last week ?

5 yr old: nah, I have played with it enough, I am bored (eyeing the laptop I am working on)

Mom : Let’s see if you can cook something for me in your play kitchen, go fast !

5 yr old : Mooom (as if exhausted) I told you my dolls were sleeping, they will get disturbed if I make noise in the kitchen (the bed unfortunately is next to the kitchen in the princess’s room, not a practical arrangement, I realize )

Mom : why don’t YOU also go to your room and take a nap?

5 year old : Only if you come with me !

Reluctantly I bid goodbye to the laptop and go for a forced nap.

My dealings with the younger one are more straight forward. The tot in question being at an exceptionally dominating age of one and a half years and armed with the newly acquired skill of walking, we really don’t have much to argue about. Mommy’s watching TV, I don’t like it, step on the remote, change the channel. Mommy’s online chatting with her friend, how can she do that, I am not even sleeping, wham, slap whatever part of the  electronic device she can lay her tiny hands on, take out whatever keys she can at one go. Mind you, do not underestimate the power of tiny fingers and wobbly feet, they can give you a run for your laptop, oops, money, I mean same thing!

After many a disrupted chats, phone calls and TV shows, I have arrived at numerous conclusions (now comes the serious part). And by the way the previous line makes it sound like I am always either a) watching TV or b) talking on the phone or c) surfing the internet, I swear on whatever sanity left in me, that it is not so. The very instant I try and indulge on any of the above, fate intervenes in the form of family.

Kids do not play with their toys on their own. You have to play with their toys while they watch you or play with you depending on their mood.

Kids room is a place where toys are stalked and hoarded finally at the end of the day, till then they can be anywhere including in your shower, under the bed, in the kitchen drawers or in the dryer.

Be prepared for a sudden high pitch and a shrill “ now I know my ABCs..” coming out of a dumb looking elephant in the middle of the night, it has happened to me and it is only fair I warn others out there.

 Your electronic gadgets fascinate the kids more than their own toys not only because they  are interesting but also because they are yours.

Did I miss out on the serious part altogether?  Just a few random thoughts if you can make sense of the essence.

Technology can bridge distances and create some too. Television at mealtimes is for people who don’t have people in the house. Buying them the latest toy is no substitution for my time and the so called learning toys cannot teach anything better than me.

Sometimes I am pushing the stroller on the sidewalk with my baby in it and talking on the phone at the same time, not the safest thing to do. A  few other times I am checking emails on the phone with one hand and tucking her in for a nap with the other, not a good time to multi- task.

But that was then and this is now.
Now I know that if my baby throws my phone a part of it is thrill but a major part of it is jealousy, she vies for my attention every single minute. My princess doesn’t want to play by herself in her room; she wants to hang out with me. Now I know that I better make the most of it, soon I will have to knock on the door before she lets me in. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011


A lot happened in the last 2 months. And though all the words put together may not sufficiently describe what I want to say, I will make an honest attempt.

In the last 2 months I successfully completed a 30 hour journey to the other side of the world with my kids, one of whom qualifies to be an infant. “Successfully” is the key word here as I reached my destination sane and sound. Weeks of planning and packing did make the travel less difficult but I would still term the whole experience as best forgotten.

In the last 2 months I anticipated a few tears to flow but nothing prepared me for the overwhelming rush of emotions on seeing my loved ones at the airport. Over joyous on being with them again and sad to have missed their presence for such a long time, my heart swayed in either direction.

In the last 2 months I saw my children being spoilt silly by grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins and for once I did not object.

In the last 2 months I slept in my room just as I used to 20 years back, next to Mom.

In the last 2 months I complained incessantly about the heat, traffic, rising prices, pollution and the roads. But when somebody asked me “would you move back if given a choice?” In a second, I replied.

In the last 2 months I met my school friends and met them again and those were the only friends I met.

In the last 2 months I visited the “Taj Mahal” and the “Akshardham” both of them unforgettable in their own way.

In the last 2 months I counted days everyday for my husband to join us, a reminder that eleven years of being together had not broken the magical connection.

Sadly, in the last 2 months I saw that my parents had grown older and weaker. Their understanding and acceptance of my life so far away did nothing to lessen my own guilt of not being there to take care of them.

In the last 2 months I went shopping every single day. For what?  Don’t ask. Women have their own way of figuring out what to buy once they head into a store.

In the last 2 months I indulged myself to restaurant and roadside food quite often but stuck to bottled water throughout, fully aware that I appeared to be a snob and in fact enjoying that status.

In the last 2 months I tried to squeeze in as much time as I could with my loved ones, scared to think about when next.

In the last 2 months I saw that my kids will never see India the way I do, it is after all my home, not theirs.