7

“Mooooooossssssaaaaaakkkkkaaaaa”

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I still remember my first boogeyman. The only one.  I’m pretty sure he was born from the depths on my Mother’s imagination when I threw a tantrum or refused to finish my bowl of cauliflower soup. Nonetheless, he was an important part of my childhood. My scary ‘Moosakka’.

In retrospect I realise that it was not even a scary name. Moosa is a pretty common name in India. Its the Arabic version of Moses and ‘kka’ simply means brother. Logically, it should have been the worst boogeyman ever. I mean, who calls their monster, their brother? But my Mum being the ever so polite person that she is, decided to adoringly call it Moosakka. I guess kids are oblivious to logic cause this Moosakka was my stuff of nightmares.  Every time I was naughty or unmanagable, mum would call out his name in a low, hoarse voice reserved just for him. I don’t know if it my imagination or if she really did it but it always appeared to me that his name was called out in slow motion.

No attempts were ever made to tell me how he looked like. Well played Mum, cause in the absence of a description, my little brain began to perceive the most horrific figure. In my head, Moosakka was a huge man with a minaret for a head. SCARY! Well, not so much now, cause I am used to mohawks that resemble minarets but to a 4 or 5 year old it was.

Moosakka never did anything or I never gave him a chance to do anything. My Mum had me around her little finger thanks to him. I distinctly remember wondering where Mum got to know all these people and wondering if Mum kept the right company but I dared not question her lest she summon Moosakka. He was always just around the corner.

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I did eventually get over him. Today Mousakka is one of my favourite dishes and the instead of sending chills down my spine, it gets me salivating and hungry. Have you tried it? Its most yum! As my friend, with whom I had the same conversation yesterday, pointed out, it is the saddest fate ever to befall a monster: his transformation from horror to deliciousness.

As a mother myself. i completely understand why Moosakka was born. We underestimate our toddlers. We underestimate their power for chaos. They thrive in chaos and confusion and gain strength as our resources go down. And then they send their bowl of soup flying around the house. If you have ever had to sit and pick spaghetti off your hair or wipe clean the walls off any remnants of beetroot puree,  you will know exactly why Moosakka was born.

I haven’t yet created a boogeyman for Z. The impending worry of a possible  ‘Time out’ seems to work just fine for him. I know a lot of mothers turn their noses up at the concept of scaring their kids into obedience. I say to each her own. I grew up scared of a monster but only scared enough to tow me back into line. Infact the monster has  left me with more memories I cherish, than nightmares.

Someday I know I will need my Moosakka again but until then I shall chase him away. He has done me no wrong but I need him to lurk in the background for now cause while he’s the monster my Z may deserve, he’s not the one he needs right now. So I’ll chase him away, because he can take it. He’s not our hero. He’s a silent guardian of Mothers’ sanity. A watchful protector around the corner. The Moosakka

Pic credit: 4.bp.blogspot.com                                                                                                     simplyrecipes.com

15

How do I react.

About half an hour ago, as I was making breakfast, my three year old sauntered into the kitchen. He quickly noticed that I was making fried eggs and so came and positioned himself next to the tray of eggs. Z likes to help around the kitchen and so I give him various titles to make himself feel important and more importantly to keep the kitchen mess free. On somedays, he is the Master Stirrer, stirring chocolate syrup into his glass of milk perfectly. On others he is an Egg beater extraordinaire or a Jolly Jam spreader or even an Onion Peel Thrower, meaning he throws the onion peels into the bin. He takes his titles very seriously too.

Today when I conferred upon him the title of Super Egg Passer, he launched into his role headlong. He was diligently handing me the eggs but not before he had whispered something to it. I turned off all the noisy appliances in the kitchen so that I could listen to what he was whispering. Turns out, he was willing every egg he passed on to me to somehow miraculously survive. He kept saying, ” Its OK baby chicks. Don’t worry baby chicks!”

I just did not know how to react.

15

Pants of Fire: Rule no 324 of Mommyhood: Some lies are OK!

Lies are an essential part of being a Mommy. No matter how hard you try or how much you tell yourself that you will be 100% truthful with your child, you end up lying. Not cold calculated lies but little white lies to make your life simpler. No matter how careful you are, you slip. Its one of the rules to mothehood. You lie and its OK!

Here is my list of blatant white lies I’ve knows to say without so much as a twitch in my face,

If you don’t finish your food, Peppa Pig will be so sad. Peppa Pig is a cartoon. Pegga Pig knows only what the cartoonist/animator wants her to know. Z can skip all the lunches in the world and Peppa will not know. She just won’t care.

When you sleep you grow bigger. I don’t know. I have no documented proof of this. But I do know that when he sleeps, my sanity is restored albeit briefly.

You are hurting me. Z can try all he wants but that little hands cannot hurt me. I am physically bigger and stronger but when he starts to raise his hands at me, I know I have to stem it before it spills over to his friends, and always a Z, you are hurting me does the trick. That is his freeze line. I can say that and he will drop what he does.

We are all out of TV. Z tends to get carried away watching TV. I give him limited TV time each day but he does everything in his powers to stretch the minutes. Simply switching off the TV might bring on a full on tantrum and so I have to discreetly change the channel first to a blank screen and then throw my hands in the air and dramatically exclaim, “I think we are all out of TV”. That he accepts.

Hmmmm..Yummy (accompanied by a pat on the tummy) Spinach puree as for that matter, veggie purees are NEVER yum. Never!

Daddy will be back in 5 minutes. Daddy never is. Daddy goes to work ahead of us on most mornings and so excusing Daddy for a quick 5 minute outing is the only way to prevent a full on tear explosion.

No! Cockroaches bite. Ok, I know I am being mean here but I hate those little creatures and he loves them. This way, I am hoping he wont bring one into the house.

and rounding up the list, something I heard quite often growing up but haven’t yet used on Z.

Salt makes you stupid. When I was little, I had great affinity for salt. Mr Salt shaker and I used to disappear under tables, under the bed, inside the closet, under covers etc where I used to feast on his saltiness. When my Mum found about this, she ruined my relationship by telling me about the kid who was very very smart when she was born but became increasingly stupid by the minute because she used to sneak off everywhere and eat salt. Needless to say, it put the brakes on our passionate relationship.

I don’t know how many so called ‘parenting rules’, I’ve broken as a result of these above mentioned lies but it sure does restore peace and harmony in my household.

11

I got you, Z!

 

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Yesterday Z and I went to the beach. I say Z and I specifically cause my husband who had joined us straight from work and hence still in his work clothes, chose to sit on the side and watch us. It doesn’t qualify as going to the beach unless you atleast make the customary dip of your toe in the water. Z and I meanwhile were drenched head to toe.

One of the many perks of living in the Caribbean is the access to the beaches. Pristine, white, sandy beaches are a hop, skip and jump away. Every place is walking distance from a beach and so quite naturally, Z who has lived most of his 3 year old life here is a complete water baby. He loves the beach and won’t pass up an opportunity to head to one, even if it means he has to wake up from sleep. The only time he said no to the beach was when he was burning up with a 106 degree fever, and his rejection to the beach then, had gotten me worried and rushing to the ER. ‘Do you wanna head to the beach, Z?’ is my question to check whether he is feeling OK as its almost never met with a negative reply.

Yesterday was no exception. Z was at his cheerful best and ‘Look Mommy, I can swim’ was repeated a good twenty million times, as he thrashed about in the ocean. Z cannot swim, but he has the action down to a pat. So while he lies on the sand in half a feet of water and pretends to swim, his little mind tells him, he is. It is the cutest thing to watch. Yesterday however, he was feeling particularly dare devilish cause he left the comfort of the shore and the harmless end with the halfhearted waves and joined me in, what was for him, neck deep water. I was also feeling very proud of my son cause he was being very brave, leaving the security of the shore.

But it soon became apparent to me that his bravery was not the result of any resolve to finally swim, nor was it cause he was ready to take a risk and let go. The bravery was as a result of me. Seeing Mommy stand knee deep in water watching him was what gave him the guts to charter into unknown territories. It is the same kind of confidence that prompts him to jump into the deep end of a pool when he sees Daddy in the water. His bravery is a result of his supreme confidence in us. The surety that we will get him, no matter what. That look on his face when I pulled him up from under water when an unexpectedly large wave took him under only confirmed what I had been thinking. He did not look worried, he was not flustered but there was a glee and an all too familiar smile with a ‘Mommy, you found me!’.

 Z is never this carefree with anyone else. If neither my husband or I am in the pool, he will not even venture to shallow end of it. He will quietly play with his sand castles when he knows we are not in the ocean watching him. This trust of his got me thinking for the rest of the day. How wonderful would it be to just let go trusting someone else completely. I have a loving husband and a great family yet I do not know if I can entrust my life in another hand, knowingly. To willingly jump off a cliff knowing some one else has got you must be such an adrenalin rush. It must be the biggest high. I know we all do the odd bungee jump or sky dives where we literally write off our life but to do it everyday, to walk around confident that someone else has got your back must be such a secure feeling.

I know Z’s this trust in us is only but temporary until the teenage years hit and we become ‘old’, ‘outdated’ parents but until then, I am going to cling on to it with all my heart. I hope when he is older, and rolls his eyes at me I can show him this post and let him know that I was not always just an ‘unreasonable parent’. No matter how hard he might find it to believe, there was a time when he trusted me completely, when he knew I had his back!