Category Archives: Bringing up baby

Goodbye my darling …

Dear Peter Petrosky Bob,

You were the pet  I reluctantly agreed to. I thought getting you as a return gift was way too much responsibility. I looked at how to barter you away at the party itself. But the elf was having nothing of it. He wanted a fish if all his friends got to take home one.

At first I thought that fish were boring – I felt guilty, icky to change your water. But as time went by, you fascinated me.

I loved how your body changed from pure white to black, to the beautiful colour you were. You were my magical fish. My pride – no one else had a fish which changed colour. It amused me how when you saw the tall one you would get all excited knowing he would feed you. If fish ever did a happy dance this was it. 

You tolerated the elf tap tapping and all the excitement the elf showed dancing around you during your water change. 

I often said that you were the only one of my  boys who listened to me. Every time I spoke to you, you came to the top of your bowl to blow me kisses. Every time I sang “hello hello” you came up and told me you love me. 

Even today as you struggled at the bottom of the bowl – you came up to speak to me when you heard my voice – I will be forever touched that you tried so hard. I will miss your puckered lips, your sexy pout, your little black eyes. 

It was miserable to watch you suffer helplessly for the last few days and for that I am glad you are in a better place. 

But now as you lie still at the bottom of your bowl, I keep glancing at the bowl and not seeing you swim around breaks my heart.

Thank you Peter Petrosky Bob for the memories and for teaching my kid and us to love a little more. 

Forever my Petu Singh! Muah!

Forever etched in my heart – Day 1/30

When I started blogging, I did it because I wanted to record my life. For sometime I did it pretty religiously too. But somewhere down the line I realised that while I can crib about my life, make fun of myself and the ones I love, write a couple of senti letters – I find it difficult to write about the little moments that fill my heart.

The first time I stopped blogging was when the elf was born – I never found the words rather I didn’t want to find the words to express what I feel for him. It was a private moment to be savoured by me and that was recorded in my heart forever.

When Swathi forced, I mean suggested that we do a blogathon, my first thought was to write about the amazing Diwali I had – the warmth of friends and family, the pang of missing some family, the traditions I was passing on to my son, the joy of cooking favourite foods of family and friends, the fun of dressing up and all the gratefulness I feel for everything. 

But like always I don’t find the words to do it justice.

Just a heart which feels all warm and loved. For everything I dislike about organised religion, I love how it still binds us irrespective of our beliefs. So I am grateful for that and glad we persist in some traditions.h

Jai Nuttie Mata ki! 

Oh good! Now you can spend time with the elf.

What made you leave your job now? After he is 3 years old.

Don’t you feel it is so much better for the elf that you quit your job?

If you were the random aunty or those “holier than thou human beings” I would smile and say yes. While I seethe inside. Do people really think that a mother would do something which is not good for their kid as they are implying me going to work was. Do they really mean to imply that I was being selfish because I chose to work over staying at home. 

How do I explain to them that I am not a bad mother nor do I love my kid less  because I felt no guilt at going to work. Don’t get me wrong, I had my days of guilt, my days of wondering If it was all worth it – but on an average I was happy! 

I don’t believe in living in guilt. I have always maintained that the elf was my priority and the day I felt that the elf was suffering or I was suffering because I went to work I would give it up.

I don’t believe the elf is better off or worse off because I worked for the first three years of his life. Online you will find all the pros and cons to working mothers. So I am not going to elaborate. 

Coming back to me – No, I didn’t quit out of guilt. I didn’t have a eureka moment 3 years later that I horror or horrors sent my kid to a daycare. 

I quit for me.

I reached a point where the next steps in my career in the banking sector didn’t ignite a passion in me. I felt empty. I felt I needed to do more for my soul. 

Sure being at home would make things logistically much easier because the elf had started school but that wasn’t my primary reason. 

The main reason I quit was me.

In India, for a woman the word ‘me’ is taboo – you always quit because of marriage or kids or parents or because your husband changed locations. 

But imagine a mother saying she chose not to work to find herself . 

Quitting for yourself is tough to explain. It’s tough to tell people that today if I find something I am truly passionate about I would go back to working. Sure I will look for more flexibility because I wanted to spend more time with the elf but yes I want to go back into the workforce. 

I have realised I can’t explain myself.i explain myself to the ones that matter. I think they see my view point. But to the rest of the world I am ok being the “good mother”

Beta good thing you quit. See elf is more friendly now –

Yes Aunty – all for him!

Now everyone say Jai Nuttie Mata ki! 

(Loosely translated to All hail mother nuttie) 

W is for Wisdom

Many many centuries ago i wrote a blog on the wisdom I had acquired in my twenties. Going through the list I realised now almost in my mid- thirties I didn’t have much to add. Pretty sad huh?

The only wisdom I have acquired is a few motherhood truths that i have learnt. Don’t yawn! Read – I am the bodh gaya (tree of enlightenment) type of wise ! 

  • There are no right or wrong answers. Do what is best for you and your family and only you and your spouse can decide that. So stay at home, work, daycare, no nanny, Co-sleep, blah blah blah as it works for you. Don’t ever try and convince another mom that your way is the best way.
  • It’s ok to prioritise yourself.You are still a person – not just a mother. Go for that night out, the girls trip or the spa. Don’t feel guilty.
  • Motherhood will give you million opportunities to feel guilty and can be overwhelming. Your kid will exhaust you mentally and physically. You will do things you are not proud of you – you will cry, scream, yell or sulk. And that’s ok. Don’t beat yourself up. Once you will feel better, resolve to do better the next day/next hour
  • Your spouse is a parent too. Let him do it his way. Let him change he diaper, or feed the kid the “wrong way”. The baby and he will survive to tell the tale. I promise. 
  • Your child is a person too – respect their need for space, their need to bend the rules, their need to throw a tantrum. Don’t we all do so once in a while.
  • As much as possible, don’t lie to them. Give them logic and hear their view point out.  In a popular Facebook forum – a mother was bemoaning that her 4 year old drank frooti everyday. The universal suggestion was to make frooti and put it into a used carton. My suggestion to make the kid understand junk food was blown away as he is too small. My only point being how long and for how many things will you lie and make up stories. Anyway, living up to the non judgemental part of parenting – I shall move on.
  • And lastly but most importantly spread the word that being a parent is awesome. Don’t tell them about the lack of sleep, the exhaustion, the questions you are asked , the questions in your head, the utter terror your child can be when they make up in the morning.

Coz that way you won’t be the only one being driven crazy imps.

<insert cruel laugh>

This is part of the April Atozchallenge and this is my entry for W. 

T is for traveling with a toddler

Long long time ago, there was a blog called wandering feet. An enthu nut thought she could manage another blog on travel –

There was one blog post. Over the 4 years of existing – this post had 2 views

And so here goes this post when we travelled to Australia with our 19 month old .

Flying with a toddler

You must be crazy or very very brave!

That’s what we heard every time we told people, we were planning to holiday in Australia and taking our 19 month old toddler with us.

For us the decision to travel to Australia was easy. Since the Elf got to travel free until he was 2 – we decided the place to holiday was the one with the most expensive air ticket. And Hence Australia won!

On October 1st, like all good travellers we informed everyone on Facebook that we were off to Australia. The Elf was taught to say “YAY” every time he heard the word Australia and video of the same was promptly uploaded by his besotted cool mother.

And so it came that one clueless toddler and two ‘slightly’ nervous adults got into a flight.

Did i say a flight – sorry i lie.

We took the Air India dreamliner to Australia – A Mumbai – Delhi – Sydney – Melbourne flight – yup you got it – 2 stop overs before our final destination because we are THAT brave or just THAT dumb!

Air India seems to be have conspired with the toddler and attempted the “Divide and Rule” policy. They overbooked our existing seats and attempted to give us seats that were not together on the longest leg between Delhi and Sydney. But Ha! we caught onto the conspiracy and promptly put on our saddest faces while asking fellow passengers to have pity on us and let us sit together.

And of coursing adding to the excitement was the delayed landing on the Mumbai – Delhi Flight resulting in a marathon run from the domestic terminal to the international terminal with the 10.5 kilos of wriggling mass.

So the Elf was fine on the flight, and was very excited about us being in the sky. Everyone of the flight was duly informed that “Plane is in sky” over and over again because everyone knows that everything should be repeated a billion times in toddler land.

The Husband and I on the other hand – had our limbs just a tad bit full with a wriggling active child who thought bouncing around the flight was extremely amusing. And what’s funnier than knocking over dinner and watching mama clean dal and rice from the Carpet.

The elf then stretched out across the mother and father and slept – we sat still out of fear of waking him up. . And of course we slept, just to be woken up in fifteen mins to be served dinner!

So since i am the crazy brave mother who flew with her toddler to the another hemisphere, here are my tips for surviving a flight with a toddler

-> First off and the most critical – Praise God that a certain Mr Jobs existed. Of course the ipad. While we would like to believe that we are those parents that limit screen time, Lords Knows we prayed that BAA BAA BLACK Sheep would never run out of his wool.

-> On the flight, carry like a million pairs of clothes because your kid will try to outwit you and require just one more than what you have carried. And the really smart would carry a change of clothes for themselves.

-> Carry food for your kid – lots of snacks, milk, food- Air India at least doesn’t cater for the food requirements for non seat occupying babies and will give you a meal “only if there is any left over”. And no the food is not baby friendly. Thank God, i was struck by some form of wisdom and had plenty of food

-> Do take a bassinet seat – your limbs will thank you. While we didnt have one while going to Australia, coming back we got our bassinet seat and it was the best thing ever. The todd was slept in the bassinet with his feet sticking out while the parents fervently watched movies – only another parent would understand why i use the word fervently.

-> And Relax – i truely believe babies & kids feed off your energy!

->And the most important rule of them all – You will never see the people on the flight again

This is part of the April Atozchallenge and my post for the letter T

S is for Sonshine

When the Elf was born, I was a bit disappointed he was not a girl. It helped that I felt that babies were genderless, but now as he becomes a little boy, I have genuinely started to believe boys are so sweet.

So this is for my sonshine and all the other sonshines who make our hearts beat out of both fear, exasperation and love – alternately and together.

Something so innocent and impish about them – alternately and together. Little girls you are just as awesome I am sure.

But back to little boys…

Little boys are piglets. They will touch and lick everything. Every single thing. Sitting on the ground of a restaurant, a dirty shop or a puddle is common place.

So much so that we don’t even notice anymore. All my friends who have little girls are aghast that the elf spends so much time under the table at a restaurant. My standards are very low – I am just glad he doesn’t sit on the floor at a public loo.

FYI I make him stand in a public loo with his hands up which I hold with one hand so that he can’t touch anything.

Anyway as a result they are always dirty. I have never seen such black hands, legs or nails in my life!

– They run. Like just keep running or if they are on a cycle , they run on the cycle. It’s like they are testing us – how fast can you chase us. How strong is your heart to sustain the fact that I can just run off and you won’t know where I am. And yes just to show you how strong I am – I will jump off things and if there are no things to jump off – I will just keep jumping !

– Also they are not bothered about who is joining them to play. I notice the little girls who come down to play, pick and choose their companions. I feel sad to see them already start these excluding some girls and all boys from play. With boys and the tomboys they play with (at least as of now) it’s like you have feet, you got a car – let’s run with your feet while we drive the car over all the messy puddles and muddy pots.

Speaking about mud, elf just saw a couple on TV having a mud bath and demands one himself. I fear the next time I turn my back on him, that’s exactly what he will do.

– Which brings me to the next point never turn your back or close your eyes for 5 minutes unless you want water poured into your toothpaste, a mixture of powder and cream carefully spread on your bed, lipstick put on their shirts, oil put on their heads or paper shredded and thrown into water.

– Little boys come with an extra attachment – cars. It’s like cars, cars, everywhere – you develop great expertise in jumping over the 32 hot wheels cars that permanently inhabit your floor and the 25 other non hot wheel cars and vehicles . Serious hopping skill sets being developed.

– They are rough. Good lord, entertainment for the elf is me pushing him on the bed, wrestling with his dad and playing kabbadi by himself.

– Major irritants with little boys are watching sports, the potty jokes and the absolute inability to pee into the pot. For a kid who can throw the ball so accurately while playing, his aim while peeing is hard to believe.

– Little boys are the biggest ego boost ever. Mama looks so pretty in her old slacks and t-shirt, mama makes the best fish, mama knows everything, mama leave your hair open – it’s pretty, mama is prettier than the Aunty on TV – take that Aishwarya Rai. Also dadu can’t sit near mama, no keep distance, no coming near – yup no siblings happening in the near future. I have a friend whose 5 year old kid will yell if his mom is not the first face he sees.

If the elf sees me in the kitchen for long or if I am reading in another room, he will make frequent trips to visit me updating me on all the things I have missed in the world in the last 2.5 minutes I have been away from him.

– They don’t like kisses or hugs. They will squirm, and struggle and act like you are torturing them. And your heart will be a little sad that the baby is really growing up.

But then at night when the lights go off, you might feel like a lizard has fallen on your waist but it’s a little hand trying to hug you to sleep, the little cheeks want kisses, he wants to know if you love him and wants all the petting you can give.

He is then just my little vulnerable boy !

And as I go to sleep – i sing in my head.

You are my sonshine,
My only sonshine,
You make me happy when skies are grey.
You’ll never know just how I much I love you. You will always remain my sonshine forever.

I know he will outgrow this someday but I will cherish it forever and I do believe every now and then however big he is – he will find a way to let me know *he thinks I am da bomb I mean mom*

This is part of the April blogathon and this is my entry for S.

N is for Namma Bengaluru

Childhood memories of playing with this great group of kids, running into the church compound, playing endless games of hide and seeks and innumerable board games. The grannies pampering me, lots of visits to relatives and the one hundred thousand times I have walked on commercial street tugging at my mom’s elbow for fountain Pepsi – a novelty in those days.

I didn’t know if the weather was good – I came from the islands of andamans I should have felt it, I know but it didn’t matter. Bengaluru was always home. Where I went every summer holiday!

Then came 2005 – when I moved to Bangalore to work. Crazy work routine, horrible and rude auto drivers (yes it’s up there in the complaints department), demanding bosses, childhood friends moving away left me with not much company other than the mater and the boyfriend (now husband) I had no friends of my own – nothing.

And truth be told, as much as leaving my family behind sucked, I was happy to move to Mumbai – my land of freedom and friends. My land of beautiful rains, my land of college and B school memories. The place my heart would always belong. Even now writing about Mumbai makes me nostalgically think of my favourite marine drive.

But Mumbai with a kid made my heart hurt a little. My kid had no place to run around, we were always in traffic, the schools sucked with their tiny buildings and lack of playgrounds, moving between schools and daycare seemed like a logistical nightmare. I had such a heavy heart while searching for schools there.

And then the Tall one got a job which could bring him here back to Namma Bengaluru. We jumped at the opportunity. I was sure it was a great move for the Elf.

It was not as exciting as moving to an absolutely new city but we were moving to a part of Bengaluru I didn’t know at all. And had no childhood associations with. Mostly I was worried about feeling like I did in 2005.

But Bengaluru has amazed me. Yes, the elf has everything I wanted for him growing up. But what I am amazed at is how much Bangalore has given me. I get to see my grannies more for sure and when the rest of the family is here, I get more time with them. The weather (not counting the last 2 months of absolute torture) makes me feel so energetic and great which is truly an achievement for an intrinsically lazy person like me. The Tall one is less worn out, we have more space, I have a bunch of stay at home Mummy friends who are intelligent and fun. I know I can do so much more with my life here than I ever could in Mumbai.

But mostly I am at peace. Something we don’t value enough.

Thank you Bengaluru for everything.

Maybe this is what coming home is all about!

This is my entry for N for the April AtoZ challenge and yay I finally introduce a category called namma Bengaluru to my list