Behind the scenes

Just another day, not today. But a sample of what happens on many days.

6:45 am: Got up, awake yet slow. Brushed my teeth, looked at myself in the mirror. Need to get my hair coloured. It looks weird, unkept and dry. Note to myself – Call my hair guy and set an appointment. It is Diwali this weekend. Yay!! Party!!

7:15 am: The kid’s tiffin packed. Breakfast, lunch and dinner planned out. Stuff for breakfast laid out. Time to go wake the kid. Oh, it rained last night and there is water on the terrace coz the f$%^&& idiots made the slope wrong. Need to get that cleaned when the maid comes in. Put in the laundry? Sky looks cloudy. What does that have to do with it? You can put it on full dry mode. Naaah! Just forget it today. Don’t feel like it.

7:25: The kid and his dad are still snoozing. Yank the blankets off! Mean me. The dad takes one look at his smart phone and has something urgent from work. I swear I could throw all phones into the Dead Sea. So he is unavailable from now on till whatever he needs to do gets done. Note to self – Pretend he is out of town.

7:55 am: The kid is ready for school. Finally!! After very “patiently” talking, role playing, subtle cajoling and just short of pleading. It took 25 minutes of cuddles, PDA, sweet talk, playing silly games and 5 minutes to actually get into the uniform. We march down the stairs for breakfast.

Expected time of Departure from home to catch the school bus is:

Easy breezy walk – 8:00 am

Power walk – 8:05 am

Run – 8:10 am

Run for your life – 8:15 am

We manage to make it 8:00 am on most days, but today doesn’t seem like that day.

8:00 am: The breakfast is toasted slices of bread with butter and jam and a glass of milk. Easy simple, what’s so difficult about that. Trust toddlers to come up with the most innovative ways to delay, refuse or whine about things. The young one wants to “cook” his breakfast. He wants to make something at 8:00 am when he is supposed to leave for school. Aaarrrghhhh! I want to scream out loud. But I don’t. I have house guests. I am trying to be nice and well behaved. I tell him we will cook together for lunch or dinner.

8:03 am: Looking at the calendar on the kitchen wall. Oh sh%^^ [don’t worry, I did not say that out loud]! I need to submit an article by tomorrow, an article that I haven’t started writing yet!!! Note to self – Finish it today. Tomorrow will be too late.

8:05 am: Back to reality. I am still pushing and gently prodding the little one to finish his glass of milk. 3/4th of the glass is gone. He refuses to drink the remaining. I am thisclose, yes THISCLOSE to screaming again. Pause. Think Simran what can you do now. I ask him why don’t you want to drink. He says it is cold. I do the finger test and it is frigging warm-on-the-side-of-hot. Before I can say anything he repeats “It is cold mama!” I take a sip and it dawns on me. I say “You mean there is less sugar?” His eyes become big and round and he nods. “Then you need to say it is not sweet enough. We don’t call it COLD!!”

I say it out loud, to myself “How irritating!” I hear the husband’s voice saying “How funny, right?” I get it! He is trying to make me see it in another light. I don’t want to see it from any other angle. Hmmphh!

I add sugar and give it to him. He is still not budging. I take away the glass and say ok no milk. He stares at me with the I-can’t-believe-this look. And I continue “No watching that movie-that-we-recorded-to-see-on-movie-day”. Totally mean me! I know, this is against all the rules of perfect parenting. But I DON’T WANT TO BE A PERFECT PARENT right now!!!! All I want to do is YELL – LEFT, RIGHT AND CENTER. But I don’t.

Bingo! It works. He gulps down the last bit of milk and is off to school. One down.

8:10 am: The good byes and I-love-yous are done. My cousins who are visiting are gone too. I warm up my milk and toast my bread and sit down for breakfast. Ding dong! There goes the bell. The maid is here. Back to a cold toast after giving her directions. Who cares!

8:20 am: The contractor calls in saying he will be here with his army of 5 men to finish off pending tasks. Okay 😦 Whatever!

8:55 am: The bell rings. The contractor walks in and 5 men with him. The maid looks at me and says “Phir se kaam shuru karange yeh log? [Will these people start work again?]….

… Such is life, it isn’t always what it seems like!! Yet we live it, love it and it is beautiful the way it is.

Have a lovely week ahead. May you have the slow moments that you crave for and the fast, hectic, crazy ones too. May you have the best of both worlds.
Happy Monday!!

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From a baby to a little person

N and I read and talk before he goes to bed. Tonight’s conversation, was a wee bit inspired by this post from Mindful Dad.  We sat opposite each other and I told him why I loved him – all the reasons I could think of and more 🙂 I did not expect him to say anything back, after all he did not understand why or what I was doing; he hadn’t read the article. Or so I thought.

Turns out, he does understand the language of love, of emotions, of feelings. So he told me, what he loved about me. He loved that I took care of him – whether he got hurt or not, that I read to him every night, that I brought things for him or not sometimes, that I took him running with me, that I gave him kisses and hugs, that he could talk to me about anything (including his crush on a girl in his class – yep his first), that he wouldn’t ever go away leaving me or wouldn’t want to change me for any other mommy in the world!! Yay!! Oh boy it was one of the best feelings in the world, the way he said it in a very matter of fact tone, as if this was the simplest, truest, fact. Even better than S telling me why he loves me. Sorry S! Your li’l guy just took over 😉

Oh and before sleeping, N thanked god tonight for “Giving me 15 days of holidays so that I can be with my friends in Malpe!”

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Me to N:Please roll up and button up your shirt sleeves. That will look nicer.

N: I don’t like rolling up the sleeves. That makes me uncomfortable around the elbow.

Me: The last time you wore it you had sleeves down. Can’t you do it just this once, for me?

N: I don’t feel like mamma.

Me: Okay! (Pouty face – coz I seriously felt that the shirt and N would look better with rolled up sleeves)

N [calmly]: My life, my choice. Your life, your choice.

Me [Thinking is this kid seriously just a 5-year-old??]: N there are some things you can choose for yourself but there are other things that you will have to leave for mom and dad to decide till you are a li’l older.

N: Ok Mamma – I will listen to you for all the important things. But this is not an important thing no? Just my shirt sleeves.

Me [As if the light just went on inside a dark room]: Yes, N. you are right, this ain’t important. Keep your sleeves whichever way you want them [Smiling to myself on the inside, the kid has his fundas clear,  reinforcement works and choose your battles Sim – it is the important stuff that matters!] 🙂

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Read this yesterday – http://butterflywriterblog.wordpress.com/2013/02/06/17-things-boys-need-from-their-moms/ and like it! Very thoughtful, sweet and emotional article.

Happy Holidays or Happy There-will-be-holidays-very-soon 🙂

Progress? Don’t Know. Maybe!

If someone asks me if the magic has happened yet, if I feel I can run 10K smoothly. The answer would be umm err <pause> I don’t know.

Frankly I think my state of running has gone a little down hill from when I started. I feel like I get breathless soon, muscle cramps, fatigue, sleep deprivation all of these have set in. This is Week 3 of running. Experienced runners say it gets better after the first 3 to 4 weeks. I am looking forward to see things getting better 🙂

Apart from that I ran my first 4K last Saturday which was pretty decent. I ran/walk the distance and felt good after that. But on Sunday I felt breathless soon and did more walk than run. Had cramps in upper thighs too after the whole workout which are better now.  Lets see how this weekend goes. I think I just need to do it easy, slow and steady.

This would be a lovely run path along the water, won’t it?

run path

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Turned 33 last week. Now I believe that saying “Age is just a number”. Doesn’t feel like 33, however that is supposed to feel. It is exciting. So much to do, so much to learn, so much to experience. Loving it! I know I am on a high and expect a low coming soon. I believe in cycles in life – highs and lows. Natural rhythms. Karma. Destiny.

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N is growing up into a lovely kid. All moms believe that of their children, I guess. He has a lot of compassion and empathy now. Is curious, questions everything around him, innovative, loving and charming 😉 Is sensitive too.

May all these qualities flourish and may I have more patience to raise him, be a mother, a bodyguard (as he calls me sometime), a confidante. Amen!

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We do our bit of how-was-your-day, what made you sad today, what made you happy, at night before we sleep. Last night N tells me a boy in his class called the teacher “Hey sexy babe!” And then that child got a time out.

Then he told me he learnt a new “S word” from friends in the park. S-hole.

Hmmmmm

I asked him if he knew what it meant. He didn’t. I told him he shouldn’t use these words at this age. They are rude and show disrespect towards the other person. When he grows up and understands the meaning he can decide for himself.

He said Okay mumma! Gave me a good night hug and kiss and slept off.

Love you my baby!

Could the school be more organised?

N starts summer camp coming Monday. We had enrolled him about 2 weeks back in a nearby school. Let’s not take names (Unless you are really curious. In that case, send me an email and I shall talk). At that time I was told that since he opted for skating as one of the activities he will need to bring his own skates. Point noted. I duly set out on a hunt to get a pair of skates for him, which I did manage to get well in time and easily.
Cut to Dday-3 morning, I called the school to ask when would they let us know about the transport details, pick up and drop times. The sweet lady at the other end said “Ma’m we will get back to you either today or tomorrow some time. I asked will it be an email communication or phone call. 5 sec pause. And the response was “Umm we will either call or send an email. ” Thank you, that was helpful.
Cut to Dday-3 late afternoon, I get a call from the school saying “We are having a PTM tomorrow morning at 9 am for the parents of kids enrolled for summer camp. Please be there.” I asked what is the PTM for? I mean agenda for the meeting? 5 second pause again. “We will tell everything about the camp there. What the kids will do, pick up and drop time, transport in charge nbr and all. ” I told the lady at the other end that I will get back to her with my confirmation in about an hour after rearranging another engagement that I had for the next morning.
After which I did call her back and confirmed my attendance.
Next morning I pushed myself out of the bed and made it to the school on time after juggling around existing plans and the husband and I splitting the task list.
What do I see when I reach there??
The meeting room isn’t ready yet. Extra chairs were being brought in to accommodate the (unexpected?) crowd. Parents were waiting outside, some with the kids in tow, some without. 35 minutes later than the scheduled time the parents were asked to move into the room. The organisers also announced that they would take the kids to the play room while the parents were attending the session. That was thoughtful, but it would be better if this was mentioned in the phone call intimating the meeting.
The principal addressed the parents starting with the basic what, when and how about the summer camp.
The ambiguities started popping up when the parents started asking questions. “My child has opted for swimming/skating. What accessories does he need?”. “My child is 4.5 years old. Will he qualify as primary or pre-primary?” Note: the activities and schedule for these 2 categories are different. The swimming and skating coaches who were present rattled out a list of things needed for each sport. This, for your reference is being done on a Saturday, 2 days before the camp begins. So all the parents are expected to send the kid with all the equipment on Monday or else they cannot do that activity. Why couldn’t the complete list of stuff required for each activity be mentioned when the child was being enrolled a week, 2 weeks or in some cases, a month ago? Wouldn’t that have made it easier for people to plan, research and buy equipment?
Then there was a vague announcement about a 3 days of one activity followed by 3 days of another and so on for pre primary kids. The perplexed parents scrambled to write down the schedule onto scraps of paper, smart phones, on bills, receipts and anything else they could find in their bags and purses. When one parent asked if they could get a soft copy or a print out of the same, you could see the light go on in the school staff’s eyes. Hmm, this was a much better idea than making people write all that down. So it was mentioned that after the meeting they would print and give hard copies of the schedule. It was also announced that 2 sets of ID cards (one for the child and one for whoever picks up the child) would be provided after the meeting.
The meeting ended in about 35 mins. People rushed to one of these 3 areas – the transport in charge to figure out pick up and drop times and locations for their kids, the area where the ID cards were being given away and the reception desk where any discrepancies were being corrected. No one wanted to form queues. Everybody had questions, doubts or issues they wanted to talk about. Names were missing from the transport sheets which then were discovered to be on another version of the sheet (hopefully that is the one the driver shall use). ID cards were not ready yet, some had one or more activity missing or mentioned incorrectly. Miraculously inspite of all the chaos people seemed to get what they wanted!! Maybe alls well that ends well.
But IMO things could have been better planned, organised and executed. It is the little things that help make it a smoother experience! * Hoping the actual camp is much better planned 🙂

Day 22 – Things to do before I die – Theme post day

This week’s theme post brief in the December 2012 Marathon Blogging event was – Let us lay our hearts open, and talk about our “Bucket List”, 10 things you want to do before you kick the bucket. It may be a plain and simple bucket list, or a contextual subset, 10 adventures you want to try, 10 foods you want to try, 10 holiday locations you dont want to miss, and the list goes on! Run your imaginations wild and entertain us all 🙂 10 is just a number, it will be easy for people to read and interact, else sky is the limit.

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I had made a sticky note for myself about things I wanted to do in the next 5, 10, 15 years here. This was almost a year and half ago.

I am listing the ones not yet completed on that list along with some new ones.

NOTE – This is a work-in-progress list.

– Travel within India – Leh, Jaipur (to get a bandhini saree), Agra (to see Taj Mahal – yes clichéd, but still), Gujarat, backwaters in Kerala (boat house anyone?).

– Travel internationally – Bora Bora Islands (this one is going to be a no-kid-with-the-spouse-only holiday), Italy (for an authentic pizza), London (this time a longer trip), Antarctica, Dubai (to buy gold, yeah right!), be a volunteer at the Olympic games.

– Read books, loads of ‘em and collect all those books for my collection at home. Here is why I love to read?

– Write a children’s book – this one is inspired by my son.

– Take a cruise to Alaska.

– Take N to Disney world. Just once! Before he outgrows love for all those characters.

– Do something that I REALLY LOVE and have natural passion for (money and time not being constraints) – something that makes use of my spatial skills (my friend A says I am good at these), my love for books, decor and photography.

– Watch plays at Ranga Shankara (as long as I’m in Bangalore) and else where too. Addendum to this one – See a broadway show -front row, center 🙂

– Learn to cook amazingly, fabulously, awesome-ly, stupendous-ly and some other -lys. I am such a foodie and love to try new things, eat visually appealing food but I want to be able to make those dishes or at least half of them. Some day!

– And the one dream that I have been harboring since a long time – Live in Manhattan, on the island, even a studio apartment will do or a loft overlooking Central Park (I know I know I am not that rich but it doesn’t cost anything to dream, does it?), walk to work amongst the teeming crowds, watch theatre on Broadway, take the subway, have a picnic in Central Park! – This has been partly fulfilled! I am living in Wellington downtown. The apartment is one of those modern, white, ceiling-to-floor glass windows wala thingies. I walk around to everywhere possible. I use the public transport when needed. The city has a waterfront that I really like and often walk down to. But I am still going to keep this one on the list for sentimental purposes.

What is in your bucket list? 

Day 4 – Gifts for N’s teachers or not?

It’s Christmas month!!!

Celebrations have started happening in this part of the world. My son N’s school had their Christmas function last week. The kids sang and danced to a couple of seasonal favourites. One of them is the Kiwi version of Jingle Bells. It reflects celebrating Christmas in the summer months 🙂 This is how it goes –

“Oh, jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way
Christmas in New Zealand on a sunny summer’s day, ah!
Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way
Oh what fun it is to have a Kiwi holiday!” 

The kids had made some calendars for 2013 with artwork made by them at school and gifted them to their parents along with a hand-made card during the event.

I had been thinking of doing something for N’s teachers at school much before this event. I believe teachers work very hard and are super patient human beings (after dealing with one handful brat at home, there is a whole new respect for teachers). And Christmas and New Year is a good occasion, among other days, to show gratitude.

But the big question is what should be given to the teachers. I was initially thinking a card, with what N wants to say, to each teacher. He has started writing quite a bit and so he can write some of it himself and I can help him with the rest. And along with that some cookies baked at home, maybe 2 kinds of cookies. But then I discussed this with a couple of girl friends and they expressed their views about gifting to teachers. And that discussion made me think (girl friends are good for the soul I tell you)!

– Do I need to add some gifts (could be cookies, could be anything else) or will a card be just enough?

– What is the aim of this? Teaching N to be thankful or letting the teachers know we (S, N and I) are grateful for what they do?

– If I do this, will it affect the teacher’s relationship with N? In what way? Good or bad?

I am still debating about what to do. In the end I will do what I am comfortable with and makes sense to me. Just that, I am waiting for that moment when things just go “Click” and you know what you want to do 🙂

But I would love to know, what do you fellow bloggers do? Do you gift the teachers at your child’s school at any time of the year? If yes, why and what? If not, why not? If there is a teacher amongst us I would so love to hear your views!!

This post is part of Day 4 of the Marathon Blogging December 2012 event.

I took time but now I know and accept!

We spent time at a near-by beach last Sunday. It was a sunny day with blue skies and white clouds floating away. The kinds where the floating clouds make you dizzy when you look at them for too long.

S and I watched N playing close to the water, digging wet sand, testing how cold the water is with his feet, making friends. He approached a girl, she could be half his age, offered his toys to her; she joined him. They both sat down on the wet sand, quietly playing, chatting in between, smiling. It was a beautiful moment…. the essence of childhood!

Till a year ago I wouldn’t have believed N could sit quietly like this for this long or be gentle and share! I wondered why he was the way he was. Could I have done something different or behaved in a different way when I was pregnant (Trust me, being educated and knowing biology and chemistry doesn’t help at moments like this!)? Could my doing-something-that-I-did when I was carrying him around in my tummy cause him to be so active, naughty, inquisitive, talkative, testing boundaries always? Was the way I was bringing him up the reason for the way he behaved at times??

I struggled to take control of my son – how he talked, ate, sat, behaved. Everything! I felt embarrassed if he did anything that was not “right” as per my definition of “acceptable social behavior”. I used to be upset and felt out of control after any such incidents. It frustrated me to understand why my son couldn’t behave in a particular way and why couldn’t he sit still like that kid on the other table in the restaurant!! My husband tried to reason with me and told me to move on after any “incidents” not to hold them against N or to bother myself too much. He said this is all a part of growing up and learning. I couldn’t understand then. I used to stay upset for a long time.

It took me 4 years to understand and accept this often-used statement “Every child is different”. I did not understand its true meaning till a few months back.

I am not one of those parents who are blinded by adoration for their children. I know N has both good and not-so-good. But now I know as far as I am teaching him to differentiate between the two it will be just fine.

As long as I help him develop a conscience and empathy; and encourage him to use them, he will turn out just fine.

I know there will be days when I wish I could shout out saying “This is not my kid!”. But I also know that it will be just that 1 day; there will also be days when I will be super proud of him and be happy to have him in my life.

I read this in one of the many child psychology books that I have been reading to help myself understand the li’l one better – “When our kids are born and as they are growing we teach them about numbers, letters, addition, division, geography, history etc. They are not expected to know all this at birth. They learn it over the next few years and throughout their life. So then why do we expect them to know how to behave, talk, sit and eat by themselves at a super sonic speed. Social skills also need to be learned and taught over a few years as well as anytime through their adolescence! Why do we expect a kid to “know” it all by themselves and in one go?”

I now know that kids will do stuff that they “should/could/would” and also stuff that they shouldn’t. It is not about why they do it. But to raise good kids it is important how the parents react and what do they do when their kid does something that they shouldn’t!!

I love N more than ever now after I have made peace with this inner struggle and learned to deal with it in a better manner. I shall continue the learning/teaching process and focus on the what-now rather than the why.