18 December, 2012

A Music Lesson Turns Into A Lesson In Motherhood



When I was in high school we had an option of learning the sitar. I chose it as the lesser of two evils, CBSE Hindi being something I did NOT want to tangle in for my 12th Boards.

Anyhow, my parents thought that my tinkering with the piano for a few years while I was younger would make it easier to learn the sitar for me. Erm. Yes and No. Western classical and Eastern classical being the individual behemoths that they are and piano and sitar being two entirely different types of instruments, the going wasn’t easy by a long. It was painfully funny. Wait…it was painful and funny.

Anyhow, that’s another blog post for another day. This is about the sudden recollection of a memory during a riyaaz with my music teacher eons ago. See, whenever I like something or discover I have even a minor aptitude for something; I need to do it faster and faster each time. Somewhere in my mind I equate speed with being better. But we all know the tortoise won in the end so...

Don’t mind my meandering. Somehow I think it adds a touch of my idiosyncrasies to my writing as well. My teacher, one of the best I've ever had in my life, was telling me not to fight for speed so much since it would take time for the arm muscles to get used to the new movements. She said if I sped up too often I’d sacrifice accuracy and cause my muscles to cramp. Right on both counts there. But I kept trying because I wanted to know how it felt to see my hands as a blur on the sitar and hear the tempo become rapid each time I played.

My teacher told me there’d be a time when the muscles on the right hand, just above the elbow would just freeze up and despite my trying my hardest it wouldn't budge. And then suddenly with a popping experience it would just become far more fluid- an obstacle would be crossed forever. That stiffness in the muscles and the fluidity thereafter would be like a bridge I would have crossed and wouldn't have to cross again and again.

Somehow today while coaxing the offspring to clear up the mess of his jigsaw pieces, his Noddy books, the chocolate wrappers and crayons I thought of me playing a sitar. The image came and went in a flash. Then I tried to relax with a cup of tea and sat on a clothes pin (which surprisingly turn up in odd places in my house all the time) and a building block and I just lost my cool. I was seething. The tea in the cup was sloshing and MLM was looking at me VERY warily. He might’ve wondered if his rear end was in for trouble or if he was going to have to spend an extended amount of time facing one of the well-used corners of the apartment.
Suddenly the analogy of the frozen elbow and the fluidity thereafter came to my mind and I just relaxed. I wasn't entirely calm but I wasn’t livid either. 
Call this intellectual masturbation but there is a similarity. Your mind gets stuck at certain junctures and it can’t go forward. You can’t progress from that point and going back isn't an option at all! 
Once you get over that obstacle, scale the wall, cross the hurdle, whatever! you’ll find you’re able to function with a clearer mind and find solutions or at least find space to think instead of reacting blindly.

A realization always brings something good in its wake- acting on it is what gets you the speed to get ahead.

Oh, and did I gain speed in playing the sitar? You betcha! I rocked at it- the tempo, the sounds, the whole shebang! I hope parallel analogies work out in both situations.
Fingers crossed!

22 November, 2012

The Hanging...

At the risk of a backlash from whoever it is that sits and watches for things to pounce upon, let me be very clear at the onset- I personally don't believe that an eye for an eye suits every situation but neither do I believe that consequences of a behavior can be avoided for long.
Whether that consequence comes in the form of an admonishment, a jail sentence or even a death sentence that was eventually carried out. 

among the books I've read on genocide  (Holocaust, WW I&II et al), movies I've seen, articles I've read; two of the movies I've seen really made me wonder and question human nature,rather specific scenes in the movies did. One was Sean Penn's breaking down and crying in Dead Man Walking while confessing his sins to Susan Sarandon and the other was Djimon Housou's utter disbelief at seeing his son as a part of a gun-wielding militia outfit in Blood Diamond

The reason I cite these two references is because in each case, something heinous had either happened or was going to happen and there were people who had been deeply affected by it and with precious little to do.

Going by the Blood Diamond example, it might be understandable how a boy with very little options in life, living in an impoverished (to what extent I don't honestly know) manner in a village of Faridkot can be a perfect candidate for indoctrination. But it's not indoctrination alone that controls a person's actions. There has to be something inherent which also contributes to the things a person is capable of. Or is a person's will so very pliable that anything that is impressive enough can bend it whichever way it chooses?

And when the strength of indoctrination proves too be too powerful to combat whatever inherent sense of right-wrong that a person possesses and they go off on a path that is morally, socially and legally wrong well...then they have to find themselves in the position that Kasab did.

Even if people do repent, it still doesn't make up entirely for the repercussions of their actions. It merely shows an intent to. 
Paroled convicts spend time doing community service, others become religious and have a different attitude about human life, human existence but the life's they've already impacted negatively doesn't get a chance to benefit from their actions. 

And it isn't always about making reparations to the injured either. Sometimes it all comes down to the punishment fitting the crime. And if in the process if people are being made examples of, hard line messages are being sent out to people of a particular ilk, of a certain bent of mind then that's just the fallout.

The main consideration is that someone committed a crime and paid for it according to the severity of their actions.

I hope this hanging at least stops other Kasabs in the making or even gives them pause before thinking of carrying out such an agenda. Look at what befell him. Dead at 25! He might have been poor in Faridkot but would have had a family around, an opportunity to do what all young people do at his age, might have had friends, had some semblance of a life.
Instead he's in an unmarked grave, dead in a truly horrific manner and he never got to live properly and every day since he was caught, he was the target to some of the worst vibes and maledictions from around the world and most certainly from the country and family of his victims.

All in all, doesn't really seem like he made the right choice by himself, does it?


18 November, 2012

Reality Bites! HARD!

There are some days when it dawns on you, "Damn! I'm really a parent! And one of those parents who I swore never to be like and never to find myself in situations like."

Till now I was relatively close-minded about jinxes. I knew they didn't exist. People told me not to divulge that I was preggers before I completed the 1st trimester; I did anyhow. 

People said don't talk about your child's weight and health because of mal ojo et al; I went right ahead and told everyone who inquired exactly how much he weighed, ate blah blah. 

Then I got screwed. BIG time! I used to always tell whoever was keen to hear out a rambling  mother about how her child does yada yada yada that for all his antics MLM had never thrown a fit at a toy store or a department store and demanded that he be bought a toy or else! Apparently I said it one too many times because last week he did exactly that- threw the mother or all fits and got into a tussle with a bigger boy over ( of all things *rolls eyes*) Play Doh!!

We were out shopping for some winter wear and I happened to have MLM with me while Red finished up some of his own things-to-do and there it happened! Both boys spotted the party pack of Play Doh in the store and the bigger boy reached it although MLM had called dibs on it in his own way. There ensued a battle of epic proportions with MLM chasing the other brat through the store and trying to give him other toys so he'd drop the desired item. 
Although to be fair to my son's tendencies, I think he was actually trying to knock out the box from the kid's hands when he hefted up the cricket bat (foam one folks. No anti-social tendencies; yet). Anyhoo, long story short, the kid ran off to his parents and MLM ran to me with a particularly odious whiny tone that makes me want to Fed-ex him off to a remote country asap! 
On being ignored by his one and only ally (yeah right!!) MLM promptly dropped to his knees and started howling- all fake by the way. The other kid came and pushed him and unfortunately gave MLM the opening to begin to cry in earnest. The drama queen that I gave birth to then plopped himself face down and cried his little eyes out and I was forced to give my 'angry mommy' glare to the other kid who I secretly suspect wanted MLM to shut up with his whining as much as I did!

But 'angry mother glare has its benefits...other parents pick up on it and home into the signal like heat-seeking missiles. In this case, it was the other kid's mother who zeroed in on the situation and seeing my frown she promptly hauled her kid away, only stopping to snatch the Play-Doh from his hand and thrusting it into my brat's hands and gnashing her teeth at her's and saying, " SORRY CHEPPU!" (say you're sorry).

Wonder of wonders, miracles of miracles- the waterworks from MLM's eyes dried up faster than water going down the drain of a bathtub the moment the plug's pulled. He managed a few pitiful sniffs while looking at his savior which led to his opponent getting dragged away faster to a harsher fate- his father being brought into the picture and yet another scolding and glare coming his way.

Now we get to the interesting part of the story- by the time I'd finished with my shopping and was at the payment counter, MLM was already handing over the hard-won prize to the cashier and telling him, "Give Sidaath this one." Of course the cashier was only too happy to ring up the purchase till the 'angry mother' glare was focused his way and he reluctantly stopped scanning the code. MLM thinking it was all done and dusted tried to walk out of the store with the box only to be accosted by his father who pulled a good-cop routine on him. 
Btw, personal experience tell me that good cops don't stand a chance with a kid on the brink of a tantrum. Bring out the bad cop and keep him there till the situation's under control or kid's in a straitjacket!!

So there we were, preparing to make a run for it like a bunch of shoplifters! Red picked up MLM and nearly ran to the car parking while I grabbed all our bags and ran out while telling the befuddled cashier that NO! I didn't want the Play-Doh!

The kicking and screaming continued till the car started and we reached the traffic lights and suddenly there was blessed peace. The monster was out cold.

We fist-bumped and decided that I would continue with my forays into online retail and avoid toy stores unless we definitely wanted to buy something!

Ah! the joys of spending quality time with the family!

Btw, lesson has been learnt- anything good that MLM will do shall NOT be shared in case he feels tempted to retract that behavior and turn into a parent's worst tantrumy nightmare,

09 November, 2012

Oopsie!


Forget Penelope Pitstop! The Perils of Lil Ol'Moi were sky high. Rather the results of my actions were. I am by nature a quasi-dreamer. Ahh...what the heck is a "quasi-dreamer" you ask?
 Well my father always said I did things halfway so I couldn't accomplish being a full time space cadet and dreamer and was relegated to being a quasi-one. 
I have a habit of thinking something and saying something else-often.It has gone beyond Spoonerism and made me think of getting a psych consult done. 
Knocking over glasses, cups, mugs- usually pretty full of liquids (hot and cold, I do not discriminate). Walking into things. HARD ones-VERY often. VERY ouch.And then I have the unfortunate habit of repeating the clash with hard objects all over again. As if the first impact wasn't fun enough. 

You can imagine my plight when I kept thinking of all the times I probably might drop my kid because I tripped on something or because I stubbed my toes- AGAIN! Saying Oops! when you drop an infant is kind of an anticlimax. Forget what kind of injury you might cause of the baby, it is a fact that kids don't bounce! Not that I repeatedly dropped my kid on various parts of his anatomy to empirically check the issue but each time I saw my kid fall or stumble I could see his surprise (and irritation) that he somehow did not magically pop back up!

Getting back to my rambling- I am also guilty of wide circular movements with my wrists when talking and when making presentations I outright resemble a windmill. Thank GOD Don Quixote did NOT see ME coming!

Imagine this scenario- A group of immaculately dressed individuals seated around a table in a proper conference room with the requisite subdued air that ensues during a presentation. A short, bespectacled, bouncy person who walks up and down the length of the white board and makes increasingly bolder and more forceful marks with the marker suddenly throws her hands out in a gesture of TA DA! post concluding a particularly energetic presentation!
 Aforementioned hand smacks one of aforementioned immaculately garbed individuals present and what happens? TA DA! moment goes up in the air! For all eternity! 

They tend to remember you as the crazy hands lady than the ideating woman. They treat you the way they do bag ladies in Central Park and expect a legion of cats mewling around your ankles.

Orr...maybe in far more realistic circles, they immediately roll their chairs 3 feet away from you at the table and make sure you never get up to make your point with those pretty bright markers and suggest that henceforth you merely mail your presentations and they could probably include you on-call; for everyone's safety.

Oh FISH!!

P.S: for those wondering how many times I dropped my baby or stubbed my toe while he was an infant- the answer is ZERO! I waited till he could walk all by himself, did not have to be carried at all and then promptly walked into the wall!

26 October, 2012

Why My Child is My Snoogums-Boogums

Remember this little ditty? 

Well I know of plenty of people who went bananas over it! And some who wanted to throw overripe bananas at it because it was gagworthy to them. But all in all I totally agree with the lyrics and they apply to my child in toto!

After all you have to be a pumpy-umpy-umpkin to keep doing these wonderful things:

  • locking the neighbors in at every possible opportunity and then forgetting to unlatch their front door.
  • leaving bits of Play-Doh in places where they're nicely stuck and difficult to take out.
  • chanting for KFC's Popcorn Chicken the second the car leaves the parking area.
  • laying claim to everything at home as his own especially MY iPad!
  • asking for lip(stick,balm,gel) everytime I open the doors to the dresser.
  • taking my wallet out of my handbag and going through every damn thing in there and mixing up my cards.
  • howling like a banshee when a favored object is taken away.
  • being a drama queen- a really bad drama queen.
  • fake crying in public.
  • lying down on the in the aisles of shopping malls when ice cream/balloons/escalator rides are denied.
  • staying up LATE into the night and keeping me&Red up as well and then promptly refusing to get up at a decent time in the morning.
  • getting the bathroom wet, wall-floor each time he has to spend time on the pot.
  • digging out bits of styrofoam padding from his carseat and eating it like it's popcorn.
  • making a mess and then saying, "LOOK! Chhee-Chhee"!
  • playing Angry Birds all wrong and still enjoying it immensely!
  • being all full of vim&vigor the moment I'm dead tired on my feet and essentially a zombie!
There are more points to add there I'm sure but these are the main reasons why he's the apple of my eye!!
















13 October, 2012

Calling All Gummy Bears

NOT the creepy green glooby one that wears yellow briefs but these...these beautiful little creatures who you relish biting the heads and limbs off and still get a warm toasty feeling from gobbling up by the handfuls.

Gummybears are a very different kind of candy. They are fun basically. You can't resist giving them a squeeze before popping them in your mouth, you pick out the ones which catch your eyes (kind of like jellybeans) and they are a delight to bite into and chew the heck out of!

Now some benevolent people have decided to make Gummybears nutritional (while doing nothing for the health of our teeth in the long run) by infusing calcium,vitamins in them and lessening the feelings of guilt in people like me a tad bit for eating them by the dozen.

The fun part of it still remains because all sorts of characters find themselves into gummy mode- the last time I went through a bottle it was full of the Flintstones. And let me tell you it was FUN!!

Then there are those BIG gummies which are roughly the size of 10 regular-sized bears clumped together and 10 times for fun.

So where am I going with all this? Well I researched the sourcing of gummies in India a bit and found that I'd end up living on the sidewalk if I had to get them regularly from a set-up like Amazon. So I wrote to one of the companies that manufacture the healthy gummies asked about their retail operations in India.
Long story short, I now have position of 2 bottles of "gummybears". I air quote full of sarcasm because while my child is happily munching on them, those bears are out and out frauds!! They are far more closely linked to the jujube branch of foodstuff than the gummy ones. And everyone knows, jujubes are one thing and gummies are something entirely different!

So while I'm mildly happy (weak YAY) that my child will NOT be fussing about nutritional supplements, I am quite miffed (strong hmmph sound emanating from my throat) that the gummies that were promised aren't what they are supposed to be.

A gummy is a gummy and there're no two ways about it.

While I sit here typing all this out and semi-pout, the one thing I know that would act as a pick-me-up is nothing else but a nice, soft, squishy, blue gummy bear. I'll even take one without the healthy crap and just bite it's beary lil head off and let the happiness flow through my veins.

Everyone's lives need a bit of gumminess!

12 October, 2012

The Joys of Being the First One..

First one what? Well, the first one in many cases!

Take my current little reason for being happy, cheery at least; I'm the first one up!
I am always the first one up in this house but usually I'd be less inclined to linger and read the paper or even think about blogging. I have some time on my hands and I'm relishing the joys of having the house all to myself.

I'm realized something, except for people at work (and when my folks are around), my family doesn't do the whole 'good morning' bit. Red gets up when I call him and is always bleary-eyed and scratches various parts of his anatomy while yawning like those lions from Animal Planet. He curls up on one of the sofas or takes the newspaper and seems to just transitions another awake-sleep.

Definition: awake-sleep- when you are actually awake but for all practically purposes you are sleeping since everything that's happening around you passes you by(especially your wife's comments). You are semi-supine and in a mild-vegetative state.

Red usually doesn't come alive till the first sip of coffee hits his throat- been there, done that, totally sympathize! But in the time that he's quasi-comatose anything I say or do will be met with a blank stare, if at all and would never even make it to his short-term memory.

MLM wakes up with a warbling, whining,grumpy, happy, giggly (take your pick) kind of an attitude and usually rolls around all over the place so I can't pick him up from bed and get him started on his day. Depending upon how much and how well he's slept the previous night, it's either a tug-of-war or some gentle persuasion that gets him out of bed and usually sprinting towards his toys.

So, why am I happy right now? Well...I'm up. Those two are curled up asleep and I get to decide when I wake them up. Am enjoying the sounds of birds chirping, the sights on the road, the smell of coffee awaiting me while I finish this post and most of all because till the bell rings and the maid arrives it's a state of suspended animation for me.
That bell ringing is like the starter gun signaling the mad dash that the morning will assume till I again regain tranquility by sending them both off to work and school and revel in me time.

TGIF indeed!!

06 October, 2012

Rewind the last 3 week

Well, maybe not rewind, a retrospect more likely but am not at my best at 5 in the morning.
Especially since I haven't been able to sleep courtesy a non-killer but persistent headache nonetheless!

Today marks 3 weeks that I got back to working. Woo hoo! 3 weeks!! Yay! bring on the pension plan already!! Now, now...3 weeks may be miniscule, taken in the backdrop of the whole work cosmos waiting to devour working parents but it's been a BIG 3 weeks for us as a family.

It's helterskelter in the mornings and I fully expect Charles Manson to come in and just add to the riot! The Biodiversity week (everyone clap now that Hyderabad is in the cynosure of all eyes...polite, bored (forced) clapping follows) has lead to heaps of problems for those of us not so bio-diverse.

The traffic jams, the mini-craters in the roads, the constant police vigilance and the mounting road rage just adds that "something" special to your mornings when you drive off to work and try to get reintegrated with the gerbil race. Eh?
We are not rats! Well...this time around am determined not to be a rodent so I will pick cute, fuzzy innocuous critters who can also race. But are gerbils rodents too? Never mind ..too early in the day to get my Darwin groove on!

The mornings are the worst honestly! Breakfast has come to signify getting some solids into the offspring who for some reason feels the time lag between getting up at 8 am rather than 7:30 is massive. And then he MUST have his bubbles! I mean how can we be sure that all the nooks and crannies are clean if they haven't been doused liberally in a bubble bath?
So by the time the school van arrives, at 8:30 no less, we need to get the child up, get him brushed (have you smelt morning breath on a kid! Yikes!!), bathed, fed, clothed, packed for school and out the door in time.

Now adding to the fun of all this newness of my new innings at work was Red's transition to a new org after having worked with his first (and only company till recently) for nearly 10 years. So there we were..all 3 of us with totally 3 things to do and places to go to- me to work, Red to a another place and MLM to daycare.

Here's a breakdown of how it goes:

I rush out the door by 8:15 so I can get to work by 8:45 at the very latest. If I get out at 8:20, I may get to work only by 9:15, yup! The office seems to move further way in those five minutes. I put in a cd (a medley of retro rock for the last 2 days) once I hit the first red light and bring out the eyeliner for the second light. The Gods that Change Traffic Lights are benevolent enough to wait for me to apply it comfortably so I don't end up looking like a raccoon while entering work.
My hair is still in it's bed-hair stage and will submit only once I get into work and not before. I try not to brush my hair in the car. I shed more than a lab these days and all I need is for the hair to mingle with the dark upholstery or for the offspring to get sneezing fits from it.
Note to self: Vacuum car over weekend anyhow.

So I get into work, with trusted coffee mug in tow and take life-altering sips before facing the rest of the world. Then come afternoon I start making calls to the daycare to see if MLM has eaten, how much and what he's currently up to. Then I head out to pick him up while he's semi-snoozing, conked out or chirping like he's high!
These days the new object of his affections is a blimp that's been put up recently and he keeps pointing it out from his car seat till I notice and say, "OOH! NICE!" Not acknowledging aforementioned blimp keeps him repeating it till I look at the damn thing and comment with some amount of life in my voice. It goes something like this- LOOK Mamma, LOOK, LOOK,LOOK,LOOK,LOOK,LOOK,LOOK! Stop it! I can't look I'm driving for Pete's sake! LOOOOOOOOOOOK!!!! BALLOOOOON! Ok, ok...pretty balloon! LOOOK MAMMA LOOK!!! OOOH...Nice balloon...look how it goes side to side (at which juncture he starts singing "Gymbo the clown goes side to side...all day long!"). And finally peace prevails.

We get home and I've barely parked when all sorts of potty-peepee emergencies come to this child's head! So we rush and often leave the school bag, daycare bag, my handbag and sometimes groceries for later. I barely get the door open and he rushes to his toys instead of making a beeline for the loo like I'd have hoped. Any efforts at trying to elicit information about previously stated emergencies only brings out demands (not requests, DEMANDS) for snacks, juice, paints and everything that doesn't belong in a loo.

So, emergency balloon deflated, I lock him at home for 2 minutes, pop back down to the car and haul up everything like a beast of burden and look around for a jumbo mug of coffee. Can you guess what happens when  I finally plonk myself down and take the first sip? Yup! He has to go to the bathroom. This time for good. It's the big stuff now. So on we rush, him telling me to get the toilet seat as if I'm some kind of a newbie mom. Once the deed is done, hands are elaborately washed, not so very subtle signs are given indicating a bubble bath is preferred, yet again, and I finally sit down to my neglected coffee.
And I swear this child waits for me to sip at the drink before unleashing something else on me! And this time it's, " Siddharth eat. AAH!" followed by an open mouth and a finger pointing inside in case I haven't cottoned on to the idea that's being conveyed.
And snack time follows.

All this while my coffee seethes, simmers and fizzles out but I drink it anyway because I need caffeine more than oxygen!

But hectic as some parts of life have become- it's been pretty damn good to clean the cobwebs from my head. Thinking again, thinking on things pertaining to more than child care and child rearing, what to make for the lunch and dinner. I still do all that but earlier I'd got hemmed in by these things and wasn't able to stretch my mental muscles. That process has now started. And boy! are those muscles tired.

And it's largely due to the fact that the daycare demon has been conquered. Not that daycare is preferred by MLM but he's not fighting it the way he used to earlier. He's marked his territory there I guess :) and the morning rush leaves me a bit winded but I get enough time to unwind in the afternoon and all through dinner leading up to bedtime. That I'm a total, complete zombie if I don't conk off by 10:30 and once I sleep I need a hydrogen bomb exploding to get me to ask, "huh..whahappan, is everything okkk...zzzzz".

Red usually laughs about these things the next morning, that is until I try to shoo him into leaving the paper behind and going for his bath, not to leave the house without eating anything and not leaving the wet towel on the bed!

Such is our life. But it's a nice little life and we're all surviving. So far.
AMEN.

26 September, 2012

New Beginnings....

After three years of tending to home, hearth, hubby and child (darn! the alliteration ended with hubby) I've got back to work. YAY! Open champagne bottles, get drunk all around? Erm no. This place is quite sanitized from that standpoint.

I work for Gymboree. Red and I took MLM there 2.5 years ago after friends recommended the place. And over a point of time it became the de facto weekend destination for us. MLM learnt about clowns, lap rides, cleaning up his toys after play time and most importantly, about BUBBLES!! To this date it's tough to get him distracted from bubbles whether it's those hawkers at the traffic signals, the bubble bath that he insists upon or just any ol' foamy stuff. That boy's serious about his bubbles!!

But the going's not been easy so far. It hasn't been a Herculean effort either but I realized that for all my whining to Red about having cabin fever, it was very difficult for me to swallow the idea of leaving my child in a daycare at the mercy of perfect strangers! Sounds very melodramatic but there's no dearth of drama in a mother's head anyhow so...

We looked at daycare centers which would not only be at a doable distance but also the kinds where he would feel comfortable. Children are creatures of habits as Red never fails to remind me and once they get used to a particular kind of ambiance, any kind of change in it affects them quite a bit.
And it wasn't just about the hygiene. It was also about the dimensions of the place, how well ventilated it was, how well light and how spacious. I finally found one that satisfied me to some extent and that's saying a lot because somewhere in my head I was waiting for the place to miraculously look like my house and the caretaker to resemble me somewhat so MLM's transition would be smooth.

But it hasn't been smooth. It hasn't been too choppy either but it's been a bit painful on all sides. The first few days he howled. The next few days he simpered and then he clung to me like a limpet when I came to pick him up. There were some territory issues between him and a few other boys (testosterone city!!) who were there before him and had a few years and pounds on him. To add to it, the van driver from his school who drops him at the daycare after school gets over was also melancholic because 'babu roya'.

I was beginning to feel that between my son's somber face, my husband's gloomier than ever countenance and my parents' anxiety over MLM's adjustment, I had no business at all feeling even the slightest bit of satisfaction in getting up in the morning, contemplating on what I was going to wear that day (with ACCESSORIES!!) and heading off to work with the music blasting!

But my employers being pretty damn considerate all things considered, gave me the freedom to work fairly flexible timings and now I leave in the mornings before MLM heads off for school and pick him up from daycare and am back home by a little bit post 2 pm. That's a total of just over 2 hours in daycare on most days of the week. And I have to say at the arrangement is working great! Either because he's also getting acclimatized to the place, or because he's spending lesser time there, our man's been happier in the last few days. I've yet to see him sulk and he's actually taking time to say bye to the kids and the staff there, which in his world means some amount of connections are getting established.

Of course he would still has to be dragged away from his school whereas he's quite free about waving everyone off at daycare as soon as he sees either Red or I have come to pick him up. But today I saw him totally at ease there and it really soothed my anxiety imps. Of course it's a rare (read oddball) child who will leave crayons, papers to scribble upon and just up and leave because his mother's come to pick him up!

Once we're back home he has the added advantage of taking YET another bath (again with bubbles) and takes his time race-walking through the house, touching all his things to reaffirm that they are indeed all there. And by the time the evening dawns we're busy with the newly discovered game of Crennis or Croccer.
Let me explain-

Crennis was discovered in circa 2012 by a bored and yet imaginative child who found that if he used both a cricket bat and a tennis racquet to hit a ball, he'd be able to strike with more force, make more noise and possibly make the ball go further each time if not entirely beat the living daylights out of it!

The game is played with a parent on one side whose primary job is to NEVER get tired of pitching the ball to the offspring or hitting it when the offspring chucks it at them-even if it's actually going towards the fridge or the sofa or another object which is at a tangent from where the parent is actually positioned.

When the child is thrown the ball, the child always has an option of kicking it when they feel like it, bopping it with the tennis racquet or just sweeping it with the cricket bat a la broom-ishtyle.

The game is typically played till the child grows tired. Parents' fatigue is nonexistent anyhow and therefore not in the equation. The points are scored usually in favor of the child (which activity the child has taken up- batting/kicking or pitching) and occasionally parents score when child is feeling magnanimous.

The outcome of the game is to make the parents sweat and feel like they're finally losing weight doing something intensely physical( since the damn gym membership is languishing anyhow) and the child happy, tired and most importantly hungry enough to eat what and as much as the parents think they ought to snarf down at dinner.

Drawbacks to the game are simply this- it can seem to be unending. It's looped till the child says so and the child is the only referee. Bats, racquets are often flung when the parent inadvertently scores or wants to call time out and it has a habit of popping up whenever the parent is least inclined to run and sweat like they've been mining ore.

Speaking of which, it's Crennis time again. I'd better go and set up the equipment if I have any hope of it finishing before Masterchef comes on.

Ye Gods!

16 September, 2012

Moral Turpitude aka Boo Hoo! I'm Frail!

I've been noticing the scrolling message and  numbers from the Information and Broadcasting (IB) on the bottom of the TV screen whenever any programs are aired. The idea behind it is to understand what viewers find objectionable. Which is a good thought in itself because it acquaints one with the mindset of the viewers and also gives a clear indication into what kind of programs make the cut and which don't but at the end of the day, no matter how many watch dogs one sets up to monitor programs, the ultimate responsibility rests with the viewers themselves.

I was reading this in the TOI Hyderabad Times supplement and it made me think that it's just a futile exercise without any viable resolution in the offing.

The way I see it, people are roughly of two kinds when it comes to temptation:
a) the kinds who look at temptation as a challenge to beat and feel righteous, virtuous and maybe even downright evangelical when that happens.

b) the kind who wish there was no temptation to begin with because it tests them unnecessarily. They would prefer that they not be put to the test to begin with since that will ensure that they don't succumb. Ergo they are the loudest ones in protesting, in making noise about things which could be handled far more smoothly and basically without drawing attention to their own inability to withstand temptation.

Think about a dieter who wants to lose weight and rather than focusing more energies on eating well and abstaining from the stuff that piles on the pounds, they bemoan the existence of donuts and cupcakes to no end!

What I fail to understand is why people are unnecessarily coy about the kind of stuff they watch on TV and possibly get a kick out of? Sunny Leone became a bigger deal in India due to the objections people had against her rather than her actual presence and acting skills. If her being in Bigg Boss is such an eyesore then change the channel...why peek at the television and still raise a ruckus?

Programs which show marital discord, violence against women, violent crimes overall don't HAVE to be shown but they most certainly don't HAVE to be watched either. It's not like an all-day free hardcore porn channel being aired. These segments can always be moved to another time slot wherein the kids are usually safely out of range when they're aired but the responsibility for what a child watches is solely the parents' responsibility.

And given that by the time a child grows up a bit and learns to read the papers more than half the news items will be about violence against women, racism, casteism and basically negative tensions in the world; how will protesting against an enacted version on television help them?

If you can't say no to the donut (substitute "unsavory programs") then be prepared to live with those can either say no or eat it without guilt.

Deliver us from evil is a mantra and mantra alone. If it needs to be effective, we need to do the delivering ourselves rather than waiting for the IB messiahs to intervene.

Amen!

10 September, 2012

Book Review completed

Yesterday I'd written this but I was able to finish it last night and wanted to write the rest of the review while it's still fresh in my mind and the offspring is otherwise engaged with Chhota Bheem and Krishna :-/

The book is captivating. I still stick by the lack of adakaari and many literary embellishments that many authors draw upon but there's a simplicity in the narrative that just flows right through and yet doesn't take anything away from the potential of the story line.

Of course there are aspects that made me smirk- the italicized thoughts of the characters which really don't sit well with their situation or their way of life but who am I to criticize? with this blog being the loftiest of my "literary achievements" so far. And since we'll never know for sure either ways, it's entirely possible that Shiva could've been the back-slapping guy who was maha into brodom and said "ditto" in response of sensitive sentiments expressed from his fellow man :o)


But am quite agog about the second book- The Secret of the Nagas
 and once I finished with the first installment I made Red place an order for the second one on flipkart asap!!

I hope Amish Tripathi's love with Indian mythology gives rise to more such books because he does have a gift of story telling and our lores are rich with characters waiting for a modern rendition to bring them out from obscurity.

09 September, 2012

Partial Book Review



I've been reading reviews of Amish Tripathi's 'The Immortals of Meluha' on FB and in the publications and felt a wee bit curious. But not curious enough to let go of my regular fodder of psychological-mystery-police procedural paperbacks.

While travelling back home recently in a train, I found the space constraints making me very fidgety mentally and the iPad being in near-permanent possession of MLM, I had simply nothing to do to pass my time. Along came my savior in the guise a railways book-magazine vendor carrying the knock-offs (or publication-rejects) of various best sellers. Lo and behold! The scarred back and trishul of Shiva caught my eye like never before.

The slightly rhombus-like book is actually very simply written and entirely non-pretentious. It possesses very little flair or pizzazz. But the nearly-bland style of writing is the main USP of this novel methinks. Well that and delving into the Shivpuran and Hindu religious mythology is something that most Indians would stop and look into for a more detailed viewing.

I mainly read British and American crime fiction and my fantasy quota has been nearly filled to the brim courtesy J.K Rowling. But of late the only other (fantasy) author (Indian or otherwise) whose works I really sunk my teeth into was Samit Basu. He has a very engaging, tongue-in-cheek, witty style of writing as well as a very fluid prose.

Amish Tripathi's prose is just that- it's a prose. It has very little 'adaakari' to it but at the same time it's engaging enough for my curiosity to pique and wonder what happens in the next page. And while I am hardly a very discerning reading, the sheer popularity of his trilogy bears testimony to his writing skills.

Except an addendum to this post via a new one once the book is finished.

cheers!

08 September, 2012

Choo-choo!!

I was tempted to make this an entirely pictorial post but I wanted to write about the things I couldn't capture while the train sped by.

We took a short trip to Bombay recently and were imminently fortunate to traverse the best part of the journey during the day. To say that it was scenic would be a gross over-simplification.

It WAS scenic. But it was scenic because it was verdant, it was fresh, it was sparkling and it was pristine as far as the eyes could see.

And the eyes saw this-

















I was a happy shutterbug that day. Although Red told me to take more pictures with my mind rather than with the lens but it was inevitable. You see green below, blue-grey above and clotted cream-like poofy clouds in the sky and you must go into crazy paparazzi mode!

Here's to more train journeys across India in the months to come.

03 August, 2012

3 going on 30

That's right! Monkeyboy's about to turn 3. That I've grown 3 strands of grey hairs in my own odd mommy- tally system is just another freakish coincident. Or so I try to tell myself again and again.

The little man in question has blossomed from the time he made his grand entry into this mixed up world of ours. Red and I took baby steps ( pun most definitely intended!) into parenting and I for one found that there were aspects of it I wasn't prepared for. It's not  merely the kissing-your-sleep-goodbye...actually being a zombie isn't so bad after a while. You find yourself staying up at nights looking at your husband and exchanging looks of utter relief that the monster...darling offspring is finally snoozing in the land of diapers and baby powder and that's a whole different kind of bonding altogether.

It's about knowing the way ahead most of the times, if not all the while. Routines are easy to fall into and easy to follow. The hitches come when the routines go awry (by no fault of yours most of the times) but it's knowing the right time to expose the children to new things, concepts, helping them form habits and also trying to teach them boundaries.

The last bit's got me so all over the place that half the times I just want to lie back and say, "do what you want, you will anyhow...I'll just catch up on my pimply sleep while you wreck the house for the 5th time since morning."

But kids are usually creatures of habits and it takes a lot for them to break one and take up another. And  while you try various aspects of conditioning on them the idea of a Skinner's Box takes root in your head where the image of your kid safely ensconced somewhere while you go about your own thing for a change, gives you moments of amused pleasure and you think, "what if" before realizing that you'd be inviting the wrath of the spouse, parents, in-laws and pretty much the neighborhood onto your rapidly-greying head by doing such a thing. However empirical and scientific and helpful in your cognitions.

But what I'm still learning 3 years down the line is that your kids teach you (BY FORCE GODAMMIT!!) about being a better person, a bigger person and also about keeping up appearances among other things. They teach you perseverance, patience; up your endurance, snatch your sleep, relegate you to track pants, bushy eyebrows, oily skin, turn your diet upside down, make the gym a distant dream, make you long for Mary Poppins, the days when you were single or newly married...oops...I think I meandered into another list I had in my head.

Ahem, ahem...back to the scheduled post- my child has taught me forgiveness. No matter how mad you get with them, no matter how many times you put them in the naughty corner, spank their bottoms, take away privileges, let them roll around on the cold floor crying their eyes out- they still love the heck out of you.
They still kiss you goodnight, they let you kiss them bye before they go off to school, they jump off the school van just by seeing a glimpse of your face and the moment there was boo-boos to be kissed they come and search you out in a room full of people because only you can get the job done.

My son, may he not turn out like me in temperament- is a doll. I don't like him all the time but I love him from the top of his head down to his toes (which are usually covered with his doodles). He invokes my creativity (even if it's to get him to get him out of my hair), he makes me laugh when we twirl around the room to jhinkchak songs and he makes me smile at the end of the day no matter how tough it's been throughout just because he sleeps with his mouth open and his lashes almost touching his cheeks.

All in all- toughest job I've ever held down (and I've been exposed to the criminally insane and the plain-vanilla variety of loonies) and I can't think of anything that I'd rather be doing.

Psst!! actually I have a whole big list of other things I could be doing but that's another blog. This is meant to be a feel-good-I-love-my-kid blog post. For a change.









Amen.

28 July, 2012

Parenting Pandemic

The 'Terrible Twos' they call it. Well, I have a feeling that the nomenclature is more along the alliterative lines rather than accuracy.

And am not speaking merely from the point of view of my own offspring alone. Have been seeing children closely for a while now and I honestly feel that having a child is whole different ballgame in real time vs the over-the-top glorified theoretical version.

Sure, you have books from world-renowned experts, child psychologists and other parents but no one ever tells you that there's a sense of ennui that comes in from parenting after a while. A sense of utter, complete frustration, vexation and a wish to scream AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH right into the winds and just purge yourself of the phenomenon that is your offspring.

Of course, we are the ones who are largely responsible for it. Children ape us, in things good and bad. Desirable and undesirable and while we keep hoping they'll grow up and reach the next milestone with rapid alacrity; the very next moment we keep ruing the day that they stop crawling and doing largely cute things.

I am by nature a lethargic person when the pressure builds up. Not always but when the tempos becoming a little too fast for me to keep up with it. A valve opens up, releases the urgency and I just fall into this lassitude which leads me to cop out from being a disciplinarian just so I can revel in some quiet, some peace and not having to run after a force of nature who cannot and will not be bottled!

So after a harried and hurried discussion with Red late last night where I was spewing venom, feeling guilty, thinking of drowning my sorrow in a single malt or two (or three) I decided that the era of soft-touch parenting has to be tempered down and a new era of tough-love mommyism has to be ushered in.

What is tough-love mommyism? Well it doesn't mean you send your kid to a boot camp and turn them into a ruthlessly efficient grunt! It is more along the lines of doing what is truly the best thing for the child and not letting them develop too many crutches that hinder you, them and basically you from doing your daily parenting stuff.

Case in point: My child watches t.v. when he has his meals. No rocket science required to decipher that his meals are kind of stretched out and during the times of power cuts his mouth curiously refuses to open to admit food or his jaws refuse to chew to allow aforementioned food into gullet. It was convenient to feed him with a bit of kiddy program playing. But he causes a riot without it, that's the mucho biggo problemo!!

And substituting television for something else just causes the crutch to shift onto another object rather than neutralizing it once and for all.

The thing with smallish kids (2-4) age groups is that they're usually the sole one around at home. They are either in day care for a while or at home with their mothers. And after a while it really is easier on everyone to let them have their own way. And children see it happening day after day and notice the pattern. Once the pattern is established they just go about setting forth those conditions which allow for the privileges of TV, toys, candies out of turn.

Since it's available without too much fussing, and there's no real sense of having to acquire it, kids are able to Pavlov their parents into giving them what they want. Ergo, the onus and fault rests squarely on us to help them understand that there are boundaries and there will also be consequences to their actions if those boundaries are repeatedly breached.

Sounds very bad ass but it's not. Who else will ever care that the child is well-behaved, moderately obedient and capable of adjusting in most kinds of situations but the parent? And that has to start from home.

Let them cry for a bit. Be a rock. Immovable if need be. Corporal punishment is something I'm personally uncomfortable with and disciplining the child physically leaves me with way too much negativity to indulge in it again and again.

Like with all things, consistency is the name of the game with kids till they really are old enough to make their own value judgements. We got them to sleep on their own, eat their mushed carrots and peas, got them toilet trained with unfailing consistency so why not on this issue?

Do you know why this blog post took place today? So the next time I find myself responding like Pavlov's dogs to my kid's metaphorical bell ringing, I can refer to this and straighten my spine and take back what's rightfully mine- peace of mind, sanity (some amount of it at least) and have a better behaved child who'll get more rewards for being a doll.  I hope.

13 July, 2012

Sufferin' Succotash!!

Sylvester the Cat has it down pat! Although I'd take any other kind of grub too. 
My head feels like it's full of Fruit Loops ever since the offspring commenced his second year and Toucan Sam's pecking at my skull trying to get at them. Over and over and over again.


Of all the things to have a no-return policy on, I think life's dealt parents a very rough hand by letting them get stuck with their kids for life.

Of course if we have to return the little imps, the question arises, where on earth would we send them to. If we can't /don't (want) to handle them any further...where else would they go?

After having given the notion a lot of thought, and I mean a LOT; I've come to realise that it's a hypothetical situation at best and an out and out fantasy at worst, I have no other option but to invoke the Pied Piper and hope that he leads the little munchkins away to a Land That Leads To R&R For The Parents ergo college! Kidding.

But I honestly have to say that nothing really prepares you for having a child and you're in even hotter water when that child starts exercising his or her opinions, invokes their Right to Freedom of Speech, Expression and their most favorite one- the Right to Gather wherever the hell they feel like for a demonstration aka tantrums!!

Grandparents (especially grandmothers) are zero help since they gleefully remind you of how you did things along the same lines, or you painted on the walls of their rented homes, spilled and splayed paint on the mucho important office files that your father used to get back home and all-embarrassing tobacco gulping incident that you indulged in as a toddler and then barfed all over a letter your mother was writing to her mother.

Siiiiigh.

It's best to just hand over the iPad that YOU got for Mother's Day and let them sit in one place and punch through the screens while you look askance at your co-passengers shaking their heads at you and your darling offspring and silently muttering, "just wait till your turn comes, you putz! we'll see about head-shaking then!!"

Over and OUT!

24 June, 2012

These are a few of my favorite things indeed!

I am not a sybaritic person by any stretch of the imagination but I DO like my comfort. After a rare (and I mean rare!!!) dinner out with MLM in tow, I came home and crashed and luxuriated in the feel of the soft mattress. It's just right...all foam and not as undulating as a water bed is but without the resistance of a coir mattress and I sleep bestnon it. Although I can pretty much sleep anywhere if I'm tired enough. I have a problem getting rid of old familiar things, especially old clothes. They make fantastic dusters and pochhaas but that apart, does anything feel as good as a tee shirt that's years old and soft like you wouldn't believe? It may be torn in places but somehow that just adds to it's charm. So it's not really old per se...it's tres vintage! There's also the feel of the 'just-right' hair brush. It caresses your scalp and at the same time untangles. Sometimes I've got so carried away with combing my hair while I think something through that by the time I' done my hair's standing all around my head like an electrified halo and then I'm stuck with the job of smoothing it down :o) I have a big-toothed brush that's ideal for wet hair post a shampoo but I swear my scalp responds to it otherwise also! Then there are those slippers you can no never manage to throw away although all thr color and even the logo's got scrubbed off it...but then again, that's me. These are small things when you stop and think about it. Very small things. You're so used to them that you. Don't stop and think about it at all but they add to your comfort and they maybe some of the things that you're most attached to despite them being as inanimate possible. And thank goodness for them!

12 June, 2012

Ol' MacDonald Had A What??!

Kids usually like animals. Love them even. They tend to like some over the others. As do we all. And then they also tend to juxtapose their likes onto each other and end up create a new landscape which can often rival Lewis Carroll's Wonderland.

 Now my son hasn't come up with a new Jabberwocky but he's decided that Ol' MacDonald needed to breathe some new life into his decades old farm because horses and pigs just weren't cutting it any more. So he added some tigers, lions (apparently both these majestic beings sit up like a Buddha, make tiny little paws and say "AAARRHH".
 Then came the zebras, the monekys, snakes, giraffes, elephants, yaks, fishes and transformed a once rustic farm into the San Diego Zoo.

 Ok. Zoo in place. Now what? Now we need to holler at everyone that we have a farm (read zoo) and let them know how our animals sound. By the way, I forgot we have camels too!
Well, we got the tigers' and lions' growls down pat but what do we do about the giraffes and zebras who are notorious for keeping their mouths shut and not wreck the peace like the rowdy lions? Well combining snorts,smacks and other odd sounds we come up with a cacophony that satisfies even the toughest customer aka tots who don't watch Animal Planet!
 And now that the sound check is complete and the farm is a grade A jungle any self respecting person would think twice about going into, 
the master of this creation announces he'd rather watch Chhota Bheem! Well...I guess we'll just leave the tigers and the moos to play nice till next time :-)





Ahoy Dholakpur!!

08 May, 2012

If Harry Potter were real...

My life would be mucho different.

Here's how-

  1. I'd Accio my kid every time he tried to get away from me. For that matter, I'd always have every pair of sock that I bought for him. Red wouldn't need to ask me about where his glasses, wallet, mobile, socks, inners and everything else under the sun was!!
  2. Locked bathroom doors and the fear of my child slipping and falling on wet tiles would be taken care of by Alohomora.
  3. I'd Colloportus my closet doors and every other door that small, persistent hands try to open on a daily basis.
  4. All the autowalas would suffer a few Imperios and Crucios every time they side swipped me on the road or cut in.
  5. All sharp edges and corners and not to mention all sorts of things attractive to a child would be covered under Deletrius.
  6. My child would definitely face an Impedimenta  or Imobulus since he's equal to a herd of charging rhinos!
  7. I'd Apparate and Dissaparate out of malls and supermarkets and not have to worry about standing in check out lines. I'd leave moolah for the cashier so no worries of me turning into a bandito!
  8. I'd use Reparo on every damn broken thing- mainly toys and quite a few of my things as well that a marauding baby showed no mercy on.
  9. I'd be able to use Sonorus without feeling the effect of it the next day. And even if I did, I'd Episkey myself all better!
  10. If nothing else, I'd Wingardium Leviosa myself above the clutter of life and just float by while everyone else went into goldfish mode seeing me!
If only...for now I'll keep wishing for the Mirror of Erised :-/

30 April, 2012

Losing Track of Time


I must have mentioned it here and there, a few gadzillion, times how I lose track of time ever since MLM arrived.

There are mornings when I tell Red how a particular night was and he'll respond saying it was not the previous night but a few nights ago. Or he'll talk about how long it took for MLM to sleep or how his antics were but I'd have no recollection because I was knocked out!

My nighttime sleep has never been deeper. Even if its in bits and pieces but it's almost like I've been drugged; am so languorous.

The other way I keep track of days is by who goes out of the house. As long as Red and MLM are out of the house it's a weekday/ workday.
So when MLM's summer camp sent a note saying Saturday would be a working day for me it felt like a proper weekday to my mind.

That's why I woke up this morning thinking it's a Sunday and I can sleep till either one of those two get up and wake me up with their chatter. Instead I find it's a Monday. I have only an hour before I wake MLM up for summer camp- today's splash pool day...yay! and basically am left with a feeling of having had only one day of weekend to enjoy :-p

No one likes being jipped of a weekend. Even if it's just an erroneous feeling it still makes you grumpy in the morning. My Monday morning just became extra sour.

Now I just need to find someone to rant at and all will be well again!

25 April, 2012

Euphemisms


Webster defines euphemism as-the substituion of an agreeable or inoffensive expression for one that may offend or suggest something unpleasant; also: the expression so substituted.

My mother is rather good at being euphemistic. My father rarely bothers; he prefers being blunt. After she soft-pedaled on her judgement on dinner and breakfast last night and this morning I got thinking of the ways that people communicate their euphemisms. They're usually followed by expressive facial gestures. Or in the case of my father- a rather dry tone which highlights his sardonicism.
Here are some fairly recurrent ones that I've come across.


What they say Vs What they can "actually" mean:


  • What an interesting color! = Why not go for a normal color? This one belongs on a circus tent, not your face.
  • Such pretty eyes (after surveying the baby/person for 2-3 minutes)= The eyes are the only things I could think of complimenting. The rest is too bizarre for me to put words to.
  • What a lively child! = If your kid was any more hyper the Met department would classify him/her as a typhoon.
  • That's a very abstract picture, wow!= What the hell is that damn thing anyways? Why can't people draw cows and flowers that looks like cows and flowers?
  • He/she's going to be very smart, I can tell (after seeing a slightly large head on a child)= If that kid had a bigger head, he/she would start pinging on radars!
  • Mmm...I've never tasted anything like this before. Interesting=  Why do you bother to experiment?!! Stick to stuff you know, better yet, order in.
  • Sure, It's nice. I (big pause) like it. Sure=  Am pausing...get the drift. I hate it!
  • Wow..look at the time, has it really been that long? = Jesus Christ!! I thought I was going to die there and still have to sit through that crap.
  • Well this has been fun= Yup! just like being operated upon without anesthesia is a bowl of laughs.
  • I'll blog again...really soon= Sure I will. Just as soon as my dearly-beloved-child-sleeps-if-he-sleeps-oh-god-please-let-him-sleep-or-I'll-give-him-a-sedative!


18 April, 2012

Adventures in Pickle Making

When I was in a mental damadol (slang for dilemma) about whether I should stick the offspring into day care and get back to working full-time, I realized that being at home is a DEMANDING job!
No hikes, no bonuses, criticisms (from self, spouse AND PARENTS) about things not done well and constant awareness of area of improvements etc and the malicious list goes on and on and the cows NEVER come home!


Be as that may, there's usually something or the other that requires to be done at home. And to keep up with all that's a MUST-DO there are somethings I like to do that's just for fun. Like make mango chutney/pickle!


It IS summer, there ARE mangoes and I love the sweet-taut taste of the stewed mangoes with parathas and puris. Ahh puris. 
A moment on the lips and a lifetime on the hips and everywhere else :-(


Anyways, I got totapuri mangoes and added all the stuff I thought would taste good. I say thought because this is a maiden venture into this sphere. I am not your run-of-the-mill home maker. I can't sew worth a damn. 
They look like the lopsided creepy stitches Frankenstein put on his monster 
and making sweets is best done from a mix that just requires either water, milk or sugar as my contribution in it's execution.

When I set curd it turns out differently each time. It's either like cream cheese, or an iceberg (floating on a thin layer of water) or sometimes I hit the jackpot and it's creamy, smooth and thick! Of course my son says 'yummy' to all of them and makes me happy. His father goes through his usual gamut of expressions viz eyes open, eyes opened wide or eyes shut in disbelief/annoyance/disgust.


Back to the pickle- I suddenly felt that I wasn't channeling Martha Stewart's spirits enough into my life and started by making mango pickle from scratch. I burnt the jaggery when I went to make sure MLM was sitting on the pot and not watering the bathroom floor instead. And I came back to see... a black, toxic sludge with noxious fumes that were worthy of the title- BIOHAZARD!!

Other goofs? I probably didn't put enough salt. Probably stewed the life out of it but am I still trying to pat myself on the back (and not pull a muscle at the same time)? You betcha!
Because I chucked the sludge into the garbage and immediately set out with more chunks of jaggery that I melted and then tossed marinating mango chunks in.

Next step- embroidery. NOT!

09 April, 2012

Parenting Bugbear

Call me opinionated (most people do) but I quite dislike people telling me how to parent or intervening (and sometimes interfering) with my modes of parenting. What I especially dislike is anyone countermanding my authority where my child is concerned. Red and I make it a point to disagree as little as possible on issues pertaining to MLM, especially in front of him. Minor issues are different but if one of us in disciplining him, the other stays neutral as far as possible. We try not to dump on him at the same time unless it's an important issue.

Getting back to what raises my hackles, is people who play little or no role in helping me parent on a day-to-day telling me how to go about being a parent or getting in the way of reinforcing a particular behavior or trying to weed out something undesirable.

I don't claim to know what's best for my child every single moment, but given the fact that I'm the primary care-giver I do believe that my actions stem from what will benefit him the most given his tender age and limited comprehension of the world around him.

What annoys me to no end is the extent to which people will jump in to shield a child from the wrath of a parent even though the ire is not a displacement and is justified in toto. What's the worst that can happen if a small child's feelings get hurt? They'll cry? Throw a tantrum? Refuse food for a bit till they're mollified and even bribed to bring about a better mood?
But if admonishments are left on the side simply keeping a child's age in mind, how will a parent know when their offspring is old enough to comprehend where their parents are drawing the line?

I know it's the rarest of rare parent who lose their temper on an infant or a baby who just lies there gurgling away or playing with their toes. It's only when the children get in the way of something important or worse, put themselves in harms way that parents get worried. And worry manifests itself as anger many a times because seeing a child hurt is one of the worst things for a parent to go through. I remember once when I needed multiple shots on both ears lobes (I'd given into my curiosity of wearing maha dangling earrings which clanged like cow bells but were cheaper than cheap!) and I was wincing at the insect sting-like feeling but seeing my mother wince at each jab distracted me to no end!
She still can't help but flinch if I need to give a blood sample. And I'm hardly a child. Only in her mind though.

But getting back to why I'm so thin-skinned where my parenting skills are commented upon, it's pretty simple- I don't want kudos. If my child is happy, all's well with my world. Really. Sounds utopian but it's not. Ask any parent who's stayed up nights with a child with something simple like a stuffy nose and you'll have your answer. Let them be brats of the first order but let them be healthy. That's all.
But being a parent calls for plenty of adjustments. You adjust to your body being even more out of whack than it ever was before. You adjust to intense pain-epidurals or not. You adjust to hormonal upheavals (am including men who have to live through their wives post-partum blues) that come and go as they bloody well please. You adjust to being the constant companion of a blubbering, cooing, peeing, pooping, spitting-up little person who you end up loving more than you can ever hope or be able to express. But you also end up putting on hold a large part of who you were before you became a parent. I don't just mean for those parents who stay at home.

Being a parent first takes some doing and you're never entirely prepared for many moments. It's never an auto-pilot kinda thing. Except diapering and knowing when to duck when the pee streams out at you but levity aside, it takes so much more than patience and love. It's takes a whole different dimension of you as an individual to do what you have to do, day in and day out. And in the midst of all that, when along comes someone and just whips out advice or steps in where they ought to at least ask first...it's a bit difficult to swallow.
I'd rather those helpful individuals ask me to sit for a bit, tell me go have a drink of water, wash my face while they keep an eye on an extremely active, lovable, annoying (from time to time) child and then tackle the situation.

Word of caution: never tell a mother who's yelling at her child not to yell. She's most likely to turn into a fire-breathing dragon and make you her target instead. Good for the kid who gets a reprieve but hell for you :-)
I usually nod and look sympathetic when I come across such situations. I wouldn't want to be in anyone's cross hairs the way I don't want anyone in mine.