Friday, August 04, 2006

' Who Is Who?'

I was newly married and was going to the market with my sister in law. We met Champa on our way. She was my sister in law’s school senior. She was married by then and mother to two hyperactive boys aged one and three. She eyed me with interest and said-

“Planning to have kids soon?”

My marriage was barely a month old and in our times we took time to open up on such topics. I did not know how to respond. I turned to my sister in law. She was unmarried then, so she conveniently looked away.

Champa continued without waiting for a reply.

“ Never ever have children. Take my advice. You are better off without them.”

Just out of politeness I ventured to ask-

“ Do you have children?”
That triggered it. She started a monologue that seemed to have no end.

“ You call them children! They are little demons both of them. I named them Happy and Joy. Grief and Sorrow would’ve been more appropriate. They can’t stay still for a minute. The older one nearly dismantled the mirror from my dressing table and the younger one made a mess of my make-up kit. Can’t leave them unattended even for a minute. It’s years since I had a good night’s rest……………”

The poor girl went on and on. I could understand her plight having seen a bunch back home. My very own younger brothers! My mother had to move to her maternal home after my father’s death when my brothers were three and five. I remember them permanently perched on a guava tree and I often felt scared that they’d fall down and break an arm or leg. They always had a group of friends over and every evening was picnic time. By the time I got married they had outgrown that phase so I told Champa not to lose hope.

A friend of mine has two sons. Her husband is a doctor. The children would fall down, get up, ring up their father, call the compounder who’d take them to the clinic and dress or stitch the wound as required. My friend says she’s lucky to have a doctor at home or else she’d spend half her salary stitching up wounds. When they were small she lived in perpetual fear of what might await her when she went home.

My own children were no saints. They knew that their father was no doctor so they stopped short of dangerously injuring each other. Instead of fistfights and wrestling matches they entered into a war of words. Each one of them outdid the other in coining names, muttering under their breath and making faces! When their temper rose high they were at their creative best! I had to settle quarrels almost each day. My husband played the 'blissfully ignorant' parent on such occasions.

If you thought fistfights and the like are domains of boys, let me tell you that you are wrong. A cousin of mine has three cute daughters. They’d ‘claw’ each other like little tigresses. I was once at their place when war was declared. Two of them started a hair pulling match while the third gave us a minute by minute report of the 'sporting' event. My cousin resigned herself to destiny saying, “They will not stop until they’ve plucked a hair or two. I only hope they do it soon.”

When I was young my favorite pass time was to compare notes with other parents and feel relieved that their fate was similar to mine. I was quite sure that the kids would turn out to be hooligans, ruffians anything but normal human beings. I’m very glad that they all proved me wrong. All of them have grown to become fine young men and women.

Happy and Joy are marketting managers now. The little tigresses are beauties, with brains as well. Two are doctors and one is a journalist. My own children are okay too and as for my brothers, they are fine, with arms and legs right in place. Many of those children are now parents and are already beginning to compare notes. “Your times were different,” they tell us.

“Not at all” I tell them. “Children will be children and have always been so. My only request is to let them be. Give them some time to do as they please.”

What about the angels that gave their parents no trouble at all. Did they become preachers or pastors or holy men? Not at all!They look and sound like my own brats and I find it difficult to say 'who's is who and which was which'.


starry said...

Preeta..yes children will be children, its just the part and parcel of growing up. my son has had enough falls , broken bones and cut his head. as he gets older less falls.but he has had his share. my daughter was the quieter one but was no angel either. I think its wrong to tell a newly married person not to have kids.

passerby55 said...

Hi Preeta,

My Two friends each having two sons often say, "Our lives has become a hell". COmparatively another friend who has two daughters remarks, pressure is there but not to the extremes, like they don't make me run for my life.

most want one son and one daughter, and my neighbour says i wished i had kids of the same gender, my chidlren cannot play the same games, they both have different taste and energy levels.

I wondered which set gives less stress...

Both you and Usha make awesum writers, but as a reader i find there is a difference and a remarkable one...

happy week end!

Movie Mazaa said...

how true!

but somehow, one cant help reprimanding one's own child when s/he is an upto an antic. perhaps its the fear of the child growing up into a monster of sorts, that persuades most parents to resort to punishments, sometimes of the unimaginable kind!

Usha said...

hahahah...I always admire parents who can manage hyper kids. I cannot handle them and I am sure within 5 mins they will have me in tears. Luckily I had my father in law to help me bring up my son who was himself a very well behaved child.
But you are right, children must behave like children - after all that is the only period thay have to do everything as they please, experiment and then settle down. I have also seen that some of the naughtiest kids who were predicted to turn out to be leaders of a Mafia actually turned out to be professors and very good managers. Sometimes I wonder if there is all that much truth about ones childhood personality being an indicator of things to come....

Archana Bahuguna said...

I got my first wisdom that girls can be troublesome when my 2 year old cousin gave me 3 hard pats on my head (with anger on her face) when I acted angry on her while she was fiddling with some glass stuff. She was the lesson giver. Before that I thought I could handle kids well and had confidence enhancing experiences with all my previous cousins.

Hip Grandma said...

Hi all,
yes it is true that naughty kids drive you mad.I've seen families where one child runs wild while the other is well behaved.there is no single rule that applies to most cases they calm down by the age of ten.i too doubt if chilhood behavior is indicative of his or her personality in future.there is much more that goes into the making of a man.

Neer said...

and am dying to have more of them!! :p

Hip Grandma said...

neers:not a bad thing to die for

Has to be me said...

Thanks a lot...this is a gr8 post....just the right one for me @ the right time!!! Cos Im battling with 2 kids (aged 3 & 8 mths)! MAkes me feel a lot better & cheered me too! :) Thanks

Hip Grandma said...

has to be me:as I said children will be children,so let them be!you will miss all this when they grow old

Visithra said...

I have a younger bro - we fought like cats n dogs - we occasionally still do ;p but the younger fella thinks hes the elder one so occasionally hes bossing me around now bah! Brothers ;p

But yes kids will be kids - id rather they ran around learning from mistakes ;p

Of course u dont let the 2 year old touch the flickering yellow light no matter how much he smiles at ya ;p

Hip Grandma said...

visithra:i have a sister with whom i was always at loggerheads.people used ask us 'do you fight or bite?'today we are the best of friends or should I say best of sisters?

Mahadevan:i remember my friend saying I like naughty children as long as they are not mine.hyperactive children do get on people's nerves.their abundant energy needs to be channelized.but as you say they outgrow this stage and become subdued later.

srijithunni said...

Well.. that just opened a big box of memories for me.. I am still looking up at the air and searching for what to tell about..

A beautiful post..

With Best Regards,
Srijith Unni.

Hip Grandma said...

srijith:were you a naughty child yourself?pl.share your memries.i want to know the other side of the story