Archive of ‘Is it cos I is Indian?’ category
I’m not the bake-sale mum with perfect coiffed hair. I’d eat all the cakes, would rather endure Celine Dion on constant loop than attend football practice and my hair is decidely un-’coiffable’.
However, to go as far as admit that I am in fact the mum who cannot, for the life of her, remember to put the tooth fairy money under her kids’ pillow when they lose a tooth…E-V-E-R. Well…I’m about to admit that (as well as give you five reasons you can use if you ever need to explain why the tooth fairy never came…you’re welcome).
“She’s joking right?” you ask. Oh, but I’m not. In my pathetic defence, although I was born and bred in the UK, am more British comedy series than Bollywood drama, prefer a Sunday roast to a curry (I know, shocker right?) and own a ridiculous amount of Union Jack items from oven gloves to shoes, I did nevertheless grow up in an Indian household. We just didn’t do the tooth fairy ritual so I guess it’s a culture difference thing. I could double-check with my siblings to see if they remember it differently but I’m quite sure we didn’t get anything when we lost a tooth. Apart from a ugly gap in the mouth.
So, let me take you through the fiasco of my son finally losing his first tooth, aged seven.
He had excitedly placed his tooth under the pillow – BIG moment – and I wished him and the girls goodnight, making a mental note to fetch a coin once he was asleep. I went back down, told Hubster about the tooth and…promptly forgot about it myself. Ironically, I forgot because after cleaning up the kitchen, I got busy writing a post about what I’ve learned since becoming a mum. Clearly, I must have learned to not put the damned tooth fairy money under the pillow. Honestly, my scatty mother behaviour has become so legendary that an actual newspaper article has been written about me.
Anyway, the following morning I nearly fell out of bed with a pounding heart as I realised the mistake.
My Dreamy D: such an undemanding gentle child (when he’s not tanked up on Asthma meds) for whom the least I could do is remember his tooth fairy money.
No worries, he’ll be fast asleep; I’ll just slip it under the pillow now, I thought…before I heard him in the bathroom sounding very much awake. Cue mini heart attack. Is he kidding me? He chooses this morning as the ONE morning in the whole week to wake up early, instead of being dead to the world like he normally is?! Then I thought No problem, he’s always half asleep first thing; there’s no way he’s noticed the lack of silver under the pillow. My sick-to-the-stomach feeling now replaced by calm complacency, I popped my head around the door and smiled as brightly as I could (no easy task as I don’t usually smile til I’ve literally bathed in coffee). I nearly shrank in mortification as my son mustered up his bravest smile, tried to mask his disappointment and said:
“Mama, the tooth fairy never came.”
Quiet, flat, deflated voice. Those huge doe eyes. Go Team Prabs. #MotherOfTheYear.
I crept back into my bedroom, punched myself in the face, briefly considered punching Hubster in the face and told him about the mess-up. His response was “We are sh*t”. What can I say? He’s a man, an Aries man; they’re fairly direct but to be fair, this Aries man had a point. Yet, though I totally agreed with the sh*t verdict and berated myself for my crap parenting, I was cheesed off at the tooth fairy, the Easter bunny and all the other damned myths I have to try to stay on top of. My brain instantly fogged up with panic trying to figure out the right course of action.
In my frustration, I came up with 5 excuses I could give to explain the absence of money i.e. 5 Reasons Why the Tooth Fairy never came.
1) Toothy overslept after a mad night out with Tinkerbull (as Tinkerbell is now known because of her legendary Vodka Redbull consumption)
2) She got stuck in fairy traffic, due to an accident caused by two fairies not looking in their ‘wing’ mirrors
3) Times are tough; even the tooth fairy is affected by the poor Fairy Dollar (FD) exchange rate.
4) Wait, you were expecting money? You know what I used to get when I lost a tooth? Kleenex!
5) Your mother is sh*t
I decided against mentally scarring him any further by using these excuses and instead, the whole situation went down like this:
- I ran downstairs to fetch my wallet only to bump into Musical M (9yo at the time). Is she kidding me? She chooses this morning as the ONE morning in the whole week to wake up early, instead of being dead to the world like she normally is?! Are you detecting the pattern here?
- I hurriedly grabbed some coins. Musical M saw me. So I threw her my look. You know THE look that all of us are suddenly able to do once we become mothers. The “Don’t even think about asking me” look. Not you? Just me? Seriously?!
- I pegged it back upstairs (I swear I never knew I could moved so fast) and bumped into Cheeky K (4yo) who’d climbed out of bed, having also chosen this morning as the ONE morning…you know what, I’m not even going to bother finishing that sentence…
- I literally threw the money under his pillow not realising that Cheeky K was watching. It’s pointless trying to administer THE look to a four year-old upon realising you’ve been rumbled. A hand may have been clamped over her mouth as she started asking me questions. I can neither confirm nor deny this. You’ll have to speak to my lawyer about that.
- Now comes the rolling-my-eyes-in-shame bit (like it’s not shameful enough so far): I FORGOT TO TAKE THE TOOTH FROM UNDER THE PILLOW.
hat did Hubster do during all of this?
What, the man who can survive on three hours sleep? The man who never hits the snooze button? The man who practically leaps out of bed ready to face the day, the second the alarm goes off? (Incidentally, how did I marry someone like this? I could just thump him.) Basically, after delivering his “we are sh*t” verdict, he chose this morning as the ONE morning in the whole year to…
…go back to sleep.
Is he kidding me?!
A short while later, Hubster woke up, Dreamy D lifted his pillow again – er possibly prompted by his mother – and found money that had miraculously materialised while he’d been brushing his teeth. He ran out of his room in total astonishment to tell us both that the tooth was still there. Now, I’m a blogger. I write. Words are obviously my thing. But I have NO idea which words describe the look on my husband’s (or my son’s) face at this point.
I may or may not have crept out of the room silently.
I can neither confirm nor deny that rumour.
You’ll have to speak to my lawyer about that.
Originally published two years ago in different form. A version of it has also appeared on the brilliant guest blog series Rookie Mistakes by Life, Love and Dirty Dishes
Hubster came home the other evening and said “Guess what I was doing last night?” to which I thought Heavens above, I don’t wanna know. “I was trawling the Web” he said, to which I just thought Ok, you really need to stop talking right now. “I was looking at dogs” he continued, and I thought Man that’s not a nice thing to call the women on ‘those’ sites. We then had a discussion about the best family dogs. Sorry to disappoint if you thought I was going somewhere else with this.
You see, the unthinkable has happened. We (and by we I mean Mama Prabulous) can’t stop thinking about getting a dog. Yep, me: a self-confessed-not-exactly-animal-lover-type (what can I say? I’m Indian) especially animals that bark and poo and moult.
Well that was me, before my epiphany:
Basically, we spent quite a few Sundays this Winter hiking with Baker Lady who often brought a friend’s dog along with her. To my surprise the kids totally loved running around the Maltese countryside with the dog and I found myself thinking more and more that a dog would be great for the kids. Yes, I know…a few sunny afternoons dog-sitting after which you hand the dog back (and at no point have to handle its toilet issues) are not the same as the full-time responsibility of having one yourself.
Then I had a second epiphany:
It’s not the family that needs a dog. It’s me! Here’s the thing. I shut down the baby-making factory a while ago and now that my kids aren’t babies anymore, I need another baby to look after (and presumably need my head testing too after that comment). I mean, I’m SO on top of the whole cleaning-laundry-shopping-blog-cooking-childrearing-exercise-life-in-general thing that I have loads of spare time and energy to spend on training and caring for a dog. (Can you detect the ‘mild’ sarcasm?)
But there’s a bit of a ‘hereditary’ setback to us getting a canine friend. I’m not entirely sure how to say this diplomatically. Luckily for me I don’t care too much about diplomacy on here so I’ll just spit it out and say:
Historically Indian people are not well known for keeping domestic animals.
Well, not keeping them in the ‘treating them as part of the family’ sense anyway. When I was growing up, I knew only one Indian family who had a pet of any kind. And they weren’t too good at the caring and nurturing thing. ‘A dog is a man’s best friend?’ Ha, most Asian families I knew just saw a dog as a man’s dirty, smelly, fear-inducing bane. And so did I.
Fast forward some thirty (ahem) years and guess what?
Yep, I still only know one Indian family with a dog! But this Indian, dear reader, oh this Indian has been researching breeds on the google machine, gazing longingly at random dogs in the street and asking their owners questions. No idea how I’ve done such a u-turn. Recently, we were at our new fave beach when a load of dogs descended filling up the place. A year ago, I’d haven been majorly hacked off at having my peaceful afternoon wrecked by a bunch of noisy pests turning up, sniffing each other’s genitals, splashing sea water everywhere and running all over the beach causing a mini sandstorm before shaking themselves off right next to me.
But that’s enough about my kids.
Oh stop…don’t tell me you didn’t see that one coming.
Seriously, this time? I wasn’t even remotely annoyed. Instead, I mentally picked out my favourite canine, cooed and aahed at it and stroked its wet doggy self.
Yet everyone I’ve spoken to has warned me off getting one
(everyone bar one friend who’s laid back about everything anyway so I’m not sure his opinion counts). Bizarrely, most of these people have dogs! Selfie Gal even said “Prabs you’re not a dog person” which momentarily confused me because I’m sure there’s a bitch in me somewhere. Anyway, now I’m in a quandary and can’t decide whether to get a four-legged housemate or not.
I think it pretty much comes down to the answers to the following:
1. Can dogs help with maths homework?
2. Could I get canine handcuffs to make it harder for it to wreck the entire house?
3. Can they come up with a breed that doesn’t shit?
4. How good are dogs at doing the dishes?
5. Can I wrap it in clingfilm to avoid it shedding everywhere?
6. If I stick Sat Nav on it with our home address, could it go walkies and find its own way back home when Mama Prabulous is too busy doing laundry? (By ‘doing laundry’ I mean watching Adam Levine on repeat.)
7. How easy is it to get a Prabulous-size dog? I’m on the petite side (translation: I never grew) so there’s no point getting something the size of a horse that sends me flying into the dining table with one wag of its tail.
8. Would my Maltese neighbours think I’d finally lost it if they hear me calling “Pankaj!”…”Ramesh!”…”Sunita!”…? (Wait til I tell them my friend’s dog is called Pocahontas.)
Can you spot the problem here? (No pun intended with the use of the word ‘spot’ in a post about dogs…I’m not that good.) Not exactly dog-savvy am I?
So if you hear about a brown woman and three mini brown people accosting dog owners in the street, don’t worry, it’s just me and my family trying to get some answers…
You know…because generally, Indians don’t do dogs.
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Live from the Absolutely Prabulous household, I bring you seven of my family’s bloopers this Father’s Day weekend. Okay, so the photography isn’t exactly stellar but hopefully you’ll forgive me. Nevertheless, don’t say I don’t spoil you.
1. YOU KNOW HOW KIDS MAKE STUFF (LOTTTTSSSSA STUFF) FOR SPECIAL OCCASIONS…and then bring it aaaallllll home so that you have to throw yet more essential items out of your house just to display/store it all? Well Dreamy D made a booklet about his relationship with his father. Now I’m not denying his dad is bigger (and darker) than him and I’m NOT laughing at my kid’s artistic abilities (because frankly, the boy can do a better job than I can of drawing). But…but…isn’t that Indian Rambo (or should I say Ram-bo?) on the left and Pee-Wee Herman on the right)?? What is with Ram-bo’s neck?!
2. ISN’T IT SURPRISING HOW KIDS VIEW THEIR PARENTS? I have to say I was ‘interested’ to learn Dreamy D thinks his dad is both short and tall at the same time (two small balls on the left…no I’m not making personal comments about his dad…I mean that’s where you’ll find it on the pic). Apparently, his dad also plays golf…who knew?
3. HIS DAD’S A SUPER HERO…HANG ON, WHAT HAPPENED TO THAT NECK? Alright, what kid doesn’t think his dad is a hero? It’s more how Ram-bo’s neck seems to have disappeared that’s worrying me here (and has my son got his dad wearing a cape or a dress here or am I nit picking?)
4. CHEEKY K GOT IN ON THE ACTION TOO. I love the little wallet style card she did with treats on individual paper tokens for him to pull out. Woah…but how is him ‘picking a chore’ a treat? (And anyway, it’s hard enough getting him to do chores the rest of the year, so how is that going to work on his day OFF?)
5. DID CHEEKY K’S TEACHER GET THE KIDS TO DO AN UNDERWATER SCENE because she knows that this is where all Mummies would like to throw Daddies when Daddies are being completely bloody annoying? No? Oh, my mistake.
6. I USED TO READ THINGS PROPERLY BUT IT’S NOT GOING SO WELL LATELY. After buying my son a birthday card for a “Dear Cousin…”, I think I may have gone one better with the Father’s Day one I bought on behalf of my kids. Can you spot the problem? You know, considering I have two girls and a boy… What can I say? I’ve turned into my mother; well they say it happens…
7. THE ICING ON THE CAKE HAS GOT TO BE THIS… A while ago I was worrying about how to explain the birds and bees to my kids but I don’t think I need to worry anymore. It looks like Dreamy D’s figured out how he got here (although it’s a bit weird he chose to show this on the Father’s Day card he made). Oh no, wait, those are celebratory balloons…
Gotta love it.
REVISED AND REPUBLISHED.
You know your daughter is growing up when you walk into your kids’ bedroom and instead of finding the usual charming collection of cute soft toys on her pillow, you stumble upon Ken getting all cosy with his Monster High harem. I mean, just what the heck, Ken?
Then as if that’s not bad enough, later that same day, you come across this:
Seriously…just what the eff, Barbie??
I don’t know about you but personally, when I see something like this on a young child’s bed – no scrap that – when I actually saw this on MY child’s bed, I thought:
1) Oh no, she isn’t a baby anymore
2) Crappity crap, we’re out of vodka
3) That’s it. I have zero coping mechanism right now.
This was followed by a churning in my stomach and a dry feeling in my mouth (presumably because of the lack of frickin’ vodka). You know why? Yep…cos I knew even worse was yet to come. I knew the time was approaching when I’d need to have the talk. Yep THE talk. Yes, yes! THAT one! Explaining sex to kids. Groan.
Oh for goodness sake, would someone purleeese go find me that vodka?
Now, here’s the thing:
Coming from an Indian background, I was never given THE talk when I was growing up. Asians just don’t do the sex talk. It’s so completely taboo. In fact, when I was growing up, I kind of wondered if Asians even had sex because nobody acknowledged its existence. Showing any form of physical affection towards a spouse or member of the opposite sex was frowned upon. Actually, my parents were an anomaly because occasionally they would – HOLD THE FRONT PAGE – hold hands! I know right? Shock horror, and so on. And the western concept of romance? (Yep, it’s seen as a Western concept) was a total no no. Seriously, if there was even a tiny possibility that a couple were about to kiss on screen, a certain family member would swoop in with the remote control and change channels. I cannot count the number of times Alexis Carrington was about to get down and dirty with Dex Dexter (that name!) or some other random guy on Dynasty, when all of a sudden, the news or weather would miraculously appear on the screen.
If you’re of Indian, or in fact any form of Eastern origin, then that probably sounds slightly familiar… I’m so sorry. Let’s all hold hands.
I guess, in the general scheme of things, it’s no big deal and we grow up unscathed and manage to figure out how it all works. Put it this way, evidently this lack of knowledge-sharing by our parents/elders does not affect Asians too much because there are just a few of us on the planet which means a lot of us figured it out…
I am convinced, however, that this general view of sex by Eastern cultures as shameful and not for discussion most definitely has its consequences. However, that takes us into all sorts of serious territory and a) serious is currently on holiday b) you could literally write an entire book on that and c) actually, I don’t think it’s just an Asian thing. A Maltese friend pointed out that the same is true of Catholic cultures and to be honest, I doubt my ‘white Western’ friends got sat down when they were x years-old and given a Power point presentation by their parents on fornication (mainly because Power Point didn’t exist back then).
Anyway, back to Ken and his harem. Fast forward several decades (eek) and here I am, a mother myself, having a mild panic attack (suffering from cold palms, waking up with night sweats and feeling a general sick sense of dread…so nothing major) at the mere thought of having to do THE talk. Ah….there they are….those consequences I mentioned… See? I don’t have the faintest idea how to go about it.
So I’m wondering if I can just make light of the whole thing (well I did say serious is currently away folks) and use one of the following
to explain things to Musical M and – when the time comes to it (like when they’re 30) – her siblings:
1. Go with “First there was Adam. Then there was Eve…and there was no TV…blimey were they bored! Oh and here’s a diagram I drew earlier. I’m not very good at drawing. If you want to know anything else, Google it”.
2. Give her a dot to dot book with ‘relevant’ pictures and wish her luck.
3. Put all three of them in front of a DVD. Yes, THAT kind of DVD. And then get M to explain it to the other two.
4. Say “There was a stork. I have NO idea what happened next but I’m sure you can figure the rest out, you’re an intelligent kid.”
5. Buy her a load of Rihanna/Nicki Minaj/Robin Thicke. Surely it’s enough?
6. Say “This is a picture of the male body. This is a picture of the female body. This – ooh, who wants to play on the Wii?”
7. Walk past her room, lob an ‘informative’ book (see below) at the bed while she’s got her headphones on and run away.
8. Tell her “You start with a kiss. Ok, that’s it for lesson one. Shall we go to McDonalds?” I would rather run down the street naked with nothing but a Man U scarf around my neck than take my kids to McDonalds but I reckon feeding them junk food would be less painful than doing THE talk.
9. Just let her loose on YouTube. Sooner or later, she’s bound to come across something useful. You can learn a lot from YouTube.
10. Just ask her dad to do it when they’re both sat at breakfast.
And then run away.
Come on…one of those has to work right?!
And if none of them do, you might want to try one of these:
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Sitting at Cafe Juliani having a post-pilates cappuccino blogging away. Just looked out the window and there’s an Indian (Sikh to be precise) man who looks so like my dad, smart suit, turban, greying beard and all. Seriously fighting the urge to a) take a picture of him to remind my British /Indian/ Maltese kids what “Mummy’s people” actually look like (I think we see one a year in Malta), b) rush over the road and hug him and c) invite him to dinner.
I know, I know, I’m a whole different level of crazy. Indian crazy…it’s good crazy though.
So back when she was about five years old, one evening Musical M had just got out of the shower when she spotted her reflection in the bathroom mirror. I had wrapped a towel around her damp hair which made her look like she was wearing a turban (like my Sikh father).
“Ooh Mummy” she says ” I look just like an Indian person!” I think we were both knocked backwards by my horrified shriek: “What do you mean LIKE? You ARE an Indian person!”