Where are your Hands?

Never thought that teaching Yog about his body parts could be so gratifying. We were talking about hands yesterday, and I pointed with my one hand to another and said, “This is Mama’s hand. Where is Yog’s hand? ”

He looked baffled from one corner of the room to another trying to find his hands. I brought him near me, caught his hands in mine and turned his palms upwards to face him. “Yog’s hands!!!”

He looked at his palms as if he was seeing them for the first time. He laughed out loud and was so excited to discover his hands that he couldn’t sit in one place anymore.

I asked him one more time, “Where are Yog’s hands?” He immediately used the finger of one hand to point out the other hand. With that he smiled and clapped his hands in joy.

His joy and gratification on finding his hands was so immense that we both felt we had made a very big achievement that day. In a split second, something that was were there all along with him, was discovered in an absolutely new way!

Made me wonder, how many times as adults, we make such amazing discoveries ourselves. Most of the times our biggest answers are right with us, but we fail to discover them for a long time.

Tooth Fairy – Part II

Since the last few years, tooth extraction in our house has been synonymous with the Tooth Fairy. It started with giving Toyna something to look forward as a child, in return for the painful extraction. Six to seven extractions later, she is no longer scared, but for some unknown reason, the tradition of the tooth fairy still continues. Since the tooth fairy is somehow supposed to know Toynas wish and grant it, I have to try and get to know Toyna’s wish and pass it on to the fairy for her midnight shopping spree.

One more extraction today, and I casually asked Toyna, “So what do you think the Tooth fairy will give you today as the gift?” She looked straight in my eye and said, “I know Mama, you are the Tooth fairy. Don’t think I am baby now.” I tried to feign innocence and said, “No no, why would I. ….” She cut me short, as we approached a toy shop. She took me inside the shop, selected a toy and said, “You can buy me this toy from the tooth fairy’s side.” As I was about to pay money, she said, “No no, don’t give money. Give my tooth instead. That is what the Tooth fairy takes in return for the gift. ” With that she grinned mischievously as if saying, “I know you have fooled me all these years! “

As we started back for home, she caught the gift in one hand and my hand in the other and exclaimed, “I know there is no Tooth Fairy. But I know that Santa Clause is real and he really loves me a lot. “

I was feeling like a fool all this while . But hearing this, I too broke into a smile and said, “Yes darling, Santa Clause is real.” Until such time, that she believes in Santa, it is indeed real.

P.S.  For Tooth Fairy Part I, click here. 

The Secret

I wish there was a secret that no one else but I knew

It would be like a seed in my heart which time and tears would grew

Soon it would blossom with bright flowers in colors of red and blue

Wherever I go would around, these flowers would sure to gloom

Each time my heart smiled, the thorns would pierce it sharp

The blood, the pain would sow more seeds apart

More tiny saplings in varying colors would unfold

Not only in my little garden, but in all those I know

Soon the world around me would be full of flowers, deep red

Lies, hatred, mistrust would go deep inside everyone’s head

Some of us would have bigger gardens, some none at all

Oh! But how does it matter, for my garden would be the reddest of all

I wish there was a secret that no one else but I knew

For someday that one secret, was sure to make me true

Pets at Home

Toyna has been pestering us for a pet dog since eternity. I love dogs myself, but at the same time, am fully aware of the fact that we don’t have the time or the physical space in our house to do justice to one. Whenever we try to explain the same to Toyna, she quickly claims that she will take care of the pet completely. It will never be a botheration for us.

I always sigh at this, remembering the so many older claims she has made; from which she has quickly moved on to the next big thing in her life. I understand she is afterall just a child and children are supposed to be like this. However, since I just can’t maintain a pet on my own, if Toyna moves on to something else, we have not got around to getting a pet till now.

Today, some inspiration from somewhere got Toyna started on the same request again. We maintained our stand, but her grandmother tried a new negotiation card. She said, “Toyna, we promise to get a pet dog once you are mature enough to handle it.” I liked this thought, and told Toyna that I second her grandmother. Sensing that everyone was quickly getting together on her opposite side, Toyna said, “Ok, ok, I understood! Everyone doesn’t need to say it again.” Then she paused for a moment and said, “I understood whatever you said, but I just don’t know the meaning of the word “mature”.”

Her grandmother and I burst out laughing. In my mind, I thought, “I know dear, you are far away from maturity right now!”

Successful relationships

Successful relationships are not about making all partners win equal number of times.

Successful relationships are about how hard you try to make all partners win at the same time.

Teachers vs. Dogs

Yog’s morning walk starts when we leave to drop Toyna to the school bus. Toyna’s school teachers at the stop, are very fond of Yog and love to play with him. Yog, on the other hand, has different set of preferences, which are in this order: 1. Dogs, 2. Automobiles, 3. Stones, 4. People. He, therefore, rarely obliges the teachers with any attention.

Today, as we dropped Toyna to the stop, one of the teachers implored Yog to play with her. When Yog didn’t concede, she retorted, “There are no dogs today! Play with us, at least today!” With that she burst out laughing, but I was red in embarrassment. To consider that the teachers we hold in such high respect, were reduced to a second rank, after dogs, was too much for me. Oh God! save us from the days ahead!

The Code Word

ummm, hmmmmm, mmmmm…. 
How do I tell about something like this? Should I even be writing about it? I don’t know. 

But since this is so important to me, I think I should go ahead and write about it. To all readers, here is my note of caution: This post may contain details considered dirty and smelly by some. 

We started potty training Yog about 2 months back. As the term suggests, we used to take him to the bathroom and beg him to please do poo poo in the bathroom. To help him understand that this is the place where such gifts are given, we used to make sounds like mmmhhh, mhhhhh enacting the sounds that he normally makes when doing potty. For pee pee time, the sounds used were sssshhhh, ssssshhhhh.

He would patiently wait for us to finish the sound orchestra, put on his pant back, and come onto the bed or the carpet before he would relieve himself. I was in despair. The temptation to switch back to diapers was sometimes very strong. (Here, I should give due credit to diaper manufacturers for thinking about us mothers and keeping the cost of diapers preposterously high. Whenever we are about to give up on potty training, it is this cost that forces us right back on track.)

Two months of journey to and fro from the bathroom, constantly mopping wet floors, changing dirty sheets and clothes, and learning to live with the smell are some of the few small compromises we had to undertake. And then the day arrived when the sun rose from the west and Yog decided to help his mom.

When I took Yog to do the bathroom today, I asked him,”Yog, pee pee time?” He immediately made the sound mmhhh. I shook my head knowing he had already done potty and couldn’t possibly do it again so soon. I said, “No Yog, pee pee. Shhhhh shhhhhh”. As always, he patiently waited to come out of the bathroom and then relieved himself on top of me.

The next time we visited the bathroom, I repeated the same question, “Yog, pee pee?” He again said mmmmhhhh. I again shook my head, but thought what the hell, lets just play along with Yog. So I also said mhhhhhhh. He smiled and repeated mmmhhhhh. And with that he put forth all his energy and concentration and did pee pee in the bathroom. I literally couldn’t believe my eyes. How could this have happened today?! We both clapped our hands, hugged each other for a job well done.

Thereafter, whenever we both went inside, we both would repeat mmmhhhhh, quickly get the job done and come out. I was so thrilled to have figured out the code word to make Yogs potty training a success. What if it is not the same word that the rest of the world uses. As long as it gets the job done, I am not going to complain.

Diaper companies, watch out, you are going to lose a big time customer soon!!!!!

Love thy neighbor (and yourself)

When I open my Facebook each day, I am flooded with messages which are focused on self help. Business leaders, spiritual gurus, philosophers are all constantly teaching  us to be proud of who we are, no matter how ugly, weak, powerless we might be. We are taught to love ourselves first, only then we will be able to love others.  We are reminded that we have a right to achieves our dreams and we should fight against all odds to achieve them.

All these messages are surely helpful to boost my day. It just happened that, one day, while reading through one such message, I thought, “I just wish I received this message when I was a child. It is in those nascent years that we form the basic impressions that determine who we become, how we react to the world around us and what we do when faced with adversity.” As this thought was taking shape in my mind, I was surprised with another thought that hit me, “Oh! But when I was a child, I was taught to love thy neighbor before loving myself. I was taught to share happiness with others even if it meant being unhappy myself at times.  Giving happiness to others was the sure path to heaven and to God.”

I believe most of my generation received the same lessons as well. Which, maybe, is the reason why we grew up focused on giving rather than focusing on our own needs. Which, maybe, is the reason why we are so insecure about ourselves, that depression and suicides are so common these days. Which, maybe, is the reason that we run to gurus, clinics and therapists who can teach us how to love ourselves.

If you think this is sad, think about what will happen 10 years down the line. After about 10 years of these therapies, we will be at a stage where we are all self centered on our needs and love ourselves passionately, ignoring the needs of the rest of the world around us.  It is then  that we will need to start another kind of brainwashing, “Love thy neighbor before loving yourself”.

The way I see it, this is a vicious cycle. Sooner or later, we will come back to where we started. For us humans, it is so difficult to strike a balance, without toppling the scale once in while. I wish our coming generation does not have to go through the same cycle as we have been through. I wish we are able to leave with them the principles of Balance, so that maybe they are better at achieving it than we were.

Happy Teachers Day

As soon as I got home from office yesterday, Toyna ran to me, hugged me and said “Advance Happy Teachers Day!” I was surprised to hear this. Sensing my hesitancy to accept the title of a “Teacher”, she quickly exclaimed, “You taught me how to walk, how to say my first words. You still teach me how to eat food properly. ” She then paused, waiting for my reaction. I was not totally convinced, so she quickly added to her argument, “Our family is always our first school.”

I smiled at this and my heart warmed up. I accepted the wishes with a “Thank You Toyna!!” and a big hug.

Though I accepted the title of a teacher from Toyna, I honestly don’t consider myself a teacher for either Toyna or Yog. Maybe, my definition of a teacher is different, or maybe I don’t think I am as mature a person to handle the role of Teacher. In my heart, I so wish that she comes home one day and wishes me Happy Friendships day! I would love to be a friend that she loves spending time with, a friend whom she can confide her biggest fears with, and a friend with whom she has spent some of her most fun times.

Coming to being a teacher, I actually think, that both of them teach me a lot more about life, than I can ever teach them. Yes, I have taught them to walk, read and eat. But on the other hand, they are the ones who have taught me to live without any fears, to laugh like no one is watching and to smile till tears line up your eyes.

So I guess, if Toyna was kind enough to think I was her teacher, I should return the same favor to her and wish her the same.

Dear Toyna, a very Happy Teachers Day to you! You don’t know it now, but someday, when you read this, you will realize, how much Mamma learnt from you!

The Foodie

Yog loves everything that is even in the remotest ways connected to food. Most of his waking time, he spends in the kitchen sitting beside his grandmother or me, watching us cook. When we remove him from the cooking scene for fear of he getting hurt, he busies himself with the pots, pans, grinder jars, ladles, boxes, anything that makes sounds  and is associated with food.

Our best time together, during the day, is when I sit down for my meal. Usually he has already finished his food, but his curiosity on whats on my plate, always pull him to me. I sit on the chair, and he sits on my lap, facing the dining table. He then digs into my food with his chubby hands. My lap provides the ideal height for him to reach my plate along with just the right proximity to me.

Digging into my food provides him a beautiful sensory experience, something that we probably get only when we taste the rarest of wines. He starts with rubbing the soft rice in between his fingers to feel it. Once that sense is satisfied, he put the little morsel into his mouth for the second sensory organ to get its share. His eyes roll back a little as the rice melts in his mouth and the juice flows down his throat. This is just plain rice without any top ups but he savors it like it is best thing that he has ever tasted.

Two or three morsels down, and his appetite is done. He then picks some more morsels and puts it into my mouth. Most of you won’t believe it, but I cross my heart and say that the morsels that Yog puts in my mouth are one of the most delicious foods that I have ever tasted. Just a few rice grains, without any top ups, served with tiny fingers, half of them dropping on the way to my mouth are much more than just food for me. As I feel his soft fingers reaching into my mouth, sometimes tears well up in my eyes.

His hand often misses the target of my mouth, and he ends up smearing the food on my cheeks or nose. He then turns back to look up at my face and admire his art work. He grins from ear to ear upon the fact that now my face resembles his.

Before this time, I have never been a foodie in my life. I have always viewed food as something to be consumed to keep the body running. I never knew, the simplest of food can provide so much pleasure and serve as a connection between people. I know these days will pass when Yog will outgrow my lap and give me food with his tiny fingers. But then somewhere in my heart, I look forward to the days, when I am old, lying on bed and Yog, all big and strong, comes my bed, to give me my last few morsels of food.