Author: obsessivemom

Parenting decisions

Parenting decisions

It was six in the morning. I was done with the tiffins and was making a start on the kids’ breakfast as I called out to them to wake up for school. N woke up after a call or two but there was no response from H. When he refused to get up after repeated entreaties I went to check on him only to find him burrowing deeper under the covers.

‘My head hurts’, he mumbled, ‘I couldn’t sleep all night. May I please not go to school today?’

‘Not today!’, thought I, ‘God! please, not today’. Today I didn’t have the patience or the bandwidth to cajole or to fool around, to bribe or to offer concessions in a bid to keep the morning-before-school peaceful. Somedays it is almost stressful – this struggle to keep the mornings stressfree.

Annoyance rose up inside me. No sympathy, no concern, just plain annoyance.

I was supposed to go for a much postponed medical examination that day. This was something I’d been planning since the start of the year but just hadn’t been able to get around to. It would have taken up the entire day so plenty of planning was involved. The maids had to be informed, the children entrusted with a key to the house and told to manage their snack on their own when they got back from school. The zumba class had to be rescheduled and I was expecting a package from amazon so the neighbour had to be informed. As a stay-at-home mum, stepping out for one whole day is challenging.

Finally everything had been done and I had let the anxiety of the medical exam wash over me. The sense of achievement at having scheduled everything had faded at the thought of the ordeal ahead – the poking, the pricking and the drawing of blood and then of course there were the results to consider. What if there was something seriously wrong?

It was something I was looking forward to as much as I was dreading it.

For over a year I had been struggling with niggling aches and pains. Somedays I’d wake up with all my joints, right down to the digits of my fingers hurting. Somedays I’d wake up with a headache and carry it around for two or three days before it decided to leave. With no one to push me to get that checkup I had just let it be. I do hate going to the doctor on my own.

Finally, however, I had managed to ready myself and now this! I thought in frustration. This was something my already strung out nerves could have done without. Annoyance bubbled up again as I glanced over at my sleeping son. I’d have to reschedule and replan, provided I found the will-power to rebook that appointment. And all for a headache, which in all probability, would disappear even before his bus disappeared round the corner, I rued.

Am I being too soft on the children? Should I push him to go to school? It would be a struggle but I knew he would go if I pushed him. But was that too harsh? What if his head was really hurting? What if it was the beginning of one those terrible colds that seem to catch him all too easily? What if it turned into something serious, a fever, maybe? I touched his forehead. It felt cool. He turned over, forcing his eyes open, ‘Please ma, may I stay home, today?’ How sorely I missed the Husband at times like these!

I looked at H waiting for my response, his hair tousled, his blanket half on the ground, and I nodded slowly as a wave of guilt washed over me. Guilt. How could I feel annoyed at a child for being ill? Would I push him to go to school when he could barely open his eyes?

I saw his foot sticking out of the covers and reached out to pull up the blanket. He might be an 11-year-old tween with a size 10 foot but he still is my baby. The baby who comes looking for me at night when his nose is blocked or when he’s been all macho and watched a scary movie in the day.

Sigh!

Often I feel the children’s pain, physical or mental, more acutely than they themselves do but somedays, just somedays, I lose all sympathy and feel plain frustration, followed soon enough by guilt. And even while I know both feelings are way out of proportion I find myself unable to do anything about it.

The tree with a swing #ThursdayTreeLove

The tree with a swing #ThursdayTreeLove

This is N’s favourite tree. The reason is pretty obvious, isn’t it? That tyre swing. She loves it and each time we go on a morning walk it is a given that I’ll let her have a go at it for as long as she wants. Do scroll down for a better picture of the tree. I love how its branches spread out in an all-encompassing manner.

It was I who first spotted it and exclaimed happily because we hardly get to see swings like these now. She couldn’t figure out how one would ‘get inside’. But once I explained, she completely adored it.

How I would have loved to have a go at it too. However I had this terrible mental image of getting stuck in that tyre with my newly acquired girth and having to roam around forever with it around my waist and the idea disappeared almost as soon as it had come. I decided it was safer to simply stand by and watch.

This swing reminds me of one of my favourite books The Boy in Striped Pajamas. Remember how a bored Bruno builds himself a swing out of a tyre? Have you read it? It’s a heartbreaking story.

When we were children our uncle, who was an engineer in the Irrigation Department, used to be posted in small towns and cities. The upside was that the Government bungalows he was allotted, came with a huge space around them. The one I remember best of all had this large Jackfruit orchard that was crowded with tall dense trees bent low with an abundance of fruit. A huge swing would be put up on one of those trees. It wasn’t anything glamorous – just a large very sturdy plank of wood held up with sturdier ropes. Four to six of us would climb up – the younger ones would sit down clinging to the ropes while the older adventurous ones would stand behind them and we’d swing really really high. The target would be to touch the leaves of the tree up above. Uff The thrill of it! The smaller steel versions at school didn’t even come close.

Recently when we went to the garden, to N’s immense dismay, the tyre had been tied up out of reach. How crestfallen she was! All we can do is wait and hope someone brings it down soon.

Did you ever play on a home-made swing?

 

Linking up with Parul’s #ThursdayTreeLove

Another step forward

Another step forward

MM: They’re not old enough.
SM: We need to let them go.
MM: It’s dangerous.
SM: No it’s not. It’s just an amusement park for goodness sake.
MM: That’s the scary part. Don’t you read the papers? There was the time an entire ride came crashing down. And then there was the case of a child being molested. These are bad times.
SM: What about the hundreds of people, including children, who go to amusement parks every day, have a wonderful time and come home safe and happy? Hundreds and thousands across the world?
MM: Yeah well I’ll take them along some day. So I can keep an eye on them.
SM: Fuss around them, you mean! And nag them and caution them till they were driven out of their poor little minds and never learn to manage on their own.
MM: I don’t do that.
SM: You do and that’s why you need to let them go.

The subject of this grand argument was the children’s impending school trip to Imagica – an amusement park about 100kms from the city. And the two voices? Sane Mum and Mushy Mum. You do remember them, don’t you?

It took Sane Mum hours of convincing to get the Mushy Mum to agree.

Of course she had the backing of two very excited children who were in imminent danger of turning very very whiny if they didn’t have their way. Believe me when I say sometimes that’s the only motivation I need to do something. A reassuring call from the Husband sealed the deal.

Then began long hours of counselling and cautioning.

Don’t read in the bus you’ll get queasy.
Don’t go to the washroom alone
Don’t board a ride alone.
Don’t eat before a dangerous slide, you might throw up.
Don’t accept help from a stranger.
Don’t talk to strangers at all.
Stick around with your teacher.
Look out for each other.

Are you even listening?

Then they were off

Finally, with bags full of muffins and chips and mints they were on their way. Not once did they turn back to look after we dropped them to school, thought MM rather regretfully while SM thought that was a good sign.

Back at home..

..the house seemed a tad too quiet, even to SM. This is the quiet all mums, mushy or otherwise, cherish most days. But today it seemed almost ominous. I worked listlessly on a some half done articles, then roamed aimlessly about the house pretending to put things in place.

I checked the phone every few minutes for messages from school.

And then the phone buzzed. “The children had breakfast at McDonalds and have now reached Imagica.”

I cannot explain how comforting that was.

I focused on the mental picture of the children sitting down at McD’s with their best buddies around them laughing over fries and burgers, loud and boisterous and happy. And that was when I began to relax.

The anxiety demon did come by in flashes through the day but I managed to keep it at bay helped along by another message that all was well and finally a third one saying they were on their way back.

It was nightfall when I went to pick them up from school. H sat in his class reading his book, an assortment of weirdly shaped merchandise by his side. ‘I bought all of this,’ were his first words even as the hugest smile lit up his face, which morphed rapidly into an absolutely horrified expression when it seemed like I was reaching out for a hug. Oh okay, no hug then, thought I retreating. Just a smile and a hand clasp and we were on our way to N’s class who is way more forthcoming with her affection. She hugged me willingly and smiled saying, ‘I got you a gift and one for bua too.’ That completely warmed my heart.

We walked back to the car, H limping along from a bad blister which he didn’t seem to notice, as he fought with N for attention, talking nineteen to a dozen.

24 hours later the conversations continue to flow , the stories just don’t seem to end. They had stuck by their teachers, behaved responsibly and wonder of wonders they had even sought out each other to ask how they fared after the worst of the rides. I would gladly send them again for that one single reason alone.

Here’s what I need to remember:

My first trip out of town was pretty late in life – during graduation on a Geological tour with the teachers. I remember little things like ordering my own food or buying chai from the vendor in the train gave me such a thrill. When did you step out of home out on your own? Was it easy to convince your parents?

Picture Credit: Pixabay

#Gratitude this January

#Gratitude this January

If you read my New Year post you’ll know I intended to make fitness a priority this year. Looking back this month I did manage to make a start and that’s the first thing I’m grateful for.

I finally seem to have found a decent exercise routine

It includes three days of yoga, one day of Zumba and one of Pilates. I’ve grown to like the mix, though I am finding it hard to pick up the Zumba steps because by the time I go back next week I’ve forgotten much of what I learnt. But then that’s fine, after all Zumba is more about having fun than getting it right. Besides, I raise a laugh or two each time I go out of sync or stop midway to puzzle out a step and that’s wonderful because more laughs mean more endorphins for everyone around. Right? We always come away smiling after the sessions.

That’s something to be grateful for.

I’m enjoying Pilates too

..and I’m happy to report that I can more than keep up with the others. I’ve totally maxed it with my plank (not the shoulder plank, just the regular one) at which I’m the best in the class. I cannot tell how very good that feels considering I’ve never been ‘best in the class’ at anything at all! (I have to confess that we’re just three of us, but still best is best) all thanks to being consistent with yoga. ‘You have a strong ‘core’ pronounced the instructor,’ making me glance at it right away only to bring home the fact that I had too much of it!

My maids are my new partners in fitness

They have taken turns to go on leave, the cook’s been away for almost 20 days now. However, that meant I was more active and that the house was cleaner (yeah I’m better at it than my maid). Also since I was forced to spend more time in the kitchen I’ve been making healthier meals. I tried a simply delicious mushroom soup prompted by my sister. I shall share the recipe one of these days.

In other happy news

The twins’ school opened

early this month, which meant I had more free time and could get started on editing a brand new manuscript. It’s turning out to be a lot of fun. There really is happiness in finding fault with other people’s work, specially if it earns you money along the way!

The kids made me proud

N brought home a bronze medal in handball. I was there to watch the match and it was a pleasure to see her shoot not one or two but three goals. Oh I was proud!


H got home positive diary notes. I didn’t even know teachers did that these days. I got notes on two occasions saying he’s doing exceptionally well in a particular subject. That was gratifying.

My parents came over

… from Lucknow bearing boxes of laddoos and other goodies. The icing on the happiness cake this month was that I had 10 days of adult conversation within easy reach. It’s a luxury, you know. With the Husband away and my work from home status if I do not make the effort to seek out a friend, sometimes days go by without a heart to heart conversation with an adult. Oh of course I call the Husband and my sister or mum pretty regularly (everyday, actually) but it’s not the same.

Also having a nag of a mum who is super fit herself (an hour of yoga and an hour of walk every single day, seven days a week) meant my fitness stayed right on track.

So that’s what my January looked like. A satisfactory start, I’d say. Though I still have to work more on my diet and that darned evening walk which I’m just not able to make a start with.

How did January treat you?

 

Linking up with Vidya’s Gratitude Circle

Also linking up to Shirley’s Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday 06

 

Good mornings are made of these

Good mornings are made of these

‘Jai Shri Krishna,’ calls out the pundit from the tiny alcove that houses the Radha-Krishna idols. I frown at the cheerful greeting that sounds like an  intrusion to my crowded mind. I walked down to the temple this morning looking to spend a few quiet moments undisturbed by human company. And as I sit on a solitary bench a little distance away I have no desire for conversation.

Despite my initial frown, my lips turn up in a polite involuntary smile as I return the greeting. The Pundit isn’t really looking for a chat and so I linger on to watch as he gets busy cleaning that small ‘temple within the temple’, the one that houses Lord Krishna and his consort Radha. The idols are arresting in their beauty, made of blue and white marble respectively with large eyes, delicate features and peaceful smiles. I realise this is the very first time I have noticed how very pretty they are.

The priest shakes off bits of incense ash from Radha’s sari then settles it making sure it falls perfectly down to her feet. He reaches out for her diaphanous pallu pleating it just so, tucking one end at her back so that the pleats open up in a graceful fan. He sits back to admire his handiwork and then moves onto Krishna. He adjusts the folds of his dhoti, untangles and sorts his multiple necklaces, straightens the blue-green peacock feather that rests in his crown. He then bathes their feet with water carefully collecting it in a pan to be distributed among devotees during the course of the day as charanamrit. He puts a scarlet vermillion teeka on the idols’ foreheads then loops garlands of fresh golden marigolds around their necks. Finally, he tucks in a bright red Hibiscus at their feet.

I find a certain peace in watching him as he goes about his daily chores with devotion and dedication and a quiet happiness I haven’t seen in a while.

Elsewhere in the temple other priests are at work too.

I am not a religious person but this is exactly why I love this sprawling temple complex, for the sense of space and peace. And this is perhaps why I headed this way today  morning without really intending to. Tucked away in a number of nooks are idols dedicated to various gods and goddesses. One corner has been turned into a gaushala, a cowshed, where a few cows sit drowsing, their mouths moving relentlessly in an unceasing rhythm. Their gentle mooing and the smell of dung asserts their presence. Would you be terribly surprised if I say I don’t mind the smell at all? It reminds me of long lazy summer vacations spent in the village, which was my mom’s childhood home. As it wafts over to me merging with the perfume of marigold, incense and fresh grass there really is no unpleasantness.

Far above my head, the trees are dotted with pigeons which is a rather strange sight used to as I am, of seeing these city birds only on balconies and rooftops. But here they sit along the branches, rising up in unison at the slightest disturbance.

At my feet the ground is covered with yellowed leaves from the trees. In just a little while the cleaning man will come by and sweep them all away. But for now I enjoy the splash of colour, undisturbed. And in the silence I find what I came here looking for.

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