Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Raising Mom and Dad!

As a parent raising kids abroad, if there’s one thing you are jealous about parents raising kids in India, it is the support system they enjoy and you wish you could enjoy too!! Especially, if you have your own parents or in laws living in the same place, you have a babysitter on call ….and that too for free! Of course, you have day cares during the weekday, but what if you want to attend a concert or catch a non-family movie at night or during the weekend? If it were Bangalore, I had to debate whether to drop off Abhay at my parent’s or leave them home with my in-laws or drive him to my sister-in-law’s or any other relatives’ house!  What are my options here in the US?  Pay $ 35-40 an hour to an American teenager to watch over Abhay!  In that case, it is not uncommon to wonder if it’s necessary to go out in the first place! SO what are we left with…..go to concerts or musicals like Sesame Street or Disney musicals or movies like Cars or Alice in the Wonderland! Anyway, off late we’ve found the solution ….of course like all other solutions, this one too must be used sparingly! My friend Sowmya who’s son is Abhay’s best friend has been more than willing to take Abhay in when we go for a movie like “Hangover II”. Thanks a lot Sowmya……I guess this was our first movie together as a ‘couple’  in the last three years! So over the past weekend, it was my turn to return the favor and I was more than happy to have two boisterous boys as an audience for my in house story time! 

You will not believe it when I say that the book I read to the boys is titled “How to raise mom and dad – Instructions from someone who has figured it out” by Jost Lerman and illustrated by Greg Clarke. A hilarious book that’ll confuse your little one and remind you of the time you were once kids, plotting against your own parents. A big sister tells her baby brother how to help mom and dad to become the parents you want them to be – parents who pack chips and cookies for lunch, who do your homework, who clean up after you and who let you lstay up late! That’s not all; she tries to convince her brother that in doing so, it is best not only for them but also for mom and dad! It is ideal to wake them up early in the morning, not by going over to their room but by shouting for them as loudly as possible; Distracting them while driving; Helping them stay fit by messing up the house so they get their daily exercise when cleaning up; Keeping the bathroom clean by sloshing water all around when taking a bath or running out without a towel and thereby washing the floor; At bedtime, tiring them as much as possible, by asking for water (even when not thirsty) or getting out of bed at regular intervals and blaming it on feeling itchy or having bad dreams, so that they fall asleep as soon they hit the bed!  Both Abhay and Suhas at first didn’t quite understand what the book was all about and once they did, they were not sure how to react! But you smile at their innocence when they try to compete with each other even when I ask “So who will leave toys lying around like the big sister said in the book?” and both of them raise their hands looking at each other!

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