Johny Johny..?!?

The moment you become a parent you become virtuous. Instantaneously. The pressure of setting an example for a much smaller human being starts hitting you. So you try to always be well mannered and righteous. Well, almost always.

There are a few things one loves dearest. I mean ‘things’ not people or even living things just material things.

CUddlyCoo

Now if your off spring grows to love the exact same things – there are 2 possibilities – unbreakable bond (Like Fevical ka jod!) or unending conflict (like milk and curd!)

There are few- very few kids who I have heard of – who hate chocolates. They love fruits and veggies. WOW! How I wish my progeny was one of that kind. Didn’t wish hard enough I guess.

Chocolates – It seems will make us the worst enemies we can ever be to each other – my son and I.

Dhruv is done with his lunch and demands for his daily rather hourly doze of the brown evil. I open the fridge and scream. Whaaa!!! The whole pack of Lindt had disappeared. I just saw it last evening!

I look at my mom in law. Eyes narrow and sharp, so sharp that I could have her heart piercing with my gaze. She is usually the first accused in times of crisis like this – by the virtue of she being the ‘in-law’.

She quickly defends herself ‘Don’t you dare give me that look! It isn’t me. Ask your son, he is the one who so diligently had one chocolate every hour like a doctor’s prescription’. Damn!

The fridge which is usually always stacked with chocolate bars, suddenly seemed devoid of any. The last of lindt was smiling at me.

It was tough fight between the split personalities within me – A true forever giving mom Vs an ardent chocolate lover.

The argument that ensued was thus:

True Mom says: Oh C’mon. It’s just a chocolate, let him have it.

Chocolate lover says: Just a chocolate?? Whoaa!! He emptied the whole box for God’s sake!

True Mom says: He’s just a child. Let him be. He’s finished his lunch. SO just give it away.

Chocolate lover says: Precisely. He is just a child. So much chocolate can harm him. So just give him jaggery and let him be. What sort of a mother are you? A box of chocolate? Imagine the calories and cavities…

True Mom now is thinking hard. Jaggery it is.

The chocolate lover does an ecstatic jumpy dance. She then quickly picks the chocolate and puts it in her pocket.

‘Maa…Where is Dhruv’s chocolate??? Dhruv finished his lunch. Seeeee. Tummy full.’ Innocent smile. But not even to shake the chocolate lover in his mommy.

‘Dhruv – there is no chocolate in the fridge. See? We will ask Acha to buy some more. Now you will just have to settle for some jaggery. Sorry baby..’ followed by a hug and a kiss.

He settles for jiggery. My understanding little one!

The moment he is out of sight I quickly open the wrapper and hurriedly dump that chocolate into my mouth.

Bliss! I relish it with my eyes closed. Suddenly I feel someone pulling me from down. Arghhh. Do not disturb!

But the pull gets tighter. I open my eyes and find my little detective.

‘What are you eating?’

‘Hmm??’ slowly moving the chocolate from the right cheek to center so it would be less noticeable.

‘What are you eating?’

‘Hmm?’ trying to look around..

‘Ammmaaaa WHAT ARE YOU EATING?’

‘Hmm?’

‘Oh God! Can’t you hear?’

By now the chocolate has molten into a liquid state and I swallowed it slowly.

‘Jaggery??’

‘Yea!’

‘But why does jaggery come in the Lindt wrapper??’

Damn!!!! I can see the True Mom giving the narrow eyed stare to the chocolate lover. You dare teach my baby to lie!!

HELP!!!

Old habits die hard.

So I have spent almost all my childhood never once using the Public Loo.

Never.

public-toilet-548409_640

I am sure I am not alone in this. I, for certain know at least a handful of people like me.

This forms the bottom line of every small and big decision we make which includes but is not limited to the following:

While I book a hotel room for a stay:

Single bed / Twin bed – I don’t care, I can sleep on the floor if I have a mattress.

Room service – I can compromise there too; I could go to their kitchen (which I hope is not mice infected) and make my own food.

Bathroom – Does the website give a picture of the bath and the toilet? If not then can we send an inquiry asking for the same of the room we are allotted to stay? I am okay if they only have a shower and not a bath. Do they use a bathroom freshener by the way?

If I am reviewing a restaurant:

The food was good. I loved the chicken. BUT I think they need to put in atleast 10% of the cost of the food into maintaining their washroom..(I may then go into the details which I refrain here).

Visiting a friend’s place:

Like a recent ad rightly mentions, they are classy if they use a toilet freshener; all other mistakes are forgivable.

This has not changed despite living in a hostel with 400 other inmates. Now you’d think my hostel had the cleanest baths/toilets. Nope, the bathrooms were not close to clean, but I appreciate that I didn’t get used to the filth in all the 5 years being there!.

The phobia remains.

The golden rule every time I step out of home is – Drink water if and only you think you are going to die out of dehydration; I somehow pulled through that while I was pregnant as well!

In the rare case when I have to re-hydrate myself; I practice special yoga to retain the water within. It is not that I have an unusually large bladder. I’d rather go through the physical agony than the mental distress.

And then Dhruv got out of his diapers, got toilet trained. That should have come as a relief and I would have celebrated the milestone BUT his pee could come in a sari shop, a jewelers store, a crowded temple or the Indian Railways – which would result in him yelling out to me ‘Amma peeeeeeeeee coming..’ every time he wants to use the loo, followed by ‘Ooo Oooo Urrrrgent!!’.

Not good. Especially because none of the above mentioned places pay any attention to their restrooms. So even if I’d take him to a loo there, he’d rather pee in his shorts than pee there (followed by me puking)!

But pee he must. That is when I nudge daddy dear and ask him to run with the kid to the nearest relief point.

When we are unaccompanied, we close my senses and his and carry out the process.

Damn. I see all the public toilet signage mocking me saying ‘Its payback time – for all those years of looking down upon us!’

Can I get him back into diapers please?!

Hum along!!

It appears having a toddler at home can have more dire consequences than you’d think and the situation will leave you googling about ‘focus’ ‘attention’ et al.

Let me clarify – If you have a toddler at home, you get used to repetition – same game over and over again, same story a million times and the worst is the same set of nursery rhymes day in and day out.

So you wake up in the morning listening to ‘5 little monkeys jumping on the bed..’ Do your house chores listening to the same, listen to the same one in your car and drift off to sleep at night with ‘5 little monkeys jumping on the bed..’ playing in the background.

Click on to listen : 5 little monkeys Be warned though. it will haunt you for the next one week!

CuddlyCoo

You listen to it so many times a day that even if it doesn’t play in the stereo; it is always playing in your head. You wake up and you want to say the morning prayer but you can only recollect ‘5 little monkeys jumping on the bed..’; that friend of yours ask you about that song from that movie and you blabber ‘5 little monkeys..’

Worse still; rhymes have rhythm…so you are working at your work station and the rhymes go off in your head. You nod your head sideways and up and down; you go to collect a print and the nod continues with maybe a side to side sway and you find yourself calling for all your colleagues’ attention for the wrong reasons.

But the worst is yet to come.

There I am in between my appraisal meeting, trying really hard to prove my point and that I really need that promotion but all I have in my head is ‘5 little monkeys…’ which sort of shows on my face and when am expected to advocate, am only smiling to myself and nodding my head!

So I know am not getting any worthy appraisal thanks to the monkeys. And I am frustrated but the monkey song would not let me be, it forces me to smile and nod!

It is like a bug. It isn’t even appealing like that hip number stuck in your head from a famous album. Because you need to be extremely careful not to let it slip out of your mouth because then you give off way too much about yourself than you intend to.

So you stop by at the petrol bunk to refuel; you are still nodding and swaying; then the rhyme slips out in a hum and there the world knows that you are no longer just a woman – who may or may not be married – who may or may not have kids. You are a mom and you listen to the rhymes more than you have listened to everything else cumulated over the years!

Those watchful eyes!

So generally you affectionately pick up your toddler son, swirl him and kiss him and he would in turn probably hug you tight, laugh and giggle and tell ‘Maa I lovee you..’

I wish!

CuddlyCoo

I pick my toddler and do the same. He does laugh and giggle and then says ‘Maa you have this black hair sticking out of your chin.’

Shocked.

He then tries to pluck it with his tiny fingers and finds it thoroughly amusing. Repeats it over and over again pinching my chin in the process.

Embarrassed.

I look around to assure myself that we are alone and MIL, the maid or Sabarish are nowhere in the audible range..

I put him down and run to the closest mirror, switch on all the lights and inspect.

There. One black pointy hair on my wheatish chin.

Yes, I had noticed it last morning and I chose to ignore. It is technically just one hair and not a beard yet. I could have just plucked it.

But no. I chose procrastination!

See! This is why they have those umpteen articles to how procrastination should be overcome…

Too late, by now Dhruv was running around the house calling out for his dad, grandma and the maid ‘Achaaaaa Achammaaaaaaa Pap…come see..Amma has a black hair on her chin.’

Everyone comes out of their harbor in a split second.

Really?! Are you kidding me?

I bloody yell out to everyone in the house just 15 minutes ago saying: ‘Tea is ready..’ but not one person comes before a line brown layer of butter forms on top of the tea and then I get ‘Oh! It’s cold!’

And people jump out for a tiny hair on my chin??

There are 2 sets people who ensure I am self-conscious at all points in my life:

Set 1:

My mom: Groom, dress, stop looking so poor! Don’t embarrass me in front of my friends… (She is as good as 10 people hence she forms Set 1)

Over time I have learned to face this one liner. Nope I don’t defy. Not an option. I make sure I am groomed when she is in a 1 mile vicinity.

Set 2:

A few really good friends who are miraculously groomed at all times – Even if a catastrophe struck, they would still excuse themselves to get their pedicures and manicures because what if Yamraj (God of death) thought it is too cruel to kill these damsels and chose to go back empty handed.

They have given up on me and call me plain lazy.

But now I realize I have a new traitor in this battle of life, a 2 year old whose needs me to groom him, but is now smart enough to spot a black hair on my chin, realize it is inappropriate and yell out to the world to mock me!

Damn! What am I breeding at home?!

Dad’s an easy job!

So it’s a weekend afternoon. Dhruv and I are just up from a nap. Bored. Just dragging ourselves around. The Dad is out for some work.

Dhruv hears the doors of the car close and runs downstairs yelling Achaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa (Daaaadddddd) !!

The Dad is obviously euphoric to see atleast one person get excited about him reaching back home, while the rest of us just say ‘Hmm. Hi..’

CuddlyCoo

The Dad has a toy store bag with him, Dhruv identifies it immediately and showers him with kisses repeating the question ‘whats in it..whats in it…’

A lot of run and chase happens – The Dad running with the cover and dhruv doing his hop skip jump thing after him..

Oh God what is in it?! Just let him have it and give me back my lazy Sunday afternoon!

Finally the Dad opens the bag and reveals a Chotta Bheem soft toy (Indian equivalent of the superman – child version though).

Dhruv’s happiness knows no bounds. At last, at long last Bheem is here.

The next 10 minutes are magical – all work is done – milk is drunk, bath is over – because of course Bheem is watching him and he needs to be impressed to make friends.

Then we declare that Bheem likes Dhruv and they can play together.

The trauma begins – for the Dad.

Dhruv and Bheem want to play, but since Bheem is immobile (should have gotten a battery operated one!)he needs to be propped!

Rule : Whoever has gotten him home (the Dad) will be the prop. Why? because:

  • MIL and I have very few things we agree upon, this was one of them since we don’t want to trade a lazy afternoon for anything in this world!. Hence the rule was made and enforced that minute. Veto isn’t an option if the Dad chooses to continue living with his wife and mom!
  • Also Bheem is the strongest ever, both grandma and I don’t gauge up in terms of muscle power and physique in contrast to the Dad who is pretty fit and muscular being the ideal prop for Bheem.

The Dad wants to escape but MIL and I get into our lazy Sunday mode and switch off. So left with little option, I see the Dad (or Bheem):

  • playing run and chase and hide and seek.
  • feeding Dhruv and Bheem dinner
  • putting Dhruv and Bheem to sleep at about 10.00 pm.

It was quite hilarious  to see the Dad hold Bheem and do all the above craving for a minute’s rest, for a sip of water and so exhausted that he chose sleep over dinner!

So the Dad is out in the hot sun for most bits of the day, returns home to surprise his toddler with a toy, props for the toy and ends up playing, feeding, bathing and putting the toddler to sleep; while mom makes a quick fix fun lunch with the toddler gobble it, cuddles and sleeps with him and wakes up to find the dad taking over.

Am sure the Dad will think a million times before he buys a toy next time, calculating the toddler’s energy level and excitement and carefully weighing it against his own.

But being the Dad he is, he will still choose to get it home just to see the toddler eyes popping out with happiness and excitement!

And being a dad is damn easy isn’t it!

Damn the DNAs!!

When you are pregnant, you generally have a wish list for your baby.

Your mind flies past allll those faces in the family and sort of comes up with an algorithm for how your baby should be. Your nose, husband’s height, dad’s complexion, mom’s smile, in-law’s nothing (you know the dynamics there don’t you!)

When I was pregnant with Dhruv, my inner voice (God) sort of told me: ‘You love little girls don’t you – Ha! I will give you a little boy who will grow up and bring home a girl (hopefully) who you will hate!’

That is how he decided to get back at me! So I knew I was having Dhruv long before he popped, through my instincts (a clarification – Gender determination is banned in India – just so that I don’t get jailed here!)

CuddlyCoo

So I filled my room up with pictures of oh! so cute baby boys and wow! so handsome grown up boys!!! My room looked a confused mixture of a mom to be and a teenage girl! Why? Because I thought if I stared at those pictures long enough Ill convince that thing growing inside me to look like them!!

Every mom dreams of her son being a responsible, well behaved, obedient, humorous, talented man of honour (the list is Never exhaustive!) I dreamt the same plus I hoped Dhruv will look like a movie star riding a Harley Davidson with shades on and all the girls drooling over him.

So I meticulously penned down precisely what features I would want him to get from each family member (and the poster people)

  1. Sabarish’s height and built
  2. A combination of both his and my complexion -too fair is not what I like..
  3. His teeth and smile
  4. His hair
  5. My Dad’s and Sabarish’s attitude in life generally (Live and Let live bla bla…Beyond me!!)
  6. My sense of sarcasm/humor (Well?!) and so on..

God thought this was his chance no 2 to get back at me. Dhruv popped out and gradually filled out…to look just like my dad and me!!! Being a mom, it is a matter of pride. BUT what it translates to is:

  1. Desperate need for braces (me)
  2. A laser surgery for vision correction (me)
  3. A hair transplant surgery (Dad)
  4. I hope science develops a cost effective body elongation process in another 20 years or he’ll end up being a guy of umm..average height (Dad and me)
  5. A therapist to put his arrogance and ego in place (All of us put together!)

As I now figure out, all my hoping and gazing may have been a total waste.

These damn DNAs apparently just follow their guts and pair up in whatever way they fancy to churn out products which could otherwise have been master pieces…all they had to do was just follow the mom’s instructions!! But No, it decides to do what it pleases like a defiant teen.

And now see what you have done you DNA!!! I still console myself saying that all that gazing into posters will heed some result sometime later, so he can grow up to look nothing like what he does now. At least that gives me more time to hope and dream of pointing at that dashing young man on the soccer field and proudly saying – ‘He’s good isn’t he? That’s my son’..

But if he doesn’t become that ‘dashing young man’ will I love him any less? Nah!! Because the oxytocin (or one of those ..) in my body forces my mind to believe that the mine can never be not cute and he is sooo mine!!!!

So he shall remain as cute as cute can be in my mind’s eye! (sob sob..)!!

Am sick – Hurray!

As a child I was quite healthy. I have never been hospitalized for anything. My first hospitalization was to pop out Dhruv (Oops I think I see all the world’s evil conspire to get me sick now…)

I was those unfortunate few who got a certificate for 100% attendance – (FYI : All my colleagues that was in school, now I genuinely fall sick – Aging does that to you.)

I was one of those who desperately wanted to fall sick or get a fracture so I will be pampered. My parents have always treated fever, cough, cold, stomach pain, headaches as normal and so if I make a fuss of it I only get a lame “It is all part of life” for an answer (I know! Talk about deprivation!!)

Here! I grew up longing to get a fracture just so that I can get the cast signed on by my friends. How cool was that!

And then this past week I got an awful head/shoulder pain. So much so that I could only look straight – a perfect 90 degrees between the chin and the neck.

CuddlyCoo

If I had to pick up something from the ground, I would sit down, head still straight, eyes down and pick it up and then get up, my upper body as balanced as a kuchipudi dancer balancing a pot on her head.

If someone calls me from the left or right, I would do a full body rotation like those endorsing work place fitness DVDs.

Hmm..So this was turning out to be a revelation of all the other things I can do with my life – a kuchipudi dancer, a fitness guru..

Hot packs did not work nor did all the pain relief balms and sprays.

Extensive research followed, all search engines got to work and Sabarish sort of concluded on cervical spondylitis.

Whoaaa!!!!

Meanwhile Dhruv interpreted my pain quite differently.

So he would go behind me and then call for me and I swirl around since I can’t turn. He giggles. And then again and again and again.

Anything for entertainment!

Meanwhile I decide to give it one more days’ time. I was sort of confident a good night’s sleep will relieve me of it.

At night as I was going to bed, Dhruv happily purring by my side, I tell Sabarish ‘If this neck thing kills me, tell our son his mom truly loved him. Tell my parents and your mom not to fight and that my son would need everybody’s collective love to make up for mine!’

Sabarish stared at me ‘Drama queen – sleep.’ He stopped at that.

‘Oh and ya..I love you too.’

‘Sleep. NOW.’

Next day it wasn’t any better, we decide to go to the clinic.

I see the doc and feel like a kid again, almost hoping he gives me a candy.

‘Mrs Sabarish..’

Off goes the candy wish out of the window…really…when am this sick you call me ‘Mrs’???

‘What is the problem??’

‘I am dying out pain – here –on the neck and shoulder region. Cannot turn. Head hurts too’

He doesn’t take a second look, says ‘It is nothing, a simple sprain maybe or a posture issue. 2 tablets a day will relieve you of the pain in 3 days’ time.’

How can it be nothing?? All this pain for nothing? A sprain?? That doesn’t even sound fancy!!

‘Oh No No No! I have a 2 year old son Doc. I can’t behave robotically with him. He thinks its fun and robot-robot is our new game, my batteries may run out soon!’

‘OK, I will give you a heavy dose of painkiller, Injection. Will relieve you soon.’

Hmm..well..

I continue putting on my illness face. Go to the casualty and sit down sighing heavily. They beckon me to a bed – I get up, slowly, still keeping the illness face.

I lie down and they put in the pain killer. Instantly I could turn my head sideways to about 70 degrees. Science I tell you!

I went home happy as happy can be. The short handicap sort of opened windows of reality in my life and I conclude : Falling sick while still a kid maybe fancy but falling sick when you have a kid is far from fancy!

The wish to fall sick for attention is sort of irrelevant when you have toddler back home who thinks robot robot is an awesome new game!

I reach home and yell ‘Dhruv!! Amma’s home…neck is better!!’

‘What?? No more robot robot?? I loved it maaa!!!’

There you go…parasite!