Category: Microblog Mondays

No space for vanity

No space for vanity

I needed a bunch of photographs for some official work recently and happened to get two sets done from two different studios. One set was a faithful enough picture, with me staring rather self-consciously into the camera. The other studio airbrushed the final product presenting a new, very much improved, me. In fact when I went to pick up the photographs the man at the counter took a long time rummaging in his desk after asking me twice over, ‘Aapki hi hain na?’ (You’re sure they’re yours?). When he finally handed them to me, I thought I looked nice, way nicer than I’d ever look in real life.
The dark circles had been done away with, the blemishes all smoothed over and the skin was glowing. I sat comparing the two sets of pictures. The vain me was quite happy while the sane me remained amused. 
The son sauntered past, picked up the other one – the non air brushed one – then proclaimed, 
“You look prettier in this one.” 
“Not possible,” said I, “Look at this other one – you’ll see the difference.”
“Yeah but then in this one you look like some auntie, you don’t look ‘you’ at all.”
Which was such a valid point that the vain me threw up her hands and walked off in a huff while the sane me nodded in agreement. There really is nothing better than a tween son to keep you rooted in reality. Sigh! So I shall continue to wear my blemishes and my dark circles and the extra layers of fat too and I shall try to do so gladly because they make me ‘me’.
And I’ll try my hardest to not get envious of the yummy mummy’s because if God one day in his infinite kindness did decide to make me all beautiful, the kids would disown me.
Oh and you, you layers of fat, if you’re listening, nope I’m not giving up the fight. I’m going to keep on trying to get rid of you – just not by airbrushing – when it happens it shall be the real deal.
Picture credit: Pixabay
Linking up with Nabanita’s Mommy Talks 

And also with Mel at  Microblog Mondays.
Edited to add: This post got me the featured blogger badge at Mackenzie’s at Reflections from Me.

Finding gratitude during exams

Finding gratitude during exams

And so September bids adieu. And with that come exams – the first ever for the kids. I find myself unable to think of much else while the kids can think of everything else except academics.

I find them reading story books, making song lists, comparing computer game scores and planning ‘what to wear for the dandiya night’. Apparently they have picked up none of my exam anxiety and for that I have learnt to be immensely grateful.
I find I need at least three or four of me to help both of them while keeping them apart and managing the house. Early this week just as the arguments were turning into a complete impasse who should arrive but the husband! I don’t think I was as happy to see him arrive on our wedding day. Was I grateful!
He has such a calming influence on all three of us.
He took the kids out shopping (for all kinds of exam stationery) and they settled down to their studies.
He was only here for five days and was working for four of them yet we were happy to have him home. He’s gone now. And I think we will survive. I am already looking beyond the next 20 days to vacations when we will be travelling to join him.
By the next academic term we hope to be together.
I thought that was all I had for the gratitude post this month but as I write I realise I have more, so much more. Last evening while I was struggling with Marathi lessons with the kids (a language they now know better than me), I was dragged off for an hour of Zumba. I have to admit that one part of me was pretty incredulous that I could leave the kids between their exams for something as frivolous as Zumba. However, it was all for the best because the kids were anyway having a field day laughing at my pronunciations as I tried to quiz them.
And so I am grateful to friends and family who always rally around pulling me for impromptu breakfasts, long morning walks and short evening chats, keeping me sane.
I am now looking forward to October – the latter half of course.

I’d love to know your thoughts on academics and how they effect the kids and you. How important are they? Were they a trial for you when you were young or did you breeze through them? Do you find it difficult to get your kids to study? How different is it from the time you were a child and now?

If I seem overly and rather unnecessarily stressed do forgive me but academics have taken over all of my thoughts of late. Do bear with me for a few weeks.

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and with Mel at  Microblog Mondays.
                                                
Sweet memories and some thoughts

Sweet memories and some thoughts

Mel from Stirrup Queens has invited us today to share a memory of our favourite childhood candy and I realised I had more than one. Don’t worry, though, I promise not to get carried away.

To begin with there were these phantom cigarette candies. I shared this on Facebook sometime back and heard from many many friends saying how they missed them just like me. These had a texture quite like chalk and were sweet enough to put you off sweets for a long time, or so I thought when I recently sampled them again. I’d thought they were dead and gone till one day I got a call on the intercom from my 9 year old asking permission for a cigarette that his friends were offering. I completely freaked and asked him to come right home. And this is what he got. It brought back many many fun memories. When we were young, we would put them to our lips and pretend to blow out ‘smoke’ during the cold Lucknow winters. 

I also remember a ‘sweet man’ who was quite a favourite with all of us. He’d stand outside our school with a huge box, which he hung from his neck, stacked with all kinds of sweets. My favourites were these tiny pink rose flavoured sweets that I cannot remember the name of. They came in a peppermint flavour too but the rose were my favourite. I remember the fragrance more that the flavour. Regrettably, I have never found them again.

Those were certainly simpler times. Sweets back then were simply an occasional indulgence, nothing more. They didn’t need to boast of additional benefits. Have you noticed how these days they come ‘packed with energy boosters’ or ‘fortified with glucose’?

And so each time our child has a meltdown and we reach out for a sweet to pacify our sad or angry toddler we can tell ourselves, “Wow I avoided a tantrum and I gave him an energy boost!” A win-win situation, right? And it’s way easier than helping him work out strategies to cope with his anger/grief. Advertisers have certainly made the whole exercise guilt-free.

Okay I’m over analysing this whole thing but I do have a lot of issues with sweets and the way they are marketed. For instance, have you seen how Kinder Joy comes in a boy version and a girl version?? I mean, must sweets (and toys and books and everything else) also have a gender now?

Despite all the advertising hoo-haa I wonder if my kids will remember them with as much affection and nostalgia as I remember my phantom cigarettes.

Linking to Mel’s #Microblog Mondays .

The Pink run

The Pink run

So it’s done and dusted for this year – the Pinkathon , the all-women’s run for breast cancer awareness. Remember how excited I had been about it last November? I devoted some two months of practice and three blog posts to it (here is one of them ) not to talk of the innumerable mentions on Facebook. I registered a month in advance and was super excited and a little anxious wondering if I’d finish the 5Km I’d set out to do.

There really is something special about a first time.

This year I did it again but without half the enthusiasm. I managed a spot registration just a day before the run and went in without any preparation at all.

I won’t even go into the reasons for the lack of enthusiasm that seems to of late, cloud almost all things I used to love. The important part is that I did manage to push myself to complete 5kms. The moment the first warm up Zumba song rang out I knew I was going to have fun, even though I was sorely missing my last year’s buddy who has since moved to a different country.

I have to say this – Ladies, if your city hosts the Pinkathon go for it at least once. It offers a valuable message: Choose a healthy lifestyle, do not ignore your fitness, make time for it. That’s something most women are likely to forget, specially once the kids come along. 

If that doesn’t pull you in, go for the fun of it. It’s a party out there. The Pinkathon is like the happiest, most amazing carnival ever. Women of all shapes and sizes run this marathon. Heck! you don’t even need to run – a jog or a walk is good enough. It is currently hosted in 8 Indian cities – Pune, Bombay, Delhi, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Guwahati, Bangalore and Hyderabad.

I would have liked to go for 10 Kms like I’d resolved last year but that didn’t happen. However, since I’d been walking/jogging on and off, this was quite effortless. Last year it marked the culmination of my fitness efforts, this year I am hoping it marks the start of it.

Oh and did I mention the brand ambassador remains hot as ever? Well he does.

Here are some pictures from the event.

Brand Ambassador Milind Soman takes the stage.
Please note how dark it was when the event began. Waking up early was the toughest part.

The cancer survivor ‘sheroes’ being felicitated.
They ran the 5kms with us.
The young ones…

…and the old.

The royally dressed up ‘dholwalahs’

Our flagoff by the man himself.

The sari brigade

On the trampoline just for fun.

After the run
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Linking to #Microblog Mondays .
Girls and boys are good for each other

Girls and boys are good for each other

H is intensely competitive, specially when it comes to N. He likes to think that anything she can do, he can do better. However, at the same time he has quite a dislike for all things he has labelled ‘girly’. So it was with a bit of surprise that I discovered him making loom bands the other day. Apparently his competitiveness won over his dislike for ‘girly’ stuff. 

ENGROSSED!!

Even at 8.5 years he is clumsy as ever and can do with some hand-eye coordination practice, as also with a hobby that involves him keeping quiet and sitting in one place for some amount of time (other than watching the telly). I was one happy mum :-).

Linking to Mel’s # Microblog Mondays . Do drop by to see how others are faring after the weekend.

Also, linking to ABC Wednesday for the letter E for Engrossed.

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On a somewhat related note I stumbled across this debate here on the Net about whether boys and girls learn best if they are segregated in single sex classrooms.

Research suggests children perform better in single-sex classrooms. Some maintain that the teaching pattern is skewed in favour of girls since sitting in organised classrooms works well for them while boys are better at hands on learning.

However as a mom to a pair of different sex twins I find myself disagreeing. Of course life would be much simpler with same sex kids, just as it would be easier with single sex children in a classroom. However the education we’re aiming at doesn’t have only to do with scores, is it? Boys and girls are different, that’s a fact. Their brains are wired differently, also a fact. Out of the classroom they have to live, love, compete and socialise with each other. The earlier they learn how to do that, the better.

H and N fight. A lot. Yet they have been teaching and learning from each other with no awareness of it. Without going into whether an ability is a ‘boy skill’ or a ‘girl skill, here’s how..

H might continue to be a Barbie destroyer but he has mastered plaiting their hair albeit shabbily, he knows how to make loom bands and, wonder of wonders, often remembers to put down the toilet seat! He makes an effort at drawing, crafting, singing and dancing again thanks to N.

As for N, she’s as girly as girls come but can throw a mean punch, enjoys computer games and is addicted to the outdoors perhaps even more than H.

Together they’re good!