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.
I first came across IMC - Indian Moms Connect - when one of their regular authors had contributed a rather interesting piece, titled "Curious Case of the stay at the home dad". The part that caught my attention the most was the line :
"I am sure that if these stay at home dads were back home in India where they were susceptible to being judged they would have abandoned post long back."
This got me thinking. Here I was, a work from home/stay-at-home kind of Dad who had recently moved to India after a reasonably long time in London. And while yes, I did bear the cross of judgement for a long while, over time I discovered that the best thing I could do was to continue doing what I wanted to and pay no heed to their head nods and judgemental glances. And then out of the blue, R's Mom, who blogs here, contacted me to ask if I would do a piece on the perspective of a SAHD (yes, that's what the public call us - It's also pronounced s-a-d, which is just really...well, sad!). After pondering over it for a few days, I said yes, and like they say in the movies - "It all worked out quite well". They loved the post and well, as for me, I mean every word that I've written. So here's a snippet of what to expect.
Somewhere in a deep cavern, hidden amongst the darkest corners of our world, exists a mysterious species. A species that has over the past decades, both adapted and evolved very rapidly. While they closely resemble all of us in terms of physical features, they do differ in one aspect -they go against the “assumed norms of society”. They live amongst us, going about their daily chores. You might spot them on the playground, sometimes at school drops; sometimes even mid-morning at the supermarket going about their own business. With a reported number of two million members and growing, this mysterious species could be considered as potential trendsetters - if what they do could be considered as a trend. But the frank reality of the matter is, they just do in their own style, what their better halves have been doing for thousands of years. And just like their other halves, this species too neither requires nor requests accolades or awards. All they need is some respect and not to be judged. Today, I wish to confess - I too am a member of that species. I am a work-from-home dad.
Click here to read the rest of the post on the IMC Website.
P.S. - I seem to have a problem replying to the comments there, so kindly leave your comments here too, so that I can reply. If you, intend to, that is :P
It’s often said that kids, especially when they are little, are great teachers of the lesson of patience. There’s nothing that you can do to hurry them along. You just have to bow to their wishes. When they’re ready, they’ll be ready – be it the time to come out of their mother’s womb or be it when they’re ready to pose for a photograph. I’m not sure why, but December’s always been a month of reminiscing for me. It’s the time to sort of look back on the year gone by, chuckle about those wonderful moments and pride yourself on getting past those not-so-wonderful moments. Plus it was almost time for my bi-weekly Parentous post, and I was trying to dig up ideas. That’s when something caught my eye. It lay there silently abandoned in the corner of my desk, gathering dust. I picked it up, looked at it and then smiled. I’d found my next topic.
If you’re a parent, then the following is kind of a known fact to you. Baby pictures are an absolute treasure and it’s often said that new parents have been known to take more pictures of their kid(s) than NASA takes of the moon. Yes, it’s true. We love to capture those moments, don’t we? But here’s the fun fact – taking pictures of a baby can be a daunting task. If you haven’t noticed it already, they are extremely unpredictable, do not follow any instructions, have an extremely limited attention span, and worst of all, cannot be bribed. Now taking the occasional pictures are actually not that complicated. If there’s something that kids know, it is to appear naturally cute in photographs. And no matter, how unflattering the angle, they are always cute. Of course some parents do go the extra mile, and try some Anne Geddes inspired shots while they’re sleeping or half awake.
But the real fun (or not) of photographing a baby is when you take them to get a passport size photo done. If only we could just crop one of those cute photos and change the background. Well, to be honest, with a little bit of photo editing, it can be done. But where’s the fun in that? No, we need to take them to the studio to get the ideal picture.
Want to read more? This post was originally written for PARENTOUS. Click here to go there
Don't forget to tell me how your kid's passport photo experience was :)