Sunday, December 31, 2017

Rounding up

The year ends today. What a year it has been! The same time last year I was having the jitters about going back to work after a years maternity break. I started nervously. A year is a long time. The 10 mins walk to the train station from home in the dark winter morning seemed terrifying to a nervous person like me.( I am nervous about many things.  Anti socials grabbing my handbag. Someone shoving me and running away. Missing the train. Getting on the wrong train.) But it all went swimmingly. Work kicked off and I was engaged in some really fruitful projects. I also managed to retain my job through a redundancy cycle. The year turned around a full circle. My four hour journey one way from Ipswich to Leeds turned to a 40 minutes as we ended up retuning to Leeds. 

We had landed in Leeds thanks to K's assignment. We left Leeds because of his change of project. We ended back in Leeds due to a voluntary decision to accept a job here. A job which came after a four months long struggle. Trust me struggling is not a cup of K's tea. He works hard but breaking the shackles of 13 years of employment for something new was definitely new, challenging and frustrating. He had ventured towards something he had never done. Coupled with it was a change of career path. It was very daunting and very unnerving. By God's grace we made through the phase and it was going to be Leeds all over again. 

The idea of movement back to Leeds made me realise how wonderful Ipswich was! It was the perfect honeymoon. Our house was in a picturesque locale. The school was fantastic. I cannot vouch enough for the amazing swimming and karate classes Chiyaa went to. Pumpki 's would be daycare was conveniently located within the premises of Chiyaa 's school. I had a state of the art- the best I have seen in my years in UK - gym within 10 mins walk. I hugely enjoyed some real endorphin inducing gym sessions. And I came across some very very good people. I connected, forged friendships, enjoyed to the hilt our quaint stay in Ipswich. The rain hater in me loved it even more because East Anglia is one of the driest regions of the UK. What I enjoyed the most was WORKING from HOME. I loved it loved it loved it. I loved the lack of distraction of interacting with people. I loved the seclusion. I loved the lack of decision of 'what do I wear today'. I loved my 'office corner' and working away in oblivion and coming to Leeds once a month to let people know that I existed. Now that we have moved back the facet that rattles me most is the hidden demand by my supervisor to come in to work more frequently. I am hating the idea of day after tomorrow when I have to entertain the idea of going into work more often. It borderline depresses me. But we got to do what we got to do. I hope the routine will kick in sooner rather than later. 

Working from home came with added benefit of perfect balance for a working mom. I thoroughly enjoyed being a mom this year. Yeah you heard me right. My kids are growing. And being someone who looks forward to the future rather than sighing with nostalgia ( yeah I do that too once in a while), I enjoyed the independence of my kids. Now we are able to enjoy activities together rather than worrying about logistics. Travels are getting easier. Even a small  activity like going to the pool which would otherwise be back breaking is becoming an enjoyable experience. The kids are bonding wonderfully too. They fight savagely over the same toys. They console each other when one gets upset. They crawl onto my lap and snuggle like puppies. I love every bit of it. 

In the extended family there was a much awaited wedding. And after 10 years next year there will be another wedding in our family as my sister will tie the knot. The year will start with a bang. I am nervously excited about what will pan out. I hope we will have summery summers, crisp autumns and bright winters. I hope the sine wave of our lives over the next year is manageable crests and troughs. I hope the new year comes with enough good and bad and enough humility and strength to cope through either.

Here is wishing each and every one a very happy new year!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Perhaps this is called settling down

Leeds has not been treating us well. Chiyaa started her first day in school with amazing promise. When I picked her up, she said ‘I had a brilliant day at school. I was not shy at all.’ I was so proud of her! It would all be fine. She was ok the first couple of days after which she started getting reluctant to go to school. This was a far cry from how she was in ipswich where the mention of school used to brighten her up. In fact she used to get annoyed when the weekend came. We were very sad to see this facet of hers. We hoped it would settle down with time. It in fact got worse. She started to cry when we dropped her off. As a change K started dropping her instead of me. He is a fun dad while I tend to get a bit emotional. Though I don’t show it we wondered if the vibes might be rubbing on. She did not cry with daddy around, but she lacked friends. She did not have peers to run a mock with. She did not have classmates to go crazy with. As I used to prod, she said she had her meals alone and played by herself during the lunch breaks. She mentioned playing with an older student sometimes. I felt sorry for my child. I felt sad for my child. But then my mom and sister gave me strength. We had changed a lot of schools as kids since mom and dad had transferrable jobs. We might have felt sad during the changes, but it didn’t scar us. In fact we are more adaptive to changes cos of those experiences. Yeah it does feel sad to see ones offspring go through pain, but this pain would make her stronger. 

Pumpki on the other hand was having troubles of her own. She had been signed up to attend a certain daycare. But I saw another right next to Chiyaa’s school. I declined the place in the previous daycare and went forth for the new one. I thought it would go smoothly from then on. As usual there were a couple of settling in sessions. I knew she would cry. I knew she would be upset. Our experience with Chiyaa had prepared us for the worst. There would be a couple of instances where she would spend time in the nursery to get to know the staff. Then she would have to start off. Like Chiyaa had. She would have trouble getting used, but prior experience made us feel she would cope. The surprise came from the daycare. After a couple of sessions, they said since she was not ‘settled’ and they would continue with settling sessions. Meaning she would come intermittently and try to settle in. Err... I had no choice. But the troublesome part was they were calling me every time she cried a bit uncontrollably. And my dear Pumpki can cry real loudly. Secondly I was paying for the sessions. I never asked for the sessions. Why would I pay for them when it was me who was coming and comforting her every time she got upset? I compared notes and none of my friends had seen such a bizarre set up.  The sessions were also so few and far between that it was going to do no good to anyone. We chose to fail fast. I got in touch with the previous nursery that K had booked. They too had the same long drawn settling in sessions. But.... the good points were:- they took the child away and did not call parents back and I did not pay for them. 

But the visitations were to be over 4 weeks! Managing a toddler with work for 4 weeks is pretty onerous. Anyone who has worked from home can vouch for it. I took a week’s emergency leave.  Amma came as a saving grace in this. She volunteered to come over. It was like manna from heaven, without that support, surviving through the on and off nursery arrangement would have been a night mare. 

I used to feel very distraught initially. I used to feel ill at ease and suffocated by all the changes. Everything made me miss Ipswich. We were so settled there, but one thing after another in Leeds made me crave for that comfort which was Ipswich. It used to make us think that we unnecessarily spoiled the apple cart. I remembered the last days in Ipswich when I was talking to one of Chiyaa’s classmate’s mom. She mentioned that moving houses was the next stressful thing after having a baby ! Wow! That must be true. She also mentioned that it takes around 6 months to settle down. As I was going through the flurry, I thought of her words. And I felt, there was no need for me to rush around. I think I had to let it go and let time take it’s course. Things have a way of evening out don’t they?

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