Monday, July 27, 2009

Is it worth it?

I watched yesterday's news item of a school girl's suicide over a confiscated mobile phone with shock and disbelief. I can't imagine the pain the parents are going through right now (she was their only child).

What makes a little girl take her own life when her mobile phone is found. When you know you are not allowed to bring mobile phones to school, what makes you bring it in the first place. The news item said that she was scared of the parent's finding out that she had a mobile and that after the Principal called her to the office, she wanted to go to the toilet where she hung her self with the aid of her tie.

Why is a little girl so scared of her parents finding out that she did something wrong? What's the worse that can happen? She will get a scolding, she will be grounded. Is it worse than taking your life? Is it worth taking your own life?

As a parent it scared me. It scared me because I can't understand what makes children act this way. It scared me because just a week ago 8 students took poisonous seeds because birthday cards and love letters were found by a teacher and two of those students died. They too were scared of the parents finding out.

Are parents monsters? Is loosing your life better than facing the music...

I am determined to remember that I was a teenager once when my kids reach the turbulent years.
I am determined to remember that I was curious about the opposite sex, that I was the biggest flirt around, that I had numerous crushes, that I sent millions of valentine cards every year.
I am determined to remember that I lied to my parents sometimes to get to a party, that when there were sleepovers, we spent hours looking at male genitalia because none of us had seen a real one by then.
I will remember that we were once chased out by the Vijitha Yaapa manager for browsing sex books with pictures.
Though I never smoked, drank or experimented with drugs, I will remember that teenagers are curious about these things.
I will remember that all these are normal teenage behavior when the time comes, though H1 will probably be grounded for eternity should she attempt any ;o)

Are parents too strict with kids for them to be so scared? My father was very strict with us. Heck..he didn't even allow us to watch TV after 9.00 pm as 'those Amercan bullshit' will corrupt our little minds. But my mom was sooo cool about everything. We could tell her about our heartaches and crushes. We used to even show her those valentine cards. I think that's the way to go. Be approachable.

I want H1 to know that no matter what, no matter how much trouble she is in, the safest place is in her parents arms. That though she might get a scolding, those arms will encircle her all the time.

Even now we make sure that after a scolding or a time out, we hug her, kiss her and say that it's alright. We let her know that we forgive her and love her. I hope that will let her know that no matter how much she has misbehaved or done wrong that nothing will ever change how much we love her.

I hope that no child ever takes their life in fear of facing their parents...
That no parent ever has to go through the agony of loosing their precious child...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Deathly Issues

With the passing of Micheal Jackson, because of all the media coverage, H1 has suddenly become very interested in death. Maybe interested isn't the correct word...more like apprehensive.

Most conversations were like this:

H1: Does everyone die?
Me : Yes darling. Everyone dies sometime or the other.
H1 : But I don't want to die!
M : Don't worry love, you want die for a long time. You usually grow old before you die.
H1 : Kiriamma is old. Is she going to die?
M: No love. She's not that old. She'll live a long long time. Maybe even till you grow up and get married and kids of your own.
H1 : What happens when we die?
M : Well, we think that we will be born somewhere else.
H1 : And I won't be H1?
M : No.
H1 : (Crying by now) But I don't want to be different. I want to be H1. I am so pretty. I don't want to look different. There is only one H1 in the world!

And by this point I would try to console her and divert her attention to something else.

Yesterday, after seeing a dead bug, she started asking me questions about death again.
H1 : Ammi will I die too?
M : Yes love. But not for a very long long long time.
H1 : If I drink a lot of milk will I not die?
M : Well, if you drink a lot a milk and eat your veggies, you'll be very healthy and healthy people don't die for a very long time.
H1 : Isn't there ANYTHING I can take to stop dying? (tears slowly sprouting from the eyes)
M : No love. But you don't have to worry. It's not going to happen anytime soon.
H1 : But I don't want to die! I don't want to be different! I will be different, maybe like a BOY! (Crying very hard)
M : No sweetheart, if you are a good girl, you will be born in a good place the way you want.
H1 : But I am naughty sometimes...
M : It's OK to be naughty sometimes because you are still a little girl.
H1 : Grown ups can't be naughty...
M : That's right.
H1 : Can I play the 'Queen' game now?
M : OK. That's a good idea (relieved)
H1 : "OK. You be the queen. Can I get you a soup your majesty?"

Friday, July 17, 2009

Reema Pottu Mee

Much to my chagrin this has become H1's favourite song. She calls it "Reema Pottu Mee song" and would come running from whatever she is doing if she hears it on TV. Maybe bacause half the words are in English and she understands parts of it :o)
What a long advertisement!!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sometimes parents make mistakes too...

H1 was so looking forward to colouring with her father before bedtime. She kept on saying, "Can you come now Thaaththi, can you please come now?" and her father kept on saying, "Give me five minutes darling...just wait OK?"

Finally when her father was ready, H1 skipped to her room only to be told, "Let's brush your teeth and get ready for bed first and then we'll colour." Boy wasn't she disappointed. So naturally she threw a mini tantrum. But her father was adamant. So H1 comes running to the mother complaining about this huge injustice. To compromise the mother says, "Why don't you coulour for five minutes first, then brush your teeth and then go back to colouring?" Both father and daughter are reluctant to back down. So the mother keeps quite while trying to sooth the daughter.

The father finally wins and gets his way, but H1 gets to colour with him for half and hour after brushing her teeth and getting ready for bed.

While the mother puts her to bed H1 says in a very sad voice, "Why doesn't Thaaththi listen to me once? I do EVERYTHING for him." "Oh you poor baby," the mother say, "Sometimes father's make mistakes too. But it's OK because you got to colour with him for a long time right?"

After H1 falls asleep, the mother relates the conversation to the father who by now feels so sorry that he says, "I want to go and hug her." The mother says, "Please don't do that, you'll wake her up. Why don't you tell her you were wrong in the morning when she wakes up?"

So, the next morning as H1 wakes up, the father rushes into the room, hugs her and says, "You know darling, I am sorry about last night. I should have coloured with you first. I am sorry," and H1 smiles serenely.

While getting ready for school she says triumphantly, "See, I was right!"

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A school for Hooty

We are so relieved that H1 has been accepted to the school that we were hoping for. It's absolutely crazy the way we have to go about ensuring a good school for the kids.

There is no way that we can hope to put H1 into a so called 'popular' government school because of the distance issue. I went through the form just the other day and how they allocate marks for a child. They reduce 5 marks for every school that is in between the school of your choice and your place of residence. Because we are in the outskirts of Colombo, H1 will end up getting minus marks!

We are lucky that we are fortunate enough to be able to send her to a private school. But it makes me sad about the lack of choice for most people and the disparity.

The whole process of this school business was hilarious actually, but I can only see the funny side of it after H1 got through. Many agonizing weeks were spent before we got the letter of acceptance.

You first need to pay and get the application form. And believe me, our poor cousin had to stay in line for 2 hours (as we were in Singapore then) just to get the form.

Then if you are lucky, you get a letter informing you that you and your child has been called for an interview. Yep...they even interview the kid!

Our time was given as 11.00 a.m. So there we were taking our time getting ready when one of my friends who had gone through the whole process before, gave me a call around 8.00 am.
"What are you still doing home?" she asked.
"It's only at 11" I say.
"Are you crazy. You better go now. Even though it says 11, the earlier you go, the better for you. They issue a number when you go and you will be taken in according to the number and not the time given."
"OMG!" I said now in total panic mode, "We have to get dressed and go NOW!" I called out to bewildered hubster.
"Does H1 know what you and Hubby do?" my friend asked.
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"They ask the kid what the parents do to make sure what you put down as your jobs in the form are true"
"OMG!" I say hyperventilating, "I don't think she knows!"
"Does she know where you live? They ask that too and even though it says just bring the letter and birth certificate make sure you take all your educational certificates, letters of employment and what ever you think is necessary because they might want to see them." said my friend.
"OMG, I gotta go. There's so much to do" I said, running around like a headless chicken.

So, while getting H1 ready I asked her, "What is Thaaththi's job darling. What does he do?"
"He does EVERYTHING!" she said.
"Hmmmm...what does Ammi do?"
"She cooks!"
"OMG Hubby, she doesn't know what we do!" I scream. Tell her quick! What shall we say?
Oh dear...oh dear" squealed the headless chicken.

"Where do we live Sweety," I asked in the car.
"Matara!" said H1.
"That's where Aththamma lives love" I said trying not to throw up.

After prepping her, we finally arrived at the school and the heavens parted. Yep...and we had no umbrella! So Hubby dropped us at the gate and holding the hundreds of files above our heads we made it in where we were body heard me a security guard before we were given a queue number. 288 it was and the time was barely 9.30 a.m.!

I looked around the tense atmosphere and every single woman there was wearing a sari...good enough for a wedding, and there I was in pants and a blouse. "OMG, they will reduce marks for not wearing a sari...what do we do? WHAT DO WE DO??" I asked hubby. "It's OK. you have an excuse. It's obvious you can't wear a sari. Don't worry." my calm husband assured me. I was 7 months preggy you see.

All the kids were dolled up. All were in pretty little pink dresses, hair in ribbons and clips. I saw little kids being brought in by them selves without the parents after their number was called. So I quickly told H1, "See, those little girls go all by them selves with the big akki's. Ammi and Thaaththi won't come with you OK darling? Don't worry OK. It looks like fun! Wow! I wonder what they did. I think they had fun in there," while keeping my fingers crossed!

By the way, while waiting for our number to be called, I went to the toilet three times to pee (which was next to the interview room)..yep THREE. I have no idea what everyone thought of me! Well there was a bubba using my bladder for a comfy seat!

When our number was called, we went in and H1 was suddenly grabbed by an older girl and taken away. I was too stunned and so was Hubby. There was no time for a good bye even. I am so glad I prepared her. Apparently if the child cried at this point, she is crossed off then and there!

Hubs and I were asked a few abrupt questions about what we do and what our schools were and that was it! H1 apparently had to go to five teachers who asked her questions (yes, they did ask what does your parents do!) and was asked to identify some colours, animals, find the difference in two pictures and do a memory puzzle. I was really worried about how she would do as she is still not conversant in Sinhala. When I asked her how she did, she said "The teacher asked me questions in Sinhala. I answered in English." I guess she did well as she was accepted. Phew.

Then came the waiting...calls to people I knew who had gone for the interviews..."Did you get a letter yet?"

Finally after 3 weeks we did get it and fortunately for was a yes.