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.

 

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.

Yet Another Epiphany

I had another Ah-HA! experience this morning while “attempting” to explain to MLM why something is desirable and why something isn’t. People (parenting experts, those whose kids are no longer a pain-in-the-ass and those who are blissfully childless) usually say that it sets a bad example to communicate with a growing child using largely negatives viz “NO”, “NOT”. “DONT” et al. However, given that the vocabulary of most children who aren’t prodigies or savants of some kind are largely rudimentary till the middle school years, it becomes a tough job navigating the world of communicating what you want with what your child can comprehend.

But I have finally realized the biggest challenge I face day in and day out while trying to bring this boy up- I have to be an adult in the face of his childishness. And therein lies the rub. I no longer know how to be a child and he’s not reached that stage where he knows anything else but how to be a child.

Just a few minutes back, I had another locking-horns session with my offspring. Reason? He’s been using a turtle stencil to draw outlines on an otherwise pristine ivory colored wall. Again.

The first time this was noticed and commented upon, he apologized. In a flash. And went off to do whatever it is he does when one road to mischief has been shut down. Today when I noticed the second drawing I called him to ask why he had drawn on the walls again when he knew it wasn’t appreciated at all. He simply replied that he wanted to. No defiance. No attitude. Just a simple statement of fact.

And that in nutshell is how children usually are. While some are more compliant, for reasons known only to them, others are more willful in the sense that they are guided largely by their whims. A state that many older people fall back into in their advanced years.

But try as I might, I couldn’t explain to MLM why I was upset. He finally came up with a solution of wiping it off with water. But the crux of the problem escaped him and it entirely escaped me how to clue him in.

As adults we live with and in cliches. We stay in the lines. It starts by learning to color in them, writing within in, standing in them and also driving in them. We don’t always turn into lab rats or hamsters in their wheels but we become regulated. And can also see the benefits of such a life for its opposite is chaos in some form or the other.

But a child, especially one right out of early childhood is all about seeing his or her environment as a giant canvas, playground or anything without boundaries. They want to color furiously all over the paper. Never mind that the dam fruit they were to color got buried under the strokes. They want to scribble on walls because that’s the largest unending surface that surrounds them everyday. They want to climb higher, use the bed as a trampoline because everything that gives them a sense of freedom, even briefly, is exhilarating. Never mind that you’ll be replacing the mattress or the bed springs will poke through before long. It’s just so much more fun than just calmly lying down somewhere and sleeping.

And this is why I blogged this. Right here and now. So when I’m about to have an aneurysm tomorrow or day after from whatever my son wasn’t supposed to have done but did so anyhow; I can take a quick peek at this post before my head blows up. Hell! I’ll have to clean up that mess too so I might as well read these pearls of wisdom and count to a 1000 and keep telling myself there’s always school and the next summer holidays are a year away.

Amen!

Reblogged:Playing With The Hand You’re Dealt…

Isn’t that what it all boils down to in life?
It isn’t always celebrating the things that go well or in accordance with our plans or even making our peace with the things that don’t. It’s finally just existing with what IS.
Sometimes we are able to do it gracefully and other times it takes a lot of plodding and prodding to get through each day.

There’s a saying by Oscar Wilde that people often smugly quote- ” There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.”

I’ve found that while tragedy might be too strong a word for it, it does seem difficult to comprehend and accept ,what you sought out, opted for even isn’t all that it’s cut out to be or even worse…it’s not what you want. Is inadequate.

So you shuffle the deck a few times and hope the next hand is better than the one that has you staring in bafflement.

Or you chuck the cards up in the air and don’t care if they scatter all over; since it’s mimicking life in doing so.

And some of us painstakingly make a house of cards. Trying to balance each card over the other and anxiously watching whether they stay up or come tumbling down.
In the end you either end up with a steady house you used up all your cards in making and are proud of or you decide to call it quits after you reach a plateau and are still left holding a few cards for later.

It’s all about playing with the hand you were dealt.

Red

That’s how I refer to my husband in digital media- Facebook, blogs, and in my phonebook. I don’t know how or why it started but it did. He’s not red at all- no communist tendencies lurking here and there neither does he have one red hair. He’s been a salt&pepper guy since we met nearly 9 years ago. He’s pretty young still, just hit mid 30s and is quite an interesting person. I mean I keep thinking about him so clearly his mystique hasn’t died down after 7 years of marriage and one preschooler.

Let me break it down for you- he’s quieter than I am and less likely to go and start off conversations with strangers but it’s taken me a few years to understand that he’s not entirely introverted. He’s more of what you call an ambivert- he’d like to socialize more, is capable of it but is choosy and would rather hold off on commenting or jumping head long into things till he’s more comfortable. Sensible to the core but can stumble onto domestic minefields with unfailing regularity. Or maybe that’s just him being a husband 🙂

We are quite different from each other in many ways- am round and short with the increasing roundness seeming to increase the lack of verticality and he’s slender and well taller than I am. I can and often do talk nineteen to a dozen and he talks when he wants to, precisely, doesn’t meander and doesn’t keep talking beyond a point. Quite well moderated in his ways. Extremely well moderated in leaving wet towels on the bed and leaving lights on irrespective of having exited a room or a bathroom but those are quirks ( to use the best possible euphemism).

He’s pretty smart too. But kind of a binary guy. Focused on child, work, home (in that exact order) and a very sweet person overall.

Now comes the big question- WHY am I extolling my husband’s good qualities without any provocation whatsoever first thing on a Sunday morning? Well…he and the brat are both asleep. Peacefully. And seeing them knocked out like that always induces a benevolence in me that usually starts dissipating soon after they both wake up. And mainly because I’ve been grousing about MLM practically from my first post here and I thought it’s time to direct my attention towards another who causes my world to tilt here and there and spin haphazardly.

And most importantly, unless he’s away on work, he gives me my coffee every morning; made just right. You gotta love a man who gives you your dose of sanity everyday 🙂

P.S: A blog post detailing the annoying stuff about him is already in the works!

2013 In Retrospect- Part I

December is the default time of the year to retrospect. The regrets start off from the hangover on 1st January itself.

But this has been a BIG year for us as a family. A BIG year. Lots of decisions, individual and collective, have shaped up the way our lives will be in the years to come as well.

Let’s meander through 2013 shall we?

January (our anniversary to be exact)- Red put down the deposit for the new house and made it the untoppable anniversary gift for all time. Of course I wouldn’t say no to tickets for a trip to Europe (that doesn’t include MLM) in case he decided to outdo himself sometime.

May- I took my FIRST EVER Girls’ Trip away with my BFF and left Red and MLM at home together. It has become the watershed for me personally on many levels.

June- We made the fantastic and impulsive decision to change MLM’s school and now he’s actually learning and enjoying every minute of it!

October- We moved into the new apartment and started off on a brand new adventure filled with regurgitating toilets, broken tiles, choked drains, tennis matches, swing rides into the blue yonder and freezing dips into the swimming pool and plenty of breathless moments for me from inflating the Ben 10 life jacket and Nemo hand floats.

November- I quit my job and shed some amount of load and stress and opened up more time for myself to take walks, chew my food, and BLOG!! Of course am still a long ways off from being able to blog daily or as and when I feel like it but am getting there.

December- coming up is our first ever trip abroad as a family. Something I’ve been curious (morbidly) about since MLM hasn’t ever been on a plane for more than 2 hours at a stretch. Usually by the end of which I either want to throw myself off the plane or long for alcohol to be served on domestic flights in India.

In between we’ve had memorable times with friends over get togethers at home, a fun road trip and made more lists and plans than we did when we were expecting MLM.

We’ve laughed, we’ve fought, we’ve been stressed out beyond belief, hit lows on the health front and have also  managed to accomplish things along the way. MLM learnt about dinosaurs and got his T-Rex groove on 🙂

This year, however,  has been very tough in terms of getting things to fall in place. But at least we are starting 2014 on an easier note…ostensibly.

The concluding part of this post after our trip- am sure it’ll be a doozy!

If.. (A Confession Of Sorts)

If I knew then what I know now I’d have learnt to swim properly and had a physique I wouldn’t mind flaunting.

If I knew then what I know now I’d have only beanbags or beanbag chairs instead of proper furniture or just have Japanese-inspired seating arrangements. Sounds cryptic? Read this, this, this and this. None about seating but all about bringing up a typhoon…sorry boy!

If I knew then what I know now I’d have Ferberised my child and not been such a namby-pamby mom about having him cry or self-soothe.

If I knew then what I know now I’d have probably have tried to do better in science and try to become a doctor and have my own elevator trysts with McDreamy 🙂

If I knew then what I know now… I would’t have this blog post to type out…

That’s game, set and match for ignorance!