The Mother’s Day Brouhaha

My family lived in the US briefly, many years ago. Prior to that life was smaller in many ways. There were no 75 channels on tv and there certainly was no Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Presidents Day and what have you.

We had Children’s Day where we most certainly did not get to escape from school; were “nudged” into elocution or essay competitions eulogizing the first Prime Minister of India. We had Teacher’s Day where the teachers got a break..sort of. The place I did my middle school from, had the 10th graders dress up in sarees or salwar kameez and the younger classes were allocated to us to manage while the teachers had a break for a day. Lunch was organized for them and there were no classes on that day for anyone. Good times all around. But the concept of Mother’s Day being a thing and a big one at that is something I got to know when I was in 3rd grade. Still a newbie of sorts to American life.

Our teacher who had an unfortunate way of looking strict while she wasn’t too bad in real life had us make little accessories for our mothers. Small pieces of what looks like particle wood to me now were available for us to color on and then a pin would be glued on the back and it would make a lovely brooch for our moms.

In theory so many things sound good. Doable even, but give a bunch of kids glue and craft products especially a goggle-eyed one from India who is new to the concept of pipe cleaners and googly eyes and you get something like this-

My mother in her infinite wisdom *never* wore this except for the time I gave it to her. Given that she had nothing which would offset this and she never went trick or treating either, this brooch was consigned to her drawer of special things, displayed prominently but sensibly not worn.

She preserved this, possibly as a reminder to herself that Art and her daughter were not intended to be friends. Over the years I’ve got a laugh out of jiggling the brooch so the eyes jump up and down but for the most part this work of art remains misunderstood and has more depth than anyone has possibly gauge.

Happy Mother’s Day all!

Hey..Don’t Mention It!

Everyone in my family knows how I cling to my coffee. The bros-before-hos kind of a thing but with coffee instead. After a quick siesta a little while ago, I made my usual non-verbal gestures to Red and asked him to make me a cup so I could shake off the afternoon meal from my system and wake up properly.

The oh-so-blissful cup was borne to me regally by TO who gave it to me with the air of having ground the beans himself while making the delicious beverage. When I thanked him, he graciously accepted my gratitude and threw his father a bone by saying,”Oh P helped out a bit too.” 😀

A Day In The Life Of A S.A.H.M

Be another/a different kettle of fish | Helendipity

Being a stay at home mom is a different kettle of fish. If kettles full of fish aren’t your thing, feel free to put in a vegetarian or a vegan option if that rings your bell.

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I am, for the most part, a Stay At Home Mom. It was a decision that I made pretty willingly. Things also didn’t align in such a manner that I felt confident or comfortable enough to leave TO with any other caregiver or in a creche or daycare and hie off to work.

When the hieing off did happen, the universe conspired to have me be more grounded (the parents grounding the kids kind and not the being practical-kinds) and ultimately I circled back to home and hearth and kept my activities centered around it. The work too is something I’ve been doing while lounging in my pjs so WFH is not only a familiar concept but it’s been a way of life.

Recently TO headed back to school. It was something he was longing for. Me…not so much. I figured if he gets to ride out one whole school year at home and then starts fresh for the new academic year in school, it might be an easier transition but again, universe and child conspired to do things differently so Red and I opted for in-person schooling for TO with some riders in place wrt his and our continued safety.

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And believe you me, within 2 days of school starting, the whining started too. Not that it ever ended properly; some of us are born whiners and continue to whine till Doomsday hits and even then, we go whining into the Great Unknown.

Barring the first two days of school where the former lump jumped out of bed, brushed, bathed and tackled his morning routine with alacrity, we were back to the “pleasantness” of an early morning routine where the mother dons on the persona of the Wicked Witch of the West and drags an innocent Dorothy, I mean TO, out from the warm comforts of his covers and into the cold, hard, unforgiving world of sunshine, cold bathroom tiles and mandated personal hygiene. I mean what could be worse?! Plenty as my kid puts it…

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Imagine having to bathe every day, like clockwork, before leaving the house. Because unlike over Google Meets, here people can actually smell you. And the fact that they *can* smell you is a cause for concern.

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Imagine having to comb your hair because again, unlike over Google Meets, they can actually see the birds nest you’re lovingly cultivating in that mess on top of your head!

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And the list goes on. Needing clean underwear because going commando is no longer an option or that grunting as a response will no longer be acceptable while answering the roll call…the world is full of a minefield for a kid heading back to school. And the worst of it is probably the uniforms that are collared, starched and make little hoodlums look presentable and not like they got dressed in the dark while suffering from color blindness in the process.

Today the brat got to take a day off from school to participate in a sporting event. I dropped him and his teammates to a location a bit far from home and was navigating my way back with the help of Google Maps when I realised that Ms.Google Maps Voice has a bit of an attitude. She’ll start with a nice even tone when saying “Take the next right” and if that right isn’t taken within a second of the words leaving her automated voice box, the next time she speaks to you it’s with the subtext of “take the right turn already you moron!”

Never a dull moment- that’s the crux of a S.A.H.M’s day!

A Look At The Way Things Could’ve Been

We are a one-child family. I come from a single-child family while Red has a sibling. My dad has numerous siblings and my mom has two. I’ve gotten pitying looks on and off while I was growing up, about being a “single, only, lonely” child. And I’ve smiled to myself because that’s not all that being an only child’s cracked up to be.

It mainly bites being an only child when you’re in trouble and you can’t get away with blaming it on your dolls. I tried that when I was chubby and cute and got way for with it only because I was chubby, cute and a toddler.

Those things land you in the shrink’s office when it’s done at an age when the whole world, including you, knows that dolls can’t talk back, move or mess with your parents’ record player set. The Annabelles and Chuckys of the world are no help when it comes to convincing parents.

Fast-forward to the decade we’re in now and I’ve been told SO MANY TIMES that I ought to have a second child else my single, only child won’t grow up properly. Or that TO will need someone as a playmate and again the litany of “an only child, is a lonely child” yada yada yada. But over the last few days I got to live out the scenarios of having 2 children and it was illuminating.

For the most part TO is happy to have younger kids, especially girls, over at our place. They’re cute, they follow him around, call him an “older brother” and usually do what he says. They won’t mess with his dinos, aren’t too interested in his books and for the most part, aren’t competition. Till now.

We have, as a part of our extended family, a chubby little bossy pants. She’s utterly cuddlable, is very clear about what she wants and is very expressive. She also bodyslams herself onto prone bodies and not being a lightweight, it can be a startling experience when a little butterball just jumps on you with a move worthy of Wrestlemania. She’s also curious, very talkative and consents to sitting still while you do her hair, sing, play and do slightly more sedentary things. Sitting still with TO wasn’t something I remember doing much once he mastered standing up.

So Saturday night I have two kids who are vying for viewing rights on the telly. One wants a space cartoon and another wants a British piggy and her family. Both are communicating LOUDLY, SIMULTANEOUSLY and at ME. Both want to be heard and catered to. Immediately! Red is NOWHERE in the picture, having locked himself into the only other room that has a t.v. Each one is making frown faces and doesn’t want to compromise. Miss Bossypants comes upto me and gets in my face and says she wants Peppa Pig! Emphatically!

Pre-teen brat sits on the couch and complains that Bossypants always gets what she wants because she’s younger. And BAM! a vision of what my life could’ve been played out in front of my eyes. And while it isn’t unpleasant I don’t like being stared down by a cute albeit grumpy face that promises retribution for not being allowed to watch a goody two-shoes animated pig.

One kid who leaves extinct reptiles all over and who is responsible for sofa cleaners fishing out a series of shark miniatures from under the cushions is enough excitement for me any day! Any and all kids who want to come into mi casa, will be strictly on a timeshare basis!

Takes A Bloomin’ Continent

A lot has been written about the people in the frontlines of this pandemic. As it should be. They literally are the first line of defence and often end up in hazardous situations themselves in the process of trying to cure or keep the populace safe.

But I don’t think enough has been written about the people who’re trying to make sure the little monkeys we brought into this world, remain educated, remain interested in education and actually learn something during these times where the only certainty is that it’s all still very uncertain!

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Case in point: a teacher spends a good amount of time explaining things in fairly minute detail to middle schoolers and then asks if there are any questions. These are the inputs which come in from the kids-

  • Student#1 Ma’am you didn’t mark me present.
  • Student#2 Ma’am we have only 3 minutes left for the class to end.
  • Student#3 Ma’am can I go to the washroom.
  • Student#4 Ma’am you said XYZ’s name wrong…
  • Student#5 *umm…hmmm…erm*
  • Student#6 yawns loudly
  • Student#7 *humms*
  • Student#8 Ma’am it’s time, can we leave?

Teacher: sighs DEEPLY and says, “Ok children, anyone have any questions about what we’re discussing right now? For the things which were due 2 days ago? Any questions at all?” There’s pin drop silence. You can hear the clock tick, the birds chirp outside and the leaves of the tree rustle softly. Teache: No one? Nothing to ask?…sighs DEEPLY once more and says, “Ok children, you can leave the meeting.”

Students as ONE: BYEEEE MA’AAAAM!!!

It may have taken a village in the past to raise a child, but it takes waaay more to teach one!

To the teachers- we salute you!

The Problem Of Plenty-Part Deux

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This morning I was startled awake by a different kind of ringing sound that am not used to hearing.

I jumped out of bed trying to locate it when the lit screen of the iPad alerted me to an incoming FaceTime call.

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I rushed over to see an unknown US number and connected the call to see two little kids happily walking around in the sun and trying desperately to get my attention by yelling, “Hey! Where are you? Why can’t we see you? ARE YOU THERE???!!”

I tried to answer and tell them that it was a wrong number but the call dropped and from then on every couple of seconds the kids would call but wouldn’t be able to hear me or see me.

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I did the only thing possible- put the ringer on mute and zombie lurched my way back to bed and managed to not stub my toe for a change.

And then it really began…the other iPads started buzzing together, all in different parts of the house!!

God have mercy!!

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Do you know what it is to be practically blind without glasses, be not quite awake and trying to locate 2 loudly buzzing devices in different parts of the house purely on the strength of sound? I didn’t either. Till this morning.

So if I sound overly entitled because I realised we have too many devices at home or have too big a house, I can be forgiven because there were two munchkins who would NOT stop calling and yelling at me to talk to them without knowing they were making a series of calls to a wrong number!

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As it is, I’m a write-off before caffeine hits my system. There are just something you cannot be her accountable for- one is strange kids calling you before you’re completely awake and wanting you to talk to them!

The Saga Of A Little Boy

Once upon a time, there was a little boy. He was a bit scrawny when he was born but he put on weight and filled out and got himself some plump little cheeks, arms and legs and gurgled all day long.

He was a happy little boy and made his parents very happy too! Except for his mother who used to wish that he would sleep more and gurgle a bit less. Because sleep helps you grow and gurgles just brings out more drool.

This boy went to a school for little kids and had great fun there! They used to have a Naughty Corner for kids who needed to be on Time-Outs and there was a chair kept just for him. But he missed his friends when he was in the Naughty Corner and called them all over to his side. Soon, the teachers found themselves on the magic carpet all by themselves with the little boy having fun with his friends in the newly christened Happy Childrens Corner.

His parents always wondered at how fast his mind worked and everything that filled him with wonder. He soon discovered dinosaurs and other reptiles and there began a love affair that would probably last his whole life.

He loved to swim, swing, make a mess, paint on every part of his body, go on trips with his parents and more than anything, he loved KFC’s popcorn chicken, digital media and warm squishy hugs.

As this boy approaches another set of candles on his cake, his parents keep wondering about his life ahead. Will he play cricket, will be take up palaeontology, will he crash on their couch for the rest of his life? Whatever be the answer, it’s sure to be as interesting as parenting him as been so far.

The Mother’s Day Post

I first got to know about Mothers’ Day a few months after landing in US. Suffice to say India of the 80s didn’t celebrate moms as a rule. That we do it now is more to do with the influence of various types television shows over the decades. Plus people like their social media timelines blowing up and making a song and dance about stuff so these days fit right in!

Archies galleries started stocking cards to celebrate all sorts of occasions Indians didn’t know about earlier and it became a very lucrative business for them I imagine…till everything went online. There were ecard sites like Bluemountain, 123greetings and my personal favorite which I can’t remember now but it had all sorts of funny and insulting ecards. The day I discovered it, I went crazy sending ecards to everyone who was on my list. Sadly, the list was about 5-6 people only back in ’98, ’99 but it was still pretty funny waiting for them to see something they thought would be out of the Hallmark channel instead it was just a “in-your-face-sucka!” kinda thing.

Back to the days of yore when my class teacher announced we’d be making Mothers’ Day cards and gifts. There was a big tray with wooden shapes cut out, glitter, markers, lots and lots of glue and the best thing ever for FOTB me….GOOGLY EYES!! I just went nuts and created the ugliest thing that I’ve ever made and handed it to my teacher.

American teachers are very diplomatic. They say something is “interesting” when they lack for words to describe an output which is clearly borne out of not having any artistic vein at all or being a very young and trippy stoner.

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My teacher added lacquer to the brooch I’d made, added some rubber cement/krazy glue and stuck a pin on the back and voila! Ugliness impersonified was ready to go home and be given as a gift to a very unsuspecting woman.

And true to her nature of being an Indian parent, my mother did not hold back her feedback at the brooch. Her slightly agape mouth and comment of, “Eta ki?” [ a.k.a what is this] followed by “eto gulo chokh keno”? [ why are there so many eyes] is something I’m laughing at now but then I figured she’d go gaga over my thoughtfulness for her. That did she didn’t was a bit of a downer but I was getting into a very American groove so I did the whole shrug and “I don’t care” thing and went my way.

She did make it up to me and wear the hideous monstrosity once over a very beautiful saree. Thankfully my inner aesthete kicked in and I asked her to go with a safety pin instead of walking around with an alien prototype on her shoulder for the whole evening.

This is for you…cheers Ma…missing our post-lunch beers today!

A Spa-cial Intervention

Yesterday I took a break from the germs in my house and went to sample the germs in a friend’s place instead. And before all the faces get pinched about taking germs lightly, I’d like to point out that these are all known germs and we’ve been germing it up long enough so that the germs are friendly more than anything else. That and healthy squirts of the alcohol-laden sanitisers that graces the eyes the moment you set foot in both households.

Anyhoo, cabin fever being a real thing and needing a break from seeing my buck-toothed buckeroo, I went off to spend some time with a friend after being lured with the well….lure of fresh filter coffee. What followed was a realisation that Mars and Venus are truly separate entities and after a particular age, the twain are most likely not to meet. I refer to of course, the difference between the way girls and boys utilize their time. And while I’m a big fan of pretend play overall, I have to say…oh man! girls are the cutest!!!

So I walked in to be greeted boisterously by two bouncy girls with grins stretching from ear to ear. I was ushered into a chair too small for my behind but curiously sturdy at the same time while I was treated to a spa; all the in comfort of their living room.

The grin you see on my face is real! Who doesn’t like to be fussed over? Have oil roll down their face while little hands stick flower petals which will make one look “beautiful”? Between the cream, the aloe vera gel, the flora and the patting my face took for about half an hour, I was about to topple over from the said chair out of utter bliss.

How does that compare with the time I spend with the tailless monkey who masquerades as a little boy back at home? Let’s say that farty sounds play a big role in that interaction.

Sigh…

Cabin Fever Bloglet#2

  1. You find toothpaste on the ceiling of your bathroom/top of the shower cubicle and pretty much everywhere but on the toothbrush.3
  2. You see animal figurines appearing in laundry baskets, inners, the fridge and also the vegetable baskets.6
  3. The little hooman hides the remote in his school backpack as payback for switching the telly off. 9
  4. There’s a T-Rex silhouette behind the glass in a dark bathroom where you lit tealight candles.3
  5. There food’s on the table, it gets eaten, leftovers get put away and suddenly the cries of “I’m hungry” echo throughout the house. 7
  6. You go to the loo to do your business and there’s a persistent knocking on the door and questions of what you’re doing, how long you’ll be and why you went in there start raining down.10
  7. The little hoomans look at you and all they can say is Netflix/chips/buy me top-ups for games. 8
  8. The moment you think, “Ah! some peace and quiet” a little voice pipes up, “Wotchu doing Ayu? Can I do it with you?” 4

Despite all my gripes, and there are many I agree; I want to reiterate that there are mothers out there who proudly proclaim that their little angels are the best thing to grace this planet since the discovery of coffee. To them I say, “liar liar pants on fire!”

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