Category: Us

You – Through My Eyes

Dear Buzz,

There are some days when the need to write just takes over. Today is one of those days, so I dust up the cobwebs of my memory to dig up the password to this now rarely visited place.

There are so many things I want to capture, so many little things you do and have been doing, so many ways you are growing and learning, so many reasons you give us to be proud and happy.

This past year has been a year of emotional learning for you. You have this deep seeded kindness in you, where you are unfailingly nice to your classmates. Due to this, people come become friends with you. It’s a slow process, but in the end without you trying, you always have friends around you. This year though, you learned that not everyone does and goes about friendships like the way you do. You learned the grays of friendship. It was a hard lesson to learn, one you struggled with. Why would you do something that is wrong, was a question you asked me over and over again. Through endless drama, lots of tears, and repeated struggles – you finally found your footing, and stood strong for what was right, not bowing down to the popularity contest at school. You in fact, want to stay far away from the popular kids at school, and if not that, then not behave like they do. As much as I worry about what higher grades, and different schools will bring, this gives me peace that you will find your way and be stronger for it.

This past year has also been about you going deeper into a sport you love. You have always liked swimming, and had wanted to join a swim team for a while. The bottle neck was of course me. I did not know, if we as a family were ready for the time commitment it would require. One day you came back from school and asked me to search for ‘x’ swim team, call them and ask them if you could join. If you went that extra mile and found out about the place, well who was I to stop you. And so now we are a swim team family. You swim, I feel, non-stop. I sit, I feel, non-stop at the pool deck. As much as it gets too much for me inside the muggy pool sides, you love it so much. There is no time when given a chance you don’t want to go swim (or play in the water). Walking down the mall, sitting on the couch, while doing your homework – you suddenly break in to some stroke that you have been working on. You love to compete, swim meets are fun for you. You have times you want to improve and are so excited when you do make them, before of course moving the target forward a little.

Your love for books is going strong. You finish 500+ pages books in about a day, so yeah you read about a book a day. But more than all the books that you read, it is interesting to watch you re-reading parts of book. You always have a reason on why you went back to a certain part of a book, and your reasons are my ahaa or oh wow moments. It gives me great joy to watch you reaching for the classics as well. You current favorite is the “St. Clare’s” series by “Enid Blyton.” Apparently the “Malory Towers” series is good, but not as good as the “St. Clare’s.” That these books are set in a school, with issues between friends and other classmates, and how different people deal with them, and what their motives are, resonates deeply with you. Your biggest gripe though is that you don’t get presents, only books – books from tooth fairy (as you pointedly look at me), books on birthdays, books for Christmas. Listening you complain over and over again, I asked you to let me know what present you wanted for Christmas. You though and though, came up with a number of ideas, went over their pros and cons, and in the end decided on a couple of books you really wanted. I put my hands up in the air, and gave up.

Your one big love-hate relationship is with Skiing. You love to ski, you hate the cold, and the fact that Bugz is never cold, while you are freezing, upsets you no end. You are a confident skier, but are a caution one too. You stay watchful and go ahead where you feel confident, unlike a certain someone who goes full throttle and worries about the consequences latter. If we could sprinkle powder all over the mountains, but made them a balmy 50 degrees – you would be in heaven. This past year we have been to so many different ski resorts and you have enjoyed them all. From having waffles at the top of Whistler Mountain, to seeing -18 degrees at Jackson Hole; from skiing fluffy powder at Alta/Snowbird, to skiing under wast blue skies of Big Sky; from the fanciest ski lodges at Sun Valley to skiing 12 inches fresh snow at Squaw Valley; from skiing 45 degree steeps on our local mountain to skiing the volcano of Mt. Bachelor – You have cried from the cold, been bribed by promises of hot chocolate, you have kept going, and skied with speeds that I have given up any hope of catching you while on the slopes.

Over the past year, you and me have started our little talks. No more the little baby talks, but heart to hearts. Every time you are working on some emotional issues, you ask for my time. We find our little corner, some times in a quite room, most time it is the kitchen counter while I do meal prep. You lay out your thoughts in front of me. I give you a different perspective (sometimes), or advise from my experience, sometimes I just listen. We had a rocky start to this, because you thought I did not understand, but we are getting to understand, and that helps. Now every time a friend is in trouble, your biggest advise to them is to go talk to their mom. “Mom’s do understand, and have the best advise,” you tell them. Does my heart a world of good to be able to help, but most of all I cherish our talks and your time together. That you trust me, is my biggest gift.

You are tall, athletic, and beautiful inside and out. You are serious, focused, and laugh at the craziest places. You are sensitive, kind, and sometimes totally spaced out. You read non-stop, love to draw, and love to hear stories of the time when you were a baby. You swim, ski and are crazy about football. You love colored trousers, flippy sequin T-shirts, and sweatshirts with hoodies. You love mangoes, rasmalai, and banana ice-creams. You hate long ski lines, below freezing temperatures, and, Bugz bragging about not being cold. You hate peanut butter, caramel, and sweets with cinnamon in them. You can’t care about brushing your hair, go crazy brushing your teeth, and can’t dance with any kind of grace. Life is so amazing with you in it, and you are our joy. We watch you grow, and seeing you become this amazing person, gives us endless joy. Stay happy, stay healthy, stay you – Always!

Loads of love,
-Maa

Get Milk

D’s trip to a grocery store follows a general pattern –

Me: Can you head to the grocery store? We really need to and I am stuck with xyz right now.
D: Sure, can you make me a cup of tea before I leave?
Me: !!!!
D: OK OK, what do we need to get?
Me: *rattle out a list of things which are everyday grocery list for me* Onions, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, green chilies, eggs, milk..
D: What? I can’t remember all that! Can you write it down for me?
Me: *rather than argue, I quickly find a paper and pen and write it all down*

20 minutes later the phone rings.

D: I lost the list. I kept it in my pocket but can’t find it. Can you tell me what all I need to get?
Me: *goes over things again*
D: Wait, I can’t remember all this. Let me grab things from the veggi section and call you back!
Me: !!!!

Call after 5 mins

D: Do we need Penuts?
Me: No
D: How about juice?
Me: No
D: Oh oh I see yogurt?
Me: No! we make our own. Can you please stick to the list?

2 or 3 calls later, what is required is bought and paid for and I get a message saying, “Done, heading home!”

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All this is of course when he is going to the grocery store from home. Then there are times when I tell him to get something on his way from work.

6:15 P.M.
Me:  Can you get so and so on your way from work?
D: Sure!
Me: What time are you leaving?
D: 15 mins

6:40 P.M.
Me: Have you left yet?
D: Got stuck. Leaving in 5

7:00 P.M.
D: On my way
Me: Don’t forget to get so and so
D: Yeah!

7:30 P.M.
Garage door opens. The kids run down to greet him. There is general cheer everywhere. And it all comes to a stand still as soon as he sees my face.
D: Oh no! I forgot. I will go now and get it.
Me: Never mind! We will make do without it for today.

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I was out for a run when a car caught my eye. It had something written on the driver side windshield. As it came closer, I looked closely. In bold letters, with a red sharpie, it read – GET MILK!

I had to stop to take in the brilliance of it! It was practical and funny and perfect, all at the same time. Try and forget that one, dear husbands!

 

 

Fairies

Dear Buzz,

For over a year now you have waited for this day. You have asked endless questions, you have watched your friends closely, you have read books about it and you have been impatient for your turn to come. Kids in your class started out with the phenomena more than a year back and that is when your questions started. Last year just before PD mama’s wedding, I joked and told you to hold on till after the wedding and you took my word for it, but the wedding happened and days and months ticked on after and nothing. You counted out your friends in class and the numbers kept dwindling till you were the only one left and that is when you started pushing.

Pushing hard on your teeth – if you could, you would get those teeth moving by sheer dint of your will. Your friends lost two, four – some even as high as twelve teeth, but the school year came to an end and you did not even have a wiggly tooth. You were so very disappointed.

Adding to it was all the visits Tooth Fairies were making to your friends’ place and your constant struggle with the question, “Are Tooth Fairies real?” You argued – all the doors and windows are locked at night; magic is not real; only birds have wings and even they can’t come in through closed windows. “How can Tooth Fairies be real?” you kept asking. But you wanted them to be real so bad, and that is where you were stuck. With your logic, you came up with simplest of solutions, “if I have a present under my pillow when my tooth falls, then they are real otherwise they are not.” How your Paa and I smiled at it all.

After quite a few complains of pain in your lower front tooth, for over a month, they finally did start to wiggle noticeably last week. The excitement level went up multiple folds in our household. The only time you talked tentatively about your teeth falling was when it came to the Tooth Fairy. Oh yes the present, I remember sweetheart, so on a recent trip to a store when I came across books, I bought two and told you I needed to hand them over to someone special. Not one more question you asked. You smiled and walked away.

Today when I came to pick you up in the evening, you smiled to show me what was missing, and then ran off to show me your precious tooth. Apparently eating cherries did the trick (along with freaking out your teachers, since they could not tell whether it was blood or cherry juice).  Then the chatter moved on to the gift. Bugz, super excited at sleep time peeped, “Tooth Fairy will come today, Didi!” You smiled big and whispered in my ears, “You are the Tooth Fairy Mumma, but Bugz is so little that she does not know.”

Yes sweetheart, Bugz is little but you are growing to be so big and sometimes I miss my little girl. But but I love the big girl you are becoming. Your next big milestone is here and we are super excited for you. We also know the second tooth is going to fall any day now, so enjoy your special time which has come after such a long wait. As always, stay healthy, stay happy, stay you!

Love,
-Maa

Uncertainty..changes..tears..looking ahead

I was to start back at work when Bugz was six months old. The transition did not worry me as much as it did the first time around with Buzz, but decisions still needed to be made and we decided that we wanted her to stay at home for a little while more before she went to a daycare or school. We started looking for a nanny, talked to more than a few over the phone, met 4 in person. I can’t pinpoint on what/why we settled on the nanny we did, call it instinct, call it a feeling, but looking back I can only be thankful for it. The love and care Bugz gets from S is unmatched. Bugz said, Bugz did, Bugz wants – this is what I walk home to everyday. Every interest of hers is taken care of, every dislike preempted. As a parent, while your heart swells up with love for you child, it also gives an extra tight squeeze when you see an outpour of love for him/her from someone else. I have lived with this feeling for over two years now and I still can’t find the right words to tell S what she has done for us.

Change of course has to come and as unbelievable as it sounds, Bugz starts school soon. S was involved in the entire process of finding the right fit of school for Bugz, applications, acceptance letters and when things were in place she booked tickets back to her home town for a long overdue visit before she started her next nanny job. We have all known the dates for 6 months now but as the numbers come down to single digits, the heart sinks a little. I come home to S holding Bugz a little tighter, her eyes moist and promises of phone calls. I look the other way as I blink away the tears. Goodbye were never my strong suite for a reason.

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Buzz is coming to the end to her school year and with it comes the next set of changes. She will be moving to a different branch of her current school due to a few different reasons. From a small, cozy 5 class rooms, all in one hallway school, where everyone knows everyone else, she is moving to 3 floor, six hallway, big school.

Her current school has been amazing for her. She has played and laughed and danced and performed and kicked a ball and skipped over rocks. She has made art and collected jewels from the yard and made friends and shared her toys, she has found ways to express herself and has grown in confidence.

The fact that she is moving to different branch of the same school, helps calm me down. I know the main core of the school is the same, I have loved the various focus points of the school and I know that is not going to change. A couple of teachers and a lot of kids from Buzz’s class are moving as well, which will help with transition big time. In all I am fairly relaxed about the move, but the fact that I walk in to her class with teary eyed teachers upsets me. How do you thank teachers that get so attached to your kids? How do you find words for all they have done for your kids?

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Re-orgs happened at works a few months back and a new project came online. It seemed interesting and I signed up for it. It was exciting and new and a great learning experience. As I was getting in the rhythm of things next set of re-orgs happened. Since I was committed to the first set of work, I was asked to continue till the end of June after which I transition the work to someone else. The first part is set to release by the end of the month and as I spend a lot of hours finishing as much as I can, I also prepare handoff documents for the person unknown to take over. There is a part of me who wants to see it to the end, but the practical part tells me, learning is done so move on. The silver lining of course is that I will be coming back to my original team and they are counting days.

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Momentum is building – bye bye S, yearend performance, bye bye school, deliver on work, bye bye project and it all ends with us getting on a plane for a vacation in the sun.

After all the anxieties of June we will welcome July with open arms for it brings calm along. Buzz and Bugz will be going to the same school, I will have my old team back, things will find a way to settle down again. Till then the countdown is on – 17 days to the vacation we have all been looking forward to.

Smiles

– All my work backlog is done. There is still a lot to do but at least it is only my work that I need to do. Plus the project I am working on is new (to me), super high importance but more importantly very interesting. #LearningNewThingsAndExecutingWellOnThem

– Ski season is done and dusted. Snow is melting away to give way to flower filled meadows. Buzz has gotten used to lazy Sundays again. No longer does she demand to be taken to the mountains. #FreeTimeForAChild

– For two weekends straight we stayed at home. The house was cleaned from top to bottom. For every place I cleaned, the two helpers cleaned the same place twice over. #SparkelingCleanMessFreeHouse

– Buzz has half an hour swimming class every weekend. I started taking Bugz to the pool as well. Bugz loves water, a flotation device keeps her safe, I let her do as she pleases. There will be time for learning the skills, this is time to have fun. She loves to play in water but was scared to jump in while standing at the edge of the pool. It took me 3 or so weeks but the fear is no more. Now jumping in is the new favorite activity. She is in and out of the pool every 5 mins #JumpRightIn

– Buzz’s school had an art show recently. They save three art works for each child through the school year and then display it on a particular day. To see art done by your child, presented beautifully is an experience. Buzz loves art, she is forever drawing, coloring, creating but this year’s art show was an eye opener for me. The things she imagined and how well she executed on them. We redecorated her room with the new art she has been doing and the ones we got from school. #JoyOfCreativity

– Bugz was a miser when it came to kisses. My younger one not giving me kisses went against my right as a mother so I started working on it. “Bugz kissi,” became a mantra. Now we have it down pat. I get a kiss each on each cheek and so does she, after which we grin ear to ear. She continues to be a miser with everyone else, Paa included. #ProudMomMomentEvilMomMoment

– A friend recently had a baby. I was on standby all day Friday to drive her parents to the hospital as soon as the baby was born. I got the call at 5:15 in the evening, “baby is here!” I called D to pick up Buzz,  buckled Bugz in her car seat, drove to pick up Uncle and Aunty and then to the hospital. Besides the parents and the hospital staff, I was among the first ones to see the little guy. Adorable is the word. You forget how tiny and fragile they are and how absolutely precious. Bugz was besides herself going “chotta sa baby!” #HoldingPreciousnessInYourHands

– A trip has been planned, tickets have been booked. We are still a couple of months out but the excitement level is high at home. We can’t wait to get through the school year and then relax for a week before starting summer school. #DreamingOfSunSandAndBlueWaters

– I started running again. The ankle is almost all good and to test it further, I went for a run. Minor soreness and nothing else and so I started. I try running about 3 times a week, 40 mins, 3 miles. The muscles are sore, body asks what the heck am I doing, but I go on. #GoodSoreMusclePain

– D does not travel out of town as much any more. When he switched jobs early last year, it resulted in constant travelling for him. He was gone a couple times a week, every week. It took a toll on all of us. Buzz would have a meltdown every single day he was not home. “I miss Papa!” she would cry. Bugz would follow in tune of course. There was all the travelling for D and all the extra work for me. We were a total mess. Re-orgs, upper management decisions and crafty deflections (from his side) and he has only travelled a couple of times this year. #TogetherWeMakeAFamily

– Wedding preparations are in full swing in India. Every call made ends up in discussion of what the kids will be wearing, what I will be wearing (D no one cares about). Given how my tastes for India wear runs toward cotton which is a big no no for a wedding, but again given how no one is sure what I will like, there is constant talk but no end result. The latest is that I have told them, find me a tailor who is ready to do all the stitching in a week’s time and I will take care of the rest. #ExcitementOverAFamilyWeddingAfterYears

– Buzz can’t wait to go to India. Her demands are long and ever growing. “I want to eat paranthas everyday. Paneer paranthas are my favorite! I want mehndi on my hands! I want to wear a saree. Please can I wear bangles? Can I get holes in my ears? Will there be mithaa to eat?”. #FirstWeddingCelebrationForTheLittleOnes

 

Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola

“Let’s go skiing on Saturday,” he said.
“I am done for the season,” she said.
“We will have fun! Come on,” he said.
“The day trip tires me out completely and I need some rest,” she said.

Back and forth, they went and a compromise was made. Weekend trip to the mountains, a place to stay the night, no TV, no internet.

“Deal!”
“Deal”

********

“Mandola! Me go mandola pe!”
“Gondola baby, Gondola!”
“Noooooo, madola!”

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The look in their eyes, the smile on their face, the bounce in their steps as they enter the Gondola, the chant of “Mandola..Mandola..Mandola!” which of course resulted in me singing the song and the two every excited kids asking their questions:

“What is Matru?”
“and Bijlee?”

Mandola, needs no explanation!

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The Gondola climbed up at a steady pace and Buzz finally looked around and saw the slope. Her face dropped immediately

“This is a big cliff. I will fall coming down.”
“We will come down an easier slope,” D told her with a smile.

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While Buzz and D did their trips up and down the mountain, Bugz and I build snow castle and snow car and snow bus and snowman, all while I took in the view and iced …errr snowed my backside (which I hurt in a fall down the stairs that morning)

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The evening was spend fighting over a place to sleep

“I want to sleep on the high bed,” she said.
“It does not have a protection bar, you will fall!” they said.
“I will not! I want to sleep up there,” she stubbornly repeated.

“Me sleep on baby bed,” she said.
“Yeah ‘me’ can sleep on baby bed,” they said.

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Finally Buzz did sleep on the top bunk of the bunk bed while we stuffed pillows around her.

Bugz, who wanted to sleep on the trundle bed was forced to sleep on the lower bunk of the bunk bed. And the trundle was left outside to catch either of them, if they fell.

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Somewhere in the middle of night, I woke up with a *puduk*. I looked up to see Bugz on the trundle but continuing to sleep. I poked D and he switched her back to the bunk bed.

Next was some *bump*.
“I did not fall, I did not fall! I jumped because I wanted to go to the restroom,” Buzz kept repeating as she ran off.

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Morning came with breakfast of eggs and pancakes and it was back up the Mandola. Back to singing, back to skiing, back to playing with snow and back to the amazing view.

View

 

 

Worries of a Dad

Buzz is tall for her age. A couple of inches above the next tallest person in her class tall, 97th percentile or greater in the growth chart for girls tall, a dress size above most kids her age tall. By all calculations and predictions she will be between 5.8 to 5.10 when she grows up, if not taller.

I was at a doctor’s office with Buzz today, where they measured her height and charted it against the national average. 97th percentile her doctor told me.

When D and I met for lunch and I told him the same. “So what did the doctor say? How can we stop her?”, he asked me.

I burst out laughing, of course.

Poor dad is so worried about her little girl growing so tall. “Please stop at 5.8”, he keeps telling her. “Please don’t hit the 6 feet mark”, he prays.

Bugz, who looks short in front of Buzz, is actually a couple of inches ahead of where Buzz was at this age. I wonder if I should bring this aspect of the little one to his notice? It could be interesting to see him freak out and his worry skyrocket!

I wonder, I wonder! *evil Comfy laughs*