Introduction – The fleeting everyday moments
Our son recently turned five. On one hand, I am a proud mom beaming with pride at his budding independence. But at the other, I can’t help but think of all the mom-son everyday moments which are progressively dwindling as part of his growing-up process. Those spontaneous cuddles, my being at the center of his universe, that super-power of taking away pain by kissing boo-boos, are all slowly fading away as new events with friends, hobbies, and life, in general, are taking center stage. But he is still at that magical age between being a baby and being a full-blown child (who abhors cuddles and kisses). So, yes, there are still a few such fleeting moments left for me to cherish. And I am holding them close before they fade away with each passing year. Here are some of my favorites from the list:
1. Morning/Bedtime hugs and kisses
I am not always present when our son goes to sleep at night or when he wakes up in the morning. But even then, he still wants me to be THE ONE he sees first every morning and night; and it does feel good to be needed that way. In the eyes of your 5-year-old, no one else will do. Those morning/bedtime hugs and kisses that have to come from you and you alone are indeed extra-special and make up for a perfect beginning and end to your days.
2. Bathtime make-believe
These days, I am no longer invited to play an active role during our son’s pretend play bouts at bath time. But I still get to witness his make-believe world from afar in the capacity of his prop-provider and bath facilitator.
Seeing your child orchestrate a massive rescue operation against the Minions hell-bent on imprisoning Minnie Mouse or negotiate the rules of engagement with Spider-Man is much more entertaining than TV. Though this everyday moment is fast approaching its end zone, I thoroughly look forward to and cherish it. No, not just because our son is at his creative best at bath time but more so, because it is the one time during the whole day when I get to sip an uninterrupted cup of coffee while watching him don his “pretend” super-hero cape. Entertainment plus coffee – Who can beat such a perfect moment!? 😉
3. Cooking classes
Except for the weekends, when you will not find me anywhere near the kitchen, I prefer cooking all meals at home. That means I spend a good half-an-hour or two every day in the kitchen washing, chopping and cooking vegetables. And who else to give me company, if not for our 5-year-old who wants to help in every possible way he can? And those moments talking about vegetables, spelling words, discussing the environment, practicing English-Hindi translation, counting/measuring quantities is education without a classroom.
4. Swindled kisses
Our son is still at the age when you can make a pouty or sad face and hope for a few kisses and hugs to make you feel better in return. And I use that opportunity to the fullest. Though nowadays, he pre-negotiates the number of kisses (Ten, it is always ten!) I tend to swindle a few more from him by deliberately mixing up his counting or by altering our contract “I thought you said ten kisses on each cheek!“. The stolen kisses are always the sweetest!
5. The secret language
Five is the age when children can talk up a storm. And friends, family, strangers – well, pretty much everyone can understand what they are saying. So my job as his language translator is long over. But still, simply by virtue of being his companion 24X7, I am privy to secret language and signs that not everyone can comprehend when talking to our 5-year-old. Like when he touches his forefinger and middle finger to his forehead in a contemplative stare, I know automatically that he is pretending to be Goku ready to teleport (Dragon Ball Z fans, anyone?). Or when he says “I am the duck“, he does not mean just any duck, he means he is the duck from “Sarah and Duck”. And you must sing the title song then and there. Every “Tally-ho” (Nature Cat), “Yoo-hoo” (WALL-E) and “Howdy” (Toy Story) has significance beyond their literal meanings which is obvious only to me. And that is bound to make up for some special memories!
6. The sidekick moments
For every Goku, there is Gohan’s Ma, for every Nature Cat, there is Daisy, the rabbit (who can hop). WALL-E has EVE-ah (the one who needs a plant to fall asleep!), Woody has Jesse (“yee-haw”)…well you get the picture, don’t you? I AM his sidekick. Period. Not for long, I bet, but for the foreseeable future, I am still his preferred sidekick and I love it. Of course, he categorically denies that I am his friend nowadays, but who cares?
7. Talking into the night
5-year-olds have a million questions to ask and a zillion stories to tell. And what better time of the hour if not for when it is dark and quiet to contemplate the world at large? I love our discussions in the middle of the night. Spinning incredible stories out of thin air, getting into serious discussions about water conservation, bugs, and whatnot – This is one cherished everyday moment that I am hoping will remain constant even when he gets older.
8. Being silly
5-year-olds like silly, especially when the silliness flows from an adult. Making funny faces, flailing arms and legs wildly to the beat of the music, spinning, hopping, concocting funny sounding meaningless words, all are welcome and appreciated. Can you think of a better way to spend your afternoons?
9. Watching a movie together (for the umpteenth time)
I have lost count of the number of times I have watched WALL-E or Toy Story (all three movies) with our son since he fell in love with all things Pixar (like me, yay!). When the weather is cruel and going outside is not an option, when playing indoors is no longer fun, plonking down on the sofa and watching a movie together for the umpteenth time has got its own special charm. You both know exactly what is going to happen next in the movie. Hell, you remember every single dialogue verbatim, but still, it’s so much fun to pretend to be surprised at the twists and laugh at the jokes all over again. Singing along with the songs (“Put on your Sunday Clothes“, “You’ve got a friend in me“) is always the best part!
10. Eating ice cream at odd hours…just because
I am not sure if there is a child in the universe who doesn’t like his ice-cream. Our otherwise picky-eater is no exception. And especially when the ice-cream is eaten at odd hours (middle of the night, at peak winter etc.), it makes up for double the fun and memories.
11. Piggyback Rides
And yes, how can I forget the piggyback rides? A 5-year-old is still not very heavy or tall for a piggy-back ride once in a while. And those mornings and noons spent galloping through the house with your bundle of joy is simply precious. And the best part? The chivalrous boy that our son is, doesn’t hesitate for a second to give you a return ride if you ever ask him! “I am so strong, you see. I can never break!” 😉
Everyone says children grow up in the blink of an eye. And maybe they do. But in these past five years, I have enjoyed a gazillion everyday moments that make me smile even today and which I will cherish for as long as I live. And the good news is that even though some of the moments are drawing to a close, I know for sure that there are more such everyday moments replacing the lost ones faster than I can bid adieu to the bygone ones lost in time. And I cannot wait to unwrap the moments our future holds.