The miniscule Mumbai winter is slap dash upon us and this in turn means that the early morning pre-crack of dawn autorickshaw ride to the pool is brain freeze levels of chill. Ergo, the other day, I lumbered myself onto a footstool, determinedly ignoring its creaks of violent protest and pulled down the winter wear from the suitcase where it all had been mothballed for posterity.
First out of their plastic Ziploc bags were the sweaters and cardigans, wool, wonderful hand knitted ones, which unfortunately had been shrunk whilst in storage by evil elves working in insidious ways. After trying around a couple, which resulted in a right rolling-on-the-floor tantrum, which is kind of unseemly given that he has outgrown both—the sweaters and the rolling on the floor tantrum stage, the zippered hoodies were removed from the mothballs and presented to him to try on and check if they were still wearable or needed to be given away.
Let me add a disclaimer here. Until last year, The Brat was an angel child, with no pretensions to brand awareness or loyalty, and happily pulled on whatever was first at hand in the mess that masquerades as his cupboard, or whatever was handed to him with zero fuss by the responsible adult in charge. This year, I realise, with a heart that has now sunk like the proverbial stone, right to the toes, things have changed a fair bit.
The next hour went in a loop of “I cannot wear this, it is too short/out of fashion/large/I don’t like the colour/I don’t like the design/I cannot wear this brand…” and more on those lines until I was ready to hand him a shawl and tell him to wrap himself up in it for his trip to the pool, and that it would keep him very warm indeed. And that I could hand him a monkey cap too while I was at it, and it would be ideal a look for his rather simian bearing at most times.
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Newshunt offering Once Upon A Crush ebook for Rs 29 in its December mega sale here
And The Reluctant Detective also at Rs 29 here
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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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.”
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…here’s me on The Tara Sharma Show. With Sonali Gupta and Ruchita Dar Shah of Firstmoms.in.
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.