Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Season..of Break ups?!

Is there a season when people break up the most? Hadn’t thought of this before. Just like I had found it amusing when my room mate had mentioned to me that the holiday season was the time people put on weight. I had just arrived from India, scared, nervous, dehydrated, sleep deprived after 50 hours of flight, student into the US.  By the time I had gotten to understand the system here and had started to breath freely,  it was thanks giving time! I had gotten a couple of invitations from fellow students and had the first taste of what a thanksgiving dinner was like, at my professor’s home.
There wasn’t anything on the table that I had wanted to hog on. Instead, I had found this huge round ball of skinned, stuffed and cooked bird laid out like a decoration, on the table that didn’t seem to set off the enzymes in my tummy flowing.  Excuse me for this guys, but, I hadn’t seen something like that before!  By the time I had gotten used to it, the evening was over. A very nice and pleasant gathering of people from my department. My dinner had been a tiny serving of boiled peas..as that’s the only vegetarian stuff I had been fortunate enough to find. Still, I had taken my roommates words for more than its face value and thought that somehow by magic, people put on weight after that dinner. 
I had made about 15 rounds on foot around the university’s stadium every day for two months in biting cold, wind and snow wanting to prove her wrong that, some people lost weight during the festival season.  Right! Lonely people like myself had nothing better to do then. Away from family and friends who lived on the other side of the globe in a warm country where sweating was fun. Where most people had heard the word snow but, hadn’t seen a snow flake in their life.
Not knowing anybody in this new place, the town had looked like a ghost town during the Christmas break when almost all the students had  left their dorms and rentals to go and cozy up with their families.
It had been the blizzard of 96’. Not only was that my first experience with such extreme cold and snow but it had continued endlessly, with warm weather no where in sight. We had snow on the streets even at the end of April.  Not knowing better, I had let the thermostat stay at 80 so, I could feel the warmth of the tropics and had paid hefty bills to the utility company that year.  It had taken me a while to learn to walk on sleet and wet snow without falling on my butt. The situation itself was enough to have drained half of my weight.
Sure, I had succeeded to prove her wrong that year and maybe for the next also..but, today I couldn’t agree with her more.  According to a leading daily, an average thanksgiving dinner plate has way more than 4000 calories of food on it.  Wow, so much food!! I don’t think I could eat that much although I’m considered a person with a ravenous appetite.
Coming back to breakups…which incidentally had been the topic I had wanted to write about (Amazing, my lack of focus or attention. The rate with which I digress, could beat a child diagnosed with ADD hands down...maybe the result of an undiagnosed condition from childhood..that has now taken this gigantic form).
So, I was reading this article from the Personal Journal of WSJ. According to this article..2 designers, Lee Byron and David McCandless, set out to collect data on break ups, by searching for break up words on face book, and have come to the conclusion that  as we are closing in on the holiday season, we are also closing in on one of the 2 peak times of the break up season in the year! Other peak being the time around spring break. 
Had never considered that there are periods during a year, when people tend to break up the most. And what better way to do this, than to post your status on face book for all your friends to see, if sending a personal text message was not an option!.. Who cares for the face to face way of breaking up when a few geeks from Harvard have made it possible for people to break up without needing to make eye contact to do it, making the life of so many people unable to communicate with people face to face, so easy.
There’s a graph too!! (Very interesting link!)
Post a status or send a text that your not interested in the relationship anymore, that, it was time to call it quits.  Saving tactics?! Surely saves one from buying that extra gift during the holidays!  Gets me to think, what are the marketing departments doing to keep such break ups from happening. Its the drops that make the ocean, right?!
In my case, this is the season that brings back fond memories, memories of my husband and me meeting each other for the first time.  Thanksgiving was the time we met/saw each other for the first time, we got married during the Christmas holidays the following year. Every year, the arrival of Thanksgiving would start a series of anniversaries for us. But, this year, it totally skipped my mind (not sure about Pavan who claims that he had remembered about it for a few minutes and forgot to wish us both). I totally forgot that it had been the anniversary of 15 wonderful years of knowing Pavan.  How could such a thing happen? 
I can still remember the day so vividly like it happened yesterday..my impression of this guy who was trying to act so cool wasn’t impressing me.  But,  it had felt very comfortable and simple too…being with him.  I realized it as soon as he left and I had wasted no time in sending an encrypted email..telling him how quite and peaceful the whole place had become. He had been quick at replying back and the rest is history.
Pavan and ME (BG)  (One of our first selfie...!)
Maybe it was the case of 2 people who were trying hard at being “So Cool”. They realized that being cool wasn’t fun after all. Instead they decided to warm each other up with their love for each other, and they did it so well, that they have been blessed with the family WE are now!  This season, another member from the family is at it, again!  He is on his way to getting hooked for life.  Hopefully, everything will work out as expected for him and he will have earned a fiancĂ© by the end of this season..
For other men in the family watching with all their ears and eyes wide open, equipped with the wisdom of marital bliss of a few years now, its fun time. To them, its like watching somebody getting ready to be skinned for life. Nothing is more enjoyable than this.  They have been into this marriage thing for a while now and know the baggage it comes with, much wiser than these innocent beings so eager to tie the knot (in their opinion!).  But guys, who knows, after a few kids (Yeah! I know I used “FEW”)  and the memories of the years passed,  to look back at..all this may not be a bad deal after all!
There is a saying in Hindi
“Shadi ke Ladoo, joh khaye woh pachtaye, Joh nahin khaye, woh bhi pachtaye!”
The one who eats the fruits of marriage regrets just as the one who doesn’t. Hopefully, this will be the case of neither.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

R’s new Dressup!

After convincing me to open her gift set…after planting that sweet kiss on my cheek, after letting me know that I am the best-test mom in this whole wide world...., we got a pair of scissors to cut the box of her jewelry.
What’s with the packaging of toys? Its such a difficult task to cut that plastic enclosure open. Often, end up getting scratched by the sharp edges of the plastic. Why can’t this get simpler? I’m sure the packaging industry can do better here because this has been the grouse of every other person I met.
  We finally got the items out and She wore them instantly.DSC_9255  DSC_9276

She explained me everything that she wore.  The bangles, the neca-lace, the princess crown,  ear rings and about the finger ring…DSC_9269 DSC_9272 DSC_9274

She wanted me to take pictures of her with her dress up…not realizing that I was already clicking away.
“Mama can you take my picture now”, she said..lifting her hair to make her jewelry visible..
“R, can you smile some more?”, I asked her…
“Alrigdht Mama…”, she said.
These were the series of pictures that ensued after she decided she wanted to give a nice SMILE.
 DSC_9263 DSC_9262 DSC_9261DSC_9260
At this point I couldn’t think of any creative way to stop her from doing this…and I said..
“R, you can stop smiling now..”
Immediately, her reaction:
“What ?! Stop Smiling?”DSC_9264 

“We got to always smile for a picture”, trying to convince me that she should continue smiling and me not appearing convinced.DSC_9265 
Uhhhhh! Mammma!    I want to SMILE!        DSC_9266
That ended our photo shoot because she realized she wore her necklace the wrong way.
I tell you, it is so difficult to shoot pictures of your own kids who think they know everything. Especially, for amateurs like me..on a cloudy day, without a portrait lens, without proper lighting. Ah! I’m done taking pictures now.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

R’s Case!

So, she had fought her case well. She had gotten me to open this new gift of hers that she received from her cousin, I. I didn’t get a chance to ask “Aren’t there enough of them scattered around already?”, that after 8 years of secretly removing them from my home, without the kids knowledge,  I’m still struggling to get rid of those last few. 
With 4 girls at home, 3 of who have thankfully, already passed through this stage of wanting Barbie/Princess,  the aftermath of which has left enough of these annoying, omnipresent, limbless, hairless naked figurines scattered around.  How can I forget those bazillion dress ups of these pesky dolls that have taken more than 1530 hours per year of my hard work to keep them organized, or just plain, out of sight! for the last 7 years.
Combine this with my ability at leaving NO stone unturned at expressing my frustration loudly, so the whole “Muhallah” got the pleasure of hearing, it wouldn’t surprise me if my kids grew up to realize , they indeed had a version of  “Xanthippe” for their mom!.  All those years of torment they had endured from me when I had forbidden them from their favorite play room.  What was their fault if the toy had a 1000 pieces each.  So what, if there had to be 3 of each, so each of them could have one to play with although, after a while it didn’t matter because all the pieces  were never there.DSC_0001
Their tiny shoes, stilettos, those minute hand bags..those teeny tiny brushes and combs, those kitchens with the refrigerators, those vegetables and microwaves, those tiny utensils, cutlery and furniture, those tiny cribs and high chairs for their toy babies ..3 Halloween Barbies with their paraphernalia of Witch items, 3 Bikini Barbies, 3 smart (arse) Barbies,  3 working Barbies, 3 Barbies with bicycles, 3 Barbies at the beach, 3 Barbies in workout dress up, 3 Magnetic dress up of skirts or striped pants for these naked figures, scattered through the house. Then, we had all the  “____iana” princesses from the Diamond Castle and other castles that made my home theirs, ( like their castle was not big enough for them! ) , with a loud musical instrument…These princesses were part of a band and had an instrument each. One of these tiny instrument had a tiny button, when pressed would produce this piece of soul hurtling music..It had removed the memory of all other sounds from my brain after we were subjected to it for a few times a day, everyday .., lets just put that figure at 2000 times a day, considering that the music ran for 20 secs each time.
 (Permission to disregard my math skills or my exaggeration skills…So much for being a Math Graduate!)
DSC_3253 (3 I Spy books)DSC_3442 (3 scrubs)DSC_3415                        (3 Neonatologists!!  I think they were whisking away triplet preemies to the NICU!)
My day job used to be set trying to put all these dress up in containers called dress ups, one of them for these dolls and the other for the kids itself with all their fake jewelry, and tiaras and necklaces etc. The naked Barbie's and Princesses stripped of any clothing would be lying in another container named Barbie's…And we had enough…to fill a huge trunk. Just to make this long boring story short. The Room was full. If we dare walk inside my home without looking down…one could be sure to be poked by those pointy feet or great pointy boobs of these Barbie dolls, because, as you realize, we Indians (surely, in my home) don’t get our shoes, inside our homes.
The triplets, now 8, feel ashamed taking their lunch bags to school because they either have Princess figures or Barbie figures on them. They were trying to convince me to buy them new ones, unable to give me anymore reason than the existence of these pictures on the bags. R on the other hand is just entering the stage…All she wants to be is a Princess. Luckily, for her, she has no dearth of such dress ups. She doesn’t change her Princess dress for days, for if she does, I may put the dress to wash…and she may not find it again. 
She wakes up in the morning to the thought of being dressed as a Princess ( ready to brave the November weather..without a sweater or a coat..considering its flurrying outside now) just like we grown ups feel so blessed to smell freshly brewed coffee, first thing in the morning. When convinced that she can wear it after  she returns from school, I manage to get her dressed for school so she is warm for the weather. When she comes back, she explains to me why she needs to change up.
“Mama, look I was in the wood chips today..”
“This dress is dirty, this pant is dirty too. I got to change up!” she says.
“What are you going to change up into, R?”, I ask innocently like I don’t know what she is going to answer.
“My Halloween dress!”, she says, thinking she has smartly and intelligently avoided the “Princess” word…
“Don’t remove your shirt, R, its cold!!”, I shout as she is running upstairs. She returns back with her princess dress..no shirt under it, no pant.
A few days ago, her cousin gave her the best gift she could ever ask....A jewelry set…fit for a Princess. Ear rings, bangles and a necklace with the biggest diamond and a tiara with a diamond that glowed, when the button was pressed.
She showed this box to me everyday for 2 weeks explaining me what each stuff was..What we need to do with it.  After she would explain me the importance of each piece, she would ask me if I would open it for her. Sometimes, she folded her hands together to say “PLease”. And I would let her know that I would surely do that as soon as she comes back from school hoping she would either forget about it or I would remember to hide the pack.  Today, none of those things happened and after achieving success for 2 weeks,  I forget to hide it and she for her part, didn’t forget about asking me to open the gift set. And her persistence was commendable too. 
“Ok, R. I will open this for you right away..”, I said
“Really Mama, You’re going to open it?!!!!!!!!” she exclaimed..
She came to me right away and planted a loud wet kiss on my cheek and told me
“You are the best-test in the whole wide world!”
Awww,..I could open a hundred of them for all this!!
(To be continued)

Monday, November 22, 2010


One reason why I take the easy route in cooking by seasoning vegetables rather than cooking a “masale-daar” dish or sometimes, even try to stay out of the kitchen, is Onions! I love a lot of Indian dishes that unfortunately needs Onion as its ingredient, Of course, most of the Indian dishes with gravy would be incomplete with out Onion as one of its ingredients. The more gravy you need, the more onions we need to cut. How can I cut these because in the time it would take for me to peel and cut 2-3 onions under water, I would have cried pots and pans of tears, much more than I would be cooking.  By the time I would complete the cutting process and finish the cooking, my eyes would have puffed up like I had been crying my heart out, the whole day.  Its a very painful process for me. No amount of washing the onion in cold water helps me.

From that fine day, that my kids noticed me crying and realized the reason my tears were flowing as I cooked in the kitchen, they have made it a point to stand around and fan away the Sulphur vapors that my eyes are so allergic to. So cute, that gesture was, the first time they did it. I almost felt like I was getting pampered by my kids.  Then they would test their eyes while I cut the onions. One of them would stand at some distance and come closer to check if their eyes are as sensitive as mine. Surely, nobody at home is as allergic to the cut of the onion as I am.  My husband would cut them like he is cutting squash. So easy with no weeping eye and nose.

The other day, I suddenly felt that I needed to cook chickpeas. Why not, even my kids love it. But then, the onions had to be dealt with. Again, Why not? The thought of eating Chana-Masala was so appealing that I was going to go through this process of cutting the onions.  But, before that I needed to peel it. That was enough to set this whole tearing process into motion. I  washed the onion in water before I could even touch the knife to the bulb. It didn’t help. And I started to cut them..  I was rubbing my face onto my sleeves to dry my eyes and then my nose and when I could do no more..I closed my eyes and tears still pouring, I tried cutting them with closed eyes. First one and then second and then third.  My eyes, my nose and everything that could burn or water were doing so.

“I  have dirtied all your work place”, the painter said from behind me.

There was a painter and his crew at home, trying to make my home a beautiful place to live in with colors the walls never knew existed before then. I was wondering if I should turn and let him see my face..I had no choice, it would be too rude to ignore him.

I turned and laughed at his remark and told him that it was ok. I had continued to talk to him but, I could see he wasn’t listening to what I said. He was staring at those wet eyes. He must have been thinking.

“Did she break down because I messed up her kitchen”. As I tried to dry up my wet eyes, and appeared like I was trying to smile through my tears,  trying to hide a galaxy of sadness like the women who feed on prozaic do in the soaps on Indian Saas and Bahu channel, I’m sure he was guessing that this women is really going through the lowest of lows of her life that she is breaking down in front of ME!…

His chest was almost starting to swell up at the hope that he was going to be that person in the whole wide world, who is going to enlighten me, not to loose hope and cheer up, that things could get worse….like this strip from Calvin and Hobbes.


“Onions…, its the onions” I said pointing to the onions I was cutting.

I almost could see that I broke his hope of being the savior.  He really let out this big laugh and told me..

“Oh Onions!”.  and he continued to laugh some more...

“I could eat the bulb as is”.  he said

“Wow” I said.

There ended our conversation about onions.

But, when it comes to Flowering Allium/Onions, I don’t have a problem..coz, I don't have to peel or chop them, right! Cheers to all the Onions (Alliums) growing in my Yard and make spring feel like spring!  The flowering cultivars that are available are so many…and we see may be, 3 types of edible Onions in the Market. The Red, White and Yellow colored ones.


 DSC_1424  (Allium Gladiator)DSC_1484  (Allium Cowani)DSC_1461  (Allium Unifolium)DSC_1380 (Allium Purple Sensation)


editedpic-1245  (Allium Globemaster)

  DSC_1609  (Allium Molly)


Apart from the ones displayed,  there is the white kind just like the Gladiator, the tiny dark pink ones, the ones that look like porcupines, and a lot more than one can imagine.

This is a very nice place to find Alliums. I’m not sure if the edible ones flower like these or the flowering ones are edible as the ones available in the Market.  But, I’m sure of one thing, they smell the same.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


The other day, Hubby dear and me came across some cartoon like scribbles on a paper. It looked interesting and the lines were very fast confident ones, not like how a kid would make. We thought that maybe, one of our daughter would have made it..but discarded that thought quickly, because, like I said earlier, the lines were fast confident ones, seemed like the thoughts flowed quickly as the person was drawing the figures. We knew, we didn’t do that..and if not the kids, then,  the only choice was the kids uncle who visits us every weekend.  We also felt surprised at the thought that he could draw such figures. Still, unable to help my curiosity,  I asked P, if she knew who drew that. To my amazement, she told me that she had done them!
Wow! I thought..When had P started to draw like that?..I complimented her. The next day, she had a page full of such figures, playing, dancing..and she agreed that she couldn’t get some of the forms right. But hey, who cares..they looked so great to me. I am her mom, not some critic from the movie “History of the World , Part 1”Poojha's scribbles_0002
A couple of weeks ago, the kids had a art class on using oil pastels. They were so thrilled that such a medium exists which they could use to express their art.  They had dabbled with chalk pastels earlier and that’s soooo messy.
This oil version of pastels was like some kind of gift from the tooth fairy. Their prospect of turning into Picasso's and Van Gogh's seemed brighter. The pastel colors were so bright and smooth compared to the crayons. They started to dole out art pieces after art pieces everyday…trying their hand at colors and making highlights trying to make clouds look more like clouds and snow seem like snow.
   Trio art 1_0023-2 Trio art 1_0026-2 Trio art 1_0025-2 Trio art 1_0024-2 (They couldn’t go around places like me..clicking pictures of this year’s fall…so, they got their imaginations to do that for them..)
Poo's Art 14_0020-2 Poo's Art 14_0018-2

Trio art 1_0022-2  (I’m assuming that its me that the triplets are watching from behind the tree…in the drawing above. )
I also went ahead and bought them each a box of oil pastels so they explore them further. Then, I saw the bigger version of the art they had created..The floor and the table were totally dotted with the dust from these oil pastels..sticky masses of dots of different color all across that new wooden floor and their new table. The table didn’t look black any more nor did the floor around their table look its color..! So today, I put them to task cleaning all that mess and took back their privilege of using the oil pastels forever! (the girls understand that forever means for a day or two.  Reminds me of this cartoon clip. It think it was Blondie.
Girl’s Father: You have a call from your boyfriend.     
Girl: Tell him not to call me ever again!           
Girl’s Father to the boyfriend: Call her back tomorrow.)
Add to this, it was R’s turn to be “Star of the Week” at her school. Suddenly their room was abuzz with activity.  Each of the triplet sister was making stuff for R that she could talk about and show to her friends. About her family, about the pet she once had, her abilities, her likes, her dislikes, drawings of her favorite princesses so on. They made a book for her and named it
“Book about me, R” with her picture on the header.
R enjoyed that attention.
All this done…she had watched her Didis create those master pieces for her, drawings of her family, her Yorkie doggie, and so much more..it brought about this massive movement in her…Suddenly, R’s artistry took a turn towards ….(too early to say..)! She started to dole out masterpieces of sketches of herself with her dog that is no longer there…                 IMG_0001
sketches of her family.  Before she had sketched her Papa, she had asked me “Mama, is Papa a boy or a girl?” After getting clarified that Papa was indeed a boy and not a monkey!! she decides to give him the POODLE hair, rather than those 2 skinny pony tails that we ladies got, not to forget the monkey ears.
If that is how much hair I would get being a girl..I would rather be drawn a boy, that way, my head would at least be covered with some hair!!  One can also see, she’s deciding how many fingers to give a person..She knows its five but, five means 3 or 6 or 7 lines…?! She’s also deciding on the number of legs.

I was actually impressed by this one because, she showed it to me and said..”Look mama, I’m falling down “, and it does look a little bit like that. Its become one of her favorite activities..How else will she be able to catch up with her Didis who have more than an edge over her. An edge of some 4+ years! When the kids were outside playing, she was busy perched on a chair at the triplets table, doing her artwork. She also insisted in bringing her book of art, to the restaurant, where she intended to continue with her masterpiece.
I suddenly have a house full of artists here and each of them is overwhelming me less with their artistic abilities and more with the mess it creates.
“Our Father in Heaven, please help our home from these great artists, save the floors and the furniture, save the newly painted walls of all those smudges from water colors and pastels. Give the artists the ability to draw some hair on people’s head, especially the women they draw and five fingers to human hands and right number of legs…….”

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

How to feed your kids right?

No, this blog doesn’t contain tips and tricks on feeding your kid right, as I myself am a struggling mom here. I was discussing the same in an earlier blog. How can such a simple thing of getting some food into her daughter get so complicated for this mom?! About a week ago I received this call from the school nurse.  She told me that my daughter, the third triplet, is below 50 percentile in weight..
“Well, the other two are not at ideal weight too…but, this kid is below 50% weight. Just wanted to find out if she is being fed”, she asked me._DSC7137
Actually, I made that ending up. She didn’t ask me point blank, if I was feeding her or not but, she sure had that question in her tone.  Well, I had to clarify that accusation, especially to a mom, nothing more belittling. I had to clarify that she is being fed the same food and same AMOUNT of food as the other two, its just that the food intake doesn’t show on her body…!!
She was very nice. I explained to her that she takes a long time to eat her food and with just 20 minutes for lunch, I wondered what she was able to eat at school, and that formed a big part of her day! She asked me if I spoke to her teacher. That was enough to get me ranting…I told her about my discussions with her teachers in earlier grades. How they had helped K with finishing her lunch (she still hadn’t shown any signs of putting on weight!)..Now that she was in the third grade, I told her, I wasn’t sure if her teacher would consider my request. She offered to speak to K’s teacher and suggested that I use substitute drinks like Pediasure to compensate for her nutrition.  Back to providing K with Pediasure for Lunch!! That meant, back to where I was with her in pre-school.
We are a bunch of Vegetarians. But, being vegetarian isn’t the cause that my kids don’t put on weight. Either I am not a good cook, or they just aren’t interested in food or they just very active kids with a high metabolic rate. The first case could not be true too. I’ve seen them do the “ummmmm” while eating some of the food I cook. Sometimes, P takes the liberty to come and kiss me saying “You are the best cook, Maa”.  I’ve heard my mom remark at times..
“What kind of kids are these?!…Never interested in food, I need to call them so many times to come to the table!!!”
Indian cooking, if done properly would need some spice in it to taste decent.  I know, I’ve changed my cooking to suit the needs of the kids. Spices out..blandness in, had been the mantra because K can’t tolerate spicy food.
Whenever my in-laws or my parents are here is when we realize the blandness of our food. They need loads of Pickle to put some taste back into the food. My MiL’s favorite line..told in her language..and literally translated would sound like this
“This food is sans Mom or Dad..”. Salt being the Mom and Spicy hot being the Dad
I’d not taken K’s weight seriously until the words “below 50 percentile “ hit that eardrum of mine. Growing up, I myself had been skin and bones. I had been popular in my school for the wrong reason. I had been famous for being skinny. Feels so nice saying that now, when I’m struggling everyday to attain that ideal weight..battling to keep away every extra ounce of fat and that yummy snacks away from my sight. It really had been that difficult for me to put on weight at one point of my life, feels unbelievable!!. 
Even Hubby dear was known for the same. HE STILL IS!  Physically, he is a lanky guy and his mom always wondered where all that food went that he hogged. I remember, one time when he was coming to visit me at school, during our dating days, those beautiful days, when I couldn’t find any fault with him..,days when I couldn’t see the truth behind “why him?”!!  I had prepared 2 packs of Gits Gulab Jamun, about 40-50 of them. Most of you cooks, who cook this know how long it takes to get those balls looking round and staying like that, and how long it takes to prepare it. I wasn’t even an experienced cook then. He had driven 7 hours to meet me, the least I could do to impress him was make his favorite stuff. When he came, he had just taken 5 minutes to finish all of them…!!! It never showed on him.
Knowing the girls appetite at home, K’s appetite is not much different from her other 2 siblings. But, weight wise, she surely shows a considerable difference compared to her sisters. She is so light that a slight wind could blow her off her feet. Actually, I’ve even tried blowing from behind as she was walking and maybe I did see her loose her balance. I’ve seen her fall down with a slight inadvertent touch. That’s how light she is.
So, I’ve unwillingly taken up on the nurse’s advice of providing K with Pediasure again. Everybody has so many advices and the Mom is made to feel guilty. The Pediatrician says..”she needs to eat solid and exercise her jaws”, the nurse at school suggests that she be given Pediasure so, she can get all her meal in a drink. My Oh My!! mothering is not an easy task…So many decisions. Reminds me of the episode I watched with my youngest today of “Olivia”
Olivia’s Mom: “You had a hard day today, following those animals in the dark, you need to sleep now, you must be tired from all that.”
Olivia: “Being a Mother is not tiring right, You have a very easy job”
Olivia’s Mom: Laughs and Kisses Olivia goodnight!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Kids TV

My dear husband pampers me in various ways…one of them being, leaving behind interesting articles from newspapers that he comes across.  We realize that with all the work I pile on myself, with my hand in so many pots..its just not possible for me to skim through stuff to find interesting reads..He, being a voracious reader, and knowing my taste, is able to find those articles that I would love to read.

So, recently I was reading this article in the Personal Journal of Wall Street Journal. It was about Kids TV and where it has come to be, spanning from the days of Disney. Most of the Disney channels are not able to compete with the new channels today, that even have a curriculum to boast about. Especially, NOGIN (now called NICKJR). image

The punch line, that the channel uses “Preschool on TV”.  I consider myself a perfect candidate to vouch for this. I, for one have watched this channel for the last 8 years now and still see no signs of stopping.

Starting with the triplets and now with Richa, this is the only channel I get to watch freely without any interruptions. Its a channel without any annoying advertisements. Now that the kids have taken over the TV from us, I cannot find a reason why I should deny them this, other than being fed up of subjecting my ears to those squeaky excited sounds, that goes..

”Now we need to cross the seven seas…Can you count with me?

“One, Two….Seven” (,Never had realized it was so easy crossing the seven seas).

“We have crossed the seven seas, Where do we go next?”

With the triplets having outgrown this channel, watching other channels with them is a very nervous affair. What could pop up either in the form of an advertisement or message!. I know we are in the age of TIVO and DVR receivers…where one can record their program of choice and watch it when they want to. Still, Indian channels have no concept of planning a program for a wider audience. The English channels are no better. What with those advertisements that span drugs for “Herpes” or for more loan…

The soaps on the Indian channels are so disgusting. The reality shows, like Indian Idol, Sa Re Ga Ma Paa, and other Indian versions of “Dancing with the Stars”  and Kitchen Championships etc are decent. Some of them are inspiring to young learners of music and dance. But, with their activities and school work, the triplets hardly find time to watch any TV.  So, currently Richa holds the TV remote at home. As expected, she is not going to let us watch any other channel other than her favorite, will she?!

Her channel of choice, NICKJR!. Most of the shows that have managed to stay on for the last 8 years, we’ve almost learnt the script verbatim. So has Richa!  As usual, Dora and Diego rule as the favorites as it had been for the triplets too. When Nick took over NOGIn, I had wondered if it would turn this beautifully scripted channel into a box of advertisements.

Instead, a lot has improved on this channel. So many of the shows have stopped while other shows have taken over them.  Actually, I feel the level of knowledge that’s being dispersed on this channel has taken a turn upwards, like an exponential curve.  Now, there are shows like Olivia and Wow Wow Wubbzy..The triplets used to love this show and Richa got hooked on to it. I used to wonder if she understood anything at the time. (But, one can’t know with the kids of this generation. They always take you by surprise.) Its a show that encompasses emotions and childhood habits like attention span, and science.  image

Even the characters are named Widget, Daisy, and the main character Wubbzy, who is a drawing made by joining a bunch of lines. He even deals with superstition in one of the episode.


Another show that Richa has gotten hooked on to is Olivia. Oh my! It makes me wonder if this channel is even catering to the Pre-schoolers or elementary school kids. This little piglet cartoon, who often calls her little brother as her “little bother” is dealing with projects like creating a new planet, or new cuisines. In one episode, I overheard her discussing “moderation”.  She boldly mentions that anything done in excess is called moderation, when her parents try to stop her, unable to deal with her excess in “Recycling” and “Saving the Planet”.

There used to be this cute show “Little Bear”. It used to feel so laid back and peaceful watching that show. It was the time when the triplets were going to pre-school. I was a working mom then. They would be dropped home in the afternoon and after their nap, their grandparents would wake the kids up to “Little Bear”. It was such a nice calm way of waking them up. I don’t see the show now-a-days.  Its been taken over by so many newer shows, like Olivia, Dino Dan and the cute Ni-Hao Kai lan. image



Another of the kids favorite is the show called “Back Yardigans”.  Its an amazing show that showcases the  vastness of a kids imaginations. The way the backyard of these 4 friends either, turns into an amazon forest or the iceage or a swamp or a desert.  Their characters change from being a Viking explorer to a Pirate finding a treasure to being a arrogant queen in the desert asking her subjects do all her work for her.  The show explorers phonetics, inventions or discoveries. The musical numbers are so awesome and the dance steps of the characters are choreographed so well.

Cannot forget the “Wonder Pets” and their favorite line “We’re not too big and we’er not too small but when we work together, we’ll find the right way, Go Wonder Pets Go!!”

Its been so rightly named as “Preschool on TV”. Lots of stuff to learn for the kids, except the kid would end up glued to the TV, loosing out on developing social skills which forms a big part of growing up. Considering that Richa is doing that part at school, no reason why I can’t let her watch this channel for a while each day.

The other day, Richa was doing her potty and she was calling out for me so I could clean her up. When I didn’t move, she started instructing me..

“Mama, I don’t hear you walking..”

After about 2-3 more calls, I said..

“Ok..Richa hear me walking”

And I walked to the bathroom and looked at her and called her

“Restless girl” trying to be funny.

She looked at me and told me something that took me off my feet.

Treat people, like you want them to treat you”.

I was left speechless. But, luckily now for me, I try to use that line back at her whenever I find it convenient. I know I can’t push my luck more than I should, what if she decides to ignore and move on!


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Does my mommy love me?!

Last week, the kids were home a couple of days. They had a long weekend for Diwali. The teacher’s conference coincided with Diwali and so this year, the kids got an off from school for Diwali but, Hubby dear was not! He had to be at work. Being at home with them after a long time and without any activity, I let them watch TV. Immediately K remarks…”Its like we are watching TV for the first time this year!”
“This year?!!” I ask puzzled..
“I mean this school year!”, she clarified.
I was busy with my work but, got to talk with the kids as I did my chores. Then, I come across this letter in the laundry room. Why there?!…It was a love letter…”To MOM!”  written by P.  She had expressed a lot of love to me in that letter. But, she had left a lot unsaid when it got uncomfortable for her to express..
“I really would love you to read my stuff, but something about you..Your the best!…I like you a lot..so, please accept this poem. its about you and me being together….” and it continued.
I was such a lovely flattering letter. But, what was that in there that said
“but, something about you…”
My mind was stuck at that line. I needed to find out. So, we got talking. Myself, trying to find out what was that she was unable to tell me. What was that, that was nagging her about me!  I knew that it wouldn’t be something pleasant. And then, I could see that lump in her throat. She was just so overwhelmed to talk. She was doing that grown up kind of a cry…tears rolling down but, trying to cover it up with a smile.Trying to smile while hurting inside!
“OMG! these girls are already acting so girly!”  I was thinking. Alarm sounding loud in my head.
It took her a while to start talking. Then she spoke:
“Its about you scolding us…. (pause..after collecting herself again..)  when you get mad at us …how can you love us?”
It was that age old question they had about me (about any parent for that matter).
“How can I claim that I love you, when I scold you?” I asked…
“Yeah! you get mad at us and the next moment you are singing or talking to us like..it never happened!” Kauvya joined putting her 2 cents in.
I had been mad at them that morning for the way they had kept their room. So very mad! It was a room full of mess with their books and cut paper bits strewn everywhere from some project they had been working on, their clothes thrown around here and there, their bed a total mess.  And what’s with these kids using eraser so much. Looks like they use the eraser more than they write anything. The whole table and floor was spotted with eraser and crayon and oil pastel scraps. The oil pastel scraps were stuck to the floor like glue.
Of course, it made me soooo mad. It would make anybody mad, I think!
I then explained them for the nth time, that getting mad at them had nothing to do with me not being able to love them. That's totally different matter. DSC_0281
“You get mad at R so many times. Don’t you?”, I asked.
“You girls put up signs on your door telling her not to enter the room, right?”
They nodded, agreeing.
“Does that mean you don’t love her?”
They immediately agreed with me. Right! they still loved her. When it would come time to protect her and care for her and cuddling time, they wouldn’t feel any less. The other day, they spent so much time, preparing her “Star of the Week” project for her. They didn’t have to do it. But, they wanted to do it for her..They felt so proud writing cute stuff about their little sister. And she was so overjoyed to see all her three sisters..doing a project about her!
I explained to them that it was the same.
“When you do wrong, it is the parents job to tell you to mend yourself and if you still don’t, then, parents are bound to be mad with their kids “(maybe not all parents..maybe some of them have a very high threshold…but not me!)…
I explained to them..that I was working alone, trying to keep the home clean while the 3 of them spent their energy dirtying it(actually, I should have said 5 of them!)!
“Was that fair?”  I asked.
Isn’t it easy for three of you to keep the room looking neat by dividing up the work? I asked.
“Wouldn’t it be easier for you and for me..if you put your books or other stuff away and into place once you finish using it?” I asked.
They so happily agreed with me gave me a tight hug and ran upstairs to fix anything they had left unturned!
At least for that moment, I was able to quell that overwhelming feeling inside P forming that lump in her throat..She felt relieved after the explanation…I could feel her take that deep breath as she hugged me.
But, I know in my heart..that. that was not the end of it..The next time I’m going to be mad with them..they are going to struck with the same doubt again!
“Does my mom really love me?”

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Diwali!!

I once again would like to acknowledge the long break, but now that I’m back, I hope I’ll be able to make that bang!…. Blogging had created a big load of backup in my to do list and add to it, the festival season and this wonderful Fall season of 2010. Almost everyday, I was out either hiking or driving around to get pictures of this wonderful long fall that we are having this year.  Fall hasn’t been as brilliant in all my years of stay in the USA. All the same, I haven’t had a more hectic festival season as this year’s. But, it was as hectic as much as it was enjoyable.

I would like to wish all the readers, although belated but with the same warmth, a very happy and prosperous Diwali. May the coming year shower all of you with happiness and health and have all your desires fulfilled.


It had been years that we had such an active Diwali celebration. Mostly, it would have been getting together, praying, having food and a few games. But, this year’s celebration was a much more planned, coordinated, scripted and actively participated one. Of the many activities planned, we had a skit enacted by the kids, based on the epic of Ramayan. Of the million reason’s Diwali is celebrated in India, one of it is the return of Rama, Lakshmana and Sita to Ayodhya after rescuing Sita from Ravan.  So, one of our own mom, creatively scripted a simple play for the kids based on this epic, Ramayan!

The preparation for the kids skit was really something.  Taking hours of training


and practice.  DSC_0659 (2)

And we had a number of playdates for the kids after such practices.DSC_0772 (2)

DSC_0870 (2)

and finally, their presentation, it was superb!.  Right, we had our own Ravan…who grew a mustache for the play!. Such was the dedication of the participants.DSC_7348

And his cute Rakshash Sena (Interesting thoughts presented in the link here)!DSC_7360

Our own Ram Parivar!DSC_7305


Our own Dasharath and KaikeyiDSC_7379

And Shabari too !!               DSC_7301

We had Hanuman, Sugreeva and His Vanar SenaDSC_7441 

There was also a beautiful narrator who filled in the information during the gaps.DSC_7373

And the confrontation and War with Ravan!!!DSC_7469 

All in all, the kids enacted the whole epic in 10+ minutes. The kids hadn’t been exposed to so much culture before. It was a learning experience clubbed with fun time with friends.

I clicked roughly about 2000 pictures or more spanning 6-8 weeks, from the preparation, rehearsals to the event itself.  Skimming through them was not an easy task. Gift of modern digital gizmos to amateurs like me…click as many as you can and pick that one snap. There’s atleast one picture that’s bound to be presentable.  If I didn’t get even a few decent shots…imagine what a dumb photographer I am. If it sounds like I didn’t have fun doing all this, I haven’t had this much fun using my camera in a long time. 

What’s Diwali without fireworks…right?! It was an evening of fireworks too…Just felt like being in India…sans the noise of the crackers. We had just kept to sparklers to preserve the peace of the night.



The climax of the evening was a skit by us ladies.We had spent late nights making the accessories for the kids play and practicing for our skit,  It was a surprise show and we did great! The husbands were surprised…TO practice for this show, we had met during the nights after everybody, the kids, the husbands had been fed and put to bed. Hats of to the working mom’s who made it to these late night practice sessions and kudos to the host and the creator whose energy, the more I would say , the less it feelsDSC_7916

All in all, Diwali 2010 was a blast…

As the event was coming to an end our men there started to feel sad that we ladies will not have any more reason to meet each other every other night. Their remark…”What are u ladies going to do now..that all this is over?!!”

We’er going to find another reason!