Tag Archives: teenagers

Expressionless parenting

We were out for dinner last night at a restaurant in the vicinity. My son brought along a book to read. We were like any other family, having bursts of conversation peppered with arguments, and then moments of comfortable silence.

As we waited for our food to arrive, we lapsed into one of those silences. When I caught my husband’s eye, he signalled with his eyes, to someone or something behind me. 

When I turned around to look, it was the cutest little girl (maybe five years old), in a pretty pink frock, who was standing away from the table that her parents sat at, looking so angry and adorably sweet all at once.

She had her arms tightly wrapped around her body. Watching her furrowed eyebrows and pointed stares at her parents, we couldn’t help but smile. The parents ignored her, and got busy with their starters. She stood her ground, our little girl.



Courtesy – iStock

My husband and I walked down memory lane, remembering our kids behaving in a similar fashion, and throwing a tantrum or two. Times when we had also sat stone-faced, trying to teach great lessons to our children by not giving in to their demands.

Children grow up, but some things don’t change. The only difference now is that my kids do not leave the table or strike a pose to convey their displeasure.  Now, we have to contend with silent rebellion and rolling eyes.

As parents, we still sit with expressionless faces!

As for the little girl, the only concession she made was that she had moved closer to the table. Maybe she would reach the table when her hunger finally overpowered her annoyance. 

Lipsticks and little girls

It was a sweltering day, many years ago, when we had the naming ceremony for my baby girl, who was only 3 weeks old.  My mom’s home was teeming with aunts, uncles, cousins and little nieces and nephews, all of whom had come to bless and welcome our little bundle of joy.

I received hundreds of tips on being a mother, and hundred ‘must-know’ things about child rearing, and a dozen versions of who my baby resembled in the family. It was a normal, Indian family celebration.

I was a little tired by the afternoon, and when my mom caught my eye and realized that I was tired, she signalled for me to go in and take a quick nap. I slipped away, unnoticed.

I went and lay down, my eyes closing involuntarily. While still asleep, I heard something. I opened my eyes and realized that one of my nieces was in the room, before the dresser mirror.

I could see her reflection in the mirror, as she made faces at herself, and then tried on one of the lipsticks. Gently opening the tube, she used her finger to apply a dark maroon lipstick on her lips. I could imagine how good and beautiful she felt. After sometime, she quietely slipped out of the room.

Image courtesy – Shutterstock

I laughed, fully awake by then. I remembered how, as a little girl, my favourite game was to play ‘teacher’. The role demanded that I have long hair, and that I wear lipstick.

The hair problem was easily resolved. I found a piece of black cloth from my mom’s sewing kit and tied it around my hair, allowing the black cloth hair to fall over my shoulders to  the front. My students ‘had’ to see my long hair.

The lipstick posed a problem. My mom did not use lipstick, neither did my aunt. But my teachers at school wore lipstick, so I needed to wear lipstick to look authentic. Then I hit upon the idea of using the red liquid that Indian women use to wear bindis (the dots on the forehead). This was available in abundance, so during the afternoons when my gran, aunt and mom napped, I applied generous amounts of red on my lips and taught and educated many children every afternoon.

Lipsticks and makeup were forgotten till high school and university, when my mom gifted me my own lipstick for my birthday. I still remember its shade, copper brown. I still wonder how my mom knew what would look good on me! I used that tube till there was nothing left. 

After that first tube, lipsticks became a part of my life, and over the years I have tried many shades, and have settled on a few that suit me well.

A few years ago, when my son had his school concert, the little girls in his class were all dressed up like pretty dolls and fairies. However, a few girls had their lips in a weird kind of pout. On asking their moms, I found out that the girls had worn lipstick for the first time, and that they did not want for it to go away. I remember how much I laughed that day.

Now, my daughter grimaces when I talk about makeup or lipstick or accessories. She is ‘at home’ in her jeans and tees.

I smile as I look into the future, when my daughter will want to try on lipsticks and makeup. She just doesn’t know it yet!

Mom observations

On my walk this morning, I saw a four year old girl and her mother. They were holding hands and were probably walking to school. The little girl was singing a nursery rhyme and the mom was singing along with gusto, totally oblivious to her surroundings.

I smiled, as I remember having done the same thing with both my kids. When the kids are younger, there is a lot of give and take in conversation, shared secrets, goofy smiles and tender hands that cling to yours. The universe then is a small place, for your child and you. Lots of time to spend, to read aloud, to bake, to colour and to carry out all those stress-free fun activities.


Image courtesy – Clipartfest

But during those years, every mom is desperate for some time out to do what she likes. However, it is only when you realize that the clingy four year old is now a strappy teenager that you want to relive those days again.

As the children grow and become independent, motherhood becomes more of an observation process. By this, I don’t mean that we are not involved. It only means that the children come to us only when they need something.

Displays of love are met with embarrassed smiles or  just a quick hug. The pi-chart that is their world shows a fat slice for friends and other activities.

As mom observers, we often wonder and sigh at this sudden passage of time. The love only gets stronger and deeper, but cannot seek expression in an impromptu nursery rhyme or colouring sheet anymore.

This love is expressed through an ocassional hug,  helping with chores, rebellion, coffee sessions and conversations in the kitchen.