So this month was Sanil’s 9th birthday. The thing with Sanil is that he loves his birthdays… that I am sure all kids of his highly-attention-seeking-and-totally-getting-it generation do. But he loves them so much that he starts planning the next one before the current is over. By the time it is 1st May, he gets crazy and some of this craziness rubs off on me too – not his excited “Yayyy! Yippee!!” types, it’s more of “Oh my Gawwwd! So much planning and work!!” variety. Another thing with Sanil is that he’s actively participating in all kinds of decision making from year one. And when I say “participating”, I mean “pronouncing the first and the last word in all matters”. (I am not kidding, he chose the cake for his first birthday after a considerable deliberation.)

Anyway, this year was a little different, apart from the perpetual spring in his feet and his ongoing aversion for girls. Yup! No girls to be found in a radius of 1 km of the birthday site.

He wanted his birthday to be ‘different’… as in ‘his way’.

“Why do people make religion of everything?” he asked ruminating.

“I don’t know… they like religion, maybe?”


“Well, my birthday is not going to follow birthday religion, stuff that everybody is compelled to do because that is the norm.”

“Okay… what do you want?” I asked dreading what’s in store, “Decoration?”

“Religion!” He slammed.






“Are you kidding me?”

“Birthday caps?”

Gave me what I am sure is kiddie version of WTF expression.

“I want it simple, mom. A good movie at home with good friends and something nice to eat. We will make our own games.  I know! We’ll watch a movie and decide the movie based on secret ballot voting!”

Wow! A sigh of relief! My baby has grown up!

Now about good friends. What bothered me was that he handpicked certain guys out of many, many he knows. He left out even the ones he plays with on daily basis. I hate to butt in and was only too happy to let him plan but I had to ask – why not those boys, for God’s sake?

“They are nice… but they are not birthday material.”

“What?! What is birthday material?”

It’s like he was having casual relationships or one evening stands with them and they were not good enough to take home???

“Mom, I just want to have a quality time with friends I connect with. Chill! They are okay with me not inviting them.”

How can they be? My old generation mind couldn’t stop questioning but apparently they were, as nothing changed before and after birthday with those non-birthday-material friends, they came to play as usual.

But still there are certain things I have to adjust to. Like him pushing me away from cake cutting pictures so as to not come across as ‘mamma’s boy’ to his friends. Definitely, one of the biggest shocks from his pre-teen patterns that made me wonder – when had I become that uncool mother who couldn’t imagine not cutting the cake with her son?

Funnily, he didn’t have anything against religioning of gifts and return gifts.

And thankfully, he still needs lots of hugs before going to sleep. I think I should start working on weaning off… myself.


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Dinakshi is a curious explorer of life, and loves to see everything around her with a sense of wonder. Completely in awe of life and its ardent student, she is a writer, poet, blogger and ex-editor. Her superpower is involuntarily read and edit everything from text messages to poetry on the backside of trucks. Like any other Indian worth their salt, she’s done her time in the IT industry as a programmer. Books and journals have been her best friends for as long as she can remember. A philosopher at heart, she loves to question everything, including her propensity to question. An avid learner and unlearner, she is on a joyful path to live all that is.