Raising hell

Humour

Let me be recklessly honest. Dealing with ‘children’ of all ages can be exasperating. Looking back at my years as a mother, I have a story or two to share.

They say that we must never speak in front of our little ones, because they will repeat anything you say; good or bad. When my daughter was three-years-old, she was a fast learner. Too fast! We had invited some friends over for dinner. Unfortunately, they had a very unruly son. I happened to mention this fact to my husband. I told him to have an eye on that little boy and see that he doesn’t push our kids around.

I also said that he was a spoilt brat. The guests arrived and after our pleasantries, we sat down to dinner. 10 minutes later, my daughter came whimpering and said, “You were right mummy, this boy is really a spoilt brat. Can’t his parents correct him?” Was I shocked? I’m still looking for a word to describe that moment. Listen to this funny quote “Children: You spend the first two years of their life teaching them to walk and talk. Then you spend the next 16 years telling them to sit down and shut-up”.

My son was a mischievous child. He now recalls how he used to fool me when he was in kindergarten. Whenever he wanted to play truant in school, he used to lie to me and tell me his tummy was aching and roll on the bed. Needless to say, he used to stay at home on those days, while I spent an anxious day in office. How could I have been both; blind and stupid? Want a word of advice? When the gurgles and smiles begin to replace themselves with words and tantrums, brace yourself. There will also be a phase when they start questioning your answers instead of answering your questions. At each stage you think, this will pass. Don’t kid yourself. The next stage is worse.

I was a considerate mother. I heeded Bernie Mac’s advice — “When it comes to raising children, I believe in give and take”. I ‘give’ the orders and they ‘take’ them. That worked at one stage. Bob Orben was right when he said, “Sound really does travel slower than light. The advice parents give to 18-year-olds doesn’t reach them until they are about 40”.

My children are incorrigible. Their teens drove me insane. My daughter’s heavy metal and ‘headbanging’ music used to send me around the bend. Yes, I went through that stage once myself. The only thing is that at one stage, it was ‘figuratively’ and at another, ‘literally’. Note the difference? If you want to read about my son’s untidy room.., let’s leave that for another day. That’s going to be a volume.

Time races by in a couple of blinks. Today, my kids are working. They say, “Teach your children the value of money; borrow from them”. I have an idea or two about that myself.
 Gone are those days when my son would call me ‘old-fashioned’. Now it’s just ‘old’.

I am no computer aficionado, but I get along. My son pulls my leg and tells me that when I am old and tottering, he will get me a motorised wheel-chair and fix a contraption to place my laptop on it. He says that it will keep me busy the whole day surfing, reading and watching movies. Quite a rosy picture to look forward to!

I do have those parental moments when my heart swells with pride at the thought of their numerous achievements. As they say, give the ‘devils’ their due. Theories of bringing up children! I thought I had that sorted out before I got married and was raring to go. Now, I only have children and no theories.

Goethe said, “If children grew up according to early indications, we should have nothing but geniuses”.

All said and done, I wouldn’t trade my kids for anything in this world. After all, they have turned out to be a spitting image of me.

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