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


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.

Posts from the Past- Part III

There are elements that add to how successful a vacation will end up being.
It's a venture, in my eyes, like many others; especially with a small child in tow.

The accommodation, weather, amenities of the place you're staying in, the other people along with you (whether known or strangers) and very important is the number of days you end up staying.
See, the number of days is the deal clincher or deal breaker as it many be. You stay too few days and you're left with a feeling of having eaten too little and hunger pangs gnaw at you all the way back home. And stay too long, well it's almost tantamount to not only having eaten your fill but overeaten and not wanting to walk past food for some more time to come.

The resort we're still in is really well planned in every manner possible. And I'm not saying that just for the nanny service they have on offer. It has provisions for the different age groups, different types of people altogether.

For those whom relaxation spells spa treatment and putting their feet up and being inert, this place is aces. Your credit card will get burn marks but you only live properly on holidays, right?
For those who can sit still,for those who need the music, the cold brewskies at the end of a splash et al there's a whole different set-up included. Now before I end up sounding like their ambassador, let me get back to the actual focus of the blog post- optimum number of days to stay on a vacation.

Keeping in mind the make-up of the vacation party (in our case parents and child) it's best to do what is convenient for most. Little children, though, they seem to be perfectly at ease and gambolling about, usually get uncomfortable being away from their home before long. The changes get manifested in disturbance in sleeping patterns, fluctuation in their food intake and overall behavior. They may not be whinny or moody but even a fun place isn't home filled with their familiar odds and ends.

But looking back at other trips/visits we've taken with our little man, Red and I have come to a conclusion: we need to make a pool an integral part of our lives. Apart from the fun part of it all, the way this side so naturally takes to water is a thrill to behold.
With his little legs busy pedalling away underwater, he reminded me of that little duck from the Tom&Jerry cartoons.

Now I need to wind up because there's some packing left and I can't wait to be home either!

Posts from the Past- Part II

My son is apparently a water bug. Phew! That's a relief. I didn't want to be the only water-loving-nut in the family.

Red can take it or leave it w.r.t swimming pools and beaches and given a choice would choose a mountain to go vacation in. But I just can't get enough of water.
That isn't to say I'd vacation in a tsunami-prone place.
One of the nights we were in Maldives, I slept out of the deck of the cottage and the sea was swishing beneath. I was trying to imagine a massive wall of water gradually growing larger and larger and just bearing down in the dark and blocking out the moon.

And no, I wasn't a few pegs down then but I made sure I did down a few after that less than encouraging moment bang in the middle of my dream vacation!

Anyhow, to get back to my son, the H20-loving monkey, his glee and degree of comfort in the water just amazes me and fills me with joy. He is entirely in his element. That bit also is reinforced when we take him out of the pool and he screams mass genocide. See, screaming bloody murder is something he left behind when he turned 2.
He has truly progressed in life *makes a wry face*.

I would like him to properly learn to swim and get rid of those floaters. I guess seeing him frolic in water will be the realization of my own untranspired-Esther-Williams-wannabe dreams :-)
Here are some glimpses of the waterbaby-

Posts from the Past- Part I

I turned a year old yesterday. I've long stopped expecting to turn wiser. Never happens when I need it to kick in anyhow :-(
Red made plans to stay in a resort about 2 hours drive from home. With traffic, a squirmy kid in the back seat 
 ( who was pleading to be let out 'peeease) during long waits at signals and my grumbling about us never stopping long enough at places for me to take 'interesting' snapshots- it was a relief to finally pull up at the reception of a place that had actually begun to feel like it was in a different state altogether!

Red opted for a bit more comfort this time as compared to our Goa trip and one which has more activities for MLM. But the moment the grand entry was made into the room, the monkey spotted the outdoor splash pool

 and forgot everything else.
I could practially hear the Halleluahs going off all around his head as the angels sang and the heralds harked.
Gross exaggeration? I think not. Kids love water. Check. Kids love places where they feel comfortable and in control of their immediate surroundings. Check! So when MLM found an MLM-sized water body just 2 steps from the room, he waited no longer and stripped off and got his float out and got into the water! Although he didn't care much for the waterfall that could also be turned on and off in the pool.

Red and I ran about taking care of more prosaic things like getting towels, making sure there were clothes for him to wear when he got out and the AC was turned off so his goosebumps didn't get goosebumps of their own.

The room is just right.  
Red termed in beautifully in calling it 'measured perfection'. Now perfection differs from perception to perception and is fairly hard to find because our notions of it changes like the weather.

We'd vacationed in Maldives on Red's 29th. It was unfettered perfection. We didn't know what to do and what not to do. Should we sit on the beach all day long and just watch the waves? Did that.
Should we step out of our cottage and into the shallow pools below where tropical fish gathered at all times of day and night? Did that too.
Should we walk along white sands and just get into a gooey romantic moment with wispy white tents pitched for our comfort and white wine served to get us buzzed into 'la la land'? Check!!
Maldives was an assault on the senses and I for one, went for overkill because I knew it was most likely to be a one-off thing. I lived a bacchanalian life those 5 days and it's become a dream vacation.

But the place we're staying now is very normal indeed. But it caters to almost everything we need now as parents. An eating joint for kids (which we'll try for lunch today) that serves only kiddy food or they make it the way we want them to. A babysitting service (AMEN! AMEN! AMENN!!) and a kiddy play area 

segregated by age as well as the run of the mill slides and swing sets all located conveniently nearby or motor able courtesy those puttering golf carts. Again, that's something we'll try in a bit.

We had a great breakfast, let MLM whoop his way down the slide  
and laugh like a loon and then...we hit the big pool. There was another family with kids slightly older than MLM and they'd been in the water longer than him. Naturally he felt compelled to cannonball into the water along with them as well.
So there we were, Red playing lifeguard, MLM with his Nemo hand floats and me, a 30-something woman floating around lazily with my kid's Mickey Mouse tube ring. Truly perfection. 

After the optimum time had been spent splashing about in the pool viz fingers had begun to prune and MLM had drunk enough of water to sputter it up, we decided to head back to the room.

Now, I'm drafting out the blog post. Red's reading the paper and MLM's watching his Oswald cds on the Home Theater system in our room.

I could really, really, REALLY get used to this :-)

Sybaritically Yours,