Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Mamas and papas

The husband casually mentioned the p-word a few weeks ago, on one of our weekend drives to some place for lunch. We haven’t had too many existential discussions thus far, so I thought all was going well.

Back when I was a child, there was no parenting. You were born, someone ended up looking after you (in my case it was grandma, great grandma, assorted uncles, aunts, a few good neighbours) and one day you went to school, and before you knew, you were out of it. Now, it’s about “What’s your parenting approach going to be like? Hands on or hands off? By the book or improve? Traditional or modern?

“So when are we going to discuss parenting?,” he piped with much glee. I shuddered at the thought. I never thought he would bring it up, and I seriously believed it was going to be a case of whatever mommy says, goes. And why not? Even the supreme court justices seem to propagate that one must always listen to ‘the wife’.

I wasn’t nervous without reason. The husband’s idea of parenting includes, among other things, a second Play Station controller that I have always been an unlikely candidate for, a trip to Mc Donald’s (or was it KFC?) when the child is six, and a sustained anti-lauki, anti-karela and anti-padval campaign.

Suddenly, I had visions of the kid ordering a triple cheese burger with extra fries and coke on its first outing (the husband’s idea of a healthy meal) and me bursting a capillary at the table. Or the child learning to use a Play station controller before he/she learns to read or write. Worse, the child rejecting vegetables at the table and demanding hot dogs.

The whole vegetarian thing, which so far has been rather cool with the husband might soon become a bone of contention in our relationship. Okay, when you marry a man, you marry his habits, not his family. But when you have a child with a man, some of those habits are likely to be passed on. My point is, who decides what to pass on?

Here is my “god please don’t let this pass on” list

1. Imagining ants, cockroaches where there are none and making desperate attempts to gas them, believing they will multiply into millions in minutes, invade your body and destroy you.

2. Not being able to look at footwear that hasn’t been perfectly aligned, and aligning them at every given opportunity

3. Hoarding clothes and things one hasn’t had any use for in years.

4. Announcing that one is starved, making one’s plate with much flourish and admiring and sighing at it, but eventually eating four hours later.

5. Wanting a backup of twenty bulbs, ten packets of chips and peanuts, ten toothpastes and toothbrushes, innumerable shaving gels and aftershaves, “just in case”

This is what I wouldn’t mind being passed on:

1. Being good at cleaning up after a meal

2. Taking the garbage out

3. Efficiency at sink duty

4. Never raising your voice when with a lady.

Which brings me to why do men get married? Answer: It’s their only chance to look good. And fatherhood just rounds it off so well. Oh well!

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