Being a working woman, I rarely, if ever attend birthday parties.
In fact, who am I kidding here?? I don’t get invited to Birthday parties . Or ANY parties, for that matter
I guess, my not celebrating the twin’s birthday may have something to do with it. Since I didn’t invite anyone, people didn’t invite me ! Oh well!!
Anyhow, the point of my post is that, last evening, I attended a small party hosted by the BF’s colleague in celebration of his wedding. The guy was from Assam and since both the wedding and reception had taken place in his native place, he hosted a private party in a restaurant’s lounge.
It was a pleasant enough crowd , where men were concerned. The guys seemed to enjoy themselves. The women, all seven of us, made an awkward group. Two of them knew each other from before, so they huddled in one corner. The bride had invited one of her family friends’ from back home and was busy chatting with the lady in her native language. That left three other women, including me, to made idle talk. Two minutes into the conversation, I realized that I was the only one talking (as usual) and the rest were barely listening to me. For those of you laughing right now, let me clarify that the DJ was quite diligent at his console and made sure that our ear-drums were incapable of serving the purpose they were meant for.
Luckily, one of the guys requested the DJ to turn down the volume and that really helped. I tried to resume the conversation, but it was less of a conversation and more of an interview, with me doing all the asking and the rest just replying. I initially thought they were all a little shy and hesitant to talk. So I gave them some time and busied myself with RS. By the way, I’d taken only RS to the party and left SS behind. An act which I regretted deeply later. He was irritable and cranky in the evening and the MIL had suggested that I leave him behind. The reason for his crankiness was a severe diaper rash and taking a baby out without a diaper is a clear cut NO. Later in the night, after we were back, MIL told me that SS was searching the house for his sister, going from room to room, calling out ‘pa….pa’ (thats how both the kids refer to each other!!). Broke my heart to hear that!! I vowed immediately that the next time, either both the kids go or both dont. And if the kids can’t go, neither will I. Anyhow, I digress (as usual).
There is only so much you can ask of the others and I had reached the end of my questionnaire. Surprisingly, none of them asked me about myself. I simply put it down to their lack of interest in lack in me (which is TOTALLY acceptable. Believe me ). Of the seven women present, five of us were there with our kids. There were a total of six and a half kids (one being carried by his mom in the tummy ) . The oldest kid was around 5-6 years of age. The youngest, was RS.There was a little boy who was 2 years old, another girl who was 3 and two more who were 5 years old.
Except RS, ALL the kids were clinging to their mommies.
Except RS, ALL the kids sat in one place throughout the evening.
Except RS, ALL the kids were fed by their mothers.
Except RS, ALL the kids kept to themselves, not bothering with the other kids around.
And little Ms.RS. What do I say about her??
As soon as she entered the venue, she started dancing at the music.
As soon as she saw the other kids, she tried to kiss them all. It’s sad to see her being rudely shoved off by the older kids and the mothers not stopping their kids. And under any other circumstance, I would have spanked RS for troubling others. But she wasn’t troubling, was she? Trying to kiss other children comes naturally to her and she LOVES doing that. How do I stop her then?? When she was hungry, I gave her a biscuit. She promptly handed it over to the 3-year-old girl and came back to me for more. As soon as I’d handed her another, she went ahead and handed it over to the 2-year-old boy. I swear, my heart filled with pride when my little darling made sure that she handed biscuits to ALL the kids present and only then did she proceed to eat her own.
The most awful part?? NONE of the kids, who were old enough to talk, said ‘Thank You’. Worse still, none of the mother’s were bothered enough to prompt their kids to say so!! I was more than shocked at this lack of manners. How will the kids ever learn their Ps and Qs if no one ever teaches them?? Brought back memories of this post!!
RS was keeping everyone amused with her antics, but thankfully, she wasn’t being errant and I could actually sit back and relax while she made rounds of the place and investigated all the corners. I took the time to observe the other kids and while making small talk with the other women, I complimented them on their kids. On how cute they were and how pretty. I sincerely meant those comments , because seriously, kids ARE just so cute when they are not being bratty. The women accepted the compliments with a smile. Some bothered to add a couple or more comments on how exactly their kids behave at home and how they are super naughty at home and school.
None of the women said a single word about RS. They were surprised to see my child eating her dinner from her lunch box with a spoon, making sure to wipe her mouth with a tissue after every morsel. They shot envious looks at her as they hand-fed their kids. One ventured to ask me how old she was and was quite shocked to learn that RS was 6 months younger to her son, who was still bottle-fed. Yet, no one uttered a single compliment her way. I must confess, I was super irked.
On the way back, when I narrated the incident to the BF, he was quite surprised. Because apparently, most of his colleagues who were observing RS, had complimented him on her antics (Which made me heave a sigh of relief. At least the men had better manners! There was some hope for their kids yet ). He also added that I shouldn’t expect people to come and compliment me on the kids every time. It’s their choice whether they want to or not and I really shouldn’t read too much into their behaviour.
To a certain extent, I agreed with the BF’s point of view. I am a fiercely protective mother and I do think that my kids are good, but I’ve never claimed them to be exceptional. They have their flaws and I am yet to work on them. But the BF and I try our best to make sure that we use simple terms like Thank You, or Please or Sorry in the twin’s presence. They must get familiar with these sounds and learn the right usage of these terms.
Frankly, I don’t like correcting other people’s kids when their parents are themselves around. I prefer correcting my kids first. The irony is that my kids will never learn the significance of right etiquettes if they don’t see any of their peers following it. I’m almost prepared for the arguments which might come later in life, the ones which go like, “but pappu never says sorry”, “my classmates never say thank you for anything. why should i?” and the like!!
How do I explain them what is right? How do I make them do what I feel is right? How do I prevent them from comparing us with other parents (the ones that don’t reprimand kids on their manners might just seem ‘cool’). Where as me and the BF would be relegated to the category of the old-coots-to-be-most-avoided!! I dread to think of my kids feeling like social outcasts, just because their parents’ sense of etiquettes does not match with their peers!!
Being parents is tough. But I’m slowly learning that its tougher now than it was earlier. When we were being moulded into being respectful, so were our peers. When we said Thank you, so did the others.
Where did all the manners go??
Why have people stopped instilling them?? Is it laziness, spite, what?? What indeed??
This post turned out longer than I’d planned.
I guess for now, we just got to do what we think is right. What we feel is the best for the twins. And do it before they are old enough to compare
After that…….. (*shudder*!!!)
Edited to Add :-
This post was selected for Blogadda’s Tangy Tuesday Picks.