Category: Parenting

Candlelight dinners and other diversions

Candlelight dinners and other diversions

It’s that time of the year again when the twins start to dabble in all of their long-forgotten interests and hobbies. Nope, it isn’t vacation time – it’s exam time.

Remember this post I did last year?

Just as the exam dates drew close N decided she had to have a candle-light dinner…. at home, mercifully. She collected all the candles from around the house and lit them up, switched off all the lights and the three of us huddled around the dining table peering at our plates in semi-darkness.

If I ever complained that The Husband never asked me out for a candlelight dinner, this was the time to send out an apology. And a heartfelt thank-you to Thomas Edison. Seriously, candlelight dinners are over-rated. It’s worse if you’re in the middle of the monsoon season unless of course, you like your food seasoned with a bunch of fluttering moths.

So there I was, trying to figure out whether that black thing in my dal was a jeera or a keera, while thinking how soon I could get the children back to the study table without hurting N’s rather delicate feelings, which become even more fragile during exams.

H however, had no such compunctions. In true sibling tradition, he declared he hated the whole idea and went around the room switching on the lights while N ran after him switching them off. When I finally got them to sit down he resorted to saying things like, “I cannot see your Ffface’ and that he was too ‘Fffaar fffrom the light’ and that ‘we must never do this again in Fffture’ and kept blowing out the candles while N kept re-lighting them.

I gave up all hope of them studying that evening.

Then N decided she wanted to knit

For a long time she has been mildly fascinated with the idea of knitting. Now suddenly she wants knitting needles and also that I teach her how to go about it. I probably would have gone looking for the needles except I have no clue where to find them. Or for that matter how to teach her. Whoever knits these days?

.. and they’re ‘giffing’ 

I’m not sure that’s a real word but here’s how one goes about it – You pick a word or a phrase, couple it with an expression and repeat it over and over and over again till you drive everyone crazy. As if WhatsApp wasn’t bad enough I have real-life gifs walking around the house saying things like ‘Freedom, I want freedom!’

via GIPHY

..and they’re cooking up spells

They jump out from corners brandishing ‘wands’ and shouting out never-heard-before spells. ‘Magnifera Indica’ screams N and H replies with a ‘Triticum vulgare’, which sounded scarily like Valar Morghulis and I wondered where they’d heard that Game of Thrones line. As it turned out they were simply practicing scientific names of fruits and animals. Those  were mango and wheat respectively! Such a relief! Though the shouting still gets to me.

Finally, H decided he wanted to make comics

…to make science easy for other children,’ he said. All his comics have a rather grisly theme – an insectivorous plant-eating up an insect or a lion eating up a deer (I think) as part of a food chain. If he ever does want to take this up as a profession, he will certainly need an illustrator.

 

We’re at the fag end now and I’m hoping we’ll get through with my nerves intact. Keep the prayers coming.

 

Linking up with the Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Blogging Challenge #writebravely #writetribeproblogger

A happy sidekick

A happy sidekick

This past weekend I was demoted from my undisputed seat as the main villain to a very contented sidekick. But I’m getting ahead of myself – let me explain.

The children’s exams are in progress – they go on for three whole weeks. During all of that time, I transform into the main villain (or vamp, if you like to nitpick) of their lives.

With the long weekend, The Husband came home and rather unsuspectingly,  offered to help them with their Math, which he is quite good at.

Since he’s out most of the time he has no clue that being good at something and teaching that same something to two reluctant and distracted tweens who have much else going on in their lives and who do not have ‘exams’ in the top 10 or even 20 places of their priority list, are two very different things.

Anyhow not one to refuse a good thing when I see it, I handed over the reins to him with a heart full of gratitude.

It started off pretty well. The children were on their better behaviour and The Husband was all enthu too. However ten minutes into the lesson and N had already visited the washroom twice while H had his head stuck in the refrigerator complaining, ‘We never have anything interesting to eat’ – yeah, twice within ten minutes.

All the while the poor man sat twiddling his thumbs ready to walk them through their LCMs and HCFs, his enthusiasm waning rapidly. I could see where this was headed.

I hustled H back to the study table only to find he had no exercise book and his pen had run out of ink. Off he went looking for them.

Meanwhile, N was still in the washroom. ‘I think I have an upset stomach’, she announced when she finally stepped out, suspiciously redolent with talcum and cream, not at all looking like someone whose stomach wasn’t in perfect working order. When The Husband pointed out that she didn’t look unwell, she answered with profound wisdom that her stomach was not well on the inside. ‘It doesn’t show, you know,’ she explained.

H meanwhile had returned with a pen, which turned out to be N’s and if you have two children you’ll know where that is going. The LCM and HCF were quite forgotten as The Husband focussed on maintaining peace while clutching onto his fast evaporating patience.

I didn’t blame him one bit when the lid finally blew off. And at that exact moment I was displaced from my main villain’s seat and relegated to a sidekick’s place – a much-preferred sidekick with a very soft heart, I might add. Like a faithful sidekick, I thoroughly enjoyed adding my two bits here and there, ‘Listen to papa’, ‘Get your own pen, please’ and so on without raising my blood pressure one tiny notch.

Half an hour later, peace had descended, the children though sulking still, were getting along with their sums while The Husband begged me for a cup of tea because ‘his throat was all dry.’

I have to admit handling the children isn’t half as bad when one doesn’t have to do it himself/herself. In fact, it can be quite an enjoyable thing, funny even, if you’re watching the whole ‘performance’ from the sidelines.

 

PS: I didn’t even know I had a sadistic streak. I swear I had no clue till this weekend.

PSS: We still have another week to go, The Husband’s gone and I’m back in the main villain’s seat. Pray for me, please.

 

********

Linking up with the Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Blogging Challenge #writebravely #writetribeproblogger

 

and with Mackenzie at Reflections from Me #mg

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
Five ways to trounce the anger demon

Five ways to trounce the anger demon

This post was the pick of the week at Monday Mommy Moments.

If you follow me on Facebook you would have seen this update on my timeline a few days back.

 

And that was just a five-minute snippet of my entire day. Children can certainly drive you to the brink. Sometimes I think they are part of God’s master plan to teach us patience.

I yell at the twins. Multiple times a day. What follows is worse – they grow sullen and I am left with the feeling that I messed up, that I could have done better, that it really wasn’t worth it. Also, as they grow, I find yelling losing its effectiveness. If you have a tween at home you’ll know the eye-rolls and the arguing and the doors being shut. Oh! the door banging – how it provokes me!

And then it goes completely downhill.

I’ve blogged about this before . And I still remember the look on my daughter’s face after the incident I spoke about in that post. She was barely able to talk, back then.

Never had I experienced such extreme emotional outbursts as I have since the children came along. Click To Tweet

It is only a few years ago that I became aware of the necessity of keeping my cool.

Anger vitiates the home atmosphere and we say things we wish we never should have. Click To Tweet

Also, I wonder what example I’m setting for the children (yeah always, always the weight of being a role model). Besides, it is such a dreadful time waster.

So here are five ways in which I am trying to get past my anger.

Being aware of specific triggers

This has been tremendously helpful. I have learnt to recognise my triggers. There are specific times during the day when I’m most likely to lose my temper – Mornings would be the worst, then come study-time and bedtime. In fact whenever there’s a deadline to meet I know a yell is round the corner. So those are the times I plan for and remind myself to keep my cool.

Removing yourself from the scene

I’d almost forgotten this one till a friend reminded me of it on that Facebook thread. It works better for older children. For instance after I give them their breakfast in the morning, I tell them to watch the clock and get busy with other morning chores. I would have done myself a world of good had I not sat watching H wear that sock that day.

What’s the worse that can happen?

That’s a question I ask myself as I feel my patience slipping. So they’re slow in the morning, they’ll miss part of their breakfast. Or they’ll miss the bus. At night they’ll go to bed half an hour late. Is that worth yelling? Often it isn’t. Would it delay us further? In most cases it does. Oh and if they have flouted one of the unbreakable rules they have a yell coming and I do it without a twinge of guilt because I know they well deserve it.

Take a break, make yourself happy

This one is important because if I’m stressed or unhappy my patience runs dry way faster. I make time for myself. So I have a quiet cup of tea before I wake them in the morning. Or I try to meet up with friends in the evening – that’s absolutely therapeutic.

Partner up with your children

Long back when the children were really small we had the concept of an Angel Day when everyone would try to be good. That still works sometimes. Also, when I’m expecting a stressful day, if I have a work deadline or we’re having visitors for instance, I warn them off. It helps immensely that they’re older and understand me more. On good days not only do they tone down their squabbling, they also lend a hand with the chores.

That said, there still are days, many more of them than what I’d like, when I forget and give way to impatience. But I’m trying and getting better at it most certainly.

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

Linking up with  Kreative Mommy for her #MondayMommyMoments. Do drop by to check out suggestions from other moms.
Kreativemommy.com

 

The trouble with being a good girl

The trouble with being a good girl

Dear daughter,

These last few years I have watched you grow into a wonderful young girl. A good girl – I’ve heard people call you that and I’ve seen how you glow with happiness each time someone says it. You deserve it too. However, there’s a danger hidden away in the midst of all the compliments and I write to you today, to tell you about it.

Many times over you will hear people (including me, sometimes) praising you for, or pushing you to be – a good girl.
In the middle of a fight you’ll hear – “Let him have the toy N, you’re a good girl, no?”
Or at school – “Be a good girl and sit quietly.”
Or at home – “Good girl, run and get my phone, please.”

Interestingly enough, you will hear it much more than your brother. And that is rather ironic because I see you trying harder than he ever does. He really doesn’t seem to care much for what people think of him. But you do. Which is why the danger is greater for you.

The thing is, the more people praise you, the harder you try to fit into their image of a good girl. As you grow you make that image your own. It becomes your yardstick for measuring your worth. And that’s a little crazy for many reasons.

To begin with, being ‘good’ is a rather vague idea. So when you set out to be a ‘good girl’ you set up unclear, unrealistic expectations for yourself. Obviously, you cannot meet all of them, and then you end up feeling guilty or incompetent or not-good-enough your whole life.

If you are always striving to be a ‘good girl’ you set yourself up for failure and unhappiness. Click To Tweet

Sounds weird coming from me? Yes I know. And no that does not mean you have the license to be rude or irresponsible, inconsiderate or unkind. What that does mean is that you do not always need to do what you think is expected of you.

Being a good girl is important but being real is even more important. Click To Tweet

Get that? Being the real ‘you’ is important for there will come a day when you will realise that fulfilling every one’s expectations isn’t really making you happy from the inside. Then you will try to figure out what you truly want. And that will be difficult because you’ve been so busy listening to everyone else you’ve never listened to your own heart. You’ve lost touch with yourself. And if you don’t know what truly makes you happy how can you ever hope to be happy at all?

Besides, being a good girl 24X7 is exhausting. You can never relax because you’re always on guard lest the real you slip out of the mask that you wear all the time.

Worse still, you never make real friends – the pukka kinds who know you inside out, share your deepest darkest secrets and still love you. Because you’re always scared the real you isn’t good enough, that they won’t love you enough if they know the real you. But then it isn’t necessary to be liked by everyone, to fit in all the time. It is worth losing a hundred superficial friends for a handful of real ones.

It takes courage, of course and a lot of practice. That is weird, isn’t it? Being yourself should be the easiest thing on earth. Unfortunately, putting only our best versions out for others, comes way more naturally to us. Being real needs practice. But do it. Do it even if you find it hard. Do it because in the end it is the most liberating feeling ever.

It is important to be yourself because there’s only one of you in this whole world :-). Click To Tweet

So look inwards. Get to know yourself independent from people and happenings around you. Speak your mind – be kind, be polite but be honest too. People will love you and respect you for that.

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

Linking up with #Chatty Blogs from Shanaya Tales

Meet me on Instagram @obsessivemom06

Load More
Something is wrong. Response takes too long or there is JS error. Press Ctrl+Shift+J or Cmd+Shift+J on a Mac.

RSS On my other blog

  • Colours of Friendship
    ‘You draw a red arc like this,’ said Sita, taking Anjali’s index finger in her hand and tracing out the shape on the drawing book, ‘and then inside it you make an orange one, then yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet and Voila! you’ve made a rainbow.’ Anjali tried to dredge out some memory of […]