Monday, February 06, 2017

Musings on a childhood

Someone once asked me if I felt I missed having siblings and was fine being a single child. How does one answer that question? I don't know anything else. How can I miss something I never had? To their credit my parents never made me feel that I missed out on anything and I don't ever remember asking my parents for a brother or sister. When I was very young ( the age when I could probably have asked that question) we lived as a joint family. My cousin brother is 10 months younger than me and he was pretty much in the picture since I could remember and as I got older being a single child was/is the only life I know. 

I have been blessed with an AMAZING set of cousins. My maternal cousins and I are quite close and I know that if I am ever in a situation that would warrant sibling support all of them have got my back. Most of my childhood memories are of summers in my uncle's apartment in Hyderabad. All of us cousins would somehow fit into a two bedroom apartment and have a ball. We had the typically indulgent grandparents both of whom were amazing cooks! I remember sitting down to card games after dinner and playing well into the night. I remember my uncle invariably yelling at us to keep the voice levels down so as not to wake the neighbors. I remember my aunt bringing home cream puffs home from work.  I believe in the energy of places and to me that house is a place filled with love and a whole lot of positive energy. 

I make friends easily. In school I straddled two rival gangs quite easily. But I find it hard to open up 100% to anyone. I can't say I had a best friend to whom I could bare my soul. Maybe this is an offshoot of being a single child but I used to try to be Ms.Congeniality. I didn't pick fights easily. In fact I rarely fought. In all 14 years of school I remember one fight in 4th standard and I am good friends with that girl till date. Kiki is my best friend from school. A very unlikely friendship, it has lasted through the years and we can truly go years without talking to just pick back up where we left off.

My school shaped me into what I am today and even though I may have forgotten how to balance chemical equations, the values that my wonderful teachers instilled in me are still there. I took part in a lot of debate and dramatic competitions and had the gift of the gab! I was house captain of my house and I have a trophy to prove it. My mother wasn't too happy about this as she felt it would take away from my studies in 12th standard but it was a dream and she was very proud of me at the investiture ceremony. Only the parents of the school leaders are invited to attend and I have a picture of my parents standing on either side of me beaming proudly as I held the house flag in my hands.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Monkey Tricks & Growing up in Black and White

Before he walked independently Kutty V used to push a little green plastic chair around for support. He can now walk independently and moves like a bite sized tornado! In the morning rush earlier today, I watched him pushing his chair and didn’t think much about it. My lil monkey then proceeded to push it all the way to the kitchen island, start climbing it to get the water jug that was on top of the counter – all in a bid to create a water puddle in which he can play!!!

Veer and I were watching the classic oldie “Jeena Issi Ka Naam Hai” on our iPad.

He says to me “Mom, the video is in black, white & grey.”

Me: “Yes, this is really old Veer, like when tata was a little boy.”

Veer: “Mom were you black and white while growing up?”

Just how old does he think I am??? 

Thursday, September 08, 2016

My chalk and cheese

I just realized that I haven’t blogged too much about Kutty V. He just turned one a couple of weeks ago and I feel that the year has flown by in a blink. My two boys are as different as chalk and cheese! They also look as different as chalk and cheese except when they are sleeping and then they look exactly alike!  As a single child, I never quite get sibling dynamics and at the ripe old age of 32 I will never get it! It will always be something that is exclusive to both the boys and that I can never be a part of. It amazes me that a 4.5 year old will give up his toys and literally do anything to make this 1 year old smile and laugh. And this 1 year old will call and shout and basically do anything to attract his older brother’s attention. Kutty V can wave hello and bye. He can give us a high five. He can climb stairs and is figuring out how to climb down. He climbs into and squats in his brother’s “Veer” chair and attempts to play with all of Veer’s action figures before he wakes up. He thinks he is having a very serious conversation sometimes and yells at us when he is mad. He shakes his head when he doesn’t want something and he is almost ready for the big boy car seat!

I have been more chilled out with Vaasu’s first year than with Veer’s first year. I promised our pediatrician that I will not freak out about every little cough and sniffle and I didn’t. In certain ways, I have cherished Kutty V’s year one differently from Big V’s. Because all said and done, he is probably my last and I know that I will never experience these firsts again.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Judging and Being Judgmental (Or Plain Mental!)

Some people are born without filters in their head! You know the one that says – “Wait a minute, What you are saying sounds completely inappropriate/moronic/offensive etc.” Recently, I am encountering grown – ups who seem to have lost that filter! Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t care how people behave or what people say. But the reason for this whole post is that I have to deal with these filterless people and the total nonsense they are spewing! At the expense of being totally bitchy, I wish to develop such an annoying habit and annoy people. I know that I will never do that knowingly. I will quietly accept it and then proceed to rant with D or you my readers.

All my married life, I have dealt with in-appropriate “aunty” questions.  You know the questions people ask when they have nothing to say to you. “When do you plan to have kids” tops that list. Now since they cannot ask me that anymore (Take that aunties!!) I thought I was done with that question! Recently, I had a friend and her family over for dinner and I encountered a variation of this question that left me quite speechless. Let me proceed to recite the event as it happened.

Uncle to me: How long have you lived in the US.
Me (Smiling): I have lived here exactly 10 years uncle. I will be married 10 years this year.
Aunty to me: So you had kids late!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Filter aunty, filter. Think about what you are saying! You don’t know my circumstances. I don’t need to explain to you when and why I chose to have my beautiful babies.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

If you can't fly then run...

As if I don’t have enough craziness in my life at the moment, we sold and bought a home in the last month! I would not recommend people take this project on when they have an infant, a young one and health problems that seriously inhibit ability to lift/load boxes. To say that it was the most stressful time of my life would be putting it mildly. But it CAN be done and even through the madness I was telling D that it will help me feel that I can accomplish something. Of course, it wouldn’t be possible without the incredible support of my wonderful husband D. Now comes the fun second part – unpacking all the said boxes that have been packed. In an ironical twist of events, I have become obsessed with getting rid of belongings beyond what is necessary for our functioning. Why is it ironical you ask? Because we moved from a small home to a significantly larger home that is capable of storing all the stuff that has accumulated over the years.  My strategy is to remove all objects that I have sentimental value too but don’t actually use, clothes that I “hope” to fit into one day, street jewelry from college days that are no longer fashionable, baby stuff that both my little ones have outgrown/don’t use anymore. I have been donating or trashing as is applicable. It feels good! It feels incredibly good to be clutter free.

As I have mentioned in past posts having two children can sometimes feel like life is spinning out of control. I have adopted a few little strategies to make me “feel” better. I have made a resolution to unpack atleast one box a day - Now that could be a big giant box (if I had the time, like on a weekend) or a tiny little one if it was one of those crazy weekday evenings. The second one, I need to loose the pregnancy weight I gained with my first baby (4 years ago!!) and with my health conditions this is quite a challenge. I aim to hit the treadmill (the exercise that I CAN do with all my health issues) for 30 minutes, 3 times a week. So far I am up to 2 times and finally last week, I hit 3 times. Even if I am exhausted, frustrated or in pain (my three predominant emotions nowadays) I put on the socks and sneakers and head down to the basement. I have stopped watching talk shows or movies at this time but blast music. Admittedly this is Bollywood, Tollywood or Kollywood music from the early 2000s but the rule is it is fist pumping music that keeps me going. My pace is slow, it takes me over 20 minutes to cover a mile. So in 30 minutes I am not much over the one mile mark but at the moment, it is consistency I am looking for. Not sooo much the pace or the calorie loss. And last but not the least, I am taking a 15 minute for myself before I go to bed to read a book, browse Facebook or catch up on the news.

Is life perfect? Far from it. I still don’t get a word in with my spouse at home. I don’t get enough one on one time with Big V as I would like. I am pretty much catering non-stop to my family’s needs from the time I open my eyes. However, I feel good that I am in control with sections of my life. During one of the low moments I saw a quote that has stuck. I have it up on a sticky note at work:

If you can’t fly then run.
If you can’t run then walk
If you can’t walk then crawl

But whatever you do you have to keep moving forward

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Imagination at Work

Instance # 1

The other day Big V came home coated and I mean coated with mud/sand. Sand was all over his clothes, his hair, his nose, his toes and finger nails!! I have captured our conversation word to word below (Well at least his side of the conversation is verbatim)

Me: What did you do? Roll in the sand pit?

Big V: No, we threw sand on each other.

Me: Now, why would you do that?

Big V: Because we imagined it wasn’t sand.

(I am highly amused at this point)

Me: What did you imagine it was?

Big V: We imagined it was snow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Instance #2

I was busy washing Lil V's bottles and Veer was sitting at the table giving me company.

Big V: Mom do you know that Michelangelo's (of the Ninja Turtle's fame) middle name is John

Me: Ok. (I was quite preoccupied and never really into superheros as a child. Hence I had no idea if this was true or not) Who told you this?

Big V: I dreamt about it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Who am I to judge? - Rant Post

So I have to come out and say it because if I see it one more time I will scream… As a full time working outside of the home mom, I am perpetually scrambling to get everything done. What is this “working outside of the home” business? Does the world think that moms who work outside of the home sit with their feet up and drink lemonade when they are at home?

Well yes, it’s a choice I made. To be able to live the kind of life that I want and provide a certain kind of life for my children and for my general sanity I need to have a job. As a full time working outside of the home mom I co-ordinate my kids play dates, birthday parties, activities that they participate in, their day-care schedules. I plan & cook all their meals, I buy all their clothes, I schedule and go to all their doctor visits, I pick and drop them up from day care - All this in addition to meeting some of mine and my husband’s needs.  I don’t get breaks or “Me” time because my husband works just as hard as me. I don’t get to shove the kids onto my husband and stroll through the aisles of Target or whatever. Keep aside the fact that I have never strolled through the aisles of Target even before I had kids. Maybe some sojourns at Barnes & Noble or a Starbucks (one never gets to idle time away at a Dunkin!!) I wake up earlier than the rest of my household to hand wash and sterilize my infant’s feeding bottles and pack my older one’s lunch. I spend a bulk of the Sunday evening cooking dinners for the family. I think you get the point – I do everything for my kids in addition to holding down a full time job at which I am fairly successful, if I may say so myself. I don’t come home to a sleeping child! I haven’t missed either one of my children’s milestones. I heard the first words, I saw the first smile, the first crawl and several other milestones that my older one has already hit and can’t wait for my younger one to do them as well. They are healthy, happy, well – adjusted, intelligent children.

And I am not the only one who does this! There are several other wonderful women who do exactly what I am doing. We don’t have the time to shout it from the rooftops! Will I do it differently if I had a choice? Probably not! I am going to end my rant with the wonderful line that I hate from the bottom of my heart – “I am sure everyone has their reasons and I am not one to judge.”