Category: MondayMommyMoments

The heart of a festival

The heart of a festival

Dear H and N,

Yesterday was Rakshabandhan – the day for sisters and brothers.

The popularly accepted version of the festival says that sisters should tie rakhis onto the wrists of their brothers and in return get a gift as well as a promise of lifelong protection. It’s a sweet tradition and when I was young I remember feeling envious of girls when they came to school the next day jangling their purses, telling us how much money they made. We never tied rakhis because we lacked that one key ingredient – the brother. And so we settled for mailing ours to our cousins.

Like most traditions have a way of becoming, this one too is a tad outdated. So when both of you came along we brought in some changes.

One: That you will both tie rakhis to each other.

and

Two: That there will be no gifts.

You understand the first one well enough. That thread is a pledge by both of you to help and support each other, to draw strength from each other and to be there when the other one needs you, always.

Why is it only the brother who should be ‘protecting’ his sister? Click To Tweet

‘That’s unfair’, I hear you protesting, H. And you’re right. N, you should be protesting too for the tradition implies you cannot even look after your own self let alone your brother. From the countless times you have come to his rescue, we all know how untrue that is.

Now for the second one – the one I find you resenting. You love gifts, I know and I’m sorry it disappoints you that there are none for you on Rakhi. I see the shine in your eyes when you see those rakshabandhan commercials. I love them too. I like the way they capture the festival – lit up homes, children running around in traditional clothes, dressed up adults and of course lavish gifts – elaborate gourmet chocolates and dazzling jewellery.

The sad part is that these ads lead you to believe that you must have all of that to make a festival complete. What they don’t tell you is that a celebration can be fun even without all those trappings, because they are just that – trappings, not the real thing. At the heart of every festival is something more than chocolates and jewellery. I’d much rather you focus on that core. I love a good celebration more than anyone else, you know that, well. But..

When the peripherals take over the core, become the core, it is time to take stock. Click To Tweet

When you are older and are making your own money, go ahead and get gifts for each other, get them without waiting for Rakshabandhan, and while you’re at it get some for me too.

For now, let’s just focus on the warm hugs and banter of the day. The way we get together with your cousin for a fun morning. Let our memories be of how you, H, never get used to the tika and how you protest and shake off the rice that falls onto your glasses. And when it’s your turn how you can never remember the correct finger to use or the correct hand for that matter, and the way you make a big long one for N, only to hear her complaining. And N, you remember how you have to hold H’s head up each time because he insists on looking down always?

Let’s store away in our memory the way you do “Eenie, Meenie, Miney, Mo” to decide which sweet you should pick for your brother after you tie his rakhi, the way you stuffed a whole big laddoo in his mouth so he couldn’t talk for a full minute. Oh and also the way he tried to aim and lob the laddoo at you when it was his turn.

Let’s remember all of that and the long chats after the ceremony, over hot cups of tea even as you, N, are bugging us all for ‘one more picture’.

It’s this – the warmth, the laughter, the teasing, the love – that are the core of the festival. Let’s not lose all of that in the clothes and the gifts.

*************

 

Linking up with Deepa and  Amrita for #MondayMommyMoments.
Kreativemommy.com
Am I doing it right?

Am I doing it right?

This post is a Tangy Tuesday Pick at Blogadda

Once upon a time I used to be this easy person, happy to drift along whichever way life took me with the Husband for company of course. I was passionate about my work and had plenty of work-friends. We went out, frequented food festivals, attended plays, watched films, and browsed exhibitions. A lot of it was part of my job and things couldn’t have been better.

We never bothered with a master-plan for life. And it didn’t really matter.

Once we decided to have children, that changed. We had to have a plan, we had to make decisions, not just for ourselves but also for two other people and I found myself stumbling around in the dark, unsure, unprepared.

It was terrifying. It is terrifying.

Parenting is like handing over a company to a trainee with no experience and no option of quitting. Click To Tweet

Two companies in my case! And so very diverse ones at that :-).

There I was, expected to excel at the most important job of my life with only my instinct to guide me and the whole world judging me. Is that crazy or what?

Not to worry, I told myself, and got on with the task, with bits of advice from doctors and counsellors, family and friends. Soon, the bits grew into a deluge that threatened to drown me. It’s like the story of the man, the boy and the donkey. There really was no one right way.

The first few years I thought it was the physical demands of motherhood that were the toughest – the unending feeding, cleaning, boiling bottles and the long sleepless nights. I was wrong, for that was only temporary.

What didn’t change, hasn’t change even now, is the constant doubt, the indecision and the big question – am I really up to this task of turning babies into decent adults? That, is the hardest part of parenting.

The hardest thing about parenting is never being sure if one is doing it right. Click To Tweet

It begins with: Is the baby waking up too frequently because I use cloth nappies for him? And conversely: Did he get that rash because I chose diapers instead of cloth nappies?
Then : Will my baby grow up to become clingy because I opted for co-sleeping? Or Will he feel deserted because I let him sleep in the crib?
Is she refusing to eat solids because I introduced them too late? Or did she take a dislike to them because it was too early and she wasn’t ready for them?
Am I destroying his spirit because I am too strict or will he grow up spoilt because I’m too lenient?
Am I pushing her too much or am I not pushing her enough? Should I lend a hand or should I let him figure it out himself?
Will I distance my teen if I am too strict? But then how do I ensure he is safe?Should I be a parent to my child or should I be a friend?

And then there are the big ones:
Am I doing enough?
Could I have done more?
Am I doing it right?
Should I have done it differently?

Even after a decade of being a mom somedays, specially on the bad days, I am badgered by these fruitless ‘What iffs’ and there really are no answers.

The thing to do then is to tell myself the one thing I am absolutely hundred percent, sure of – No one loves my children more than I do. And that is the beginning of convincing myself that I am doing the very best I can.

How can I not?

***************

Linking up with Deepa and  Amrita for #MondayMommyMoments.
Kreativemommy.com
Raising Financially Savvy Tweens

Raising Financially Savvy Tweens

The annual visit to the hometown means the children come back loaded with cash. That their birthday is round the corner and that this is the only opportunity for both sets of grandparents to pamper them silly, makes it only worse.

Last year they collected huge amounts of money from various relatives and then had huger arguments over what was to be done with it. I vetoed all their plans and amidst an epic battle deposited it all in the bank.

This year I categorically banned everyone at home from giving them cash. And if someone (who I wasn’t able to intimidate) did hand them some, I appropriated it right away and directed it into their accounts.

Very high handed of me, I know. But I do dislike the constant obsessive discussions about money with little thought for saving.

When the children were younger I tried to get them to save but it didn’t quite work out. And I gave up on the idea.

As they turn eleven perhaps this is the right time to give the money thing another serious shot. I’ve considered giving them pocket money as also paying them for household chores but I’ve not been able to work out the How of it. The questions that bother me are:

How much and how frequently should they get pocketmoney?
Also, how do we demarcate what it should be used it for?
Should I pay them for household chores?
If I do, how do I prevent them from putting a price on ALL household chores?
Or refusing the ones they aren’t paid for?

After much research and thought here are ideas that I think might work for me:

1. Start giving them pocket money (a small amount maybe Rs50 or Rs100 a month). They can use it for candies or small stationery. As I see it, that is all they should need to shop for on their own.

2. Make a Spending Jar and a Saving Jar. I loved the concept. To prod them towards saving I will offer to double whatever their Saving Jar has at the end of the month. Also, whatever goes into the Saving Jar goes straight to their accounts unless they need the money for a specific purpose like a birthday or an anniversary.

3. Take them to the bank and let them handle their Pass Books so they feel a sense of ownership for the money rather than thinking, ‘Mum took it away’.

4. Make them my Financial Assistants: Let them participate in day to day handling of money – for instance when we go grocery shopping or out to places like McDonald’s. They can do the Math, pay the bill and give me an account.

5. Our apartment complex lets kids put up stalls for Children’s Day. So they could put up a stall and try to work out the Profit/Loss. We used to have things like this in school where we’d put up stalls of Bhelpuri or Aaloo chaat – simple things that we could make and sell. In fact, it isn’t a bad idea to get more children involved in this initiative.

6. Involve them in household budgeting, specially for special events. I intend to start right away with their birthday – planning the expenses and deciding how much should be spent on what.

This post is rather exploratory and I know this really isn’t enough but I hope to make a start. I’d love to hear your views on how you get your children to understand about spending and saving. Have any of you tried paying them for household chores? What kind of chores did you give them? Was it a monthly thing? How did you handle it if they missed a day or a few days?

I’d love for you to share.

 

Linking up with  Kreative Mommy for her #MondayMommyMoments. Do drop by for ideas from other mums.
Kreativemommy.com
10 top gifts for new moms

10 top gifts for new moms

 Kreative Mommy Deepa asked us to list out ten gifts for new moms. Make it ‘fun and useful’ she said. So here it is, my list. A word of caution – these products have still to make their way from the realms of my brain to the inventors’ tables, so don’t go looking for them at stores just yet.

Crydecoder
Baby’s cry. They just cry. They cry for being fed and cry to be put to sleep. They cry to be held and they cry to be left alone (I had one of each kind and by the time I figured out which one wanted what I was a nervous wreck). The Crydecoder selects one of the 101 options on its dial and tells the mum exactly why the baby is crying.

Poopiesniffer

What’s the big deal with this one, you wonder? We have our noses, right? The thing is by the time the message gets to your nose it also permeates the room and gets to everyone in it. Imagine when that happens in the middle of dinner with guests. Well this gadget is equipped with odour detectors a million times more sensitive than your doggie’s nose and beeps out long before the message escapes the diaper. Trust me, the new mum needs this one.

Peepredictor

While on unsavoury topics I’ll get over with this one too. Without going into detail let me just say this gadget is designed for mums of boys. It will help a new mum predict which way the waters flow, so to say. And if you’re not fond of a sour warm spray on your face (Do NOT ask how I know that) I’d say you need this.

Time turner

We’ll borrow this one from Hermione. A new mum definitely needs more than 24 hours in her day. Gift her this and she’ll thank you forever.

Mumclone
Sometimes the time turner it just isn’t enough. Babies don’t grow up in a day and how long can mums do this back and forth? They’re only human. And so we have a – a Mumclone. It clones the mum to a baby-plus-one – One baby two mums, two babies three mums and so on. Get this and watch mum load lighten instantly.

Blinkamera
It’s not all bad you know, this being a new mum. There are compensations, lots of them. Your little one will give you plenty of heart stoppingly beautiful moments. That moment when he stares at you unblinkingly with a pensive expression on his face, the time he clasps your finger in his fist and refuse to let go, the time his tiny plump hands reaches out for you and oh when he decides to bare his gums in a toothless smile – that’s the time you’ll need the Blinkamera. This is a device that’ll click a picture with the blink of your eye and store that memory forever. The new mum doesn’t need to break the moment to rush for that physical camera – blink and click. Useful, isn’t it?

Breastmilk regulator
Now it flows now it doesn’t. Get this one and with the twist of a knob baby food is ready to be served or stored away.

Burpinducer
The twins’ Ped freaked me out with tales of babies who had choked because they hadn’t been burped properly. I spent entire nights roaming around with a fast asleep well-fed baby at my shoulder patting it on the back waiting for that burp. Yeah I’d have liked a burp inducer.

Tummytucker
So the baby is out in the world and you can’t wait to get back to your old self. Yet no matter how hard you exercise or how many crunches you put yourself through that tiny tummy bump refuses to go away. That’s where every new mum needs a tummy  tucker. Rub it on your tummy and watch it disappear. Nope you won’t find this one in the lingerie department. And No, don’t try it all over your body, it won’t work, just the baby bump.

Mumreassurer
She’s a new mum. She has tons of advice and just her gut instinct to guide her. So basically this Mumreassurer will tell her, as many times a day as she wants, that she’s doing the right thing. It comes with multiple settings. The first few days one can opt for hourly settings and then graduate to just one reassuring message a day. A must try.

Note: ‘Mum’ here denotes ‘primary care-giver’. Most products work just as well with dads or aunts. I said ‘most’.

So much for fanciful thoughts!
If you want to look up some real products for new mums do head over to  Kreative Mommy for her #MondayMommyMoments where fabulous mothers share useful practical ideas.
Kreativemommy.com
Supermom!

Supermom!

When that genetically mutated spider bit Peter Parker his (Parker’s obviously) life changed forever. Something similar happened to me when I had the twins.

At first they were rather inconspicuous, these special powers that came to me.

Before the twins I was pretty much a Kumbhakaran – that gentle giant blessed with a sleeping curse. I couldn’t function without my 8-9 hours everyday. With the arrival of the children I began waking up many times a night – on my own – sometimes to change nappies, to feed and burp and sometimes simply to run a finger under the twins’ noses reassuring myself that they were real living people. Just like that, I was rid of my addiction.

That was the beginning.

As they grew my powers only increased. Like Parker I discovered in myself super strength and agility.

If he had superhuman reflexes that let him scale walls and fly over traffic to save people, I could sprint, do a back flip and dive right in just as one of the twins fell off the sofa.

If he was strong enough to stop a running train, I could stop a running cycle….  make that two running cycles, before they hurtled into simultaneous twin accidents.

If he could spin a web fine as silk and strong as steel, I could spin tales so intricate so elaborate, as to keep two hyper active minds quiet for hours on end.

As the teens approach my superpowers seem to be growing.

My memory might have gone on leave but my senses, By God, they’re in an overdrive. Just like Parker, I find my eyesight sharper, my hearing more acute and my sense of smell can rival that of a sniffer bomb squad dog.

Is that a scream of laughter or distress – I can tell without going into the room. Was the food found under our apartment window dumped by the twins or was it the old man on the floor below our’s – I’d know. (It was the old man, in case you were wondering). Is it an upset tummy or experiments with my makeup kit that was keeping them for hours in the washroom – I can always tell.

I can look through closed doors, listen to merest whispers and smell out secrets.
I successfully busted hair-trimming sessions before the twins had shorn each other off.
I put an end to ice-cream smuggling no matter how soundlessly the freezer door was opened.
I smell burning cookies and douse the flames before they take the house down.
One time I even staved off floods when the twins turned on the taps and blocked the drains to make a swimming pool in the washroom.

As I sit here with a self-satisfied smile writing this self-congratulatory piece I find my mom-senses tingling already. Got to go folks, time to spin another web and reel them in.

Linking up with

Mackenzie at Reflections from Me

Also joining Deepa at  Kreative Mommy for #MondayMommyMoments.
Kreativemommy.com

Meet me on Instagram @obsessivemom06

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