Before I explain the title, here is the current state:
Looks serene, doesn’t it? About 40 minutes ago, it wasn’t.
Forty minutes ago began a tantrum from my eldest, Rohan Govinda. He’s 3 and a half.
The moment I stepped into the yard at his kindergarten, he asked me if we were going to the swimming hall.
“Oh, he’s been on about that swimming hall all day,” said one of his teachers. I don’t seem to recollect any discussion about a swimming hall before kindergarten today, so I turn to him and tell him that “Yeah, we’ll go when you’re Nene (his maternal grandma) is here.”
“Neeei, jeg vil gå swimming nå…” he tells me with an urgent voice. I begin to see how this will play out. “Yeah I know buddy, so we’ll go this weekend when your Nene is here.”
His eyes begin to well up with tears. Apparently that was the wrong answer.
He screams, “Neeeeeeiiiiii, jeg vil gå svømme nååååå!!” His volume is at 94% now. I hold his hand while carrying his brother in my other arm (Ray Chaitanya is his name and he’s 19 months), and turn towards the exit of the kindergarten. I try a different approach.
“Hey, why don’t we go home and ask mama if we can go swimming tomor….” is what I manage to get out before being met with a (100% volume) “NEI!!!!!” A verbal hadoken to the face.
Now an ordinary velocity would have it take about 20 seconds to get from the yard to the car. But I’ve got 2 kids in tow. And one of them is dialing into the “I’m going to take a hairy tantrum shit” any second. A quick scan around shows 3 other parents attending to their kids. Rohan is now screaming over and over he wants to go to the swimming hall. He’s revving his engine.
As am trying to pick up the pace, I manage a feeble smile to the other parents as I walk by. You know, the smile that tries to say, “I’ve got this under control and hi, how are you?” but other parents know the familiar situation and shoot back the “hi we’re fine but you’re fucked, good luck” smile.
Two steps forward, refusal to move, a squat ‘n scream, a gentle prod from me, another step, then refusal to move, etc. The 20 second walk becomes an eternity. But we make it to the car.
I don’t remember how, but we make it home. He refuses to get out of the car, screaming once again he does not wish to leave the vehicle. I somehow manage to convince him that we’ll go for a walk and take his scooter; that we can go to a playground after, as well. Somehow he agrees and we’re off, but it isn’t too long before he begins to point his way on the car road, saying he wants to go that way while I’m pointing in the opposite direction, towards the playground.
The back and forth begins again.
Squat, scream, refusal to move. “Buddy, didn’t you tell me you wanted to go to the playground?” I try to remind him. “Neeeeeei, vil ikke gå til lekke plass!!!” is his response. Poor Ray now runs to my knees after hearing the scream. I grab him and just start walking towards the playground. “Ok Govi, we’re going.. you can come if you want.” I’m pretty sure this isn’t really pedagogical and many child psychologists would probably scold me but shit – my daddy patience meter is depleted.
But it works. Rohan begins coming in the same direction, quietly pushing his scooter along.
We get to the playground and him and Ray immediately begin playing around, giggling.
“Daddy?” Rohan asks. “Yeah Govi?”
“Kan vi gå hjemme nå?” Can we go home now, is what he asks.
Unbelievable. Did I just hear him correctly?
“Jesus Christ…..”. It just comes out part of a heavy sigh I let go of. I often wonder how this great spiritual figure from 2000+ years ago would feel that many a frustrated parent would say his name in times of parental distress?
“Jesus Christ? What’s a Jesus Christ daddy?” he asks me innocently.
And in that moment, I can’t help but smile, walk over to him and pick him up. He gives a great big hug and am happy to return it.
We hold each other like that for sometime, before he begins to squirm out of my arms because some dirt needs his immediate attention now. I lower him to the sandbox.
So is there a lesson to this? Probably.