Category: Mornings

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.

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.

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.

 

 

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Another Monday morning

Another Monday morning

As the alarm rang today morning I got out of bed without hitting the snooze button even once. Some feat, that! For a change I was ready to meet the new week, on this rather warm Monday morning, with a smile on my face. I felt well-rested and happy.

Forty-five minutes later the tiffins were done – snack and lunch, bottles filled with fresh water, milk glasses at the table and eggs beaten and ready to go on the pan.
Then I went to wake the children.
As usual they were reluctant to get out of bed, snuggling in deeper, begging for the last five minutes. I gave them ten. Finally they got up complaining of aches and pains like a bunch of old fuddy duddies — 
‘My stomach hurts,’ said N.
 ‘Go sit in the loo and you can skip the milk today,’ I told her.
‘I sprained my foot yesterday,’ complained H as he made his way to the washroom with an exaggerated limp. ‘And I couldn’t sleep all night because I was coughing.’
‘Can you please write a note for my teacher?’ 
‘To excuse you from football?’ I asked, a trifle surprised since that’s his favourite sport.
‘No, of course not,’ said he, ‘I can manage football. Ask her to let me put my head down and sleep during social studies if I feel tired.’
No, I didn’t ask how he could play football with a sprained ankle. I refused to write the note, though because I figured if he could play football with a ‘sprained’ ankle he might as well sit through social studies too. 
Instead, I sprayed pain reliever and wrapped up his foot in crepe bandage, smiling when he said he felt ‘better already’. I gave him his inhaler since the cough and wheeze were genuine. Meanwhile N’s stomach ache had subsided magically at the suggestion of the milk-holiday.
Finally after all the pains, real and imagined, had been taken care off, I could wave the kids off to school.
All it takes, to make a happy beginning, is a good night’s sleep.
How has your week started?

Wet towels and crazy mornings #momdialogues

Wet towels and crazy mornings #momdialogues

Cool Mom: Is leaving a wet towel on the bed reason enough to spoil everyone’s morning, and that includes yours more than anyone else’s?

Agitated Mom: It’s not just the towel and you know that. It’s ‘put away your plates after breakfast’, ‘put cream’, ‘pick up your jacket from the floor’, ‘take your tiffin’, ‘put in your bottles’ and on and on endlessly. To have to remind them every single day for every single task is just crazy. That towel was just the last straw. Besides, who does it if they don’t? I, right? That’s how I’ll be spending my entire day – cleaning up after them. What’s even more ironical I’ll also have people saying, ‘What do you do all day?’ The kids are grown up now.’ Hah! Grown up!!!

CM: Sigh! Such a long tirade! You could simply leave the towel on the bed.
AM: What?? Just leave it? So the bed and the towel become wet and stinky?
CM: Yeah well it’s the kids’ beds. They have to sleep in them. Let then sleep with the stink. That’ll remind them to put out the towels next time round.
AM: And what if they don’t? What if they don’t mind it at all? What if they get used to it? How hygienic is that? And what kind of a life-long habit am I helping them form?
CM: I’ll repeat – choose your battles. Choose your timing. The other option is of course to lose your patience, to give them an earful and then feel lousy all day long. As for life-long habits – they have time yet to pick them up. You want the kids to look back on their school days and remember only crazy mornings?
AM: No obviously not.
CM: The trouble is not with telling them to do stuff, the trouble is with you losing your cool when you do so. So how about playing some peaceful music, taking up your cup of tea and thinking happy thoughts – like the time N made you tea, remember? They do some good too. Oh and don’t forget to put yourself on repeat mode till they learn to finish their tasks, okay? It’s just one crazy hour, after all.

Picture Credit: Pixabay

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This isn’t the first time I have had multiple mums fighting it out in my head. You can read about other mommy wars herehere and here.

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