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End of year acronyms

End of year at school again and it feels like one just went by. There was a time I was impatient for her to complete primary school. It seemed to take for ever to graduate from Grade 5 into middle school, if you include the time they spend at Kindergarten. Some kids also go to a preschool for a whole year before KG! Akank was one of the lucky ones who did 6 months of it.

Now, middle school seems to fly past so quickly! She is already going to be in Grade 8 in August and in final year of middle school. I complain now about how fast time flies!

This year again Akank brought back her year book that had the individual photographs of all the students in different grades and group pictures with the tutors. The year book also had a few pages at the end that was meant for autographs. Typically, the book gets passed around between friends and frenemies across sections and grades.

I flipped through some pages, read a few messages and my vocabulary of acronyms is update with what teens use today!

The messages in Akank’s year book

HAGS is short for Have a great summer!  LYLAS is short for Love you like a sister!  KATS is short for Kick ass this summer (inappropriate according to Akank!) and YOLO is short for You only live once!

I look back at my school days and I recall that we only had autograph books at the end of Grade 12. We were extremely shy to ask people to write in our books, unless they were our ‘besties’ ( yeah, that is what best friends are called today) and the most you would get to read is an innocent rhyme about violets and roses, sugar and you!

Times have changed. What is your experience with the NexGen kids?

 
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Posted by on June 14, 2012 in contemplations, School, updates

 

Away at camp

It is not easy to blog about your child, when you are a mom to an almost teen. Everyday is a challenge, a war of wits, arguments, advice, and a lot of you-listen-to-me-because-I-am-your-mom. Then there comes a day, when your almost teen, takes off to camp. A brief five days of respite from the constant power struggle. I should be rejoicing in her absence,enjoying the peace and calm. No smart retorts to ignore, no assertive one liners to shock me, and no “But mom…” ‘ s to argue back to. But no. I find my thoughts going back to her. Worrying for her, wondering how she is coping at camp, if she had anything to eat on time, if she used her sunscreen to prevent the sunburns from hours of kayaking in the sun, if the sand flies got to her like she had been warned, if she found a good mate to share her tent with, if she got into trouble for not being a sport, if she found the entire experience liberating, if she misses us… me.

Allow me to lament,dear blog. Who else will I admit to, but you, that in all the years of power struggle with my almost teen, I secretly admired her ability to assert herself every time, to express her opinions and be heard, manage on her own under trying circumstances at school, brave the challenges that the new culture and society threw at her.

I miss you, Akank. Tomorrow is a beautiful day. I am waiting to listen to your adventures from your camp.

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2012 in contemplations, Emotions

 

Man,woman or child?

Akank concluded it is easiest being the 12 yo at home. Not the husband or the wife.

She overheard a conversation between us- her dad who has been out of town for over a week now and me. In the week that he has been away, our pet dog has fallen sick, and Akank has had two visits to the dentist for an imminent braces job. Obviously, her dad feels awful that he has not been around when he was needed the most (his opinion) and he feels better when he is updated on phone. Akank has quietly been observing our long conversations over the week and finally popped this question last night – “Ma, is it a tough job to be the wife in a relationship?”

I wasn’t sure how to answer the question and so I said that being the wife isn’t a job, it is a role you play in a relationship after one is married. She looked up at me with an expression that said, ‘I know it is a role‘  and she further probed with ” My question was if it is easier to be the wife or is it easier to be the husband in a relationship “.

I knew she was out to nail me. She is close to her dad and if I said my job as the wife was tough, there would be some discussions when her father got home! Instead I turned the question on to her and asked her to answer it herself. She came back with a ‘ Ma, I have barely known you guys for 12 years. So I wouldn’t possibly know the answer to that question!’

I was not going to give up easily. I insisted that she evaluate the roles from what she has observed for the period she has known us. I also reminded her that there were several other husband wife couples that she knew and that was enough to make a fair judgement with her limited years of existence. She was in a spot now or so I thought.

“Well”, she began like she often begins her sentences now, ” The wife gets to stay home and keep house, sleep whenever she wants and boss around the children when they get home”. While I was busy frowning, she continued, ” while the husband gets to eat out, travel and sit in air conditioned rooms at work while the wife sweats it out in the kitchen” and before I could say anything, she closed with “so the conclusion I draw is that the best role to play in a family is that of being a 12 year old”.

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2012 in Conversations

 

The party is over.

Conversations

‘Ma, is there a rule that only Caucasians have to party to bring in the new year’ asked Akank last night as we sat down to dinner at home, on New Year’s eve. We had discussed this a few times before but nevertheless, Akank has her way of bringing up the topic with the hope that she could exasperate us into taking her out to one. She also knows what the answer is going to be and she knows the next thing to say to you when you finish saying what she predicts you will say. So the conversation last evening went like this:

Me-  Akank, it is not like we have never taken you out for a New Year’s eve party.

Akank – Then, why aren’t we doing that anymore!

Me- You will get your chance to party when you are older.

Akank – But, I have been out to party when I was way younger than now.

Me- Well, that was because we were young and went to parties with friends and we took you along.

Akank- You are not so old that you have to stop partying! You are barely in your 40’s and Appa is not even 50 till next year!

I don’t answer this one. I already told you that we have done this many times before and I know what comes next. So, I just ignore her comment and busy myself with what I was doing. Akank pauses for a while and then mutters: Now, I have to wait to be 14 to party!

That caught my attention and I quickly commented that she got the year all wrong. She doesn’t become an adult till she is 18, I reminded her. What she said next is what has changed about this generation – Ma, are you going to control my life till I turn 18?

That made me sit up. Is that what it is called now?

Taking care of your daughter is control?

Keeping tabs on who your daughter hangs out with when she is not at school is control?

Making sure she has her school diary updated and all school work complete is control?

Feeding your child a healthy balanced diet that takes care of her growing years is control?

Making sure she respects everyone she interacts with and correcting her when she does not is control?

I had to make a conscious effort not to show any emotion in my next question to her. I wanted to know what she really meant. I asked her if she thought I was controlling her life now. After a moments hesitation, she said ‘Sometimes’.

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2012 in Conversations, Growing up

 

Revelations at the dentist

We knew Akank needed braces sometime in her life. Akank has been conscious about how crooked her teeth were and was waiting for the day we could take her to the dentist for braces.  A visit to the dentist about six months back to evaluate if she was ready for braces exposed some hard truths.

A routine scan that was done to assess the status revealed that she had two missing teeth on her lower jaw. Where there had to be six, there were only four. It appeared to be a congenital defect that had not bothered her, nor us, till then. The conclusion that the dentist made was that we had do do away with two excess teeth on the upper jaw to even out the difference before the braces came on. The scan revealed more bad news. One of her teeth on the upper jaw, was lodged in the gum unable to find its way out, owing to a milk tooth that was blocking its way. The doctor predicted that if we let the milk tooth stay, it would fall of its own accord, when Akank was older, by which time it would be too late to intervene. The lodged tooth was growing on top of another healthy permanent tooth instead. Leaving it there would only damage the root of the other tooth, the doctor warned us. The dentist then gave us a few options on how these could be corrected.

We were not totally convinced that she needed the corrective procedures that the dentist recommended. One of the steps the doctor had outlined involved a surgical removal of the embedded tooth for which the dentist predicted that she would need a week to recuperate and heal. The moment we heard about the surgery, we hesitated. Maybe we should ask for a second opinion? Sensing our hesitancy, the doctor gave us time to think about it and get back to her within six months or whenever the school had a longish break. We discussed it at home and concluded that our 12 year old with healthy gums and brushing habits, did have issues that needed correction before it was too late.

When the school closed for the first term break, our one point agenda was to have the corrective surgery done and get the braces on before Akank got any older. We did not make any plans for the break other than the dentist visits. Akank finally had her lodged tooth surgically removed today. Plus, the milk tooth and another premolar were extracted to make space for the teeth to realign themselves when the braces came on.

Akank handled herself really well!

It was her first experience on a surgical table under sedation. She handled herself very well throughout the procedure.She was excited and nervous at the same time since last evening. She talked about it non stop, asked us several questions, planned to resist being knocked off under sedation and plotted strategies of coping post surgical pain. She did well and has made us proud. She is on the road to recovery, albeit with three less teeth to begin a fresh new year next week.

The braces will come on in January.

 
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Posted by on December 29, 2011 in Health, updates

 

Say no to giggle attacks

Being giggly has never been something that anyone worried about. Not when you were a girl. Girls outgrew their giggly selves around high school or about the time when they find out that being giggly was not lady like. A few weeks back, I found out that like everything else that changes, giggles from girls who hadn’t yet become lady like, has become unacceptable. Especially when they were on the way to school in the school bus.

Akank had warned me about a proverbial storm brewing between the bus aunty and two of them (her friend and herself). I discouraged Akank from challenging the lady in charge of the discipline en route to school. Yet, a few days later, I did come to hear of it from the management of the school transport.The message was – ” The girls are allowed to whisper. But thëy ought to realize that there are other children in the bus and their loud giggles disturb the driver and the other children”.

Much to Akank’s indignant surprise, we took the side of the school transport management. A few more weeks went by smoothly. When I went back one morning to check on the status with the bus driver, he whispered – As long as one of them is not on the bus, there is no trouble. But the moment they get together, they are back at it again. And just to make it sound less unfair, he added – It is not your daughter, maám. It is the other girl! ( at that instant I knew he had said the same thing to the other parent)

I don’t want to admonish Akank for giggling in the bus with a dear friend that she loves spending time with.

I don’t want to call the transport management to request them to change the preassigned seat for Akank to some place closer to the front of the bus so that she will never giggle again.

I don’t want to blame the bus authorities for being non indulgent to giggly girls.

Instead I have asked Akank to cheerfully greet the bus aunty and the driver in the mornings when she boards the bus.

Instead I have made Akank realize that they wake earlier than she does in the mornings, just to make sure she reaches school on time

Instead I have asked Akank to respect the authority that their jobs give them to make sure everyone is safe in the bus until they reach the destination.

I know Akank thinks I am  ‘totally unfair’ yet I hope that she never gives up giggling. Not until she becomes a lady 🙂

 
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Posted by on November 29, 2011 in Growing up, Trouble

 

Being 12 is not easy.

Another school year has begun. Akank turned a year older too. So we have a 12 year old in Grade 7 at home now. Not any 12 year old, please be assured. An assertive, confident, knows what she wants 12 year old. I wonder if it is the entire generation that is like this or it is the environment and the peers that make them the way they are. Gone are the days when what we said was irrevocably accepted as rules. Now everything we say is challenged, questioned and scientifically examined. Unless we can back up anything we say with a plausible explanation, the idea is not considered. Not much works because ‘I said so’ anymore.

For a long time now, our conversations have bordered on the lines of yelling. Another reason why I have not enthusiastically updated my blog. What do I tell my blog? That I have issues with my 12 year old? I am not able to make her see reason anymore? She is grown up now and does not have to listen to reason anymore? But memories of her growing up has to be recorded somewhere for posterity. So that someday when she has her own children to bring up, this could serve as a guide. To show her that she was not easy at 12 either.

What are the things we argue about, you may ask. Well, where do I begin? You don’t remain a favorite parent when you repeatedly refuse to allow her to take her iPod classic to school. Listen to this –

Akank -Everyone has an iPod.

Me – So do you Akank.

Akank – What is the point of owning one when you cannot take it to school?

Me – Word. But when you are sending a $400 dollar worth gizmo to school with a 12 yo, one is not too sure you will see it again.

Akank- Oh come on ma, no one is interested in my iPod Classic. They all have an iPod touch!

And so it goes on.

She has been wanting an iPod touch ever since her last want was met. She wanted a Yamaha digital piano instead of her PSR keyboard which “didn’t do any justice to her maturing music skills”. “I need higher octaves to practice my music and my hand span can accommodate more keys now. I won’t ask for anything more if you buy me a digital piano!” What we missed was the I won’t need anything more…. ‘for a few months’.

Then began the request for an iPod touch. “I am not asking for an iPad ma. Everyone has an iPod touch! It is so cool to be able to download apps and play games when I am on the bus. It gets really boring on the way to school”. She managed without the iPod touch for a few months with the iPad I own. She downloaded about fifty games among which I kept losing sight of the few apps I downloaded.

On her 12th birthday, her dad indulged her with the gizmo of her dreams- a snazzy smart iPod touch. We even let her take it to school on her birthday. That evening she came back home to tell us  that her ‘social life rocked’. However, it did not take too long for her to go from ” You guys are the best “to “You are so mean” when we refused her the permission to carry it to school everyday. Now it is back to “Can I take my iPod classic at least?”

The latest quest is for an account on Facebook. I have denied her an account for a year now and she was alright with the rule that she had to be 13 to have an account. Now that she is in her 13th year, she has stopped seeing reason. So it goes –

Akank -When can I have a Facebook account, ma?

Me -Not until you are 13, love. You know the rules?

Akank – All my friends are on FB. They are all bonding and sharing and doing fun stuff there.

Ma -There is nothing special happening on FB plus you meet your friends at school everyday. Bond with them there.

Yesterday when she got back from school she had this to say to me – ‘I have a message from my friends for you ma. They asked me to tell you to hurry up with the decision to allow me to have an account on Facebook’.

Sigh. I am giving up fighting. I don’t want to be thought of as mean because I didn’t allow my daughter on Facebook. I have agreed to allow her to open an account with a few plausible conditions.

I will soon have a 12 yo as friend on my Facebook list of friends.

 
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Posted by on August 25, 2011 in Conversations, Emotions, Growing up, Trouble