Thursday, January 26, 2012

Gender education for 4 year olds

I am a dinosaur, one who prefers to live in the good old world of denial. I zealously guard Pari against any kind of gender related education. It helps that almost all of our friends have baby-girls, and the only cousin that Pari really gets to spend time with, our little Chia is a also a girl. So usually it is a cakewalk for me. And at times when it is not, I transform into the wicked mumma, who deprives the child of the slightest opportunity to gain any worldly wisdom. For instance, Chia is a baby and exclusively breast-fed, so at her meal-times, I fiercely grab Pari by the neck and ensure her prompt removal from the scene, lest she gets scandalized. It is not that I am afraid of her asking me difficult questions, but I somehow feel that she is too young to be exposed to this stuff, and it might just confuse her. And she will eventually get to learn all of it, it is just delaying the imminent. I think it is easier to shield the less-observant kids though, I for one was a totally absent-minded child. I hardly ever noticed anything and tough as it might be to believe, learned about most adult stuff much later than my contemporaries, usually through experience. Any wonder we celebrated our first anniversary with the baby in our arms, ha! However, I always felt that Pari is far smarter than me, and would pick up things on her own.. till this incident happened.

The husband and me are both big-time foodies, and watch all shows related to food with great interest, with a bucket under our respective chins to collect the drool. I think we were watching 'Highway on my plate' on NDTV Good Times, and just watching the duo eat made us both terribly hungry. That it was 10.30 pm might have also had something to do with it. Anyways, both of us left the living room in search of food, while the TV was still on with the child planted firmly on the sofa. We returned after what appeared like a short while to find her enjoying the making of the Kingfisher calendar. Now, how do I know if she 'enjoyed' it? For one, she had lifted her pretty little arse from the sofa and had moved closer to the TV, close enough for her nose to blot the screen. Now, not very often, but sometimes, I pretend to be a cool mumma, and think it is perfectly fine and normal for a 4 yo to watch shows featuring full-grown, at times over-grown women dressed in clothes belonging to 4 yo's. I know I am exaggerating, their swimsuits typically require lesser cloth than we need to clad our 4 yo. In any case, out of sheer curiosity, I asked Pari- 'What are you watching baby?'. Pari retorted with a profound question, without of course turning away from the TV lest she missed out on one moment of pure fun - 'Mumma, are these girls or boys?'. Both me and the husband felt totally confused. Pari is usually able to tell boys from girls, and quite accurately too. Why isn't she able to distinguish here, where almost everything is on display? Shouldn't it be easier in this case? Have we failed at parenting? Such questions immediately came to haunt us.. till it finally dawned on me. The child identifies the gender of the person by his/her clothes. She was unable to use the thumb-rule here since these women weren't wearing any!

PS1. This was observed an year ago, when we were in Bangalore, had a house for ourselves, and lived as a family, not as disillusioned individuals. Pari has grown up since, though I am not sure if her sense of gender has improved.

PS2. I was chatting with the husband the other day, when this incident came back to me, and I asked him if we should begin some 'sex-education' for Pari. The poor man nearly fell off his chair, and could resume breathing only after I rephrased it to 'gender-education'!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Joka Diary - 9

In case you didn't notice, I am back from the Europe trip.. alive and kicking! And into my 6th term now. There is so much to talk about the trip, but I sadly lack both the time and patience to write it now. But I promise, we will talk about it at length, sometime.. it might be next month, next year or next life(for me/for you/for both).. but talk we will. And those who are in a hurry, are cordially invited to look at the pics posted on Picasa (link available on request!). I have wasted an enormous time uploading them- an entire afternoon, and my labor of love shall remain unrequited till some kind soul wastes a couple of hours going through them. You see, that is how we usually compensate for the time wasted-- by wasting more time.

Alright, where were we? In the sixth term? Right! We have a lot of visiting faculty teaching the courses in the second half of the program. And, the students are usually very enthusiastic about the courses taught by the foreign Profs. Not because they are better than our IIM Profs, but because they are perceived as 'chilled out' and easy-to-please. Their expectations from students are usually lower than that of the resident faculty. The visiting faculty almost always finds us exceeding their expectations, and shower us with praise. Also, their evaluation system is pretty lenient, which means that they do not derive the-typical-to-IIMC pleasure by giving us bad grades. And so, we lap up their courses. We means the lazy, hungry-for-appreciation mortals like yours truly. I have taken up almost all the courses offered by VFF. Business valuation is one such course, the prof comes from NY. He has a very heavy American accent, and frequently talks about us falling 'bahind' if we don't put sufficient effort. Now this reminds me of a childhood incident, which I can't resist sharing. I have a motley set of cousins - funny, innocent, bumbling and very lovable. One of them, cousin Y had this habit of saying 'bahind' for 'behind'. His Dad tried to correct him --'It is behind, not bahind'. Now, cousin Y was already 6 yo by then, and at his advanced age, obviously knew better than to put too much trust in his merely IIT graduate father. He replied with loads of spunk-- 'I don't 'balieve' you!'. The preaching father was appropriately quietened, more like stunned into silence, while the rest of the family struggled to stifle laughter till we were out of his earshot. I wonder how long will it be before Pari stops believing me!

Monday, January 9, 2012

I just have to write this.. make it bearable! My little Pari turns 5 today. Yes you heard it right - Pari is 5 years old now. I am mom to a 5 yo. Now, can you imagine that I am not with her for our big day? I feel miserable, have been feeling that way for almost a week now, and the miserableness doesn't appear to be wearing off at all. If anything, it continues to grow on me, hopefully it will peak today and start waning from the day after. For now, lets just wish my little girl a very happy 5th. The last year has been tough for her, spent away from parents. She does have the most wonderful set of grandparents and an awesome pair of Mausi's, but in my heart, I can always feel her craving for us as much as we crave for her. I hope this year brings us back together as a family. Now, this is what I have to say to my darling daughter. I have missed you my little baby, but I must say I am very very proud of the way you have conducted yourself. Despite being totally uprooted, you have spread so much laughter and joy in the family. You have adjusted so well to the new place, new way of life, new school and new family. And you have learned so much in the last 9 months, much more than I can even hope to touch upon during my MBA course. In fact, I don't think I really need to wait for you to grow up to read this post, you can probably read and understand some 70% of it already, and copy this in your notebook in under half-an-hour. This when you couldn't as much as hold a pencil this time last year. Now, I see you copying sentences from Mausi's Electronics textbook. Can't say how relieved and assured I feel, it is not just my spine that you have inherited! My heart swells with pride when I hear you using words like 'Lahuluhaan' and 'khoobsoorat'. And you have evolved into such a granny.. always worried about the rest of us. Be it Nani who you forced into a strict exercise regime within days of your arrival--'I don't want my Nani to be so fat!', or Mausi E, who won your sympathy as soon as she moved in with you. The fact that she is away from her parents, just the way you are, meant you could connect with her in no time. The 15 yrs between the two of you not withstanding! Your concern for people knows no limits, as you worry about whether 'Chachi is taking good care of Chia' or 'is Dadi taking care of herself'. When it comes to Mumma, you have different concerns, mostly whether Mumma is studying well, and if her teacher scolds Mumma. You always try to make life simple for us. For instance, on Chia's birthday, you very generously made the suggestion-'Mumma, get me my birthday gift too, baad me easy rahega'. Too bad we did not avail the offer! Though I did get you a gift for you birthday, it is still not easy being away from you on this day. Here is Mumma wishing you all the health, happiness and peace on your special day. With all her love.