20 February, 2010

Child is the father

This was the day I had to be mega-strict. It had taken two hours in just trying to convince Emma and Ben to get ready to go to the hospital. It would be another hour before they decide upon the clothes that suit their moods, and the food that suits their taste.

“I don’t like the smell of the hospital”, 5-year old Ben, the younger of my two kids would whimper. Ever since he had come to hear of hospitals this was his reason for not wanting to go to one. Someone told him that hospitals had white-tiled walls and green carpets and everybody wore either white or green coats.

“White and green – doesn’t sound fun”, Ben told himself, and came up with a smelly reason 
to not go to the hospital. So now he would eat slow, dress up slow and even walk slow to delay the visit. He wouldn’t talk much on the way and reply only in monosyllables – an expression of extreme sadness for him.

Emma, my 8- year old was at her talkative-best. She was protesting "the very idea” of visiting a hospital. “You don’t need it, you look strong”, she tried to explain sincerely. She never said it but the worrying faces at the hospital worried her. And as per her, I didn’t have to be that worried. The kids always tried their best to fight off a visit to the hospital. I knew a quarrel about the mode-of-transportation was awaiting but I managed to cut it short. We made our way to the hospital gate, me pulling the kids by their arms to each of my side.

Once there, the kids realized since they had to go through this they might as well set their minds off to better things.
I sat quietly in the waiting room, watching Ben trying to lure other kids into playing a self-invented game of his. Emma was busy counting the number of patients in the room carefully avoiding looking at their faces. There were 6, so she was done counting soon, wondering how could she further avoid a glance at the worrying faces. So she ran and picked up a pamphlet lying on a table in the corner.

Meanwhile Ben had made 3 friends and had pretty much forgotten about the ‘foul-smell’. Now he wanted to take his new found friends outside the room and actually play those self-
invented games. I was anxiously waiting for my turn to come before the kids start getting impatient and loud.

“Number 3”, the nurse called out.

Emma was staring at the pictures on the pamphlet and upon hearing that her head shot up and she stared at the nurse, murmuring to herself, “That’s us.” I got up and called out to Ben who was playing tug-of-war with another kid. They were at it –
pulling a handkerchief in opposite directions, teeth grinding and squeaking in an attempt to sound rough.

“Ben”, I called out again. He quickly let go off the handkerchief and ran towards the doctors' room to try and reach it before we did. Emma held my hand and we walked towards the room standing in front of which was a smiling wide-eyed Ben. Together, we entered the room.

                                                                            ***********

Though not even identical twins are completely alike, I wonder if it would have been better if I had a pair – they would have had the same likes and dislikes – how easy it would be for me. But when every night I sing a lullaby to put my kids off to sleep, Ben always listens and dozes off smiling. Emma, she sings along sometimes and we try to match our beats.

Ben is my heart, Emma my brain.

                                                                         *******************

By other writers, elsewhere:

The start: Chicken or Egg?
"The brain rules all of the body's organs, including the heart. However, it is interesting to note that the heart starts beating in the unborn fetus even before the brain has been formed."
>> Heart and Brain Intelligence : The balance
The end: Cruel allowed, fool not.
"You could not live without a brain - it is a legal indicator of death. During brain death the heart will still beat because of its electrical impulses which are generated by the heart muscle.”

In between: Different strokes for different folks.
"Do (such) emotional responses play a significant role in who gets elected or do most voters seek rationally to maximize their personal interests in deciding how to vote? ... - 'The Political Brain' is a ground-breaking investigation into the role of emotion in determining the political life of the nation by psychologist Drew Westen."
>> Heart, brain or wallet?
>> How do you vote?

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