Question and its answer

Buzz has this fascination with family relationships. There are always questions around Bua, Mama, Tau Ji, Nana, Dada – the list goes on. But more importantly there are always questions around how do people come together to get married. Or I should say there were.

The other set of questions she has are – Do I have to *insert question* when I grow up?

Do I have to become famous when I grow up?
Do I have to cook when I grow up?
Do I have to give up milk when I grow up?

Most times my answer is, “you don’t have to if you don’t want to.” (based on the questions of course. “Do I have to eat my fruits when I grow up?” has only one answer, a resounding yes.) This answer, I almost always follow up with a “Why?” Mostly because I want to understand her thought process and where the question in coming from.

That the two set of questions collided came as no surprise to me. One evening on our drive back from school, she asked “Do I have to marry when I grow up?”

“No you don’t. That is your choice,” I told her, “but why do you ask?”

“Because then you have to kiss and that is just ewww!” she replied.

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Her class was learning about the life of Martin Luther King recently. The kids were really impressed and spoke about it constantly. Ask me, I had impromptu quiz every day and disgusted looks were given because I did not know the year Martin Luther King was born.

Buzz’s teacher wrote the anecdote in one of her class emails – When I spoke about his marriage, a collective ewww went out in the class. They all looked disgusted that such a great man could make a blunder like this.

Buzz came home with another set of questions”

“Do you know who Martin Luther King’s idol was?”
Ahh finally a question I knew. “Mahatma Gandhi” I replied.
“Was Mahatma Gandhi married?”
“Yes he was.”

Before I could show off my knowledge and rattle details about Gandhi, she had walked away shaking her head. Two great men had made the same mistake!

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“I don’t like S. I am not going to talk to her again!” she told me in her angry voice.
“What happened? What did S say?” I asked.
“She said A and I will get married when we grow up.”
“errr”
“I am not getting married to him or anyone else. I don’t want to get married, EVER!”
“Ever?”
“Ever!”
“OK then.”

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Bugz was cribbing about being the younger sibling (story for another day), so we got talking about how Papa was the youngest sibling and how Mumma was also the youngest sibling and how much fun it was to be the youngest in the family.

“Mumma do I have to get married when I grow up?” Buzz asked again.
“You don’t have to, if you don’t want to.” came to standard response.
“Because kissing is ewww, right Didi?” asked the youngest one, remembering the conversation in the car.
“Well Bugz, at some point in your life you will have to kiss someone!” She shrugged.

And she has grown and how, that to in less than a month, mom laughs holding her stomach.

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Taller..Bigger..Stronger

Dear Buzz,

You are our happy, kind, friendly little girl and that is why it sort of came as a shock to us when we saw the shy, uncommunicative side of yours. The first time we really noticed it was during our trip to London, where you would not talk to any of the friends we were meeting. Your Paa and I have been watching closely since. You are your regular friendly self – laughing, talking, running around – around other kids, but around adults, even those you know well, you become shy. You don’t even make eye contact, when directly spoken to. And this includes all your friends’ parents, all the teachers in your school.

But before we can worry, you turn around and are super active at in your class. You compete to answer any question asked. Ms. M says your hand is always up, that she can always count on your participation. Sometimes you are so active that you have to be reminded to give others a chance.

Then again the minute you start to perform, this confident side of yours comes forward. Be it dance, plays, gymnastics, singing – you love it all. Your class was singing a song for your Year End Performance, last school year. You practiced your song constantly while at home. One day you came home, all excited. “I get to stand in the middle!” you told us. You did stand in the middle and you smiled as you sang. We couldn’t have been prouder.

When asked what you like to the do the most, you can never pick. And that is the truth. There is so much you love to do, but even though you don’t realize it, I think your favorite thing to do is read. Every morning, while it is still dark outside, you sneak in to our room to check the time. You pointedly tell me that our LED watch is easy to see the time in. You quickly calculate how much time you have before the rest of us wake up and then run downstairs to start reading for the day. Magic Tree House, A to Z Mysteries, Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew, Ready Freddy, Capital Mysteries and so many more. You read and make sure you tell me the parts that you found really funny.

The other thing you absolutely love doing is art. Currently drawing airplanes is your passion, which of course takes me back to your fascination with them as a baby. But other than that, you are constantly trying your hand at drawing things you see around you. Be it the dinosaur on the table mat, the bird outside, the bear Bugz refuses to let go of, our family, our house. I can always count on you to make a birthday card for any of your friends’ birthday and they are not scribbles. They are well  thought out, detailed cards.

Non activity wise the one thing that makes you crack up the most is measuring your height against me. Everyday you quietly come, give me a hug and then measure yourself, laugh and run off. I tell you, your height does not chance everyday and still you do it. Still you find it funny and I realize in complete shock that you indeed grew over an inch in the past few months. For someone who is on the tall side (me I mean), you come up to my chest now and I can only look on in surprise. Most people think you are at least a couple of years older than you actually are. You feel very proud when you correct them and they seem so surprised.

And with growing taller comes added bonus for me. I can always count on you to help me with my chores. If I would let you, you would not only stand next to me as I cook, but do half the work as well. You fetch, measure, pour ingredient for me and if I tell you not to pick up something because if is heavy, you get offended. To prove me wrong, you carry Bugz who is heavier than anything I have in my kitchen and run around the house. Point noted sweetheart! I am learning to trust you when you say you can do something.

The one thing I am struggling most with is giving you your independence. I have to let go and trust that you will be safe, away from my eyes. I started slow. In the restaurants that we frequent most often, I started letting you go to the restroom on your own, while I stayed back on our table. I used to get jumpy, and watch the door like a hawk, but am getting better at it. Bugz, of course, has to follow. Which means all thanks to you, I am training her and myself at the same time. Letting go of both of you at the same time. Letting you ride in your friend’s car, leaving you for play dates, leaving you in a section of the library while I run behind Bugz – Baby steps and together, you and I, we will make it.

As things change and you grow, more they stay the same. You are the same Buzz that we love like crazy, only taller..bigger..stronger and our wish for you stays the same. Stay happy, stay healthy, stay you.

Loads of love,
-Maa

Leaving with my favorite picture made by you.

London-Blog

 

Chat Chat Chatter

Dear Bugz,

The phone rang today and before I could say “Hello”, you had it in your hands and were talking away. I was only invited to the conversation to help explain, what you were saying, to the other person on the line. Excitedly you talked and I looked on with a smile.

Everyday during pickup there is some new story about your talks from one or the other teacher at school. You stop in the middle of the road to talk to a stranger. You chat up people in the pool, while they are trying to swim. You talk about school, your teachers, your friends, your ladybug backpack, the books you like, how Didi and you landed up in the same swim class, your plans to ski during the winter, your new car seat, gummy bears, ice-cream, letter sounds, songs – the list is endless.

Your Didi is the shy one, who does not even say hello to people she knows, so it has been a slow realization for your Paa and me that you are the exact opposite. We are not used to having to watch what our child says to people and then to have to look horrified and apologize to some stranger at the gym, just because you called out to him, “You silly guy, why are you not wearing a shirt?” is definitely an experience. While we are still learning the pitfalls of a talkative child, we can only be thankful for your still baby voice which makes understanding what you say a little difficult for people who are not used to hearing you talk.

Every time we talk to family, they only want to talk to you. Well because you talk back. Your giggles, your laughs and your non-stop chatter keeps them entertained. You also have your pet phrases for everyone. There is “funny Nana!”, “when will you come here?” for S Mami, “Russo!” for Bua, “We will come for Christmas!” for Mama and Mami and the list goes on.

I look back at the time when as a year old, you hardly spoke a word. Your Paa was so worried for you and I would laugh as say, “Wait till she starts and then she won’t stop.” You have proved me right and how! Even when there are times when I put my hands up and ask you to stop, I wish you a world full of happy conversations. Stay happy, stay healthy, stay you – my dear little chatterbox.

Loads of love,
-Maa

Red Saree

Salwar Kameez was your everyday wear. You wore them while cooking, when you dropped us to school, for festivals, even during weddings. Saree was something you wore very very rarely and hence something that was deemed very special in our minds.

I still remember coming home from school, as a first grader, to see you sitting on the dining table chair. You had your red saree on. My immediate question was, “Where did you go?” You laughed and said, “Nowhere.” “Then where are you going?”, I asked. Again you replied, “Nowhere.” My next question was obvious, at least in my head. “Why are you in a saree if you hadn’t been any place and are not going anywhere?”

I don’t remember what your answer was, even though I remember the house, its orientation, the exact chair you were sitting on. But most of all I remember your saree, red with off-white flowers. As a grown up, I now understand that for someone who wore a saree every day, it would be a regular daily wear type of saree, but in my head it was special. With your height, clear complexion and hazel eyes – you looked beautiful in it.

When you stopped wearing it, when others took its place, I don’t remember. What I will always remember is, my first, most vivid memory of you in a saree. Little details, long forgotten, randomly come to me now, and I gather them close to never forget. Some days are hard, sometimes exceedingly so. As much as I try to distract myself, today is one of those.

Four years in a count that never will end. Miss you so very much!

Fairies

Dear Buzz,

For over a year now you have waited for this day. You have asked endless questions, you have watched your friends closely, you have read books about it and you have been impatient for your turn to come. Kids in your class started out with the phenomena more than a year back and that is when your questions started. Last year just before PD mama’s wedding, I joked and told you to hold on till after the wedding and you took my word for it, but the wedding happened and days and months ticked on after and nothing. You counted out your friends in class and the numbers kept dwindling till you were the only one left and that is when you started pushing.

Pushing hard on your teeth – if you could, you would get those teeth moving by sheer dint of your will. Your friends lost two, four – some even as high as twelve teeth, but the school year came to an end and you did not even have a wiggly tooth. You were so very disappointed.

Adding to it was all the visits Tooth Fairies were making to your friends’ place and your constant struggle with the question, “Are Tooth Fairies real?” You argued – all the doors and windows are locked at night; magic is not real; only birds have wings and even they can’t come in through closed windows. “How can Tooth Fairies be real?” you kept asking. But you wanted them to be real so bad, and that is where you were stuck. With your logic, you came up with simplest of solutions, “if I have a present under my pillow when my tooth falls, then they are real otherwise they are not.” How your Paa and I smiled at it all.

After quite a few complains of pain in your lower front tooth, for over a month, they finally did start to wiggle noticeably last week. The excitement level went up multiple folds in our household. The only time you talked tentatively about your teeth falling was when it came to the Tooth Fairy. Oh yes the present, I remember sweetheart, so on a recent trip to a store when I came across books, I bought two and told you I needed to hand them over to someone special. Not one more question you asked. You smiled and walked away.

Today when I came to pick you up in the evening, you smiled to show me what was missing, and then ran off to show me your precious tooth. Apparently eating cherries did the trick (along with freaking out your teachers, since they could not tell whether it was blood or cherry juice).  Then the chatter moved on to the gift. Bugz, super excited at sleep time peeped, “Tooth Fairy will come today, Didi!” You smiled big and whispered in my ears, “You are the Tooth Fairy Mumma, but Bugz is so little that she does not know.”

Yes sweetheart, Bugz is little but you are growing to be so big and sometimes I miss my little girl. But but I love the big girl you are becoming. Your next big milestone is here and we are super excited for you. We also know the second tooth is going to fall any day now, so enjoy your special time which has come after such a long wait. As always, stay healthy, stay happy, stay you!

Love,
-Maa

The Question

Bugz currently is that stage of life where play rules and food loses every time in front of it. Even with her favorite meal she gets distracted in a little bit and starts out on some game or another, so imagine the plight of the food she is not fond of? In an effort to avoid battle lines being drawn over dinner table where the two of us stand on opposite sides, I poured my creative juices in to the mix. There was coaxing her to finish her meal, there was putting the food away to eat later when she was hungry, there was ‘no playing at the dinning table’ rule, there was award for finishing her plate. Needless to say nothing worked, but the sight of food being wasted every day was something that was getting to me.

On my very edge, I spoke to her about wasting food and how there were kids going hungry. Buzz got interested as well and the two of them started asking questions. Excited to see that they were thinking about the concept, I searched online and started showing them pictures of malnourished kids. The pictures were very graphic, and I could see that the two of them were a little shaken. The questions started again as they saw one picture after the other.

– Why are they not eating
– Why do they not have food?
– Why don’t their parents get food from the store?

And then Buzz comes up with the question of the day:
If people are so poor that they don’t have food to eat, why do they have babies?

at which point all things came to a halt as I grappled to find the right answer. The question has been asked a couple of times since and I still have not answer that I think will work. Please help if you can!

In the middle

Higher, push me higher!

She screams, trying to catch up to Didi. Didi, of course, pumps her legs to go higher still, laughing as she swings back and forth.

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Bugz, come catch me.

Off they go running. Little feet unable to catch the bigger faster ones, but laughter follows and so do shrieks of frustration.

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Biking, biking! Let’s go biking

Longer legs, bigger bike, she zooms off as soon as we get to the trail. With her little bike, sitting comfortably on her bike, training wheels still in place, the little one peddles on leisurely, laughing gleefully as she spots her Didi, every now and then.

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With the perpetual need to keep an eye on both of them, I run between the two of them – sometimes faster, sometimes slower, sometimes backwards, sometimes forward. The sun is out, the day is beautiful, the kids are happy, there are laughs, there are stops for hugs, there are endless smiles. As they go about playing, they run circles around me. Never consciously, always unsaid, mostly unacknowledged, yet I always find myself in the middle – middle of their play, middle of their fight, middle of their love – and every time, my heart swells up.

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Mumma, let me push her now. Higher and higher!

She comes and takes over, while the little one nods her head excitedly.

No Didi! I can’t catch you.

She comes back to hold hands and off they go running together.

Didi, wait for me!

Barely able to keep her balance, she rides alongside, just to keep the little sister happy.