Category Archives: Parenting

Exam stress

The troubled kid comes for a hug.  While giving her a bear hug, she tells me that she is stressed because of her SST exam tomorrow and her utter under-preparedness.

Mom:  Kanna, don’t worry, this is nothing to be stressed about.

Kid (looking up with eyes full of gratitude and love): really amma? Why do you say that?

Mom: Because this is only quarterly exams in ninth class.  You still have half yearly and finals in ninth, and then you have tenth, eleventh, twelfth…college…

Kid:  Were you dropped on your head when you were a baby?

Walks off in a huff.


Matriarchal investments

Exam times for the kid is when I get an extra dose of guilt.  Other moms out there send messages asking for model question papers, solutions to problems and exam related stuff and my answers invariably are “I don’t have it”, “I don’t know”, and “umm..”. Closer to the exam, I follow the kid around like Mary’s pet asking her if I am a terrible mom because I am not invested in her education and what not, and the kid, already stressed by the impending exams, gets exasperated and is seen yelling for help – “Appa, get this mad woman off my back – she is not allowing me to study for my exams”.

You’d think that all the guilt would make me more invested in my child’s education.  No.  The kid can go stuff her coordinate geometry where she wants, I ain’t part of it.  Not that my participation in coordinate geometry would help because despite my many centum scores in school, I have the visualization capacity of an earthworm and I don’t give a dang whether the mirror image of (1,1) is (1,-1) or (-1,1) or supercalifragilisticexpialidocious . Chemistry, however, is an exception, and I take it upon myself to make my kid the next Marie Curie, without her glow of radium, of course, but that gets my kid into conniptions as well because “mom,  I really don’t have time to know the philosophy of the Azimuthal quantum number  in ninth class, I have an exam tomorrow that wants me to know the three kinds of pollution”.   Tsk tsk.  Where goeth thirst for knowledge?

The sense of guilt, however, gets misplaced.  While the kid’s brain is beyond my scope of investment, her stomach most certainly is not.  How can the brain work if the brain is undernourished?  Didn’t a college dropout once say something to the effect of stay hungry, stay foolish, which I choose to take in its literal sense?  So I invest like the dickens in the kid’s stomach and stuff her face every few minutes with food – bread, milk, peanuts, almonds, banana, raisins, dates, coffee, cookies, chocolate (ahem !) and a lunch of many courses, that I lovingly force feed the kid, followed by a large cup of sweetened yogurt.  The kid turns an interesting shade of green, locks herself in her room and threatens to burst, spilling all my investments around unless I stopped this matriarchal madness NOW.

I’ll give her an hour or so to digest and resume my investment, I suppose.

An immenses conversation

On the way back from the beach yesterday.  Two moms on the front seat, two teenage kids at the back.

Kids singing some random song, completely out of tune and loud.

Mom1:  Can you please tone it down a little?  Mom 2 and I are trying to have a conversation.

Kids’ ears flap.  Moms’ conversation, they are sure, would be something they can crib about later.  E.g. “moms don’t know how to have fun, you know?”. “Moms are so jealous of anyone who has fun, that they have to get on our case if we laugh ” . (Actual quotes we have overheard in the past few days).

Mom 2:  I haven’t gotten my periods in three months now. I wonder if I have menopaused.

Mom1:  Lucky you.   You can set the calendar by me.

Mom 2:  I wonder if I am really that lucky.  Maybe when it comes, it will finally kill me.

Mom 1: More likely.  At least, when you are dead, you won’t get periods anymore.

Mom 2:  I am not sure.  My ghost will probably get PMS.

Kid 1: May be we are better off singing.

Mom 2:  Don’t behave like you guys don’t know what we are talking about.  Especially considering how crabby you guys get before your period.

Mom 1:  You know how they throw parties and have celebrations for menarche*?  We must have a celebration for menopause you know..makes more sense.

Mom 2: What do you mean we must have a celebration for menopause?  We must have a kick-ass party.  You know, invite all menopausal/perimenopausal women, have a big feast, dancing, singing, new clothes, drinking..the works.

Mom 1:  And banners.  “Take that, uterus”.

Mom 2: “Die, ovaries”

Mom 1:  “Hormones to hell”

Mom 2:  “Vale, vaginal vagaries”

Mom 1:  “Cheerio Cramps”

Kid 2:  You know how moms think we are crazy?…

Mom 2:  And we can have a cake shaped like uterus.

Mom 1: With red icing

Mom 2:  And not cut it, but each of us gets a knife and stabs it

The kids are stunned to silence until we reach home.

Later in the night, mom 1 gets a message from mom2: “Got my P :(”

Mom 1:  What?  No party then?

Mom 2:  More time to plan.

What can I say?  We are glass-half-full people.

* In India, a girl’s menarche is traditionally celebrated on a grand scale – feasting and all.  It still is among many families.

Edited to add:  A dear cousin wrote back saying “why so much hatred for the uterus?  Without it, you two would not have had your kids”.  I feel partly combative, but also bad.  Thirty odd years of pain and PMS shebang (the other mom in this conversation faints every period with pain, and I go through dark mental periods every month) seems like a steep price to pay for reproduction, considering that the other half of the procreationist gets away scott free.  That said, I’d face any pain all over again, and again, and all my life, for my kid. If I have inadvertently hurt anyone by this post, I am sorry. I considered deleting this post, but realised that that would be escapist.  I own these thoughts. They may be wrong, but they are mine.



My kid in full form today

In the car as I complain that I could do without some people in my life, the kid says :You need them in your life amma.  You just don’t need them in your head.

Wise thing, the little one.

Caught in traffic jam and waiting endlessly for the green signal to fall, I muse “hmm..I wish I could have a glass of wine. It’s been so long…”

The kid quips “hmm..I wish I could go home.  It’s been so long….”.

Me, mostly musing aloud “You know, I actually love driving in full traffic”

Kid: “Yeah, because you can use all the swear words you know”.

Kid in the car at the traffic jam:  I am getting a headache..this car is too clean.

Rogue parenting

I was Ms. Goody-two-shoes as a child and adolescent.  Rebellion was sacrilege, rules were absolute. My teachers gushed about me to my parents during PTA meets and my relatives held me as the standard with which all kids in the family, of all generations, would be measured for eternity. Needless to mention, I was a prick of gargantuan proportions.

My daughter tells me today that her Tamil teacher wants to meet me to complain about her*.  I surprised myself by being ecstatic.  My daughter is disobedient.  Rebellious. Anarchist.  Renegade.

Most importantly, my daughter is real.  Alive.  Active.  Herself.

I am pretty sure that the teacher was just kidding*, but if she really did call me to talk to me about how completely indisciplined my kid is or whatever, I hope I don’t grin like the Cheshire Cat through the meeting.

* The complaint was that she is “awkward”.  So I am assuming that the teacher was joking.  About complaining to me, that is, not about the kid being awkward.  My kid is the queen of awkwardness.  A trait inherited from the Grand Queen of awkward land, me.




The kid has an exam tomorrow. In a subject that she needs help with – Hindi.  Having been caught up in studying for other exams like Math and Tamil, she had been ignoring Hindi. This evening at 6.30, she approached me for help.  As I sat with her, I freaked at the lack of time, her lag and everything in between.  Just as I was about to lose it and get hysteric, we got a phone call.

A young couple we know, lost their 8-day old baby.  The baby had not cried when he was born, and was on ventilator support before he passed on.

Someone landed a blow on my head.

I have a child who cried with fiery gusto the moment she was plucked off me, and has since been living life to its fullest.  So what if she missed a few deadlines in school or lagged behind a little in one subject for one exam?

The kid is sitting right next to me and I know she is stressed because she is drawing in the iPad. I couldn’t be more grateful for a child who is healthy enough to feel the stress of something as stupid as exams.  As soon as I publish this post, I am going to pluck the iPad off her hands, and give her a bone crushing hug.