My Parle G Parent Quotient post for this week: Of friendships in the tweens

The brat is now at a stage when his friends probably mean more to him than his parents do. Other parents, who have been through this stage, assure me that this is normal and I must just reconcile myself to the fact I will now first be upstaged by friends, and this will increase progressively as love interests and then, eventually, his spouse comes into the picture.
I might as well slit my wrists now and bid good bye to the cruel world while I still make for a pretty corpse.
Seriously though, being thus displaced in the affections of the child can be a trifle dispiriting. But, one girded one’s loins, metaphorically speaking of course, and resigned oneself to the new shift in equations and watched on bemusedly as the child bounded from friendship to friendship, through spats and the kind of internal group politics that gave one a clear idea of the machinations of the adult world that they were headed towards.
So, here are the friendships of the tween world.

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My Yowoto post for this week: The Brat’s first dance with a girl

The Brat’s First Dance With A Girl!

It’s the kind of experience that separates the pre-teen years from the post-teen life…

The offspring came home one day with an expression Thor would have patented immediately for his own, so much thunder it contained within it. “I’ve been selected for the annual day dance performance,” he spat out, his face wearing 50 shades of disgust on it.

“But that is wonderful,” I exclaimed, the cup of maternal pride brimming over, given that he had been a great dancer back when he was enrolled in dance class and knew his hip hop from his locking and popping, and occasionally applied the face paint for stage shows, something he gave up after a rather unfortunate spat with the newbie dance teacher who then kept him in the exile of all stage performers—namely the last row. And then of course, swimming took over all his time and energy, and dance was relegated to the land of fond memories, brought out and dusted off fondly only occasionally during birthday parties when he would display his unrehearsed moves picked from song viewing on television to much appreciation.

“No,” he replied vehemently. “Is not wonderful. I have to dance with a GIRL!”
He shuddered. Then gulped bravely and continued, the words bursting forth with the pressure of pent up emotion. “I told teacher to give me another dance but she would not agree. And now I have to slow dance the tango with a girl.” His voice rose to eardrum-scraping decibel levels. “A girl.”

Read the rest here

Sunday, Dec 7th, 11 am, Star World. The Tara Sharma Show

I will be part of a short discussion on technology and kids, and you are hereby warned that the hair was channeling Einstein the day we filmed so you might want to keep eye drops handy. I will also insist that the camera adds on 20 pounds and some more.

But then, of course, Tara is around to balance the equation with her effortless loveliness. As is Mansi Zaveri of Kiddstoppress.com, Ruchita Dar Shah of First Moms Club and Sonali Gupta, psychologist and counsellor.

Do watch.TSSpromo

There Is No Such Thing As A Well-Fed Tween :My Yowoto post this week

“I’m hungry, give me something to eat.”

It was not for nothing that the offspring has earned the nickname Bottomless Pit in the house. It is a nickname that is well-earned. It haunts me, that sentence, in my dreams and my waking hours. I get nightmares which have his voice rising plaintively in ear-piercing decibels screaming “I’m hungry give me something to eat,” while I go through a kitchen cabinet in a panic, and with bleeding ears, only to find all the jars with the stash of anytime snacking reduced to zero by the magnificent munching machine I spawned. Oh. That was no nightmare, that was yesterday.

If you have an adolescent in the house, you might find this familiar. One moment you’ve returned from your monthly grocery shopping, carefully packed everything away, stocked the fridge so that the shelves are bulging in a pleasing manner, and you dust your hands with the pleasure of a task well done. A few hours later, make that circa midnight, you are in the market for a snack and you take yourself to the kitchen, visualising the totally yummy sandwich you are going to make yourself from the salami slices, the multigrain bread and the sandwich spread you just put into the fridge a few hours ago. You throw the fridge open and find yourself greeted by the gruesome remains of the empty bread pack, with the thick ends and a few crumbs left considerately behind for anyone who might crave a midnight snack.
Read the rest of the post here.

Mom Vs The New Toy (My Yowoto post for this week)

And so it came to pass that I was standing, hapless and helpless, before the salesman at one of the plushest toy stores in one of the plushest malls in the plush capital city of the country, millimetres away from grovelling before him.

“Are you sure you don’t have it?” I asked him, hating the whine in my voice. “Not even one?” I felt a sweat breaking across my forehead, and a tremble begin to infiltrate my spinal cord. I was 3 hours away from catching the flight back home after a week away. There was the infamous Delhi traffic to contend with, and I had left myself no slack to go hunting in other stores to find the specific object that The Brat had put down as mandatory to be presented to him upon my return, contingent on good behaviour in my absence, of course.

It was a terrifying moment. I could feel the quiver set in my knees at the prospect of facing The Brat empty-handed because I hadn’t managed to procure the exact same model of the toy he had demanded. I called up home, he was asleep, the receiver put to a sleep-groggy ear. I asked him if there was something else he would like. He mumbled something incoherent and went back to sleep, I am told.

I thought back to the moment, a couple of weeks ago, when I told him I would be gone for a week. He looked at me with eyes that were pretending to be very brave and unconcerned, it wouldn’t do for him to crumple and fling his arms around my waist and bury his head in my lap, and tell me not to go. That is not what big boys do. They still the quivering of their lips and blink back the sudden rush of tears that threaten to flood their eyes, and ask, in a deceptively nonchalant manner whether it is really essential for me to go off for so many days and why do I need constantly to keep going away.

“But I will come back,” I tell him. “I always come back.”
“I know you do. But it is boreding without you.”

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Kiran Manral says, “Breathe.” – A NaNo2014 peptalk

Dear NaNoWriMo Author,

It is mid November, your mind is sludge, you’re midway through a book you thought was just fabulous when you began but now that you are perhaps, 20k or 30k words into it, you look back, read through what you’ve written, shudder, tape your fingers together to prevent yourself from deleting what you’ve written because you think it is horrible, terrible and by god, it would be a Mother Earth Swallow Me Now moment if you ever let another living soul read it. What on earth possessed me to sign up for this, you tell yourself, while simultaneously self flagellating yourself with the Cat-O-Nine-Tails of negative self talk.

Breathe.

This is normal. We have all been there.

You will hate what you have written. You will go through doubt and schism and chaos. You will detest your characters, want to reach into the screen and give them a good shake up, you have also probably reached a dead end or two in your plot where you’ve needed to go back, retrace your steps, rewrite what you’ve written and change things around a fair bit. What you have down on the computer is nothing compared to the glorious, glistening gem of a novel you had in your head when you started out, in fact, it doesn’t even come close. You hate it.

Breathe some more.

This too is normal. And the urge to delete what you have written so far will pass.

Read the rest here

Best friends (My Parent Quotient post from last week)

The minefield of friendships and best friends and second best friends is something that the boy seems to be negotiating carefully these days. At the best, to take the minefield analogy a bit further, it could be called a tap dance in a minefield. The boy has around ten to 12 friends in the building complex we live in who could be called his good friends. And another ten to twelve friends from school he interacts with out of school hours via phone calls and whatsapp groups.

What I notice though, and what is strikingly different from how things were when I was young and in school, is that there don’t seem to be best friends anymore. Kids these days have many good friends, close friends, groups of friends. But they don’t have best friends. That one friend who is closer to them than perhaps, even siblings are. And that intrigues me.

“Don’t you have a best friend?” I asked him the other day.

He looked at me blankly. “I have many best friends,” he replied, rattling off names with the speed of a passing express train.

“That’s not what I mean,” I tried again. “Isn’t there one friend who is your very best friend, over all the other friends?”

He frowned a bit, and thought deeply. “Sometimes, I am best friends with A, then he is rude to me and we have a fight, then I become best friends with P and then I might have a fight with him and we don’t talk so then I be good friends with everyone.”

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