Chart Number 198 (Spurts)

December 18, 2015

By Ekta R. Garg

Enjoy these Spurts from the last couple of weeks, readers!

During our extended Thanksgiving break, the kids got a big kick out of the fact that they got to miss school while visiting our family. Their maternal grandparents urged us to let the kids stay up way past their bedtime during their entire vacation, and this only added to the glee. One day as I helped Nine get ready for the day, she asked exactly what a curfew was. I explained it to her, and she thought about what having a curfew meant to her own circumstances.

“I want a late curfew when I get older,” she said.

“What do you mean by late?” I asked, a little wary.

“8:15,” she said with a grin.

“Really?” I asked, pretending to be skeptical.

“Well, actually nine o’clock,” she said.

She looked pretty satisfied with her answer, and I heaved a sigh of relief. A 9 p.m. curfew? Yeah, I could totally do that. Now, if I can just keep her in this same state of mind when she’s 15…

***

Although I haven’t lived there full time since I was 18, my parents have left my room in their house mostly as my room. Stuffed animals still sit on the window seat, my photo albums line the shelves, and pictures of me hang on the walls. One of those pictures is from my wedding.

Indian weddings are about a hundred years long (or maybe they just feel that way,) and the bride and groom wear incredibly elaborate clothes. The bride also wears a lot of jewelry, and with enough of the fanciness she can look like a princess. I don’t know if I looked like royalty, but I can say with certainty that I’ve never been as elaborately decked out as I was that night.

One day Seven looked at that picture in my room in my parents’ house and said I looked way too fancy.

“I don’t like fancy clothes like that,” she said. “You look much better like yourself.”

“Well, but that was at my wedding,” I said. “You have to be fancy at your wedding.”

“When I get married there’s no way I’m going to look that fancy.”

Watch this child be the one who is so dressed up she looks like a model on a magazine cover.

***

Unfortunately missing school also meant missing announcements about a few upcoming holiday events. The chorus at Seven’s school had plans to go caroling to some of the teachers’ homes. The choir at Nine’s school had the opportunity to perform at a PTO meeting. Because the announcements about these events came out while we were still on vacation, we didn’t know about them and couldn’t participate. Interestingly enough, both chorus events happened last Thursday night, so it would have been almost impossible for us to do both anyway. Also, because Thursday is the night the kids have their strings lessons and we’d missed lessons during our trip, I had to make a decision about what the kids should attend. I decided the girls needed to attend their music lessons.

I told them this earlier in the week, and neither of them were happy. Nine came home after school on the day of the PTO performance with a mopey face, although she kept her words on the subject to herself. Seven, more vociferous by default anyway, kept saying she wanted to go caroling.

Once again I explained why we couldn’t go, and both girls stopped complaining…until we pulled into the parking lot of the community center where the girls attend their music lessons.

“I really wanted to go caroling, Mamma,” Seven said, a hint of a whimper in her voice. “I really wanted to go.”

“I know, [Seven],” I said, almost weary of this entire discussion. “But we can’t go.”

Their disappointment followed us into the building. I wish I could convince them just how hard it is for me to make these choices, which is something I have to do every week and sometimes on a daily basis. Maybe someday they’ll understand the difficulty someday.

***

It’s impossible at this time of year to get away from the dozens of ads about the latest and greatest toys to hit the market. One day as the girls and I watched TV, we saw something that thoroughly grossed all three of us out. Apparently there is a doll that comes with plastic food bits. The doll can actually eat the food, which is kind of cool, but then—the gross part—she poops it out. The food doesn’t turn into poop-colored bits; instead it comes out in the same condition as she ate it and fills her diaper.

So gross. I’m just glad Nine and Seven agreed with me. They heckled the TV and made me proud.

On Tuesday we chatted about it as we ate dinner, and the entire idea caused us to break into a fresh round of groans of disgust followed by giggles.

“Let’s just hope the doll gets constipation!” Nine declared.

All three of us fell back in our chairs laughing. The doll getting constipation might be for the best.

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