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Debating ‘Who Does The Baby Look Like?’ And Other Shenanigans That Extended Family Can Get Up To

Posted: October 7, 2020
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When extended family gets together (maybe now post COVID), there are some curious quirks that get amplified. A sweet and sour compilation.

Pri and I are friends and share all the happenings in our mundane lives. Several times, she has nudged me to write an article on a certain mannerisms of our better halves. Lona, my much younger cousin, pitched in, saying she can provide a plethora of personal examples on that same topic.

My cousin may have gotten married 19 years after me, yet we share the same view point. That proves that there’s a grain of truth about what we feel about the behavior of the men in our houses.

In conjunction, I have also decided to incorporate the observations that I have made about children. I am rather confident that other members of this sisterhood of mommies will agree with me.

Disclaimer: there’s a lot of tongue-in-cheek humour

Like most movies that have a disclaimer that the story in the film is fictitious and any resemblance to people living or dead is coincidental, I too have a caveat to present.

My theories are based on personal experiences and feedback provided to me by others. There are always exceptions, and I do not believe in stereotyping. Also, there is not a single shred of malice directed towards any one of these individuals, and should be taken with a sense of humour.

Experience is the best teacher, as the saying goes. And I certainly can speak volumes on family matters, courtesy my varied roles in this revered institution.

The man of the house claims to know literally ‘everything’

Going back to my friend Pri, both of us have coined a name for a very common statement most husbands make. We have called it the “I thought so” theory, which has another variation, namely “I said so”.

It’s best to assume that your husband can never be wrong. Let me bring up just a couple of situations.

There’s a party in your house, and you can’t decide on the quantity of food you need to make or order. Looking forward to some advice, you consult your husband who most probably would say that as the sole authority over the culinary department, you know better and can make the decision. But if the food either happens to be less for your guests or you have a big pile of leftovers, pat comes that one liner “I thought so.”

You might have been a bad judge of character and may have been let down by someone who you have all along thought to be so nice. Driven to tears by the mean and nasty act, you confide in your spouse who sympathizes with you but not without the expert comment that he had known right from the start that the person in question could not be trusted.

Not that I have accusations for lying, but there’s a chance your husband might tell you “I said so”, that he had warned you against that individual. Well, you may be racking your brains thinking when he said so, and you will NEVER be able to remember when he did!

When mommies worry about their fussy eaters

Shifting gears, I am moving to cite experiences from the granary of motherhood. The commandment for young mothers is, “Be cautious while making a statement in public about your child’s food habits.” You may be totally blown off by a surprise, not to forget the embarrassment.

There was this incident several decades ago when as a five-year-old, my mother and I had visited someone, and I was served milk and cookies. My mom told the host to take away the glass of milk, saying how I hated it and threw tantrums whenever I was made to drink it. Barely had she finished talking, and I held the glass between my tiny palms and gulped the milk down in seconds!

An addendum follows in a similar direction. Don’t be in a haste to draw a conclusion that your fussy tyke has improved his eating habits. I may sound like I’m bringing up another one of those old wives’s tales, but many a time, you will wonder if you have jinxed it all. Every time little ZeeZee’s mommy tells me that her kiddo is beginning to eat well, she needs to walk-back on her proclamation on the third day as her little one regresses back to his old fussy style.

Well, who does the baby resemble?

As I am about to wind up my musings, something suddenly flashes across my mind. This is another one of those situations that keeps recurring. There can be nothing more joyous than the arrival of a new baby. The common question that props up soon after is: Who does the baby resemble?

We have the entire clan deciding and debating on a topic with their forceful viewpoints. Whether the tiny bundle at that tender age distinctly shares the features of any adult is questionable, but yes, we do spend a lot of time talking about it!

This is not the end of the story; it continues as the baby grows and steps into childhood. The interesting fact is that the maternal and paternal sides are in some kind of a competition. Each side wants to attribute the pluses in the child to their lineage and the minuses to the opposite side.

Both the sweet and sour flavors add to the family fun!

A multitude of happenings weave the fabric of our familial existence. As much as the irritation and annoyance come with the package, it cannot be denied that without the oddities and the peculiarities of our kith and kin, our families will be immensely dull and boring. These predictable and unpredictable waves of human action stir the ship and cause us to either share a laugh or sport a frown as we experience the varied flavours of life.

First published here.

Image source: pexels

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Born in India, Rashmi Bora Das moved to the United States in the early nineties.

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