The Pandemic: A Timeline of Delayed Gratification

Most people I know have dealt with the fallout of the pandemic to the best of their ability. Some have been lucky to not contract the virus at all or recover quickly if they have and thankfully not too many have faced any irreplaceable losses. But we’ve ALL been touched by the effects of it fairly deeply in our psyche.

My erstwhile largely happy and manageable child gets down in the dumps at the slightest hint of any change. It might not even be a significant event but just the prospect of having to do without something gets him reacting like never before.

The concept of delayed gratification whether it’s being able to step outside the house, socialise, go to the grocery store, run an errand at the mall, attend in-person school, travel on a whim or not be able to play because it’s raining outside; leads to so much mental preparation needed to adjust and adapt these days just to weather the disappointment of yet another compromise being made.

When I think of how this phase has impacted me, I can honestly say I’ve become more withdrawn. Ask Red and he mayn’t agree since he thinks I’m still the loudest person in the house but given an option I’d rather not do anything but just read a book and possibly stay bundled up somewhere cozy. Call it a start of a myopic personality trait or just a reaction to the times we live it.

I do my daily calls to the bestie, often twice a day- no mean feat given that we factor in time differences of 12+ hours and the interruptions that come in when you have kids hovering around. I speak to both my folks often, separately, their schedules and the frequency of our need to communicate with each other being dictated by daily occurrences as well as things happening in the family.

However, till the end of last year I was all about embracing being around people, having someone to hang out with, talk, have a meal with or just interface with; for the most part of 2021, I’ve been craving the quiet.

I haven’t become unsocial per se but a strong thread of being asocial has come in. It may be a coping mechanism or even a sign of something a bit more worrying but am not looking at it under a microscope because despite everything I’m feeling, I haven’t become dysfunctional due to these new tendencies. I do find myself leaning more towards solitary activities and wanting to linger there more than ever before though.

Lest this become a solely whinge-post let me say this: I have a lot to be grateful for. Coming from a country that has well over a billion people, I still got my opportunity to be vaccinated relatively quickly once the vaccines were available on the market. The people closest to me are as safe as I can hope they are from the disease and otherwise of fairly good health given their ages. We as a family are still able to make and utilise many opportunities to laugh, enjoy ourselves in each other’s company and not constantly have to worry about tomorrow.

The biggest change that’s crept in is that I’m unable to plan. And I used to plan things out to the hilt! Not necessarily down to every single brass tack, but planning and the anticipation of something coming about was part of the high.

When I was in college, the university or living away from my folks; going home used to be a cause for a celebration. I’d have my bags packed a month in advance. Any trip that we planned on as a family (Red&I) would have me looking forward to the minute we’d lock the door and step out; weeks in advance! The last international trip I took had an epic amount of planning and preparing going into it and that’s always been part of the overall experience for me in the past. Not so much now.

And while I do miss that overly-enthusiastic part of me who used to want to and couldn’t help but plan for things; it’s been a very solid learning to focus on the here and now and leave the future to unfold as it may happen.

I still can’t entirely let go of the tendency to plan to be honest. For instance, a part of me wants to bookmark this post and look back at it a year from now to see how things are. They may not be much better, it could even be worse than before; but for now the unfailing warmth and comfort from a cup of coffee+a few pages of a British mystery will have to suffice. 2022 will be upon us soon enough.

2020…what’s next?

The easiest answer would be 2021…DUH! But it’s become way more than that. The last time there was a brouhaha over a year or its ending was Y2K but that turned out to be a damp squib in comparison. Heads up! This is an image-heavy post…

While 2019 ended on an interesting note- first international trip with the bestie, getting mugged, realisations about life, yada yada…I also spent time with people I love and look forward to seeing at the end of every year, saw G dance his butt off on stage, spent quality time with my folks (always a highlight in my book); the year ended on a goodish note overall. Which is basically all you can hope for, especially when you have zero clue what lies ahead.

When Bollywood music takes over!

2020 has been the year of the pandemic for sure but it’s also been a year of reaching out to each other for support. It’s been the year of coming closer, hugs and kisses, playing dress up with chubby toddlers, celebrating things on a smaller scale but with more happiness. It’s been a year of dealing with Covid- inside the home and within extended family. It’s been about heading out for open spaces at the first opportunity because one didn’t know when the next opportunity would present itself. It’s also been one about realising how much of an impact we have on our immediate environment because once the cars stopped going out on the roads, the skies became clearer, bluer and wildlife became bolder and more abundant.

Where TO is concerned, it’s become the year when digital media and screen time became a double-edged sword. Homework and projects became buzzwords as did meeting links, breakout rooms and assessments. Red and I had to familiarise ourselves with the intricacies of the IB model and we still have ready reckoners saved here and there to help us understand some concepts which aren’t clear yet.

2020 in a nutshell for me has been the year of becoming more resilient and taking responsibility- for yourself and to some extent, the others who do depend on you for support and succorance. And while it ended up with more dependence on masks, gloves and keeping an eye out for the optimum amount of alcohol in our sanitisers; it’s been a year of massive learning on pretty much all fronts.

Most of us have learnt what and who we can do without. And what we truly hold dear. Milestones and non-milestone birthdays have been celebrated with gusto. And we’ve all hung on with our sanity intact-for the most part.

And while I don’t really like to tempt fate much- became am iffy on karma- I like to think that 2021 can be rocky, tempestuous even but we’ll get by and still find stuff to smile about. I can totally hang my hat on that, any day.

L’chaim!

From The Diary Of A Distractible Kid’s Mother…

TO and I were delving into a new chapter that’s just started in Science and it was a slightly bumpy roller coaster ride- for me. 🀒

See, I know the kids’ tendency to yawn, stretch and curl up into a ball at the mere thought of homework or academics. 😴😴😴Been there, done that and I now channelize those skills when confronted with housework. But that’s a different story for a different day.

When TO and I were talking about measurements, we were trying (I was) to discuss why there were differences in the units of measurements for a particular substance. And I mentioned the Mariana Trench (I shouldn’t have)🌊🌊🌊 and from there the talk wildly veered to whales, 🐳🐳🐳their mass, πŸ‹πŸ‹πŸ‹ which whales went where and why and away we went! πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈπŸ€¦β€β™€οΈ

And asking a child to put a πŸ“Œ in something is like trying to curb a force of nature. It is very difficult to do, sustain and even repeat if the occasion calls for it. πŸ™‡β€β™€οΈπŸ™‡β€β™€οΈ

By the time one of his little friends called to check if he was free to play, I practically pushed him out theπŸšͺ! I was all tuckered out from meter-long fingers and foot-long glasses and kilograms of ocean water being tossed around.

When Negative Is The New Positive

I think it suffices to say that it has been a wonky year. For me I would push it back a bit more to the trip to Spain which had an unfortunate moment (read about it here) followed by other learnings+incidents that have led up to me sitting on the couch before the alarm goes off, early on a Friday morning. Only a hermit entirely cut off from the world around them will know that things are less than ideal.

Since mid-March our experiences have been like nothing else we’ve ever gone through till now. A mask and gloves are as essential as clothes. Washing hands has been elevated to a THING with everyone from celebs to cartoon characters demonstrating the optimum time and best way to do it. My friend’s chubby-cheeked 2 year old learnt to wash her hands with an efficiency that surpassed that of people 10xs her age and we dealt with the dreaded C-word in our own home before long.

And I would like to say that “it has passed” but it hasn’t. The positive sign has been flipped to negative and people in isolation are out and about with hugs and kisses being given freely again. But the unknowns about this disease being what it is, one doesn’t entirely feel safe.

Either paranoia rules or people get into the mode of what Trump has shined a major spotlight on- “it is what it is

I usually get through my tough times by making jokes, talking or writing about them (read it here). Helps to purge the system in a way but over the past few days it was as if my hands and brain decided they were at war. If one was active, the other decided to be entirely inert and passive.

The hands were itching to write but the mind refused to give up its thoughts. When the mind bubbled over, the hands seemed to be heavily weighed down and didn’t want to type out the words.

And yet we got through because of family, friends and most importantly; a wonderful support system that I saw spring up since the start of the first Covid cases in my community.

People called, sent food, sent good wishes, prayed over us, went above and beyond to look out for us and ultimately kept us going.

We in turn looked at lightening the load a bit by listening to music, eating healthy, watching stand up comedy and talking things out with people we love.

There were daily Nerf wars at home which is the only time I have been happy and comfortable with the idea of shootouts.

So while it can seem very confusing, frustrating and even depressing to not know when things will “get back to normal”, what has become evident is we cannot go back to where we were; we can only go forward. Have a plan in place for what to do if the worst case scenario comes to be, call on the Galactic Ameba about it never happening and if the universe still decides not to play ball- just ride it out the best you can. It get easier as the days go by.

We’ve had online classes, meetings, birthdays, fitness classes, doctors’ consultations and begun to view sanitisers as an extension of our own limbs.

We have learnt to bump elbows to say hello and our knuckles haven’t been used to this extent since before Man learnt to stand up straight and walk.

We have learnt to prioritise to a large extent about what is important and what we can let go of. What will necessitate stepping out the house Vs what is an indulgence that will require another 10-15 of sanitising 10 different surfaces before any kind of enjoyment can be derived out of it.

We’ve learnt that while indulgence is satisfying, it can come with a price at the end of the day. We’ve learnt to care more about the place we live in since we are responsible for the upkeep of it in a way we weren’t earlier and we have learnt to count out blessings. Anew.

Don’t get me wrong; I am not turning into a 24/7 chipper person. I still feel like getting into a Three Stooges-mode and throwing a pie in the face of a-constantly happy and positive person.

I still don’t like those forwards about happiness, maxims and goody-goody platitudes on social media every time I blink but I am genuinely grateful for that Positive that turned into a Negative and have realised that in a world that seems upside down; you can still be standing right side up.

P.S: I haven’t suddenly turned into a cat lady. But cat and especially kitten videos have really been cheering me up. Curative- mind and body both…whoda thunk!

Salut!

My Week Till Now…

This week signals one month since TO’s school started again…online albeit. And it’s been oh so interesting.

I feel for the teachers, I really do. While the children have my sympathies since this is hardly the most optimum way of doing things, the teachers have to manage home and hearth plus keep an eye on the kids, critique their work and pretend their heads are not likely to explode from all the chatter and noise from the classes.

You have your ‘first benchers‘ and ‘back benchers‘ for online classes as well. The former are bright-eyed and bushy-tailed all day long and the latter are a mix who have multiple tabs open for games, surfing the internet, daydreaming or annoying their mothers for food.

There are also kids who spend nearly the entire duration saying “Ma’am ma’am ma’am” followed by one of these litanies or just saying Ma’am because they just seem to like the sound of the word quite a bit:

  • my internet isn’t working
  • my camera isn’t working
  • your audio isn’t working
  • I can’t see you
  • what are we supposed to do
  • I have to go to the bathroom
  • where are we supposed to submit the work?

Never underestimate the extent of hunger and sleep a child can experience till they have a class they need to get to or an assignment whose deadline’s passed. Anyhow, that’s all there is about the classes. Then there’s the near constant rain that’s putting a frown on TO’s face. Because that means that he can’t go out and cycle or play cricket.

Last night before going to bed he looked out the window and say that it was STILL raining and would probably rain all night long as well, rendering the cricket pitch a soggy mess for the next day and this ensued- a small enraged human stomping around saying, ” Oh F-word, F-word, F-word, F-word….ughhh F-WORDDDD!! Red looked at me with the censure that’s ever-present whenever TO drops an unsanctioned word. I shrugged and said, “at least he self-censored”.

Speaking of F-words and others which aren’t sanctioned in “polite” company, I end up dropping a bushel’s worth whenever I’m in my online fitness class. Fitness and I are age-old enemies. I nurture the flab and life keeps putting me in Fitness’s way for a series of activities which makes me feel like my body is turning into a pretzel and not in a good way.

I’ve noticed something though; every activity that has an animal’s name associated with it, barring the Cobra, makes me feel like the world as we know it, is about to end with me exploding in a burst of guts without the glory. You also get weird thoughts in your head like, “Burpees have nothing to do with burps at all!!

Be as that may, it’s a good way to get your blood pumping but at the end of everything you wish for a personal masseuse and a sauna with no husband and child around who look at you to provide food, read to them or cuddle while you are a puddle of sweat and bad muscle tone. NAMASTE

11

When two people set off a chain reaction that still has them smiling, facepalming and being gobsmacked with unfailing regularity…

Kids With Gadgets- A Closer Look

While TO waits for the laptop to power up, his class links to get posted and before he graces his teachers and classmates with his beatific countenance, he does this:

Mother-Son Bloglet

Snippets from a conversation with TO a few minutes ago:” Why should there be spit in your eyes? If eyes were meant to have spit, they’d be by the side of your mouth and not further up your face!”

Maximum City-Part Deux

Weird Utterance Bloglet

“You don’t want your shark wearing Spandex, baby!”…words I never thought I’d find myself saying. Yikes.