The other day one of my friend posted her daughter’s picture in facebook with the tag “Time, can you please slow down?” That was the picture of her daughter ready for middle school. It was an emotional moment for me too! We both were expecting moms at the same time. We shared the second trimester pictures of our would-be babies through mails. Those days, we did not have the luxury of facebook or whatsapp. Our babies crawled together, had their first ceremonial meals, followed by baby steps, and their first birthdays a couple of months from each other.
“Time, can you please slow down?” I remember I and my husband debated about the right age to send our angel to school. After doing a lot of research on the play schools, we had decided to let her play at home till she was two-and-half. Back then, only few play schools had web based monitoring system. It was very difficult for us parents to let her go out of our sight. Also, we were worried that she might catch infections. We wanted to give enough time for her wind pipe to become strong! So we had decided to get her few blocks with alphabets on them. She learnt the letters happily with her grandparents!
“Time can you please slow down?” After a lot of feedback, we zeroed down on her school. We enrolled her directly to Montessori, mostly to avoid the hustle of looking for a primary school again. Also, we wanted her to have lifelong memories with early-age school friends. On the first whole week of school, I followed her all the way to school, driving behind her bus. I secretly observed her first footsteps in school. Discussed this with my friends and found out that I was not the only odd mom out there!!!
“Time can you please slow down?” Our angel has a box where she collected all her ‘milk’ teeth. She used to cry a lot before allowing me to pull her the teeth that were about to fall off. She always used to say “Wait Meem. Few seconds more. Then I will be ready”. Once her upper incisor came out while biting a ‘chapati’ at school. To the surprise of her teacher, she packed it in her handkerchief and brought it home. The box is still a treasure for her! I have observed her counting the teeth, and comparing those with her friends.
“Time can you please slow down?” Our angel does not run towards the slides anymore. She helps younger kids with the swing. She feels content with skating, cycling, and “rock paper scissor” types of hand games. We are glad that she has a gang at the apartment, and they network for 1-2 hours daily evening. And if any of them is late to show up, all of them flock to that friend’s place to get her to join.
“Time can you please slow down?” Our angel does not need much help with daily chores. Other than tying her hair, we do not have to concentrate much to get her dressed for school, or help with home-tasks. And just a couple of years back, we used to have a tough time to make her practice writing. Now-a-days she even manages to prepare a few dishes on her own, helps with watering the plants, folding clothes, and arranging her room.
“Time can you please slow down?” During long drives she always used to ask “how many more kilometers?” Now-a-days, she looks out through the window, and comments on the surroundings. Few days back she commented “The New India” — as the pillion riders too wore helmets. Our 11 year old takes part in the planing holidays, conversations on sports and history. Most of all, she enjoys offering her opinion on family decisions! She is in middle school, but still waits every night for bedtime stories!!!
Wish we could indeed turn the clock. Or slow down the passage of time! In the middle of all the hurry, work pressure, deadlines, and busy schedules, we have to make the most of every moment of our kid’s childhood. Children grow, their world-view changes. The way they relate to their parents also changes. And perhaps, this change is something we got to embrace. And hopefully, as the child grows, we can forge a friendship with our child. A friendship to savor forever.
[Image: Courtesy Ryan G Smith under the creative commons license]
Dear Li’l S,
Mommy is always rushing away, I know. But remember love, your smiles and innocent conversations are the wind beneath her wings. You are the reason she is on the move. That one hug and kiss in the morning is like God’s touch for her. The promises made and the pacts sealed with kisses to play and chat and tell stories, keep her going through the day. The only thing that Mommy wishes for is, one more minute with her Sunshine. One more hug before you do not want them any more. One more story, one more good night chat. Just one more, before you grow up.
One day, perhaps Mommy will fade away in the crowd. Perhaps, the world, friends may be will take a step forward to hold your hand. Mommy will still love you little one. Her arms will always be strong enough to hold you. When it is time for you to fly away, keep flying. Never look back! Trust your Mommy! She will always keep her promises. She will always look out for you. Capturing every minute of you in her memories. You are, after all, her reason to be.
Love, Hugs, Kisses, Cuddles, Snuggles, Nose Rubs, Stories, Back Rubs, Pillow fights, Hugs to the Softies, Finger Buildings and so much more…
— Meem (Mom),What would Dory do?
— Dory would first think about a plan. Then think about the consequences, and analyze it!
— No, Meem that’s like Merlin. Dory would apply the plan that comes spontaneously!
The conversation with my 11 year old continued. It was our mom-daughter special time yesterday. We walked down couple of kilometers to the neighborhood theater. Watched the Disney movie “Finding Dory“. Dory is a wide-eyed, blue tang fish who suffers from short term memory loss. She gets separated from her parents.
With help of her friends Nemo and Marlin, Dory embarks on an epic adventure to find them. Her journey brings her to the Marine Life Institute, a conservatory that houses diverse ocean species. Dory gets to know that her family reunion would happen if she could save mom and dad from captivity. In the process, she saves a lot of marine lives. Finally gets reunited with parents. She could do this only because of flashbacks that reminded her of safety rules! Rules that were taught by her parents.
What are the messages from the movie? As we walked out from the theater, we started discussing. The walk back became as interesting as our onward journey. Here’s what we both zeroed upon:
1. Safety rules: Kids must remember the safety rules. As a very small fish, Dory’s parents taught her rules and plans. They taught her rhymes and songs to help her remember the safety rules. They taught her to repeat her name and her diagnosis. They showed her the path back home over and over and marked it for her. Because of this, Dory was able to reach home safely.
2. Friendship: Dory, Marlin, and little Nemo journey across the ocean to find Dory’s mom and dad. They only had one cryptic clue to go on: “The jewel of Monterey, California,” which Dory mutters in her sleep. In their quest, they get help from the turtles Crush and Squirt, Beethoven the whale, Hank the octopus, Destiny the shark, Ray the eagle, and other marine animals. Finding Dory teaches us that true friends are family, they risk their lives for a loved one.
3. Treat people better than they treat you: Dory became separated from her parents. She asked everyone she came across for help. But she was left alone. Then she met Marlin. He was on a mission to find his son Nemo. Dory knew she had to treat others better than they treated her. So she helped Marlin track down Nemo. Finally, she found many friends to help. What goes around comes around!
4. It always seems impossible until it is done: Dory never gave up. Many a times, she was lost. But she followed her heart. She took what logical thinking would consider undue risks. She lived in present and kept swimming. The team work of Dory and her friends despite hurdles helped them to reach their goal. Its a reminder that “Success depends on you“.
5. Coping with disability: Dory suffered from short term memory loss. But she taught herself to get around in the world with her disability. She learnt to make friends with some and avoid others who lacked good will. She managed to ask for help whenever required, and mastered the skill to solve problems. Her cognitive difficulties did not stop her from living in the community as an asset, and lead an independent life. The movie reminds us “Believe in yourself and you can do anything”
“Finding Dory” is a celebration of disability, differences, and friendship. It tells us not to lose our self-belief and strive to find our way out from adversity. Lessons not just for kids, but for all of us.
“Meem, during tough situations we should take a deep breath like Dory and listen to our heart.”, said my 11 year old. We continued walking our way back home.
The other day I had come back from work. Wanted to relax. But my 11 year old asked me to take her out for grocery shopping. Grocery shopping!!! Going out for grocery in this era of online shopping? It got me thinking…
It almost seems like yesterday! We were on our way home from the hospital. We had been there for a couple of days. Couple of days of hospitalization for the birth of our daughter! And while taking our bundle of joy home for the first time, we realized there was absolutely nothing at home. She’d arrived a couple of weeks too early. And we had been a wee bit unprepared. So we had stopped at a ‘Safeway’ store on our way back from the hospital. So grocery picking started pretty early for her. All of two days old.
Afterwards, we used to walk with her in a stroller. And pick grocery along the way from the neighborhood stores. As a toddler, she always used to enjoy shopping. And often times, picked up ghost items. I used to discover those items while arranging groceries at home. As she started growing up, we used to give her some liberty to pick up items of her choice.
– Not online groceries please!
– Why? We can easily order your paneer, cake mix, pasta, veggies from the comfort of home.
– No, not fun.
– Instead, we can walk to the library. You wanted to change your books, right?
– Nah, not today.
– Ok, how about baking a bread, instead?
– No ‘meem’, let’s go out for grocery today. I have been thinking about it.
– Yes, It’s not fun ordering online. Only sometimes we should try that.
– Not online groceries please! I want to pick up the stuff myself.
– Ok fine. You have to give me 5 reasons why you want to go out for grocery!
– OK ‘meem’
She thought for a while. And came back with her reasons!
1. Get to go out: We will have a good time together. Ordering online is easy and takes few minutes. But always staying at home is boring.
2. Directly see and pick: No need to remember what we want. At the store, we pick fresh fruits and vegetables of our choice. Pick real stuff. Not from some pictures.
3. Get to know about new stuff: Remember the other day an uncle was selling some fruit from his farm. Mangosteen! That was the name. He mentioned it grows in Malayasia. And it was yummy. We would not have got that online!
4. Get to choose from a lot of options: You always taught me to take a look at the price, decide and pick the “right” stuff. We always purchase the best item that way.
5. Meet People and learn skills: We meet different people. They speak different languages, wear different clothes, some smile and some look very much reserved. You mentioned once that we learn social skills like waiting for our turns, being respectful to others, speaking politely, asking for help, etc.
I took my daughter for grocery shopping. While driving, she suddenly mentioned, “Meem look outside, New India!” “What’s that?” Because of the traffic rule, even the pillion riders are with helmet”….”
Not online groceries please! How else would one learn about “New India?”