Kids. They often find the strangest things attractive and develop affinity for weird things as they grow up.
My son, for instance, has this affinity towards hair. If you’re anywhere in his vicinity, he will nonchalantly (and very secretly) put his little hand into your tresses and slowly start to roll the strands of your hair around one of his fingers. A mostly harmless activity, unless you happen to have long-hair, of course. Because one of the challenges, once he’s done with this ‘hair-rolling-and-clumping’ is the struggle to ‘unknot it’. And having seen the pain my sister, mother and wife experience while trying to play Houdini and break-free those knots from their hair, I know it’s no child's play. Even if, a child did do it in the first place.
Since I’m follically-challenged and suffer from rapidly thinning of hair (though rapidly-disappearing would be a more appropriate phrase here!), I make sure he doesn’t get a chance to pull my hair at all. Because not only does it hurt a lot, I’m often worried about the possibility that I’ll be left with a Bruce Willis or Jason Statham-like hairstyle. And believe me. I cannot carry that look off, without looking like a thug. Of course, the fact that my hair is almost eternally out-of-bounds for him, is something that angers my three-year old a lot. And if you have toddlers, you’ll know that they are not used to taking ‘No’ for an answer. Not from their parents, anyway.
[bctt tweet="Toddlers would rather jump off the eighth floor rather than listen to their parents when they say ‘No!’"]
The only two instances that my son gets access to whatever-little-is-left-of-my-hair are:
One: when I'm forced to carry him on my shoulders; he holds on to my hair for support, inspite of my numerous warnings and repeated requests to hold onto my neck.
Two: to balance himself when he tries to wear shoes or shorts; though I fail to understand why he chooses my hair of all things.
Otherwise, I’m largely safe from this game of ‘knots and braids’ that he subjects most people to.
A few days back, I had one of my blasted migraine attacks. For those of you, who may be fortunate enough not to have experienced this malady, a migraine attack can only be described as a glorious medical condition where you feel like your head is being frequently pounded by Thor's legendary hammer while 'The Hulk' crushes your cheek bones into pulp. You sort of lose total focus and even concentrating on a single task is something ridiculously difficult. When I get such attacks, , I often resort to the use of a strong painkiller that is quite literally, my army in shining armour that puts the migraine in its place. However this time, it wasn't the case. I was travelling and had used up my quota of painkillers. So there I was - pacing up and down the room, like a caged beast, grunting and growling, in the hopes that I could 'scare' the migraine away.
My three-year old, who hadn't previously met this 'Mr. Hyde' side of mine, was visibly confused. Whilst he had often been privy to the 'angry-Hulk' side, this was something new to him. But based on my reactions and grunts, I believe he figured out that something was wrong with my head. Or so, I believe. So, as I thundered around the room, I felt a little tug on my pyjamas. I looked down and found him giving me a wide-eyed stare, with a twinkle in them. Now, do forgive me for this particular 'thought-process' and for having the audacity to be honest about it. But at that moment, the last thing I wanted was to deal with whatever it was that he wanted. So I glared down at him, almost daring him to ask for what he wanted. Now, if you're a parent, you'll probably know that when it comes to toddlers, threats often fall on deaf ears.
[bctt tweet="Threatening a toddler is like negotiating with someone who is a cross between a terrorist and a politician. "]
Either way, you'll probably walk away thinking you won, when in reality they were holding all the cards to start with.
Paying no heed to what I said, he ordered, "Papa, come with me!", as he turned around and ran off into the bedroom. Sighing loudly to express my discontent at having failed at 'my threats', I follow him into the bedroom where he sat crosslegged on the bed. As I wondered about what he was going to do next, he gestured for me to come over and lie on his tiny lap. For a brief moment, I stood there - both amused and astounded by his reaction. Of all the things I've expected my little one to do, offering me a place to lay down with my head on his lap, wasn't definitely one of them. All of a sudden, I felt a bit overwhelmed and a tiny tear escaped from the corner of my right eye, that had started to fill up rapidly.
‘Papa, come and lie down and I do this’ he said, his little arms making gestures that indicated something reminiscent of a head massage. Fighting back the tears, I obliged and placed my head on his lap. As he gently started to massage my head, running his nimble fingers through my hair, I felt drowsy and nodded off to sleep.
When I woke up, about fifteen minutes later, he was missing. I could hear the high-pitched nasal voice of the narcissistic Mickey Mouse, singing the famous 'Hot Dog' song, so I naturally assumed he was watching TV. I was also pleasantly surprised to notice that my migraine had disappeared - perhaps because of the power nap; or perhaps it was on account of those tiny little magical fingers of his, that had cured me. Either way, I was extremely refreshed. So, I got up from the bed, stretched and called out to my son, who responded with his own rendition of the song.
As I slowly ambled towards the hall, I caught a glimpse of myself in the hallway mirror. And this is how it looked. (Ok, it looked much worse; this was taken after I finished a yell-session with him and then a 'semi-detangling' session)
And then it dawned on me. He asked me to lie down on his lap so that he could knot strands of my hair into little clumps like these.
Kids. They’re freaking unbelievable.
Just a side note to apologise to my readers because I've not been as 'active' as I'd like to be. Let's just say I'm not feeling 'like myself' at the moment and hence writing anything is an arduous task these days. Promise to be back soon.