I’m up. Again. I’ll be useless by 11 am unless I have 2 super-duper coffees (one of them black) in the first half of the day.
I don’t mind waking up ahead of time. I like the near-solitude that the apartment offers. The offspring is sleeping in some odd modernistic dance pose and the husband is just blissfully asleep. People look very different when they sleep. You either cringe or look lovingly at them. No middle path there am afraid.
I am FILLED with love for my child when he’s asleep. The curl of his lashes, the pucker of his mouth and I notice everything about him; the crud in the corner of his eyes, a small spot of toothpaste he didn’t properly rinse off his chin and usually how his pajama bottoms are gradually heading north of his ankles.
A few days ago I was (yet again) deleting stuff from my email account because it was close to being full and I really didn’t know if I wanted to fork over money every month for more space yada yada yada. I found some utterly delicious videos of my kid. Sadly they were taken with the sturdy, never-let-you-down-hardware-wise-but-otherwise-with-a-lame-ass camera Nokia I used to tote around before Samsung Galaxy came and changed my life for the better.
So there I was unearthing these treasures which I’d totally forgotten about…these grainy videos of him while still diaper-clad and with the requisite amount of baby fat when comes in the subject of those videos in present day avatar- lean, bucktoothed and with his run-of-the-mill dino t-shirt and asks me why am I going “awww” and smiling at my laptop so much. I tell him am looking at videos of him when he was a little(r) boy and it’s making me happy to remember those times. All sorts of maternally feelings are going on in my head with the past and present right in front of me and the world seems awash in those pretty shades from the color palettes which mothers apparently see when they feel a surge of love for their kids.
He looks over my shoulder, with his surprisingly pointy chin digging into my shoulder bone and says “I was a cute baby” and with the same breath telling me to move over somewhere else because he wanted to watch something on tv and my exclamations were too loud for him.
And just like that, in a snap, your maternal feelings evaporate and you longingly look at that diapered bum running around, chin all shiny from drool, making bird and airplane noises and wish he was back just for a little bit. Instead you leave circa 2011 behind and face 2016 with semi-resignation and just plant your butt more firmly into the couch and say I was here first! And before the whiny and knee-jerk “Nooooo” starts off, you get your ‘talk-to-the-hand’ face and gesture in place and get back to viewing that chubby kid who ate everything under the sun and was cute as a button. This dinosaur-loving one could just do with cooling his jets for a wee bit!
Main Tenet of Dealing with Nostalgic Moms- NEVER mess with the nostalgia process…it brings forth the inner dragon; complete with fire and brimstone. And the claws.
I know if I get on this particular pulpit, the few people who do read my blog from time to time might vamoose for good but I can’t help my self. I HATE HAVING COLDS!!!
I mean let’s examine it a bit closely. It’s a half-assed health problem. It’s not even a sickness. But a measly symptom of a larger problem; which often goes away on its own without even needing proper medication at times. And still manages to bring on the misery of a much more serious ailment.
In the world of frauds and duplicity- a cold wins hands down! It’s a minor league health trifle masquerading as a major league disease!
Case in point- your nose is no longer a nose. It’s a toxic tomato that is bipolar to boot since it emits geese-links honks at times and at others is a factory for more slime than ought to be physically possible inside a human body.
A quick digression at this point- slime IMHO ought to be those two-bit flimy-ass barrels which come in all sorts of different colors and keep your kid engaged for all of 20 minutes. Then said object goes back into barrel or gets scraped off whichever surface your kid last left it on and goes in the garbage. End of story.
Back to my woe-is-me tale…
A cold is a particularly nasty piece of work because it robs you of your senses. Imagine a weekend when you want to kick back with the taste of food you shouldn’t be eating, drinks you shouldn’t be drinking and BAM! The mucus mobile parks itself in your head and your weekend brunch is toast. You can’t taste galangal for Christ’s sake! You resort to eating chillies from your Thai lunch instead because the Galactic Ameba who hands out colds and aromats with the same indiscretions deemed that even if your gustatory and olfactory systems are on a lock-out, THOU SHALT ALWAYS SENSE AND SUFFER A CHILLI. Amen.
Why do I really hate colds? My head is heavy, my throat is choked with flotsam-jetsam and I’m cranky enough to be deemed as the twin of the cat lady from the Simpsons.
All I want on a weekend is to not *have* to do stuff. Take it easy…well easier than I do the rest of the 5 days. I want to fob off my kid to my husband and not think about him till Monday morning. I want to stay up late on Friday nights with wine and watch stand up comedy or movies till it’s Saturday morning. I don’t want to have a mini jack hammer going off in my head rendering me useless to read or watch television and I certainly don’t want to be the evil stepmother whenever there’s a moderate amount of noise from the offspring and his toys. Moderately evil mother is what works for me just fine!
A cold is horrid! It holds your taste buds, your sinuses ransom till you gargle, spit, blow, steam the hell out of yourself and at the end all you have to show for it is this- sitting up before 5am on a Monday morning, surrounded by a sea of tissues and remnants of chillies which are travelling down your digestive system with a vengeance!
Four years ago I had blogged about this on another blogging platform.
Facebook reminds me of many things, usually trivial and mainly goody-goody but this blog post reminded me of something that usually doesn’t go down well in my home- the concept of capital punishment.
My husband is pro-life to the core and I am pro-choice. The pro-life bit extends to his being implacable about capital punishment being heinous.
But while mulling on my state of mind the day I wrote out that bit and how it is today, I’d have to say that while I wish capital punishment wasn’t the way to go; the cruelty being meted out at the whims of people with guns, money and power and above all-hatred; the threat of retribution coming on the heels of cruelty does give people pause.
Because I do not buy into “an eye for an eye will make the world blind”. There are people out there who aim to blind enough people without just cause or provocation and they need to be stopped in their tracks. Punishing them may not be the answer to all the ills but it sure beats doing nothing and piously holding onto a threadbare cloak of humanity.
Here endeth the lesson.
I am an Agatha Christie aficionado. Rather an afficianado of the characters she has created. I haven’t read up much about her life per se but somehow I pictured her to be a bit like the wax statue of Miss Marple I’d seen in Madam Tussaud’s years ago.
The back cover of her books proved that she was neither that fluffy or was she that sweet-looking old lady of my imagination. But be as that may, I think an author’s legacy ought speak for itself in the books they’ve published rather than someone else hoisting a flag on their behalf; with books that haven’t sprung forth from the original grey matter.
With equal part reluctance and curiosity I bought a paperback of Closed Casket and I stuck to, reading till the end out of sheer stubbornness because truth be told, Sophie Hannah lost me somewhere in soon after the first 20-odd pages.
Agatha Christie’s prose is not torturous. You don’t have to be a connoisseur of the English language nor of the crime and mystery genre to get engrossed in her books. Hannah’s prose, the twists and turns were quite taxing and the kind of play or words done for ‘closed casket’ was worthy of a conceit of John Donne himself!
Her book has a darker feel to it than Christie’s typically do but with half the enjoyment that I’m accustomed to.
So I’ll stick to being a Christie purist and reread (for the nth time) my Poirot and Marple novels. They’re the real deal.
- Going to bed extra early does no damn good.
- You can twiddle your thumbs mentally and physically.
- Crack Attack isn’t just a silly game of eggs at all! It takes cunning and perseverance.
- Flow Free can get you into a Zen state if you focus hard enough on connecting the dots.
- We could do with central heating in winters. Or to be more eco-friendly; not open any windows at night.
- Agatha Christie’s books should not be written by anyone else but her. Her characters need her brand of humor and mystique.
- My kid is a blanket usurper par excellence!
- You can misspell the word ‘dawn’ at least twice before getting it right while bleary-eyed.
- FRIENDS is a any-time-watch serial. Ergo reruns still on air after a decade of it ending.
- The house is homeyier with the husband in it. Despite being easier to run without him.
- I would like a butler to wake me up in the mornings. With coffee.
- I should pick a bedtime and stick to it else I churn out this stuff at 5:31 am after having lain awake in bed for the past 1 hour.
- Yawning is a sign of being sleepy; I should go back to bed.
People see candles and usually think either Halloween, black-outs or women. They see diffusers (reed and the other kinds) and think of spas, meditation and women. You dim the lights and people go, “Oh yeah, romance” and well, romance with women.
And truth be told women *need* these things and there are well-validated reasons behind all these knickknacks and doohickeys that women use to kick back and relax, rejuvenate or even just set the mood.
Candles and dim lights- whether you’ve been doing back-breaking work in a mine, fighting it out in the corporate jungles or chasing after a toddler (same difference), at the end of a long day it has been found (empirically) that dim lights actually bring down levels of stress and heightened emotions and help people unwind. Think about it, all the stresses of the day happen in bright lights, inside and outside. A step back from it all happening along with muted, soft lights actually add to the momentum of relaxing.
And purely from a less-than-perfectly-physiqued woman’s POV; it also hides the frown lines, crows feet and unflattering signs of fatigue till you’ve had a chance to exfoliate, moisturize and conceal your way into being “presentable” to the world at large or atleast your partner/husband who walks in the door, takes a look at you and asks, “bad day?”
Diffusers and other aromatic aids- This one isn’t even a New Age hippie doodad but something that’s been in use across centuries. People have been burning sage, camphor, lavender and other aromatics to cleanse the air, their auras and their immediate surroundings for a long, long time. Pick up an Regency novel (based in the early-mid 1800s) and you’ll find all about sage burning or reviving fainting lasses with lavender water or keeping lavender sprigs in their boudoirs.
Nowadays it’s just nice to not smell the spices from your cooking and that of the neighbors’, the waft of old socks and shoes and the stench of an open trash chute all rolled up into one unholy mess and instead have a mild to moderate aroma of Ocean Breeze or lemongrass oils greet you in your personal space.
Of course with the dim lights, the ocean breeze and a tired mind often (and successfully) conjures up a hunky stud along with it all; just to round out the feeling of being mellow properly. If said hunky stud is holding or offering a chilled glass (read bottle) of Chablis and looking scrum-diddly-umptious in the bargain then your Relax-O-Meter just zooms right up to the stratosphere and you are officially M-E-L-L-O-W.
So in conclusion: women have had it right all along! Get the aromatics, get the candles and the stud and lounge away in cozy darkness for curing all the ills of a long, tiring work day.
Note: This method works best if treated like a prescription or a record on loop.
asian parents, changes, each to their own, finding your own path, free-range parenting, helicopter parenting, Indian parents, kids, kids grow up, kids will be kids, learning, motherhood, parenting styles, random, rants, relationships, there's no ideal way, tough decisions, tough kids, tough love
I am all for being a hands-off parent. I really would like to be able to observe my child, see him grow rather than always be present while he is doing his thing. For someone who has been a SAHM from the first moment, it is quite a treat to be able to see your child interact with their environment, peers and the world at large without literally (and figuratively) pulling at the leash.
However and this is a big however, the concept of Free-Range parenting isn’t always viable for the Indian mindset or for that matter the pan-Asian mindset.
While I cannot comment knowledgeably on a generic Asian temperament per se, let’s just say that it allows for a lot less permissiveness in the interaction between children, young adults with the adults they encounter. It’s not borne out of a compulsion of seeing the kids become “docile”, “controlled” or even submissive but out of a Father/Mother knows best funda which seeks to leave decision-making in the hands of an adult till the child reaches the sensibilities of an adult and can take independent decisions and their consequences.
And that’s ultimately what any parent worth their salt is concerned about- consequences. Children primarily lack the ability to make judgement calls before a particular age sets in and I personally believe that for quite a few people, that age usually starts in their late teens or early twenties. The reason being that while they reach this age the gamut of experiences that they go through are more definitive and they pay more attention to the learnings that arise out of it, rather than having the moral of the story outlined (if you will) by their parents the way it was done during their early years.
And let’s not even open up the can of worms that includes predators et al. The world is a difficult place to navigate even for adults. Children with their innocence/lack of experience aren’t always able to gauge with certainty who they should place their trust in. A child is a child for a reason. Despite being conditioned to be responsible, or inherently of a more compliant nature, a child can lapse into carelessness, callousness and self-indulgent behavior because knowing altruism, benevolence or how to do the right thing isn’t what the doctor ordered for a 7 year-old.
And to expect them to be any different is to expect munchkin-sized adults to be walking around while looking much cuter than the normal-sized ones.
And what does this have to do with being a Helicopter Parent Vs. A Free-Range one? Well as adults we learn about balances and being a parent is the toughest balancing job in the whole world. The tightrope walking kind of pales in significance because there isn’t always a safety net and the worst case scenario is far worse than any of us could begin to fathom. So it comes down to this…is it better to suffocate your kid as a helicopter parent or not know where your kid is or doing what and to what extent because you’ve eased up too much on the free aspect of free-range parenting? Isn’t even a mild case of paranoia a given for a parent? Or do we actually sleep better knowing a 10 year old will definitely look both ways before crossing the street or a 5 year old knows what intuition is and is guided by it?
So while I veer more to the side of helicopter parenting (much to my chagrin) on matters of education, teaching of good behavior and imposing of rules et al; there are times when I can wear the mantle of a free-range parent as well. And I can give a good amount of leeway only because I stayed close, watched every step and made sure the most avoidable dangers could be identified and well…avoided. Some days I hop,skip and jump all over the place being both kinds of parents because the situation and my innate nature demands it.
But know this, no amount of parenting will help if an asteroid hits the earth and wipes away all of humanity. All you can do is know that you are being true to yourself while you bring your child up and despite all the time-outs, angry glares and whatnot if your child is genuinely happy to see you first thing in the morning and runs to tell you about every scrapped knee to every new bug he spotted on the road, then maybe, just maybe you haven’t screwed it up.
Just something to think about.