Don’t steal all the credit

Having two children who are completely unlike each other in every possible way, teaches you a lot about life. I realized one big learning today and wanted to share it with mothers who are too hard on themselves.

Having brought up two kids almost the same way and yet seeing them worlds apart, tells me that there is only so much that upbringing has to do with health, eating habits, and temperament of a child. The most important factor that is responsible behind them being the way they are is the fact that “they are who they are”.

As a mother, if you blame yourself for their poor health or bad public mannerisms, please don’t. Even if I have never met you or your children, I can guarantee, you are the best mom they would ever get.

On the flip side, if you like to take credit for their excellent health and intellectual skills, please don’t. Remember, your child has a mind of his/her own.

Being a mother is not like being a car owner. We cannot steer children in the direction we want. For me, being a mother is like being a farmer in the field. I can ensure the seed gets the right sunlight, water and air, but I cannot force the seed to grow into a mango tree no matter how much I love mangoes.

Why bars of dark chocolate are hidden between layers of saris in my home?

Why bars of dark chocolate are hidden between layers of saris in my home? I am pretty sure, if Sherlock Holmes was tasked to solve this mystery, he would fail. This is because Sherlock Homes never had children. I am also sure that all parents having kids between 9 to 15 years of age are nodding their heads in understanding. They know, there is no safe place in the house to hide treats. No matter where you hide them, you won’t be able to prevent them from magically disappearing in a few short hours. Every time my husband or I open the fridge to snack on something delicious and unhealthy, we face this mystery. The maid, the children and even grandparents included have no clue where all unhealthy things disappear.

Tired of losing my favorite chocolate to these mysterious, ravenous monsters, I finally decided to safely hide it in between layers of old saris. Ingenious, isn’t it! I can happily say that I have managed to increase the lifespan of one chocolate from a few hours to a total of 3 days 16 hours and counting. Today, before leaving for work, after making sure there were no monsters lurking around, I stole a bite from the chocolate. For some reason as the chocolate melted in my mouth, I had a vivid flashback. In the flashback, I could clearly see my Mom dressed in a pale yellow suit locking a large tin of home-made Besan ladoos in the dark blue Godrej steel cupboard in her room. I could see a 10 year old me, peeking from behind a wall to see exactly where she had kept the tin. After my mom had left for office, I saw myself trying to pick the lock of the Godrej cupboard to little avail. Godrej has a brand to honour, after all.

As the chocolate traveled into my gut and the scene slowly disappeared, I realized the root cause behind the mystery of disappearing goodies in our house. The reason was simple. The reason is called “karma”. What I stole as a child, will be stolen from me as I grow old. The recent events in our home, were a reinforcement that the karmic law always apply. This realization lead me to a sadistic thought. I muttered under my breath, “Steal as much as you want! Wait till you have children of your own. You will not get a single bite of your favorite dessert! It will be me, from my grave, who will have the last laugh then!”

As soon as those words were out, another realization struck me. It was not me but my Mom who was having the last laugh now, even while she is alive. How satisfying it would be for her to see us face the same misery that we made her undergo all those years ago!!

P.S. – Matrix I was laughing aloud while drafting this one. I hope you have a good laugh too! Love you Mom!

My Brother Stole My Childhood

Some adults always remain children and some children grow up into adult hood even before they have been properly potty trained . I think the speed at which we grow mentally has a lot to do with one, our basic nature and two, the environment around us. A very important factor in the environment is the presence or absence of siblings. I learnt this through two independent events, few days back.

Yog recently changed schools and I wrote about how traumatic the first day experience was for him and me. What I did not write about then, was another story that unfolded the same day as Yog and me tried to fit ourselves into his new world. In the school waiting room, Yog sat in my lap, hugging me close, scared to let me out of his sight. A few feet away from us, another 3 year old frail girl clung to her 5 year old sister, crying incessantly. She had the same reason to cry as Yog. She did not want to leave the safety of her sisters arms and step into her classroom. The elder sister, a student of the same school, hugged the younger one close and assured her that everything was going to be OK. I could hear her explaining coolly and logically that this was a good school and the teacher would be very nice. The younger one refused to be convinced and continued to cry . I could feel the elder ones emotions as she hugged her sister; kissed her on the forehead and wiped the tears off her sticky cheeks. My heart went out to the elder sister who was barely an year older than Yog. While Yog sat comfortably in my lap, this little girl was shouldering the responsibility of being a mother and guardian to her little sister. While I myself was finding it hard to deal with the pain of leaving my crying son, she was smiling bravely at her brawling little sister. I felt proud and sad for her at the same time.

Yog has an array of friends who live in the same street as us. Two of them, Siddu and Ganesh are his best friends. Their mother serves as the watch woman to the building opposite to us. One day, I spotted Siddu crying on the road with Ganesh trying to console his little brother. I asked Ganesh what had happened. Ganesh quickly exclaimed with an air of being in control, “Siddu wants to eat Kinder Joy but Mother doesn’t have money to buy it. I told Siddu, when our Mother gets a job, she will buy two Kinder Joys for Siddu. When she gets a promotion in her job, she will buy a big toy train for Siddu.” The conviction in Ganesh’s voice gave Siddu the confidence that it was only a matter of time before he gets his Kinder Joy and toy train. Wiping his tears with the back of his arm, Siddu quickly caught his brothers hand, and ran along to find some sticks to play with. Once again, I felt the pride and sadness rising in my heart.

When I think of these incidents, and witness the sibling dynamics in my own home each day, I wonder if the younger siblings realize the level of emotional and physical support provided to them by their elder brother/sister. As parents too, we often take for granted the responsibility that the elder one shoulders. Just because they were born a few years earlier, we feel they should be more responsible.

I know, like many parents out there, I have forced my daughter to grow up much faster than she needed to. I write this blog today, to acknowledge all the sacrifices she has made for her little brother.  I am never scared for the future of my son, because I know my daughter will always be there for him. I guess that is a privilege as well as a curse for all elder siblings in this world. May God bless you with much more love, patience and strength, cause He knows that you need it for sure!