These days ‘mom’ is synonymous with a number of things – I need help with an art project ‘MOM’, I can’t find my sock ‘ MOM’, Should I flush this time or should it be the next? ‘MOM’. What’s for breakfast ‘MOM’, can I have a snack ‘MOM’. Well, it so happens that this ‘MOM’ happens to be one person only with a single mind (that is often scattered, thanks to online everything.) who hears this 20 million times a day. It wasn’t helping my sanity nor improving our relationship, as you may have guessed by now.
In writing this my intention is not to take away their need of me, far from it, what I intended was to make their need more clear to themselves and me, MOM. Nobody expected to live through a pandemic, let alone in a 900 sq ft apartment with not enough room to find space for downtime, least of all little children with the pent up energy of a little kangaroo.
You know the best part about children? It’s that they are game for anything! So we sat down and figured out how to help each other out so we all can be kinder and nicer to each other. Today it was the day of dinner prep:
Simple dinners with soft ingredients they can help cut and prep are a big win for us. The kids love to cut mushrooms and tomatoes, that leaves me free to do the roti dough or spice up the masala. Pasta is another favorite followed closely by chinese noodles. It also helps to put in a good word to the happy helpers, ‘hey did you guys put in some kiddie magic? how does this sabzi taste so good.’ Now, everytime they will want to help so they can put in ‘kiddie magic’ ;).
Snack time is their time – keeping accessible nuts and cakes / murukku, fruits around the table all make sure they don’t need me for snack time, which is by far their favorite time / meal of the day. I remember V was 4 when he began calling it sunset snacks during a winter when he used to watch the sun go down as he sat at the table chomping some homemade cakes. The association is long forgotten but the name has stuck. now both of them like to go around opening boxes choosing what they would like to put on their plates in the evening. Sometimes it even includes a dip or sauce and that makes them all excited. The serious junk like chips etc is reserved for Fridays though. This keeps the excitement of a Friday Night party going – a lock down tradition we started last year.
Art and craft supplies are accessible and reachable especially the ones needed for school projects. Based on the request I can usually shout from the kitchen as to which drawer of which cupboard the marker he’s looking for is likely to be. Well, small apartments do have their perks now don’t they.
On the issue of the flush we have all agreed to disagree and keep the peace, they basically choose when they would like to remember to flush and mostly do it every time, which bothers me because water! but sanity is right now our top priority. Refer to para 1.
My favorite sound to hear ‘MOM’ with is ‘can we read?’ then we all just curl up with our books and don’t look up until our there’s a growl from one of the tummies for food. Lets play a game of ________ (fill with Uno, scrabble, etc.) comes a close second until someone loses and we are all upset about how we win so few times.
Having said this, I find we are slowly moving towards independence, that leaves me heart feeling a bit sad. The ‘MOM’s are less frequent and I find myself calling ‘Hey, can you get me a glass of water’, or ‘can you hand over the remote’ more often. Maybe its because I am missing the MOMs or maybe its because we all need someone to call out to. I certainly need to hear and to be heard frequently during the day, so I love that its slowly becoming a dialog.
There is much to be said about Independence but what makes a family special is that we are allowed and even encouraged to be interdependent. For that I am grateful and aware.