Saturday, April 15, 2017

M is for Mini-me

"Oh Mama," exclaimed Xena. "The chick is SOOOOOO KAYOOOOT!"

We were looking at a newly-hatched chick in the hatchery at the Science Centre's discovery zone. There is a completely transparent incubator where eggs are segregated based on how old they are, and if you have enough time and patience to hang around near the 21st day eggs, you will be rewarded with an amazing sight. We didn't have the time to actually see a chick hatch out of an egg (there is this really cool video someone took and uploaded, in case you're keen), but we did see a wobbly little chick and the two halves of the egg it had climbed out of. And it was this particular chick that Xena was finding SOOOOOO KAYOOOOOOT.

It amuses me how much Xena copies the strange terms and quirky words that I use sometimes. When I find something irresistibly cute, I feel that the word 'cute' just doesn't do it justice, and I go "SOOOOO KAYOOOOOT!"

The other day, I was kinda panicking about the number of things I had to do that morning, and she came to me, held my hands and gently said, "Mama... first... we need to calm down. Then we can think better." I nearly fell down laughing. Every time she flips out over something -- a bruise or a school project or a lost library book -- I hold her hands and gently say, "Xena... first... we need to calm down. Then we can think better."

Then there was this time I was making dosas for her. When I served the first one to her, she said, "Oh Mama, this is wrong..."

"It is?"

"I wanted one carrot dosa with no cheese, and one plain dosa with cheese. This is a carrot dosa with cheese..."

"Oh dear... sorry, I must have mixed them up in my head. But it's okay, isn't it? You can eat this. I'll just make the plain dosa without cheese."

"Yeah, it's okay. I can eat this," she said, sounding a little disappointed. "But I had specifically said one carrot dosa with no cheese, and one plain dosa with cheese..."

Oh dear lord. My 6-year-old had specifically said that. I wonder who overuses the word specifically. Oh. Dear. Lord.

As she grows older and I realise that her mirroring my words and actions is moving out of the KAYOOOOOT phase into serious territory, I feel a little nervous. Take what happened the other day, for example. Normally, I'm very particular about using only an after-then strategy ("After you finish your meal, we can play Scrabble.") instead of a threatening if-then strategy ("If you finish your meal, we can play Scrabble."). But that day, I was cooking and she kept getting up and coming to the kitchen instead of staying put at the dining table and finishing her milk.

"Mama, please play Afreen afreen for me." She said. Without thinking, I'd blurted out, "I'll play it if you finish your milk." Without hesitation, she said, "I'll finish it if you play the song." My ears literally burned. Not only was I horrified at how rude and threatening that sounded coming from her, I was also shocked at how fast these kids catch on. I repaired the situation quickly by saying, "Ooh, how about we focus on the milk first, and then we can focus and really listen to the song together properly?" She agreed. Phew! I made a quick mental note to be even more watchful of my words around her.

Sometimes, it's so hard to be yourself and yet be this ideal person for your kids to emulate. I'm not talking about hiding our mistakes from them, just showing them the 'better' way to deal with things. How we react to stuff is exactly how our little Mini-mes will react to stuff; the words we choose to use are what they are going to use. So I try to show her my best side at all times -- my kindest, most polite, most enthusiastic, most creative, most resourceful, most pleasant, most sociable, most politically correct, most unbiased, most forgiving, most resilient, most adaptive side, even though I'm obviously not like that all the time. But I do it, at the cost of feeling a little hypocritical at times. I'm still trying to make my peace with this conflicted feeling. But then that's my view on it -- in parenting Xena, I'm just trying to create a slightly better version of myself.


Lalita Mahanti said...

Ah. I start my day with identically lofty pursuits of parenting but I end with yelling matches. I just realized you were doing the A2Z challenge, will read up all retrospectively and stay glued for more.

Charan Deep Singh said...

you need to calm down. and you will able to think better. Your parenting posts scare me,being a freshly minted father...

Charan Deep Singh said...

I wrote a tribute to the maximum city Mumbai

Arun said...

In my very humble opinion, the parent doesn't need to be perfect, in fact shouldn't be. The child needs to know how to recognize her mistake, acknowledge her mistake and recover from her mistake, and who better to learn from than the parent? So the hypothetical superhuman perfect parent who is raising a human child, would deliberately make, acknowledge and recover from mistakes to be good role model to the all too human child.


Sayesha said...

Thanks for visiting! :)

Charan Deep,
LOL! Your kid is only 4 months old yaar. Abhi time hai. :)

I'm not talking about mistakes here. I'm talking about behaviour and reactions. E.g. if something minor irritates me, I can take a deep breath and get over it or I can rant to Viv until the cows come home. I'd rather Xena see the former rather than the latter.

Arun said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
pr said...

Hi Sayesha! To keep it simple, a list. 1) Thanks for continuing to do the A-Z. 2) Belated birthday wishes. You are so inspirational.. and in so many ways. So much admiration and respect for you.. your parenting.. and your way of life. Much love and admiration for darling Xena.. the cute, sweet, smart, funny, and loving mini-you. 3) Will write more some another time. For now, a sincere thanks for bringing so much joy to us. :)

Sayesha said...

Thanks so much for all the kind words. And thanks for coming back to my blog. :) :)