The internet has added some interesting slang words to the English langauge. One of the more catchy one, FOMO or ‘Fear Of Missing Out’, is a social anxiety perpetuated by social media networking.
These days the Haque offsprings are struck by a serious case of FOMO. In their case, FOMO mainly involves the fear of missing out on mom’s attention (they don’t bother to make a distinction between positive or negative). Mild cases of FOMO are quite a common problem in households where the adults have decided to pluralize their progeny. The symptoms of FOMO are precipitated by an event like a sickness or one of those unidentifiable developmental changes which cause them to go crazy every now and then for no apparent reason. FOMO also shares a strong positive correlation with working parents (although it is no way restricted to them alone) as time with kids becomes a scarce and much sought after commodity.
Recently, when during the tail end of our yearly visit to Mumbai the kids got sick with viral fever, I witnessed this syndrome in its prime. My normally happy and self-assured 5-year-old turned into this whiney and clinging boy demanding the same kind of attention as my almost-3 year old needs. If I would even as much as glance at his younger brother, he would demand I look at him too for precisely the same amount of time. I had to content with the most uncomfortable middle seat in taxis as both kids wanted me next to them. I had to calcuate and deliver equal number of kisses, hugs and even cuddles to both of them. Even my annoyance with both had to be equally measured! The 3-year-old, being the baby of the house, is used to getting more attention anyway but FOMO gripped him too.
Once we got back home to Singapore, the kids had to contend with me being back at work after two weeks of holiday. It also didn’t help that both are on school holidays with nothing to do the whole day. Despite his best intentions the dad is unable to do much except shrug his shoulders and watch me despair as the kids vie for my constant attention. Given that they have completely recovered from their viral and school starts next week, I’m hoping the normalcy will abate this FOMO anxiety and the kids get back to their normal happy selves soon!
SNAFU. How did it take me so long to come across a term which so perfectly describes life with little kids. According to Wiktionary, “the term was born during WWII as an acronym of the initials of the words situation normal, all f***** up, which summed up the chaos and confusion of the war“. More research into this leads me to believe that the current usage of the term gives it a humorous connotation – describing a badly confused or a ridiculously muddled up situation.
Thus ends my search for a perfect term (the original war meaning as well as the new definition) to describe my everyday life with these little people. Lets take yesterdays example. I decided to take a trip to a nearby mall, to buy fresh bread from the bakery and for some reason thought taking the kids along was a good idea. ALl this after a tiring work day for me and an equally exhausting school day for the kids. Not only that, just to get them out of the house I promised an ice cream treat once we get our work done..gasp!
The 20 minutes walk to the mall was riddled by the most inane questions (my 5-year-old is the chairman of the Why Committee), protests about the agony of the long walk, attempts on lane hogging and inconveniencing every other pedestrian/cyclist. Once we get there, of course, before we do anything we have to stop for 15 minutes to watch five giant televisions screening HD versions of waterfalls, skylines and the most unexciting things. By the time we got to bakery, they’ve had enough.. how can I make them scoot/ride stroller all the way here and not offer instant gratification! Who cares about bread or other essentials, ice cream is the holy grail!
We finally get the ice cream, and its time to choose the toppings. We wouldn’t want to ruin a perfectly nice ice cream with fruit toppings, would we? No, we would go for rainbow flakes! There flakes look inedible to me but I keep mum about it, after all I had sneakily won one battle – presenting the frozen yogurt as ice cream (I dread the day when my kids can start reading and know an ice cream place from a frozen yogurt one!). We get one for them to share. Before I can place the ice cream cup (alright, frozen yogurt!) on the table, the littlest little person is wrestling out of the stroller while trying to grab the spoon. Before I can unbuckle him, the older little person has grabbed the cup and is offering it to the brother in the stroller itself so they can both just start eating. In his desperation the little boy drops the spoon and lunges at the ice cream cup which the brother now puts back on the table (after sensing me glaring at him). In all of this chaos those fake flakes have dropped all over the table and floor, much to my delight. But before I know it the little is free and both of them are attacking the table and literally licking those flakes off it. I can’t remember very clearly but at this point I think I let out a scream..looking back this was totally a SNAFU! There was nothing special about this situation, this was just another five minutes in just another day of our very normal life!
We stopped for groceries after and had few more SNAFUs when my older one tried to help at the self-checkout and took all the plastic bags out and scattered them all over, when the little one grabbed a few things and stocked up his stroller and I didn’t see until after checking out, when there was a mini lollipop-meltdown (which I never accede to). I deal with SNAFUs on a daily basis, it’s the way of life and will be at least for a while!