Monday, April 25, 2011

So this is how it's going to be!

Me: Vir, did you sit with Tejas in class again today?
Vir: No, I'm not friends with Tejas anymore.
Me: Why not?
Vir: Because a girl, Gia, came to me and asked if I could be her friend. And I said yes.
Me: So?
Vir: So I'll have to tell Tejas tomorrow that I can't be his friend anymore.


Sunday, April 24, 2011

How the humble crow came to our help in an hour of need

It constantly amazes me how the simplest and most straightforward of activities that you could just pull off without a thought before you had kids now seem like the greatest of challenges and get done either not at all or with much pain and procrastination. As an example, the light in our bathroom has been out for (I'm not kidding) over a month now. The particular tubelight that fits this rare holder is apparently only available in Sikanderpur - which is worse than a sharp pain you know where at the best of times. To go there with kids evokes such horror and fear in both me and my husband that we have happily lived with the alternative for over a month. We have chosen to live without a light and stumble along in the dark arms outstretched looking for the pot when we want to use the loo at night. We have taken baths in the light of our cell phones or little candles and even told ourselves that candlelit baths are romantic. Granted, we don't have a tub or jacuzzi and we haven't had glasses of wine and glossy magazines for company but hey, with two kids, you take whatever you can get, right?

Anyway, last evening, I had finally reached the end of my patience with make believe romantic baths and midnight stumbles just to pee and I really wanted a light in my bathroom damnit! Of course, one of us could have gone alone to buy the tubelight but we (believe it or not) wanted to spend the whole weekend together and this would be such a waste of time alone. So we gathered up our courage, made a list of all the other things that were not working in the house that we could get from Sikanderpur, got the kids and their water and the diaper bag ready, fed and walked the dog, and did all the hundred things one does when leaving the house with kids for even a little while. We felt so brave, finally on our mission to get things done, take control, sieze the day, and all that (of course it's that big a deal!)

So we get there and since Tara has fallen asleep on the way, I wait in the car while Vijay and Vir head into the market with the list of things to buy. And wouldn't you know it, as soon as Vijay gets into the shop and begins to tell the shop keeper what he needs, Vir announces that he wants to poop. Loudly in the store, "papa...potty aa gayi. Zor se potty aa gayi..." Really? Poop? In Sikanderpur? Plonk goes the whole sieze the day idea. Now it's just about buying as many of those tubelights and other things as possible before things get out of hand. Vijay hurriedly picks up some random bulbs and tubelights while telling Vir to try not to think about it and wait a little bit. Meanwhile, the shopkeeper is visibly tense because he has a business to think of and little boys who want to poop right in the middle of his shop can't be good for that. He urges the sales guy to hurry the hell up and get these people what they want already. Vir isn't helping at all with the non-stop "papa-potty-potty-papa-potty" chant.

I have no idea all this is going on and am just happy thinking of all the things I can strike off my to do list when I get back from this trip. So, I'm not too happy to see a not too happy Vijay rushing towards the car with a not too happy Vir. (Tara is happy, but only because she's asleep.) I get the jist of what's going on through Vir's chanting and Vijay's muttered grumbling. We're at least 25 minutes away from home and a clean loo. Trust kids to want to poop at all the wrong times. I try to tell Vir not to think about it and wait a little bit - that's been done before and it's not working, says Vijay.

Suddenly, when things are really on the verge if you know what I mean, Vijay remembers what worked for him when he was a kid in a similar situation. A little poem his nanny taught him. It's in Assamese and the protagonist is a crow or a kaori. The jist of it is that the crow is being asked to take away the poop and bring it back at a more opportune time. Vijay teaches Vir the poem and Vir earnestly repeats it. He forgets all the other lines after the first time and all we can hear is a very trusting little voice going "kaori-kaori-kaori-kaori-kaori." "Is it working, Vir?" says Vijay, "Is the kaori helping you?" (We're really hoping kaori is not sleeping on the job today since we need him to get us out of Sikanderpur.) "Yes," says Vir, "kaori-kaori-kaori..."

Phew. Turns out kaori really knows what he's doing because not only did he take away the poop, he also got Vir to fall asleep before we reached home. It's 16 hours later as I write this and kaori has yet to return :-)

 As for my tubelight? Let's just say we have a few more candlelit baths to take before I can report any success there!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Who needs TV?

Here's an attempted recreation of the scene before bedtime last night:

Scene: Kids' bedtime, mom tired and ready to end the day and pushing the kids to brush and change and go to sleep already. Vir is all changed up and fooling around on the bed while I'm trying to get Tara to change.

Me: Tara, lie down need to wear your pyjama.
Tara: (wisely, while holding up her PJs) Panjana
Me: That's right Tara...that's your pyjama. Can you wear it please? Lie down!
Tara: Shakes head very decisively as she always does and refuses to give me the PJs
Me: You want to wear it yourself (little miss "too" independent)
Tara: Already putting her legs in and having a go at the PJs. After a few tries, she manages to get it on up to her knees.
Me: Okay Tara, lie down please so I can pull it up.
Tara: Shakes head decisively again.
Me: Now what?
Tara: Pats bed a few times that she wants to wear her PJs sitting down (She's fiercely independent but not currently capable of thinking through her decisions.)
Me: (Okay, let me explain this calmly. Arguing with Tara doesn't help. And ordering certainly doesn't.) But Tara, if you're sitting down, how will the pyjama go up your bottoms?'ll get stuck right here...
Tara: Pats bed again stubbornly (I already told you how I want to do this, right mom?)
Me: Okay - try it. 
Tara: Tries it. Doesn't work. 
Vir: (jumping into action) Mamma...I can teach her how to do this! But I'll have to take my pyjama off to show her. 
Me: Watching in dismay as the one kid who was actually ready for bed swiftly undresses and joins the party.
Vir: (super cutely demonstrating how a pyjama is worn while Tara looks on like everything depends on this) Look Tara....first you have to hold the pyjama like this, then you have to look for the tag and make sure it's at the back, then you have to put your legs in. Now you have to stand up and pull from the front and pull from behind. (It works! Vir's pyjama is back on and Tara looks like he may have a point after all. She may be stubborn but you can't really argue with such strong visual proof. I can almost see her considering trying this radical new way of wearing pyjamas.)
Tara: does exactly as instructed by her PJ teacher cheered on very enthusiastically at every step by the said teacher and a mother who is seeing light at the end of the long bedtime prep tunnel. And will you believe it, she does it! The PJs are where they should be, Vir is ecstatic at having imparted wisdom, Tara is happy that she didn't have to ask for help, and I can't help laughing out loud at my comical kids and my uniquely comical bedtime routine!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Big School!

It's finally happened! Vir has started big school. Embarked on a long journey and all that. His Shroopie masi thinks the journey should end at her doorstep - with a PhD in hand. I'm already in awe of the said masi so I'd love for that to come true. On the other hand, I often think of the romance involved in him becoming an out of work artist. Vijay wonders why my dream involves him being out of work. If he's an artist, so be it, but can we at least hope that he should have work? There has also been a time when Vijay and I have paranoid-ally worried that he might be into car racing given his passion for cars and we have visualized ourselves as a terrified old couple cowering in the stands while our son races past at a speed at which you don't want your children to race past. Sigh. All that is thankfully later. For now, I just hope that he loves his school and his little nursery class and his two teachers and that he gets off his bus everyday grinning and full of stories for me.

I was really worried about how he would take school especially since he's been at home with me for so many months. I spent the last month prepping him for this but didn't have too much hope that this would result in him happily trotting off into class while waving me a cheerful goodbye. That doesn't happen with him. What I expected was him starting with a low grade whining about not wanting to go to school and ending in loud wails while clinging to my thigh. That happened.

Luckily though, there's a happy ending. I didn't have to peel him off my thigh and leave him crying and kicking at his unfortunate teacher, thanks to Tara! I had taken her with me to drop Vir off to class and while he was not at all interested in any of the things set up in his class to invite and encourage kids, Tara was thrilled to see all the play dough and the toys and the colors and and immediately made herself comfortable in his class. When Vir wouldn't let me leave and Tara wouldn't agree to leave the class, one of his class teachers took pity on me as I was getting increasingly frazzled (God bless her) and offered to keep Tara in class for a while too so Vir had someone he loved in there. Vir loved the idea and of course Tara wasn't complaining. So they held hands and trotted off into the classroom, this time waving me cheerful goodbyes. Phew! I managed to extract Tara after a while and bit all my nails off over the next couple of hours as I went home and waited for the bus to drop him off after school. I'm happy to report that he jumped out grinning widely and had all sorts of things to tell me about his first day.

He's off to school now - it's his third day and I just can't wait for him to back. It's strange for me to not be part of what he's doing for so many hours in the day, and all I want to do is hear his stories!