Wednesday, January 9, 2008

In the eyes of a child

If someone were to ask Chip what the highlights in his 2.5 year old life are, it would be these and in this order.

1. The day the lawn mower ran out of gas
2. The day we visited New York City

This summer we visited some friends in NY and that was Chip’s first trip to NYC. He was completely bowled over by the crowds, the skyscrapers, the lights, the noise and the buses. He wanted to ride on every bus that thundered by. And he was thrilled about the ubiquitous yellow cabs. Sitting in them without a car seat. Hailing them by the curbside. He was amazed to see so many people walking and the congested streets, unlike the suburb he lives in, jam packed with traffic and flanked with stores and roadside vendors. Such an impression NYC made on him – and I yet have to meet a person who is not bowled over by the city – that when he and BigGeek and my mom picked me from my office in the local downtown last weekend -which, though crowded, is no where close to the bustle and energy of NYC-, Chip was so excited, he blurted “Oh my god, Aie! It’s New York!”

But NYC trip pales in comparison to the day the lawnmower ran out of gas. Chip is obsessed about mowers. Ride on mowers, push mowers, self propelled mowers, big mowers, small mowers, any mowers. He scours the flyers in the Sunday paper looking for mowers. Our favorite winter pastime is often going to Home Depot and looking at the mowers there. He can watch the neighbors mow lawn for hours. And of course when time comes to mow our own lawn he is Baba’s big helper.

The hour it takes BigGeek to mow the yard, Chip is at his heels. He looks forward to it week after week. And one week on a hot July afternoon, Chip got a bonus. While mowing the lawn, the mower sputtered and then stopped. Chip gasped. “What happened, Baba?”. Baba said, “It’s nothing, the mower just ran out of gas.” Then Baba took a little red can out of the garden shed and he and Chip drove down to the gas station to get gas. They came back with the gas, poured it carefully into the mower and the mower started again. That’s how the story goes and Chip demands a narration every single day. Nothing and I mean nothing comes remotely close to mowing the grass with his Baba. And the mower-running-out-of-gas episode is nothing less than nirvana for Chip.

This fall however changed our lives. With BigGeek’s heart attack, he was told to take it easy. Mowing, was obviously out of the question. I paid the neighbor’s boy to cut our grass, but for Chip it wasn’t the same. He watched from the deck as C and his brother mowed and weed whacked. I explained to Chip why Baba was not cutting grass and he seemed to understand. I thought nothing much of it until a few days ago.

I was putting Chip to bed. BigGeek was away at school. After the endless cycle of bedtime stories and books and calls to his Baba to wish Goodnight, I turned off the light. “Close your eyes now, Chip” I said sternly. All was quiet for a while and then Chip spoke slowly. “Baba does not do lawn mower. Because Baba has a big ouchie.” “That’s right, Chip. C mows the lawn for us now.” I said. There was a pause. “Does P kaka mow lawn?” I was surprised by this question. “Yes, Chip. P Kaka mows lawn.” I said softly. Pause again. “Chip help P kaka mow lawn?” I was speechless. My eyes welled up and there was a lump in my throat. I was at a loss for words. “I am sure you can, Chip. And maybe we can also ask C if you can help him mow. OK?” I managed to keep my voice steady. “Ok.” Chip said after thinking about it for a few seconds. In a few minutes he was fast asleep. But I wasn’t. Not for a long time after that.


Vinita said...

awww:(( for us its just a chore, for the kids its creating memories.

On a lighter note I hope he has the same passion for lawn mowing when he is thirteen and then you will be one lucky mom.


noon said...

Oh dear this makes me cry! Such a darling Chip! I can imagine how you felt - since I can picture KB saying something like that too..

Gauri said...

Awww Dottie !! (may I call you that ?)
Little do we realise how things we consider quite ordinary and humdrum mean something on a totally different level to kids.

That's a pretty good idea. Getting Chip to help C mow the lawn. Am sure it is going to get Chip back into his "mower comfort zone".

And at the end of every post of yours about Chip that I read, I am always struck by the fact that he is such a sweet and sentimental child. He's such a darling. Give him a big huggy from this aunty who lives halfway across the globe, will you ?

RJ said...

I hope Big Geek gets ready to mow the lawn with chip soon.

Parul said...

Hi dotmom,

Lovely post. This one as well as the Hanuman's mom one. Right now I am struggling with an Adi who crawls through the night in his sleep...needless to say, I am not getting any rest...sleeplessness seems to be the motif that runs through momhood, sometimes for what they say and sometimes for they do.

Love to lil Chip...may he help his dad mow the lawn soon!

~nm said...

These kids are so adorable!! Aren't they? :D

Anonymous said...

Aww,DM!Tears well up as i type this.May Chip and baba be on the mowing path again very soon.He has such a beautiful way to make people see his pov.Big hugs to little guy .


Suki said...

Am.. speechless. And preoccupied, but speechless nonetheless.

Anitha(Nikki's mom) said...

Aw! such a sweet boy.
Helping C or P kaka mow the lawn will not be the same experience for Chip as he does with his Baba. I really feel for Chip. Give him a bear hug from me.

Babs said...

Dot Mom has excelled herself in this post. Simply Wonderful!

Whenever, we "addults" think of any activity, it is always through our "glasses". For us, it could be a non-consequential topic or activity, but for a child, that is all there to hold and perhaps, the dearest one, in his perspective. If we have this thought at the back of our mind, then we will reshape lot of our schedules, priorities to accomodate the child's viewpoint.
I join others in giving a tight hug to Chip.

One extra-polation: Will this be equally relevant for dealing with very senior (read old)people ! Of course, they are sans innocence of a child.

rayshma said...

aww... little things that matter so much, no? hope chip retains his lawn-mowing fascination even when he's as old as his Baba! :D

Preethi said...

aaaw!! That was soo cute!!! I have a lump in my throat too...
Am sure he can mow lawn with P Kaka.. whats with these kids and mowers anyway?? Nantu also stands at the window and watches the maintenance guy mow the lawn for hours!!!!

B o o said...

Such a touching post, DM. I could so picture Ashu saying something like that and it brought tears to my eyes. Give chip extra hugs today from all of us. Take care.

I love Lucy said...

I used to beg my mom to let me help her sweep the house as a kid!So she would sweep the dust into a heap and I would hold out the pail to collect the dust!One of the fond memories from my childhood!And something which I grew to hate as an adult!

Its strange how kids can make good memories out of the strangest things!Like Vinita commented above,I hope Chip has the same enthusiasm when he is older!Big Geek will be one happy dad then!

Shobana said...

The sweet darling. I pray that Big Geek gets back to mowing the lawn.

Prats said...

I so relate to this fascination of chips...My son used to have this obsession for the huge road rollers and cement mixers..and we had to stop at every nook and corners on the roads, just for him to get his fill...

He's so cute with his feelings...
Huggs to lil chip

Moppet's Mom said...

Awww. Hugs to all of you, and here's to Chip and his dad getting back to mowing the lawn sometime soon.

Itchingtowrite said...

they look so adorable doing such everyday tasks!! i love watching them do jhadoo or dusting so merrily

Mona said...

aww, dotmom. this one literally broke my heart. prayers for BG to get better soon so Chip can help him mow thelawn, very soon.

choxbox said...

yup even mundane things appear super-cool through a child's eyes.

Khushi Mommy said...

That was a really good post.My son loves lawn mowing with his dad too and when you said that 'it was not the same' when the neighbors boy cut it, that resonated with me. Also, the narrating it a hundred times :)

DotMom said...

vinita: me too.. he better mow the lawn then!

noon: it was a touching moment for me..

gauri: hugs given and he gives back a hug to his across the globe auntie!

rj: thanks..i hope so too!

parul: i agree.. sleeplessness does seem to the the motif du jour.

~nm: oh! they so are!

radha: thanks for the hugs and kind wishes radha!

suki: i was too..

anitha: absolutely

babs: thanks soo much!

rayshma: that;s what I hope for!

preethi: i can never understand the fascination either!

b o o: thanks, so much boo.

I love lucy: What is trite for us is new for a child..

shobana: thanks, dear!

prats: Chip loves road rollers and cement mixers too!

moppet's mom: thanks!

itchy: they do, don;t they? then they turn into crazy teens!

mona: thanks, hon..

choxbox: absolutely!

khushi mommy: welcome! boys this age ar so precious!

Tharini said...

This was really so sweet and heartbreaking all at once. Children have such hidden feelings!

DotMom said...

tharini: yup! they are full of surprises all the time!

Just Like That said...

Awww....DM, Hugs to you and Chip, and my prayers for Big Geek to be up to mowing the lawn very soon with Chip.