Happy three and three-fourth boo boo.
This is by far the strangest quarter of your life. Actually it’s the strangest quarter of anyone’s life, who’s lived the last three months. The entire world was hit by a pandemic, and almost all our lives came to a grinding halt right after you turned 3.5 years. The novel corona virus or covid-19 has affected so many lives, but I can’t imagine how little ones like you are feeling right now.
Sometimes you stop responding. Sometimes you say that you need me to stop telling you what to do always, and let you be. Sometimes you tell me you are either frustrated or depressed. Sometimes, you want to talk to nobody, and just always be with me. You keep screaming how much you love me, and that you want me to always be with you. While it’s nice that we get to spend so much time together but I always worry about the separation anxiety you will face going back to school.
Your school has been shut since 9th March 2020, and you’ve had an extended summer vacation. We still don’t know when your school will re-open. You can’t seem to wrap your head around what’s happening. We explained the story of the pandemic, and how you need to be careful about not shaking hands with anyone and so on. Every time you see someone in a movie shake hands or kiss, you wonder if they’ll get corona. 😦
You have to wear a mask everywhere you go, you have to wash your hands every time you go out somewhere and come home. You’ve been mostly playing along, but there are days when you’re so sick of all this, you want to just go back to school or go back to Maldives for a “beach holiday”.
To be honest, this break has been quite hard on all of us. Sometimes when Appa and I are a little frustrated and end up arguing about something, you feel very worried. We try our best not to lose it in front of you but it’s not always possible. You get scared when appa has a hard time managing his anger. For the most bit, you don’t like being with him when he behaves like that.
I’ve been trying to talk to you about it and assure you that it’s okay to feel frustrated sometimes but talking is more helpful than shouting. Being able to talk about your own feelings has been very helpful for you. I may not always be in control of the environment you are exposed to, but being able to express your emotions constructively through conversation is something I am trying to help you with, and it’s been working well so far.
Your school has a weekly connect so you guys don’t forget each other, and also have a chance to share what you’ve been up to with each other. You eagerly wait for the session every week, but are equally disappointed most days because you don’t get to talk much. There is so much pent up energy that has no release what so ever.
Sometimes, we set up 1:1 video calls with your friends but one of you gets bored midway and runs away. I worry about regression of social skills. I can’t imagine spending a 10th of my life in almost complete social isolation especially when I am beginning to develop social skills. I feel so helpless, because I can’t take you anywhere to meet anyone. It’s simply not safe for people to visit each other now. I just hope and pray that this passes soon.
But the freedom to what you want with your time has enabled you to learn several things.
GEOGRAPHY: You can comfortably complete your world map and India map jigsaw puzzles. While you are yet to identify all Indian states, you can identify 160-170 countries by location and shape. You can identify a few flags and a few capital cities. I was using this as a way for you to open up and bond with your cousin Vidyut. He challenged you to identify all the oceans, but you hadn’t learnt to do that yet. That afternoon, you came home and demanded me to teach you all the oceans and you learnt it in no time. So, I suppose you’ve more grit than Appa or I do. 😉
GAMES: You love playing Zingo and cards game. You can play all day everyday without ever getting bored. You can play chowka barah and monopoly (well, sort of), thanks to thatha who patiently plays with you. You’ve learnt all the moves in chess, can play a complete game and even win sometimes, thanks to Appa.
We got you a pool during the lockdown to keep you entertained, and you love hanging out in it, pretending to be at the beach. You keep remembering your trip to Maldives off late, and it’s so sad that we can’t go back there any time soon. So we let you pretend with your toy pool and your blue yoga mat.
You’ve invented some new games with pillows. You keep building houses in all the rooms with your pillows and creating massive havoc in the house on a daily basis. Appa and I spend every evening restoring order in the house. We’ve given up on trying to get you to see the benefit of keeping the house tidy as you firmly believe that one needs to make a mess if they want to play.
Barbie sent you a toy make up set that you love to play with. It’s quite cute to see you stand in front of your dressing mirror, brush your hair, dress up everyday after your bath. When you are all decked up, you need both Appa and me to compliment you, till which time you walk up and down in front of us strutting your face into ours.
LANGUAGE: You have been able to read in Kannada for a while although you can’t speak very much. We’ve been practising speaking a little bit this quarter as you seem to shut off and not interact when all conversation around you is in Kannada. You definitely try very hard to speak, but you don’t have a lot of exposure because unfortunately no one ever talks to you in Kannada.
READING: You can read all phonetic words on your own. You need a little bit of help when they’re not phonetic. You still lack the confidence to comfortably read a book on your own. We’ve just started playing this game called “Alternate reading” everyday where you read one line and I read another and so on. We’ve read 4 books so far, and you’ve been so excited to be able to do that. You told me that you had no idea you could read all the sounds, which is so cute. Believe me, once you can read books on your own, you will discover a whole new world. Appa and I spend a lot of time reading, and hopefully that will have some positive influence on you.
You’ve started learning to play a bit of scrabble, but can’t play a full game yet. Rather, we haven’t had the patience to guide you through an entire game. When Appa and I play, you hang around reading all the words. You are always on my team and get very upset when I lose. You take your plastic bat and beat appa for “beating” me.
WRITING: We’ve tried to get you to practice writing a bit, but haven’t really followed through. However, you can type on a phone and a computer quite peacefully, so we’ve taken it easy. I am sure not having enough hand control/ coordination might set you back in school and we should be spending more time trying to improve your grip, but hey, this lockdown has been quite challenging for us too.
LIFE GOALS: For the first time ever, you’ve life goals this quarter. There are a bunch of things you want to do in life. You want to be a doctor, make up teacher, musician, writer, chef, artist and an astronaut. All at once, that too. Apparently when someone comes to your clinic, and they look dull, you plan to treat them by doing make up and turning them into a fairy. You also plan to play a song and write them a story to cheer them up. While it all sounds so cute and funny, who knows..you might be all of this all at once when you grow up.
You want to be a doctor in America just like Barbie. You are apparently fine to leave mum and dad here in India and live in America with Barbie. As a doctor, you want to shoot corona virus and kill it. You are quite disappointed that Modiji (our PM) hasn’t been able to shoot corona yet. But then again, sometimes you just want to go back to England. May be it’s the extended stay-at-home that’s talking, I don’t know.
OTHER SKILLS: You’ve been a bit helpful around the house with cooking, cleaning once in a while when we ask you to and taking care of the plants. Sometimes you don’t feel like being bothered at all. You are happy to have us slave away. You are quite lazy or cheeky sometimes, I can’t figure out which one. But soon, we’ll have to start making you more responsible for your own work.
For instance, you’ve learnt to go to the bathroom yourself, finish business, flush, wash your hands and come out. We only need to find a way to reduce the pre-bathroom trip announcements. 🙂
You can independently operate the TV remote. This is a bit later than most kids, but hey, until this pandemic hit us, you weren’t a big TV watcher. But now, unfortunately, Appa and I rely on TV a lot to keep you entertained when we both need to get work done. In fact, you don’t like it that I work.
You prefer that only Appa works and I spend all my time playing with you. You keep making selfie videos on the phone saying things like nobody loves you and nobody plays with you, which really breaks my heart.
You love music. You keep learning to play new bits on your piano. You can sing a few metal songs, recognise a few bands based on the music. You can also recognise several instruments based on visual appearance and sound. You clearly have an interest in music, that we most definitely want to nurture. But unfortunately, due to covid, we’ve had to patiently wait to let you continue your music lessons.
You do a lot of physical activities like jumping, head stands, and so on. Although, I wish we could go outdoors and run around like we used to be able to in parks in London. But for now, we’ve got to make do with running around indoors playing running and catching the badman and things like that.
Overall, you’re growing up suddenly and I can see that through the various things you say, the questions you ask and the remarks you unexpectedly make. Sigh, can’t believe time flies this quickly. I’ve loved you at every age, and I will continue to love you always, babe. Yes, babe. Not bro, or dude. Ok?