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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

bringing up the kids

Much has been written on how best to bring up the kids. We would not like to admit it but, from the day we broke free from the apron strings of our mothers and cold shouldered our grannies, we landed in soup. By the time the full implications of our folly dawned on us, it was too late. We discovered the hard way that the old timers did have some role to play in our lives, one of them being the all important role of a baby sitter. Anyway, since it was our own doing, we had no one else to blame but ourselves so we handled the situation as best as we could. We recruited paid ayahs to rock the baby to sleep, to change its nappies, to feed it as per a strict schedule prescribed by the doctor, to wheel it out in the park in its exclusive pram etcetera etcetera. When the kid gradually transformed into a toddler, we took it in turns to teach it the alphabets, make it familiar with the colors, explain to it the differences between the onion and the apple, make it understand that a cat meows and the dog barks. On holidays we exchanged notes with others of our tribe and continuously searched for points that we might have overlooked. The objective was to ensure that it secured admission to the school.

Well – once the first hurdle was crossed came other more serious ones. Donations to this fund or that were irritating but not as problematic as entering the domain of school lessons where nothing seemed to be familiar. The changes that have taken in the syllabus since we were in the same classes stump us. We resort to private tuitions by those who are better equipped than us.

The worst part is the parties, birthday parties and associated gifts. In our times, these parties were restricted to real close friends and near and dear ones along with the neighbors. Gifts were a part and parcel of these rare occasions. Today, however, such parties have become extremely popular and are for the children, by the children. Gifts today are costly affairs and, in keeping with the others, we have to bow down to the wishes of our kids. They have already learnt to live their lives in the fast track.

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