Tag Archives: family time

Family time

I don’t know about all of you, but when the members of my family try to get ready to step out of the house together, usually one of these things is likely to happen.

  1. Three members are out the door, while one is still not quite ready.
  2. And on the rare occasion that we are all miraculously out at the same time, one of us has to rush back inside to pick up a life-saving item like a book or a bit of paper or a cookie.
  3. One of the children always decides to wear his or her footwear only after we are inside the lift, doing a one-legged hip-hop dance (hopefully there is nobody else other than our family in the lift).
  4. A sibling war breaks out just before we leave the house, so the siblings are glowering at each other in the lift.

There are many more such things, but let’s stick to these four items to keep it simple.

So, four individuals, sometimes irritable, sometimes glowering, sometimes indifferent – manage to reach the car park.  Based on the mood before we leave home, there is a mad scramble for the seats at the rear, with each of my children marking his or her own territory; getting quite predator-like in their behaviour.

Image result for family time car drive clipart

My husband and I get in, busy with our own thoughts.  As the car leaves the condo, the gentle swish of the air-conditioner sweeps the car, and teases our faces.  We watch the world outside flit past, trees, joggers, cyclists, mothers with prams, and many more.

My son takes the phone, and plays some lovely music.  There’s Billy Joel, Cold Play, One Direction, A.R.Rahman and many more.  The melodious music wraps all of us together.  We smile, and enjoy the drive, our petty irritations and squabbles completely forgotten.

 

Sibling tales #1

This is a story that happens in every family. When the entire family is heading out, there is always one person who is either looking for his/her missing socks or shoes or smartphone, while the rest of the family is standing at the door, simmering or annoyed or yelling or indifferent to this person.

The story is pretty much the same every time, but the character, who is late, keeps changing.

It happened in our home this morning too!

My husband, daughter and I were already in the living room, waiting for the youngest member, my son.

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Courtesy – http://www.123rf.com

My daughter’s irritation peaked, as my son, totally oblivious to all of this continued to belt out a song.

My daughter muttered under her breath.

When I asked her, she said, “He always delays us. He is always late…”

I asked her, “Have you never caused a delay? Hmmm?”

Pat came her reply , “Of course I have not.”

I asked her, “Since when?”

She replied, “From this moment.”

“Very funny”, I said, rolling my eyes.

At that moment my son joined us, still crooning. Business as usual. We managed to leave without a full blown war.

Ludo, digitally!

The kids are super excited that their father and I have joined them for a game of Ludo. We are a little rusty but quickly reacquaint.
There’s a huge difference, we are playing Ludo digitally on the tablet. We get started…the first thing that hits me is that there is no dice to roll, the application does all the hard work. Cleverly positioning the dice on the board, while appearing to roll it, is no longer possible. No scrambling on all fours to look for the dice that has rolled under the sofa.

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The kids are very enthusiastic….razor sharp observers..every move is planned and executed. Maybe it is age; or maybe it is a dulling of the competitive streak within me, but I am very passive in my play.
However, the children more than make up for it. They boo, they clench their fists, wish the worst for their sibling, cross their fingers & toes ….all wishing for that magical 6 or 4 or 1 that they want.
My shoulders silently shake in mirth. I can picture this scene 30 years ago, as my sisters and I bayed for each others’ blood, even for these simple board games. My daughter catches me laughing…her irritation peaks.
My son has assumed two Avatars for this game, the first is that of an aggressor…out to vanquish his sister; the second as a protector of his innocent mom, who he feels is so innocent as to require saving from the wily moves of the other players. He sacrifices a move to protect my coin, his sister smirks…’oh, how kind you are’! My son holds my hand reassuringly and glares at her.
The game goes on…they swear that they will not speak to each other. The winner does a victory dance, the other heaps curses…business as usual. The house is silent..the children are not talking to each other.

The next day…they are at a loose end, ego is sacrificed as they sign a truce and the game starts again.

Morning madness

When my children and I step out of the house at 8.30 a.m. everyday, we look like every other family, all polite smiles and greetings.

If anyone had stepped in to our home, just ten minutes before this, they would have seen our ‘morning madness’.

It’s like a classic Maths problem. Family N has 35 minutes in which to get ready. Family N has 4 members. Each member needs to complete 6 tasks within the 35 minutes, and share resources. What is the most efficient way of doing this…?

I am still looking for answers to this one. Add a yelling mom to this combination (whom no one listens to anyway) and things get crazier.

Believe me, I have tried to be the type of mom who is calm and composed, who can smile and get things done, but….

So, this morning, it was business as usual and the usual yelling and squabbles were on. There was a hunt on for a school worksheet, the bathroom door was repeatedly knocked-on and…you get the drift.

In my sternest voice, I had issued a deadline to my son. When I went to check on him ten minutes later, I was on the boil. He was standing on the balcony, without a care in the world. His face was turned to the Sun, with a smile. He stretched like a cat and closed his eyes and looked up at the sky. He moved his neck from side to side, touched the hibiscus plant, stretched some more and watched the birds and trees.

The yell that was about to erupt from my throat stopped midway, as I saw his smile. He was at peace, and enjoying a few minutes of quiet with nature, a few minutes where he probably dreamt of nice things.

Who was I to take those precious joys away? I felt calm and walked away. Surprisingly, my son was ready on time.

What’s the rush? Maybe there’s a lesson in here somewhere that I have to learn.

Kids and what they say

Children are so influenced by how we adults talk, the way we gesture, the way we modulate our voices and the way we behave.

It is fun to hear them unconsciously behave like their parents or older siblings by observing them on a daily basis.

One such funny incident comes to mind, as told to me by a friend.

We Indians are cricket crazy and when some exciting matches are being played, the whole family sits and follows the match closely. With lots of food and some full-throated yelling, it is no surprise that the young kids in the family also get caught up in all this excitement.

On one such day as my friend’s family sat and watched a rather exciting match, which had a nail-biting finish that saw India winning, a little boy in the family, who was all of 4 years old said, “I haven’t seen such a thrilling match in my entire life”.

Four years…a lifetime indeed! All the adults burst out laughing.

Cool Secrets!

I have guests for dinner today, and as I spin around my kitchen, the air seems cooler suddenly, despite the heat from the cooking range.  I quickly realize that the refrigerator door has not shut properly.

I push the door gently and smile, as I remember something that happened last summer.

The kids had their summer holidays, and they played, watched TV, fought, played board games, argued, wanted food, went swimming, wanted more food, fought, had pillow fights, and wanted more food.  Their energy was exhausting.

Their cousins came to stay for a few days and they fought harder, it was girls vs boys, they sulked, they wanted food, they wanted more food and watched TV, played games and fought.

Just like kids everywhere, trying to make the best of their holidays.

On one such day, I could sense a difference in the kids’ rhythm.  They seemed excited and I caught them whispering; whispers that stopped when I walked in. My ‘mom antennae’ were on high-alert.  They scurried about the house and counted their pocket money. They visited the kitchen many times on the pretext of getting a drink of water.

The little ones were threatened by their bigger cousins to keep the secret, whatever it was.   I could sense that they were planning a midnight feast. What fun!

I envied them their treasured secret, the joys of planning and the thrill of anticipation, as they winked and hugged and high-fived each other. I wondered where they were hoarding their eats for the midnight feast.

Predictably, the little monsters pretended to be quite sleepy, and went to bed early, giggling and nudging each other.

The household wound down.  I was still reading a book, when the clock struck twelve.  I could hear smothered giggles, hushes, whispers and more giggles.  I gently opened the bedroom door, to see the midnight troopers walking towards the kitchen, with a reading light showing them the way.  All of them settled down on the kitchen floor. I couldn’t see them any more, from where I stood.  But I could hear their whispers and the fun they were having as they tucked into all the hoarded goodies.

When the sun rose, I saw the team of midnight-snackers, fast asleep in their cute night suits, their innocent faces relaxed in sleep, their long lashes forming fans on their cheeks. I could imagine how they would wake up and remember their midnight escapade and talk about it for ages.

When I walked into the kitchen, a cool wave of air hit me. I realized that the kids had not shut the refrigerator’s door properly.  I saw telltale signs of the feast, drops of chocolate syrup, crumbs of bread and potato wafers, bits of chocolate chips.  I smiled.

They only woke up in time for lunch.  I could see their eyes gleaming with joy, as they looked at each other knowingly.  Their own secret, which they hugged to themselves.

Simple moments of pure joy.