Friday 30 July 2010

Sorry for...almost anything

We are a very polite family. No really, we are :) To the extent that we even apologize to each other for the wrongs we did not commit. This weird trend has been kick started by our resident goonda (I've decided that this is the only adjective suited to her), Y. Whenever she commits a mistake or gets into trouble, she orders the nearest person around (usually Ads and I are caught in the line of fire) to say sorry! "Sorry sollu!" is the reigning anthem. The way she says it, it comes out as a very cute "Yoyyi yoyyu!" so of course the command is hard to disobey.
So, if she stubs her toe, we say sorry. If she hits Ads and promptly bursts into tears, he says sorry. If I admonish her for something she did, I say sorry.
If she is like this at the age of two minus, I shudder to think of Y at age 16. As PG Wodehouse would say, the mind boggles.

Thursday 29 July 2010

Mommy's little helper - or not

I tried to get Y to help me with some chores around the house. She was bored, I had work to do and I needed to keep her occupied. Realized very soon that it's an activity more suited for a child older than two and a half. She kept misunderstanding me and wanting to play rather than help! What we got out of it was a) One very messy bed b) Several clothes-pegs that got flung from the 4th floor onto ground floor. Bonus: She got into the swing of things and threw some of Ads' toys downstairs, prompting a screaming fit from that child.
Remind me not to try to engage Y in "constructive" tasks from now on :(

Pushy and headstrong

These are the adjectives being used to describe my daughter, less than a fortnight into school. And they mean pushy in the literal sense - she has been pushing older kids around! How did my gentle Ads get a sister like Y? Beats me!
She goes the whole hog - 9 am to noon - from tomorrow. She has been doing well, except for a daily crying fit that begins the instant we step into the reception area and ends 10 seconds later when Mrs. B, who seems to be the Assistant Director and who is extremely nice, takes her in hand, tells her "Ok, what is this drama, you're a big girl now, come with me and play with your rabbit" and whisks her away.
I see most of the other moms lingering on, watching over the fence to see what their kids are upto, whether they have stopped crying, whether they seem happy. I feel like telling them it's pointless, their kids ARE happy, don't get stressed over a few tears and please please don't hang around. Kids can sense their parents' presence uncannily well; and as long the mom/dad is around, the kid is not going to stop crying. But it's none of my business and in any case many of them get ticked off by the teachers for hanging around too long!
On a related note, Y has started calling me - "Aei, amma!" in a bossy tone of voice. I wonder when she will dispense with the amma altogether and just call me Aei!

Wednesday 21 July 2010

Y's first few days of school

Y has been going to school for 5 days now, slowly moving upto staying there for 90 minutes (without me). Overall, the transition has been going as well as expected for one so young. She cries when I hand her over to the teacher, but I am told she is easily distracted and stops once there is some other amusement to be had. The playschool director told me she would probably not cry at all if only she were not in the "settlers" class, where all the kids are new and on an average half the class is bawling at any given point in time! Probably, but there it is and we have to make the best of it.
It has been interesting to compare my reactions to this first separation from each of my children. With Ads, I was worried and agitated. But Y......... I let her go with far less anxiety. I am older, more experienced, hopefully wiser and more zen about a lot of things nowadays. None of that excitable nervous state which was a staple emotion those first few days of being separated from Ads.
Today, Y walked out of her class clutching a big white plush rabbit. Apparently she had been clutching it for more than an hour and staunchly resisting any attempts to wean her way from the rabbit. It was almost as tall as her. The rabbit in one hand, a toy dog in the other, backpack on shoulders - she could barely walk!

Tuesday 20 July 2010

The passing of mommy

Last year, S asked me "When will Ads stop calling you mommy?". Because mommy is, well, a kiddy word. You don't see a 14-year old calling his mother, mommy. Mummy, ma, amma, mum, mom - those are all acceptable and common. But mommy clearly falls in a small child's precinct.
But some months ago, soon after we returned to India, Ads did stop using that word. Mommy morphed into Amma and now that's what he calls me all the time. Y had never been in the habit of calling me Mommy so that moniker has died a quiet death.
Darn. I miss being mommy. It sounded way cooler than Amma!

Tuesday 13 July 2010

My littlest one is flying the coop

For a few weeks now, I have been seriously considering the idea of admitting Y into playschool. Granted, she is very young (only 20 months), but here were the reasons for and against.
Reasons for:
1. I need that most precious commodity - TIME. I have exams in May. I am supposed to put in a minimum of 4 hours of work everyday to even attempt my papers. However, at this point, if I work for an hour everyday, I consider myself lucky.
2. Y is bored at home. In the morning hours, Ads leaves for school, I am busy with household chores, cooking & studying. The maid is cleaning. Appa is asleep until 10 am and leaves for work around 2 pm. Y has no company and spends her time mooching around the house. Clearly she needs some stimulation, interesting activities, and social interaction.
3. There's a terrific playschool just around the corner. I visited them and was very impressed. They have a philosophy of "being at one with nature" - a sentiment highly appreciated and called-for in this concrete jungle! The school has an artificial pond with ducks and geese, a walk-in aviary, resident roosters, a fish-tank. The buildings are low-rise earth-friendly structures, there is no AC (only natural cooling), and when the Director told me "not to buy too many toys for your kids, just allow them to use everyday objects as rein for their imagination", I was floored! I suppose this is a classic case of supply creating demand!
Reasons against:
No logical reasons, just emotional ones, with the constant thread of mommy guilt running through them all. What if she's too young? What if she cries her heart out? What if this proves I am a bad mother? And so on. Fortunately I managed to check myself before I got too hysterically confused, and despite the negative comments I am already getting about my decision, we decided to go ahead. A few conversations with understanding and supportive girlfriends (who had been through the same thing) worked. Please note that even though the decision was jointly taken by me and S, I am supremely confident that if anyone gets the flak for it, it will be me and only me!
So, there it is. She started today. She will go from 9 am to noon, 5 days a week. Accounting for  the time I spend driving to, and spending at the school everyday, I get 2.5 hours to study in the mornings. Ads has also been consigned to the care of the school bus from today (he went quite happily), which saves me a cool 1.5 hours. 
The playschool expects a 7-10 day transition period for kids as young as Y, so today she was at the school (with me in attendance) only for an hour. For the next few days, we stay for no more than 2 hours, and gradually the time that I spend at the school with her is reduced until she has got over the "settling" phase and can separate from me without any fuss. A simple and sensible procedure that all schools should adopt, but don't.
I clicked a picture as we were leaving for the school this morning, and later realized how similar it was to the picture clicked on Ads' first day of school in September 2008. The same colour of outfit, the same blue Thomas backpack, and the same brave smile!
At the school this morning, Y was enthralled with the ducks, the "kakas" (birds), the stone statues of a lion, hippo and tortoise, and the colourful fish. The fingers are crossed, the heart is full, the feelings are bitter-sweet, and I already feel like my little girl has flown the nest. 

Monday 12 July 2010


I was tagged by Life_refactored quite a few days ago and thought I should throw in my own 2 cents. Here goes.

Following are the rules:
Please list at least ten things you have ever wanted or done which your gender is not supposed to. The tag is called ‘My Sins against Gender-Stereotypes’. And you must tag twelve blogging friends or else you will be cursed to wear blue clothes pants if you are a woman and pink shirts if you are a man – for next twelve years.

Well, neither do I have 12 blogging friends and neither do I know whether I can come up with 10 whole things that were "not supposed" to be done by my gender. But here goes.
1. I've had, for several years, a "boy-cut". I remember that the first time I cut my hair really short was also the time that my brother had really long hair :) Our poor parents!
2. I love driving and think I am reasonably good at it. Never got the hang of a motorcycle but other easy-drive two-wheelers are fun. For many years now, it has been a car for me.
3. I've lived all alone and fended for myself, as a paying-guest, in the big bad city of Mumbai. Travelled alone in trains and buses at odd hours.
4. I've travelled without a ticket from Chennai to Calcutta by the Howrah mail. I used to dash into the loo everytime the ticket collector came along :) I was desperate, it was a friend's wedding and for some reason we hadn't reserved our seats!
5. I used to have many more male friends than female friends. That has changed now, not because I got rid of the guys but because I made lots of girlfriends!
6. Until I had kids, I never expected to be picked up from the bus station/railway station/airport and escorted home or wherever it was that I was going. It's a different matter that whenever I landed in Chennai, my dad would always be there to escort me! Now, with kids, I prefer that someone meet me and handle the messy logistics.
7. I don't like talking about what I cooked today, maids, gossip about neighbours etc etc. 
8. I've travelled alone (only on work though) and enjoyed the solitude and freedom.
That's all I got for now! It's been fun thinking about these things :)