Month: October 2012

Seeing is believing

Aaj C ke papa aaye thy Mystery Reader ban ke. Aap to kabhi nahien aate. (C’s dad came today as Mystery Reader. You never come.)

She told me sometime last week. This Monday she got in to the car,

Aaj party thi. Kuch friends ke parents fruits le ke aaye thy. Aap to kuch nahien laate. (We had a party today. Parents of some of my friends got fruits for the party. You never get anything.)

Buzz’s class has various small events every now and then that the parents volunteer for. There are different things to bring like food, decoration, games etc. Then there are activities where you give your time like reading to them, helping them during nature walks, decorating the classroom for various festivals. Given that D and I work on tight schedules between dropping and picking Buzz off and getting home on time for Bugz, taking time off from work frequently to be part of the activities in person gets very difficult for us. Hence we mostly sign up for things to bring, hand offs of which happens without Buzz being aware. For activities that do require giving our time, we pick those that we can work on off hour rather than during work hours. Like there were sign-up sheets for various activities, most of which required about 6 hours of parents time during the academic year. I signed up for the only activity that requires 20 hours of parents time because most of that task required working off regular hours.

Buzz of course does not understand any of this. For her it is a simple matter of someone or the other’s parent comes to read to them every week but neither D nor I do. Some of her friends’ parents come with fresh fruit plates minutes before the party but her parents don’t.

Today was a Halloween Party at her school where the kids were to go Trick or Treating to the close by businesses. Parents were asked to volunteer to help out with taking the kids. The idea was to have at least a ratio of 1:2 (parent:child). I saw the sign-up sheet get filled every day and soon came to realize that we would have a teary Buzz on our hands if one of us did not go with her when most of her friends’ parents would be going along.

I juggled a couple of meeting and promised to make up for work later in the night. As I was getting her dressed I told her how I would go to school with her and spend some time there with her. A super excited Buzz walked in to her class, got busy showing off her costume and admiring everyone else’s costume, forgetting all about me. While she was busy with her friends, I found a quiet corner in her class, sat down and got busy with my work emails in the 15 or so minutes I had till the party started. Buzz came running to me suddenly, sat in my lap and refused to get up. As she turned her face to me, I saw tears in her eyes.

Mujhe laga aap chale gaye. (I thought you had left)

she said. I reassured her, I was not going anywhere, and hugged her. She sat in my lap till it was time to go.

Every now and then, as we walked to the various places, picked up candy, said our ‘thank yous’, showed off her costume, she looked at one of her friend who was holding my other hand, tugged my hand  and said,

Aap mere saath aaye ho? (You came with me?)

Smile never left her face the entire hour long walk. Simple joys of a child. Checks and balances of life.

Magic

Nose scrunched up as she laughs, lips pouting as she cries, a quick shake of her head to say no, turning around followed by walking backward before she sits down, demands of food from anyone who is eating, expecting claps when she does something special, showing resentment when told ‘no’, always moving – Bugz.

She wave bye to everyone as I carry her upstairs, tries to run around as I get her ready for bed and throws one last fit as I try and get her to sleep. She screams, she cries, she resists being held, she tries removing my hand from her waist, she calms down, she holds my hand and just like that 5 minutes later she is fast asleep. As I pick her up to lay her down in her crib, I look down at her face.

Talking non-stop, eyes shining, jumping over things, being a beeeegggg helper, dictating menu of the day, practicing her letters, building towers, colouring any paper she can lay her hands on, inventing games, laughing aloud, drama queen tears, always moving – Buzz

She gives a hug and a kiss as she walks upstairs, switches on the night light, lies down on her bed and waits for me to give her the blanket. She smiles, she demands her kiss, she says ‘I love you’ and she closes her eyes as I walk out the room to let her sleep. A couple of hours later, as I make my way to my room for the night, I peep in to her room and look down at her face.

Sandman is said to sprinkle sand in to the eyes of kids at night to bring on sleep and dreams. This is all part of fairytales of course and not true. There is not dust and the sleep is tiredness induced but there is something magical about watching the ever changing expressive face of a child be at peace as s/he sleeps. I have come to believe that there is no sand dust for the kids, but in fact there is pixie dust for the parents which enchants then so much that it becomes impossible to look away from the sleeping angels.

And before you ask, yes I am under the spell.

Slow melt

Bugz has moved on from being a one-trick (pony) to a jack (of many trades ..err tricks). For the longest time all she could do was clap. Bye-bye was a hit and miss thing. High-five got more hits than misses. These days she is picking new things every single day though.

Kitte badde hum? (How big are we?)

I would ask Buzz when she was little. She would raise both her hands high to show how big she was and would look absolutely adorable doing so. I was itching to teach Bugz the same and started on it yesterday when I had some alone time with her. Teach and repeat 5-6 times and Bugz had it down.

Today was the day to show off the newly learned trick and she came out with flying colors. Smiles and claps followed, which meant Bugz would not stop, even when we stopped asking her the cue question.

Things calmed down after a bit. D and I got busy in the kitchen while the kids started playing.

Wow, look at them!

exclaimed D, all of a sudden. I looked up to see them sitting on the floor next to each other. Buzz bent a little and gave Bugz a kiss on her cheek. Bugz then followed by stretching up to peck Buzz’s cheek. Repeat, repeat again and again.

Don’t know who taught Bugz the kissing part. All I know is that seeing the two of them had us the parents slowly melt in to a puddle of mush.

Khel Khel Mein

Yeah lo Bugz! (Take this Bugz!)

I hear and look up from my morning chores just in time to see Bugz picking up something from Buzz’s hand.

Waaps do Bugz! (Give it back Bugz!)

Bugz drops whatever it is that she picked, back in Buzz’s hand.

Good job Bugz!

Buzz says with a smile and Bugz laughs out loud showing all her six teeth. As they repeat their game of picking up and dropping, I look closely to see it is a nut of their ‘nut and bolt’ toy set that is being passed around.

I look back to the time when Buzz was the age Bugz is now. She knew what play was but did not know how to play with someone. It was about trying to stack things together, picking things and throwing things, chewing on things she could get in her mouth. I used to spend a lot of time playing with her. Blocks were her favorite then, which she would pick up one by one, hand them over to me and I would build something. She would try and place a few all by herself resulting in the structure toppling over and we would start over again.

Contrast to today, Bugz is at a stage where she does not know how to play with people. She needs to be engaged for a game to begin, but she understands that around Didi is where fun is to be had. Which means she is seen tagging behind Buzz.

Nahein Bugz! (No Bugz!)

Buzz screams as she sees Bugz coming because she knows Bugz will aim for her Lego building and break it. She quickly stacks four-five Legos together and hands them over.

Yeah lo Bugz!

As Bugz gets busy with breaking and trying to re-stack the Legos, Buzz goes back to her original structure. Every now and then she points to something and say,

Bugz, wo wala dena. (Give me that one, Bugz.)

and the little one will hand something or other to her Didi, does not matter if it is the correct Lego piece or not.

There are times when I have the guilt rise up in me, telling me I don’t spend as much time playing with Bugz as I used to with Buzz. Then I look at them playing together and realize my older one has taken my place and keeps her younger sister engaged. New games are invented on a daily bases and played.

Pakdo Bugz, pakdo! (Catch it Bugz, catch it!)

As both of them run behind the ball Buzz kicked.

Laughter rings in the house with every game they come up with and my heart fills with joy looking at them growing up together.

Lunch date, talk and looking back

Between two kids and two hectic work schedules D and I get little or no free time to spend together. Which means we work on making time, which in turn means leaving work in the middle of the day to have lunch together. Cell phones are kept aside, kids don’t need taking care of, time for just the two of us.

On our lunch date early this week we got talking about the importance of experiences vs. possessions (an article about the same here) and what it means. We debated about how everyone is different and for someone possessions and the joy it brings in indeed more important, while for others the experiences they have had is what brings the biggest smiles. We were giving examples to support our arguments when D asked me about our car. It is our possession but driving it is a great experience. Where do we bucket that? We came up with more of such examples and the line started to blur. Why do you need that big flat screen TV? Why do you buy that dress? Why that powerful laptop? Why that particular face wash? Better picture quality, looking good, faster processing, glowing skin. Possessions that enhance the everyday experiences.

Having made a complete mishmash of the original theory we moved on to looking purely at our experiences – vacations, skiing trips, hikes, camping trips, bungee jump, helicopter ride, concerts. At which point I went on a tangent and started telling D about how special the Eric Clapton concert we went to was for me. I have talked about this so many times that I was shocked when D asked me why it was special.

‘Why would you ask me why it is special? You know why it is?’, I told him.
‘No, I don’t. Tell me.’, he said.

And it hit me, I go around talking about that particular concert with everyone but never have said a word to the one person who made it special for me. Idiot, that is me.

I went ahead and told him all about it. Saw the smile that came on his face and stayed as we walked out. A perfect end to a lunch date, me thinks.

It is a pity party!

And you are all invited.

He who would have others pity him must pity others!
-Yiddish Proverb

We need not..
..you will get through it
..it will get better
..you are doing just fine
..hang in there
..there is light at the end of the tunnel
..don’t be too hard on yourself
We need..
..laughs
..to feel we am not alone
..to look at issue bigger than ours
..the dark clouds to go away
..to have a pity party

What better way is there to have a party than invite friends? So welcome one, welcome all. Tell me what is bringing you down currently. Share.

Bring your humor, snark, nastiness, poignancy, seriousness, sarcasm. Let go a little. Let us peek in to your burdens of the moment. Let the load rest here for a while. Win a badge for the best written self-pity note as extra bonus.

Let the party begin. Pity and be pitied!