The Last Word

As much as I'd hate to admit, DD is seriously changing loyalties. She is gravitating toward the other parent and there's little I can do about it. 

The two play a lot of games, have meaningful in-depth discussions, share a lot of laughter. It is amazing to see the two of them in action. I am there too, just somewhere in the background and fondly remembered when she is hungry or sleepy. 

Recently, the two of them played 'In a  Pickle'. It's not an easy game to explain in a short blog post, but basically it's whoever has a higher value card - word wise, wins.  Example, mountain is bigger than building (generally speaking), so the person who played 'mountain' wins. 

At one particular point, DD played 'Love' and Ady played 'Life'. 

They called me to judge. "Which one's bigger Mamma?"

"Explain yourselves" I said giving them each an opportunity to present their case. 

DD started. "You can be a very small person, but you can love beyond your life. I am small, but I love you, and you are very big. Even after a person dies, their love can stay. So love is bigger than life." she concluded. 

"Ok, you win!" Ady conceded, without even trying to prove his card was better. He was flooded with tears, he was so moved by what his daughter had to say.

"And love moves people" I added, glaring at him. 

The tears flowed freely for a good 5 minutes and DD felt compelled to talk more about love, and her love for her father. She knew it was her moment, and was thoroughly milking it.

"Stop it already!" I told Ady. 

"These are tears of happiness, Mamma" DD said. "Papa is happy."

"I am not crying..." Ady said. 

"Yeah, you're just welling up" I said. "My word wins." I didn't want to be the only one who didn't play the game. 

Photo credit: Pixabay

Vision Auto Correction: 20/20

DD woke us up at 2 in the morning a couple of days ago.I couldn't sleep after that. So I wandered around the house, saw some Friends reruns and ended up being groggy and exhausted the rest of the day. 

My head was splitting and my eyes were burning. So after DD went to school, I thought I'd rest a bit before getting back to work. 

I just couldn't. My eyes were hurting me way too much. I obviously attributed this to my lack of sleep and resting time. But try as I may, I couldn't lie down and shut my eyes peacefully. 

Later that evening, I realized that maybe my glasses weren't nestled on my nose, and my eyes were acting up because they were missing their beloved friend. But everything was very hazy, as soon as I put my glasses on. I still braved it and wore my glasses, as I went about my job. 

At work, I couldn't see clearly. But I noticed that I could, when I got rid of the glasses. I was shocked. Had my vision auto corrected? Did finally waking up at odd hours to accommodate the little one lead to a happy incident? I was ecstatic. 

I started testing my new improved vision on everything - the poster on the wall - a hundred feet away, the bus a mile away, the cat poster which explained why it was superior to humans, I could read everything. 

I started reassessing my diet. Was my mother-in-law's food good to me? Was it the reason I could see without an aid?

When I reached home, and shared the happy news, DD was ecstatic. My mother-in-law however, asked me to be cautious. "vision correction on its own, could mean cataract", she warned. "Get yourself tested." This was like an anti climax to my merriment. Just when I was considering myself a human miracle, she gave me a warning I'd never thought I'd hear. 

So I did the best thing I could. I searched the internet to get as much information about vision auto correction and cataract. I didn't find any strong correlation, so I just went back to initial conclusion-  that I was just a miracle. 

When Ady came home, he and I had a vision test. Of course I won. He couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe it. "It's God's miracle!" said the iconoclast.

My mother-in-law quietly asked me, "Are you sure, you're not wearing your lenses?"

"Ofcourse not!" I said, unable to believe why anybody would not acknowledge my powers. I put my finger into my eye, just to prove my point. 

Well, now that explains everything. I recoiled back to my room, never to be visible to any other human eye. 

Image courtesy: Hebi Fot/Pixabay

A Lesson Backfired

A few months ago, DD had started this habit of chewing on her hair. Nothing we said or did made her stop the habit. It was just too delicious to drop. 

Now this great habit, led to an upset stomach, a case of diarrhea. Well that at least was our immediate conclusion when DD fell sick. 

So I booked an appointment with - the hair stylist, yeah, I felt like I knew the cause of the problem to even consider consulting a doctor. So I took her to the parlor and got her a nice short haircut. 

Turns out, like most things in life, I was not right about the cause of her diarrhea. Her class had a pet tortoise. That tortoise ended up with diarrhea and infected the whole class. 
"See Mamma, it was not the hair. Now I look like a boy!" she cried.
I saw this as another teaching moment.
I apologized to her for my mistake, acknowledging that I had been hasty, and said that even girls could have short hair. 

DD being DD quoted Rapunzel, Snow White and Cinderella, the clear representatives of the female world. "They don't have short hair."
"No, normal people, those that don't come in stories." I persisted. 
"Well, you don't have short hair."
I was the only normal person she could think of. Normal. 
"Ok fine. I said."

That evening, at pickup, I had said goodbye to my long tresses. I was feeling confident. I hated my haircut, but I was feeling confident in my decision. 
"Hello young man!", my friend greeted me at pickup. 
"It's bad, isn't it?" I acknowledged. "But it's a teaching moment."
"What about the next few months that follow this moment? You going to use a hat?"
DD did notice my hair, and felt happy that her hair cut was better than mine. I was the best example for a woman with real short hair and a great example of why you should not sleep when somebody is cutting your hair, even if it's very soothing on the head. 

Now, DD's hair has grown back pretty well. Mine - it's growing out. It's like it has a mind of its own and it feels liberated to grow in any direction. My right side is screaming porcupine, my left is flowing downstream. I can't get another haircut because there IS no hair to cut!

But, point proven, I guess.

(Image credit: Pixabay)

Yoga with the Yogini

I think exercise is very important. I am completely on board with the idea of sweating it out to stay fit. If you aren't exercising right, you are doing something wrong. 

Well, there see, I am great at giving advice and endorsing good living habits. Only, I find it hard to get off the couch and do it myself. 

Some friends recommended yoga - but the pace is so slow, I'd sleep doing it. That was my excuse for not wanting to do yoga. 
"Do hip-hop", some would say, "Or aerobics." I would respond with - "Two left feet syndrome."
"Too hot outside."
"Slow - like yoga."

So when my husband took to golf, to exercise - (yeah, apparently, it does offer some kind of physical exercise. It's not just strolling on a well-manicured lawn), he quite literally challenged me to take up some form of physical exercise. 

He even bought me a virtual exercise kit. But the problem with that was, my daughter trying to make avatars - she would never part with the remote and now, courtesy her - there are 87 Avatars of women who want to exercise on the screen.

"DD, I need to exercise" I would plead halfheartedly, almost wanting her to protest and not part with the remote and she would oblige by not handing over the equipment. So there - I don't have any form of exercise and it was like the entire universe was working toward not getting me off my butt. 

But that soon changed.
DD read in one of her books that exercise keeps you healthy and you should exercise regularly to stay healthy and live long.
She somehow got the impression that I was going to die soon, so she made it a point to get me to exercise. She didn't want to part with the remote and let all her avatars exhaust themselves. She instead decided to make me do Yoga. Yoga? She's seen her grandparents do the various asanas and thinks they are very cool. 

She even takes classes for me!

So here's what she teaches me, whenever she remembers to remind me to exercise:

Butterfly pose - get your feet together, sit on your butt, and move your knees up and down  - 20 times  (that's her favorite number), place fingers from behind your ears and spread them out as if they're wings and flap them for the said 20 times along with the knees. That's a flying butterfly right there. 

Mermaid pose - lie on your belly, lift head and shoulders. Place palms firmly on the mat and look up. Move your tail fin (your feet  stuck together) from side to side - 20 times. Yes, this one almost kills. 

Elsa pose - this is her favorite. Stand erect - chest out, hands at the back, feet together. Now get your hands up front and spray right ahead, like you're freezing something. While doing it, say "fsssshhhhh", that magically unfreezes the stuff you're freezing, - because well, we don't appreciate too much ice in our house. 

The relax and exercise pose: Choose a side you like. lie on the opposite side. Hold your head on your palm, press elbow firmly on the ground. Move your free leg up and down, front and back. Don't turn the other side. After you're done with your favorite side for 20 times, you can lie down and relax. This is my favorite exercise.

Try these out and I guarantee you will feel very 6-year-ish. Ooh... and let me know if you feel a world of difference!

Image credit: Girl Practising Yoga, Cartoon Illustration” by Sicha Pongjivanich/ freedigitalphotos

Summer Days

The summer vacation has been super fun for DD, what with grandparents around and no mom or dad to set limits at home.

If I say anything against her wish, she'll immediately rush to her grandparents for support. If you want to understand the true meaning of loyalty, talk to a grandparent about the grandchild. You will also observe unswerving devotion and deep sincerity. The middle man, aka the parent comes no where in the picture.

So when DD runs to her grandparents, they of course support their darling.
"Who's older?" DD will ask me, if I still dare to protest against her 'well-thought-through' decision.
"OK" I'll resign. "Take a bath tomorrow."

My MIL makes her favorite Khichdi and Okra curry almost everyday. I am thankful that my daughter has at least inherited my taste buds.

She is always teasing her grandfather who cracks up when she complains about him to us. "Mamma, Dadda was a couch potato today. He was watching soooo much TV."

They take her to her ballet class and she'll immediately follow up with time at the park. She won't come back home till she is the last person in the playground. 

If I say I'll take her to the library, she'll say "Can I get daadi along? Who will take care of me when you go to get your own books?" 

It's nice to have grandparents around. I love when my Paati welcomes me with open arms and hot plates of idlis. DD likes the Khichdi. 

Good things do come in small and simple packages.

The Voice Artist

D has been practicing various sounds for a few days now. When asked, she says she wants to hear all the sounds she can make. Fair, considering that she is indeed a drama queen and it is in the best interest of her profession to master various sounds and learn mimicry. 

Here’s her repertoire:
Little baby – the one that cries a lot
Baby – the one that has a cute voice but can’t talk
Big baby – A 3 year old
The Treasure Chest in a Polka Dotted Dress – D in her current state of attire

Having mastered various voices, she's graduated to sounds. With the loss of her two front teeth, she's realized another hidden talent - blowing out of the gap; whistling and enjoying the ‘music’ from her newly acquired aerophone. She now also produces the ‘hiss’ of a snake with a lisp, the ‘neigh’ of a tormented horse and bleats like a goat who’s caught cold.Quite a range eh?  But she's not the one to settle for mere accomplishments over voice and sound variations, she has quickly now moved on to cries and laughs.
She’ll cry like various animals including humans. Her favorite cry however is that of a six-year-old.  She also tries to imagine how I would have cried when I were her age. If what she thinks is indeed the real deal, I owe a lot of apologies to my beloved parents. Nobody can be made victims to such inhumane torture. Sorry ‘ma. Sorry ‘pa.

When it comes to the laughs,it's a different ballgame altogether. Apart from the usual suspects – the hyena, the coy bride, the shy child, the mean guys she also does impressions of herself – if she were ever to turn evil.
“Why are you practicing such a strange laugh?” I asked her today, not wanting to hear the answer.
“I am practicing for when I become evil Mamma”, she replied nonchalantly.  “This is how you will know I’ve become evil.”
“So you won’t have jutting teeth or protruding horns and a tongue sticking out?” I asked innocently.
“No. I won’t be ugly evil. I’ll even wear my tiara and my polka-dot-dress. I’ll just laugh like this.” She said.
“So what should I do when you turn evil, to be safe from your ways?”
“Just give me what I want”
“And if I don’t, will you eat me?” I asked her.
“Of course not, you are my mother.” She said.
“Then what will you do?”

She hadn’t thought through this.
“I’ll laugh louder, and if you still don’t give me…” she paused thinking of what she could possibly do to get her way. “… If you don’t give me even then, I’ll cry like you, when you were a baby.”
Touche, my child. Touche!

(Image Credit: Pixabay)

A Mother's Day to Remember

I am not great at preserving or taking care of stuff. I don't remember birthdays and I don't remember where I left my glasses. Maybe DD has inherited this awesome trait from me. She also doesn't find her stuff when we need it. She'll know where her sunscreen is, after we've bought a new one. But DD seems to remember dates. That's a huge achievement in the family because except for memorizing the dates of war in history classes, I need to be reminded about people's birthdays and anniversaries. I am sorry I didn't remember your birthday, but now you know why.

This is my sixth mother's day. Yes, time flies, yes, it doesn't seem real, yes DD has indeed grown up so fast! That's something I can't fight against, and am not going to, at this stage. It's a losing battle, she has to grow up and I am trying to come to terms with it. Trying being the keyword. But I don't want to burden you with my struggles and immense emotions. I want to share just the happy emotions here, and that's the fact that this year's mother's day was arguably the best. No offense to hubby who's tried to be super creative and make up for D's motor skills. This one was particularly awesome because not only did D know  about Mother's Day, she understood the concept of secrecy and kept her gift a secret from me. Of course her father was in on it. She had to tell someone!

Her class teacher was the one who taught them to keep it all a secret, and boy did she do a good job!
She did not give in to my incessant coaxing and pleas either. "My teacher said so..." If only she listened to half of what I say. 

Anyway, Sunday came and she did not need to be reminded.

She hugged me, gave me a slurpy kiss and wished me a Very Happy Mother's Day. 

All the kids may have written the exact same thing, but it still moved me to bits. 

She said she loves me a lot because I am kind and help her read and write. That I will be the happiest when she learns, that I am awesome because I write and tell her stories and she'll always love me. 
She also made me a poster with anime like characters of me and her, her love was clearly overflowing, and she also made me a really big bracelet. 

I cherish these. I don't know where her 3-D creations are right now, she makes so many everyday, but I was prudent enough to snap pictures. So they're there... somewhere, but I know I can see them whenever I want. They're in 2-D,  2 deep in my memory.

This is how we do it!

Taekwondo is a Korean martial arts form. Contrary to Kung fu - the martial art form from China, Taekwondo focuses more on kicks than on hand movements. 

DD and I do one of these two forms of martial arts. Watching DD, I am pretty confused which. We are both yellow belts now. Her yellow is a darker shade than mine, so she says its closer to orange and so she's more qualified than I am. 

A typical day at our martial arts class begins with us walking in - sorry my walking in and her prancing in. The day she isn't prancing, the master gets worried. "Is everything OK with you, you didn't twirl and announce your entrance."

We need to change into our uniforms - I take 2 mins, she takes, 7 minutes - 3 minutes to talk and report her day at school to the Master, 2 minutes to prance into the changing room and hear my lecture on the importance of 'hurrying up' to class and 2 more minutes to actually change. 

"Line up" the Master announces. DD doesn't walk to her spot, as you may have already guessed, she twirls up to it. 

There's a break after every move, because DD has some observation that she absolutely has to make, "Master, your pinky is sticking out", she'll correct the teacher or "One inch lower", she'll tell the whole class when we are doing our stretches. 

She uses her hands a lot, the tiniest person in class, that's the only way she can meet any of us half way. Her kicks start with plies. Her hand moves have a musical twirl to them and she keys up at the end of her forms and moves in an orchestral note. While the rest of us shout, "Haai!", she sings, "Haaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiii."

The Master is always amused with her, but DD does her forms and moves well, its just the background score that's not in line with the main performance. "She'll learn, she's only in kindergarten" the Master justifies.

I would have believed that, had a similar thing not happened in her tennis class. All ready positions were different plies. She dressed up in jingling skirts and flowing dresses for a tennis class. The coach would watch her twirl and spin and come to her position. "Give us a a big hit!" he'd say and she'd dance back and forth and hit the ball, well, just about touch it, and twirl and smile and sing and go back to her place. "Well, she's only 4." the coach would say. 

"So how was class today" Ady would ask and she'll say, "Good!"
"Did she dance?" Ady will turn to me and ask.
"Did the Sun rise from the East today?" I'll respond.

"This is how we do it, Mamma" she'll say when I try correcting her. The 'we' of course is just her.

I'm just going on a wild guess here, but I think, I think,  my daughter likes ballet and if there's a ballet-fu or a  ballet-do or a ballet- tennis, she'll ace it!

(Image Courtesy: khongkitwiriyachan/

Changing Priorities

Spring Break was a welcome breather. After the hectic curve balls from life, the few days off our routine was surely something we could use.

We wanted to go to a place that D would appreciate too. But a lot of fun for her meant not so much for us. Disney Land, Disney World or any other place starting with a Disney was out of question. Especially since the trailer of one of the most dreaded movies is out - yep Frozen. 

So we headed out to a water theme park after enjoying the Tulip festival. 

"What is the best vacation you've ever had?" Ady decided to ask toward the end of the trip. 
"You mean in my whole entire life?" D answered. 
"Yes, of course, your whole entire life." 
"India!" She answered. "I love going to India."

"Why?" Of course the father wanted to know all the reasons. "Is it because it is shiny and sparkly and has great clothes or is it because of your family?"

"It is because of my family in shiny bright clothes" came the reply. You ask a leading question, you get an expected reply. 

"Mamma, what about you?" D wanted to know.

"I love camping."

"Why?" Now she wanted to know my reasons. 
"Because its just 'us' time, and we get to talk and sing and dance..."
"And there's no internet..." Ady added.
"But there is no internet." D almost added at the same time. 
"What?" both Ady and I were shocked. "What did you say?"
"There is no internet. How will we play games, watch movies?"
"It is exactly why we like camping" Ady said. 
"No, I mean Mamma works on the internet too, so..." 

As usual, we were rendered speechless. It is the generation of sparkles, shiny clothes and the internet. 

The Option of Adoption

D never finishes her lunch. She says the lunch break is too small and she can't finish her food on time. 
"What exactly do you do at lunch?" I asked her. 
" I eat." She said as a matter-of-fact. 
"I talk."
"Of course. How much do you talk?"
"I talk a lot and eat a little."
"You know what?" Her father interrupted. "How about you take 15 bites and then carry on talking? That way, you don't have to stop when you're eating and you don't have to eat when you're talking?"

"Sounds like a good idea!" I cheered. "Then I'll also keep a Tic-Tac so you can eat as soon as you finish your 15 bites."
"But what if I eat the Tic-Tac before I take the 15 bites." She wanted to know.
"I trust you. You won't."
"But what if I tell you I ate and then not eat it?"
"You won't. Because you don't lie."
"But what if I lie."
"You won't, you're my daughter."
"You'll see with your invisible eye, because you are always watching me?" she asked in all earnest. That was a trick I developed to avoid having to stare at her paintings over and over and over. "I can see what you are doing. I always see you." 
Thankfully for me, I was right about what she was drawing and could guess without having to look back. Rapunzel with long flowing hair. 

"I won't even try." I said. "I completely believe you."
"But what if I lie?" she wanted some kind of assurance that I was watching over her.
"Your conscience won't let you. Because it will keep telling you that you are doing the wrong thing."
"But what if I don't have a conscience?"
"That's not possible with my daughter." I said, as the father started moving uncomfortably on his chair. "My daughter never lies."
"So I can't come back? I'll be somebody else's daughter? Somebody will adopt me?"

"No. Nobody adopts a liar."
"But how will they know I lied? They are not you."
"They will. A liar always gets caught."
"But what if I don't? Will they adopt me?"
"Do you want to get adopted?" the girl's father wanted to know.
"No. But I want to know who'll take care of me, if I am not your daughter."
"You know there's a simpler solution to it" the father became nervous.
"What? I tell Mamma not to tell them that I lied?" She wanted to know if that was an option.
"No. You just eat your lunch and not lie."
"But what if I do?"....

That went on for a while. We were having dinner as we were discussing these scenarios. As usual, after about an hour at the dining table - she hadn't finished her food.

Reasons Your Kid Will Say "I Hate You!"

If you’re totally shocked by the title of this piece, you either don’t have children yet or didn’t have a childhood.

For God’s sake, every child says those three words in that particular order at some point between age 3 and 53. Before 3, they’re just about learning to say ‘hate’ and after 53 the parents are mostly dead.

The first time my daughter, who is now at the ripe old age of 5, said ‘I hate you,’ it totally broke my heart. I felt I had let her and myself down with my upbringing. I felt I was failing in my role as the caregiver, the nurturer, the person responsible for her bright future. I was so obsessed with making things work with her, that the whole 8 hours I was at work I was designing strategies to win her trust back. When all else failed, I called my mother for advice – she did after all have the experience of raising two girls - that’s twice the number of kids I have, ergo, twice the experience; so what if only one of them is super smart and awesome! But like all mothers, she started recounting the times I had said that to her, how she never took that seriously because she knows I love her, and always will and other such usual mom wisdom. I hung up the phone, “Thanks Ma, I love you!”

But I wasn’t going to let this defining moment in my relationship with my daughter pass by. I couldn’t just ignore the elephant in the room; the emotion in the word ‘hate’ is too strong to disregard. I made a very strong strategy to resolve our conflict. It’s a whole another story that she showed no signs of recollection of ever having said those three words, when I picked her up from pre-school. This ‘life-changing’ incident took place when she was 4, and when I wasn’t as experienced as I am today. First time parents take everything seriously!

The strategy I used was, to arrive at 6:00 PM to pick her up from pre-school, instead of at 5: 45, like I did every day. Coming to think of it, it would have made more sense to arrive early and tell her who the boss was, instead of arriving at closure, because that’s what she wanted in the first place, and the reason why ‘she hated me’ – because I picked her up before her best friend was picked up by her guilty mom- at 1800 hours.

In any case, I have grown more immune, to hearing those three words, knowing I am not alone in evoking such passionate feelings from my kindergartener. I would have wished to become wiser, but then again this is my learning phase - I’ll have enough words of wisdom, when she calls me for help with her 5-year-old. That’ll be my “Aha! Serves you right!” moment.

Here are reasons you should expect your kid to say ‘I hate you’ – in case you have an under 5, this may just be your bible. 

1.       You ask her to brush her teeth.

Why would you? How can you be so insensitive as to not let her play with her markers and crayons all day long? Why would you take the fun away from her just because you can’t bear the stench coming out of her mouth? She has no problem with it, you heartless above-3-feet-person!
2.       When you walk away from her when she doesn’t brush.

Why wouldn’t you sit with your child when she is pursuing her passion of coloring the sheets of paper and threads of carpet? She wants you to see all the curvy ‘straight lines’ she draws and laughs with a stinky mouth. But you are just too narrow-minded to in this case, narrow-nosed to let the stench pass by.
3.       When you ask her to take a bath.

She loves the filth, the muddy stains on her clothes, the grass blades spiking all over her hair. And the heartless person that you are, you ask her to wash her hands? Worse, take a bath before she can eat anything? Do you want her to starve? Notice the brewing drama.
4.       When you tell her, her playdate is canceled.

Even if it was canceled because her date fell sick and her mom didn’t want to spread the virus. The phrase “Don’t shoot the messenger” doesn’t make any sense to kids. You said she wouldn’t be able to have the playdate today, which can only mean that, you caused it. You don’t want her to have fun, you’d much rather have her stay close to your hip all day, ask you a million questions, ‘help’ you with cooking and re-clean the mess she’s cleaned up. 

5.       When you throw her art away because it was lying near the trash, and you know, you thought it was trash.
My daughter makes an average of 7 pieces of art every day, yes that’s the mean, and I’ve done my math. Some she loves and keeps them close to the trash, some she discards away and throws into the trash, because it’s not pretty. I’ve tried really hard to figure out which is which, but because her aim isn’t that great yet, I find it hard to take the trash out. But then again, why should trash be taken out?

6.       You watch real people on TV.
Why can’t Dora play all day? Why won’t you love Arthur as much as she loves him? Why do you have to see boring grownups and their obnoxious kids on TV? Are you a masochist? It could very well be that you are a sadist and find it relieving to see that the parents on TV have it worse than you do, but then again, why can’t you just watch Barney and torture yourself?

7.       You didn’t make mac-n-cheese today.
What are these green yucky things you call vegetables? Why are they good for health? How come they taste so yucky if they’re good for health, and how come food that tastes so yummy is bad for you? Why do you ration Cola and chips? How can you be so cruel?

8.       You only bought a present for her friend, not for her, even though it’s not her birthday.
The rule is, when you go to the toy store, and if you make the mistake of taking your kid along, you need to buy one for her too. After all, the toy store will struggle, if you didn’t buy the fifth box of the toy that she already has and you’ve never seen her playing with at home. How could you?

The thing is, my daughter does say ‘I hate you’ now and then. Sometimes I let her be and it takes a minute of silence to convince my extremely extraverted child to realize she’s hurt my feelings; and sometimes I react and ask her to go to her room to ‘think about what she’s done.’ I don’t know if she thinks while playing with her princess castle, but she surely comes back down to apologize when she’s hungry. Like my progenitor said, I too know she doesn’t mean it, and I truly believe that I am doing my best for my offspring. After all, she does say “I love you” more than she says the other less-desirable, three words.

Oh and I forgot, does she use your laptop to ‘learn’ math, and does your work require extensive use of the keyboard? That’s an “I hate you” right there, waiting to happen!

Image Credit: Devianart

Me vs Nature

Yesterday was a big day. Too big to be true. My biggest fear (at least the biggest one in the last 5 years) came true. The moment I had been postponing, the fact of life that I was refusing to come to terms with, came true. I knew I was fighting a losing battle, but I thought I still had some time - 3 months maybe. 

But it was not to be. Nature got to me - earlier. 
In spite of my repeated pleas with D, and her best efforts, she couldn't contain her wiggly tooth anymore. That darned pretzel finally brought her first milk tooth down.

D lost her tooth at school, there was nothing I could do. I would have taken the pretzel away, if it meant saving her milk tooth for another day. Maybe D would have pleaded with me for the Pretzel, and maybe I'd've traded her a cotton candy, maybe.

When she did lose her tooth, she was taken to the nurse by her classmates. She was now the proud loser of her tooth. The fifth big kid to cross this crucial threshold of Kindergarten life. 

Tooth Fairy by veli

"I was biting on my pretzel when suddenly I couldn't bite, and it was too hard. I wasn't sure what it was, when I spat it out, it was my tooth, Mamma!" she would later recite excitedly to me and to anyone who stopped to hear the story of her missing tooth.

A parent who was volunteering at school at the time, later asked me "So how did you react to D's lost tooth?" 

"I am depressed."

"That's exactly how your daughter predicted you'll react" she smiled.

"Come again?"

"Your daughter said 'I am very excited that I lost my tooth. I am a big girl now. But my mother will start crying.'" 

"Well, yeah. I've been asking her to hold it in, but.... what can I say" I said.

"I know. I went through the same thing."

"My daughter lost her tooth at the exact same time last year", another dad tried. "I asked her to hold it back too!"

So I guess I'm not all alone. Parents don't want their kids to grow. 

In the evening when Ady walked home, D went running to him, "Papa, I lost my tooth!"

"Yay!" He screamed. "That's awesome! Let's celebrate!"

I stand corrected. Some parents do contradict their wife's feelings. 

"And you know what Papa, another tooth is wiggly."

Me - 0 , Nature -1

(Image Credit: Veli/Devianart)

What? I missed a festival again?

My father follows the Sun and the Moon like nobody's business. Reading our horoscopes, interpreting it, theorizing the consequences and offering possible solutions was his hobby and ever since he's retired, it's become a part of his blood stream.

He checks out horoscopes and calendar dates, compares the English dates with the Tamil dates, follows the planet positions and movement of the stars. 

When we were in India, he would make us come home for any religious event. On 'No moon' days he would not let me cut my hair, because it won't grow back. It was OK for me to clip it off the next day, because it's the 'growth phase' and I will have thick and luscious growth. My hair's never grown beyond my shoulders, ever since I left college. I've never been patient enough to wait 5 years to let it. 

On a few special days, he'd ask me to eat only sour food, on some other days, he'd insist I increase myu sugar consumption. I listened, then, because I had a cook and a maid.I listened because I had a nanny. They did all the work. All I had to do was pass the information on. Some days, Appa would make Amma talk to them directly.

But ever since moving to the U.S., I've asked Appa not to check on my horoscope. I just don't have the time to care. But I can't take his hobby away from him, his passion. So I've told him that he can read it as long as he doesn't tell me what's in there and make me do extra work to appease the celestial bodies. There are two other bodies I need to take care of, and they live with me right here on Earth, in my house. 

To his credit, Appa has tried. But he's never been successful. If I tell him, that I have an important appointment, he'll immediately tell me what times to avoid, because of the influence of a particular demonic time eater, Rahu.  After my 'request' he now doesn't say what time is auspicious and what's not, he just pauses and sighs. 

"What do you want to tell me now?" I end up asking and he happily lays down the most auspicious and enchanting time of the day, even if it is extremely inconvenient and nobody wants to meet at 8:00 PM at night.

But 2014 saw a change in him, and me. I didn't respond to the sighs and he sighed a lot less. I would find out about festivals and events, after they  had passed. I may not actually spend a lot of time preparing delicacies for the two beings in my house, but, you know, it's good to know. If I complained to Appa, he'd just say "You told me not to." 

This year, I missed the kick-off festival. I missed Pongal today,  the harvest festival, thanks to the non-sighing conversation.

So with the festival in the new year, there's a new deal between my father and me - "He can tell me what the occasion is, but he can't tell me what to do, and he cannot sigh."
"But you want to know?" Appa asks. 
"Yes. I want D to know about our festivals."
"But you won't make all the 'necessary' dishes?"
"I don't want to exert myself too much, when I can make do with a curry and some rice."
"OK. Your wish." He sighs. "Happy Pongal. Tomorrow is Kanu. There's a lot of stuff that you.... don't have to do."

Image Courtesy: Wikimedia