Tag Archives: Arvind

The Gift That Keeps Giving

Yesterday a man with a kindly face came and knocked on our door. It turned out that he was from the Red Cross and collecting money for the victims of the Haiti earthquake. Arvind came with me to answer the door and as I walked inside to find some cash, I hear Arvind questioning him loudly as to why he was collecting money.

I hear a low, patient response.

I see my boy dash inside, open the draw that safely housed his birthday money and then he dashed back to the kindly man.

“But this is 500 kroner….” (90 dollars), says the man at a loss, holding the note unsurely.

“They have nothing. They need this.” says my matter-of-fact, unsentimental 7 year old.

“Thank you,” says the man quietly, “You’re a very special boy.”

Somewhere between this exchange and the closing of the door, I splinter in pride.

Happy 8th year, My Golden Heart.

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Edited to add: I needed to add that it wasn’t the fact that Arvind gave money or the amount he gave that made this a highlight for me. It was more the fact that he had processed enough from our conversations and discussions to stop caring about the vastly exciting world of Bakugan (if for a minute) and give his thoughts and his empathy to the plight of real people. So here is my real question:

Should we protect our children more from the media or less? I have always encouraged Arvind’s interest in the news and current affairs except when inappropriate pictures and footage are involved. Does exposure give them more empathy to situations like Haiti or will it in the long run, desensitize them? Climate change people – this ain’t gonna be the last of it.

How much is too much when they are 7 and 8?

Can we teach them about the world and tell them about wars, famine and natural catastrophes, without stealing their precious innocence? Without rubbing out their faith in a good humanity? Or is innocence overrated to begin with?

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Oasis@Home The Arvind Way

Yesterday, in his tearing hurry to climb on the mantelpiece to – I don’t know – save the world? Arvind toppled a vase with my much-coveted, beautiful sunflowers. Yes, the ones in the header. Maybe I sensed their premature demise. Either way I’m glad I took my happy-making picture.

The vase toppled, I screamed, Arvind grovelled and begged for his life and after seeing the amazingly intact vase, I let it go. As I sadly bio-bagged the remains, Arvind came up behind me, hugged me and whispered, “Sorry” again.

Today, I came home to a clean house (thankyouthankyou lovely Thai cleaning lady who ALWAYS goes above and beyond and makes my day. Today she lit some agarbatti (incense sticks) on her way out so that the house smelt delicious when I walked through the door. I. Must. Never. Let. Her. Go.)

I also came home to this on our coffee table.

Autumn Delight

Autumn Delight

Arvind went on a nature walk today with his class and in a great a-ha! moment figured out that he could find the raw material to compensate for yesterday’s loss.

Dear son, you leave your mother hopelessly bleary-eyed when I see the thought, the delicate execution that has gone into your “autumn project” as you call it.

Oasis@Home title today goes to the thoughtful child who made his Ma’s day.

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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 flickr.com

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Shootin’ the Breeze

Mi Casa, 8 p.m.

I am hunched over the Mac preparing a memo for my annual assessment. Just one of those events I insist on shitting bricks for as a matter of over-achieving principle. I’ve never had a bad assessment, my boss is only the most fabulous boss on earth, yet there I am on the eve of A-day, nerves-a-grated and knickers in a twist. (Yeah, thats really not as hot as you’d imagine, even though I have very nice knickers thanksverymuch)

Arvind, who still insists on making up his own homework (because neither school nor parents will give him any) is making up sums (“Whats a google plus thousand, Mamma?”) and trying kindle an interest in science in his ignorant mother (“Do you want me to draw the insides of a butterfly for you?”) You get the drift.

I do the usual nodding, hmming and hawing that all parents are familiar with, but all of a sudden there he is, his face just a few inches from mine.

“You look tired, Mamma. Do you want me to give you a massage?”

Without warning, tears spring to my eyes and I’m too overwhelmed to respond. For weeks, I can go around thinking that Arvind can’t/won’t hear a word I say or that he is far too lost in his own world and thoughts – till he displays the full extent of his empathy and perception and knocks his ole Ma over with a feather.

His tiny, gentle palms rub my shoulders and caress my back. Its heavenly is what it is. His feathery touch rubbing his mother’s aches away. I sigh and lean into my lille mann.

” One day, sweetheart, you’re going to make some woman really, really happy.”

“No, I won’t,” he snorts, “I’ll want to play Wii all day and that’ll make her mad as hell!”

Aaaaand….he’s back.

My babies hand in hand

My babies hand in hand

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