Monday, August 13, 2012

KB turns seven


I started writing this blog sometime in June 2006 when KB was ten months old.  KB turned seven years old ten days back.  I think back to his baby days and I try to remember how he looked, what he did etc in my mind.  Funny how days and nights of nursing, feeding, diapering, marveling all collate into quick flashes of memory when you think about it without watching any video or looking at photographs.  If I read some of the posts on KB in his infant days, it brings things back to memory in a way that feels deeply personal.  It makes me wish I had written more about both my children, more often and in greater detail.  For reliving the small moments.  Well, I am glad I at least have this much to go back to! 

We had gone to a wild life sanctuary last weekend and hung out there for a few hours.  It is a very low key place with a lovely bird porch, a 75 year old desert tortoise, a small nature center with live snakes, and a few small trails and a pond with a lot of fishes and turtles perched on rocks.  The kids love this place and fondly go back there to see their friend, “Henry” the tortoise.  While we were at the nature center, I asked the man in charge if he could bring one of the snakes out of the cage for KB to touch.  He was nice enough to bring it out and show “Bob” the corn snake to KB.  He then asked him if he wanted the snake on his shoulder.  “Yes”, KB said without batting an eyelid.  These are the kind of moments that remind you that your child is really growing up.  Suddenly there, handling the snake on his shoulder bravely, controlling his excitement and may be some nervousness too, smiling with excitement as Bob slithered around his neck, I saw KB as a seven year old boy.  Still my little child, yet a person on his own.  I felt proud in a way that only a mother can about something so small, a snake on his shoulder.  I was proud that he was brave enough to say yes, adventurous enough to open himself to that experience and calm enough to smile through it.  And because I could never have done it myself, I felt excited for him.  Which mother does not live a little through their children?!

KB is in so many ways all that I saw in him as an infant and more.  Sensitive and opinionated.  Obsessive. Particular about the way things are done.  Happy, yet intense.  A real talker.  Give him a few minutes of your time and he will be glad to go on and on.  If he goes into academics to become a professor, it would be no surprise to me.  And I hope he does, considering how much he loves to tell people what he knows and elaborate on it.  He loves to laugh and laugh loudly.  He dotes on his little sister and is always proud of every little thing she does much as he gets on her nerves by troubling her all day long.  A small example – the other day I was going to give a box of left over chocolate chip muffins to the gardener who comes every Monday.  I asked KG if I could give it and she said to save 3 or 4 of them and give the rest.  KB came to me and said, “Mamma, save the ones with a lot of chocolate.  Save all the special ones for KG, okay?”.  This, even though he keeps lecturing KG on how she needs to stop eating junk food.  

Speaking of junk food, I am still amazed by his conviction and his self control when it comes to certain things.  I am not saying this in any tone of bragging.  I really just feel plain and simple amazed because I don’t have the self control he does at his age.  He used to love mac n cheese, pringle chips, cheetos, dum dum lollipops.  He was never one for too much snacking anyway and he never wanted to have ice cream or chocolates.  I always assumed that when he started school anyway he will go on junk over drive and I didn’t particularly encourage him to eat it if he didn’t ask for it.  But even the few comfort foods he liked, he just stopped eating because he has learned they are not particularly healthy foods.  Lollipops with artificial colors make some children hyperactive.  The day he learned that, he just instantly stopped eating them.  Something he used to love!  Cheetos have that horrible orange colored processed cheese, he just stopped eating them.  I did not once ask him to stop eating any of those entirely.  He just did it on his own.  At age six.  And at age seven, his resolve when it comes to certain things really makes me wonder how he is that way.  For his seventh birthday, he insisted there be no sugary cake.  I had to get some “cake” like thing with fruits.  He wouldn’t even permit a muffin in the midst of fruits to insert a candle.  I had to insert candles in the middle of a pineapple in the center of a fruit arrangement I made with apples, strawberries and grapes.  I just had a play date for him with 15 or so of his first grade classmates and I had to sneak in some ice cream just so the kids (including his little sister) don’t complain that I did not bring any cake!  KB complained later that I should not even have brought any ice cream to his birthday play date! 

KB loves to learn as all children do.  But they are all different in their own ways.  Even between KB and KG, how they process things and what they are curious about is starkly different.  KB has been one of those academic learners – just taking in tons of information and remembering it and building on it.  But the strange thing is for how much he loves to learn new things, he is not that much into reading different kinds of books.  He reads a lot at school during their reading times.  But during summer holidays or weekends, he reads a lot, but only those books that he is obsessed about in that phase.  Right now he is reading “all” the Calvin & Hobbes books ever written, probably for the fourth time.  Cover to cover.  He has poems, lines etc memorized.  He laughs to himself and constantly reads out lines to me and expects me to laugh.  He asks me meanings of new words from those books.  Today he asked me what “panache” meant.  He went through this phase with his Harry Potter books early in January this year.  He read books 1, 2 and 3 and half of book 4.  Suddenly his attention got diverted to some basketball books and he started reading those books.  That stopped and now he is back to Calvin & Hobbes.  I try to coax him into reading other kinds of books and novels.  But he doesn’t really want to do it.  He wakes up in the morning and runs to his Calvin & Hobbes book as if his friend Calvin is waiting for him!  He still learns a lot from the nonfiction books he skims through on his own.  And I still read to him every day at least for a short while.  Since age four he eats on his own and will not let me feed him any meal.  But he still wants me to read books to him!  

KB reads (I read to him mostly that is!) books on Margaret Mead, Albert Schweitzer, Nellie bly, Gandhi all with equal enthusiasm and tells us details as if he knew them.  Today we were at a botanical garden with the kids and I asked him if he wanted to have his milk.  He said to me , “I am fasting today for the milk, I don’t want any milk”.  I had to tell him in strong terms that he is not allowed to “fast” at this age for sure.  He asked me all about fasting while I read about Gandhi and I told him how I used to do semi fasts on Tuesdays (no food after dinner) etc.  Knowing him, he too will start on fasts pretty soon!  

 For how curious he is about different kinds of cultures, KB is pretty bad at geography.  I don’t know if it is a lack of interest in knowing where exactly places are or if it is because I have not done enough to make him learn it well.  I have tried to get him to memorize where the fifty states are.  He has a “photographic memory” according to his class teacher, so I can’t imagine he cannot remember it if he puts his mind to it.  But he just doesn’t still remember those exactly.  He is totally into wild animals, nature, planting seeds, observing nature, hiking, basketball and learning about physics and biology.  He says he wants to be an inventor and a conservationist.  His plan is to invent a space suit that is safe for astronauts since his sister wants to be the first person to go to Mars!  He said to me, “Mamma, while KG is in training to become an astronaut, I will work on inventing a super safe space suit”.  .  And before I forget, the biggest change these last few months have been his interest in carnatic music.  He never used to listen to carnatic music in the car which is when they get a lot of music.  Now he is totally into it and listens to all kinds of instrumental music – Lalgudi, Kumaresh/Ganesh, Flute Raman, Kadri and also a lot of vocal music.  I am most excited by this change because it used to worry me that he showed no interest in carnatic music.  

KB will always have a special place in my heart just the same way KG does in her own special way.  KB, my first born brought to me the joy of being a mother.  While giving up having a good career because of various reasons makes me very sad at times, I have no regrets when I think that I have not missed a single moment of their early childhood.  Especially for KB who is the sensitive, demanding one, I am so glad to have been there for him, comforted him and made him feel secure at all times.  KB has given me the gift of learning things I never did or don’t remember and his curiosity and ability to grasp things has made me relive the wonder of being a child.  It has also set the tone for KG to be curious and excited about all that is around them.  As I always say, I pray mainly for their good health and safety and for them to grow up feeling secure and self assured. 

16 comments:

Aparna said...

Such a lovely post, noon. It seems as though you have captured all the many aspects of his personality, some of which you may forget or the memories of which may grow dim as time goes by. I am so sure KB would love to read this when he is older and may even be surprised "This is how I was at age 6/7."
I am amazed he is reading harry potter!! I can't imagine Advaith reading or even understanding the books. It's true that they immerse themselves in what they are interested in at that point in time. Ads is the same. His birthday is also coming up - less than a fortnight to go.
Happy birthday to the little fella and wish him a long healthy happy life.

noon said...

Thanks Aparna! Ads and KB are so close in age - it will be so nice when they meet up - especially considering they are both so into nature and wild life. I wish I could spend a year in India - then I would accompany you guys on one of your wonderful holidays to nice remote locations in India.
I wish I had written a long post about KG too - feel bad that somehow I am able to write on and on for KB and not for her. I still had more things that came to my mind but had to stop at some point.
Harry Potter - I think if I had asked him to read it, he would have not read it at all. Since that story (in the back of a DVD) caught his interest he just read it obsessively. He delves into it and memorizes lines and just lives in that world during that phase. Now he has cooled off and doesn't talk about HP.
Thanks so much for your kind wishes. I am looking forward to a long post about Ads for his seventh birthday.

mnamma said...

I have tears in my eyes reading this Noonie. I could feel so much love and warmth in this post. KB and KG are lucky to have you as their Mom and vice versa too! *touchwood*

Aparna said...

Spend even a month or 6 weeks in India and u can still accompany us on one of our vacations! :)

ranjani.sathish said...

What a beautiful write up about KB !! Very very happy birthday to the little boy and may he be blessed with good health and lots of happiness in his life. I am sure he would love reading this when he grows up as much as you will :-)

noon said...

MN - thanks...and same sentiments for you - you are a wonderful mother!
I wish though I felt good at the end of each day - always have this feeling that I should be a better mother - I don't push them enough, don't force KB to eat more variety ...Will KG be able to keep up with KB in academics..did I not give her as much attention as KB got during his first 4 yrs etc etc...such feelings at the end of the day...


noon said...

Aparna - I would love to - but not sure if we will do a six week trip - unless I stay back with the kids. But at least if we visit Delhi we can meet up!

noon said...

Ranj - thanks a lot for your wishes! Well - who knows - they may be mad at me for writing about them - what - you wrote that my geography was bad?!!! He might hate me for it! :)

Anonymous said...

beautiful post as always noon. KB and KG are sooooo lucky to have a momma who can describe them so eloquently. I'm sure of all the things they possess in the physical sense, they will cherish these blog posts the most when they are adults. Unfortunately, due to my own inherent laziness I've always been very lax in chronicling V's growing up and now I truly wish I'd been more diligent. He's also the kind of child who'll give me grief someday when he comes to know of kids whose moms lovingly put together such e-journals for them! Sigh! Anywayz, I guess the birthday letters I hastily write each year will have to suffice:-)

KB, once again, reminds me of V and funnily this time it's because of the geography lapse. Do you have any idea for how many years they have been teaching V the states of U.S. in school and he still doesn't get them right. And on the other hand you ask him the personal histories, stats of any baseball player living or dead and for god-knows-what-use-it-will-be he knows them all!! There was a time when he was five and we had the same issue with the 7 continents in the world. For the life of me I couldn't understand why something so simple eluded him and then I just took a deep breath and let it go. So I think kids like KB and V take in things selectively, stuff they're crazy about and will more or less be that way always. Another KB-V similarity. C & H are V's favorites too and in first grade he actually got a bunch of his tiny to classmates together and put on a play with vignettes from several C&H series.

When do we get a similar post on KG. I get the feeling she's different and yet loads of fun and masti too.

Deepa

noon said...

OMG - Deepa - so glad to see your comment. How are you?!! Please do email me or leave a comment if everything went well...
I cannot believe the geography similarity. This is unbelievable. Only diff though when KB was may be even 2.5 yrs old he got the continents and oceans right so easily from a poster we had on the wall...and then I didn't think much about states etc. Now I think his brain is crammed with random info and he shows no interest in remembering the states. I have left it for school to teach him that! :)
And I hardly write posts...once in a while in the middle of the night I sit and write something like this post. I have to write more about KG - the guilt is killing me - that I don't elaborate about her so much!

noon said...

And Deepa - a C&H play?! He loves it that much?! Gosh if these two meet up, the mood KB is in now, they will non stop talk about C&H I think!

meeraganesh said...

Belated Birthday wishes, KB!! Looks like the growing up thing is working well for you. I hope your inherent curiosity, your love for all things natural and your quest for knowledge grows with you. God bless you, child!

Mala said...

belated happy birthday to KB. What a lovely post - please keep a backup for him for when he grows up. Who knows where the net will be then ! Now that D is 5, I find myself wondering what he will eventually be like - it's lovely to read such a detailed description of an older child.
Mala

Neera said...

What an awesome pair both of u mom-son make :) I have known for the longest time, but it is so so so good to read about it in such detail! You are doing such an amazing job of nurturing such a variety of interests for him. I went back to his b'day pictures you had shared after reading about the fruit cake. He is so cute to have asked for something like that. And I totally relate to caring so much for his little sister in spite of getting on her nerves all day long.

noon said...


Meera - Sorry - I didn't even realize there were comments I had not seen...

Thanks for the wishes! :)

Mala - I know - I should make a backup! But part of me also feels no one will care or have the time to read all this later. Who knows!

Neera - coming from you, a wonderful, loving, indulgent (in a good way) mother - I cherish the compliment!

Anonymous said...

KB is seven already! Belated happy birthday to him, wishing him a healthy and happy year!

ps: seven already and hasn't visited his chithi in Houston, tch tch :)