Weekending The Right Way

A lot of us just imitate potatoes (or any other veggies if you’re cutting down on starch) on the weekends. And any doctor worth their salt erm degrees will tell you that some moments of inertia are needed. Whether you use that to contemplate, zone out or catnap; it’s all good. But too much of inertia can make it difficult to get back in the game as well.

Here’s what my family and I do…and take it from me…we are BIG procrastinators and potato-imitators but our weekends are usually quite enjoyable.

Everyone gets space to waste time for a bit. A bit can extend to an hour or two but that’s it. Lounging on a sofa  for hours on end better mean that you’ve ended the World Food Shortage or found a cure for a terminal illness while being cut off from the world around you.

Encouraging proper naps. Especially after a nice heavy lunch, something we Indians practically have a patent on. Naps together are recommended as well. Unless one of you is a light sleeper or fidgety in which case…find a couch to crash on bucko!

Time on your own but together. All that means is each one can be involved in a different activity (provided not terribly discordant) and still share the same space. Weekends aren’t about living in each others’ pockets.

Doing chores together makes it less tedious and occasionally (make it rarely) helps certain fussbudget members of the family realize that damn! we do go through a lot of clothes and NO! they don’t wash and fold themselves or maybe I should empty my pockets while putting the pants in the wash or unfolding my sleeves for a change!

My family also recommends doing something that one of us chooses for the whole family. That often ends up being swimming (my kid), watching cricket (my husband), or going for a drive with She- Wolf blaring on the speakers. Wait…scratch the last one. Only I get to do that.

Main thing is that the weekends don’t have to be about bonding as a rule. Each one can keep spinning in their orbits provided they all cross each other’s path occasionally instead of going further and further away.

Earlier I used to get a bit frustrated and pass it onto my family because I felt the utilization of time wasn’t happening adequately enough. But now, each one does their own thing and still gravitates towards one another because in nuclear families that’s *bound* to happen.

Try it out. I am…blogging while my kid watches Little Einsteins and the husband watches the U.S Open.This morning my kid had an art class while my husband finished some office stuff and I got some trip photos organized. All things that we each wanted to do individually but didn’t have much value to the other family members. After t.v. time gets over it’s board games and a trip to the Chocolate Room for gooey, sticky brownies for me and my kid while the husband plays tennis.

And who knows what the night will bring…anything’s possible!

Happy Weekend!

Movie Review: Inside Out

All that glitters is not gold and every animated flick isn’t just a kiddy movie.

When I made plans for Inside Out I didn’t expect to see a movie that was as well fleshed-out, had a lot of important things to convey and loads of nuances. That it’s animated is just the icing on the cake.

So first off…we are treated to the view of the emotions inside a little girl’s head and how that shapes her ; life, personality, the works! When life throws her curve balls and changes, how her emotions help her navigate and also go through the growing up stages with her is beautifully and sensitively portrayed.

What happens when some emotions (Joy and Sadness) get lost, misplaced or just got out of the picture while Disgust, Anger and Fear have to hold the fort down? that’s what movie is all about.

The people at Pixar have proved it again- they are magicians and psychologists and their creativity is off the charts!

The subject isn’t really for kids at all because barring the obvious toony stuff and some gags, it is actually a very sweet, real movie that deals with sensitive issues that most young children might not begin to experience let alone comprehend at a young age. Mine is very much in the Minionesque gags’ stage and this movie might not have held his interest for too long. IMHO the ideal target audiences for IO are the young adults and the actual adults because each is uniquely positioned to appreciate the crux of it. One will be going through what’s portrayed and the other will have the benefit of having experienced what the movie is about.

It’s actually a bit deeper than most animated features since it lacks frivolity and the out and gags of the Sponge Bob Squarepants and their ilk.

If you do decide to watch Inside Out, do it for the sheer expanse of creativity, imagination of the creators, animators and of course the voice actors who finally breathe life into the finished product.

It just might end up moving you.

Rating: ***

Parenting Chronicles

We landed up at my parents’ place for a month (poor them) a few days ago. This was preceded by a mini family vacation to the Northern part of India, a nice, fun wedding, loads of pictures (no surprises there) and some amount of barfing- MLM.

But that’s not the crux of this post. I had another REALIZATION. I write it in caps since it’s no less than an epiphany and one I’ll need to heed in order to make things come together for me at a personal level and my child and the memories we can make together while he grows up and we try to be good parents.

A lot of children are adaptable. Flexible. A lot of kids are rather inflexible and have adjustment issues. My child falls rather squarely in the middle. He adapts and adjusts to brand new situations depending upon his comfort levels and a certain amount of identification with the issue. I guess he looks for that little spark of familiarity and then goes about his own way of learning something.

We had taken a trip to a lovely little city up in the hills, Shimla, and this child was fairly bored out of his skull. Now is it fair to want a proper break for Red and I? Yes! Is it fair to want to expose our child to new experiences? Yes! If it fair if he doesn’t take to them and wants his comfort food wherever we go and be a baby about being carried about and generally being a poopyhead? Sadly…yes. Kinda at least.

Forget the part about kids being creatures of habits. It’s not always about unleashing kids on a theme park that can ensure a successful holiday but taking them to places which require long periods of travel- I defy any parent of kids above 2 to tell me the last time their kid sat calmly on a road trip that extended beyond 2 hours and didn’t fidget or go down the “are we there yet” road!

My child can quite easily let go the gadgets. He sees me taking pictures and wants to emulate. Does a fairly decent job. Hands don’t shake too much. Pictures aren’t too hazy either. But given that it’s an expensive gadget and one that could take a tumble from small little paws, I put aside my dreams of him being a photography prodigy and become the kind of mother who lets him take one picture for his contentment and then promptly repos the camera for good. Well until next time anyway.

He ate what was put in front of him but only if it was familiar. He didn’t care much for the crowd at the events preceding the actual wedding or for the wedding itself. Totally understandable. We lugged around the last love of his life, an inflatable, nearly 4 ft tall T-Rex up and down hilly roads because he hadn’t been able to bring himself to stay away from Mr.Dinosaur. Again understandable. Not appreciated but you can tell when a kid’s in love.

But this holiday was so much more about me and what Red and I wanted to do that we kind of factored in our enjoyment and just brought him along gadgets in tow and thought he’d be able to wing it. At nearly 5 it’s not always viable and we should have known better. The wedding possibly, wasn’t something we could’ve avoided but everywhere else we took him that was aimed at his amusement, he enjoyed. Thoroughly. The boating, spotting ducks, chasing monkeys…all are aces in a child’s book of Fun Things To Do During Summer Vacations.

Sitting still and behaving while his mother chomps down momos in a tiny little restaurant wasn’t something that was designed to please him.

At while at my parents’ I find him bratty and trying on and off but he’s more relaxed. No more travelling to and fro from one place to the other. No more slathering of sunscreen and having caps jammed on his head or posing for pictures near places he doesn’t know, doesn’t care about and sure and hell won’t remember.

He wanted his Play Doh. Wanted to recreate the situations he saw in his cartoons and play with this dinosaur, swing, slide, jump, hop and have his everyday life. The interlude of a family holiday that took him from the plains to the hills and back again in the midst of unknown people whom he doesn’t know; did nothing for him at all.

But that being said, it was good on multiple levels for Red and I and next year we’ll try again but possibly keep it to a place that has more activities designed towards holding the attraction of a little boy. Because let’s be honest, if seeing fish swimming around is what gives him happiness, it’ll be sensible (and that much less stressful) to take him to a park with a pond, or a zoo rather than visit a world-famous pilgrimage place that boasts of a pool of water no child should get near, dip his fingers in or even peer into.

That kind of wasn’t fair. Of them that made the rules or us who made him try to follow it.

Summer holidays are what bring out the kid in everyone…now he’ll get a chance to do exactly what he’s meant to do. Because at the end of the day what a kid really wants is just a dinosaur to play with, isn’t it?

I just hope the rest of us survive till June when his school reopens 🙂

Percy Jackson&The Olympians

I’ve been late as a rule in discovering books which are part of a series and have gained a lot of popularity. I caught onto the Anne of Green Gables late (actually not really since L.M Montgomery was long dead before I was born), the Harry Potter series, the Artemis Fowl series and the latest one, Percy Jackson.

I came across the first Percy Jackson book much after I saw the trailers for Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters while waiting for another movie to start. Greek and Roman myths have always interested me and just seeing the visuals I knew the actual book would be even more exciting and it was! They all were!

It is fantasy but it is fantastically readable and it’s funny. The author Rick Riordan is a truly talented wordsmith and one who possesses a cheeky sense of humor and as it is with quite a few of the “so-called” children’s’ writers, their works are eminently readable by adults as well. And whether we all have an inner child or not, we know to appreciate wit, humor and a style of prose that appeals to us and our sensibilities.

Percy Jackson brings together adventure, glory, bravery, angst, fantasy, magic and most of entertainment.

If you aren’t a snob about reading “mainstream” writing, pick up a copy today or try out the e-book.

It’s thoroughly enjoyable down to the last word and keeps you wanting more installments of the Greek and Roman pantheons and their lore.

Percy_Jackson