Leaving on a jet plane

We have built our own little happy corner here in the west whereas the rest of my family, ok ok .. extended family (Amma gets all twisted when I just say family) lives in the far east. India if you really want to know.

This means sitting in a plane for a good 16-20hrs just to get there and then repeating the journey on our way back. Try doing that all by yourself with a kid in tow and trust me, no matter how good of a traveler your kid is, it is NOT easy. This is why I now opt for the direct flight with no connections. An early morning layover somewhere in Europe is no fun. You can’t really nap because you have an energetic child to watch over which then leaves you with a headache and cranky child that starts feeling sleepy when it’s about time to start boarding.

So, if I want to see them, the quickest way is Facetime. Thank god for technology. Rewind to 15 yrs ago and the days of calling cards and counting the minutes. I remember how our dad metered our overseas calls. Ok, did you say happy birthday?, pass the phone on to the next person in line. Kids these days have no clue how easy they have it. 

Last month, over multiple weekend facetime calls, her paternal grandparents were trying to convince her, or rather me through her that she should spend her summer holidays in India. They also tried to entice her by saying that it will be lots of fun because her (cousin) brother A will be there as well. Let’s just say that after several weeks of saying the same thing, she decided to end it once for all by blaming me!?

R, don’t you have summer holidays?
No. I have summer camp.
Don’t you have the big long holiday?
No (and she looks at me)
(I whisper to her that she isn’t yet in “proper” school so there are no long holidays)

And they go back and forth for a good 3-4 minutes with the granny trying to tell her she has holidays and my kid saying no. The grandfather then gets on the call.

I want to see you. Will you come to India?
No, I don’t have any holidays. You come here.
I can’t really travel. Your brother A will be here as well.
I don’t think my amma has holidays.
Can you come on your own? we can pick you up from the airport.
(seriously, who asks a 5 yr old if they can travel on their own. It’s a big bad world out there people!!)
No, I am too small for that.
Then come with your Amma.

(And this is when she delivers the punchline that ends the conversation for good. I pretended that I hadn’t even heard it)

I cannot come because my Amma doesn’t like sitting in a plane for that long. She said cannot do that every year.

Touche kiddo. Just blame it on Mom. Especially when talking to her in-laws. I rolled my eyes at the dad who was sitting right to next her and slunk away. She doesn’t always have to travel with me! And they are your parents!!


The birds and the bees


It was a usual winter-into-spring evening. Amma was driving back from her yoga class. She looks all dreamy and happy after her yoga classes. C’mon that’s not how Amma’s are supposed to look, right? I decided to set things right at that very moment.

Amma, why do some people have no kids?
Uhhh aaah, they don’t want kids so they don’t have any.
How does that work?
What do you mean how does that work?
How do they NOT have kids?
They decided they don’t want any.
How do they decide to not have?
They just didn’t want one.
How did I come here then?

At this point you could hear a lady singing “This is my fight song” loudly on the radio. You bet, this is my question of the day! After a moment’s silence:

Well, there are all these tiny eggs in a women and lots of tiny fishes in a man. When the fish and egg meet a baby is made.
Do I have eggs in me?

Honestly, what 5 yr old asks questions on this level? Isn’t it supposed to be a more direct one like how are babies born? I am glad she didn’t go any further and dropped it at this. I only shudder to think of where this conversation might have gone if she hadn’t. It’s too goddamn early to be having the birds and bees talk with this kid!!! There is no way the story about a stork dropping a baby is going to fly with this feisty kid. Let’s hope I am prepared when she wants to talk more about this. I don’t think my parents EVER had this talk with me. I learnt it at Biology class at school … very theoretical and bookish knowledge.

Until next time …. cheers to the birds and bees and eggs and fishes.

What’s in a birthday you ask?

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They say that you need to stay mentally active to lower your risk of Alzheimer’s as you age. My Amma will tell you that she does everything she can to stay fit. But don’t be fooled, I am the one that really helps her stay fit by keeping her on her toes and engaging her brain cells. They never get to rest.

My extended family is a big one. Yes, I know what extended means … I asked her when she decided to use that big word. People at the Y childcare believed that I live with 20 other people in our house until they decided to ask Amma yesterday. (hello …. you are digressing ….). Ok, ok, big family means at least one birthday every other week. This whole birthday thing got me thinking. What do I do? Do what I do best. Ask my Amma.

Amma, why is my birthday on Jan 1st? (dates changed for privacy)
Umm, because that’s the day you were born.
I know that, but why that day?
Well that’s the day you said you were done being in my body and wanted to come out.
Ok, but who decides when is someone’s birthday?
You can’t stay inside me forever. You have to come out at some time.
But who put me there and said you have to come out on your birthday?
(This is when I know she doesn’t know everything)
Can you please let me concentrate on my driving now?

Amma’s note: When I was her age, birthdays were all about wearing my fanciest of the 2-3 fancy clothes that I owned, eating cake and having fun. It definitely wasn’t about asking such questions. Right?