Present Continuous and other such Fallacies

‘Last weekend, long time ago’ is a phrase the kidlet uses pretty often. It is her way of referring to any time in the past when there was no school and we were not bound by the constraints of routines and uniforms. In her 5-year-old mind, where time is one continuous stream and not yet bracketed within the framework of days and weeks, this is her best bet to differentiate between a school day and any other day.

Present Continuous and other such Fallacies

She is building her memories now, this little one of mine. She knows that her birthday this year fell on a Saturday. That it was on the 14th. But she gets confused, even angry, when I tell her that next year it will be on another day but on the same date. She wants to know why if it can be on a Sunday it cannot be on the 15th? In her widened eyes I can see her wondering why one construct of time can stretch onwards while the other needs to be rigid. I can see my explanations falling flat. In time she will figure it out and understand the spinning of the earth, the path of the planets and their dependence on the Sun. And how 365 not being perfectly divisible by 7 can make dates and days do a merry uncoordinated tango. But for now she must just reconcile to the idea of having her birthday on the same date for the rest of her life.

As she grows and notches up the marks on her height chart, she knows that there is some correlation between height and age. The first question they ask each other, these kids: “How old are you?”. They size each other up by age. They refuse to play with each other, saying: “I am older than you”. Even if that differential may just be of a few months. There are no and-a-halves. You are either 4 or 5. You are either older or not. And this is a rule no one can argue with in the playground. But when it comes to Daddies and Mummies some concepts take a tumble. At the school gates once, kidlet informed another Daddy, “My Dad is bigger than you. He is 34”. The bemused father replied, “But I am 42, I am older than your Dad”. Crushed, my daughter asked me, “Is he bigger than my Dad?”. Yes, we are still working on that one. On how nature is cruel that way: there are no easy correlations between our age and height and size.

We tell her that it is ok. Everybody is different. And unique. But these words fall flat again. She still needs a quantum, a unit of comparability. She has used these to navigate her first steps into the world. We were the ones who introduced her to playmates, saying: “Look, J is your friend. He is also 2 years old”. We are the ones who told her that she needed to be gentle with a toddler, because she was older and yes, bigger.

She is learning now. Slowly she comprehends how we adults scoop out time in custom fit measurements. And that, for older people the rules of engagement are not quite the same. Uncles and Aunties talk to each other and become friends without checking who is older and who is bigger. She is thankfully still a few years away from the other parameters of social and economic class that we adults invisibly use to size and classify our friends away.

I have only some time left to cherish these last weekends from a long time ago. Because very soon there will be a definite last weekend and sure-shot plans for tomorrow. When she will be measuring out her time for us rather than us doing the same for her. And size, shape and age will still matter but in contexts much more complicated. We will still be trying to tell her that it is ok. And she will still be throwing us looks of disbelief. And yet one already knows that by then these precious times will indeed feel like a long time ago!

Nidhi Dorairaj Bruce is a Freelance writer from Mumbai. With no formal education in Parenting, she has been getting on-the-job training ever since her daughter, affectionately referred to as ‘the kidlet’, arrived on the scene 5 years ago.

  • tht’s sweet; yup savour all these precious moments to be savoured for a long time to come !

  • Nidhi

    You are right Priya!

  • Kids grow up so fast!… my daughter is already 7th months old..!

    • Nidhi

      Wow Vandana..the first year is IMHO the most beautiful..your child is growing up so fast – enjoy every moment 🙂

  • Nice post Nidhi. Life is all about these little moments and if we don’t cherish them then it is totally our loss. Isn’t blogging great! It gives us a wonderful way of capturing all these precious moments for posterity. 🙂

    • Nidhi

      Thank you Swapna..I agree, writing our experiences down makes us not only dwell on them a little longer but also (hopefully) make memories for a lifetime !

  • so sweet 🙂

    • Nidhi

      Gracias Ghata 🙂

  • aww…the little minds and the various concepts they hold!

    Kidlet’s bday falls on another day next year but why not on another date? Cute! When a kid asks a question such as this one, i am never sure which of the two is cuter – the kid or the question?

  • oops, I posted the previous comment before completing it. I wanted to add –

    Kids grow up too fast. Parents are always too excited when their little ones hit milestones ( rolling, crawling etc etc..) but then they have mixed feelings too as soon these milestones are going to be a part of the past that they can only reminisce with joy and pride.

    Childhood is just too short but VERY PRECIOUS!

    • Nidhi

      Thank you for both your comments – Always Happy 🙂 Childhood is such a marvelous time indeed! Filled with ups and downs and aha moments all through the way..

  • Before Kid becomes adult, before life becomes complicated, all we have together to cherish , is their childhood. More power to kidlet and her mom.

    • Nidhi

      Yes Amrita – you are right – children do give us a lot to cherish !

  • Nidhi, your post is so heartfelt… loved reading it. Time flies, it really does… from those days of the notorious little kicker in the womb, to someday they going to fly off mamas nest…… Its so important to cherish everyday, and blogging just really helps, everytime I read through the archives of my private blog, it just makes me happy- motherhood is blissful! good luck with your blog 🙂

    • Nidhi

      Hi Poonam – true, blogging is quite a godsend – helping us capture the movement of time and emotions in little packets of words 🙂 Thats why this initiative by blogadda is so awesome – its aim is to bring together experiences from parents from all walks of life!

  • Gita

    Even I feel a bit nervous with the feeling of ‘not deciding’ for my lil one anymore! I know they should grow up….but why can’t they follow what to wear & eat as we say…at least once a week ;)….Loved your lines on this!

    • Nidhi

      Thank you Gita..yes – once a week would really be great 🙂