Life hacks from Agony Akka Opinion

No children, no cry

Illustration: Satheesh Vellinezhi  

Dear Agony Akka,

I’m the mother of a six-year-old. As you know, since the pandemic, the classroom has shifted home. My child, who was in kindergarten last year, had one hour of online school every day. All these classes are saying parental supervision is compulsory so my husband would sit alongside our child and tell her, ‘Don’t fidget, don’t dig your nose, don’t make faces at your classmate, stay awake during school bhajan, etc, etc.’ Since this was only for one hour each day, it was bearable. Now, she has been promoted to Class I, and that means nearly three hours of school every day! My husband has refused to be the supervisor anymore. He wants me to attend class with my child. But this will eat into my precious ‘me time’ — that golden hour when I go to the toilet, drink chai, eat an idli or two, scroll Facebook. After that I have to log into work, make lunch, feed the kid, and on and on. How do I get out of this sticky situation?

— Mother of Miseries

Dear MOM,

First of all, a kid? A six-year-old kid? I mean, why? It is quite unfathomable to me why someone who sounds fairly intelligent like you do — I mean you have a job and you’re talking of ‘me time’ — would make the major miscalculation of venturing into the business of procreation. Maybe you saw your neighbour’s cute baby and thought you also wanted to do goo-goo, gaa-gaa? Like giant gargling machine?

Whenever people are talking about children to me, I remember one old sci-fi story I read many moons ago in which Future Man asks Present Man, whom he encounters in some time-machine glitch scene I can’t remember, ‘Is it true that in your era you voluntarily had little creatures in your home that grew and grew like fungi?’ Because you see in the enlightened era of 4021, Future Man has eliminated children. Everybody lives forever so there is no need to create fresh stock.

No need for fresh stock means no need to feed, water and wipe bum of tiny creatures that are always crying and picking their nose and later growing up and picking at your savings with same steady focus. No kid means no online class means no loss of me-time.

Now, of course, it is too late for you. I can clearly see that your husband is smart man. He volunteered when only one hour was needed, knowing full well that prison term would increase sharply soon. It is not humanly possible to sit with child doing online classes for three full hours. It can easily make you lose what little of your mind is left after procreation. You have to strategise urgently.

Exactly 30 minutes after class begins, arrange to get one phone call. While pretending to talk on phone, make urgent sign to husband to take over class. Spend next 2.5 hours pacing on balcony and talking on phone. Make up story of office crisis. But you cannot get phone call every day. Husband might suspect. Use variations. Next day, pretend downstairs neighbour has broken ankle and needs help — this is good one. You can use it for long time till not-broken ankle is healed. One day you can also go into toilet and not emerge till class is over. Dysentery, UTI, lots of reasons can be given.

Of course, straightforward method is also there. Take husband aside and tell him gently that if he does not share classroom duties, mariticide will happen then don’t go crying to your mother.

And next time, get a kitten.

— AA

agony.akka@gmail.com


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Printable version | Jun 13, 2021 11:12:59 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/no-children-no-cry/article34448532.ece

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