Realizations: Gym Diaries

For all the smart alecky stuff I’ve written about my gym experiences, one thing stands out sharply in my mind; people have no business not being healthy!!

The larger you get from eating unwisely, the flabbier you get from not having adequate activity to stay fit and strong; the longer it takes to get to even the starting point of good health. And it’s hard; to say the least.

Being a short and heavy person, it takes me that much more effort to leverage my body up when I’m trying to tone up my torso. My upper body gets in the way of my trying to tone up my lower body and due to a sedentary lifestyle, even my wrists and ankles aren’t as steady as they ought to be.  The problem is we seldom break down our bodies beyond the cellulite, chunky parts and consider the wrists, elbows and ankles unless we sprain them somehow. The fact that they need to be and should be strengthened as well does escape most of us. Ironical since they are the levers and fulcrums that keep the body moving.

Today I was feeling Sisyphus‘ pain. Imagine doing something that’s supposed to get you to a better place and feeling bone-weary at the end of it; then resting up just to do it all over again. The means justifying the ends or the ends justifying the means has also never been more garbled for me.

And all this contemplation isn’t because the sweat got into my eyes, burning me this morning but because each time I came up against resistance in my body, I kept thinking that all this could have been avoided.  And should have been. But hindsight is usually 20/20 and all it can do is help us learn from the choices of the past.

So here’s to more protesting muscles, sweaty and dishevelled me staring back in the mirror but hopefully headed to a lighter tomorrow when climbing stairs, swimming laps continuously aren’t going to be viewed with trepidation but as something that’s can be achieved as a norm and *not* as the exception.

PS: Tomorrow we will return to the usual tone of the blog posts. Reflecting too much on what could have been is giving rise to major existential angst and my brain is too tired from the hip hinges I did today.

 

Book Review: Closed Casket

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.

 

Free-Range Vs Helicopter Parenting: Indian Scenario

Image courtesy- www.damemagazine.com

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.

 

 

How To Talk So Kids Will Listen

This is going into the category of a bloglet viz it’ll be brief.

There’s a book my husband bought me once the brat started pre-primary…it’s called How To Talk So Kids Will Listen And Listen So Kids Will Talk. Since the book did not mention anything about how to talk so husbands will listen and stop leaving wet towels all over the place; I decided not to do much about this book reco.

I already knew then and still know how to talk so my kid would listen- dress like a giant lollipop, have Play-Doh in one hand, the t.v. remote in the other and preferably enter riding on a dinosaur!

Maybe then….and maybe Utopia is just around the corner! Pshaw!!

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What I Learnt From My Kid’s School

Image courtesy- www.financialeducatorscouncil.org

Courtesy Facebook’s memories I get to know about how and what I was thinking not only on a time a specific time in the past but also how I was feeling. And when I wrote this post I was a bit more of an anxious mother, fretting about my kid’s school, academic “career” as it were and basically uncomfortable about not knowing what lay ahead. Fast Forward two years I’m still sipping at the font of wisdom that is Life and learning loads while my kid goes to school. Here’s how it is…

  • A child will learn at their own pace no matter what!
  • A teacher who loves kids (genuinely) will probably be able to teach more through affection and warmth rather than another more knowledgeable individual who is distant or doesn’t form relationships with the kids.
  • Digital media, chalkboard, flashcards are all props…native intellect needs to be stirred and awake for learning to occur.
  • Making things interesting is all fine and good but it helps that the biological age increases and life experiences help kids understand why they need to learn.
  • Getting a good night’s sleep and cutting off from anything academic goes a long way in learning taking place.
  • Physical activity- silly and unstructured or properly regimented aids in learning as well.
  • Learning can come from various sources provided it’s pitched at the right time and the right way.
  • Parents need the teachers’ presence more than the kids…just to be assured that all’s going as it should.
  • Taking a small step back from policing the child (even with all the best intents in the world) is a fantastic thing to do while they’re below the tweens.
  • Reflecting on what were turn-offs and stumbling blocks while we were students helps empathize and give the child space to assimilate their learning material.
  • Accepting that there’s a Bell Curve and your child will grow into a more permanent place in it, helps be good parents as well.
  • Trusting the people you entrust your kid’s physical, emotional and overall well-being to and yet realizing our role is constant in the whole scope of things.
  • Acknowledging that improvements- slight, steady or sporadic; are still a step in the right direction give you a good night’s sleep.

Long story short? The AC bus and the pool helps because trappings are important. But a teacher who makes sure your kid has a balanced meal daily and who can come back and share positive and negative feedback with indemnity goes a long, long way in knowing how to be supportive while your child learns about life. Be it from a tablet, a workbook or just from a walk in the park. Because a big part of being a parent is taking a backseat while your kid gets the controls of life just right. You have to deal with not always being able to call ‘shotgun’.

Here endeth the lesson.

The Mine Field That Is My House

Many moons ago I had spewed a bit via this post but last night I realized that my modest home is quite fraught with stuff that’s likely to blow up (figuratively) or cause me to blow up (literally).

Case in point- My kid and his quest for building a dino army keeps showing up (read under) all foreseeable and some not so foreseeable places. Last night’s trip to the bedroom was an obstacle course par excellence!

This is how it went down- focus on the word down. Now the charming child I’ve brought into this world, had locked Red and I out of our bedroom? Did I mention we’ve been co-sleeping, exclusively? It’s not fun. But since his room and ours has a connecting window that opens up from his room, I thought I’d sorted things out quite alright. Erm…not quite.

So just on the other side of MLM’s window is a futon and ahead of the futon is a few open feet of room followed by the bed. I always keep a bit of a gap between the window and the futon for these reasons and also to make it easier to sweep and mop but that was to be my downfall in every sense of the word.

So the space behind the futon was littered with dinos. The pointy kinds. I think the beak of a Quetzalcoatlus (pronounced as  /ˌkwɛts(ə)lkəʊˈatləs/ for those who give a damn) or a Pteranodon (drop the P while saying it and you’re gravy) poked me in my foot leading me to leapfrog over the entire width of the futon and step on a Hotwheels car that effectively got me half airborne till I broke my fall on the futon. And being the superb athelete that I am, I was suprised that nothing was broken…bones and futon included.

So up I get, seething in anger and ready to grab the kid by the scruff of his neck and dump him in his room and his quite comfortable bed when I stepped on a marble and hopped on one foot to go and sit on the air conditioner’s remote which was parked right where I would normally sleep!

A lopsided, ballet through the air to land in a graceless manner in a bed where a rapidly growing child was sleeping diagonally across. Naturally.

Oh by the way, did I mention it was rather dark in the room just the LED glow from the AC spread a dim light over a negligible part of the room? Nevermind…that’s usually a given.

 

Book Review- Fowl Language

This book speaks for itself. It’s non-preachy and basically talks about the incomprehensible, inexplicable turns a person’s life takes once they become a parent. From juice boxes to joy, partying to poop and basically the utter, utter delight and nerve-wracking situation that is parenthood. Brian Gordon is someone every parent and non-parent should read (although parents will be the ones nodding along like bobble heads while the non-parents pat themselves on the back on having dodged that particular bullet!) to see the humor that often escapes us during parenting. Especially during poopy-times 🙂

Pick up your copy today. I did! 🙂

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