May 29, 2015
By Ekta R. Garg
Enjoy these Spurts from the last two weeks, readers!
Two weeks ago the kids were invited to a birthday party on campus. Of course, that happened to be the same day as graduation. Traffic crawled in certain spots as we watched college students in caps and gowns lead their family members across intersections and down sidewalks.
As we waited at one red light, we saw a family of four people: the graduate in her cap and gown, a boy who could have been her younger brother, a man I guessed to be her father, and an elderly woman. The light changed and the elderly woman, in a bright red top and black capris, moved across the intersection faster than anyone else in her group.
“Wow, Grandma can run,” Six said.
Eight and I started giggling, and after a moment Six did too. I watched the woman trot across another intersection.
“You’re right, [Six],” I said. “Grandma can run.”
One morning last week as we got ready for school, Six looked at me with a serious expression.
“When I grow up I want to study mythology,” she said.
“What’s that?” I asked, curious to know how she would answer.
“It’s about the gods, the Greek gods, and religion and stuff,” she said. “I’m interested in other cultures.”
“That’s pretty cool,” I said.
“Yup; I want to be a mythologist when I grow up.”
I’m not even sure that’s a real thing…or a real word. But apparently the flavor of the month for Six rests in the cradle of civilization. The next day at the dinner table, after finishing her own meal, Six stood next to her dad.
“I can’t wait until college,” she said.
“Why?” my husband asked.
“Because then I can study mythology.”
Her father looked at me with raised eyebrows. I just shook my head.
“Don’t ask,” I said.
One morning after we dropped Six at school, I focused on the road when I heard Eight pipe up from the back seat.
“Mamma, um, when I’m 109 will I still have my own teeth?”
I thought for a minute about how to answer that. Should I deal with the likelihood of a person’s mortality at the age of 109? The kids know about death in that esoteric sense that most children do, but I didn’t want to scare her or make her think any more about her own life span if it wasn’t absolutely necessary.
“If you take care of them you will,” I said. “If you drink lots of milk and eat healthy foods, that’ll keep your bones and teeth strong.”
She considered this for a moment in that way a child will when she’s heard something for most of her life. Because her father is a physician, we spend a lot of time talking about healthy versus non-healthy foods and how to best take care of one’s self.
So the conversation started traveling down well-trodden paths for us, and I added the PBS special version: putting any foreign substances in the body would ruin her chances of keeping her own set of teeth into the century mark.
“Those things might feel good for a little while,” I added, wanting to keep the argument balanced, “but in the long run they’ll just hurt you and make you want more of the bad stuff, which means you’re just hurting your body even more.”
I mentioned alcohol—both Six and Eight have watched enough TV and observed enough in the real world to know that it exists—and threw a vague description of drugs in there, although I certainly didn’t call them that. I do hope, though, they can take this lesson to heart and that we can have more conversations like this in the future.
The kids have spent time with their maternal grandparents this week, playing board games and chatting. Although Six harbors a deep love and affection for her grandparents, she’s always a little shy to share and show that affection. My mom, knowing this, decided to draw Six out a little bit by targeting Six’s love: art.
“Do you want to color?” she asked Six.
Six agreed right away and ran for one of her sketchbooks. Her grandma saw the sketchbook, and her brows furrowed.
“Don’t you have any coloring books?” she asked.
Despite the vast collection of coloring books sitting in a drawer somewhere, the kids haven’t used coloring books in about five years.
Six just shook her head in answer to my mother’s question.
“So we have to make the picture first and then color it?” my mom asked.
“Yup,” Eight quipped. “That’s how we roll.”
Yup. Even with all the coloring books sitting forlorn in a drawer, that’s how we roll.