Monday, December 05, 2016

Friend, buddies and influences

Much as I tried H and N were never the perfectly behaved children I would have liked them to be. They had their good moments and their bad. They could embarrass me thoroughly in public making me question my upbringing and then do something so sweet, so thoughtful, so completely unselfish that my heart would fill with love and pride. Their being Geminis might have something to do with it!

However hard these ups and downs might have been, they taught me one thing - that there were no really ‘bad’ kids. Having seen so many shades of my own I believed firmly that all kids had bits of good and bad in them.

And so when they were younger I encouraged them to include all other kids around them when they played. The quiet ones, the shy ones, the naughty and boisterous, the spoilt and the generous ones - all of them. Despite their quirks and shortcomings they all stuck together. Also, once I got to know them I learnt to like them all.

It helped that we were a bunch of like-minded mothers who looked out for all the kids and reprimanded them too, as they would their own.

However, I find things changing as the kids grow. They are no longer small children nor are their friends. All of them have suddenly developed personalities of their own, rather strong ones, at that! They have fixed ideas of what is cool and what is not, what is good what is bad, right and wrong and that, sometimes, doesn’t coincide with what I think is right or age-appropriate.

I hear some of the older girls giggling over ‘crushes’ and  when N tells me about them, all I can think is “She’s just ten!” — too early to be listening in on stories of crushes. I hear words like ‘loser’ (how I detest it!), ‘jerk’ and much worse. One day N asked me what a b*****d was. Then we had this very lengthy discussion on why I must object each time they says sh**. ‘Everyone says it’, H argued, ‘even adults say it.’ He’s right of course and yet I’d much rather not have that language at home.

With peer-pressure peaking, I have to confess I have begun to think about how other kids influence H and N, specially the older ‘cooler’ lot, who the twins idolise. I find, now, that there are children whom I wish H and N just wouldn’t hang out with. Yet it doesn’t feel quite right to brand a particular child ‘bad company’, to ask the children to stay away from him or her.

What makes it more complicated is that I do see the good in them too - some are extremely well-read and well-informed, one of them is a crazy Harry Potter fan (a definite plus for me), one is a computer whizz, another one is passionate about animals and has loads of interesting nuggets of information. I like them for all those things but I feel they’re not quite right for H and N.

So what do I do?

I understand that there will be good and bad influences around them all the time. I cannot control them. I know that. So can I continue to stick with my idea of ‘people aren't bad, habits are’? That’s what I told them when they were younger. Or am I being too idealistic?

Should I accept that along with the good comes bad and let them be, even while I continue to remind them of the rights and wrongs and hope to God they are listening? Will that help at all? Are they capable of seeing the good from the bad rather than idolising people as a whole? Or are they just too young to evaluate people objectively?

I could engage them elsewhere and minimise interaction. But that needs just so much energy and mind space. Sigh!

Apologies for off loading my worries here but I’m a bit lost. Am I over-thinking this whole thing?

Picture credit: PIXABAY

Linking up with Nabanita's #MommyTalks.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Holding on - just a little longer

This weekend was cleaning up time - one of those days when the twins get down to the big task. H and N recently got new beds and have been on a bit of an overdrive to keep their room neat. Boy am I grateful! As I glanced at the sack of toys and clothes they’d set aside I found myself picking out and saving up things, quite like they pick out and save thing when I am doing the cleaning! Some weird role-reversal, this!

Have you ever found that you are more attached to some of your children's toys than they are? I discovered today that I was!

First, there is the blue-haired doll a dear friend of mine got for her when N turned two. She is dressed up all in turquoise (not pink!) to match her hair. N named her Shanti (because at that point they were watching Jungle Book every single day) carried her everywhere, ate with her, slept with her and celebrated her birthday. Shanti helped keep the Barbies at bay. N never did develop a passion for them. 

And there was the green-haired one called Pony whose leg kept coming off and I had to keep stitching it back on.

Then there was H’s gada - his all powerful mace. It was his absolute super power. He watched television with it on his lap. He carried it everywhere, even when we went visiting or when he was invited to a party. 

There was the boy-doll my sister got him because he wanted a doll ‘just like N’ but not a ‘girl-doll’. And so after much research a ‘boy-doll’ was found; actually it was a girl doll with short hair but H never knew the difference.

There was H’s kitchen set that he spent hours cooking at, his dinosaur army (apparently all of them fought each other to extinction), N’s tiny dressing table at which she’d sit like lady ‘drying’ her hair till she could fit on the stool no more and many many more. I let some of them go rather reluctantly even while I cling to others even now, as I wonder at how fickle kids can be.

But then probably the toys don’t hold the same meaning for them as they do for me. For them, beloved as they might be, they are just toys, which they will outgrow at some point.. and thank goodness for that.

To me, however, they are not just toys. They are bits of people I love and who love the children in turn. They are signs of affection and caring. 

They are a reminder of how innocent the kids were before the outside world and peer pressure changed them and fitted them into stupid stereotypes. Yeah, unfortunately that’s happening already.

Most of all I hold on to them because they are a bit of the kids’ childhood, a bit, I perhaps, never really want to let go.

Picture Credit: PIXABAY

Monday, November 21, 2016

You love her more than me

You love her more than me. You always take her side!”
I watched frustrated, hurt and a little annoyed too as H hurled that allegation at me and walked out of the room. I was just back from their PTM last week and had found them in the middle of a huge row. Of late I am trying to keep out of their fights, but I had to step in here. I was still preoccupied with the discussion at school and was hardly prepared to handle all of this. I simply wanted to restore peace.

And then H made that one allegation that unsettles me most.

This isn't the fist time this has happened
Yet it remains something of a raw nerve. Being fair is almost an obsession for me. When the kids were babies there were always people who preferred one over the other - visitors, friends, grandparents. Someone would like one of the twins because he or she was more talkative, more active, more chubby or simply because one of them resembled someone in the family. I was constantly losing my cool despite telling myself over and over again that it would happen and that it didn’t really matter as long as the Husband and I didn’t have favourites. Yet it drove me to distraction.

Now, when I have the same allegation tossed at me I don’t know how to react. I read somewhere that most parents have favourites (normally the first born) and so I spent hours in honest self-examination on whether I do love one child over the other and I can say so with all my heart that I do not. (I don't even have a first/second born to begin with!)

Each time I try to explain this to the twins it comes out sounding like I am listing things I do for each one of them and that is so very far from my intention. That day I ended up sad, worried and exhausted with a throbbing headache.


That was one of the days when I truly envied people with single kids. I wondered at my naiveté that had me jumping for joy when I discovered I was having twins!!

As always when I’m lost in this parenting maze I turn to other parents - real and virtual - and here’s what I pieced together.

Some children are more insecure than others
and will always feel they are being treated unfairly. Nothing you say or do will convince them otherwise. The tweens (and then the teens) are perhaps the worst times when real and imagined angst is at its peak. You can only hope that they change their mind as they grow older. Sometimes the wait may last till they have kids of their own.

Sometimes they’re saying it only to needle you
When they are upset, tweens say things they don’t mean. In fact if they know something hurts you, they are more likely to say it to you to get their way. Oh yes, kids have crafty little brains. However, they do know in their hearts that it isn’t true. I need to remember that.

So what should I do?
Well, I realised that spending energy on convincing them is pointless, specially when they are angry. I will have to leave them alone and let my actions speak for me.

A sane, reassuring talk after the storm will help.

When one child demands/needs more attention than the other in pampering his/her need, in appeasing him/her I might end up being unfair to the other less-demanding child. So that’s an area I need to tread with caution.

As a parent I need to differentiate between treating them fairly versus treating them equally. That’s an area I’m not really good at. For instance if one of the twins needs something (and the other does not) when I get something for one of them I end up getting something for the other too only to avoid a showdown. Bad idea! The focus should be on the need not the thing.

More individual time with each of them, focussing on individual needs, is even more important as they are growing up.

Those are the things I'll be working on.

As a parent have you ever faced this allegation from your children? Growing up did you ever feel your parent favoured a sibling?

Linking up with dear friend Nabanita's #MommyTalks. Do drop by her post where she talks about kids and the evil eye. Do you believe in it?

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Notes from a happy mom

This weekend has been frustrating and rewarding in equal measure. I was in the middle of penning a post on the frustrating bits when I stumbled upon this post from Kreative Mommy . It was such a happy idea that I dumped all my grumpiness and decided to go with it. I thought this was a great way to get back after my hiatus.

Despite the tussles that are characteristic of the tween years, growing kids can be a lot of fun. The conversations become more meaningful, the sharing more rewarding, the hugs more precious.

So here are some of my happy mommy moments.

When I hear the children singing and giggling together.
The songs are becoming increasingly unfamiliar but I love the sound of their togetherness - truly is the happiest sound ever.

When H smothers me in a bear hug, which he can do since he is almost as tall as I am, and then he tries to lift me off the ground, which he obviously cannot because I still win hands down in the weight category!

When N says, “You look pretty mama” in her rather woman-to-woman voice. 
Our taste in clothes are way different and I am definitely not looking forward to the arguments that the future has in store for us but for now a thumbs up from her in the fashion department is a big deal.

When they say they love my cooking.
I’m a no-good cook so the fact that they like my cooking is a constant source of amazement to me and amusement for the rest of the family.

When H does something goofy and N shakes her head in this very grown up way and exchanges a look with me that says, “Boys!!”.

When N surprises me with a cup of really good ginger tea - just the way I like it. 

When knowledge excites them and they run to share it with me like they've discovered something miraculous, “Did you know sloths are so slow algae grows on them.” 
For the record, No I didn’t know that.

When H does his ballerina impersonation. Of course he’ll kill me (or sue me) for revealing this one but it is the cutest ever.

Do share your happy mommy moments in the comments or, if you blog too, join the linky.

Thanks Kreative Mommy for this nudge. It made me realise how happy the twins make me - something I tend to forget when they're driving me up the wall.


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