The Serenity Prayer

It’s not just in rehab that one prays for serenity. Or even on Seinfeld. Parents frequently pray, atheists and all, for deliverance or the ability to bear with those who we do not understand and want to spank the butts of.

This conversation took place just 5 minutes ago: TO storming into my room, “HEY AYU! S aunty made the bread that I don’t like! Me: But you ate it so well last time she made it, you like French toast. TO: No! I HATE French toast! It’s disgusting!! Me: Ok, just eat it today because you need to take your medicines after food. TO: I DON’T WANT TRIANGLE BREAD PIECES! Me: Just put both together and make a whole bread and it won’t be a triangle anymore! TO: But it won’t taste the same (whine whine whine grumble grumble grumble and exit stage left).

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Problem Of Plenty

A few years ago I was sitting with a bunch of gal pals on a gals’ weekend away and we were talking about how our lives are. Essentially the “why” of needing to ‘get away from it all’. One of them said (with a sigh) that mornings were quite hectic because: a) the milkman would turn up b) the newspaper vendor could then come c) the cook would follow d) then the maid e) and finally the dog walker. And while it totally sounds like first world problems to anyone else who’s eavesdropping, but it can be exhausting in its own way.

When I was gainfully employed but still clawing to survive, I did everything on my own. Dishes, clothes, go to the bank yada yada yada. I didn’t have a car of my own and was dependent on public transport and all its vagaries but life was just dandy. Fast forward to circa 2019 and am rotunda housewife who genuinely needs nothing. Wants are a different thing that we won’t touch upon. That’s a longer endeavor than trip down to Tartarus!

TO has been a bit under the weather recently. Summer fevers can be a real beeyotch. It’s hot outside and he’s hotter than he’d like inside- good times. Anyhoo, Red’s out so that meant that I had to channel the patient and placid parent along with my own snarky self. Bipolar parenting is never an easy thing in my book. And yesterday was the day that the door bell rang at almost regular intervals and made life that much more interesting. Thank goodness I’d already got all my parcels the day before.

We get organic, farm fresh (queue the angels’ chorus) milk 2xs a week. Yesterday was one of those days. The morning started with the cook coming in aka Bell#1. Bell#2 was the garbage collectors. Bell#3 was the cleaning lady. Bell#4 was the ironing guy coming to collect the stuff to be ironed. Bell#5 was the milk guy. Bell#6 was the ironing guy coming to return the ironed clothes. Bell#7 was a friend of TO’s. Bell#8 was a friend who dropped by for a chat.

Thankfully for the last two ding dongs TO was asleep else with each bell he called out like an entitled Upper West Side grande dame who lounges  in bed with two lap dogs or like this piece of sunshine and goodness stepmother on Tumblrand calls out instructions for every little thing. He’d go, “Can you get that?”, “There’s someone at the door Ayu”, “Hey, the bell rang”. Lord! blessed are the lives we lead.

 

 

Summer Reveals

TO tells me a lot of stuff but he doesn’t always share stuff I want to know about…how he’s doing in school, something new on his radar or just things he’s thinking about.

Now that we’re in the vacay mode, he’s sharing stuff from his school backpack. His drawing book came out today and he came and showed me stuff he’s made all year long. All 3 pages of it.

So here’s a glimpse of the “mindscapes” of a child-

The Stare

I have an almost-10 year old. He’s lazy like his father and me. We aren’t the gung ho types who jump to it and proactively clean and get shit done. We get to it when we can’t find things and usually at the last minute. Sort of defeats the purpose of being a housewife I guess but my parents’ cleaning gene escaped me but I wasn’t about to let it escape my kid. Not entirely.

We’ve made a deal; once he gets up in the morning he has to make the bed. Properly. Of course that’s when hands start to hurt and the bedspread seems to be made of cement rather than cotton but I’ve decided to be firm. What am also being firm about is the extent of halfheartedness I’ll allow in the task.

Today he went around the bed like a puppy chasing its tail in trying to get the bedspread to stay on the bed evenly. To say it looked like one of those asymmetrical dresses that seem to be the rage, would be downplaying it. Half the bedspread was covering the floor and the throw pillows were thrown on the floor and living up to their name and there was a little man brushing his hands with accomplishment saying, “Done!”

But I have learnt one thing from my father if nothing else…’The Stare’. My father is the master of ‘The Stare’. His stare is so potent that I could feel it burning through a crowded room, aimed right at me like a smack on the head. Btw, the beauty of this is that you don’t have to actually smack or even raise your hands…you frown and let your face settle in its most disapproving pattern and let it rest. The victim…erm the target is drawn by the vibes given off said face and is browbeaten into doing your bidding. It’s magic at its best. It’s a thing of beauty that I hadn’t appreciated while it was being leveled at me.

Over the years the stare as been leveled at others found to be lacking, an errant boyfriend here and there, friends who’ve been dressed inappropriately or when he thought I was dressed like a hobo (aka too casually for college and the sobriety of Chaucer and Matthew Arnold). And the stare burns into you…it’s like a Dark Mark that hovers till you’ve ceded to its commands.

Today, after TO kept playing tag with the bedspread I leveled my stare at him and after a few studied shrugs of nonchalance and innocence, he said, “OK FINE!!!” and made the bed. It could still do with a few tugs here and there but at least the bed’s covered and not the floor.

See, they don’t tell you these things in the parenting books. This stuff’s invaluable! Of course the stare’s something every married man is familiar with. They are also more familiar with the menacing tones of the phrase, “We need to talk”…

I think I’ll just dole out the evilness today…mwaaahaaa

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Pointy Elbows and Drool

Everytime you think you’ve reached a time and place where you don’t have to be a crabby cakes about your kid, they prove you wrong!

Of late TO’s been climbing into our bed. Resulting in either one of us sleeping on our own somewhere else (bliss) or us getting through the night but with pokes and prods and occasional limbs flying about.

Early this morning but still at a time I choose not to be woken up at, someone went poke-poke at the soles of my feet. It was TO asking me to make room for him, his pillow and coverlet.

I made room for him and then did a quick recon of the room he’d been sleeping in to see if the fan or AC had still been left on. We apparently have mood lighting in this house you see- when one leaves a room and *if* they feel like it, the fan and lights get switched off. Else, they don’t.

Anyhow, I came back to my room within a few seconds and found a small child could take up a ridiculous amount of space; yet again. I squished him up and moved him down towards Red (who always sleeps like a baby I might add resentfully).

I kept dreaming of the world being all cold and wet and me baby proofing the house for some reason…putting those cone guards on the edges of tables and sharp pointy things and then realized why that particular dream had come to me…TO was sleeping with arms akimbo and his rather pointy elbow had caught me in the ribs! To add to it, he was drooling. Everything one likes to wake up to an extra hour early, for no good reason.

This parenthood stuff is a doozy!

Happy Hump Day…

My day started a bit sluggishly. Alexa was chirping her annoying wake-up alarm that Red sets up but rarely wakes up to. I wanted to pretend that I had no To-Dos on my list and woke Red up and told him to get TO ready for school. And he did. TO even brought me a cuppa and gave me a kiss before leaving for school…ah the luxuries of life!

Certain days I am charged up to tackle things and tick stuff off lists to an extent that it surprises me. Red calls it my “caffeinated” state. I imagine it’s a bit more annoying to him than my usual levels of caffeine infestation (?) but it is what it is.

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I washed my hair, fueled up the car, got groceries and am halfway down the Must-Do list#1 and looking to make a solid dent in the Must-Do list #2.

Being a SAHM isn’t a chore. We run the place. We have more leisure than people realize, especially if we have the run of the house to ourselves entirely. But that can also lead to complacency. You could start streaming stuff while you do dishes, or sort laundry and some days you’ve binged watched an entire season of Bones before realizing that 2 laundry hampers are not empty and your husband doesn’t have clean shirts for the next day.

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But I have something egging me on…this week ends with the last day of school for TO. And then it’s a mini-vacay at my folks’ and back home before we figure out what to do with our time.

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Things will eventually fall into a more sedate pattern and more often than not, I’m going to be sprawled out on the floor next to him, licking the business end of a spoon while we snort down ice cream and watch some inane movie for the 99th time.

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So before that state of languid bliss (pshaw!) descends for the next 2 months, I’d like to get a feeling of accomplishment under my belt..however minor. Otherwise my days usually are exactly like this; on loop!

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Happy Humps To You!

Nostalgia Endures

My father moved around a lot while I was growing up. And it was a good way to live, everything considered. Met new people every few years, or met the same old faces in different cities and towns and had a good time catching up.

India of the late 80s was a vastly different place from what it is now. And while that is a rather DUH kind of statement to make, it’s still very true. In 1988 my father moved to US for a few years. And we were as FOTB as they came. While my folks still knew something about the country and the people, I knew bupkiss. And when the learning began, I was like a sponge. Red still likes to say that I’ve yet to leave the accent and thought process behind although the country was left behind decades ago. With emphasis on the decade. Husbands!

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For me it was a magical place. Imagine if the height of television watching till then had been the weekly mythological serials that the whole family lined up to see on Sundays and then cut to an 8 year old totally having a braingasm in front of a telly with more than 2-3 channels (back then) just for cartoons!

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And there began the journey with music. Till then music was what my folks played on the turntable or what was on the radio or the Bollywood stuff on the t.v. There had been a brief exposure to BoneyM as a tiny tot but that was quickly forgotten as well.

Suddenly there was VH1, and MTV and music videos galore. And it was amazing. It played 24/7 and all you had to do was listen and you’d find something that stuck to your mind. Good or bad it stuck.

Things which kids are exposed to in their formative years always stays with them. And so the 90s with its big poofy, hairsprayed hair (for both men and women) stayed with me. The ripped denim, Gene Simmons’ make-up and guitar smashing and for some reason Slash’s weirdly placed bellybutton…all made an impression. I don’t like B-52 but remember their music. I don’t like any songs from Shakespeares Sister but can listen to Stay on a loop at times.

And that’s why even after all those years, after having spent more time away from that influence rather than time with, I still fall back to that music when I feel restless and fidgety. Listening to Winger (never heard any other song except Miles Away), Skid Row and even Heavy D…all seem very very comforting. Because that’s what music does to you. It transports you to new (and old) experiences, emotions and by the time you descend back to yourself, you’re set. For that moment.

I have a varied playlist on my phone and every now and then when I hit shuffle it comes up with things which really make me stop and listen purely for the nostalgia quotient. And that’s when reality intrudes with a rather jarring sound- that of DJ Snake’s Magenta Riddim because small hands found the phone and thought it would be fun to shake things up a bit from the boring U2’s With Or Without You….kids!

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