3 is a magic number

‘Three is a magic number. Isn’t it?’, asked Anirud. Thinking that to be another of his rubbish theories coming out of conversation with his school mates, we ignored him for a while. Being a persistent bugger, he kept asserting ‘Three is a magic number’ several times, punctuating with ‘Do you know that?’. As we were in the middle of something, this ‘three’ thing was easily pushing us to the point of annoyance.

Unlike what we thought, it was a song that is being played in his school. They are preparing a big float (that will be set on a huge truck) for the carnival few weeks away. The theme for that is ‘Recycling’ and there is a song that goes on like

‘Three is a magic number
It really is a magic number
….
Reuse – Reduce – Recyle
….
Three is a magic number.’

That one apart, seems that his school has explained the recycling concept very well to the children, as Anirud explained that to me with practical examples. Whenever such moral concepts are told, he will take a vow only to forget it few minutes later. This occasion was no exception, as he vowed not to waste any food or water. Also, he promised to *help* us in taking things to the recycling centre. Hmmm… that is more than enough for asking about three being a magic number.

Switzerland, Here we come!


Seems that Anirud now has a better idea about the Golden Pass panaromic train in Switzerland than those who operate it. As we are gearing up for our trip to Switzerland, he has played the promotional videos of the said train service available in the internet several times already. Further, he is super excited about the broken chair in Geneva, cable cars in Grindelwald and the Rhine falls at Zurich. On the other hand, what is he NOT excited about? Already, half the people at his school know every detail of our trip. Pity how they would feel after we come back.

Travel

In general, Anirud shows lot of interest in knowing about various countries and their capitals. Where ever he sees a map, he looks for any known places and also tries to pick up some new countries. I think his interest towards countries started while he was watching Olympic Games 2008, when he started noticing various flags.

On the other day, we were in a situation to divert his attention and so asked if we can plan a visit to Singapore. I was expecting his face to lit up and say a big ‘Yes’ and ask me questions about which flights would fly there, time it will take to get there etc. Pat came the reply and it was an emphatic ‘No’. His reasoning – if we have to travel somewhere, he’ll have to get the travel vaccination and it will hurt. So, no travelling please.

hmmm… that that man, that that problem.

Wedding Anniversary

It all started in the usual way with Anirud asking, ‘Appa, wedding nursery eppo varudhu?’. It wasn’t difficult to make out that he meant ‘Wedding Anniversary’ and I told him the date. Curious about where this will lead to, I enquired him about the reasons behind his question.

‘I am thinking of buying a gift for Amma’.

‘Wowww.. that so sweet. What are you going to gift her?’

‘That is what I am thinking pa. How about some balloons?’

‘Balloons? Do you think Mummy is going to play with balloons?’

‘Ok. How about a toy?’

Seeing me star at him, he got the message.

‘Ok appa. We will go to M & co. shop tomorrow and I will buy the most beautiful dress for amma. But nee choose panna koodadhu. Naan daan choose pannuven. Ok vaa?’ (But you shouldn’t choose it. I will choose that).

‘Ok deal’.

It was so sweet of this brat to think about a gift for our anniversary. Having said that, even when he was 3+ he was telling my wife that he is going to get a ‘woolly cap’ for my birthday as I didn’t have one. It had happened the other way round as well. When he was scolded by his mom for something, he came to me and declared ‘I am very cross with amma. I am not going to get any present for her birthday’, which was very sweet as well.

After high-fives, after confirming that he got what an anniversary meant, I felt I could embarass him a little and asked ‘It is good to gift a dress to mummy. But, have you thought about getting a gift for me?’. Little did I realise that it will lead to something that we’ll keep laughing about.

He thought about it for a while and asked ‘Appa, when is your wedding anniversary?

‘Only few minutes back, I told you the date right?’ and told him the date again.

‘அப்பா… சூப்பர் அப்பா. உன்னோட wedding anniversary-உம், மம்மியோட wedding anniversary-யும் சேம் டே-ல வருது. நீ யாரப்பா கல்யாணம் பண்ணிண்டே?’ (translates to ‘Wow… both your anniversaries happen to be on the same day. Whom did you marry?’)

Questioning

Right from the time Anirud started to speak, especially since he started questioning, I knew that there will be some questions that I would struggle to answer. The task became a bit more difficult when he started thinking that ‘appa’ knows everything. As much as possible, I tried to look for the right answers using various resources and invariably that will trigger a fresh set of sub-questions.

What I do not wanted to do is to tell him something that will stop him from questioning or to tell him a wrong answer that will mislead him. Many a times, he has thrown bouncers like ‘what do you call Cement in Tamil’. But nothing prepared me for the one he threw at me yesterday. I really didn’t know what to tell but at the same time didn’t want to make it a taboo subject. So, I did what I could do best. Bought some time and let him mark this one up for questioning when he became a ‘big boy’. As for the question, he began with a typical business like manner – ‘I have a question for you’ and then went on to ask ‘காதல்-ன்னா என்னப்பா?’ (What is Kadhal (romance / love)?).

I really wished that I had a typical filmy answer starting with ‘காதல்ங்கறது…’. He had heard the word getting repeated in many of the film songs and there goes a question. 🙂

Sachin Tendulkar

Couple of days back, we visited our friend who is an ardent follower of Cricket and big fan of Sachin Tendulkar (well, who is not?). At his home was a poster of Sachin and some related autographed paraphernalia. Anirud saw the picture and was like ‘Appa, is he the one who played for Mumbai Indians?’.

‘Yes, he is. He is Sachin Tendulkar’

As Anirud has seen Sachin only in the blue-orange Mumbai Indians jersey (btw, IPL is the only thing he has watched in cricket), he wearing a white one in the poster threw up another question.

‘He is wearing a white shirt appa. Which team is he playing now?’

‘Indian Team’.

‘Oh.. apdi oru team irukkaa?’ (Oh.. is there one such team?’)

Handling Criticisms

Despite the fact that Anirud comes out as a well-mannered, nice boy, there are certain things in him that needs changing. One such thing is his inability to accept criticisms, even if it is something very trivial. On the other day, we asked him to write the numbers 1 to 50 on a piece of paper. After a few minutes, he came back to us showing us the paper with all the numerals. Using the recommended way of giving feedback – we ticked all the numerals, scribbled a ‘Very Good’ or ‘Excellent’, praised him lavishly on his effort and then added, ‘…. but, the number five should have be written in a better way and not like the letter S. I am sure you can write it better. Can you try once and make these numbers perfect? Otherwise, you have done a fantastic job’. This is all we said and I am sure we said that in a very amicable tone.

However, Anirud could not handle this and started crying. As this is not the first time we have seen him react this way, we let him finish his round of crying and pretended to ignore him, which brought him back to us after a while. After ‘Amma/Appa says these things for good’ lecture followed by ‘I will never cry again amma’ ritual, it was all peace.

We got to know that the above is very common among toddlers. Every week, his football coach picks up three pupils for training well in that session. As you all know it, it works in the round-robin waythat every kid gets praised at regular intervals. Until the time Anirud got his first ‘pat on the back’, he used to come home in tears. Speaking to one another parent, I got to know that this was the case with quite a few of the kids. I believe that the kids will grow out of it naturally, as they grow older. In case, if any one has better way of handling this, we are all ears.

Politics

The first thing that Anirud asks upon woken up is ‘What day is today?’. Today was no exception. When I told him that it is Thursday, he reacted with shock as if he just missed a flight. ‘Appa, innikku election theriyumaa?’ (Do you that today is the election day?). He is right. Today is the General Election day in UK. When the local body elections were held about a year ago, Anirud accompanied us to the polling booth. So, we had plans to take him to the booth this time as well and explain him about what was going on.

Beyond the word ‘elections’, I honestly didn’t expect him to know anything more on the topic. We do talk about politics at home to a certain extent, but not all the time. So, expecting him to shrug his shoulders and say ‘I dunno’, I asked if he knew what elections are about. To my surprise, he said ‘We have to select the prime minister of UK’ and added ‘David Cameron is the best man pa. So, I am (?!) going to vote for him’. He was particularly disappointed when I said that I am going to vote for someone else.

All through the morning, as we got on with our morning duties, it was election talk all the way. He was on the mode to persuade me to vote for David Cameron. The reason – he and his friends at school think that he is the best. I really don’t know what these brats discuss at school. However much I was shocked at the discovery of his political knowledge, that came to my rescue as well. ‘Anirud, if you don’t eat your breakfast in the next 10 minutes, I will go & vote for Gordon Brown’. You should have seen the way the breakfast disappeared. Same for wearing the uniform and shoes. The threat of me voting for Brown was too much for him to take. Though I felt sorry for Brown, I really wish there is an election every day.

As politics is my favourite talking point, I asked him what else he knew about the elections.

‘There is a Green Party and some other parties’.

‘Okay, good. Do you know which party Gordon Brown belongs to?’

‘appa, Gordon Brown is from Labour Party, right?’

‘Yes, thats right. How about your favourite David Cameron?’

‘George (his classmate) said that he is from Tony party. Apdi oru party irukaa?(Is there one such party?) It looks like a funny name.’

‘It is not Tony, but Cameron belongs to TORY party. Do you know Nick Clegg?’

‘Yes, I know’

‘Which party does he belong?’

Shrugging his shoulders, he was like ‘I dunno. May be a Birthday Party’.