25 August, 2008

Abhay's First Day of Primary School

Today had been much awaited. Today had been looming large on all minds. Today was indeed a big day. Today was the start of something new. Today marked the beginning of yet another cornerstone in Abhay’s life. Today marked the beginning of a whole new routine for him. Today marked the beginning of embarking on a whole new journey.

Yes – He’s started Primary schooling today. Today was the first day of his Primary One year.

It had been playing on his mind for the past fortnight or so. There have been plenty of moments of self-doubt, there have been moments of delighted anticipation, there have been moments of tears, there have been moments of tantrums, there have been moments when his imagination took flight, there have been moments when fear ruled large, there have been moments when nervousness manifested itself rather strongly in him. And all of this heralded the beginning of something new, a fresh start, his foray into “the big league”.

Today morning started off with Abhay and Mommy waiting for the school bus. Appu had already left on her school bus since she’s at a different campus. Mommy was supposed to go over to school with Abhay today since it was the first day of school. Just as we reached the lobby, we saw the school bus turning towards our block and in we went, looked around for Abhay’s name tag and found that he has been seated right in the front – just behind the driver and the child who will be sitting next to him had been his classmate in his second year of Kindergarten.

The bus made its usual rounds within our apartment complex, picking up children and parents alike. There was also quite some confusion as to whether the kids were supposed to be going to school today or not because of some change in schedule due to the typhoon which hit HK on Friday last. Finally, having collected all the kids who were going to school today, the bus hit the road – out of the apartment complex and towards school.

Once we reached school too, confusion reigned supreme. All the new children were quite flummoxed by the scene there – the whole place was such a buzzing beehive of activity. We made our way towards Abhay’s classroom and once he’d seen his classroom, Mommy also took him over to the area where he would be waiting for the bus to travel back home in the afternoon. While there, Mommy was talking to a friend who was looking for her child’s class. During this time, another little girl, apparently from Year 3 had walked upto Abhay, was looking at his namebadge and asking him “You don’t know where your classroom is ? Do you want me to take you to your class ? Come – I’ll show you where it is.” It was such a sweet gesture on her part.

He took one look at his teacher and Mommy could actually see the light going on inside his head. He looked rather “illuminated” !! “Mummy – Ms.C is very pretty” came the statement. “Hmm … what difference does that make ?” asked Mommy. “I like pretty teachers” came the reply – sure and swift. And that said, he immediately made a beeline for Ms.C and darted into the classroom without as much as a second glance at Mommy who was standing outside the door waving madly like there was no tomorrow.

The next few minutes saw Mommy desperately peeking in through the glass windows, trying to glean what was going on and two or three times Abhay was seen chatting up the “pretty Ms.C”. All seemed well in that part of the world ! His attention shifted a few minutes later to a whole pile of wooden blocks on one of the tables and he turned his attention to “constructing” something.

The bell rang, shrill and loud – and all parents, taking their cue from the bell, began to move towards the main door on their way out of the school.

One backward glance at his class – the doors were closed, the balcony adjoining the class, devoid of kids. On the pegs outside the class – a whole range of colorful school bags hanging, a whole line of water bottles placed above the bags, the lunch basket and the snack basket overflowing with all the kids’ lunch and snack boxes. For those 30 children inside that classroom – their Primary One year had well and truly begun.

I had expected the house to be quiet and was mentally prepared for the silence that was bound to make its presence felt at home. But fact remains that it still hits hard. As prepared as one may be for the hushed silence inside the house, it still feels weird. It feels unnatural. It feels as though there is something absolutely vital, missing. And I do realize that the same noises that I’d taken for granted many a times, are the noises that I badly miss now.

A whole bucket (or better still – two buckets) of Lego Blocks being overturned all at once, wooden blocks being used for “construction activity”, drums being played on the shoe shelf, the siblings having a tiff, the sounds of engines all around the house as it gets turned into a virtual “Island of Sodor”, racing cars racing all over the house with a lot of extra sound effects, little voices talking to the plants or the turtles or the fishes, little figures hiding behind doors shouting “BOOO” as I walk through the door, the sound of delighted laughter and giggles and much much more. There’s none of all this right now. As of now, there’s just silence and it is rather oppressive.

I’ve been mentally willing something inside the house to make some noise over the past couple of hours and so far, nothing has obliged. To counter the silence, I put on a CD on the music system – a lovely Gulzar/Bhupinder CD and as the CD played in the background while I attended to my chores, realization hit that no one had walked up to me and said “Ewwww – that CD is so boooring”. And somehow, I actually missed being interrupted in the middle of the CD. I missed having to put the CD off without ever getting past the third song. Weird, but true !!

An hour more before the kids get home from school ….

An hour and counting ..... and counting ..... and counting ..... and counting .....

post signature

16 August, 2008

Happy Raksha Bandhan :) !!

There was once a little girl,
Her parents, on her fingers, she loved to twirl
And they did enjoy and dance to her tune;
‘Twas fine with them as long as she didn’t ask for the moon.

Years flew by and before we knew
Into a little kindergartner, she grew
Little did she know that life was about to change
For an expansion was in the offing, upping the family range
Where there were three, now there were four
And for all in the family, ‘twas an adjustments galore.

The big sister grew and so did the lil brother
They were to each other, plenty of fun and at times, a bother
So then, there were the two siblings
And then the fun started building.

Well, what’s the fun without any quibbling
Fights, sulks, squabbles and tears
All mingled with laughter, fun and noise – oh dear !

The two of them laugh, the two of them cry
But oh ! How the two of them make time fly
‘But when mom or dad pulls them up ;
To them it does spell “Trouble”
Then one sees each sibling jump to the other’s defence ;
And defend “their very own little bubble”.

A sibling’s love is so very different,
“Cos a sibling knows that he/she is never really alone

Fights over toys, fights over books
They give each other dirty looks
Yet, as thunder rumbles and lightning flashes
Or as an imaginary Monster Nian waltzes
They climb into the other siblings’ bed;
forgetting all their verbal bashes.

A sibling’s love is so very different ;
Be there tiffs and noisy fights, this is one fabric that does not rent

A sibling’s love is so very different ;
‘Tis a love that grows from growing up together

Staying close or staying afar
Nothing lets this relationship mar
For like the saying goes “why should a sibling fear”
when he/she knows “that the other sibling is always there”.

May this closeness always last
May this bond never go apart

Siblings are siblings forever
A bond that hopefully diminishes never

Siblings are siblings forever
Each sibling is always, a part of the other.

Here's wishing siblings the world over, A Very Happy Raksha Bandhan !!

post signature

14 August, 2008

Shopping for Mr.E "wears" one down !!

A trip to the school was on the cards yesterday morning.

There still remains about a week and a half to go before school reopens – well, a week for Aparna and a week and a half for Abhay, to be exact.

Since Abhay is starting Primary One, we needed to go over to school to buy his uniforms. And by uniforms, I mean – normal uniforms, House PE uniforms, a apron (for painting and artwork sessions at school), a book bag (for the kids to carry their school diary and for them to borrow books from the school library), a summer hat (fortunately the school hasn’t invented a winter hat yet !) and so on and so forth.

Normally this should be a rather straightforward affair. This is made much simpler by the fact that the uniforms have to be bought from the school PTA shop only. The uniforms are not available anywhere other than the school.

But what makes the whole thing seem like scaling Mount Everest is the fact that one is going shopping for Mr.Exasperation. Shopping for Mr.Exasperation is absolutely no joke. It can make one tear one’s hair out in total exasperation, it can turn hair silver in a matter of hours, it can actually induce habits like nail biting in people who’ve never had that vice, it can cause people to walk round and round in circles - wild-eyed and totally disheveled, it can drive people to contemplate giving up shopping.

Yes – it does get that bad !!

Not that he’s picky or choosy about the clothes being bought. If there is something that really catches his eye when we are in the process of shopping for him, he points it out to us. But otherwise, he does not really mind us doing the shopping for him.

What makes shopping for Mr.E such a nerve wracking experience is his build, or rather, the lack of it !!!

Nothing – absolutely no clothes that are made for children his age, fit him. T-Shirts, Trousers, Jeans, Cargo Pants – nothing !!

With T-Shirts the problem is sorted out by shopping for T-Shirts that are labeled “3-4 years”. We have had the unique distinction of walking into one of the Mothercare outlets a few months back and actually buying T-Shirts for Mr.E - Tshirts that have been labeled as clothes meant for 3 year olds. The look on the salesgirl’s face was absolutely priceless when she looked at the T-Shirts for 3 year olds, asked him how old he was and received a prompt reply “I’m five years old”.

There are times though, when T-Shirt shopping too gets tricky. While the body size of a smaller T-Shirt is just about right, the neck of the T-Shirt simply isn’t wide enough for his big head to pass through. Yes ! His head circumference is more than that of kids his age !! Has always been that way !! So either the T-Shirt refuses to get past his head or worse still, having gotten past his head once, it just decides to stay put and refuses to get past his head when we try to get the T-Shirt off him !!!!

But buying trousers or jeans for Mr.E is a different story altogether. Nothing seems to stay on that reed thin waistline of his. And in the case of trousers, there is absolutely no question of shopping for trousers or jeans made for 3-4 year olds. While the waistline might, just might be small enough to cater to his thin waist, the length of the trousers would fall really short. He would end up looking like Raj Kapoor in “Mera Naam Joker”. What with the trousers staying hitched up well above the ankles and the like.

Today morning, while shopping for uniforms too, I had the rather dubious distinction of going over and asking the lady at the PTA shop whether they had a shirt one size smaller than what appeared to be the smallest size available. “Smaller than this ?” she asked me, her voice dripping with incredulity. “For him” I said and I needed to say nothing further. She looked at him and the penny dropped – I could almost hear it clinking inside that head of hers.

With his uniform trousers I was quite literally holding my breath and absolutely willing those trousers to stay on on his waist. Trousers normally slide right off !! Fortunately, the smallest available trouser size proved somewhat OK. Atleast I’m sure the trousers will not slide off when he runs around with them on – and that’s more than what one can really ask for, under the present circumstances.

Thus ended yesterday’s uniform shopping. Not as nerve wracking as expected and fortunately, he does not look like a little scarecrow with spindly arms and legs sticking out of uniforms that look a “couple of sizes too big” for his small frame.

Every attempt at shopping for Mr.E’s trousers reminds me of a rather funny quote by Ellen DeGeneres

“I don’t understand the sizes anymore. There’s a size zero which I didn’t even know that they had. It must stand for ‘Oh My God !! You’re Thin !!’”.

post signature

11 August, 2008

Is there anything more irritating .......

.......than an indifferent shrug of the shoulders ?

The Wikipedia defines a Shrug as a form of nonverbal communication that is performed by lifting both shoulders up, and is an indication of an individual either not knowing an answer to a question, or not caring about a result. It may be accentuated with raised eyebrows and/or an exaggerated frown.

Well, throw in a twisted mouth too – twisted into inordinately difficult expressions that convey that the “expression bearer” thinks that you’re making a mountain out of a molehill !!

That combination is very difficult to beat.

That combination is an instant success story for the perpetrator.

That combination is extremely difficult to ignore.

That combination chafes and grates on the nerves.

That combination evokes a surefire reaction of irritation.

And somewhere along the way, the elder sibling has indeed figured that out.

And of late, this combination is being used to the fullest and it unfailingly evokes a response.

To her credit, I have to say that she is a very sensible kid and it is not often that I see this happening. For the most part, she is a very nice kid and a very well mannered and well behaved one at that. But those “once in a while” times when she really wants to get on my nerves, when she’s hell bent on irritating the living daylights out of me, she knows that she has an extremely dependable weapon in her armory.

I’ve been wondering, of late, as to why this gets to me so ?

What is it about that indifferent shrug of the shoulder that makes me abandon what little zen I’ve managed to muster in about 8 years of parenting ?

What is it about that shrug that riles me so ?

I honestly have no idea. Maybe that “Shrug n Mouth Twist” combo is indeed my Achilles Heel. But I do know that it does make me sharpen just about all the available pencils in the house.
(For people who are wondering what the connection is between me getting irritated and me sharpening pencils – well, it is a quirk of mine. I sharpen pencils to destress.)

I wonder if this is an inkling of a “generation gap”. What is considered a perfectly natural response by the kids of today is something that the previous generation may find irritating.

Or is it the basic message that a shrug sends out – in saying “I don’t care what you think”.

Or is it the fact that any action feels as if it is being bestowed upon the parent as an act of goodwill or a favor when it is accompanied by the said “Shrug and Twisted Mouth”.

I honestly don’t know.

This is something I am yet to figure out. Or maybe it is just another quirk of mine. Getting irritated by something as simple as an “indifferent shrug of the shoulder”.

Has it ever happened with any of you ? Are there any particular actions or words or habits or types of behavior that really irritate and ire you ?

Carl Gustav Jung once said

"Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves."

Well, the "understanding oneself" bit sure has not happened with me. Not yet !!

post signature

07 August, 2008

Logic - Abhay Style - Episode 2

After the fun (I assume) that the "internet aunties" had - pitting their wits in trying to crack some "Logic - Abhay Style", I had this crazy idea of turning the whole thing into a series.

That way, it not only increases the fun factor but also will prove advantageous to me - in the sense that - if ever, I'm caught in a situation wherein I don't have an answer to his "logic", I can always post it here and await "possible solutions". Win-Win situation, ain't it ? :D

Logic-Abhay Style - Episode 1 can be found here.

Now ... on to Episode 2.

On Sunday last, both the kids wanted icecream for dessert after their lunch. Invariably, what happens with a tub of Neopolitan Ice cream is - one of the three flavors or sometimes two of the three flavors in the tub is in demand and the third one goes woefully neglected. After the first two flavors are consumed, the third flavor is, many a times, found sitting in the icecream tub, freezing all by itself in the freezer, with a totally woebegone look. Must be rather lonely, poor thing !!

With due consideration to the loneliness factor that drives the poor icecream crazy in the cold cold confines of the freezer, Mommy gives the siblings half a scoop of all three flavors. To get the nutty siblings to OK this was rather simple :D. If it is only one flavor that they ask for, they get just one scoop normally. But if they are not hellbent on specifying a flavor, then they end up getting half a scoop of each flavor - making it one and a half scoops in all :D.

It Works !!!

So Sunday afternoon saw both siblings demolishing their icecreams. Half a scoop each of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry.

Halfway through his icecream, Abhay started to poke at the icecream with the spoon. We watched but did not say anything.

He poked at it, mashed it with his spoon and pretty soon, the plight of the icecream in the bowl really got to us.

Daddy asked Abhay "Why are you doing this ? Very soon - the whole thing is going to melt and you'll have to drink it."

Mr.Exasperation looked up but the only answer we got was "Yes Daddy."

Appu went next and said "Don't do that. Its all going to turn into a liquid."

Mr.Exasperation looked up and said "But Aparna ...."

Mommy went ahead next and told Abhay "Why turn the whole thing into a gooey mess ? Don't you like the icecream ?"

Mr.Exasperation looked up and said "Yes Mummy. I like the icecream."

The poking and prodding continued and Daddy went on to tell him "Now look - the whole thing is turning into a liquid. Next time you ask for icecream, we might as well just give you milk. That way you won't have to take the trouble of turning the icecream into a liquid."

Sensing that all the other three members in the household were ganging up on him (I guess), Mr. E looked up and said

"But see ........................................................"

What do you think he said ? :D

A hint : It was something neither Appu, nor Mommy, nor Daddy had an answer to.

Edited to add :

Mr.Exasperation said "But see ..... I'm just trying to make a new flavor."

Pray tell me, what in God's name can anyone say to an answer like that one !!!!!!!!!

post signature

05 August, 2008

Colorful Language ? Indeed !!!

Thingummajigie !!!!

Sounds alien ?

Sounds like something you heard one of the characters in a Greek/Latin movie yelling ?

Ah ! Welcome Aboard. :D

Well, it’s not as if I’ve not heard that exclamation before. It’s just that it is being repeated with incessant regularity by the elder sibling. It is not a “thingy” anymore. Thingy is simply out of vogue. When referring to something which absolutely has a name in English – a name commonly used, a name that the parents would easily understand and identify with, a name that is commonplace – the elder sibling chooses to exclaim with a rather exuberant flourish – That Thingummajigie !!!

What “Thingummajigie” the elder sibling means is known to her and her alone. By the time we figure out what the said object is, she probably would have dropped Thingummajigie and moved on to some other exclamation which is “in vogue”.

The other day she was narrating an incident that took place at school when she was in Year 2. Yo – why the flashback, I ask ? Stay with the present, young lady. This is me – the me who does not remember fully what happened yesterday and now I’m supposed to remember the names of the kids in her class in Year 2. Thank the Lord it was not something that happened during her Kindergarten years. I would have been so completely floored !!

While narrating the above incident, the elder sibling goes “When people go upsy downsies …..” Upsy Downsies !! What in God’s name is that now ? Apparently it is a phrase (self coined, of course) that is said to indicate “a person going up and down the stairs numerous times”. Hence the plural in “downsies” – explained the elder sibling. “That way I don’t have to say up and down so many many times” says the elder sibling with a flourish and a grin – throw in a sideways look with repeatedly batting eyelashes – and the picture is complete !!!

Oh God !! This is way beyond me.

Reminded me of what a very dear friend had once said. She’d said “G – she’ll be using phrases like these with you and you will be gaping like the deer that is caught in the headlights”.

Well, my dear, it is indeed happening !! :D

The “aw shucks” which was being used rather regularly earlier on has now been replaced with a newer version “aw shoot”. I am quite sure that the “oo” actually stand for some other alphabet but as of now it is still being pronounced “oo” and is yet to be replaced by some other alphabet from the alphabet train.

Nowadays, there are a lot of things which give the elder sibling “the heebie jeebies”. There are also things which give her “the jeepers”. Why Jeepers ? Why not Tractors ? I asked her once and what I got in return was an extremely horrified look. “Where did Tractors come from ?” she asked, nose all scrunched up, eyes as wide as saucers and lips twisted beyond description.

The “Awwwwright” which was being used earlier on has just gotten longer and is now an “Awwwwriighhtyyy”. And yeah, the Awwwriiighttyyyy is also followed by a “Whaateeverrrr”. The important thing is not to say just “whatever” and leave it at that. One has to drag the ‘r’ like Jerry drags Tom, looking like a dishrag, all over the house. And at the same time, one has to twist and curl the ‘r’ so that it sounds like one is speaking with one’s face submerged in a tank full of water.

Try it – you might probably succeed in intoning the “whaaaateeevvverrrrrr” the right way !!!

Good Old Boring is not Boring anymore. It is “bawwwrrrriiinnnnngggggg”. And trust me when I say that the resonance and echo that the word “baaawwwriiiiiingggg” creates – is something that would put humungous temple bells to shame.

When something goes wrong – why in the name of God should one say something as boring and colorless as “Uh Oh” when there are more colorful alternatives available – such as “Mammmmaaaaa Miaaaaaaaaaa” or better still “Cheeeeseeeeeee Nibletttttttttsssssss

The first time I heard "Cheeesse Nibbletttssss" I honestly thought it was some crispy available in the supermarket because these kids – once they start primary school – turn into some kind of self proclaimed quality controllers of all sorts of junk food that is available in the market.

Food is not “delicious” any more. It is “yummyliciously deeelicioso”. Would not one word do – to convey the meaning, I mean ? Does it have to be as long as an engine with a caboose attached to it ? Does it mean that the longer the expression, the more delicious the food ?

Waiting to see which such exotic linguistic bit gets throw one’s way is like walking in as the opening batsman against the West Indies and waiting for the bouncers to begin bouncing off you.

Honestly, there is only so many words that my brain can remember and compute. And everytime one such new “expression” makes its way into the dictionary inside my head, I’m sure another word must be exiting my head as well. Now that I have words like “thingummajigie” and “cheese niblets” and the like finding a slot inside the few grey cells that I have left, I wonder which sensible words have taken leave of my grey cells.

Toodle-ooo everyone and Peace Out !!!! :D

post signature

04 August, 2008

Logic - Abhay Style !!!!!!

OK - For quite a while now I know quite some people out there (meaning you, who is reading this right now) have been reading about the exploits of the nutty siblings. The younger sibling also seems to have quite some "fan following" among the "internet aunties" :D. So here's a little insight into what we now call "Logic - Abhay Style" -which means - it is totally whacky, it could keep one's gray cells firing for a long long time, it could drive you absolutely nuts !!! It is like wanting to take a trip to say Europe and reading Lonely Planet books relating to Asia !!!.

Please do consider yourself warned. !!! :D

Today morning, this was a statement Abhay made

"Skunks make people so exhausted."

"Exhausted ?" I asked him.

"Yes." said Abhay.

"Skunks make people so exhausted."

Took me a while to make sense of this statement and when I did ask him if that was what he meant, he nodded rather solemnly and said "Yes. That's what I mean."

So now - how many of you want to give it a shot in trying to crack some "Logic - Abhay Style".

You have his statement

"Skunks make people so exhausted."

What do you think he meant ? :D

Edited to add

It all started with Mr.Exasperation making a statement "It is exhausting. This is exhausting." And since this was early morning, for the life of me, I could not figure out what he was talking about.

When quizzed, he went on to say that there was some weird smell and that it was so exhausting.

That was when I got the "logic".

And to drive his point home, he came up with the statement "See - Skunks make people so exhausted". "Because they can make a big stink" "People will get so exhausted by the stink that they have to put the exhaust fan on to make the exhausted people fresh."

If you ask me personally, his "logic" is mighty tiring and trying at times. :D

And since all of you had fun (I presume) breaking your heads over this one, how many of you would like to see this turned into a series ? Mr.E comes up with his "weird logic" quite often. So everytime that happens, would you like to pit your wits and figure it out ? Tell, Tell !! :D

post signature