Category: birthday

A normal birthday

A normal birthday

Amidst the crazy cheers of some twenty children ranging from the ages of 8 to 15 crammed in one small living room, H and N turned eleven this weekend.

This year they were very clear in that they wanted a ‘normal’ birthday party which, according to them, they had ‘never ever had’. The Husband and I were quite lost and if, like us, you are wondering what a normal party is here’s how they explained it to us: It should be at home (groan!). They should be allowed to invite all their friends (double groan!). It should have music and dancing and games, gifts and return gifts – the whole deal. Seriously, I see no signs of these two growing up soon.

Even the Husband, who is exceptionally good at bargaining, couldn’t sway them this time round. The only deal he could strike was that this would be the last of its kind and that at twelve they would really be too grown up to be found playing passing the parcel at their birthday party.

That is how, come Saturday, we pulled out every single birthday cliché to put up a normal party. And it turned out to be as crazy, noisy, chaotic an affair as they come.

While the children and their friends had the time of their lives here’s what I did through those two hours..

Separated bunches of younger ones as they wrestled on the floor
Yelled at the top of my voice to explain the rules of the games
Yelled again to get them organised into teams
Handled charges of cheating from the losing team
Yelled some more to reiterate that my decision was final
Pacified one of the girls when someone shot party snow all over her face
Ran out to get the candles because I had assumed the cake guy would put them in and he didn’t
Lighted the candles on the cake more than once because someone blew them before the birthday girl and boy could get to them
Nipped the cream smearing ceremony in the bud
Made sure the plates were piled with cake, pizza and noodles.

I couldn’t have done it without my ever supportive sis-in-law and my dearest niece. Whew!

Don’t get me wrong, I love to have the children’s friends over and every weekend we have a bunch of them huddled together in their room. That was one reason I started the book club too. However twenty of them together, each in a rowdier frame of mind than the next, is a little beyond me.

Maybe I am just getting old even as the twins show no signs whatsoever of growing up. Oh while on growing up I have to add they did help with the party. They handled the invitations all on their own, from designing to printing and distributing them. During the party, H conducted the games and helped maintain order (when he remembered that he was the host, that is). N gave her inherent diva a rest and played the perfect hostess, passing out the food like a pro and making sure the younger ones were well looked after.

The two of them finally got their heart’s desire – the post party hugs and thank yous were proof enough and that made it all quite worthwhile. Doesn’t it always? As I hugged them close, glad that they were in my life, a part of me was praying they would remember to keep their deal next year.

Linking up with #Chatty Blogs from Shanaya Tales

And with Mackenzie at Reflections from Me

Birthday shopping and strange choices

Birthday shopping and strange choices

 

The twins celebrate their birthday this week and we’ve been out shopping. The thing is, generally I pick out clothes for them on my own. And it works fine for us. We rarely shop together. But come June and they want to choose their clothes for the big day.

I like shopping. Or at least I used to think I liked shopping till I started doing it for the children, with the children. Now I just plain dread it. Do read my previous post on my experience in the mall.

If you’ve read the post and are back here you’ll know how I feel. Of course the children have grown since then however one thing remains the same – my firm belief that shopping and kids do not mix.

But something’s just have to be done. Hence, it is with great trepidation that we set out for the shopping trip and with even greater apprehension that I enter that first store. In the girls’ section we look for a place for H to make himself comfortable. We move onto the dresses the and N likes one almost instantly which I think is borderline over the top – a white frothy concoction with shiny lace. I prefer another one in a slightly muted colour, a lovely colour, if I may add. She tries both. Pictures are promptly dispatched to the aunt who is perceived as the more fashionable one. (Seriously!) She okays the daughter’s choice. I give in, glad to have gotten over with it in the very first store. We keep the dress aside and walk to another floor to look for the son’s clothes.

The salesman shows all kinds of fancy shirts – formal ones, informal ones, jackets, hoodies as also trousers, shorts and what not. He looks at them, rejects most, tries a few then says no to the rest of them too. I want a plain tee, he keeps insisting. The salesman pulls out all kinds of plain tees but they are all rejected. No one can fathom what he wants.

Never mind, I console myself at least one is done. Down we go to pick up N’s dress. And she refuses to buy it. Just refuses.
What if I find something l like better in the next store, she argues.
But there will always be better clothes out there somewhere, I reason. if you like this one, take it.
She digs in her heels, No she says, I want to check out more shops.

So we leave the dress and go on.

We spend an hour and half sorting through scores of clothes in scores of shops with an extremely bored H dragging his feet, disappearing in the lanes and by lanes looking for ‘something to eat’. And then when we would finish with one shop we would have to go looking for him before we entered the next one. He didn’t find any food and nor did we find another dress. So back we go to the same store, pick up the same dress (which mercifully was still there) and we are half way through.

We then head to a nearby mall for a quick lunch. H spots a branded sports store and drags me there. He picks out a jersey set.
This is what I want, says he with absolute certainty.

What? A teeshirt and a pair of shorts? That, by the way, cost way more than the daughter’s dress and don’t look half as as glam.

It’s their birthday, I remind myself, even as the son is saying the same thing on a loop. So we buy the jersey and head home after a good four hours. I’m not complaining though, I’ve been let off relatively easily this year.

Wait for their birthday pictures people – while she will be looking like a frothy concoction out of a fairytale, he is prepared to look his own version of Messy on the football field.

Choices I tell you!

Linking up with Mackenzie at Reflections from Me

Birthdays gifts and badly kept secrets

Birthdays gifts and badly kept secrets

With Christmas around the corner I was going through my wish list checking to see what gifts I’d saved away, and I came upon this – a bunch of wallets, flashy ones – one with a peacock feather motif, another one all gold and shimmery and a third bright pink one. 

I stared at them. And I wondered. Not for the life of me could I fathom in what fit of bling I had ‘wish-listed’ these. My memory is not quite what it used to be, but I was certain I wouldn’t do this. It just wasn’t me. 

Before I go on, you need to know that my birthday is round the corner. And nobody  is ever as excited about it as H and N — not my friends, not my parents, definitely not the Husband (who once made the cardinal error of forgetting it, and is not likely to forget it in a hurry ever again) and most definitely not I. I mean of course I like it when someone remembers it but that’s where it should end. The hoo-haa is kind of embarrassing but then when have the kids ever worried about what embarrasses me? They start planning months in advance and they make up for everyone else … they create enough of a hoo-haa to satisfy the most hoo-haa craving person.
Every year they scrimp and scrounge to get me a small gift. This year they decided to enlist the help of Mr Moneybags – the Husband. I’ve overheard secret phone calls which they think I have no clue about and eavesdropped on whispered arguments which they think I cannot hear. 
They first convinced him to order a book from Amazon. The rather proactive Husband, did so right away and I received my birthday gift in November – more than a month in advance. 
I was suitably surprised at how apt their choice was and very thrilled too … but the children decided it came too early and so didn’t really qualify as a birthday gift. Now, they have taken things in their own more capable hands, or so they think, and they’ve been furiously surfing Amazon. Only – they have no clue that the things they ‘secretly’ save in a wishlist is my wishlist. That’s how those clutches/wallets came from – all N’s choice!

Since I made the discovery I’ve been logging in everyday to see a new set of gifts. They seem to change their mind everyday. The latest is this – a personalised ‘I love you mama’ cushion and a World’s Best Mom trophy.

I’m waiting with baited breath to see which one makes it to the final day.

Happy birthday to The Book Club

Happy birthday to The Book Club

It’s
been some time since I posted news from The Book Club. This week it needs to be written about since we turned ONE! Isn’t that wonderful? I had forgotten about it till facebook memories sent me a reminder. I do love the idea of revisiting memories.

This last weekend the meeting was pretty special what with birthday celebrations as well as Friendship Day on Sunday.

After much sifting through stories on friendship from Harry Potter to Kabuliwala to Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn I settled on a relatively obscure one about a young Irani girl who finds friendship in London even while retaining her uniqueness. With pre-teens staring us in the face that’s an important aspect of friendship – this idea of loving and retaining your difference even while being best friends. 

The Friendship drawing

The funnest part was the ‘friendship drawing activity’. (I modified the idea from a book of the ‘My Weird School’ series. Review coming up soon on my other blog, do watch out). Each of the kids were asked to think up something they’d like to draw – it could be anything. They came up with a flower, a bird, a train, a boat, a scene from the Irani girls life, a robot, a scenery etc. 

I then paired them up making sure the bete noires were put together. You should have heard the protests!! ‘Aunty I can go with ANYONE but her!’ (Oh they can be rude and blunt) ‘Aunty may we PLEASE exchange our partners’. But I stuck to the plan telling them none of them was so intolerable/intolerant that they couldn’t be with each other for 15-20 minutes. And then I asked them to  put together their two ideas and make up one drawing. It was amazing how quickly they settled down and got to work with absolute concentration. Even H and N who are always at loggerheads and who I’d paired together worked like a team.

We ended up with a bird-shaped boat, a robotic flower, a girl playing with a toy train while hiding under the bed during a bombing (That was from the story of the day) and bombs destroying a pretty scenery.
These kids are seriously brilliant.

If you work with kids anywhere this is an exercise I completely recommend. Not just does it teach children to work with people they don’t much like, it also prompts them to align their thoughts and ideas with completely divergent ones and work towards a common goal,towards a common win. Those are skills they’ll need to hone in life. 

I was pretty pleased with myself. The problem is I made it out to be a contest and now I have to pick the best drawing and I’m stumped.

100 Happy Days – Week 2

100 Happy Days – Week 2

This 100 Happy Days project is growing on me. I blogged about it last week – it’s a pledge to find at least one happy thing each day for 100 days.

Over the last week I’ve found myself watching out for the happy stuff and rejoicing each time something happy happens. I’ve had to pick and choose the happiest of them all. Here goes..

Another surprise!

Last week I came back after a spot of very functional, very boring shopping. Not the kind I enjoy at all. My feet were hurting as was my head from an impending cold. The thought of making even my single chapati for lunch seemed terribly daunting. I was considering settling for bread. I unlocked the door and found my cleaning maid at work. Now she is not a cook but there she was at the stove making a chapatis! She’ a true blue Maharashtrian and days ago she was telling me how they made jowar rotis with peanut-garlic chutney and I had said “You must make it for me one day.” And this turned out to be that ‘one day’. Miraculous, isn’t it? So both of us had these huge jowar rotis with the hottest, spiciest chutney. Yumm…I don’t even remember when I’ve last had a hot chapati straight off the tawa.

The kids are my next happiness..

N has taken to putting the alarm and waking up half an hour before I wake her up each morning. It’s been a week and it’s just such a blessing not to have to start your day with a crying reluctant girl. H is no trouble in any case. I guess half my happiness stems from starting my day on such a happy note. So after the kids are up I sit with my cup of tea and they laze round, chat and cuddle before the day starts off. Such peace.

..and there’s more

Since I was in Goa for my birthday my friends decided to celebrate it now. So some two weeks after the real thing I had another one. One of them got me this wonderful soup bowl which goes so well with my current weight loss drive. And there’s a set of deos too.

Souper fun!

Since it’s a 100 day project I’m looking at 15 weeks of happiness. Keep reading. And if you’re blogging about this too, leave a comment and I’ll hop over to share your happiness.

Meanwhile.. keep smiling!