March 29, 2013
By Ekta R. Garg
Enjoy these Spurts from the last two weeks, readers!
The other day when Four woke up in the morning, she complained of a stomachache but otherwise seemed fine. She went through her morning routine of getting ready for school with her usual sunny smile. Of course, my radar went right up. If one of my children complains of an ailment, a small corner of my mind channels worry until I get some reassurance that everything is fine.
I don’t know why I bothered worrying, though. My husband didn’t have to go to work until later in the morning, so he had gotten the kids ready. I just had to do their hair. As I combed Four’s hair, she said in a confident voice, “Don’t worry, Mamma. I’ll be okay.”
“Are you sure?” I asked her.
“Yes, I’m sure. I’ll be fine.”
I guess I got my reassurance.
Before we left for school that same morning, Four asked for some water. My husband grabbed one of the kids’ plastic cups, filled it halfway with water, and brought it to her. Four looked at her father with a “what are you doing” look.
“It’s okay, just drink it,” he said, knowing what she wanted to ask.
“I know I’m four-and-a-half and that I’m going to be five soon, but I still need a lid and a straw,” she said, emphasizing her words as she talked with one hand.
My husband and I just looked at each other. I know I wanted to roll my eyes, and he actually did. Over her head, that is, safe from her disapproving gaze.
Lately the girls have started taking more interest in relationships as I mentioned last week. Because their father and I are their most immediate barometer of what a relationship should be like, they watch us with keen eyes. They’re also at the stage where they think boys are gross.
My husband loves to tease his daughters, and when he came home from work he came to the kitchen to chat with me for a few minutes. He saw Four follow him into the kitchen and grinned impishly. He cupped my face with both hands and planted a kiss smack on my lips.
“Ew!” Four exclaimed, cupping her own face in disgust. “You guys have to stop that! That’s gross!”
My husband laughed and kissed me again.
Four strode toward us with purpose and tried with all of her might to push us apart.
“That’s it, you have to break up right now!”
The two of us leaned in for a third kiss, but she managed to squeeze in between us and insisted that we halt all PDAs that instant. Boys are gross and so is kissing, she reminded us.
My husband enjoys a glass of red wine when he comes home from work, and the girls have seen their father pop open the cork on a bottle of cabernet or merlot for several years now. Yesterday evening as my husband brought his glass to the sofa and began surfing on his tablet, Four turned to me and asked, “Mamma, can girls have wine?”
“Yes,” I said, “when they’re grown up and married.”
“Girls and boys?”
“Yes, when they’re grown up and married,” I repeated.
“And even then you need to ask me,” my husband added.
Now, I know some more liberal-mind parents would probably have long, drawn-out conversations with their children about choices and alcohol and their bodies. Not us. Call us dictatorial, but we want to make sure we steer the children in a direction that ensures they’ll take care of themselves for the long term.
Four, of course, has no idea about any of that. She drew one leg toward her, propped one elbow on it, and leaned on her hand.
“I can’t wait to grow up,” she said, somewhat dissatisfied with her current age.
“Yes, you can,” I said. “Yes, you can.”