Gifting ideas, anyone?
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Gifting ideas, anyone?

I will wake my son Aimaan on his birthday and follow his young dictates, fulfill his crazed responses while putting my commands and reprimands on a leash, writes Arif Zakaria.

entertainment Updated: May 18, 2009 19:56 IST

I have in earlier pieces written about my son Aimaan, and his small discoveries.. and the enthralling journeys I undertake each day through a million of his responses and multiple levels of awareness, as he tries to make sense of the world.

At three, finally, the universe seems within his grasp for he now summons Shrek at will, having mastered the operations of the DVD player in entirety.

As his baby glares prevent the big orange sun from hurting his eyes and his outstretched arms ‘just miss’ touching the plane in the sky, the world is big enough to fit in his palms.

No sense of value
As I write this, I’m confused because it’s his third birthday next week, and I cannot zero in on the right gift for him. At three, he’s not judgmental, shows signs of zero materialism, has modest chivalry and is exasperatingly inquisitive, like a little Buddha who desires no ownership, just a raving, unquenchable thirst for experience!

I have been following a strict ‘No gift’ rule with my son for a while. With the exception of an odd educational book, I request friends and family not to buy him anything because he is overburdened with volumes of toys, clothes and small knick-knacks.

All these objects serve as targets for his special skills of tearing pages and mauling cars beyond repair — his Superman has lost his powers, Batman crawls and the stuffed tiger looks scared.

The other reason I avoid buying him gifts is that he has lost the sense of value attached to things. They appear so randomly and rapidly that he doesn’t cherish them.

My dilemma
So I’m in a real dilemma over what to buy him — do I buy him a ‘made in china’ bicycle or should I relax the ‘no chocolate’ rule and let him loose in a chocolate shop? Do I gift him an experience or give him an object?

I had secretly planned to give him his ‘perfect day’ in which he rules while I relax all my rules. His perfect day would be to wake up and head straight to the pool without brushing his teeth and jump repeatedly from its edge into the water.. empty the contents of the shampoo bottle in the sink, kick everyone at sight, eat pasta (with lots of ketchup) with an inverted fork and gorge on muffins and cookies (with ketchup) galore. Also throw sand in other kids’ eyes, try pulling out moles off people’s faces, snatch books, lunch boxes and toys of all his friends.

Locked in a room
Of course, all this consistently topped by his innocuous questions and probes of all that catches his eye. Nothing would give him heartfelt glee than spending the day with his cousins Maleeha, Mishqa, Zoya, Zayaan and Luqmaan or his guru and mentor Bezaan (aged six), locked in a room, being held ulta while rotating his body like a merry-go-round, with him unleashing cute baby swears.

Then again, perhaps I should gift him an investment, some additional insurance or maybe plant a tree and give him companions who would grow with him.

I think I got it. I will wake him up on his birthday and follow his young dictates, fulfill his crazed responses while putting my commands and reprimands on a leash. I will give him ‘his day’ on his birthday. A carpe diem birthday. Hope I live to tell the tale.

First Published: May 18, 2009 19:51 IST