Doing It for the Kids

Written By

Shaapla Sen

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I wasn’t an easy child to raise, although I found out about that much too late. By then, so much time had already passed that I was just left with time to think about what a handful I must have been! My mom is the kind of woman that just can’t help but love something if it’s got even one lovable thing about it. The type that squeezes the cheeks of other people’s babies. Babies of strangers! Without ever taking permission. My cheeks used to get pulled lots and nobody ever used to ask me so I really used to feel for those babies. It would radiate out of her, the love and affection for some baby she had never seen before. It used to irk me. Why go around touching random babies?

I was part of a 1+1 free offer and I came with my brother. He is the only baby I really know. My sister was older and went through the usual first-child tendencies: especially because nobody really warned or told her what was about to happen and when introduced to us for the first time she told my parents that she was expecting presents instead. We must have annoyed her immensely – Two wobbly, round, pudgy things crawling around the house, drooling over her toys.

Children are like fireworks, I like them only from a distance.  I wouldn’t want to make any but I don’t mind others around me experiencing the joy of creating and enjoying fireworks.

If you read any sort of psychological research you’ll know that humans are born with no control over their instincts. Experience, other people, situations and circumstances attempt to chisel away at us and what is left is the result of so much more than that. So a child learns to be quiet, learns to be nice, learns to be everything. That period when it’s learning, I have no patience for that.

The problem is patience. I don’t think I have as much as is needed. Of course, parenting is hard and nobody is ever truly prepared for it and mistakes happen. But why take such a huge leap when you’re not sure? Even if that’s a bigger discussion for another day, let’s focus on the much simpler things. Why take such a huge leap when you aren’t melted by human-baby-cuteness? Even a really cute baby has never given me an urge and made me want one of my own. If genes have anything to do with it at all, my baby will be cute but such a PAIN in the ass.

And babies are lucky. They get away with lots.

They can throw things at you, call you dirty names they just heard somewhere, they can throw up on you, they can poop on you, they can kick you in sensitive places, they can annoy the pets, they can spill things, break things and they can bawl in public places for a long, long time and everybody, no matter how much they love babies – they are all annoyed.

It’s actually nice to see people with their kids – parents that are relaxed momentarily and have managed to clean all sorts of baby-inflicted dirt off them, enjoying rare peaceful moments. Then there are families who look perpetually annoyed with their kids, those that look like ‘YES my baby has STOPPED crying; now QUICK let me eat some hot food in peace!’; those that look like they are completely unaffected by their spawn and the child literally does what it wants; those that are just drained and want to go to sleep. The rare movie moments just punctuate this process.

But that’s also the funny thing about parenting, in a week of 6 difficult days, we consider ourselves blessed and lucky to have 1 good day. But I am an idealist incapable of evolution and I want more than that 1 good day. I get that from animals. Many, many good days. Even if there’s shredded paper all over my floor, it’s a good day. They won’t argue with me, they won’t grow up and tell me it’s THEIR life and I have no say; they won’t get a chance to be mean to others. Selfish yes, but works fine with me.




Shaapla Sen, 27, lives and works in Bangalore. She is physically occupied a few hours each day with HR and sales. But mentally occupied every moment with photography, painting, trees, cooking, music, family, affection and her furbabies.

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