Thursday, October 4, 2007

Nothing to fear, but fear

This is about Chip. It’s been a while since I have done a Chip-exclusive post and this would be a fitting sequel to my other bizarre post. Chip was a colicky, asthmatic baby and he was so hurting most of the time, he did not have any energy to bond with strangers. All that has changed and he is quite the Mr.Friendly to everyone now except a really good friend.

Let’s give him an alphabet – S. S is a great guy. Soft spoken, gentle even. Great with kids. S is married to P – a wonderfully sweet and caring woman who also has a great sense of style. S and P are really good friends. But S and Chip don’t get along. Well, if there was an Understatement of the Century Award, this line just won it. Chip is terrified of S. And we don’t know why. If P is visiting alone, he will go to her, talk to her, and show her his toys all the time keeping an eye out for S. If they both or S visits by himself, all hell breaks loose.

Last year, BigGeek was recovering from a torn ACL in his knee when S and P stopped by to visit. They arrived riding on a motorcycle. Chip, Chip’s Nanny and I were pottering around in the garden when the motorcycle pulled in. Chip was happy to see a motorcycle, but as soon as S took of his helmet, Chip started to shake with fear. S had experienced Chip’s wrath many, many times before so he slunk away and did not make eye contact. P and I followed him inside the house but Chip refused to come inside with us. It had started to rain, so the nanny took my car keys and spent 20 mins. inside the car with Chip, who, she later told me, was not playing, instead buried his face into her lap and trembled as she talked to him softly. This is not an isolated incident. This happens, in varying intensities, every time we meet S.

Another curious incident happened when S and P moved into a bigger house a few months ago and threw a house warming party. S kept away from Chip. Chip was playing with the other kids, drinking juice. Suddenly a terrified shriek rose from Chip. I suspected he had run into S. But S was no where in sight. I looked around and saw a few friends and another well-dressed guy who I had not met before. He looked faintly familiar and Chip was looking at him and howling and trembling. The poor man looked puzzled and embarrassed. I apologized to him, and whisked the shrieking Chip away. Moments later it dawned on me, that the strange man was S’s older brother visiting from NYC, when S’s mother who witnessed the scene, was stunned. She knew about S and Chip but S and his brother don’t look very similar. She drew Chip towards her, hugged him and asked smilingly and in jest – “What have my sons done to you?”

In an effort to help him grow out of his fear, I asked P for a picture of both of them that I could show Chip from time to time. Last week she brought one and I put it at Chip’s eve level on the fridge. Didn’t say anything to him. He didn’t realize the picture was there until the next morning.

Chip (pointing to the picture): P- mawshi (P aunty)
Me: Yes.. that’s P-mawshi. Who else is in the picture?
Chip’s body goes slightly tense as he stares at the man in the picture, then relaxes.

Chip: Z-kaka? (Z uncle)
Me: Is that really Z-kaka? Look again.
Chip looks again.
Chip: K-Kaka (K- uncle)
Me: No! that’s not K-kaka. That’s S-kaka.
Chip is terrified.
Chip: No S-kaka, No S-kaka
He runs away.

A few minutes later he returns to the fridge and pushes the framed photo up on the fridge away from his eye level.

The next day we go through the same drill and Chip finally tells me that it is a picture of S-kaka. A few minutes later, he stands on his tip-toes, gets the picture and puts it on the kitchen counter. “Aie, S-kaka nako” (I don’t want S- kaka).

Often I have asked, in jest, to S, if he bullied my son in a past life. Looking at Chip when S is around, you get a distinct feeling that Chip knows S and as he clings tightly to my shirt and won’t take his gaze off S, I often wonder if he is trying to remember something.


Kodi's Mom said...

wow, that is bizzare...what a mystery it must be fore you.

poor, poor Chip.

Timepass said...

I have seen before kids take a strong dislike to a particular person. guess this will disappear with age..

Anitha said...

That gives me an eerie feeling. It does not sound like the normal dislike that kids have against specific people for no reason. And that too against S's brother too? Previous life? Hope Chip grows out of it soon.

mnamma said...

Does sound eerie. Poor Chip must be so terrifed to react like that. Hopefully things would change when he grows up.

noon said...

Unbelievable! OMG! What do you make of such things from kids! Only last night I looked up "Mata ka bulawa" because a reltiave of mine is planning to go to Vaishnovi Devi's temple.
You have given a nice description of this whole thing. I am so curious as to what it can be! Feel bad for S-kaka too!

Gauri said...

OMG. This is so bizarre. Really. Poor lil Chip. Wonder what it is that ticks him off so.

Usha said...

That is really strange - perhaps when he is older he may verbalise the cause of his fear.
As a child, my son used to shriek and tremble every time he saw a ball of cotton. This went on till he was 3 or 4. We never understood why. Much later he told us that it was because he thought an injection always followed a ball of cotton. He had severe bronchitis and had to have many shots of antibiotics from 3 months till he was 5.
Until he told us we never figured out the connection!

DotMom said...

Kodi’s mom: it is, it is.

Timepass: this is waaay more than a dislike..

Anitha: I hope he grows out of it or atleast tells me the reason

Mnamma: I hope so too

Noon: I plan to go to vasihnodevi too.

Gauri: I wonder too

Usha: Wow. Who would have thunk.

gypsy said...

hey got here via MM's blog..I can't really say I understand your kid's behaviour, but I can relate to it somewhat. When I was a kid, I used to react pretty much the same way to my dad's elder brother! Whenever he would drop by I would go hiding, scream, throw tantrums and do all sorts of attention-seeking stuff. No one knows why, and I was a pretty social kid otherwise..I'm sure it hurt him like hell...I eventually grew out of it and he is my fave uncle now! :-)
I'm sure he will grow out of it too and atleast be able to bear the company of S-kaka if not start adoring him!!

mummyjaan said...

Any updates on that one? Is Chip friends with S now or still afraid of him?