#whenparentsfight #assumptions #whenkidsthink
The 7-year-old is still naive and oblivious to feelings of people around her. Her 11-year-old sister on the other hand is like CCTV coupled with Google Analytics. So while my younger musketeer happily brings out a tray full of nail colours I had forgotten I own, the older one sniffs a cold war brewing between the spouses.
My little manicurist pulls a chair by the sofa, grabs my left palm and starts off, no permission asked. She picks 5 different colours for my five fingers and I feel lucky I don’t have ten to a hand. While I am lost in Netflix and the better half in his rituals, we realise it’s that dreaded time of the day – dinnertime. And lo, I have been lazy today. I carelessly announce we shall use Deliveroo tonight.
Instantly, the weather conditions on the face of the spouse undergo a massive change and I can feel the wind-chills brought by the Polar Vortex in Chicago last month. His tone goes from mischief to cold in a split second which says, “I am not happy. Do what you want. When was the last time you listened to me, anyway”. On a more human level, he states firmly but politely, “I will skip dinner. I had a heavy lunch”.
Anger like love is contagious. I decide to display it too. And state in a stern voice with arched eyebrows, “Me neither. Kids, what can I order for you?”
While I may have taken a decade and half to map his every frown to a mood, my 11-year-old seems to be equipped with 2GB RAM and pre-installed AI codes from the womb. Her processing prowess outdoes any analytical capabilities I may have tried mastering over ageing data thanks to the claws of holy matrimony. Her eyes move continuously from left to right studying her parents like it is the match point in Wimbledon finals.
In the meanwhile, my nails are polished to perfection and look like a set of Camlin crayons – my favourite brand from my school days. The little artist is all smiles and expects feedback. How do they always get the wrong traits from me? I am forced to smile and check up on her inspiration. Turns out, the art teacher has a thing for French manicures. Why don’t they have dressing up rules for teachers just like the students?
Anyway, I am glued to my phone to order pizza. It is only then that the older one opens her precious mouth and asks us if the word ‘hypothesis’ would be apt, given the circumstances. Hubby and I instantly forget our mood swings and gesture across with dancing eyebrows.
After probing a bit, we give up. We have no clue what’s on her mind. She loses her patience and blurts, “It is my hypothesis that Mumma and Baba don’t feel hungry every time they feel angry and are about to fight.”
We look at the little genius with wide eyes and dropped jaws and burst out laughing. Over the donkey years that we spent together, we never once seemed to have noticed what we just heard. How perfectly caught in the act. And the word ‘hypothesis’ that made sense only in the context of either Mathematics or Science, now assumes an all new dimension.
P.S. Kids may be little but they live in the present moment. They learn from example and I confess we weren’t so exemplary after all. We just thought, not raising our voices and making a firm statement would mean peace. Not quite. It is the non verbal signals that landed us in trouble.
As my mind flies back to the times when romance ran high and kids weren’t even planned, our evenings would be dazzled with candle lit dinners and surprise gifts. Back to the present, it is the two brightest stars that light up our lives and sometimes lighten up the mood. I order our favourite Pesto Veggie and Marghareita Pizzas and feel blessed to realise love is here to stay and blossom even more.