Sunday, October 09, 2011


The smarter the kids get, the more scatter-brained I get.

Eight years ago: Summy was learning to sit up, babble, and drool.

Eight years ago: I was an Engineer, working on cutting-edge technology. I was reading, writing, drawing, keeping a home, bringing up a baby, and most importantly: I could speak a sentence without forgetting what I was talking about by the time I got to the middle of it.

Now: Summy is writing poems, drawing, painting, thinking up ideas, singing, dancing, offering me solutions to problems, babysitting, bossing around, swimming, bicycling, roller-skating, reading up a storm, including three Harry Potter books in three weeks.

Now: I am a stay-at-home Engineer with vague memories of cutting edge technology from eight years ago. I stared stupidly when an electronics store salesperson talked to me about micro-SD. When my aunt asked me to save a received call on her mobile phone, I saved it to a wrong name, called a total stranger from her phone (stranger to me, but not to her), hung up on them, deleted her received calls, and then passed on her phone to my 10-year-old nephew to fix. To keep up with the times, I occasionally read a two-week-old newspaper.

One year ago: Pranav was learning to sit up, babble, and drool.

One year ago: I was handling the transition of moving to India, taking care of baby, helping Summy with new school and syllabus, multi-tasking, and most importantly: remembering when I had last taken a shower.

Now: Pranav is talking in sentences in two languages. ("That's my pillow, Amma. Don't touch it.") He is singing the alphabet song, reading letters and making their sounds. He is counting in several languages - though the order doesn't matter, and a few numbers are left out along the way. He is singing words to several songs, and replacing lyrics with his own when he feels like it. ("Twinkle, Twinkle, Panda Bear"). He has taken over my phone. He knows and names many colors, shapes, animals, and things. He is running, and climbing impossible things. He has an amazing memory - hears a word or a song once and recalls it a week later.

Of course he has an amazing memory, because he took my memory too. Because, now: Everyday I ask   Summy, "What date is it?" And sometimes, "What month?" 

Yesterday, it suddenly occurred to me that I could really use a labelmaker (so I wouldn't make Upma with the Idli Ravva again, or Rasam with the Pau Bhaji Masala). I wished I had asked Kiran, who is in the US on a business trip, to get me one. "Oh, well", I thought, "I could still ask, he might still have time to buy one." 

So today, on the phone, I was saying, "And if you see a labelmaker,...", when Kiran interrupted: "I bought a labelmaker already." I was stunned. We'd been married for so long that he knew what I wanted before I did! "But how could you know that I wanted a labelmaker?", I asked. "Because you put it on the shopping list you gave me.", he said, surprised.

Now, any ordinary scatterbrain could forget to put a labelmaker on a list. But it takes an extraordinary scatterbrain to remember to put a labelmaker on a list, then forget about it, then think of it again without ever remembering having thought of it before, then regret not having put it on the list, and and then be surprised when it is discovered to be on the list already.

While the kids are learning more, I'm going the opposite way. So if I ever start to babble on this blog, you'll know Summy and Pranav are getting really smart.