A (couple of) growing up scene(s)!

“Daddy, I have something to show you. I going to get it from my bag”

“I think I have put it in the bin. Muffin, What are you looking for?”

“My bag, mummy”.

“What in the bag, Muffin?”

“The wing I made and the stream picture I drew”

“They are in the recycling bin, Muffin. Go and get them from there”.

“It is not supposed to be in here mummy!. And there is my certificate! Mummy, never ever put my certificate in the bin”!

———o———————-o—————————o———————————————o

“blah blah blah blah ……………………. is that clear?”

No, it was not Muffin!

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Episode two of series 1, UUVVU

https://thenormalself.wordpress.com/2012/02/19/uraban-upbringing-and-village-upbringing/

In case you didn’t get the title, read the title of the link above!

Now, there is an article written by someone raised in a city – http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2012/oct/05/lucy-mangan-country-living

I have often thought that who would want to grow up in Erode, Karur kind of places (these are cities in Tamil Nadu). No offence to those who grew up in those place or who still live those place, I just don’t know anything about those places. But I know Kombai. I think the entire planet, except the Kombaites, has missed out on a huge level by not having the opportunity to grow up in Kombai!

Anyway, I browsed my old post back just to link here and that brought back my opinions on after school activities and proud parents of baby Olympics achievers. I am so glad we are not in contact with many Indian families we had in our social circle before, especially those whose kids are of similar age to Muffin who compare their children’s achievements and activities with Muffin. I am even more glad about not having contact with those who have two children whose youngest are of similar age to Muffin, who often compare their younger ones to our younger one  forgetting that our younger one is only two years old!

Here is something I can report: Muffin has moved on to stage two in swimming! Timmy has been asking for his swimming pool but we the mean parents have not been giving him swimming lessons yet but we do take him to watch his sister and other kids having fun in the pool.

In which my feminism failed

I promised myself that I will not refer real incidents especially if it is about others. But I had already failed in another aspect, one can notice from the title.

A new mom-to-be was discussing about all the excitements, ifs and buts and all the theories she has in her mind about how she wants to raise her child. I just smiled for most of the discussion. 🙂 She doesn’t like advises, she said. Although another form of advise, I gave her my wisdom from my experience that people WILL advise her from now on, people WILL advise and insist on “good things” with “good intentions” that she will have to learn to ignore, and this “good advises” have only started and WILL NOT end as she enters the irreversible world of motherhood. She didn’t really absorb what I said for which I don’t blame her. I drew blank for most of the discussion as I was only required to smile and nod now and then which I seemed to have cracked. Then I heard something like “the husband watching football and the wife asking him to “help out” with the child”. Right, ok, so..? This new mom-to-be told me that she didn’t like the situation. I thought “good girl, you are on the right track”, I thought! She continued, “I didn’t like that the woman was fighting with her husband in front of the child. Can’t she do it herself? What kind of a home is she providing to that child? After all, it is her child. Ok, I agree it is his child too, but if he doesn’t want to take the responsibility why can’t she do it herself?”… woh, woh woh.. stop, “I don’t support that”, I feebly interrupted. “I am totally with you that you get your husband to do all the things, I am not saying you are wrong, but you know, if he doesn’t take the responsibility, why can’t she do it herself? I don’t like the fight in front of the child. I am more independent and I can do all the things for my child  myself and I don’t take help! My mother raised us like that. My mother did all the things in the house and my father worked outside. My mother did everything for us and I want to raise my children like that”!

I did not have any answer for her.

If you thought she is uneducated, from a remote village in India and/or from a “lower class community”…. You are wrong. She is British born, well educated, well earning  and a (very) well dressed middle class Brit!

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In another case, I was taking to an Indian man and we were exchanging information about where we are from and all that. The wife and the kids are sent to live in India in City-A as they have a small child (nearly a year old) and the older one is going to school. The guy sounded like from another state, so I asked him where he and his wife are originally from assuming that may be the wife is from the state where City-A is. He said he is from City-B which is in the state I guessed. There was a pause. I looked at him anticipating next sentence about his wife’s… it took me a few more minutes to realise that he has finished his sentences. Then I asked again. “oh right, the wife,… she is also from my place”, he said…. I felt sorry for the invisible being she has become. But I am not sure I am sorry for her.

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I guess I have to thank my parents that somewhere sometime they seemed to have allowed me grow up. I never thought I would say this, but hey, never say never 😉 that I hope I will be able to provide my children what my mother/chithi/father provided me!

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PS:

In another case, I heard a guy talking in Tamil with his friend over phone. I almost waited for him to finish the call in a curious interest to initiate a conversation with him… then moved away. I guess my love-hate relationship will continue for ever.

Uraban upbringing and village upbringing

I am sure I have told before that I grew up in a village (I hear you screaming, “only a million times”!). I cannot stand living in a city. I don’t even like visiting cities. London, Madurai and Coimbatore are the exceptions, while living in London is still not an imaginable term for me. I admire the life lessons I got from my village upbringing.  I love the long days of wandering and running around in the fields unhelicoptered by adults. I love the silly talks and silly games we silly friends played together. I felt sorry for the kids who went to after-school-tuitions. Heck, I felt sorry for the kids who did their home work!  The feeling still remains the same.  Well, it is only magnified now, as I feel sorry for the parents who attend after-school-activities on behalf of their children and worse, I feel really really sorry for the parents who do home work on behalf of their children so that their children can get some stars and the parents can claim that their children are some kind of genius in something or the other. I often think that may be they never studied when their parents asked them to, which they are making up now by studying on behalf of their children (and getting the stars through their children 😉 ).

But the urban upbring has one strong advantage, rather, the village life has one strong disadvantage. Awareness. We, the villagers, lack awareness. We don’t know what is happening in the rest of the world. We just know the trees and the birds and the sun and snakes around us. We do not know that “Obama” is a name of a man. It happened to me and it is happening to Muffin (well, to Muffin’s parents on behalf of Muffin). I didn’t know one has to write entrance exam to get into engineering colleges. And is it a surprise that I looked at the “practice book for engineering entrance exam” as if it was something that was just dropped by a flying saucer just a few minutes ago while the exam itself was scheduled to happen just a few minutes later?  It is not that bad in Muffin’s case, well in Muffin’s parents’ case on behalf of Muffin. Muffin’s parents didn’t know Muffin can be trained to read at the age of 4! Yes, we know that Muffin can be trained to swim, cycle, skate, jump, run, hoola hoop, rope walking and similar activities a 4 year old can do, and we have slowly started the swimming lessons. Nothing else yet. She tells me like a broken record that “have to be careful”, when she sees the bike. She loves her skates and the helmet but I have to carry her when she has those on her.  But, my neighbour tells me that Muffin does have music sense and identifies music notes! (I need to have at least one item to brag about my daughter and that has to be in the genius range, otherwise I will be seen as a failure!). Well I am digressing. So, we didn’t know that Muffin can be trained to read. Yes, we noticed that she identifies a few words and can write her name. Yes it occurred to me that it is part of her “pattern recognising” development. And yes, I did think that she can be trained to recognise alphabets. But didn’t put lots of effort into it. And why hurry, she hasn’t even started reception yet.

Last week we visited our friends’ houses and we were flooded with information and we were informed that they are all fully booked on weekends (and after schools on weekdays), so they cannot visit us for the next twenty years. Here I am with my tomato seeds and planting pack for Muffin and Timmy, but unable to do that activity since I am physically crippled for a few weeks. A friend mentioned that she was going to dispose off a set of books she bought for her son. I grabbed them and thought that they will be useful once Muffin starts the big school next year. Balan used one of the books for thebed time story time. What a surprise that my genius daughter started reading it back! So we introduced another book and she did it again! The proud father was over the moon about the gifted child. Second night when I thought I should help him out at least in the not-moving activities when the kids were running around too much and reading a bed time story would help me bring some peace to this household, I took the third book in the series and started to read to her. She not only read it back to me, she also told me what is there in the next page! And my suspicion was confirmed when she told me the title of the next book in the series! The preschool has introduced this book series and she is getting the training to read in her preschool. We parents didn’t know what is happening in this world.

I know i am leaving this incomplete. Will edit when I come back.

Back now, and on second thought, I should write on these differences whenever I remember them and make it as a series 😉

now I know why

men enjoy time with kids whereas women just do their jobs as jobs. childcare doesn’t change men’s life. but it does for women. especially those women who can do more than just looking after the family, who cannot accept that their life has become nothing more than a regular routine of changing nappies, cleaning and cooking, cannot make nappy change a game that their kids and them enjoyed playing.

Having it all

What is this about “having it all”? don’t men “have it all”? read the following links to know what i am talking about.

link1. http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/2009/nov/01/gaby-hinsliff-quits-working-motherhood

I do not like her wording it “having it all” means it is not “life”. Do men not have life in that case? Mind you, she is still working from home. she is doing TV shows, writing freelance, and what not. It is a wrong message she is sending out to other working women. if someone wants a convenient life, fine, that is your call. Be it,stay at home mom, in which life you  cook/clean/feed/look after your family like your mother did and in turn make your daughter wanting to be like you, meaning, cook/clean/feed/look after your family (and make your sons wanting to be like your father/husband who will expect their wifes to be like you, meaning cook/clean/feed/look after the family). Remember, you need a man to provide for it all. If your man is bringing good enough money and if you are happy to lead that convenient life of living on your husbands money, that is your call. (again remember Gaby earns by working from home and doing TV shows! and Gaby IS a working woman). but do not word it that “this IS life”. Why does Gaby call herself as “usedtobesomebody”? Is she nobody now? Again, remember, she is still working, earning and still that somebody, Gaby Hinsliff.

link2.  http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2009/nov/08/parents-work-life-balance

link3. http://www.guardian.co.uk/theobserver/2009/nov/08/kathryn-flett-having-it-all-mothers

and now this, link4  http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2009/nov/13/women-career-mothers-girls-schools 
(via usedtobesomebody)

The head teacher Jill Berry has to understand that there IS no need to be a perfect woman, I mean there is no need to take care of home “mainly” by women. Men can share.  Is there a term “perfect man” and are men struggling to be be perfect, struggling to find balance between work and family life? If they can have it all, why can’t we, women and why not just leave it to the girls to decide what they want in their life? I do not think a school head should send out message like this.

Preparing for the parenthood

I have mentioned a few reasons why I didn’t choose to adopt. Preparing for the parenthood is another one of them. When the child in life was just a theory, we did talk about changing our attitudes, stop fighting, stop being sarcastic at each other, stop provoking each other, stop bitching…. what not. But it never stopped. They all were in theory too. That scared me every time that if I bring a child suddenly on one fine morning, we will not be ready to handle the situation. This pregnancy period hits our face with reality that the child in life is no more a theory and we have a deadline to stop theorising things and get hands on with every theory. I am glad we both are growing up. It is strange to see me ignoring my ego and letting him win a fight when I am right. Letting him win when he is right also needs a lot of effort from me to stop twisting the situation to make him wrong and me right.

I think I am ready for adoption too. I will after I have revived my financial situation.