July 26, 2013
By Ekta R. Garg
Enjoy these Spurts from the last two weeks, readers!
On Wednesday my husband and I took the opportunity of summer’s long days and the kids’ vacation time to introduce both of them to a shared childhood game: badminton. My parents taught me the game when I was young, and we spent many evenings knocking a shuttlecock back and forth across laundry lines that we used as our nets. They’d learned the game in India in their own youth, and my husband had learned the game as a child too.
The kids have heard us talking about badminton and had always expressed an interest in learning. So when we came to South Carolina to visit my parents, one evening we took the kids outside and began teaching them the basics of making a shuttlecock connect with the heavy twine crisscrosses of their rackets.
They began hesitantly; in addition to learning how to drop birdie onto the racket and making the birdie fly through the air, they had to work on the necessary motor skills for that smooth fluid motion required to make the birdie and the racket work as one. In between mini teaching sessions with the kids on how to play, my husband and I took a few opportunities to hit the shuttlecock back and forth. And we got a lovely opportunity to share something with our children across cultural and generational lines.
I know I’ll remember this trip during this summer for these moments, and I hope they do too.
Later that evening when we came inside to wash up for dinner, the girls began complaining that they felt hot. We changed the kids into their PJs to get them out of the clothes they had worn to play badminton. When their complaints continued, I began combing out their hair and decided to give both of them high ponytails.
I put up Five’s hair first, and Seven’s face bloomed with an appreciative smile.
“[Five,] your hair looks so cute,” she said as she admired her sister’s hair. She turned to me. “Mamma, can you make my hair like [Five’s]?”
Five went to the dressing table mirror and turned to catch sight of her profile. She grinned.
“I like it, ladies!” she said, turning side to side to look at her hair. We couldn’t help grinning along with her.
My husband and I met with our financial advisor of many years, and because our advisor had asked several times for us to bring the kids so he could meet them we took them along for a short meeting. Thankfully they behaved pretty well. And as is the nature of these sorts of situations, talking about money and future planning got my husband thinking about how we could teach the girls about money and saving.
When we moved to Illinois we visited a local bank to set up an account, and my husband noticed that that particular bank offers bank accounts for children. Seven already has a little bit of money tucked away from visits from the Tooth Fairy. My husband decided that we should take the kids to the bank and use the Tooth Fairy money to open an account for them. But we’ll also help that little account grow by rewarding the kids for various tasks and good decisions like working out conflicts.
On the day that we visited the financial advisor we hammered out a few details between the two of us about opening the account. Later that evening we sat down with the kids to explain to them what wanted to do. We tried to break down into simple terms what it means to save money, and the kids listened for a few minutes.
“Do you two have any questions or anything to say?” my husband asked the kids.
Five farted and excused herself.
“That’s what I have to say,” she added with a straight face.
My husband and I exchanged a look. So does this mean she’s ready to make an investment?
Another night as the girls and I changed our clothes, the kids looked at me intently when I pulled my shirt over my head.
“What are those?” Five asked, pointing to my chest.
I strived to keep a straight face. “It’s part of my chest.”
“Why don’t I have them?” she said.
“When girls grow up they get them. It’s how you tell that a girl is a grownup.”
She examined my body for half a second before saying, “They’re weird.”
I sighed internally. I suppose that’s one way of looking at it.