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Category Archives: Emotions

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

 

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

 

The birds and the bees in Science

This term Akank’s grade is learning a very touchy lesson in science. The Human Reproductive System (HRS). I recall my school days when the boys and girls were separated into two groups just for this lesson. Of course, I am talking about 30 years back in Trichy, where I grew up. I think it was in a higher grade too, maybe in Grade 8 or 9 when we were much older and could digest some hard facts of life. Things have changed, I accept, from what it was 30 years back in a little town to now. Akank said her science teacher played them a video of the HRS to introduce the lesson to the class. She said the whole classroom erupted with a war cry like objection, voicing how they felt about the subject. She feels insulted to be in the same classroom with the boys when they discuss the finer details of a female body. To add insult to injury, her home assignment was to colour and name the parts of the HRS of both the male and female body.

But that is not all. Akank’s English teacher was not in class last week and so the Science teacher stepped in to keep the grade busy with an exercise in poetry. He chose a topic for them to write a poem on- Science this week! Akank said that while they wrote their poems, he whistled and waited for them to come up with their thoughts. This is what Akank wrote –

Science this week, Was worse than bleak
It was sicker than a lizards suction, we were learning reproduction!
It made our teeth grit, even the ones with wit
I went totally red, like when I was one and wet the bed,
All the girls had closed their eyes,
We wished we had been separated from the guys.

Akank also asked me to observe if she become quieter of late. When I wondered aloud why she had asked me the question she blamed it on the poor lesson.

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2011 in Emotions, School

 

The 21 day challenge.

Akank has a sharp temper and a short fuse. She realizes too that she needs to do something about it. As long as things go her way, she will be the sweetest kid on this side of town. But things don’t always go her way and we have situations that make her angry and furious.

For one it is her hair. A year back she was fine with braiding, oiling, brushing it twice and letting me handle it for her. Now, she wants to brush it on her own, wear it her way, don’t even mention oiling. She still wants to grow her hair long but she won’t braid it and has these side flicks that she calls ‘bangs’ that has to fall in a particular way over her forehead, not higher, not lower but somewhere in the middle. So you will often see her adjusting her bangs. I worry that she gives a lot of attention to her hair and when I tell her about it we have a situation.

Then it is the music. No, it is not the choice of music. I have in fact caught up on all the new stars in her generation starting from Bieber to Kesha to Fifie Dobson. It’s the volume with which we have a problem. She is smart enough to close the door to her room when she is listening to music on her iPod dock. However, she gets into trouble with us every time when she is out with us. She almost always never leaves for a dinner, shopping or anywhere we go without her gadget. If we point out to her that she plays her music louder than required, she will show you the volume dial to prove it to us how it is still at 50% and there you have a situation.

Sometimes it is Maxx. Maxx’s exuberance knows no bounds. As long as she is in the mood, Akank will play along. Maxx on the other hand, is always in the mood to play. When Akank is sulking (which would be because we talked to her about her schedules, music or hair), she expects Maxx to understand that it is not the right time to pounce or play tag with her. He continues to do that and there you have a situation.

We have situations during home work. If I observe that her handwriting needs improvement she says ‘ everybody writes like this’. If I observe that her class work looks incomplete, she says ‘ No one was able to complete it’. Her lunch comes back unfinished because ‘ there was no time to eat’. Her home assignments can be done later because ‘ it is not due till next week’. She won’t revise her lessons because ‘ I have already done it in class’. When she is made to do stuff against her will, we have multiple situations.

When Akank is angry, she does not talk back nor slam doors. She sulks and goes to bed in that mood. This week Akank has taken on a 21 day challenge. Robin Sharma says Follow a new habit religiously for 21 days to make it a permanent habit. It works with me and I am hopeful that it will with Akank. Akank has just completed her 5th night of going to bed a happy person, without sulking, without anger. It hasn’t stopped her from sulking or being angry but we make sure we resolve the situation before she retires for the night.

 
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Posted by on March 10, 2011 in Emotions, Trouble

 

Matters of the heart

Akank wanted to let me in on some girlie secrets one evening last week. She swore me to secrecy and told me not to let anyone else know. This post is not about what her secret is. I do not want to jeopardize the trust that Akank has in me.  When Akank told me about it, I reflected back on what kind of secrets I had when I was her age. Did I have any? Of course I did. Would I have dared tell my mom about it? Heck, no. In the days I was a little girl, there were stricter norms. I was close to my mother and I would tell her all from school. Every little fight I had, who said what and who I was best friends with. Ask my mom today and she will remember a few details from my school days that I myself do not recall. However, girlie secrets were off bounds. It’s not that I did not trust her to keep my secrets. It’s just that in the days I was a little girl, moms expected girls to behave and follow decorum especially when we were at co-ed schools. My mom would have lost sleep over any girlie secrets, had I confided.

The fact that my 11 yo considers it safe to talk to me about her secrets makes my heart swell with pride. I have assured her that I will  be a good sounding board, a confidante, friend and anything else she wants me to be. And she knows that when it comes to academics, I will go back to being a parent.

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2011 in Conversations, Emotions

 

On Mufti days at school.

Back in the days when I was at school, Wednesdays were assigned as colour dress days. That was the day of the week, that we were allowed to be at school wearing clothes other than uniforms. That was the day, my mother chose what I would wear to school. Not that I had too many clothes in the wardrobe to choose from. There was a dress from the birthday, one from Diwali or another festival and a few from previous birthday’s and Diwali’s and other festivals of the previous years. I was never given a choice. Even then, my ma would be stressed out on Wednesdays. She resented the fact that I would ask to wear something different from what she chose.

Today was mufti day at school for Akank. She does not get ‘colour dress’ days every week.  She is allowed to be in mufti only when there is a fund collection drive at school. Even with these rare occasions, my stress quotient gets tested, even though she has more clothes than I did in my days. Like this morning, Akank tried out six different combination before she settled on one that I did not approve. As such we have a tight schedule between her wake up time and the time by which the school pick up arrives. With this added confusion of what- would- be- the- perfect- dress- to -be- seen- in -at- school, there was little time for breakfast and saying thanks for blessings received. What I chose for her was ‘ I wore that for last Mufti day’ or ‘ my friends have seen me in that already’ or ‘ I wore that last time to the movies’.  What she chose would be either ‘ too short’  or a wrong choice because of a reason known only to moms. Between us, we woke the house up. With my ‘ I wish- you-showed- half- the interest- in your subjects’ and with her retorts of ‘ ‘you- always- have- to -connect- everything- to- subjects’ I think we even woke the neighbors.

All the time, my ma, who is visiting us, was listening. When Akank left for school she came around to talk to me. She  casually remarked that it looked like I had a tough morning. When I began telling her about what the noise was about, she gleefully chuckled and reminded me of my growing up days and said something that sounded like ‘pay back time’.

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2010 in Emotions, Humour, School

 

Great expectations?

I need a reality check. Is it unrealistic to expect 11 year olds to be organized? I am only talking about organization skills related to time tables. Every evening I remind Akank to check her time table for the next day so that she can pack her school bag overnight. When we were kids, our dad would be a dictator when it came to packing our school bags. We couldn’t retire for the night until we kept our school bags all packed and ready for the next day however exhausted we were after home work and revisions.

I am not even close to being autocratic with my daughter. She does not even carry any books to school. This school she attends believes in working online and whatever books she is given is over the weekend or once a fortnight to revise. So all she needs to check every night is whether her pencil pouch, her school organizer and sun hat is packed along with whatever school assignment that she had for the day. Invariably, I always find either the pencil pouch or the organizer or the sun hat left behind after she leaves. Some days, like today, I find all three stacked on the dining table , near where her bag was, and left behind.  Today she also left her log book from camp that she diligently wrote everything in last evening,  back with the rest of the stuff.

I have two choices. Feel bad for her that she was going to have to explain to her class teacher about her forgetfulness ( and which class teacher of which 11 yo is going to be happy about that?) or cab it to school that is 20kms away and hand it to the school office and request them to send it to her. I am voting for the first option with my mind and the second with my heart. Looks like my heart will win over this time.

But do you think that will send the wrong message to Akank that she can be saved even when she is in definite trouble- both at home and at school?

I am a mom in dilemma today.

 
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Posted by on October 5, 2010 in Emotions, Trouble