Friday, November 1, 2019

My man II

Its school holidays and K is home. This is a week long break out of which 3 days Chiyaa if off for sports club. K has to drop her and pick her up on time and that’s pretty much job done. Since Pumpki is off to daycare as usual, it is some classic "me time" for K.

But yesterday I threw a curve ball at him. I asked him to cook some pasta for Chiyaa and feed her once she was back. He was aghast! He asked me to keep the water and the salt in a pan and keep the measure of the pasta that needed to go in. I rolled my eyes and did the needful. Around 1300 I got a message inquiring, how long did he need to boil the pasta. I replied, till the pasta was cooked. To which there was the follow up questions “How will I know the pasta is cooked”. I was like seriously? I asked him check by piercing a pasta with a fork and eating it to check if it was done. Unbelievable that this was all for pasta and not for launching a missile.

Today the poor man woke up at 0645 in spite of it being a holiday for him. When I asked him the reason, he said, he hadn't had coffee in 2 days! He has black coffee! It needs a teaspoon of coffee in water boiled in a electric kettle poured into a cup. I add a splash of double cream. It again isn't rocket science. But dear K cannot manage it. The foodie cannot cook to save his life :D

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

A random day off

K and I took last Monday off for admin purposes J. We had some work at the Indian Consulate in a nearby town.

Since it was our day off, we snoozed the alarm. Then woke up with an alarm at 0730! There was exactly 1 hour to hit the road. Two of us split and divided and conquered the morning chores. Chiyaa was quite happy to see mummy hang around. She was also very excited that I was going to drop her. Pumpki on the other hand was the proper drama queen. She knew something was afoot and made a long mopey face and made everything very very hard to do. But, being the assertive parents that we are, we got them packed off to their respective destinations. After that our destination was the consulate. Our job got done quicker than we expected. Score! So we decided to have some breakfast and shop for rugs. We are oh! so getting old! We did not get the rug of choice, but I did manage to find a plant which I bought immediately - much to K's chagrin of course! 

Once back home, we decided to go for a run. Lately us middle aged couple have taken on running. It started with I dragging Chiyaa along. But she is a very reluctant runner. But I wanted to, and I pulled K. When Amma was around, it was our “us” time. Just running quietly J So we went for a massive 8km run while was very tiring but amazing fun. I miss my days with roomie dear and Ashu when I used to go for walks with them. Again just quiet time, when we felt at peace! Some day girls, we will do it again!

Once back from the run, it was time for quick meal prep. We had decided to pick the kids sooner. So no after school club for Chiyaa and early pick for Pumpki. The kids had so much more energy once home which made them so less cranky! But by 1930, they had run out of ideas to engage. They had read their books, had their supper. Chiyaa had done a bit of schoolwork and there was still time for bed. Anyways we decided to have an early night in.

It was the perfect busily relaxing day I could ask for J And today the mayhem of the buses began!!!

Thursday, October 10, 2019

The headlines

Social media was flooded with people posing against moortis of Goddess Durga. Starting with Shashti people gave a close insight into their daily life till Dussera. And I lay in pain. Of course part of the pain was emotional since I miss home and whole hoopla of Durga Puja. Yes it’s a bit deal in Odisha (also in Jharkhand, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Assam – but then). So well, I missed home, being at home, being in that aura of puja. I had plans to go to the local temple. They make a moorti. We went there last year and it was quite a good experience. When we reached, the place was quite deserted and we had a very good darshan. Little did we know, the crowd started making their way at 2000 (when we were making our exit :D :P ) and that’s when all the cameras started clicking :D Being the un-social creature that I am, I definitely was glad at the lucky escape. And part of the pain was physical since I was nursing a big allergy (dunno to what) and had rashes all over my hands and face with a mild fever. I was not the best of puja events, but then..

Talking of un-social, there is another social event in the offing. Yep! Diwali! Another reason for people to meet and hang around. I have a couple of ex-colleagues who are close friends now. I planned to host a Diwali dinner for them. Being non-Indians, a little glimpse into a popular Indian festival – I thought that would be a good idea. But then there is a group of Indian ladies who live in the neighbourhood. I had the “good fortune” of being added to one which consisted of 4 other members. Now one of them is quite gregarious, and she suggested a get-together. Hmm, fine I can deal with 4 more families for a couple of hours. I voted yes. Then someone from the group added someone else, and someone else added someone else! Whoaaa!!! Now the group had more people I didn’t know! Well, my vote immediately turned to NO. But I consulted my friends – who know me, who can feel me J Most said “Go na”. “You might make new friends”, “Kids will enjoy”, “Why not” were the arguments (BTW I asked 4 people, 2 of which were my mom and sis :D ) Then I asked the man – K. His heart was into it, he doesn’t mind socialising. But he knows me, and how much I dread it. So he said, fine say no. Halleluiah!! I politely excused myself. There were a few awkward messages with the 2 people I knew from the group who tried to find out “why” I wasn’t coming. How would I explain fear of crowd?!

But it left me thinking. All the people I asked said yes! Something is wrong with me. I even googled “ I don’t like socialising, is something wrong with me”. Got a load of results!! Mostly dealing with differences between introverts and extroverts. Huh! I have known I am an introvert, since I was 10.

Uh well, that was one bullet dodged. But, all dark clouds come with a silver lining. And yesterday had a beautiful silver one. Buses are an integral part of my life. They take me to and from work. But the buses have been keeping an absolutely horrendous schedule. Absolutely horrendous, delays on top of delays. So yesterday as I left work and reached the bus stop, there were 3 buses waiting. But………. To get to them, I had to go across a pedestrian crossing which was showing a big red stop. I waited. Generally I would dart through, but vehicles kept coming, so I had to keep waiting. Then when I finally reached the stop, all the buses had left!! The next was 10mins away! And given the schedule, it could mean 20, 30 – god knows what. There was no option but to wait. And within the next 2 mins, a bus came. Now since the previous 3 buses had swept through all the commuters. And this bus had just 4 people who didn’t need to get down. It was literally like going in a personal vehicle. In the race my bus came second!!! Woo hoo! Small joys! :D

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Borrowed time

Sunday night I was sleeping next to Chiyaa (yeah we still co-sleep, generally its K with Chiyaa and I with Pumpki). Around 2330 ish she woke me up and said she was not able to go back to sleep. I turned the night light on and gave her a book (yeah I did that :D) and drifted off to sleep myself. I thought she would sleep off, but 30 mins later she was still reading. I asked her to hit the bed, since she had school the next day. She asked me for something to eat (obviously one would be hungry if one wakes up in the middle of the night). I warmed a cup of milk and gave her. Minutes of having it, she needed the toilet! Obviously again. After that she and I snuggled and slept. 2 hours later, she said she wasn’t getting sleep again. I asked her to read again. After sometime, (I am not sure whether she slept in the interim or not, cos I was sleeping J ) she said she felt sick. Hmm… now that was troubling. We went to the toilet and poor child had a big puke. Cleaned up, we tried to sleep. She was definitely feeling better now. (Must have been the restaurant food we had on Saturday, plus my chicken biriyani on Sunday would have added fuel to fire). She slept for a bit, but then complained about not being able to get back to sleep! I asked her what she wanted to do and she said play J Good for her, she has toys handy everywhere. She started playing. It was close to 0400.

By now I had decided that she would not be going to school on Monday.
I told her “You are not going to school tomorrow”
She blinked and said “Will I be all alone?”
I said “Yes, of course”
“But who will take care of me?”
I said “What take care?
Chiyaa replied “I cant cook”
I said “I will leave some cooked food, you just have to eat it”
Chiyaa took a few moments to digest this. I asked “ You will be ok?” She nodded.
She was so cute! (And yes I was mean by messing with her head) I gave her the tightest hug and let her play)

I rang in school on Monday morning. When asked what was wrong with her, I was unprepared for a lie. I replied, she was sick. “Oh that means she has to kept at home for 48 hours to rule out any infection” Darn it!! Now I had to take 2 days leave. Thankfully my company had a policy that allows upto 5 days leave in a year for family emergencies.

And was I glad! I caught up on some books. I played with Chiyaa. We took a 90 minute long walk. We practiced some karate since she has a tournament in 4 weeks’ time. I got to prepare food and be around the house pottering around. I realised just how much time we spend at work! When I came back on Wednesday I also realised how little we add to day to day. When I was at home, I felt a lot would be happening. But then everything seemed the same. It was very kind of everyone to ask about Chiyaa.

It wasn’t for the best of causes but the effect of the two days was very good - some more time with my little one J

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Growing up and moving on - again

Note: The again in the title, cos the first post is here :) 

The thought ran through me the other day when I saw a woman carrying her baby in a baby carrier wrap. The child was a few months old and she had a purse and a nappy bag slung over her shoulder. A pretty lady, she looked like a travel system on two legs J and she was doing her job of maneuvering through the market and shops pretty deftly. (Not that I was stalking her or anything, I just noticed :D ) She reminded me of my days. You know how I am not the one for nostalgia and all for moving forward and future looking when things get better and easier. But once in a while I am a normal human who has a wave of reminisce. ;)

My days with Chiyaa, I remember well. I was by myself. She was the only child in the house. Every moment was etched. But Pumpki was different. I had mummy around after she was born, we travelled to India when she was 4 months old and stayed for 3 months. Amma managed to come back once she turned 1 and then did mummy. Our movement from Ipswich to Leeds ended up in her not having a nursery place and hence extended care from grandparents. Now grandparents’ care exists even when parents are home. I have always had someone shadowing me. So with her my memories are blurry. She is also one who changes in a flick. No gradual transition, which makes moments with her more like “blink and you miss it”. I do not remember her learning to walk. She used to “cruise” that is, hold on to sofa, tables and chairs and get up and walk a few steps. One hilarious thing she used to do is, hold on to a stool and put one leg on it (kind of like a stretch ballerinas do). I have umpteen videos of her holding that stretch for longer and longer, then gradually leaving one hand, then the other. And one fine day, after her stretch she put her legs down, and walked a few paces, un-aided. That’s it, from then on, she increased her steps and in a couple of days she was walking! With Chiyaa it was way more gradual – her first steps were noticeable. (I have a recording of it) But Pumpki, no she just walked.

Same was with her weaning. It seemed arduous and quite daunting, but 2 days into our attempt and she was weaned. But she got on to a bottle. She used to have milk at night as well. Sometimes more as a comfort feed when she woke up. Since she is going to turn 4 in December, we tried hard to think of ways to get her off it. Chiyaa was the same and it was quite a struggle to break the habit. We diluted milk with water, then transitioned to only water to have her stop. We were not sure with Pumpki. But 2 weeks ago, she developed a cough. When she woke at night, we insisted she have water. We kept saying “water will stop the cough” to encourage a few sips. After exactly two days of complaining, day 3, she stopped asking for milk. Just like that, the habit is gone. Same goes for her getting off diapers too! She was toilet trained but we put diapers as a precaution for nights. One night, she was fidgety. When I asked if she needed the toilet, she said yes and walked with me. Since then – no night time diapers for her. Same during swimming. She doesn’t need one then either. Same goes for her settling down in nursery. She used to cry and one day she stopped. She used to enjoy her day, but was the quiet one. Someone who did not talk much and the nursery staff had to really struggle to get words from her. They used to ask us to share home videos where they could see her communicate so that there weren’t concerns about her speaking. In fact I read an article on selective mutism and wondered if Pumpki had it. As with everything with her, one day, she started talking a bit more. First to her friends, when an adult was not watching, then to her key person who works most closely with her, then with friends even in and adult’s presence. Now a days I get regular feedback on her being “chatty” and sharing stories and the like! Huh – she is a regular chatterbox now!

She is growing up to be an independent person. She for sure seems to be slipping right out of my hands L

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Every holiday is different

I am back. From a holiday. When the alarm went off this morning, my first thought was “Is it Monday already!?”. And Monday it was. Luckily Chiyaa’s school starts tomorrow, which gives us a day to gently “transition” into full on working days.

When the holiday started, I had no plans. We had a few days away in a nearby sea side town. The week leading to the break had the coldest, murkiest weather. Felt like October rather than August. Sea-sides can be notoriously cold. And cold climates do not agree with the kids. I did not want weeks with kids suffering from cough and cold. We were supposed to travel on the Friday. Thursday it was raining cats and dogs all day long. I packed tights, sweaters, boots and light shoes (in case the weather was warm). I was fully prepared for the worst holiday weather. Friday morn as if by magic it was a hot hot hot 24 degrees. The coast was warmer in fact at a tempting 28 degrees!! The sun was shining and though google maps predicted lot of holiday traffic in the motorway, the roads were not a nightmare! I had a wonderful drive for the first half. As we started making progress to the the rural roads, we missed an important turning. But as if God was watching over us, there was a road blockage a few minutes on. Since the traffic was stalled, we were able to quickly turn around and take the right route. We felt blessed, as if the holiday was destined to go well.

It started well. We had a lovely meal once we reached, and watched a few shows that were being performed in the venue. When we got around to wrapping the kids for the night, I realized that in my enthusiasm to pack warm clothes, I had over looked inner wear for Chiyaa. I had not packed a single piece for her!! Disaster! Anyways we planned to go out to a nearby store the next morning (which was not so nearby since we were put up in quite a remote resort). It would take some meaningful time away, but then what needs to be done needs to be done. Pumpki was "the have" with a surplus supply of knickers and the moment she knew of her "have-not" sister, she did not leave a chance to rub it on :D . She pretended to choose which one she was going to wear, and even had a day, evening and night one segregated. The audacity! While she went on with this exercise, much to the chagrin of Chiyaa, I noticed that one of the knickers looked big enough to fit Chiyaa. (Yes! I buy bigger size for the kids, so that I don’t need to run to the stores every 3 months) I asked Chiyaa to try it and it fit! This was Pumpki’s chance to get harassed :D since her stuff was being worn by didi. Karma ;)

We ended up washing and using the 2 and Chiyaa survived! (Thank the shining sun and tower driers again.) Knicker-gate resolved without a longggg trip to the markets. Boo-yah. The good weather held up too. Saturday was warmer than Friday and we spent hours on the private beach. It was idyllic. Sunday was slated to be even higher in temp. We looked forward to a day in the pool, followed by a stroll around the amusement rides and then back to the beach. Till another disaster struck at 0930. The electricity went off. And took water with it. K went to inquire and was informed that it was a town wide issue! Well….this was an issue of massive proportions. Everyone but me needed their bathroom business done ;) and we Indians need water. So with 5 people with pending bathroom business, we were in critical need for water. We started opening taps full throttle like crazy. Every drop was precious. Yes the speed was slow, but then there is always water lurking in the pipes isnt it? We could manage to get 2 bottles filled. K as usual had a light bulb idea. The beach was nearby. (Not really, but for argument’s sake) He recommended we take all available bottles and go to the beach, fill water and come back! You can NEVER take India out of an INDIAN! Spoke like a true bred Hindustani. People across the resort were contemplating their next move. We were smug with a back up plan. Apart from the fetching-water-from-the-beach idea,  K recommended that we make a trip back home sooner if the water/electricity situation did not improve. It was a Sunday and the next day was a holiday, chances that anyone would be around the fix and issue in a remote touristy place was bleak. Well, that was a valid point, though it would be an unceremonious end to the holiday :( 

But then!! Bijli aa gai! And we shouted hurrrraaayyy!! We clapped, we cheered. I was totally reminded of the days of past when the current would go in crucial junctures of cricket matches. In the sweltering heat, tempers would flare. Papa would barely contain expletives. We would pace up and down, and keep a look out for any signs of electricity. The sound of television or the sight of light if it was after evening. If we saw some lucky goon with it, we would fish out if was the generator or the power supply. God forbid if it was power supply - Papa would make frantic calls to electricity department or drive off to the local one - depending on his state of mind. And when the power was restored, the rotating fan, the tube light, the flicker of the television – heaven was right there in the living room. That day in the resort, I felt the same. Wow! Vacations follow a trend but these nuances – they make it.

With electricity back, we were able to get on our “business”. Colon cleansed, the family marched to enjoy a glorious day in the sunshine.

Once back in Leeds, the days with the kids were pure bliss. We went around the city, visited some local farms, played, watched a load of television, coloured a lot of pictures, nursed sore throats and cold congested chests (there is no avoiding them :( ) and essentially had summer vacation.

Tuesday as Chiyaa goes back to school, I hope for the summers again soon J

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

August again!

Though I had a few thoughts brewing in my head, I kept putting them off. A bit of lethargy and a bit of procrastination. So before August draws to a close, let me put my post up.
August is guess what – yes holiday season! Summer holidays! Before they start I panic. I keep wondering how to keep Chiyaa gainfully engaged for 6 weeks. This is the last year it is only Chiyaa, from next Chumki joins her for her day care ends! (How time flies, that little one will be in school next year!!) So to keep Chiyaa engaged, I enrolled her in a couple of dance sessions and a week of sports.  That took care of 7 days :D There were many many more days.

K was on parental leave the first week of the hols. He did a stellar job of keeping the kids engaged. They would go on walks, collect rubbish from the neighbourhood, go and have lunches and be busy. And in the lean time, when Chiyaa would pick a book, K would engage in some online fighting J For me I did not have the rush of getting Chiyaa dressed and all in the morning, which meant I could have 15 additional minutes of sleep! So much so, even my showers are longer and more relaxing. Also once back, I did not have to scurry away in the car for the pickups. I could have a relaxing cup of coffee and pick Pumpki once it was time. Wow! I think I am getting used to this :D

The roads are scant since many people book holidays thus lessening the traffic. We have purchased many books so every room is littered with a pile. There are toys all over the place – some setups have a strict warning “DO NOT TOUCH” like this 
since the kids intend to resume play any moment. At the mid point of the hols, I can say, I am loving itJ