Friday, 18 January 2013

Meet the ventriloquists

"Papa and Mamma started this when I was about a year old - just about when I managed to convince them that I could understand and respond to every thing I heard and saw. They kept masking different voices under their breath. What do I mean? This - when I would babble a little about wanting some coins/mud/sugar to mess about with, there would be a shrill yet muffled voice telling me not to do so. Voice of God, they'd say. Or of the object of my desire. I must admit I was quite startled initially by this sudden presence that I could just hear, not see. But you see, I am an intelligent one (these two still don't know). So it obviously didn't take me long to figure out the genesis of the voice.

All was fine till one day I decided to give them a taste of their own medicine. Looking at a box of toys invitingly waiting to be messed up, I asked if it wanted to be thrown out and it 'miraculously' said 'Yes Yes'. They looked distinctly like they had swallowed of the many things that mamma always tells me never to even get close to my mouth. And, of course, I went about with my it's-business-as-usual look. I laughed quite hard that night and the poor unsuspecting blokes thought I was enjoying a tickling game!

They still try the ventriloquist trick on me (had heard mamma 'whisper' it to papa once) but might I add they are guarded. Hail toddlers!!

(Krishang's thoughts interpreted by a puzzled mom)

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Vocal wars

Yes. We've reached there. Me n K have arrived at the proverbial terrible twos. NO is the only word in our dictionary and each of us has a larynx-stretching competition every single day. Don't even ask who wins.

The mightily comforting factor that's keeping me sane (I don't know what's his support system during this phase; I guess the fact that he outscreams me must be a good enough thing) is that others have tread this path. And survived.

Today I have decided to take time off from baby talk and dedicate this post to the 'rhyme'ster in me. I was browsing through some old books when I stumbled upon this poem written by self. Had long forgotten it, but a certain stanza hit a raw nerve. Here goes:

The little babe-in-arms does wail
stretching his larynx widest;
louder still the screams do grow
when mamma has said to be quietest.

Premonition of the days to come? Possibly. So impressed am I by my own brilliance that I shall share the poem with you.

Completed in 2004 (Started in a boring Economics class in 1999!!)

The mouth can be shut
the ears cannot,
Which of them is doing what
that's what the fight's about.

The mouth is forever open
the tongue always a-wagging,
As for the ears, my dear,
they never do their bidding.

For while they are to be alert
to every sound that's made,
They only just listen to things
that they would like to be said.

The little babe-in-arms does wail
stretching his larynx widest;
Louder still the screams do grow
when mamma has said to be quietest.

The problem inches up by the years
and quickly captures the teen,
Who listens to not a word that's told
except when he's doing the speakin'.

Old age, it seems, energizes our vocals
and auditory faculties dimmer,
Talk louder and choosingly hear
while others' tempers simmer.

Ever wonder how and when it'll end
this role-reversal of the mouth and the ear,
Only in the quiet of the grave, for a change,
the mouth is mum and the ears, they hear. 

And if you were wondering where the Economics connection comes in, here's the stanza that started it all:

The Economics professor endlessly extols
the virtues of industrial planning,
But, try as you might, doesn't hear at all,
your constant queries on privatizing!

- Harshikaa Udasi

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Speech is...darn!

My son, much to our delight, surprise and embarrassment, has discovered that words can be stringed into sentences. So he thinks and speaks. Krishangisms.

Sample these:
"I am ready. Now don't ask again, ready ready." (Mom's jaw falls down)
"Mata, (praying during Navratri) give me a blue heart-shaped balloon without strings." (Smiles all around)
 "Don't say no-no to Krishang." (Papa chokes)
"Don't step on Laxmi Mata's feet." (All alert)
"Don't slip on the moss also." (Maamu takes down instructions)
"Don't step on the drain also." (Yet another)
"Really sorry Jack and The Beanstalk. My missed. (Meaning to say my mistake when he stepped on his library book). (Mom proud)
"Krishang is sad." (With the accompanying mellow voice and sad eyes!) (Mom already thinking: 'Dramatics contender')
K: "Give me scissors." Me: "No." K: "Please give me the knife also." (What??!! Aargh!)

Conclusion: Silence is golden. The parents' of course. What did you think?

Monday, 24 September 2012

Mummy, There Is No Goddy.

The last time we met, I had been in a confused state of mind over whether to pre-school or not to. As mom to a pre-schooler (and the youngest one in his batch, at that), I would like to share that this has been one great decision. My little fellow (LF) has taken to school well and (crossing my fingers right now) makes no fuss about trooping there daily. Yippee. I needed him to interact with other children and he's doing well for his age. So there's a happy mommy :)

So besides school, the other big thing in our life for the last few months has been...the power of speech, of course! So the ayes and nos have become more elaborate: 'I don't want drink chocolate milk' and 'I want Spider Man shirt'. Instructions such as 'Be happy, don't cry mummy' have me embarrassed as people wonder what a sad mom I may be who requires pepping up by a toddler. He even has the audacity to stop me in my wonderful (or so I think) lullabies: 'Enough. I don't want songs' he said last week to a depressed me.

But the icing on the cake came this week when Ganpati Bappa came home to my parents'. LF was obviously excited and went about saying Gum-pappi-appa morya around the place. When the Lord actually entered our house, LF told Him: 'Come in and sit' much to the pleasure of his grandparents. And then added: 'Relax. It is important'! All that amazement gave way to peals of laughter as we could barely keep a straight face with our pint sized LF saying this to Ganpati!

But LF had saved the best for the last. On the day of the immersion, after we came back home and were singing the Ganesh aarti for the final time, he refused to sing (he usually joins in). He then turned to me and with a quizzical expression said: 'Mummy, there is no Goddy!'

It was the classic Emperor's New Clothes situation. How do you explain to a not-yet-two-year-old that God is omnipresent? Or that we humans are caught in unnecessary rituals that most of the times follow no logic. We have a lot to unlearn.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Baby Blabber

So I had just learnt about my pregnancy when I read this story two years ago about the first words that babies utter. What's an expectant mother to, well, expect? Besides, of course, a happy and healthy baby after 9 months, 9 days, I'd say I was looking for some comforting and happy list such as 'ma', 'love', 'yes', 'papa' (not necessarily in that order barring the 'ma' bit). Turns out that those little bundles of joy turn around and say dada first. One female writer, in my anger at the remembrance of this I forget her name, had rightly summed up a mum's indignation: Ma-ma does everything for a baby who responds by saying da-da first! Anyway, that's a digression. Besides da-da, I read that babies say cat and beer most easily :P

Now, however strong mothers, even expecting ones, are, I don't think there are many of the tribe out there who'd like to see beer, or even cat, being placed higher than her self in a baby's vocab list.

In June 2011, my son spoke his first words. Needless to say: DA-DA.

While I sat terrified, in the anticipation of beer (we don't drink, hence don't mention, beer so I thought some item song's lyrics would  make their way out of that tiny four-toothed mouth), his next word was PA-PA. And the next APPA.

After he was through with every variant of his father's name and his grandparents, came MUMMY!! (Thank God, before the cat)

Never in my life have I been happier than the day he called me mummy. Sometimes demanding, sometimes pleading, sometimes mischievous. Every 'mummy' sounds different.

Of course, life is getting difficult with him picking up every sound we make. Sample this: We can't mention Chikni Chameli without him thinking about his friend the chick who appears on Baby TV! On second thoughts, that's COMFORTING.

It's taken two years but finally the load is off my chest. And the CAT has not yet been mentioned. It still remains a mere purr in his vocab :)

Friday, 13 April 2012

Detached attachment

Heavy words, you'd think, after a few weeks of light n easy reading. Well, I am, err, feeling a little heavy. No not carrying again; you can push that thought some light years away. The heaviness is a little difficult to explain. Let me try and also ask you if you mothers out there have ever felt the same.

When your baby learns to walk, it's a splendid feeling. After months of holding her in your arms, you can finally feel free. Your baby, in any case, wants to explore new territory and wants to put her limbs to good use. Now comes the strange part. Since the past couple of weeks, my little fellow wrestles to get out of my arms and run down. Great. Except that I suddenly realise that he is getting independent and some part of me misses the warmth that was part of holding him and chaperoning him around. (Yes, never thought i'd say that, but I am being honest here.) I mean I was the centre of his universe till some time ago, isn't that supposed to last a little longer?

At the cost of sounding like some paranoid and over-possessive mom, I admit that I was insecure, if that's the term to best describe it. Now it's taking a lot to say this because I 'assumed' I was one of those 'practical, independent thinkers' who encourage similar behaviour. That was. Until this tiny pinch.

I know this is just the beginning. Soon he will get to school, have his own circle of friends, his teachers and so much to look forward to in life. He will go through the terrible twos, the rebellious teens, and every other epithet-adorned phase. I will have to learn to let him live his life. And also tell myself that he will turn to me when wanted and that experience will teach him everything else. But allow me to let you in on an insider secret. IT'S SO DAMN DIFFICULT.

To rewind a bit, I always asked my mother how she would let us go on day-long picnics with school friends. Difficult job, she had said. But you guys would never learn to be independent otherwise. It was a small question but what I wanted to ask her was how she was so sure that I'd take care of myself, not fall into wrong company, not be harmed in any way and keep her emotions under control till she would see me again that evening? Guardian angels, was her answer. She'd rely on her children's guardian angels to take care of them.

As I ramble on, as I always do when emotional, I have found my answer too. So hurrah to those guardian angels. They'd better do a good job. As for my 'insecurity' about not being up there on the priority ladder, well, that's gonna take some getting used to :p

- Harshikaa Udasi
(Mom to a fast-growing-independent kid)

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

DIY: Cutting baby nails

If you are already thinking 'what's the big deal in that?', I bet the remaining hours of my sleep, you've never ever tried it. Ask any new mom or dad, about this ultra-sensitive topic and ouch will be the answer! I mean the bundle in your arms sure can scratch and has handy tools inherited from DAY ONE.

So, after a lot of deliberation, we decided that 18 days was really a long time and gingerly picked up this fancy nail cutter with a magnifying glass to do the deed. I say 'we' but it was DEAR H who decided to head to war. I was ready to scream woo-hoo but instead asked him 'are you sure about doing this?' Wrong question 'coz next moment those dreaded and dreadful nail clippers were in my hand. Salvaged the situation by saying something about 'sure you can do it' and 'your hands are steadier at fine work' and topped it with 'I had failed at a vocational test for medical surgeries' :P

So DH began. And me too. I mean haven't you all heard about backseat driving? Well, I was the navigator here. 'No no no...just watch where you are going.' 'Listen! Will you stop running the clipper over his cuticles.' 'Steady does it.' 'Why are your fingers trembling?' 'Now perspiration! This is the limit.' Needless to say, DH was disturbed. Big time. Disturbed, is mildly put.

This happened every week till seven months. The routine never changed. How could it? Practice makes a man (women too) perfect.

Will not share details of what happened at seven months. Suffice to say I now DO THE DEED myself and regularly kick my rear too.

- Harshikaa Udasi
(Writer and mom of an 18 month old)