Quality Family Time

We are enjoying an extended weekend this time around due to a local holiday and it’s been fun. With family swimming time (which largely include splashing about and running after MLM to make sure he’s got this swimming vest on before jumping into the deep end of the pool), nice long lunches, a rather lazy attitude towards everything on the To-Do lists and of course the Scrabble games between me and Red.

This is how our games usually progress- we start up when MLM’s sleeping or otherwise deeply engrossed with some other activity else he comes and hijacks the scrabble pieces and starts to make his words just about anywhere on the board. Red and I aren’t terribly competitive but we always play for points. It’s fun since I usually win and do my annoying nyaah-nyaah voice and mini-victory dance.

Yesterday’s game was funny. It was VOWEL day for all my turns. I ended up with an abundance of Es, As and Is and very little consonants, especially the high value kinds. The target of our games is to usually score in double digits. So single digit scores are a bit of a downer or a challenge to whoop ass in the next round depending upon how badass we’re feeling. Red keeps a beady eye out of the Triple Word and Double Word scores and essentially all the colored tiles.

Yesterday the games was flowing like molasses, which got lengthened even further because of the time Red took to think of decently scoring words. While he thought out his moves he altered between a weird kind of humming, the kind that you get with electricity…a slow and steady thrum and then making these annoying clucking sounds like he’s feeding poultry. As you can tell, it’s kind of difficult to concentrate on making kickass words while it feels like chickens are being fed corn in the immediate vicinity 🙂

But be as it may, I did triumph over all the barnyard sounds and we’re geared up for a rematch shortly.

Nothing like being an obnoxious, in-your-face winner! We also got to factor in time for individual amusements- I watched a movie (over 2 days but still I watched it!), Red went and played tennis for as long as he wanted and I got a chance to sleep blissfully in the afternoon and only the whistle of a pressure cooker woke me up 🙂

Followed by another swimming class in the morning where I learnt to use both hands and feet together and not sink. I look like an elephant swimming underwater with all my grace but hey…it’s fun!

And what did MLM do? Well…everyday is a celebration for him so he continued on in his merry way as he’s wont to do 🙂

Here’s to more quirky, fun weekends with the family!

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How To Tell A Child Lives In A House

Well most parents who’re reading this are going-DUH! But for the uninitiated and those who just “love” kids, here are some telltale signs that a mini-adult inhabits a particular dwelling.

Here we go-

  1. There are mini shoes/flipflops/socks dotting the entrance of the house/apartment.
  2. The surface of the house is kind of glossy. Upon closer examination you realize it’s sticky. If you really are a modern day Braveheart and explore further, you’ll see that it tastes sweet to.
  3. You end up stepping on/sitting on/slipping on/finding-figures of dinosaurs, Hotwheels, clothespins, crayons, markers, color pencils,Play Doh, cookie cutters on the sofas, in the bathroom where the child bathes, out in the balcony, in kitchen drawers, within the folds of the comforters, on the bed, under the bed, in your shoes, arranged right in the middle of the room in a merry marching band fashion.
  4. The walls have hand prints, scribble marks, smudges even though they look relatively new. Also, the marks are at a midget-level and usually not above 4 feet.
  5. There are breadcrumbs not unlike Hansel and Gretel in a meandering path all over the house, on the bed and dinning table looks like a battle look place with the ketchup stains and jam streaks.
  6. The TV remote is kept up high somewhere instead of being close to the telly like in other peoples’ houses.
  7. Every decorative item is kept high up somewhere.
  8. The potpourri looks like it’s been rummaged through and bits and pieces are lying around on the floor.
  9. There are a trail of clothes- the house essentially resembles a laundry.
  10. The surface of the laptop/computer has been scribbled on. Erased but still with colorful streaks.
  11. The keyboard of the laptop/computer looks like a gap-toothed smile with keys missing.
  12. There are shouts of, “No Spitting”, “Keep Your Clothes ON!!”, “No Your Wee-Wee doesn’t Want Cheerios!!” et al.
  13. There’s a harried person, female usually, with bird’s nest hair, a red face, frown and steam coming out from the ears. Usually clad in sweats and a face that’s crying out for salon treatment.
  14. There’s also a small person, or 2, oblivious to the minefield he has for a mother; happily skipping out, sneaking spoonfuls of peanut butter from the kitchen and bestowing sticky kisses to the deranged, about-to-explode aforementioned female.

This was not an exhaustive tutorial but an accurate one. In order to get the complete lowdown on this particular issue, please head to the nearest neighboring home with a stay-at-home mom. When the door opens and the swirling tornado inside is visible to you, all the truths shall be revealed.

Image courtesy-http://5xmacias.blogspot.in/2010/09/harried-mother.html

An Update About Me-For A Change

This blog has quickly turned into an outlet for venting and ranting while I foam at the mouth about raising a kid. A male child. A force of nature….erm…yes I digress. So I guess most of my readers just know me as a vehement mother, grappling with motherhood, while mothering a force of nature…see! It’s SO tough to not out pour about MLM when I sit down to blog.

So moving consciously away from the beautiful monster I wanted to share somethings about MOI (imagine the fanfare, confetti and me going TA-DA!!).

I have recently started to, and partially, succeeding in learning to swim. I thought stuff gets harder in your mid-30s but it’s really all in the mind. When you want to learn something, when you want to carve out that little space for yourself to just experience something new…you actually can and DO do it.

So while I haven’t mastered swimming entirely. I can float and swim the width of the pool in our apartment complex while holding my breath. But during this attempt to learn a new skill I discovered something. Am not 20 anymore. I do need a good night’s sleep. Energy levels do get depleted and need to be replenished. Can’t just wing it anymore. Of course I should add that I haven’t seen the inside of a gym in the last 2 years and carry around excess baggage that loves to *never leave 😦 But that again is another blog post for another day.

The thing about swimming is that is feels so good to do something new and different and actually feel  that I’m learning something. It’s been a while since I learnt something new and it’s nice to know that the synapses are still working fine and receptive to new connections being made in the Ol’ Noggin.

While writing this post Red came in and told me MLM had some round blue thing in his hand. To which I said he had a marble and it was fine. I parallel thought that I know the Heimlich too so it shouldn’t be a problem. Sheesh!

Ok…back to me again. I saw a movie over the weekend with friends while Red very graciously watched MLM at home. Graciousness stemmed from the fact that he didn’t want to want to see this particular movie but hey gift horse-mouth et al.

This movie was quite well made and its OST is quite likable too. It’s like a neatly packaged deal where everything falls into place and you totally like everything you get. I even got a new favorite song out of it. Who could ask for more? Well…me. I could. In fact I have a nice long list of things running into a few pages.

But while that is yet again, another blog for another day, I’ll just put on some music and start shepherding the brat into the bathroom to start off on his brushing while trying to come to terms with Day Two of El Vacation-o.

Did I mention it’s 39 degrees C/102 F by afternoon? And in the month of March no less? Takes the term Indian Summer to a ridiculous new level of literalness!

 

Waterloo: Circa 2014

Ordinarily I am a card-carrying agnostic but today I am ready to drop to my knees and give thanks to the Galactic Amoeba if it means that MLM will conk off early and give me a wide berth before he does so.

Today has been mind-numbingly exhausting and I have begun to think that I’ve lost my temper for the last time with no clear map to find it again. I certainly wanted MLM restrained in one place. And since they don’t have straitjackets in preschooler size…well you get my drift.

Some days are so extraordinarily taxing that you end up questioning what the heck you thought you were getting into when you were happy to see those 2 red lines. Let me illustrate- I’ve had dinosaurs in my food, in my coffee, in front of my face, going up my nose, peeking into my ear and all because I sought to foster his love for the wretched reptiles by buying him more dino figures to boost his pretend play and keep him from the evils of the idiot box! *bangs head against the wall*

Right about now I have no problem if he turns into a tater tot on his way to becoming a couch potato if it means I’ll get 2 minutes of peace while I use the loo.

Till then I’ll give my knees some workout and pray for sleep… He that sleeps feels not the tooth-ache.
Cymbeline (5.4.176)
Or the aches brought on by the force of nature in the guise of a child!
Image courtesy-garthandkaceyhamilton.blogspot.com

Rants’R’Us

After all the kicking, screaming, banging pots&pans (all my doing), the offspring falls asleep while on his 5th timeout of the day.
There has to be a non-lunatic side to parenting. I’ve yet to discover it though 😦

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Parenting Bloopers

MLM has been harping about pizzas for a few days now. My son, for all this faults, isn’t a junk food junkie. He loves chips as do most kids and has the KFC’s Popcorn chicken about twice a month. But barring that he’s rather negative on the burgers, cheesy nachos et al. But he asked for pizzas so often I had no option but to overrule my own judgement and order a pizza for him for his lunch today.

And that’s where it got interesting. He wanted his pizza to look like the image he saw in the standy at the pizzeria and wouldn’t you know it? That particular pizza was NOT on their menu. So I customized it for him with black olives, green bell peppers, onions, tomatoes…all the colors he asked for. Then he ran around, behind the counter and asked them at least 10 times when the pizza was arriving. And then it arrived. And he didn’t want it.

End of story.

 

Summer Holidays- The Scary Truth

Don’t be fooled folks, moms and stay-at-home-moms especially are terrified of summer hols. The concept essentially is fine up to a point- for about 2 months there’s a drop in the madness that comes from trying to wake up a sleepy child to go to school, get them to brush their teeth, sit on the potty BEFORE heading out the door and of course managing to drop them at the school and make your escape for a few (sadly..VERY few) hours.

The vacation means that they can get up at 8:00 am instead of 7:30. It means you can delay the power struggle that comes with the brushing of teeth for up to half an hour. It means breakfast can be french toast, aaloo paratha instead of a glass of milk/ 1 piece of toast with jam or peanut butter. It also means that you get to actually drink your coffee instead of mainlining it or snorting it to save time and kickstart the caffeine rush.

It also means longer bath times (for the kid…NEVER for you), a bit more time in front of the telly and a bit more munching throughout the day. That the playtime gets extended is a given so am not listing it out elaborately.

But the scary, and I mean scary, part of vacations are- BOREDOM. MLM has already starting off with his plaintive, ” I want SUMPHING (something)” cry. Sumphing changes from hour to hour, minute to minute and stuff that you suggest to them comes with a variety of riders (for the kids, not you). And if you have a child who goes through his “sumphings” like a hot knife through butter then you can end up exhausting the entire week’s quota of activities right on DAY ONE and then be left twiddling your thumbs throughout the remainder of the weeks and gazing longingly at the calendar, waiting for the schools to reopen.

The thing is kids need routine more than we do. Adults need routine because we have a shitload of stuff going on in our lives and that needs to be prioritized and tackled ergo routines. But kids need routine to keep them from vegging out and not having enough stimulation to think and create. Even if the creation includes messes, mischief and mayhem.

But a bored kid is unresponsive and a mini-zombie and that’s NEVER desirable. They start channeling their curiosity in different directions, some quite undesirable, and all in all; it’s a non-productive endeavor.

Enter Summer Camps ( fanfare, trumpets and confetti in the background)…they don’t have the rigor of schools, keep little minds and hands (AND LEGS) busy and give you enough time away from the little monsters…erm darlings to actually start missing them or girding up to roll with their antics.

Now that I’m faced with an impending summer vacation I have to say I’m looking at a bunch of resources to help occupy MLM’s time and mine so we get through the next 2 months without needing a strait jacket (for him) and actually having a good time throughout the entire duration.

Hang on…how about a summer vacation for moms? Away from the home and hearth? Kids? Husbands? Days full of spas, jazzerobics, Zumba, good cuisine…?………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………Sorry. Got lost in the beauty of the idea.

Till then…it’s back to taking care of the troops and trying to keep a tight hold on my sanity.

Toodles!

In Memorium

Red’s grandmother passed away this evening. She was a week shy of her 97th birthday. She was quite an interesting person and while I did not love her, I did like her. Quite a bit.

I think it takes a lot of forbearance to not give up the will to live when everyone who was a friend or a contemporary has passed on. When you don’t see all your kids as often as you would like to, let alone grandkids and great-grandkids. When getting up, eating, self-care is managed via helpers and effectively your world becomes one room in a house.

She was lucid and sharp uptil she couldn’t be anymore and when she had full possession of her faculties she was sharp as a tack.

My husband’s family isn’t very gung-ho about being demonstrative with their affection and I remember Red’s grandmom visibly looking surprised after I kissed her cheek on a visit soon after I got married. To say that Red was shocked would be an understatement…it was tantamount to bearding the lion in the den. One did NOT go around kissing this grandma! But in time she became used to it and I could swear that she would often tilt her cheek my way when I’d come to say bye 🙂

What I am happier about is that MLM got to know his great-grandmother in a time when getting facetime with grandparents is a challenge! He’d run off with all the little odds and ends she’d keep in her room and just barely make a pitstop to say ‘Hi’ and go bounding off again!

But he was able to make her smile on occasion and of that I’m glad…she was his great-grandmother and some day he’ll be able to appreciate having had that time with her even if it’s merely anecdotal memories…

It’s always tough to lose grandparents. You know they are old and often infirm
but you can’t imagine things without them either. Especially when they are a grande dame like the one we had.

We’ll miss you.

Parenting Pitfalls: A Series- #1 Expectations

As a parent I find that I am plagued by expectations. Whether or not I mold my behavior accordingly isn’t the matter at hand but I find that I am so much more susceptible to having expectations from my child, about my child and basically it’s a never-ending story.

What started off this particular line of thought? I’ll tell you- I went to drop MLM to school today and had to have a word with his teachers and was waiting near the porch, reading their notices and seeing the work done by the kids they’d pinned up when I came upon this guy’s classwork sandwiched nicely between two other classmates. The assignment was just to color 3 fruits which the teacher later told them about and labeled but what was distinct in his work was that there was NOTHING within the lines and it basically looked like what I used to think little kids coloring looked like all the time. But side by side were papers hanging, where 2 girls from his class had done the same work, neatly, tidily and their respective comments from the teacher were- “Brilliant!” and “Excellent!“. This fellow had garnered a ” Good Try“.

I wasn’t upset but I have to admit the immediate though in my mind was, “Why can’t he do the same thing that his classmates do? Why isn’t he interested/capable in doing work that can generate a GOOD for a change?”

It’s pretty ridiculous to think that he’s reached the pinnacle of all his efforts and his current output is all he’s capable of when he’s not even 5 but when I became a parent my skin suddenly became so thin it’s not funny! It’s not that he had to be the best but I began to notice differences too and when other kids would, there’s no nice way to say this, outperform him, I would feel a twinge of something I couldn’t define. Later I began to get an inkling that I was disappointed in some measure when he didn’t do something that most people did. See I don’t use the word couldn’t because as a parent it’s almost inconceivable that your child CAN’T do something. It’s so much better to tell yourself that he doesn’t do it. At least it soothes your mind against the possibility of your child not knowing, not having…all the nots.

And believe me it’s pretty tough being a parent. This is that one person you actually would kill for. Forget love, honor and death-do-us-apart with the spouses…you obsess about your kids. You have dreams of their being this person when they grow even when they’re in their diapers and drooling like a leaky faucet. It’s tough being pragmatic when your mind, your love and aspirations for this one individual is abundant and limitless.

I remember when I was a teacher at Gymboree, there was a parent ( a mom) whose behavior would rile me to no end! She was pushy, loud and while she was a committed parent, I felt she used to push her child too hard. And the child in question was about 4 months then. We’d be trying out certain age-appropriate activities and all the kid would want to do is keep rolling over and playing with his toes and his mom would force him on his tummy to make sure he also participated in everything. I don’t particularly think she was doing the right thing even now but I guess as a parent you do lose a bit of your practicality because you aren’t always thinking with your head and it’s only natural to want to see what your child is capable of and seeing everyone else doing something that your child isn’t can be perplexing and tough for a parent.

And even if you aren’t one of those gabby parents who keep boring people with your child’s achievements, such as they may be, you always find that one person/people you tell that your’s is the most beautiful child ever and they are just SO smart. This smartness might be demonstrated very aptly in the form of mischief that usually has your hands busy spanking and your kid’s bum kind of sore…but hey! he’s not really naughty…he’s a creative, out-of-the-box thinker 🙂

But there are still times when a simple thing like a peach colored entirely within the lines and a comment saying “Good” goes a long way in making you smile and feel, “Yeah…that’s my kid! He colors peaches pretty damn well!” Till that glorious day comes…we’ll be celebrating “Good Try” instead.