Sunday, February 12, 2012

Ah! That elusive cuppa brew!


I’m sure everyone reading this post would have experienced this at least once when they find that their cup of tea or coffee, that elixir,  that potion of sanity, that nectar that the likes of us,  expect to be greeted with every morning to keep our lives going…DISAPPEAR!!  Poof! Just like magic..One minute it was in your hands and the next … its a phantom, a figment of your imagination.

It happens to me everyday.

Taking some liberty to digress a bit, you know, as your kids friend had rightly, reminded me once..the liabilities that you once faced as a parent of a toddler, decreases…The kids start to take on some accountability for themselves....In fact, take on the onus of some of yours as well.

Well, at least, for a brief period of time, only to see this issue, come back with a vengeance when they approach teenage years…

I am in that phase of indebtedness now, as a parent of triplets. Every morning, I am greeted with a reminder posted by my children, to the right side of the stove..on the side of the refrigerator as I turn to it..

Comical, how I went all out to buy a refrigerator that has a non-magnetic metallic front..only to realize, I miss it..and then take heart that..the sides of it are magnetic..after all. Ah! Panacea for all those reminders that needs to be posted, in a parent’s life. So, my refrigerator has all the stickers on its sides!!!

Mama.. remember to

1. Take your coffee out of the microwave

2. Watch out for burning rice too!

Everyday I diligently read it and vow to follow it..and somehow in the next second, that thought gets swiped away from my mind. I didn’t realize, when and how, I developed this skill to be so good at it..and consistently so!

A few mornings, I’ve opened the microwave with the intention to make myself that very heavenly drink.., that placebo which is going to raise my soul from the dead..make me feel human again, so, I can carry on with my day’s work..only to find the other cuppa tea that I was unable to find from last evening.. THERE! Starring back at me!

“Hah! There you are..U elusive little cup..”, I exclaim in surprise.

That’s another knack I learnt over the years…to amaze myself with the littlest every idiosyncratic way… I know..I am looking to handle less and less of my sanity and with the coming years…

But, Today was going to be different. It was going to be the day of the renaissance.

The day that was going to be remembered in time, as the revolt of the Caffeine Deprived Triplet Mom. The day she awoke to claim what was rightfully hers to have all along!

I was going to claim that chimerical cuppa coffee that had managed to wriggle free from me everyday!!!  That evading, slimy..dubious and yet so therapeutic cup-of-coffee!

No! Not today! There’s no escaping today, Little Cup!

As I put the cup I found in the microwave..away for wash, I recalled with resignation, my intention to reheat that cup of tea from last evening   I looked to the reminder again..

“Mama!! Remember to remove your coffee from the microwave!!”

Enough to recharge my resolution.

After the kids walked out the door to their school bus,  I approached that cuppa coffee that had gone cold, left by hubby dear that morning for me.. Just as the microwave starts to buzz..I remember, that the clothes from the washer needs to be switched to the drier..So, I walk there…and start to do that.  But, the clothes from the drier had to be moved too..I take them upstairs. And as I fold them..I realize..

“Ah! My elusive cuppa coffee was in the microwave!”..

I run back downstairs to get that..and remember, I had forgotten put the clothes in the dryer. So, I walk to the laundry room with my cuppa coffee..I place it gently on the washer and start to move the clothes from the the dryer..As, I finished,

Oh! Didn’t I leave the clothes to fold upstairs..I walk back up..and as I start to fold..I realize

“Ah! My elusive cuppa coffee was left in the laundry room!”

So, I walk back downstairs to bring it back..only to find it gone cold! It goes back into the microwave again..I was not going to give up..

As the microwave starts to buzz again…I notice my daughter’s library books, that she was supposed to take back to school that morning, lying on the kitchen counter top.. (Uh! talk about accountability!!)  Annoyed … I carry it upstairs..only after I had remembered to pick my cuppa coffee, from the microwave.

I walk upstairs to the kids place her book only to find their tables a big mess..I place my cup of this melting life extract on the table before I start to fix their table. As I fix that..I remember, I left the clothes from the dryer … unfolded!

I move to the clothes and as I folded them away..wasn’t that mind of mine working?! I am struck with this idea that I need to put down on paper before I could bid goodbye to the thought.  As I am getting done…I realize..I need to rush to my swim..if I’m to make it in time to pick my daughter R.  As I rush out..I look for that spooky cuppa coffee that I could sip as I drove, but,…unable to find it..I walk out.

As the kids walk in from school, I am busy making a cuppa tea for myself. Just as I had poured myself a fresh cup..K, my daughter brings to me…that “elusive” cuppa coffee..

“Mama! This was lying on my table!”

“Ah! that elusive cuppa coffee!” , I exclaim in surprise it was the first time…

Exhausted..I turn to continue with the cooking that I was engaged with..  totally oblivious that the cuppa tea I just poured was getting cold too!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Alarm Clock!


Last Month..the triplets asked Papa to set an alarm for them so they can wake themselves up in the morning.  Wow! I thought. They are getting responsible and want to impress mom…

Well, It would’ve been ok if they had just said that much..But, That wasn’t how they had put it.

“Papa!  can you set an alarm clock for us, so Mama need not come inside and scream at us in the morning, to wake us up?!”

Scream?! Whatever that means?! Can you imagine that Puss in the Boots look on me. Can you?! Trust me, I’m as innocent as that look.

Is that how they had taken my “Wake up Songs”. So many of them that I created, just for their wake up entertainment. Most, on the spur! My creative energy at its best…Some even were rhythmic claps. My inspiration coming from a CD I used to play for them when they were toddlers.

Poof! What a disappointment. Why had they not mentioned it to me ever before?  Why are such things so easy for them to tell Papa?!

No wonder, they had gotten up at the first 2 lines of the song.  Never got to enhance my music ccccomposing skills further…

Thinking back, maybe, I had sometimes, called out a little loud, but,  I have to wake 3 see!   That itself is one gargantuan task. And, don’t they take almost 45 minutes of brushing and washing that doesn’t even include getting their eyes wet, or, cleaning up after themselves!!

I had wanted them to be able to finish their breakfast and remember to pack their lunch and brush their hair, before they would be running outside, with their shoes and coats in their hands, to the bus.

Was that so bad an idea?!

So, Papa, as sweet as he is to the kids..complied. Why wouldn’t he?! Somebody had seconded him. Mom does have a very loud voice. He didn’t even consider questioning them, reprimanding them at the way they had portrayed their mom!  They had made him happy for the evening.

I remember calling him at work..we had been talking on the phone for a few minutes and he tells me

“Why are you shouting?!”

“Me shouting?! NO!!  I’m just talking normally”, I reply, a bit louder this time..irked at that constant reminder..that’s as true as winter is here to stay for another 6 weeks.

Did I shout? I ask myself.

Back in my school days, I’ve always been known to be this soft spoken person. How can I convince Hubby dear that I was indeed using my talking voice?!

“You’ve got a very sensitive earphone!”, I reply..

“If I keep it away from my ears..everybody will be able to hear you talk”, comes the reply..

“I’m using my ears to stop your voice from spilling out of the earpiece!”, he continues…”blah blah..”

“ah! he’s just trying to paint me as a loud mouth”, I think..ignoring his remarks as I finished with the call.

After I’m done with the call…I start to ponder on this thing about why everybody seems to think, I Shout!

As I am pondering on this issue, the kids just walk in from school throwing their bags on the floor.

“Pick up your bags and put them away, PNK”

Nothing happens. They are busy with what they were talking among each other. After a couple times of repeating that..

PUT YOUR BAGS AWAY, PNK!!!!” , I yell..

It had felt like magic.  It had worked like a charm. Everything was cleared in a jiffy.

Well you can see the pattern, I told myself.  If you’ve to be talking like this everyday..isn’t this supposed to be their hearing voice .. and your talking voice?! Everyone seems to be responding well to this voice. Otherwise, You might as well be talking to the walls and nobody would know..there’s a crazy person who talks to the PNK residence.

Even if Hubby dear minds..I forgive myself for using my inner voice to get things done…and its already night time..

The next morning, I had just walked into the kids room, to wake them up, and what do I find?!

The kids had already brushed. The alarm clock had woken them up. Just as I was about to ask them, if the alarm sounds too loud…P says..

“Mama, is there a way you can tape your voice onto this clock,  saying WAKE UP!!!”

Almost saying it out with a shrieking voice..

I wasn’t sure if she was making fun of me or she really wanted that…

P.S: Since she was really making fun of me..the alarm clock has been punishing ringing at odd hours..that they’ve hidden that piece somewhere … in the bottom of the earth .. where no humans will be able to hear it ever…and, I’ve got my job of composing morning music…back!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What’s in a name?!!!


You know the biggest downside of having more than 3 kids….or lets just stick to the common number in an Indian community…more than 2 kids?!

No! its not the financial state or Mommy time, Daddy time that we need to divide among our kids, or, parenting problems which accompany with more personalities to deal with…I was going to say:

Its too much of a hassle, for your friends and acquaintances to call each of your kid by their names?!

Its uncommon to find Indian households with more than 2 kids, right?! Some “Brave” ones , as they are normally called, on their have 3! You know, if you are in my shoes, people say “Very Brave” to your face, but are actually muttering “Are you Crazy?” under their breath. 

For various reasons, ranging from financial independence to emotional independence, parents these days prefer to have just 2 kids.

I had the same plan as I grew, through college, as I waited for Mr.Hubby to knock on my door. I was going to have 2 kids, maybe 3..Hopefully a girl and a boy…And I had the lines on my fist to confirm that story about the number of kids I would have, from college. It was exciting.

Anyways, Fine..coz, that wasn’t the point…I’m writing about?! my case..the situation ended up a little more compounded. Not only did I have 4 children, 3 of them are of the same age and sex…and to top that..2 of them are identical too!  A big conundrum for people in our circles to comprehend.  Quite Understandably!

Really! It is intimidating for people to face “3 same looking” ..ok!..averaging that out..”3 almost same looking girls” and know who from who..right?! 

So, most parents and children in the neighborhood, and other extended circles, refer to our children as “The Triplets” or, “The Triplet sisters”. I can’t remember anybody referring to them as “The Palle Girls”, “The Palle Sisters”…I guess, its just me who uses those phrases in my blog sometimes, and in the pictures on my facebook.  It does sound very respectable to me…when I address them by their last name.

(Hopefully, friends of the kids around home or at school are not addressing them as “Triplets” on their face..that would give a feeling of unfamiliarity..although I can’t see that happening in school..because PNK have different teachers and classmates.)

If  I’ve to list out the names of all my children in every line I refer to them, on my blogs, wouldn’t that get a bit repetitive and wordy?! So, most times I even refer to them as “The Palle Girls”, “The Palle Sisters” or just “PNKR” on my blogs. PNKR! acronym I formed, using the first initial of each of our daughter.

By doing this..did I project the idea that they are an entity..I mean..did I compromise with their individuality anyway?!

At birth.. it surely felt, same birthday, same growth charts, inoculations, doctor visits. They even had their food, bath times, hair cuts, diaper changes, everything, together as babies. They were happy at the same time and cranky at the same time. (They must’ve peed in their diapers, at the same time too, Right?! Who knows?!)

But now..they are each growing up into 3 beautiful, sensible, sensitive and talented girls. That means 3 different dispositions, temperaments, styles, traits…sizes..habits..They could’ve just been born out of 3 different pregnancies and would still be as different as they are now. Isn’t it?

P is so..focused. She is so much of a 10% effort to get 90% done kind-of a girl..just like her dad. She appears so bold on the face, but, she’s such a softy inside...She can hide the fact that she may have lost her gloves at school, and can confidently convince the other 2 siblings, that it was they who lost theirs and what she is wearing today is indeed her’s!!

N is the epitome of perseverance. Self driven and so sensitive that she can break down at the drop of a pin..She could just start to cry at the thought that mom thinks that it was she who lost the gloves, not that mom has.  She’s is the 100% effort to get 110% done kind-of a girl.

She is in some ways trying hard to copy mom whom she has secretly taken as her mentor. To that end..she wants to have her hand in every jar that is visible…just like mom..with a difference. She wants to be good in them. Suddenly, she’s found a new job..she’s writing fiction stories of late.  Her sensitivity..actually may help her being sensitive and passionate is the big plus of an artists life!

K is such a fun loving shy kid with strong opinions. So many times..she’s already made up her mind about a situation..and very difficult to get her to change her mind….just like her Mom!! She loves to take life easy. A very self satisfied child. She understands people…personalities very well for her age. Doesn’t’ let herself trust people easily.

She’s the type who may actually not loose her glove but, wouldn’t tell that to mom coz, as mom is busy babbling, a lecture about safe keeping to her..while she’s thinking .. “How do I convince wasn’t me..or, was it?!”

Each ones voice has such a distinct characteristic to it and yet, each of their voices are equally melodious. P has such a strong weight in her voice, while N can take her voice easily through different frequencies. K’s voice is like that of a cuckoo’s call. I can go on like this..specifying each of the 3’s distinct personas.

So,  clearly,they are 3 different personalities to me..Its obvious to us parents and to some of our friends and neighbors.. Luckily, my family, Extended and Close..had taken this treatment of their individualities..with a lot of grace and interest. Well, they ought to! Its family , one expects that from family, right?!

There are a few friends and their children who refer to the girls by their names…Some kids call me…

“PNK’s mom!”  (I just wrote PNK for brevity..they do say each of the names!)

and some who don’t. They just refer to them collectively as “The Triplets”, “The Palle Sisters”, instead of calling them PNK, and I respect their choice.  Because that’s what my children are, they happen to be triplets and they are the Palles! 

Again, this issue adds a whole new dimension to this topic,

“What’s in a Name?”. 

Isn’t it important for your friends to know you by your name?! Another delicate matter, that can be explored in another blog by itself…

But, the other day, I learnt that this collective reference to my kids has been taken to another level. Actually, It had taken a turn for the worse?!

A friend..very frivolously told me that they refer to my children as "The Flamingos". OMG! Why?!  And since she was saying that to my face..I knew there wasn’t any bad intention. She was not even trying to mock..or, Was she?!

Flamingos have always been associated with awkwardness and clumsiness!  There are lot other connotations of this society..Its associated with wealth too..but, in a vulgar way. This metaphor accentuates..shallowness, vulgar ostentation.

When someone’s yard is flocked with flamingos, they’ve been chosen for social derision…they’ve been picked out to be ridiculed!   Although this bird does look beautiful, The Pink Flamingo has been used to showcase, American’s materialistic culture in some economic essays.

And what about the flock mentality of a Flamingo..just mindlessly following each other without much thought as to why!  On a recent vacation trip, I had for the first time, seen first hand, this behavior of the flamingos at a bird, you could understand this mom’s anguish..  I wondered, were my children perceived with such a mentality?

As I described earlier..these, were 3 individuals, with minds of their own, trying to explore the world in their own way..they don’t repeat what their sibling did! Nor feel the compulsion to. They behave or follow each other just like any other sibling in another family would?!  Normal 9 year would say.

You know all that effort we put in, choosing the right names for them…at the hospital..out of that long list we had made…making sure their names are not going to be mispronounced or sound  close to any word that could sound ridiculous…and we end up with this situation.

We’d also enlisted the help of an very nice Indian intern who was well aware of how Indian names could get contorted causing anguish to the kid.. in school.

So, maybe this friend had made an honest mistake in the choice of a metaphor... And I did sincerely try to look it that way, that, she had meant to tell kids are beautiful..but, its hard to ignore what u know!

Imagine saying this!

“Oh look!  The Flamingos are playing outside!”  about my children.  Even if you keep the tone of mockery aside..does it even sound nice to address children so?

On the same note..if one said..

“Oh look! The Palle kids are playing outside!”

“Oh look! PNK are playing outside!”

I wondered, why would anybody go through this effort of choosing Metaphors, or Names, to call my kids differently?!  Were they nameless?!

Aren’t P….., N…, K….. pretty names? And easy for an Indian to learn too? 

Even the term “Triplets” would do!


It also reminded me of the casino by that name..or a similar situation where the girls at the playboys mansion were referred to as "The Bunnies!"  Would they have named my children so…if the kids had hopped around cutely?!

Names are a big agree or not..statistics have shown it.

It reminded me of this thing from “Freakenomics”. It was about a women who named her daughter “Temptress”. And one day Temptress, was a woman and she stood in front of a judge for a crime she had committed..The judge questioned her mom..”Is she keeping up to the reputation of her name..Is that what you had in mind, when you named her so?”

I know I am overreacting at this point.

Got me thinking of the point … I made at the beginning.

You know what’s the biggest downside of having more than 2 kidsIt’s too much of a hassle, for your friends to know each of your kid by their name?!

Most of them are too intimidated by this situation of being exposed to children born together. They are unable to distinguish one from the other. they are too bewildered of how they could handle this gracefully....I am not in their shoes to understand their position, just like they aren't in my shoes to understand mine. So, maybe that’s the issue?!

PNK  do look similar just like most normal 9 year old sisters do, they mostly wear similar clothes(The reason for which, can surely wait to be explored in a different blog entry!), they know the same stuff that a 9 year old would know, they are similarly talented..they attend the same activities, as toddlers , they liked the same things, like barbies and tea parties, their anxieties are similar to any 9 year old’s, they have same neighbors, and their parents have the same expectations from them as any parent would expect of 9 year olds... Even their teacher...

So, maybe,all this similarity is intimidating.

Suddenly, for the first time I genuinely appreciated why they've been placed in different classes...since kindergarten.

I remember during the year they had joined kindergarten...there was a piece of me that felt sad because from then on...these three children of mine, are never going to be able to share a class together. I had told myself that it was all for good but, couldn't get my heart to agree with my mind, with the situation.

If I had been given a choice, I would have tried to keep my children together for another year..because they had found comfort in each other's company since their birth..That was the only way they knew to be and it would be taken away from them..suddenly, one fine day of September?! Just didn't seem right, fair, at that point.

But, in the end, it sure was for good. It had helped them develop into different personalities altogether. They each have different friends now, and different best friends. They each have their own rapport they display with them, they each have the attention of a different teacher..(If placed together in a classroom, can you imagine the teacher referring to them in class as "Triplets" or "Palle Sisters" ?!) or, getting confused and marking one's grade to another or taking the lower mean of the grades of PNK together, and assigning that to each of them?!

Endless possibilities one can conceive of this situation!

So, I guess readers, what I’m trying to mention here is I understand the enigma my friends face, and respect that they refer to our children collectively, but, I personally would never refer to any child by any metaphors, or, call them by a name other than their own. however beautiful, No!..Fauna?! No!! 

Doesn’t feel right to me. It disrespects the kid’s individuality. That which the kids at this point is struggling to build. To disparage them by calling them by another name?!...Especially, something as ridiculous as Flamingo?! Every parent tries to choose the best name for their child..and we need to respect that..and teach our kids to respect it too.

Do my readers feel the same too?! Do you feel like I am overreacting?!..I would surely like to know your opinion.