Monday, February 25, 2013

The things we do!

It was a funny sunny day! The sun obviously made it sunny and the situation that I got myself into turned it into a funny day as well.

As parents we often do things that may seem impossible, incomprehensible despicable or even laughable to others. But we do them; nevertheless, maybe because there was no choice or maybe the alternate was unpleasant.

Like this sunny day, one of the rare ones in this month of the year for us, I must add.

On a normal rainy day, we are mostly indoors or at a grocery store. That is my way of shrugging the gloom away. People here often complain how there are so many things they cannot do because of the rain. I say, if the outdoors is not a possibility, make the most of what the indoors has to offer!

But this wasn't a normal day so we ended up spending the whole afternoon outside. My toddler has relinquished her afternoon nap since she turned two (too early for my convenience, because now I have lost even that little bit of quiet time in the afternoons). Once in a while though (like today), her morning takes an early start with mine and if coupled by a whirlwind day out in the sun, those pretty lashes start getting heavy, sleep comes riding on the breeze and drifts her in.

As I turn left and arrive on our street, the neighborhood is noisy and alive, very much unlike its daily somber self. Pets and kids and moms are seen chasing each other (in that order). There is still half an hour to go before its time to pick up the older one from school. As I bring the car to a halt in front of the house, my mind is already racing on what needs to be done before leaving the house again.

A soft snoring sound is heard when the engine turns quiet. I am all set to come out of the driver’s seat and go around the car to the other side to pull her out of the car seat, but one look at her and it is obvious she is blissfully in deep sleep. The kind that comes to a child when she is content and tired, at the same time. For a minute I contemplate on going ahead and carrying her inside, like has been done on countless occasions.

Somehow, I change my mind and slide back in my seat. There is no sight more beautiful in this world, than that of a sleeping child – till now I simply read those words, but at that moment, I actually felt the truth of it inside my heart. So much that it stopped me from carrying her out of the car seat and taking her inside the house.

With 30 minutes to kill and a sleeping baby inside the car, there was pretty much nothing else to do but admire the view! And that is exactly what I did. Parked right outside my own house, I sat patiently and soundlessly, observing people as they walked past in bright spirits (it is on this day that I observed, when the sun shines, it also changes the way people walk on the road) and glanced at my own house too from time to time, trying to see how it might appear to an outsider, but most of all I kept looking in the backseat, almost wanting to touch her and protect her even as she slept.

When we talk about kids, don’t we always wonder how time flies. Well, that day, time passed very slowly and it seemed to take hours before I had to wake up my sleeping beauty and walk her to her sister’s school. But it was still precious. With nothing else on my mind (the errands and unfinished jobs  all forgotten the minute I decided to stay put in the car), I looked at her as she slept, attempting to gauge the change in her features from the day she was born and silently shed a tear or two on how big she had grown. Soon she will be off to school as well and the occasional solitude that I desperately seek now may very well come to haunt me. But right now, she is all mine, I tell myself, holding on to her little hand as we walked side by side.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Breaking Rules

When your child breaks a rule, you dish out a punishment or have a word of reprimand or both. What happens when you break the rules? Well, here’s the good news, you still get to blame the child!

We had a set of new rules put in place for the new home to remain ‘new’ and un-spoilt for a while. One of them being the ‘no food or drink upstairs rule’ and it applied to kids and adults alike. I guess I need to tell you what “upstairs” really means. The upstairs of our home, along with bedrooms, also consists of a media-room which has been combined with the kids’ toy room to use the space to its full potential. So it is actually the whole family’s paradise, we have our T.V. and they have their toys (well they have a lot for them in the T.V. too). When I say that our family of four occupies this room most of their waking hours (school and office hours obviously do not count), believe me, I am not exaggerating. It is a truthful statement accounting for an urban life. Phone conversations, internet surfing, playing games, reading books and even finishing homework, all happens in this room and in front of the Television. 

Just a couple of months back, even dinnertime was not a sacred affair. Quite frankly, it was easier to get the kids eat their veggies with this one bribe always at hand.

With the shift in residence, somehow, the parenting expert in me awakened and I decided enough was enough. It was time we figured out how it was to eat our meals in front of each other for a change.  

To my surprise, there was no opposition at all (that should have actually given me an idea of how non-seriously they took it). The reason they didn’t raise their voices, especially my better half is because they might have taken this as one of my random and fleeting ‘live better’ whims. Like the time I had decided to take a walk for 20 minutes every evening, no matter what the weather. A decision, which took a dive with the temperatures on the 6th freezing day. Or like when I declared that the only kind of rice to be cooked in this household would be brown rice. This one didn’t make it through even half the week; the craving for white rice got the better of me after a couple of meals.  

So well, when I said “no food upstairs”, the hubby and my kids, all nodded in (supposedly) sincere agreement.

It all started with a cup of tea, then a small bowl of chips and soon the whole dinner tray followed. On weekends we even started carrying mid-night snacks upstairs to munch while watching latest Hindi movies.  I protested a little but gave in easily, old habits die hard, they say and I agree.  We happily settled back into the old routine of eating in front of the television with an added effort of carrying dinner upstairs until last Friday, when a spill and a scream left me with a heavy heart.

I had my dinner last. The start to a weekend leaves me in a good mood and I felt like indulging myself, so cooked up Maggie, boiled some hot tea and carried the tray to the media room. The younger one was already asleep and my 1st grader was making valentine cards for us. After relishing every noodle to the fullest, I set my plate and cup of tea on the carpet right next to where I was seated. Here I must mention what parents reading this must already know, kids have a knack for toppling things.

Twice, she already, nearly turned the cup over and with a strict warning I told her not to come anywhere near the leftover tea. Me and hubby argued for exactly 5 minutes on who should go down and put the plate in the sink (because the probability of the carpet being stained was directly proportional to every minute my 6 year old remained awake). None of us were in the mood to move and the plate and the cup remained. “Go sweetie brush your teeth and go to bed” the minute I finished saying that, a scream came out from me. ‘Sweetie’ had come around to where I was sitting, knocking the cup down, spilling some tea on our brand new carpet.

I was furious, he was even more furious. Together, we pounced on her verbally, pointing out how careless she had been inspite of our repeated warnings, before rushing to clean the carpet. She burst into tears and soon fled to her room. Rubbing the cleaner furiously over the carpet, I was still fuming mad. The ‘told you so’ from hubby annoyed me even more.

Ten minutes later, anger evaporated and guilt settled in. I mean I was still angry but it had been redirected. It was all my fault and I blamed my sweet lil girl just because she is still at an age when she ‘has’ to listen to what mommy has to say.  She hadn’t even protested, just sat there listening to our angry words, huge tears dropping down those baby cheeks.

Why don’t parents think twice before blaming the children for their own mistakes? Is it because they really think it was the kid’s fault or is it because making a mistake in front of their children hurts their ego? I think it is a bit of both.

I don’t know how long I sat on the couch crying, but slowly, I wiped the water running down my eyes and went to her room. “It’s Friday and you always sleep in our room, remember?’ I brushed her hair aside. “I don’t want to, not today, not EVER.” She angrily shot back, half in sleep, half still in tears. “Mommy is sorry, and she will be very sad if you don’t sleep next to her tonight”, I apologized, kissing her forehead. She stayed quiet, taking this to be a yes; I lifted her up and carried my baby to our room. She hold on to me tight and I snuggled closer to her, grateful for the innocence and her forgiveness.

There are some lessons in life that you learn the hard way, but once you do, you never forget them. For me, this was one of them. We teach our children to accept responsibility for their actions, but do WE?

Friday, February 8, 2013


Ok, so I may not be the quickest when it comes to implementing on year ending resolutions, but this has been so far my poorest record. Late by 39 days, this post should have been titled “Happy New Year” and been on record on the first day of 2013.  BUT, that clearly hasn’t been the case!

To take a leap back in time (as far as the previous year), I had pondered a tiny bit about some changes I wanted in my routine in the coming year. I didn’t want go on a weight loss spree (I read somewhere, this one was the MOST popular New Year resolution ever), neither did I need a change of wardrobe or personality. Going back to work was never on the list for a couple of more years and I wasn’t really bitten by the travel bug so no exotic destinations to be marked off the list for a while.

Nah, I wanted something far more precious.  What I wanted was to get hold of and treasure something that slips right through our noses every moment and most days we fail to take notice.

Two years back, when I started writing this blog it was with the honorable intention of acknowledging my musings as a mother, record growing memories of my kids, learn a few things along the way and have something to fall back on when my memory failed to reminisce, someday. It was also to set aside a time to write, something that I absolutely love doing and reserve that much needed personal space. See how ironic this sounds “A busy mother of two, seeks a quiet, solitary hour away from all domestic thoughts and her children, so that she can write about ‘her children’!

So yes, I admit, a part of me wanted to use this blog as a time away from my children, because as much as I love them, I needed a little time on my own, everybody does. Being a mother does not make me any less of an individual and after going through the charades of the day happily and enthusiastically, it was only fair that I got a my share of attention to self.  

After writing diligently for a couple of months, the tempo declined. Either it was too late to write or the kids were being fussy. Sometimes, a movie was more engaging and other times, I was too tired to do anything at all. Each day something else was always more important and took precedence over writing. Occasional lapses turned into long absences and many special moments passed without a mention on the blog.

It was with this reinforcement of writing as a part of my routine, in mind that I pledged to take out time to write every day, especially about my time with my children who seem to be growing up faster than I can imagine, with every passing day.

And then, I refused to take it seriously!
Well, my good intentions may have not seen the light of the day on the 1st of January, 2013, but they have now today and I feel inspired if not overjoyed to find myself at the writing desk, so late in the night.

Happy New Year!