Month: June 2013

Universal language

Last week D was out of town and I was dealing with a lot of small issues which seemed huge at the time. In no mood to cook for the evening, I bundled the kids in the car and drove to the Indian Chaat place for a little informal dinner. Samosa, Chola Bhatura and Black Forest Pastry in hand we found ourselves a table. As I went about getting water and spoons, Buzz and Bugz ran around me. Once seated, I divided food in portions and passed in on to the kids. Bugz stood on the chair as she tried drinking water out of an open cup using a straw, while Buzz stood by the side, watching Hindi songs on B4U as she ate. Chairs, they are meant for sitting, we would never have guessed! There was water all over our table and food which only reached the mouth half the time. Thank God for informal dinning!

The table on our side had two girls as well. One around six or so and the other a little over two. The little girl(LG) on that table was not too into food and kept running around. Once when she came near my table, I waves Hi. Shyly she ran off. Few minutes later she came back, I smiled, she smiled, Buzz looked on at our little interaction. LG ran off again and was back again a minute later. Buzz looked at her and jumped, she jumped too. Buzz jumped twice, she jumped twice. Not a single word was exchanged but the two of them devised a game and got on playing around the two tables.

Every time they came near my table, I had food ready for Buzz. She would open her mouth, I would put food in and off she would go. LG saw it once, the next time she came around, she opened her mouth too. I gave a quick look to her mom and at her smile, feed her too. Soon food was being shared, kids were getting fed, no words needed really.

I see this with Buzz and Bugz every day, where Buzz does something and Bugz follows, but it somehow always takes me by surprise at how quickly, without any real communication, total strangers to each other, kids make up games and start playing it. And it always amazes me on how easy kids are to handle when they have other kids to play with. Food is finished, games are done, friends are made and time goes by so quickly.

Kids and their universal language! Parents and their universal understanding of the trials of parenting!

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Diet and exercise

Two kids, a full time job and a house to take care of and the pregnancy weight was going nowhere. I know my body well and know that weight loss does not come easy to me. I have to really work towards it.

I looked around and diet seemed to be the easiest of all the options available to me, but there my mental barrier against dieting comes in to picture. I don’t do diets but more importantly I believe kids look up to parents in most everything and try to emulate them as they grow old. With two girls, who probably will have body image issues like most girls in their teens do, I did not want to set up a precedence of extreme diets in my family.

While talking to a friend on this issue, I was telling her, “as a late teen, early 20 year old there were always a couple of kilos I wanted to lose or a few inches gone from this area or that. Looking back I was a thin tall girl. Can’t imagine what I used to think at that age”. She came back with, “we all used to think like that because we were stupid and immature”. “True”, I told her, “but our kids will be stupid and immature too”.

At least in my head, I want to sit with my kids and eat whatever it is they are eating. I can restrict the quantity of what I eat, or not apply ghee to my roti while they eat ghee soaked rotis, but I want them to see me eating all the same things they do. This meant all the no carb diets which have the best results were not an option for me.

After giving it a lot of thought, I made small changes to my diet. I let go of my fav. cereal for breakfast in favor of boiled eggs, a loaf of bread and a glass of milk. I moved from white rice to brown rice for lunch. I gave up my evening snacks in favor of carrots and fruits. I cut down on one roti for dinner but added extra serving of vegetables and lentils. The change is so small at that it almost went unnoticed by the ever observant Buzz. The only change she really noticed was the egg for breakfast and that is also because the change was made for her as well. Every now and then she says she wants to eat cereal and she gets it. So really it becomes her choice to eat something different from the rest of the family and not me standing out with my diet.

I gave these changes a little time to see if I felt deprived or unsatisfied. I don’t! Because I haven’t really given up on anything, I don’t miss not eating any of it. Every time I feel l want to eat cereal, I do. If I feel like having some form of sweet, I have a little. Moderation for me is the key.

The next thing I started doing was adding exercises to the mix over the weekend. Finding time during the weekdays was an issue for various reasons, but weekends I could make time. I used to run a lot pre Buzz, and used to have dreams of me running while I was pregnant. To realize that I could not run for more than a few minutes was a shameful realization. About a month back a friend send out an email to ask I was interested in running outside since summer was here. Prompt “yes” was my reply. We started meeting every Saturday morning at a park nearby and kept it easy. Run 3 mins, walk a min and see how far we could go. Running outside makes such a big difference than running on a treadmill.

I have improved a lot since and now have slowly added running a couple of days during my weekdays as well. I am ready with even my shoes on when D comes home. I mostly wave  bye to him as a greeting and go for half an hour run. I don’t go fast but that I can run for 30 mins without a break makes me feel happy.

The weight loss is happening slowly but surely. In fact I am at my lowest weight since I had Buzz but it is not really a motivating factor right now. At the end of every letter to my kids I write – be happy, be healthy. That is what is motivating me. Every evening as I sit down with my bowl of carrots and fruits, both the kids ask for the same and not the usual crackers. Every time I go for my run or D goes to the gym Buzz asks what about her exercise and Bugz pretends to run around the house. If my kids gain a positive body image, if they learn the importance of healthy food, if they take in the importance of exercise, that will be the best gift I will receive at the end.

All the world’s a stage

Act 1:

Buzz and I were having a conversation as we waited at the airport to board our flight here. An old Indian lady commented on how well Buzz spoke Hindi. Buzz has to chime in of course,

I know English, Hindi, Spanish and Chinese.

‘Chinese?’, we both exclaimed at the same time.

Buzz went on to say a couple of words in Chinese to prove her language powers.

She has a few kids who speak the language in her class and has picked up a handful of words from them.

Act 2:

We were at Delhi airport waiting for our flight out. There was an Air India plane standing at the terminal we had to board our flight from. When boarding started Buzz wanted to board as well but we told her we were flying another airline and we had to wait for the Air India airplane to fly off and ours to come before we could board.

Why are we not flying Air India, Mumma?
It does not go to the city where we have to go?
The pilot does not know the way to our city?
No, only our pilot knows how to get to our city.
Which city can this pilot fly to?
London (it was a flight to London)

Act 3:

Buzz’s class got introduced to the concept of Maps. They looked at the world map and the country map. Their homework for the month was to mark on a map all the places they had visited and may want to visit. I printed a world map and a country map, sat Buzz down and we marked the placed Buzz had visited, starting from the latest thinking it would be easier for her to remember. We were half way done when Buzz was done. With so many other interesting things that go on in her life, sitting still for homework was a bit much. Any future attempts for moving forward with the homework were rejected for the rest of the week so that is how the homework was submitted.

One evening a week or so after the homework was submitted, during pickup from school, Buzz was mad at me. I asked her what was wrong.

We had to mark places we want to visit on the map too. I did not mark those.

Aah! so she had presented her homework in front of the class and was mad.

Which place did you want to visit?
China and London.

Act 4:

Which airline goes to China, Mumma?
err..Air China maybe (praying there is an air carrier by that name)
Which one goes to London?
I don’t know.
Air India, Mumma, Air India!
Oh yeah, from India Air India goes to London.
When can we go to London, Mumma?
I don’t know, during our vacation?
You always say that! You never take me to China and London!

Closing Monolog:

London and China you will be the end of me. Need to find ways to get to you two sooner than later. Or pray real hard that she gets over her visit places phase.

On this world’s stage we travel on!

Dabangg Mirchi

RULES OF THE LAND:

1. If something is done a certain way, it has to be done the exact same way every single time. Any form of diversion, big or small, is not allowed.

2. If I like something, I grab it. Anyone, kid or adult, hurt in the process is irrelevant. Hair clips can be pulled out of the hair of random kids in the park, toys can be pulled out of everyone’s hand at home and outside.

3. Anything I can lay my hands on is a play thing. If you don’t want it to be used as a plaything keep it out of sight and height.

4. Any slight hurt/bump/nick/fall is a huge deal. You better dance to my tunes till I am satisfied with the attention I get and move on to other things before you can move on to other things.

5. When I call, you better show your face pronto. Else get ready to be called at increasing decibels every other second.

6. When I say ‘Poo’ no matter time of day or night come and take me to the pot and sit with me as long as feel like hanging out there. That I already went in my diaper holds no meaning.

7. When at a park, don’t dare say “let’s go back”. You can try and force me to, but you will have to catch me first for that and carry me kicking and screaming and then there is always the strapping me in the car seat bit which is impossible when I am wiggling and jumping. Save your energy and just let me play.

8. Milk is your best friend, the only way you can calm me down so keep it handy at all times.

9. Sharing is not in my dictionary, give up already and live in peace.

10. I wear the pants in the family, or am trying my best to wear them on my own. That I put both my legs in the same side is no laughing matter. I am serious about this and ‘NO’, you cannot help.

11. I win every fight, Didi notwithstanding.

Signed,
-Dabangg Mirchi
(Background Music: hudd hudd mirchi)

Itti si hansi..itti si khushi..

Dear Buzz,

The more you grow up, more of your personality comes out and more I am thankful for the wonderful kid you are. I am not saying that when you start crying for seemingly no reason and don’t stop, I don’t lose my patience or when you keep playing during a meal despite constant reminders to be careful and spill your milk all over the table, the floor, your clothes, I don’t get mad. I am saying that this is a stage you are in and as a kid you are entitled to you tantrums and your games but there is so much positivity in you that as a mom I am grateful every single day.

The first time Bugz got a timeout was mostly because of you. No, you were not at fault, she was. But that day, I stopped trying to explain to you that she was too little and did not understand what she was doing. I took her to the timeout corner and made her stand and I turned around to see a huge smile on your face. You two were on equal footings from then on. You both could and would get timeouts for things that you were not supposed to do. The next time Bugz got a timeout you asked me not to give her one. When I stood firm and Bugz had to go to timeout, you went and sat next to her. Bugz being Bugz pulled your hair and you came running, complaining. I asked you why you wanted to sit with her, you of course could not put it in to words so went back to your games. A couple of minutes later you came to me and asked if Bugz was done with her timeout. As soon as I said yes, you ran to her, held her hand and brought her back. Now a days every time you figure Bugz is about to get a timeout, you run to stand in front of her and tell me, ‘Mumma Bugz se galti ho gayi, phir se nahein karegi’ (Mumma Bugz made a mistake, she will not do it again). Then you turn to her and say, ‘Bugz sorry bolo’. Bugz, the smart one, promptly puts both her hands on her cheeks. I keep a stern face and nod but I smile this big smile inside.

Not just this, but in so many other things make you an amazing elder sister. But for the time you go to school, you always want Bugz to go with you when we step out of the house. You hold her hand before any of us can. You come running if she falls or is crying. You show her off the few times she comes to your school. Once you are dressed, your next question is about Bugz’ dress. You keep her entertained and make her laugh in the backseat of the car when we are on long drives. You hold her milk and keep it aside when she is done. ‘Didi’, she calls out and you come running no matter what you are doing. Little things, so many little things you do for her and my heart swells up seeing it all.

When we were in India, you Fufu got you a cake. By the time he came home you were fast asleep so you saw it in the morning. You decided with your Fufu that the cake was to be had in the evening. You waited all day and refused to cut it without Fufu. You were again asleep by the time Fufu came home. The same thing happened the next day. The morning after Fufu decided, morning was as good a time to cut a cake as any. The cake was cut and you sat in Fufu’s lap, smiling, talking, eating your cake. I looked on amazed at the control and will of a little kid. You wanted everyone around when the cake was cut and you waited a couple of days for it to be so.

You know our rule of not having more than one candy a day. ‘Too much sugar’, you come and tell me and you follow the rule, no questions asked. I can’t believe that we still have candy left from Halloween and Valentine’s day. You don’t even ask for them every day and I am left wondering at the kid you are.

You were crying a few days back and said a few nasty things to me. I replied calmly and said ‘no’ to whatever it was you were asking for. You came back with, ‘you are not being nice to me’. I asked if you were being nice to me for saying all the things you said. You started crying louder, looked at me with tear filled eyes and said, ‘I am sorry for not being nice, Mumma’. I held you and consoled you but you kept saying sorry. You calmed down after I convinced you that I was not hurt and that I still loved you, but what stayed with me was my shock at your realization and how much it meant to you that you had hurt me with your words. I know they talk about this at school but you are still a little kid. I guess I was not expecting this depth of remorse from you.

I make rice two days in a row and you tell me, ‘Kal roti banana OK?’ (make roti tomorrow, ok?). I think out loud on what to cook for the day and you are there with your preference before anyone else – Kadhi, chole, rajma, paneer, dosa, khichadi and your Pa and I laugh out loud. Our kid is old enough to dictate what gets made in the house. But then there are times when you look at some vegetable and don’t like it (to be honest I look at it and don’t feel like eating it either) but you still finish your meal without much fuss. The only extra requirements in such a case is that there be extra serving of yogurt and I feed you the last part of your meal. How can I ever say no to such a request?

We have this game of kisses getting over. I tell you my kisses are getting over and you give me loads of yours to fill up my stock. I do the same and we laugh and roll as we play. In between all your plays and friends and activities there is always time for a hug for you Pa and me. In between all the times that Bugz hogs the limelight there is always a quite holding and sitting on my lap from you. In all the daily grind of running around, there is always your laugh to make us smile. In between all the stress that comes every day, there is your innocent non-stop chatter which makes us laugh.

At the end of the day as I kiss you good night, you tell me, ‘I love you, Mumma’. I put the blanket on you and we blow kisses to each other. I step out of your room, thankful for everything that you are, thankful for having you. You are precious to us, more than we can every say in words, like an answer to a prayer send out unknown to even us. Your laughing, jumping, talking, ever moving image is what I carry with me as I close my eyes every night. My very own hansi, my very own khushi. Stay healthy, stay happy, stay you sweetheart. Always!

Loads of love,
-Maa