Bringing Up The Boy

A couple of weeks ago, Arvind and the Viking had an awful bust-up. This never happens. Why? Because –

a) I do all the exploding and the screaming and yelling around here, unless I’m too busy being bored. In fact I’m pretty sure that this is a formally ratified clause in our Parental Roles Contract thats lying around here somewhere. As is my wont, I also grovel and apologize like a mad person about five minutes after said explosion and wail, ” I’m awful. I’m sorry. Forgive me.” The concerned gent will then roll an eyeball in response. Except Armaan, who claps his hands and licks me. I command all the respect in this home. Really.

b) The Viking is a non-violent Gandhian type in the finest sense of the word. He has no wierd issues with food and/or sex, but believes passionately in non-violence and non-violent resistance. Though I bravely attempt to beat the crap out of him for his various lapses on occasion, it looks a bit like this.

Yeah, I'll fight you!

Yeah, I'll fight you!

Only, we don’t normally don skates and like I said – he never has to get this fierce because I back off and run and hide in our cupboard.

As most of you know, active and peaceful resistance the key to non-violence. In layman’s terms this means that the man has principles that he sticks to. He will dig his heels like the stubborn mule he is to defend them. He will argue passionately and logically till the cows come home, but he will not raise his voice unless really pushed and he’d never raise a hand. Being an excellent listener, he can and will be swayed by very convincing, rational arguments.

This is why I get nowhere with him.

All this background to say that you’d have to push a dozen buttons to get him to fly off the handle. And while I can do this since I now know the code, the kids are rarely, if ever at the receiving end. The thought of physically hurting a child is totally abhorrent to him. He does all the loving-but firm-stuff they do in those award-winning child rearing books without ever having read a single one. Listens patiently, questions, explains and tells them without fail that as much as he can dislike what they do, there is nothing they can do to not make him love them. (This is normally used as damage control, right after I tell Arvind that I have called the police on him and I hope he enjoys lock-up food. Hasta la vista and all.)

So back to two Sundays ago. I am in the garden wrestling some weeds, and the Viking is putting Armaan down for a nap. Arvind, I imagine, is upstairs occupying himself. Suddenly, I hear arguing in the bedroom, the arguing gets louder and the Viking’s angry voice booms out, shattering the afternoon silence.

“Why, you little TWIT!” he booms. His swearing is so lame I’m embarassed.

I rush in for the scoop. I see Arvind in defiant tears, and the Viking, red with anger and steering Arvind firmly out of the bedroom. Then I see Arvind send a few more kicks and punches the Viking’s way. At this point, I intervene and carry the protesting young man into his room like a sack of potatoes.

The conflict: Arvind was bored. Like most six year olds, he gets perversely bored. It seemed like a good idea to stir up nap time to make up for the lack of excitement in his life. Dad is upset by the disruption of nap time. Arvind manages a few well-aimed blows to the shin to show Dad who’s boss. Oops.

So there we are in the bedroom, Arvind trying to impale himself on a helicoptor rotor in his utter rage, and out of nowhere it comes to me.

The resolution: “I get it, ” I say, “You’re mad. You’re mad as hell and you want to hurt someone. You want to hurt yourself a bit. Right? Ok. Now here’s a piece of paper and here’s a crayon. I want you to get out all your anger on this piece of paper. Tear it or scrunch it up if you want to. Or you can draw what happened. I’m going to sit outside your room till you’re done doing whatever you want to do with this paper.”

After just about 90 seconds of furious drawing/scribbling, Arvind comes out beaming. Anger forgotten and incredibly pleased with his effort. Here’s how he recounts the event in his own images and words:

image0“I was under the duvet with Pappa and Armaan. And Pappa kept shushing me so Armaan could sleep, and I didn’t want to be shushed. Then Pappa started thinking about throwing me out of the room (pointing to thought cloud). And then I kicked him.

Raging Against the Dad

Raging Against the Dad

And then Pappa got very mad at me and called me a Twit, because I hurt his leg. Now we’re outside the room and Pappa is still very mad (points to mad mouth in picture) and I’m still trying to kick him (points to super extendable leg) and you’re wondering whats going on. (Yes, I was wearing shorts, though I wouldn’t blame you for thinking my legs were amputated.) And I drew the door and the big key because Pappa wanted to lock me out of the room.That really made me mad.”

Long story short, the six year old is happy and feels that the situation has been resolved to his satisfaction. Apologies are made and hugs are enjoyed. The toddler naps for two hours out of sheer exhaustion and relief after all the drama and the Viking is impressed by his wife and commends rare instance of wisdom.

“Dude, that’s me,” I say, “99% Mommy perspiration and 1% inspiration. Only its for-effect perspiration because you know I use a kickass deo.”

And with that I saunter off to find a suitable alchoholic beverage to celebrate the occasion.

*Lovely dinosaur courtesy of


Filed under Arvind, Parenting

17 responses to “Bringing Up The Boy

  1. Medha

    This was SO hilarious! And soooo entertaining! Oops, look at me laughing at your misery (or something like that!). But this just put a smile on my face and no better way to start a day right? πŸ™‚

    Also, you should get like an award or something for the way you handled the situation! Seriously. Giving a kid a piece of paper and crayons and telling him to release his anger on it- who would’ve known that it would work so well! Too damn innovative! πŸ˜‰

  2. lol MGM, way to go gurl! you handled it all so well, didn’t ya? Awesome πŸ™‚

  3. Ha ha ha! you twit is all the ANGRY viking could come up with? Cute.

  4. allrighthere

    CUDOS for brilliant parenting! πŸ˜€

    TWIT? That is going to crack me up for days! LOL!!!

  5. MGM

    @Medha: Glad you got a laugh out of this, but seriously, no awards – did you miss the part where I normally threaten to call the cops on him or deport him to Somalia? Just one day of ingenuity is all:-)

    @Ersa: Thanks Ersa. Its that 1%inspiration bit kicking it:-)For once it was good for me to be the one to diffuse the bomb:-)

    @June:The man is shame to Vikinghood. All the choice swear words in this country and I, am immigrant, can do it better than him! V. disappointing indeedy.

    @Allrighthere: Yeah, can you believe it?LOL What is this, a Roald Dahl novel we live in? As for brilliant parenting, thank god, for glimmers of that, cause otherwise I’d be hightailing it to Machu Picchu for all the mistakes I make:-)

  6. Meluhhan

    I’m very impressed with Arvind. That thought cloud looks positively diabolical. I’d use my super extendable leg against it too. Non-violence is an overrated concept invented by sissies who know they’d lose.

    Can’t wait to have my own kids so I can threaten to sell them on ebay and christen them with names I’ve lovingly chosen for them. DurexFailure, Experiment1 and BetaVersion (note clever pun!). Ah, to experience the joys of parenting!

  7. LOL!!!
    Ok now, you just have to get the kid to illustrate your posts more often. He’s profound, girl!!! Who drew that kickass dino, by the way?

  8. And Meluhhan, the greatest joy of parenting is visiting other people and seeing that their kids are even greater nightmares than one’s own.

  9. @Meluhhan: I agree. I’m impressed and envious of him too.. such an array of superpowers he endows himself with in his drawings:-)

    As for non-violence, you might be confusing that with being a pacifist? Real non-violence involves serious psyching of your opponent, without throwing a punch. It a more mentally aggressive philosophy is all.

    And I love your names! very e-bay-able:-)

    @WJ: He is forever sketching.. maybe I send him to you, WJ? ooh and kickass dino is from an obscure flickr site. Have credited it now.

    And LOL re: others kids! So true!

  10. Chuchu

    ROFL!really enjoyed that.. and love his pics-esp. Armaan tucked in the middle,the dark thought cloud and the humungous key!:).Please keep posting his sketches as we go along-they’re hilarious!Maybe,he can illustrate that book when it finally comes out…

  11. Era

    Great idea to draw a picture! I’m going to borrow this strategy although I’ll probably be the one doing the drawing. Nonetheless, what fun and a brilliant idea.

    @Meluhhan: awesome names!

  12. awww what a sweetie!!! I fell off me chair imagining the ickle boy kicking his dad in his shins! and wottan imagination! well impressed.

    oh and good on you, non-sweaty mum, for handling that one well.

  13. Anj

    Invention is the necessity of mother eh? Have you come up with a quickie version of that, sans drawing material, for use in supermarkets and other public places? Please to share.

  14. To have the presence of mind to hand over a paper and a crayon?? Hats off! I would have just joined the screamfest πŸ™‚

  15. @Dottie – you and me, both. MGM, on the other hand, seems to be made of sterner stuff. Either that, or her kids have trained her well. Personally, I am thinking of plumping for the latter. πŸ˜€

  16. What a lovely way to deal with the anger..

    At the sole’s residence, I am the Gandhian type..wish the husband could learn a thing or two from MGM πŸ™‚

    • Mom Gone Mad

      @Sole: Well, different strokes for different folks, eh? Good thing there is more than one patented way to do things right and have happy kids:-)

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