Author: obsessivemom

Walks and conversations

Walks and conversations

The children had two days of mid-week holidays – a parting gift from Ganapati as he is taken off for visarjan. We had more peace in the house than we’ve seen in some time. More than one person commented on how relaxed I looked!

Despite exams being just a few weeks away we managed some fun together-time. Remember I wrote about N’s interest in photography? Each time we go out for a walk she comes armed with her camera and clicks anything that catches her fancy. We chanced upon this tree.

‘It looks rather sad and lonely’, I remarked, ‘with it’s leaves and flowers all gone’.

‘I think it looks great fun – like a giant catapult’, said N, ‘imagine how far a huge ball would go if I were big enough to string it.’

She had a point, of course. And all of a sudden the tree didn’t look quite as sad any longer. It’s all about perspective, isn’t it?

Children do come up with interesting ideas, which is why I love walking with them. The only hitch is, we don’t actually walk, as in the walk-for-exercise kind of walk. Or, since N has put me in a positive frame of mind, we do much more than walk – we talk and discuss and observe. We look at the flowers and trees – how the Amaltas hangs down like a chandelier or how  Peepul leaves twirl in the wind. We stop to smell and pick flowers. N is fascinated by the Harshringar we find strewn in a cream and orange carpet. She wonders, a little disappointed, why a tree with such delicate blooms should have such rough sandpaper leaves. I have no clue, I really am not much of a Botany person. I do want to tell her that beauty is never perfect but I stop the cynic in me – time enough for her to discover all of that on her own.

Soon enough H will want to sit and tell me about Greek Gods, yeah he’s still going strong with Rick Riordan. So while he and I will find a bench, N, definitely the more active one, will  continue with her jog around the park.

We’ll pick up dry pieces of branches to be used for craft projects, which may or may not happen, but my bag will look like this.

While N is the one doing the running, H is the one who gets thirsty and will drag us all to get him a drink. ‘Any juice will do,’ he says accommodatingly. And though I’m not a fan of packaged drinks I’ll indulge them just this once, and we’ll walk back home to begin the day.

Joining Parul for #ThursdayTreeLove.

 

 

I am taking my Alexa Rank to the next level with #MyFriendAlexa and Blogchatter.

The Road to Independence #Monday Musings

The Road to Independence #Monday Musings

Last weekend as I was picking up H from his guitar class we saw one of his classmates walking back home. He lives close by and goes to the same  class.

I happened to say, ‘How very responsible and independent he is! Walking back home by himself!’ And that, dear friend, was a mistake  you must remember never to make when you’re with your tween. I regretted it almost immediately.

Never praise the independence of another child unless you are willing to let yours have it too. Click To Tweet

I really should have just kept my mouth shut. But then even the most cautious of us slips occasionally.

Obviously, H wouldn’t stop talking about it. Obviously he pestered me to let him walk there and back on his own. The distance doesn’t worry me, it is a little over 1.5 kms. It’s the fact that he would have to cross roads twice through fast-moving traffic and the fact that he is rather absent-minded.

Of late I have started allowing the twins step out on their own. They walk down to the stationery shop to get their own supplies and to the library. We are fortunate to have all of those within a few hundred meters around our apartment complex. I love it that they can run small errands for me like picking up grocery or giving clothes for ironing, which takes such a load off me, while making them feel responsible too.

But this was something I was skeptical about.

After much discussion (read argument) and silent contemplation (read sulking) we reached an agreement, or so I thought. It was decided that we would have a few ‘trials’. H asked if he could walk back with his friend. I agreed, assuming I would be walking with the two of them. Of course he assumed I wasn’t.

When the weekend approached and he realised I was going to walk with them he threw a fit, the kind of fit only a be-dead-rather-than-be-seen-with-mom-by-your-friend tween can throw. After another round of ‘discussions’ and ‘silent contemplation’ he said I could walk along as long as I kept twenty paces behind them.

So imagine this – H walking ahead with his friend pretending he didn’t know me and I following like a detective sent out by a suspicious wife to keep an eye on her cheating husband (or vice versa, for that matter), ready to turn my back or duck behind lamp posts to avoid being spotted, except he would have been more worried than me about me being seen.

The things one has to do for one’s children!

Mercifully, H tired of the walk soon-enough and realised that getting a ride with me was a way more comfortable option. I’ve begun to look upon laziness as a serious virtue. For now, the matter is resolved, till the next bout of independence strikes.

Meanwhile we are practicing crossing roads together, while I practice keeping my mouth shut. Tight.

What do you think, dear reader? Am I being too cautious, ‘overprotective’ as H accuses me of? What’s the right age to let children out on the roads on their own? And I’m talking Indian roads here.

 

Linking up with #MondayMusings at Everydaygyan

 

With Mackenzie at Reflections from Me

I am taking my Alexa Rank to the next level with #MyFriendAlexa’ and Blogchatter. My Rank when I started out was: 2,244,955.

The Gratitude road to Happiness

The Gratitude road to Happiness

Early this week my Whatsapp crashed. Surprisingly, I didn’t miss it much. I found I quite liked the freedom from endless forwards, specially those ‘wife’ jokes. (Aaarrrghh!! They drive me even crazier when they come from women or men in perfectly happy relationships). Of course I missed some messages from friends but I was fine with that.

A Bad Patch

Coupled with the phone malfunction is the fact that over the past ten days or so the children have given me an exceptionally hard time and that perhaps, made me even more reluctant to communicate (or blog). Do you have days like that – so bad that they’re not even worth a rant? When you just want to shut yourself and wallow? And then when you find yourself friendless, you feel sorry for yourself, never mind that you’ve not made the effort to reach out to them in the first place? Well so that’s where I was. And not having a phone just helped me let myself be. I didn’t realise that being  alone made me crabbier and lonelier.

I Tried…

to pull myself out. I stepped out more than I normally do and I kept going for my yoga classes, more regularly than ever, even though I didn’t have my heart in it at all.

It helped, but only temporarily.

A few days later my phone crashed completely! That was the very last straw. Things had to look up after that and they did.

In a better place

Yesterday, finally, I fixed my new phone. Whatsapp is up and running and I’m back to deleting the wife jokes while smiling at some of the others. I’ve had yet another chat with the kids and I have a breakfast date planned with friends. Which is why, the sun seems to be out in the sky and I am in a happier space, today… now. I hope to take each day – one by one.

Attempting gratitude

That is why I am doing this gratitude post today because like my good friend Vidya says, the not so good times are the ones when you most need to practice gratitude.

At number 1 has to be The Husband, who despite being out of town, was available at all odd hours trying to sort us out, taking SOS calls from me and the children, complaining about each other.

At number two would be a gift that arrived quite unexpectedly, from Write Tribe, and cheered me up enormously.

Lastly, another attempt at pulling myself out of the depression induced torpor made me register for the #MyFriendAlexa campaign by Blogchatter. For my non blogger friends here, this just means that I will be blogging twice a week through September. Honestly, that’s all I’m focusing on. That the blog will benefit in google rankings (which is what I understand about  Alexa Ranks) will remain a side benefit.

So there. That’s it.

The single most important learning through this month has been …

Sometimes no one can help us except us. Click To Tweet

I hope to remember that. Somedays the only thing to do is to keep going through the motions, no matter how half heartedly, and wait for the clouds to pass because they just will.

*********

Linking up with Vidya’s Gratitude Circle

 

I am taking my Alexa Rank to the next level with #MyFriendAlexa’ and Blogchatter. My current Rank is: 2,244,955.

Holding onto childhood traditions #MondayMusings

Holding onto childhood traditions #MondayMusings

Yesterday evening N came out of the washroom triumphantly holding up a tooth, a huge grin on her face. You might wonder at the grin considering this is hardly her first one to fall off. They’re well into their molars now.

Well, even though they have long since busted the tooth fairy myth, they continue to extort a princely sum of Rs 20 each time a tooth falls off. Since they are oddly reluctant to spend their pocket-money, which I started them off on recently, they look forward to this ‘windfall’.

I don’t really mind.

What I do mind is that N expects the entire tooth-fairy hoopla along with it.

“Don’t forget to leave the money under the pillow,” she reminded me. “Not like last time, okay? You forgot and when I looked and didn’t find any and was very sad you sneaked it in later and then came and asked me ‘Did you look really properly’ (*she mimics my grown up voice*). Of course I’d looked properly but then I had to look again and I knew you had put it in later but I had to pretend to be surprised. I saw you, okay! I saw you put in the money later,” she said.

Seriously? Is there anything she doesn’t know? And this makes the whole exercise even more pointless in my eyes. Why Oh why put my poor over-worked brain under so much stress when she knows everything?

I have no clue at all.

Yet, like a dutiful mom, I waited for her to fall asleep yesterday and (for once) remembered to go back to their room and put the money under her pillow.

As I watched her turn in her sleep and settle down again, I thought perhaps, like me, she was also reluctant to let go of these little bits of her childhood.

It’s rather strange that N should do this because she was the more independent one as a baby, wriggling out of our laps, longing to be set free while H was the clingy one craving physical contact. And now, as they grow, he’s the one clamouring for more freedom everyday while she holds on to her babyhood tenaciously.

Strange creatures, these kids.

Do you remember a childhood tradition that you still follow with your parents? Or do you have one with your children which they have outgrown but refuse to let go? I’d love to know.

Linking up with #MondayMusings

And also with Mackenzie at Reflections from Me

I see you

I see you

Dear sister,

I know you love festivals, just like every one else. You love to dress up and celebrate and have a house full of friends and relatives.

It’s Rakshabandhan tomorrow and the children are excited as children are wont to be for almost anything at all. The husband is happy too at this break from work, looking forward to spending time at home. The in-laws, ma and papa, love the change in routine. It gives them something to think and talk about for days before and after.

Yet as the day draws close this year, I see your heart sink, just a little bit. You put away the feeling of course, overlook the fact that you really haven’t been feeling your best, dismiss it as the onset of menopause or something similar.

The evening before the festival, the day maid asks for leave. You try to persuade her to stay back, but you do it half heartedly because you know she needs to be home too. You ask her to come in for a little while and have to be grateful for that.

They day dawns, bright and sunny, a trifle humid as rainless August days often are. Soon enough the house is full of sisters across generations, some with their better halves and children in tow.

Amidst happy laughs, rakhis are tied and laddoos eaten. After the ceremony everyone settles down for long lazy conversations. Hot cups of tea arrive and soft drinks do the rounds. ACs are switched on and conversations continue as morning segues into noon.

I see you, dear sister…

……through it all, a smile on your face, that becomes increasingly mechanical as they day grows hotter. I see you readying the puja thalis, making sure the aarti is ready, checking the boxes of sweets. You add some extra rakhis because you know someone will certainly forget to carry their’s. Even as you are counting the gifts one last time you are calling out to the children, making sure they are bathed and ready in their crisp kurta-pajams. The tween tries your patience and the teen is no better.

I see you welcoming everyone, handing out cool glasses of water calling out to the teen to tie the dog because your 4-year-old nephew is scared of him, even as you hug and reassure the little one. Then you’re lighting the aarti, helping through the ceremony. I see you making and serving out those endless cups of tea, remembering precisely who wants it without sugar, who likes it black and who wants it green. You give out cold drinks – a not-so-cold one for the nephew who has a cold, chilled ones for the teens and a Frooti to the one allergic to soda. Oreos for the kids, roasted mixtures for the adults, fruits for the uncle who doesn’t have tea.

Chopping, heating, hugging, smiling, joking – you are at a hundred places at the same time.

‘Why don’t you sit down bhabhi. Take a break,’ says your sister-in-law, ‘Can I do something?’

‘No no, the maid came early and finished the cooking already,’ offers ma. ‘There’s nothing much to do.’

You nod and smile and carry on piling the cups onto the tray. You’re in the living room wiping away spilt juice and wondering when you can get started on the washing up when you hear someone call out, ‘Come on bhabhi, we’re having a family picture. We’re waiting for you.’
‘Come on,’ says the husband, ‘Don’t delay everyone.’

And you’re back, adjusting your smile, looking into the camera surrounded by your family, this family that you made your own.

As the day ends, I see you, waving to the departing guests. ‘It was a good day,’ says the husband. ‘It was,’ you echo, even while your mind is drifting to the sink full of dishes.

Don’t think of them now, dear sister, give yourself a break. I’m not even sure I’m qualified to hand out advice but I hate to see you ignore yourself so. I hate to see you exhausted. Festivals are for you as much as for the rest of the family.

Something is not right if festivals leave you mentally drained and physically exhausted. Click To Tweet

And if no one notices, maybe you have to get them to notice.

Ask for help.

  • Ask the husband to chip in.
  • Take help when the sister-in-law offers.
  • Call out to the tween to fetch and carry.
  • Let the teens get their own drinks.
  • Put them in-charge of the younger kids.
  • Order out.
  • Let the dishes pile up.
  • Eat a laddoo.

This festive season sit, talk, laugh, celebrate so your lips lift up in a genuine smile when it’s time for the family picture.

 

If you, like me are incredibly fortunate to have the freedom to mould celebrations the way you want to, you may think this is entirely a figment of my imagination. I know for a fact, however, that festivals, for scores of women, mean just so much work. And they remain unseen, unappreciated – invisible hands that get things done.

This one is for them.

 

 

Linking up with #Chatty Blogs from Shanaya Tales

Meet me on Instagram @obsessivemom06

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