“They’re changing – are they not ?” is a question oft heard, nowadays. Just the other day saw me and Vic talking about how Abhay is evolving – how he was last year, how he is now. Every now and then, when we compare notes on both the children, one thing that stands out is the element of change.
Transformations are in progress every given minute – such is the nature of change. It may be extremely minute or vibrantly evident – all the same – one cannot deny the existence, the reality, the veracity of this element of time that refuses to stand still. At every given moment, there is always some makeover taking place – in the children, in us, in just about everything. The equation is ever evolving.
This, I guess, is precisely why there is this incessant need to capture facets of both Appu and Abhay’s personalities. To try and preserve segments and fragments of memory for posterity. To create a time bubble linguistically which can be looked into many many years down the line. And giving credence to the need to capture these times is the factor of change.
It is akin to holding a fistful of sand in our hands. The sand slips through our fingers because that is precisely what nature intended. And then we pick up another fistful of sand and this slips through too – but the capricious nature of life does predict that the pace at which the sand slips through does not necessarily have to be the same.
About a month back, as the summer holidays dwindled to an end and as another year at school beckoned, Appu and me had been to school to pick up her new uniforms. And her excitement was quite palpable. She was so looking forward to starting school after a one and a half month break. That enthusiasm, that anticipation of starting school in a new campus was very evident. That exhilaration, that vibrancy was also quite naturally tinged with a wee bit of apprehension – those little shades of trepidation which are a understandable accompaniment to anything new and as yet unexplored. The wings are making their presence felt and they are waiting to fly, to seek, to learn, to unearth and to succeed in the endeavour.
These past few months have seen new facets emerge in both Appu and Abhay’s personalities.
Aparna is learning to strike a balance and is learning to infuse evenness to her thoughts and actions.
Simple things like buying a new school bag – for instance - a couple of months before the summer holidays began, she was insistent that she needed a trolley bag. By the time school was all set to reopen, there was no such talk. A week before school reopened, I had asked her to empty her school bag of all its contents so that it could be washed and dried well ahead of next week. That was when I expected the “trolley bag” issue to come up again. Surprisingly, it did not. When her grandma asked her about it later on she simply said “I don’t need another bag right now. And we don’t have to carry any books or anything to and from school so I don’t need a trolley bag.” Plain and simple.
Yet again, when we were getting back from school the day we went over to pick up her new uniforms, I asked her if she was hungry and if she wanted something to eat. The earlier Appu would have jumped at the opportunity and asked for a burger or chicken wings or some such thing. That day, her reaction was “I am not really hungry right now. Lunch can wait till we get home”.
At school too, she is definitely getting more and more assertive. She is learning to put her foot down where necessary and keep it there.
At home the word most often heard from her nowadays is “Whateverrrrrr” with that twist and twang and that drawl to it that seems to herald a glimpse of what we would possibly be in for a few years from now.
Wherein a bit of pushing around could get her to compete a task soon earlier on, the same kind of pushing and insisting leads to irritated looks now.
A irritated “Pchhhhh” followed by a (*sigh*) is only all too common an occurance. And inevitably, the “pcchhhh” sound is followed by a roll of the eyes or a sideward pursing of the lips. Whilst previously she was extremely dense as regards the body language of the other people around her, now that sense is getting sharpened and honed. She seems to be able to sense “irritation, exasperation and annoyance” only too well.
Just the other day saw Vic mentioning that in another 3-4 years she’ll officially be a teenager. What storms or typhoons head our way, we know not. But over the span of the next few years, we’ll just have to prepare ourselves for the typhoon by taping up the windows as best as we can.
Abhay too has is changing. Just the other day while he was running past, I tried to grab hold of him for a quick hug – something he has never ever resisted in the past. And there he was, all squirming and wriggling to get away. I thought it was all a part of the game and that he would start squealing and laughing any moment but what he said was “Let me go. Let me go Mummy. I don’t want hug now.”
Something as simple as waving bye bye to one of the security guards in our apartment complex was something he would do naturally a few months back but now he wants to choose when he waves and when he does not. Sometimes he says “I don’t want to say bye.” Little things, I know – but viewed on a macro level, is rather significant.
There was this phase where he would say the opposite of whatever it was that we said. That was jest. Now when he says “No” it is a word filled with meaning.
Even while working on his CD-ROMS or while writing, he categorically refuses help of any sort. “No. I’ll do it.” is the reply that is oft heard.
Brushing his teeth, putting the light switches on and off (with the help of a footstool), dragging his bike down the steps – all little things – which now have the unmistakable stamp of “independence” all over. “I don’t need help. I’ll do it” he says. Why he does not exhibit and flaunt his independence over the rather pertinent issue of feeding himself is totally beyond me. I mean – isn’t there supposed to be some kind of logic to these things ? I sure have heard of Selective Perception – but Selective Independence !!! ??
There is evidently a sense of achievement and pride in him when he brings home his artwork/craftwork from school. “I made this” he says. And just about everyone on the way home from school is made to stand and listen to him as he tells them what he made at school and what artwork he is carrying home from school.
Little signs that the children are growing up. It’s the way of life. It is bound to happen. It is something that all parents want. We too don’t want our children hanging on to our coattails for ever.
These little people, whom we got to know pretty well over a span of nine-odd months, those little hands which looked up to their parents to steady them as they took their first steps, those little babies are growing up and seem well on their way towards forging an identity of their own. Growing up to know that they are individuals in their own rights who can make simple decisions for themselves – more importantly, decisions which, within certain boundaries and limits, would indeed be respected.
“When are you going to grow up ?” I used to ask them with a rather exasperated sigh, earlier on.
And now that they are indeed growing up, it seems so very bittersweet.
A part of you gushes with satisfaction, eyes and heart swell with pride and say “Yes. That’s the way to go. Break free slowly but steadily, plant your feet firmly on the ground by yourself, spread your wings, fly, soar and reach for the sky and aim for the stars.”
And yet, there is undeniably that little niggly voice deep within the heart which cries out and says “No. Not yet. I’m not ready for this. Not just yet.”
A quote from “The Wonder Years” sums it up very aptly .....
"Change is never easy. You fight to hold on. You fight to let go."