Wednesday 27 April 2011

Almost two and a half

If I haven't said anything about Y on these pages lately, it has been because I often wonder - "What should I say?" She's just your average 2-year old. Maybe a lot more loquacious than some, but essentially the same. Not that I don't, like every other mum, think in the deepest recesses of my heart that she is a prodigy-in-the-making and far more advanced than any of her peers :) But I think what is different about me is that I recognize that the things I used to ooh and aah over with Ads, are things that every child does, and so they don't seem that special any more that Y does them.
I have to admit how Y is different, though. She scares all of us! We are all a wee bit afraid of her and Ads has even taken to calling her Baby-ji - a term of respect due to her diva-like behaviour. So her other nickname is Diva. Well, everyone knows what a diva does and how she behaves and ours is just the same, twisting other lesser souls around her little fingers and having the hapless males of the house dancing to her tunes!
Girls. They're just so...........much..........FUN!!
On a more sober note, if she's like this when she's 2, how will she be when she's 3? We're in for a bumpy ride, I can tell.

Tuesday 26 April 2011

In the zone

I've been neglecting my children. Big-time. You know that feeling when you get into the "zone"? When work, or the flow of words, or an art project, or in my case, studying, is going really well? When I understand everything I'm reading (which doesn't happen all that often, I can tell ya!), when I read a sample exam question and know right off how to structure the answer; better still, when I actually write for an hour and know that the answer is a kick-ass one? :) I'm there now. I have 3 weeks before the first examination. My mom (and until yesterday, my dad) responded to SOS calls and parked themselves in blistering hot Gurgaon so that I could maximise my study time. The consequence, a mother near-invisible in body and spirit. I don't feel too guilty about it because the kids are well-entertained and taken care of. Every now and then, I make myself available for a few absent-minded cuddles and kisses. I occasionally feed Y, take them to the park, or read to them, but the key word is occasionally.
It's not easy. I'm frequently annoyed when one of the kids comes running up to me when I am wrestling with a particularly difficult point and demands to be lifted up and made a fuss of. I feel enraged when they start fighting among themselves and I have to referee. It's painful when they don't eat dinner quickly because thanks to the moving men who broke my work-computer table, I only have the one table where I can spread out my laptop, books and notes. I'm exhausted and drained by 6 pm and feel guilty when I cannot muster up the energy to play with my kids before their bedtime. Yesterday, I kept Ads home from school because he had a bad cough. Guess what, surprise surprise, the cough disappeared as soon as the school bus left! They spent most of the rest of the hottest Monday in the last 4 years fighting amongst themselves, probably egged on by the heat and dust and the ennui that it invariably creates. Anything for a little excitement, what? Then Y insisted that I put her to bed, an undertaking I've been trying to avoid because put me in a darkened room at 8 pm and the odds are high that my body will hit the snooze button too and there will go my 2 hours of uninterrupted study! She was clinging to me, and I was trying to move away without offending her, because I love her and everything, and I would have loved one last cuddle before bedtime, but it was so HOT!
Aah..........even when I am ready to be fully present for my child, the weather conspires to defeat me!
Just noticed it's my 250th post! I thought I'd run out of writing material long before now :)

Tuesday 19 April 2011

It's all right... I knew it would be. Thanks for all the kind/encouraging words, everybody!!! Ads is doing reasonably well in adjusting to school. We've had a few bouts of crying and feeling rotten over the last few days but now he takes the bus to and from school and has fallen into a routine. What's really helped is that a lot of kids whom he sees three times a week at tennis lessons, also go to the same school, and some of them are even in the same class (although different sections). He has a few kids inside the complex whom he plays with on and off though I am yet to make any dent in the "mommy" network!
A few amusing incidents have taken place over the last fortnight. He goes to tennis coaching 3 days a week, Tuesday through Thursday, after school. There is this girl (from the same school and also in Class I) who was very friendly and super-helpful to him from Day one (when he was crying inside and outside the court). She's sort of become his anchor at tennis lessons and I often see them giggling together and talking (instead of hitting some shots.....waste of all that money, Ads!!!!) One evening, I dropped him off at the court, went back home because Y was still groggy from her afternoon nap and then came down again after an hour to pick him up. I was a few minutes early so I just hung around until he was ready. The kids were all spread out in a line and ready to play some game before the class broke up. The coach was shouting instructions. Ads suddenly hugs and kisses his friend (the girl I mentioned). He spots me, turns pink, and freezes for a couple of seconds. Then, very deliberately and with feigned casualness, he walks far away from her to the other end of the line! How did he learn to feel guilty about his act, and why did he feel the need to cover it up? I'm surprised because I know nothing S and I ever did or said could have contributed to his reaction on seeing my reaction.   Later, at home, he was mortified when I related the incident to my mom and I was laughing. Oops. S was told about it in strict confidence and I threatened him with dire consequences if he mentioned it to Ads. Typical reaction from S when I related this incident - "Tennis starts at Love all".
In the park, I ask him to actively get out there and make friends. I had suggested that he could go up to a kid who looked like his own age and maybe ask him their name, how old they were, and then take the conversation on from there. I don't think he heard the second part of my suggestion because now all he does is go up to a kid and ask him, in a very mechanised, robot-like fashion "What's your name? What's your age?", and then comes scurrying back to me! Pray, what does that achieve? I've asked him to go one step further and ask them if they want to play some game with him. I won't intervene any further with tips because he has to make friends in his own way and there is only so much I can help him. It would help if there were some moms around in the park who would also encourage their kids to play with other kids, but unfortunately I am almost always the only mom around. There are scores of maids sitting around, listening to their ipods, gossiping or talking on the phone. It's very annoying when I see so many of the maids who don't even bother keeping an eye on their wards, whether they are playing nicely, playing safely and not hurting themselves or others.
Forget the maids - do you know that I am now a proud grandmom?? Last weekend, we found Y lying down on the bed and Ads sawing at her stomach with a hacksaw, no less. He performed a quick blood-less C-section on my daughter and out came 2 stuffed toys (a tiger and a teddy bear). Y has named them after her 2 favourite second cousins. She spent a lot of time yesterday everyday feeding them, bathing them and taking care of them; but I think this whole motherhood thing got to her after a while (tell me about it, baby!) and she hasn't spared them a second glance since :)
KIDS. Who needs entertainment when they are around.
Bye-bye and have a nice day. This is Y's standard comment to all and sundry, whatever the time of day and even if nobody is going bye-bye!

Monday 11 April 2011

Head vs heart

I spent most of my school life being the outsider. The new kid who joined school, often in the middle of the session, when the 'gangs' had already been formed. The kid who hardly ever stayed for more than a year. I had friends, some of whom I am in touch with even now, but until I reached high school, I formed no special attachments, either to school or to people. So I can't relate to people who have friends they've known from kindergarten - it seems utterly strange to me that such a thing could happen! Post- marriage and kids, the scenario hasn't changed all that much and I'm still the perennial outsider - the mom who isn't part of any of the mommy cliques, who has to stand around awkwardly at the bus stop before mustering up the courage to go up to other parents and introduce herself.
So if there is one aspect of life where I can totally empathize with Ads, it is this. I get it - completely. I know exactly how he feels on the first day (or week, or month!) of school - the choking sensation in the throat, the uncomfortable feeling in the chest, the need to go to the bathroom multiple times! I get the misery of not knowing anybody, the urge to have friends but the lack of means to make them, the dire need of burying one's face in amma's stomach and not letting go. I'm actually illogically angry at myself for putting him in the situation where he has to adjust to a new environment every year. 5 years old, and this is his 4th school already. I'm resolved that for the next 3 years (what's the magic in that number? I donno. It seems right though) atleast, we will stay put in Gurgaon and not move him around.
S and I have talked about this and S feels that for a kid as scared of change as Ads is, this experience of constant change, is important. My clear logical brain tells me that he is right. But who is to explain to my heart, that boils over with pain and guilt, every time my darling cries? I know from my own experience that all that shuttling around in the early years didn't do me any harm, however much I may have disliked it at that point in time. In point of fact, it did nothing but a lot of good. 
How much of parenting is just second-guessing and hindsight, sprinkled over with insane amounts of ill-deserved guilt?!!

Friday 1 April 2011

I did it! (err...she did it?)

You know those moms who tell you that their child got potty-trained in 3 days...or gasp....1 day flat and that was it? I've had many of those mom friends. I've envied them and I've also, oftentimes, thought they were just bluffing. I simply could not believe it, because it was such a Godawful freakishly hard experience to potty-train Ads that accepting that it could be done easily was somehow a testament to my incompetence and nincompoop-ness! I started training Ads when he was 18 months old (proof enough that starting earlier equals finishing later!) and it took more than one and a half years for him to get potty-trained. It was frustrating and exhausting, to say the least. 
I hoped against hope that Y would be easier. So many people had said that girls are easier to potty-train than boys. I am super-duper happy to report that my trooper has potty-trained herself, with little or no input from me,  in just a couple of days!!! Wow....those stories are really true...:) She's still in diapers when we go out and when she sleeps but I notice she's always dry so she looks like she's ready for a diaper-free existence as soon as I can locate that plastic sheet I'd kept aside for just this purpose :)
Why do I feel like I've achieved something when in fact all I've done is clap and cheer a few times?!!!