Thursday, August 13, 2015

No !

Samaira had learned to say yes before she learned to say no. All the kids around me were learning to say no first. And it is so darn cute. Where is the fun in yes? And what is cuter than a baby uttering in their ever sweet voice the word “no”. Very few things, I can promise you that. But here is the catch, it is cute so long it is happening in other families. Samaira did learn to say no, eventually. Now she prefers it to yes. In a lot of ways I am thankful. Thinking that she will say no when she does not want something and it is a very important skill to have. Many of us don't have it. We don't know how to say no. We don't know when to say no. So saying no is important. I really really value no. 

Until it becomes a statement that my toddler chooses to use in response to pretty much everything and anything. Here is what our conversations look like these days.

Me: Samaira
Samaira: No
Me: Samaira, are you hungry? 
Samaira: No
Me: Do you want to play?
Samaira: No
Me: How about we sing a song?
Samaira: No
Me: So what do you want to do?
Samaira: No
Me: Sammy, really wh…
Samaira: Noooooooooooooo
Me: You want no?
Samaira: No
Me: Samaira no
Samaira: giggles

She thinks this is funny. Most of the times it is. But it isn't always funny. Sometimes it is exactly the kind of conversation that will push you over the edge. But those edge moments aside I am proud of kids and people, pretty much all humans, who can say no. 

Like when I tickle Rehan and he isn't feeling up to it, he immediately responds with “No mumma. I don't like it.” It makes me so proud. 

Or like when I am trying to put cream on Sammy after shower and she responds with “No. I don't want to be touched.” While it makes me proud, sometimes the timing could be tricky. In my head I could be saying “Girl, you need this cream on your body. You skin is dry. It is scratchy! Put some firkkiin cream on it.” But she doesn't want to be touched so I follow that. Mostly because she doesn't like the smell or the idea of cream at that point in time. So I talk to her until she feels like putting cream is the right thing to do. 

The point is, Sammy and Rehan love to say no. They make it ample clear. While their timing annoys me sometimes, I am mostly jealous of their ability and alacrity to say no. 

Siddharth is the kind of person who does not hesitate to say no. The reason is because he does not really process yes or no as a yes or no. He processes it as what he wants and what is in his head. What is in his head will invariably be on his lips. Without going through the pre-processing of what it could be interpreted as, the repercussions, the intent, the impact. A no comes out as a no. The reasons of saying no are plain and simple with no extra coating. A yes comes out as a yes. Same logic. 

I on the other hand spend a lifetime pre-processing and two lifetimes post-processing a simple yes or no. Should I say yes or no? Can it be interpreted the wrong way? Will it hurt someone? Will it hurt me? Should I say one way or the other? Is it fair? I don't like to lie. That is a whole another topic I could write about because I have a lot to say about it. But do I feel the need to defend myself when I say no? Yes, I do. And that is the problem. Sometimes I feel like I shouldn't have to defend myself. An unqualified no should be just fine. In reality, I don't think it is. But that's the point. To look away from what is expected and say what you really want to.

It is so much better to be a child (or Siddharth) when it comes to complicated matters in life. A yes means a yes and a no means a no. What is in your heart is on your lips. There is very little to no pre-processing. There is honesty and rawness. It obviously comes with a bunch of side effects. But a part of me prefers these side effects to the fakeness of a yes. A no may be hurtful. But it definitely deserves a lot more respect. 

Not sure if that made any sense. But feel free to say no if it didn't :).

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Daily escapes

When your toddler tests your patience every single day, every hour of the day, maybe every 30 min of the day, or maybe every 15 minutes of the day - you need an escape. The good thing is that these same testy toddlers are the ones who have an innate ability to provide you with the much needed escape. Sometimes I feel like I have a live cartoon network channel in my house when kids are around. 

I remember my brother, sister and I loved to watch Tom and Jerry as kids. I finally know now that the makers of the show probably got their inspiration from real life kids. The way they fight, the way they love, the way the annoy each other, the way they bump their heads in the wall trying to run in the opposite direction, the way they think - the whole shabang. I can see how Sammy & Rehan are quite well experienced to play a part in the Tom & Jerry series. I won’t be able to tell who is who though.

Samaira and Rehan are turning into extremely mischievous and naughty kids and I know we are in so much trouble in the upcoming years. In a very weird way, I am looking forward to it. There are times when our kids do something and all we can do is stare at each other with slightly confused and astonished faces and a thought of “what did just happen!” These are the moments that provide us an escape from this (somewhat) evil thing called the routine. 

Well here are some of these escapes that make my heart smile. Yes. My heart smile. Because it is totally legitimately possible to make your heart smile.

Our sleep training is going quite poorly. I know that doesn't sound like an escape, but wait till you hear it all. Firstly, the bright parents that we are, we decided to sleep train our kids at the age of 2 and 3.5. We spend anywhere from 30-90 minutes with the kids in their room playing with them, jumping around, reading books, telling stories, singing songs, chatting, you name it. And then we finally tell the kids it is time to say night-night and mumma and daddy will leave the room. The myriad of reactions at this point include wailing, “no”, “mumma sleep next to me”, no reaction, and a sad face. It is not easy. Ever. I think of giving up every day. There are days I do give up. There are days we don't give up. They cry the minute we leave the room. Sometimes they cry for 5 seconds and sometimes for 5 minutes. More often than not they revert to getting back to un-crying. That’s when their fun begins. They start chatting. It is almost like they need to catch up on the entire day’s events. They pretend to read books (in the dark), they do their own thing, they open and close their wardrobe, they take out the lens of the baby monitor (we keep it on the window sill), they unplug the baby monitor, they sing songs and rhymes, they tell stories. It is kind of fun to hear their conversations. Miraculously, it is probably the only time in the day they don't fight with each other. Leaving aside the exceptions, of course. Because how can they not fight. Rehan is my little happy-go-lucky-rowdy and Sammy is my little-mischief-ball. Rehan triggers a shouting competition. You are probably wondering how? Well, he will shout out loud and then start giggling. Of course Sammy will do that same. So she will shout and giggle. Then he will shout and giggle even louder. That is how he is the instigator of a shouting competition between them. Sammy on the other hand will coax Rehan in other ways. She was ask Rehan “Rehan, do you want to watch TV?” Rehan typically responds with a “Yes.” Sammy tells him what to do next “Call Daddy, and say I want to watch TV?” Clearly Rehan follows the instructions. He shouts “Daddy, I want to watch TV.” When we don’t respond, Sammy shouts “Daddy, Rehan wants to watch TV.” We know what you just did there, missy! Then there are times when Sammy will convince Rehan that he needs to use the potty seat and call for Daddy’s help. He is not even potty trained. He hates sitting on the potty seat. But like an obedient younger brother, he calls for help “Daddy I need to go potty on the potty seat.” Yeah, right! While we are the prime examples of what not to do for sleep training the kids, we find this whole sequence quite entertaining. It can sometimes, only sometimes, compete with our Netflix obsession. So we quit the show we are watching and start watching the baby monitor. It is just as fun, I swear. 

Then there are these weird quirky things that our kids say. If I were to do a count of the things that Sammy and Rehan say the most, the word “fartu” might surface to the top. It has gone from being this socially awkward and unacceptable thing to being a normal, perfectly routine, humorous, borderline pride worthy thing in our family. So when Rehan and Sammy fart, they get really excited. They know to follow it with an “excuse me.” But that is besides the point. They proudly come and announce when they fart. Like we are expected to respond with “good job”. We don't go that far though. You know, keeping things somewhat civil so we don't shock the normal humans who visit us. The new obsession they have, thanks to my sister, is the concept of a fartu kiss. Ladies and Gentlemen, we do not take this lightly in our house. It is a very earnest way to show affection and love. The way it works is I make a fart sound with my mouth when I am kissing my two monkeys. It is a gesture that indicates all is forgiven and we are all in a happy unicorn wonderland with our fartu kisses. There are only giggles and laughters for the 30 seconds after we give a fartu kiss. Of course, what happens beyond that 30 seconds is up for grabs. But at least we get 30 seconds of pure unadulterated laughter and giggles.

I remember when Rehan was less than a year old Sammy would watch me nurse him and she would pretend to nurse her doll, Piku. She would say “Are you hungry, Piku? Let me feed you.” Now Rehan plays with Piku and pretends like she is his baby. Sammy and Rehan care for her like they would take care of a real baby. They pretend to feed her, put her to sleep, change her diaper. They fight for her, which is scary. They throw her away when they are done pretend playing, which is scarier. But if I conveniently leave out the aspect that involves them pulling her apart and throwing her away, there is something extremely zen about watching Sammy and Rehan baby a doll. My little people caring for other little people. Feels like a fairy tale. It doesn't last forever. But I cherish however long it lasts.

I have turned into the mom who keeps telling other people “Oh, you are going to love spending time with our kids. They are so fun.” I have to remind myself that I find them fun because they are my kids. Others could find them annoying or maybe don't care. I don't look at the age or the stage of people when I make this comment either, which speaks to my ignorance in this aspect. In my completely unbiased opinion, my kids are quite entertaining. But hey, they are the ones who have a sense of humor and provide us with the escape. My unbiased love emerges from these escapes. Who can blame me?