Showing posts with label growing up. Show all posts
Showing posts with label growing up. Show all posts

Monday, April 15, 2013

Unleash your Inner Diva: A general how-to guide

Dear Aspiring Divas,

Being a diva can be tough. It requires patience, dedication and hours of practice, but it is not impossible to achieve. Ask me! Four years of practice (and running) later, I’ve managed to hone the art of diva-dom to a finely tuned skill, so much so that being a true diva is now second nature to me. I thought I would share some tips with those of you out there who are divas in the making too and could do with some friendly advice! 

Read on:
  1. The first rule of being a diva is that you must always select your own clothes. Nobody and I mean NOBODY else gets to chose what you will wear. Take your time when you put together an outfit; clothes are meant to be inspected, evaluated and tossed. And changing your mind inexplicably and often is the prerogative of a diva. So set aside a couple of hours in the day for selecting your clothes and use them well. Oh, and keep in mind that a diva changes her outfits often and colour co-ordinates EVERYTHING. Right down to the innerwear, shoes and accessories, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!
  2. The path to diva-dom has ne‘er been smooth so expect plenty of obstacles in your way, especially from those pesky creatures otherwise known as the Mommy Women who will take it upon themselves to object to the smallest of things. Take this afternoon, for example. I had finally put together my carefully selected outfit for the evening trip to the park when a series of shrieks disrupted the afternoon quiet. “Purple tights with a red striped top; green shoes and that long bead necklace?? Noooooo!” It was the Mommy Woman of course, up to her usual tricks. Her latest strategy is to try and object to any outfit I try to select by telling me how the colours clash or the bottoms don’t match the top at all or some such silly reason. Bah! Like she would know! The woman has no idea, which is why her own dress sense is so blah. “Be exciting!” I try and tell her “Live a little! If you feel like wearing a pink tutu over green polka dotted tights and a yellow sparkly tee, do it! Fashion should be fun!” None of it permeates her thick skull of course, she just pretends she’s going into a dead faint and tries to get me into her favourite combo of jeans and a deathly boring tee, so naturally I have to resort to the most powerful weapon in my arsenal, the screechy tantrum, designed to knock out even the most obstinate Mommy Woman. A few minutes later, I have her on her knees, weeping, begging me to wear my underwear over my tutu if I so wish. Smart idea, that. Maybe I’ll try it for my next trip to the mall. Moral of the story: never underestimate the power of tantrums. A good, solid tantrum can get you ‘most everything. Besides, tantrums are the prerogative of divas, everyone knows that. So use them often and use them well. 
  3.  Make sure you have pretty, clean, sweet smelling, well moisturized hands at all times. And I mean all times. This might sound simple but in reality it is no easy feat to achieve. For one you need to spend copious amounts of time in the bathroom washing your hands with the best fruity smelling, pink (but naturally!) soap you can get your pretties on. Here again, except plenty of resistance from the Mommy Women (‘You want to wash your hands again! But you just spent an hour in the bathroom! You washed your hands five seconds ago! You can’t keep messing around in the water! You’ll catch a cold…yada yada yada!) Worry not; such petty objections can be easily overruled. Your best beseeching look and something along the lines of ‘but washing hands kills germs, mommy!’ or ‘I stuck my hand in the flowerpot so my hands are really dirty and need to be washed!’ usually does the trick. Next, we come to the moisturizing. Pink cream is my personal favourite, great big generous blobs of it, massaged lovingly into the hands and the arms- oh, and after a shower make sure you massage it all over. You might face resistance from the Mommy Women here again, like I did. At first she refused outright! Then she’d act all stingy and give me this insanely tiny little drop of cream that wasn’t even enough for my fingernail! A few months down the line, all I have to do is fix the woman with my best beady look and she just groans and gives me as many blobs as I want. Remember, divas have to be persistent. 
  4.  Lip balm. Aaah lip balm! Pink, shiny, smooth; gliding over your lips like melting butter on hot toast…I could go on and on! And to think I discovered its many pleasures only recently and by chance at that! If I hadn’t happened to sneak up on the Mommy Woman when she was cowering in the corner the other day trying to hide behind her handbag I would never have found out she was sneakily putting on some lip balm while pretending to look for something in her bag. That little snitch! I’ve punished her by hiding her lip balm in my bag; one has to be firm about these things. And now that it’s within easy reach, I make sure my lips are glossy and soft at all times, just like a diva’s should be. Whenever I have to step out whether it’s the mall or the park, I make sure I dab on some lip balm. Each time I get into the car, even if it’s just the Mommy Woman doing one of her quick grocery runs. Bedtime and naptimes. Play date times. Just looking at yourself in the bathroom mirror times. Story hour at the library times. I even tried putting some on for school but, you know, there are other women like the Mommy Women out there and one has to pick one’s battles. The other important bit to remember with lip balm is to be generous in its application. I mean, you can never have too much of something like lip balm can you? The Mommy Woman will object to this as well, naturally, screeching and whining about how it’s not just on your lips but all over half of your face and may even try to wipe it off with a tissue, but remember, be firm. 
  5. When it comes to your stuff, be protective of your turf. If your Mommy Woman is like mine, she may develop an intense dislike to something you yourself particularly like and she may even try to- sit down when you read this- get rid of it! Yes, she is capable of that too! Mine actually tried it, can you imagine? Hard to believe I know, but one day when I got back from the park with Daddy a little earlier than usual, guess what I found stashed away in the bin? My favourite purple hair band, a particularly darling one with black and purple feathers that swept right down to my brow, one that I had been wearing in the park every single day for a few months before I kind of forgot about it and moved on to something else. Still it didn’t mean I didn’t want it anymore! There was absolutely no excuse for the Mommy Woman to claim that it was just languishing in my room and it looked all raggedy anyway and to try and trash it on one of her ghastly spring cleaning sprees. Anyway, prevention is better than cure I say and in order to avoid any such future incidents I’ve taken to stashing my stuff away- specially stuff that the Mommy Woman tends to look at with that ‘far away, she’s definitely off her rocker’ look in her eyes- in safe places where she doesn’t look or better yet, where she can’t reach. Like that nice hole in the home theatre woofer that only my hand fits into. Or in one of my many bags at the bottom of all my shopping lists and notes that the Mommy Woman has given up on clearing because it makes her feel faint. Or glued to some of the lumpy bits in the playdough jar, hidden under the other playdough. You get my drift. Remember it’s your stuff and only you are responsible for it. 
  6. I touched upon this briefly in point one but it really deserves a separate point for itself. I’m talking about accessories, the stuff that can make or break an outfit. I have my own favourites like that purple feathery hairband I just told you about; or my beaded necklaces; or the many bracelets that used to belong to the Mommy Woman but which I have now appropriated. What I like doing best is mixing and matching. The floor length beaded necklace (come to think of it, that one used to be the Mommy Woman’s too) with the pink crown headband. The jingly bracelets with the bangles Dadi got me for Diwali, all of them together on one hand of course, all the way up to my shoulder. Ooh and dupattas, I lurrve dupattas! My favourite teacher at school always carries her dupattas so well! I’ve taken to draping my own dupatta over my shoulders when I step out sometimes; I find it goes just as well with shorts or a skirt as it does with ethnic stuff. It’s a pity I don’t own too many of my own dupattas but I can always borrow the Mommy Woman’s, so it’s no biggie. 
  7. Seeing as to how accessories can make or break your look, it makes sense to carry plenty of them with you so you can change your look in a jiffy if you so desire. Now that I have my own handbag, I make it a point to carry my hand cream, sunglasses and the Mommy Woman’s lip balm in addition to an assortment of hairbands and bracelets. If there’s any extra stuff that doesn’t fit in my bag I just stuff it in the Mommy Woman’s; remember divas have to be resourceful! Besides the Mommy Woman doesn’t even notice most times. Apart from that one time where she had to pay someone and began fishing around in her handbag for her wallet. It was quite amusing to watch her eyes grow wide and her mouth grow wider as she drew out first my electric blue feather purse (I was carrying an extra purse, you know, just in case) and then my Dora bracelet and then a series of jangly necklaces. I don’t mean to boast but even the man at the cash counter seemed quite impressed at my collection! There was absolutely no need for the Mommy Woman to get all flushed and embarrassed and start apologizing for holding up the queue, but that’s her, always overreacting! 
  8.  Last but not the least, remember to throw your shoulders back, chin up and dazzle ‘em with that smile when you step out! Now this is easier said than done, especially if you have a wet blanket Mommy Woman tagging along with you, but if you want to be a true diva you gotta be tough! Last week, after spending over an hour selecting my outfit for a birthday party I finally got dressed and then, because the Mommy Woman, that obstinate mule, just outright refused to let me use any of her perfumes, I massaged some Vicks over my hands and throat. It was quite nice smelling I thought, rather exotic. Unfortunately it was also a little strong because the Mommy Woman sniffed it out like a bloodhound and went at me with her arsenal of wipes. She was so flipped out after that she came to the birthday party dressed in jeans and a tee (grey, that most miserable of colours at that) and a long face, totally overlooking my suggestions of that nice black skirt she has instead with a shimmery gold dupatta. But did I let her get me down? No sir! I was the life and soul of the party and in spite of the Mommy Woman’s efforts with those wipes I still managed to smell faintly of Vicks. Hah!
 With that I’ll leave you to channel and unleash your own inner diva! I’m not entirely done yet, in fact I just thought of a few other things I could share, but one of the tricks to being a good diva is to develop your own style which you can only do with trial and error so I’ll leave you to it. Besides, I need to sort out my wardrobe. I decided to rearrange my clothes today and its turning out to be quite a tedious exercise. At first I was quite excited about it; the Mommy Woman had left my wardrobe doors ajar and forgotten about it and I used the opportunity to get all the clothes out and spread them all over my room. The plan was to sort them out and club them together in some fun way, not the boring ‘day wear- night wear’ or ‘party clothes-park clothes’ like the Mommy Woman does. I was thinking something along the lines of a ‘Caribbean theme’ with all my shorts and strappy tops clubbed together and an ‘Egyptian line’ with the shimmery stuff and the necklaces, but that’s stuff for another day. My good friend S is coming over in sometime for a play date and I need to get dressed. I’ll just lump these clothes together and shove them back in. Hey, there’s that red and black glittery outfit someone had gifted me last month; I thought the Mommy Woman said it had got lost! It looks so retro and cool, I heard the Mommy Woman saying it looked like something Govinda would wear! No idea who Govinda is of course but I’m sure it’s someone cool; must remember to check with the MW later. In the meantime, I think it would be perfect for the playdate with S…yes it would! Oooh, so exciting! Laters then...and keep that diva within you glowing bright!

Monday, June 18, 2012

The thirty year old toddlers

A few years ago I was on a road trip with friends when the bus we were travelling in stopped at a rickety roadside joint for what was ostensibly a comfort break. As we clambered off the bus, the lady seated in front of us turned to her daughter and asked in a voice loud enough for the entire parking lot to hear “Susu karna hai beta?”

Now this would have been fine if the daughter in question had been a little girl or a toddler fresh out of diapers. Except that she was a grown woman, probably in her mid twenties. As she turned a scintillating shade of red, the rest of us could almost feel her mortification!

A cousin recently narrated a similar experience when she visited family friends with her parents. Now a manager in a leading MNC, heading a team of 20 odd people, to her parents she’s still their little girl. During their visit, her mother first asked her on reaching their host’s house if she needed to use the bathroom. Then her father asked her to join the host’s young children, rather than conversing with the adults.
“It was humiliating!” my cousin recounted “There I was, telling people about the work I do and suddenly my parents make me feel like a 5 year old again!”

Many of us have probably been in similar situations, when our parents refuse to treat us like adults even when we have graying hair and children in high school. Parents don’t mean it, of course. It can be difficult to accept that the dependent little bundle you doted on is a grown, confident adult with a mind and life of his or her own, and needs to be treated as such. It’s not so much fun for the now grown up kids though, when their parents insist on treating them like the children they once were.

Considering that the thought of my daughter going unsupervised for parties and sleepovers in future is capable of giving me panic attacks now, I see a clear and present danger that I will eventually metamorphose into one of those parents who refuse to let their kids grow up. So I thought I’d set out some guidelines for myself, for when my daughter grows older:
1.      In deference to the unfortunate recipients of the comfort break query mentioned above, I promise never to ask you if you need to ‘do susu’, once you’ve crossed the age of 4 and are in full control of your bowel movements. I might whisper it occasionally till you’re 10 though. But never in full public hearing, and definitely not when we have company. I may know for a fact that you haven’t taken a pee break in hours, but no matter how strong the urge (pun unintended); I resolve to not pop the question. 
2.      I will not call you every evening and ask you what you ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner accompanied by a detailed lecture on the nutritive value, or lack thereof, of the same. Not unless you are grossly obese and these are the doctor’s express orders or you’re training for the Olympics and need help with diet planning. After all, if I still need to obsess over every morsel that goes into your mouth thirty years from now, one of us will definitely need therapy.
3.      I promise not to bring up embarrassing incidents from your childhood with others, especially in large public gatherings. I’ve been the recipient of one too many ‘remember the time she had a sip of whisky when she was five and went berserk, bwahahaha!’ to do that. No embarrassing videos or photos on open display either. (I hope you’re reading this, Dad.  Yes, you can put away those cheesy videos of me at 11 years reeling off travelogue in a sing song voice.)
4.      I will not tell you what to do. Once of course, you reach an age where you realize that switching off my laptop when I’m working on it is nobody’s idea of fun and mud baths are okay for the spa and not the park. I mean this within reasonable limits so don’t think I’ll stand by without saying a word if you decide to flush your life down the drain. And I may make an exception if it’s one of those rare situations where you are desperate for direction, or when you can clearly benefit from my experience or….Sigh. Right. I will not tell you what to do.
5.      I will refrain from criticizing your appearance and telling you what to wear. If ripped jeans and faded tees are your idea of high fashion, so be it. I’m sure your grandmother will say this is poetic justice, given that I had taken to donning the grunge look for weddings in my teens. Given your current affinity for wearing matching-matching clothes, replete with accessories and moisturizing your hands with pink cream every few minutes, I may just end up taking some pointers from you in this area.
6.      I will not try and influence or criticize your choice of friends. With your father turning a delicate shade of green even now, every time you get too friendly with a member of the opposite sex, I’m sure I can leave the worrying to him for once. On a serious note, as an independent young adult nothing can be more important to you than having the freedom to choose the individuals whose company you’d like to keep. The last thing you’d want is an interfering parent telling you she doesn’t approve of so-and-so. This means I may have to give up my plans of stalking you on dates when you’re older though. Ah well.
7.      When you have kids of your own, I will restrain myself from giving you unending advice about ‘how we did things in our time’. There can be nothing more irritating than being treated like a 3 year old in front of your own 3 year old, so you’ll get none of that from me.  
8.      I will treat you like the grown up that you are and not lapse into sepia tinged nostalgia from when you were a mere suckling. I will also try and avoid getting overtly sentimental about your babyhood even though I can give no guarantees on this given that I was nearly in tears when you came on stage during your annual concert, causing the lady next to me to move away a few seats. Oh, and I will also not haunt you on social networking websites.
9.      I will trust you to take adequate care of your dental health and will stop eating your chocolates because they are terrible for your teeth and will make you emotionally dependent on cocoa. Yes, I ate the chocolate you were gifted at school today but it’s only because I care about your teeth. And, I may be slightly emotionally dependent on cocoa myself. But none of that once you are older; your chocolates will be safe with me. Although I’m sure you won’t mind sharing, will you? Maybe just the occasional nibble, then. 
Originally written for 'The Punekar'

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

When I nearly got run over by the school run

The alarm that didn't go off when it was supposed to. That delicious extra half an hour of sleep that seems even sweeter because it is unexpected. The slow realization coming with reluctant wakefulness that it is a school day and we are now running late! The nightmarish frenzy to get things together in time. The dropping of all the usual efforts for a relaxed morning routine as we run around like headless chickens (the husband and I naturally, not Nikki who seems quite removed from such mundane things as school runs) shoveling breakfast down our throats, gulping tea while furiously multitasking and setting new records for the seven second shower.

In the middle of all the madness sometimes I forget the little things.

"Hurry up, hurry up, hurry up!" I screech at my child as she meditates over the exact way to butter her toast.

"Hurry, hurry, hurry!" I squawk as she goes about the business of washing her hands with a quiet industriousness.

"We're getting late!" I work myself up into a lather as she gently blows bubbles with her own.

Forgetting that I am screeching at her for my own tardiness. Forgetting that one of the most unpleasant things about going to school can be crazy, screechy early mornings with manic parents rushing to bundle you off to school and telling you to 'hurry up' and 'rush, rush rush' and 'not be slow' and 'we're getting late because of you!' Forgetting that I was only just setting myself up for a major guilt trip later on in the day, when I could have been relaxing over a cuppa instead.

Till she reminded me. Giving me that look she sometimes does. Of infinite wisdom. And infinite patience.

"There's only so much I can do Mama. Please be happy."

And so I did. I grinned. Sang a silly song. Sat down beside her and made up a story about putting on your shoes on your own. Drove to school with the windows down and the breeze in our hair and 'mein to tuk tuk tortoise hoon' playing in the background.

And we made it to school well in time.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Little Things That Matter…

Last evening Nikki and I attended a Hannah Montana themed birthday party. There was a large Hannah Montana cake, Hannah Montana balloons, goody bags, paper plates and cups, Hannah Montana streamers on the walls; by the end of it I pretty much had the effervescent Hannah coming out my ears. The party was rather nice, if a little impersonal, and it was probably just me, but I found the sight of several little three year old girls dressed up as Hannah Montana clones a little disturbing. I told the husband about it as we trudged home bearing a large (Hannah Montana, naturally) goody bag and we found ourselves reminiscing about the vastly different birthday parties of our own childhoods. The simple, do-it-at-home affairs where you would plan the party games yourself and spend the afternoon of the party feverishly making chits for the passing-the-parcel planned for the evening while your mother worked in the kitchen to provide the few guests, each of whom she knew by name, with homely fare.

There are very few, if at all, of these parties anymore and you can’t really blame the parents. It’s a little difficult to explain to your young child, after having attended a Winnie the Pooh themed birthday party complete with the Hundred Acre Woods, that she should be happy with a simple party at home. Having given in to one of these themed parties myself for Nikki’s first birthday however, I’ve emerged from the experience weary but wise, and with a rock solid resolve to try and pass on to Nikki the simple but soul satisfying birthday parties of my childhood.

This got me thinking of a few other things that I would like to pass on to Nikki from my childhood. The simple, little things, that you could easily overlook, but when you really think about it, went a long way in making your childhood special.
A love for reading and books would most certainly top the list of these. There are very few experiences in life that can surpass the joy derived from a good book and a rewarding and enriching relationship with books is something I definitely want to pass on to Nikki. A lot of people scoffed when I began reading to Nikki when she was just about three months old, but when I peek into her room now and see her little head bent in rapture over a book, and when we bond over the adventures of Silly Sally or Bubbles the Monkey at bedtime, I know that with books, it is never too early to begin (or for that matter, too late!).

Next on the list would be the family dinners my parents imposed on us when we were kids and whose value we realized only years later. Every evening, come hell or high water, or to be more apt, exam or new TV soap, all of us were required to show up at the dinner table to have the evening meal as a family. The television and phones were strictly off limits during this time and we were all required to participate in some dinnertime conversation. It was a simple, routine thing to do, something that we did every evening without really thinking too much about it, but when I look back now I realize that back then, no matter how much I overtly resented this intrusion into ‘my space’, subconsciously I looked forward to these dinners as a time when I could just switch off from the rest of the world and connect with my family, and those shared meals helped us grow closer.

And so in my own little family now I try and recreate those family dinners of yore by putting Nikki firmly into her highchair at the table and dragging the husband there as well, and insisting that all phones and the TV are turned off. It can get challenging at times with Nikki insisting on using the rotis to play Frisbee with and the husband twitching nervously with severe BlackBerry withdrawal symptoms, but we manage to emerge unscathed from most meals and feel only the better for the time spent together. As the years pass and Nikki grows older I hope we can use this time to strengthen the bond we share and practice the fine art of conversation and the finer art of listening.

Which brings me to the next item on my list; the art of listening- really listening, to other people and taking a genuine interest in their lives. I’ve met so many self obsessed people in the last few years that I can almost sense it when a person genuinely interested in others walks into a room. I’d like Nikki to be one of these few, increasingly rare, but precious people, something that I’m sure will go a long way in developing her personality and helping her forge real, lasting friendships.

And lastly, I’d like to teach Nikki the ability to be comfortable in and to enjoy her own company, because at the end of the day, no matter how large your circle of friends, you are alone with your own thoughts.

There are many other things I’d like to pass on to Nikki as well, and like every other parent if I had to list them all out I’d probably end up with a compendium in several parts. But if I had to list just a few, I would choose these. Little things yes, but things that will help build a rewarding childhood, filled with the simple pleasures of life, the way childhood should be.

What about you? What are the things from your own childhood that you would like to pass on to your children? And if your kids are all grown up already, what are the things you think you did well to pass on?

Originally written for "The Punekar"

Manasi Vaidya, Author of "No Deadline For Love"
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Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Lost Art of Doing Nothing…

I was first introduced to the concept of summer camp for toddlers the summer my daughter turned two. I was blissfully day dreaming about the long, lazy summer days ahead on the last day of what had been quite a hectic school year (getting a two year old to preschool is no easy feat!) when I was accosted by another mum who was part of the mother toddler club that I attended with my daughter.

“So which summer camp are you signing up for?” she asked me urgently, while waving a few brochures that screamed ‘Summer Camp!’ in bold letters in my face.

“Eh?” I answered in my customary eloquent manner.

“Summer Camp!” she snapped impatiently “There are just a few days left before seats fill up everywhere. You have to act fast if you want to get in!”

“Really?” I was quite horrified “And you think this stuff is necessary for our kids? I mean, they’re only two!”

“Of course it’s necessary!” said the woman looking at me as if I was a particularly slow species of the human race “It’s an important part of their educational base! You don’t want your daughter losing out in the long run do you?”

I headed home suddenly feeling a lot less happy about the lazy summer vacation I had been looking forward to. What if that other mother was right? Maybe summer camp was an integral part of toddlers’ early education these days! After all, the times our kids are growing up in are very different from our own, relatively simpler childhoods. I took a few deep breaths and decided to tackle the summer camp issue in a calm and rational manner.

“We need to send Nikki to a summer camp!” I shrieked like a banshee the minute the husband walked in through the door that evening “It’s an important part of her educational base! She’ll lose out in the long run if we don’t enroll her right away!”

“What nonsense” said the husband without batting an eyelid, “There were no summer camps when we were kids and we turned out fine!”

“However,” he added quickly seeing that I was about to get into the wailing banshee mode again “You can always take a few trial classes and check them out. See how you and Nikki like them.”

And so a few days later, armed with all the research I had done on summer activities, I set out to attend a few trial classes with Nikki. I had identified a summer camp which had a variety of activities for toddlers, designed to hone their gross and fine motor skills, sensory abilities, cognitive behavior, speech development and every other skill a young person is supposed to be equipped with these days.

Our first stop was a yoga class for mothers and toddlers, which aimed at getting the tots introduced to fitness while the mothers improved their flexibility and mental well being. A matronly looking woman greeted us as we entered a room where a few mums and their babies were already perched on yoga mats.
“We will begin with some basic exercises” she announced “Please lie down on the floor and stretch out your arms and legs.”
I obediently lay down and stretched out my arms and legs as instructed. As I took a few deep breaths I felt a feeling of calm envelop me. This was brilliant; I would soon be relaxed and supple and I was introducing my daughter to the benefits of yoga at such a young age!
“We will now begin the deep breathing” the instructor called out “Please inhale deeply and exhale with an Ommmm”
I took a deep breath and began to exhale slowly “Ommm….OW! Owwwwwwwwwwwww!”
Nikki, seeing me lying prostrate on the ground with my arms akimbo, had assumed this was some sort of new game and had clambered up on me.
“Horsey horsey Mama?” she asked brightly and began bouncing up and down on my tummy like it was a particularly springy trampoline.
“Ommmmmmmm” said the instructor, quite oblivious to my predicament.
“Owwwwwww” I yelped in agony, desperately trying to get Nikki off.
I saw the instructor shoot me an irritated look from the corner of her eye. Thankfully the stretching exercise was over soon and we got ready for the next posture. This involved balancing on gym balls and doing some more stretching.
“Look Mama, beeeeeg ball! “ Nikki said delightedly and made a lunge at a bright red gym ball on which a plump woman was precariously balancing herself. I grabbed her in the nick of time and deciding that slip disc surgery would probably be the outcome if I tried any stunts on the ball with Nikki around, beat a hasty retreat.

Our next activity was art where I hoped we would fare better since Nikki enjoyed doodling. The room itself was lovely with a multitude of art and craft materials strewn around, and Nikki grabbed a handful of crayons delightedly and began scribbling away.
“Do you know how to draw a circle?” a teacher came up and enquired. Nikki obligingly drew a squiggle.
“No, let me show you” taking the crayon from Nikki, the teacher drew a perfect circle. “Let’s try a triangle now” she went on.
“I want to draw!” Nikki took another crayon and drew a few more squiggles.
“No, no, no!” the teacher looked vexed “That’s not a triangle!”
She tried taking the crayon from Nikki again who decided that enough was enough and began flinging the crayons on the floor like a missile bomber on a combat mission.
“That’s enough drawing for today Nikki! Maybe we should try something new!” I took Nikki out again and looked around for another activity. Music! Just the thing we needed to calm down. I walked into a room strewn with musical instruments where a few parents and babies sat in a semi circle around the teacher, a kindly looking elderly gentleman, who was explaining to the group that he would now introduce the kids to the concept of ‘sur’ and ‘taal’.

“Mama I don’t like this uncle!” Nikki announced.

The teacher took a deep breath and broke into a ‘sa re ga ma’. With near perfect precision Nikki threw her head back and burst into a loud howl matching him perfectly in pitch and crescendo. The elderly gentleman, now looking significantly less kindly, was beginning to give me pained looks so I gathered a bawling Nikki and headed out to the garden, dejected. I sat down on a clump of grass and contemplated the summer camp debacle. Beside me Nikki sighed contentedly.

“Mama, I so happy now.”

“What?” I gaped at my daughter. She hadn’t been remotely close to happy in the state of the art yoga class, art class or the music class and here she was sitting around, doing nothing and proclaiming great joy. “You’re happy Nikki? Why?”
Nikki gave me a look of infinite wisdom “I so happy Mama, because I do nothing.”
And I finally got it. It was all quite simple really, just the way my childhood had been, until I had tried to over complicate it with my own misplaced zeal and paranoia that my child would get ‘left behind’.

We didn’t sign up for any camp that summer, Nikki and I. Instead we spent a lot of time in the park, counting birds, chasing butterflies and watching the clouds make funny shapes in the sky. We pottered around at home in the kitchen and baked a cake. We went shopping for vegetables and fruits. We made up games and wove imaginary stories out of nothing. And when we got bored we thought of ways to amuse ourselves. It was a happy, contented summer. And at the end of it I really didn’t feel like Nikki had missed out anything or lost out on building her educational base. Because you learn a whole lot more when you are just doing nothing.

Originally written for "The Punekar"

Manasi Vaidya, Author of "No Deadline For Love"
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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Playschool Ahoy!

The first day of school. I'd been dreading it all summer. For weeks before school re-opened I'd been feeling like I used to before a major exam for which I was ill prepared and when the first day of school finally dawned I woke up with clammy hands and a queasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. Naturally I couldn't let Nikki cotton on to how anxious I really was, so I valiantly kept up my dual faced act of quivering with dread at the thought of school in private and acting all jolly and gung-ho about it when Nikki was around. I was really beginning to feel quite schizophrenic about the whole concept of playschool at the end of it. It didn't help that the week before school opened I went shopping for school supplies with a bunch of Equally Paranoid and Hyper Over Protective Moms who spent the entire time discussing all the horrible things that could happen to a hapless two year old, left alone to fend for herself in the big bad world of playschool. Or the Assorted Pesky People I met at the park who'd earlier ask 'What?! She's not at school yet?' and who had now coolly switched to 'What?! You're sending her to school so early?!'.

The whole thing was really beginning to get to me and I couldn't help feeling a pang when the day finally dawned when Nikki would have to go to school all by herself for the first time ever. As we arrived at school, I couldn't help feeling wistful and a little envious of all the mothers with younger kids who were happily trotting off to the Mother & Toddler class together. This was the same school where I'd first come with Nikki when she was just a fifteen month old baby, just about beginning to take her first wobbly steps. This was where we'd spent a whole year together attending the Mother Toddler program ourselves. And now I was expected to just leave her there by herself!

Nikki herself was seemingly unaffected by this momentous occasion and even seemed happy to be back at her beloved school. That was till the teacher showed up and tried taking her from my arms, when she promptly let out a belligerent howl and demanded that I go in with her. The teacher whisked her off nonetheless, after repeatedly reassuring me that Nikki would be absolutely fine once I was out of sight and left me at the gate feeling bereft. I took myself off to a nearby bench and sat counting the minutes feeling more and more like Cruella de Ville with every passing second. What kind of a mother was I, to have just left my baby in the wilderness like that? I mean it wasn't the wilderness strictly speaking and we had been coming there for a year, so Nikki was familiar with the place, but still! She was not even two and a half yet! My baby! I was just about to call P to tell him we were making a horrible mistake with this whole playschool thing when I saw the teacher re-emerge with a familiar looking little figure in her arms. Nikki! She was back! Was it just my imagination or did she look a little pink about the eyes? She'd probably been crying her eyes out inside, poor little angel! I rushed towards the gate as a high pitched Bollywood-esque 'haai mera bachha!' rang out in my mind and reached for Nikki.
"She was absolutely fine!" the teacher informed me with a beam.
"Oh no! Haai....Eh? What? She was fine?" I gaped back at her.
"Oh yes, she had a great time. See you both tomorrow!" the teacher gave me another bright smile before turning to another anxious mother.
Nikki had been fine by herself! She'd managed perfectly well even though I hadn't been around! Right. So that was all fine then. Except that I wasn't feeling bereft anymore. I was feeling dispensable.

I brought up the matter gently with P that evening.
"Nikki doesn't need me anymore!" I screeched "Two years of spending every waking moment with me and now she trots off with that beastly teacher without so much as a second glance, the little ingrate! She had a good time at school today! What am I going to do?"
"Er, I'm sure you'll get used to it eventually honey" P smiled weakly before suddenly remembering an important official dinner for which he needed to leave that very instant, leaving me alone in my misery.
Get used to it indeed! Bah! I was not going to just let that teacher steal Nikki from me while I stood by the sidelines cooling my heels. No sir, I was going to fight right back and show that teacher how indispensable I really was! Hadn't I been voted the most enthu mommy dancer back at the mother toddler class? Hadn't my moves for 'Dorothy The Dinsosaur' been emulated by all the others? Get used to it! Pshaw!

So I was ready for the teacher when she showed up at the gate to take Nikki from me the next morning.
"Maybe I should accompany you till the classroom?" I suggested in a gentle but firm voice "Being her Primary Care Giver, it may help alleviate her separation anxiety."
"Oh that's not required" the teacher replied equally firmly, "It might upset the other children. Besides Nikki has settled in pretty well, she's fine without you inside."
"But she'll have so much more fun if I come too!" I was desperate now "It says on the activity sheet that you have the Wiggly Woo dance activity planned for today and I'm an ace at Wiggly Woo! Why back in the mother toddler class I...."
"Er right, I'm sure you were wonderful!" the teacher interrupted nervously "But we really must go now and Nikki will be fine! Don't worry!" she shot off like a rocket with another nervous glance at me as if I was going to start doing the Wiggly Woo right there! As if! That little twitch I'd given when I was talking to her was just a muscular spasm. Or something.

I spent the rest of the time kicking up a dust storm and pretty much achieving my targeted calorie burning for the quarter as I anxiously paced up and down outside the school building, till a worried looking teacher came out to offer me a cup of coffee and a magazine and told me to 'please just relax'. Nikki came out soon enough with the teacher, beaming and looking as happy as could be. And then, instead of jumping into my arms, she turned around and gave the teacher a high five and a flying kiss! I must have turned a visible shade of green because the teacher took me aside and patted me kindly on the arm "I understand that this is a worrying phase for you but don't worry! This is a settling in phase for the parent as much as the child. And Nikki is doing well, she's with us for just half an hour now but she's settling in so well that we can increase it to an hour next week onwards!"
Yeah right! First an hour and then two whole hours! And before I know it she'll be leaving for college and telling me she needs her space! But I'm damned if I'm giving up without a fight! For starters I showed Nikki who was the real ace at Wiggly Woo with my live stand-up act at dinner last evening. And there was really no reason for P to get all upset. Okay so maybe I did go a little overboard when I asked Nikki if the teacher could do the Wiggly Woo as well as me (huh? huh?)but I mean, she was the one who started it with the high five-ing and the flying kisses all over the place! Still, P insists I need to learn how to let go and stop behaving like a sap and I should be happy that Nikki is bonding with her teacher at school. Hmph. What does he know? He has no idea about the kind of pressure teachers put on the kids nowadays- I heard some horror stories from the Equally Paranoid and Hyper Over Protective Moms just the other day. In fact some of them are even considering homeschooling for their kids so that they don't have to....Hey! Waitaminit. Homeschooling! No more sending your child away for two whole hours. No more high-five-ing and flying-kisses and 'Oh I love my teacher' more having to work my butt off (quite literally) to perfect my moves at Dorothy The Dinosaur. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Of saying goodbye and savoring life's special stuff

We've spent the last two days hanging out with my sister, Nikki's C Paachi, who flies out to the US today for higher studies. While I restricted my goodbyes to a semi hug and a rather eloquent grunt in my characteristic expressive style, I'm sure C knows that we're all going to miss her lots. What makes this whole going away business a little better is that she's going to be back in under six months to get married (hurray!), an event everyone in the family is quite looking forward to. Nikki had a fun two days spending time with C Paachi and her grandparents which got me around to thinking about how important it is for kids to spend time with family growing up, to know that there are other loving, dependable adults they can confide in and look up to, apart from their parents. I'm hoping Nikki gets to spend a lot of time with close family as she grows up and have been making an effort to get together with family I have in and around town whenever I get the chance. It is specially fun and also a little touching to see Nikki bond and thoroughly enjoy herself with my little nephew R, who's a couple of years older than her. I have a photograph of C Paachi with R and Nikki in which C is holding Nikki and R is standing next to her. The snap beautifully captures R grinning mischievously at Nikki while she grins right back with an equally saucy, exhilarated expression on her little face, a testimony to the fun times they've shared. We're lucky that P also has a large extended family, with lots of kids close to Nikki's age and even though she was too small to really interact with them the last few times we met, I'm sure she'll enjoy her time with them as she grows older.

I shared these thoughts with P last evening as we drove back home after saying goodbye to C and we got around to talking about what we'd like Nikki to grow up with, the important stuff, the stuff that really matters. We were both agreed on the importance of family and close friends; I hope Nikki has a wonderful, loving set of friends she knows she can rely on and turn to anytime as she grows older. Growing up, we were always moving cities and I would often be the new girl in town or in school or in the park, the girl who was left out of birthday parties and sleepovers and movie nights because nobody knew her well enough yet. Sure I would settle in eventually, get to know people and make friends but it was always difficult those first few days when everybody was comfortable in their own little groups and you were the only outsider who didn't fit in any where. In retrospect though, I feel this has always made me appreciate my friends more and I am truly thankful today for the wonderful group of friends I have.

A love for books and reading is another thing I hope to pass on to Nikki, followed closely by a love for music. There is no greater joy than losing yourself in the wonderful world of a beloved book, retracing the adventures in an old favorite, the thrill you feel when you connect instantly with a new book or the quiet anticipation of an evening tucked up in bed with a mug of hot chocolate and a good book left half way. Except perhaps, the joy of waking up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee and the strains of a ballad by Richard Clayderman on a Sunday morning. Or some smooth jazz or perky funk beats on a Friday evening as you wait for dinner guests to arrive. Or the instant mood lift as you listen to an old favorite on a rainy afternoon or on a long drive back home. So Nikki gets a generous dose of  Floyd and U2 along with Wiggles Dorothy the Dinosaur and she seems to enjoy both equally well! Of course The Papa Man ensures that there's a generous dollop of 'Tere Liye' and 'Singh is King' thrown is as well and both those numbers have little Miss Nikki doing a vigorous shake-that-booty each time!

I am hoping to celebrate all of the major festivals in a big way now that Nikki is here. Before we had Nikki, festivals were equated with days off, a chance to get away from the stress and pressure of daily life but now I look forward to spending these special days in a leisurely manner with Nikki. Enjoying the beauty of colors on Holi, basking in the warmth of family and togetherness on Diwali, always a gala family event, discovering the magic of Santa Claus at Christmas, making modaks together for Ganesh Chaturthi and beautiful jhankis for Janmashtami. Festivals, also mean holidays and holidays are another important part of growing up happy! Long and lazy summer holidays, short winter breaks, even weekend getaways, I want to ensure we take some time out every now and then to get away from our regular routines and travel the world and spend time together, sometimes to meet new people and do different things, sometimes to just enjoy a slice of solitude.

Which brings to me to the importance of enjoying  your own company and being comfortable with yourself. That wonderful place where you know you can step out and have a great time over coffee with friends knowing equally well that you can go right back and have just as wonderful a time all by yourself. I hope I can teach Nikki that. Along with the power of dreaming big, beautiful dreams, believing in them without being afraid of failure and taking risks. Living the most exhilarating life and being the best person she possibly can be. And always knowing that two people, mom and dad, will always be there for her no matter what.

This list could go on and on so I thought maybe I'd leave it at this. Or maybe I'll keep coming back and adding to this if I feel I've missed out on something that really should be here. What about you though? What are those special things you know you want your children to grow up with?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Weaning The Mommy Woman

Nikki has finally decided that Enough is Enough and has pulled the plug on our once a day nursing sessions. Any attempts at feeding are firmly rebuffed with much shoving, pushing and screaming blue murder and if all else fails a few sharp nips are deftly administered to end this preposterous attempt at curtailing her budding independence.
I suppose I should be happy. No more scheduling my life around three or four hourly feeds. Well actually in the last three months it was just the one feed, so no more scheduling my life around the all important morning feed. No more carefully monitored morning alarms or missed gym sessions or jogs so that the child and heiress will not go hungry. No more long drawn out nursing sessions at the fag end of the day when I'm dog tired and desperate to have a hot shower or curl up with a book or just crash. No more hideous nursing tops that have the mind boggling ability to make one look like the bag lady in drag on a bad day. No more sitting in a darkened room at a party sniffing wistfully at the occasional whiffs of something delectable and listening to people make merry as I wait for the afore-mentioned child and heiress to finished her own long drawn out supper. No more feeling stressed out when I travel or even when I'm just out and about that my services may be called upon at a particularly awkward moment. No more severe panic attacks when I'm out alone about being wanted, NOW back home because the c & h refuses to eat or for that matter drink anything and  only I can offer succor. No more frantic pounding on the bathroom door with accompanying cries to come out RIGHT NOW as the c & h obligingly wails in the background. No more thinking twice before downing that glass of wine, or that plate of sushi or even those nasty antibiotics which will give instant relief.

Yes, I suppose I should be happy.

Then why is it that all I feel instead is an empty, hollow ache? Why can I think of nothing else but the days of exclusive breastfeeding? Or the early days of Nikki's birth, when it would just be me and her, connected in the most special way possible as our lives pretty much revolved around each other. Those silvery early mornings and mellow late afternoons as I gazed adoringly at my precious little Nikki as she suckled blissfully, oblivious to the cares of the world, content to just be with me. When I could watch her for hours at end holding snugly onto the thought that she was still just a little baby, that she still needed me. When my baby would seek me out in a room full of people and reach out for me and be comforted by the mere sight of me. When just my presence or my touch was enough to soothe. When no one but me could placate her.
I guess she still does some of those things, but I am no longer indispensable. Anyone can dish out the khichdi or the porridge or the dish of choice and feed her now. Sigh. Why didn't anyone tell me this mommyhood thing was going to be so difficult?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Look who's back!

'Allo 'Allo it's me again! I would've come by earlier but The Mommy Woman was on a long break herself so I thought I'd give her a chance to make an appearance before stealing her thunder. It is her blog after all even though everyone knows the real reason anyone reads it is to find out what I've been up to! Besides I heard The Mommy Woman tell The Papa Man that my last appearance was a big success and so I've decided that I should drop by now and then, even though I'm ever so busy these days with all my myriad activities. This growing up business takes up a lot of time all right! Plus now that I'm a big girl I try to do my bit by lending a helping hand around the house. Like first thing in the morning I go up to the center table in the living room and fling the days newspapers on the floor. Then I spread them out all over the floor so that The Papa Man will find it easy to read them on the go, after all he is always in such a hurry in the mornings. That silly Mommy Woman tries to pick them up again sometimes though, before he's had a chance to read them, so these days I make it a point to generously endow my diaper with loads of the gooey stuff before she gets a chance to lay her hands on the newspapers. That keeps her busy for some time, heh heh! I also try and help the cleaning lady who comes to our house every day to do the dusting. I fling all the stuff I can reach off all the available surfaces so that she can do her job properly. I really don't know why The Mommy Woman has such a problem with that, the silly hussy. I mean everyone knows that the cleaning lady has to remove all the stuff anyway if she is to do the dusting properly!

Oooh there goes the phone, must rush! I make it a point to answer the phone each time it rings to save The Mommy Woman some time. The phone is placed rather conveniently, I just need to stand on tiptoes and it slips easily into my hands. I even attempt to make some conversation with whoever is on the line, but most of the time they speak some gibberish I can't fathom so I let The Mommy Woman take over. I try to help her while she's talking by pushing the buttons on the phone, after all that's what she does too, but the silly woman just doesn't know how to appreciate a helping hand. Hmph. Anyway not like I care, I find those other kind of phones more interesting anyway- the tiny ones that trill and have the bright lights and fun music. The Mommy Woman is very possessive about hers though, just yesterday she had a minor coronary because I was trying to give her tiny phone a bath. It had gotten a bit dirty because I took it for a walk in the balcony so I thought I'd make it all shiny and clean and good as new for The Mommy Woman with a quick bath, but does she appreciate my efforts? No Sir! Instead she has a near meltdown and runs around shrieking like a headless chicken, the silly drama queen. Anyway, I soon showed her who's the real drama queen in these parts and now she's promised to get me my very own tiny phone. About time too, I say.

Anyway, on to more interesting topics. I did mention last time that I love music didn't I? Well I've considerably expanded my repertoire of dance steps since then, and it takes little to get me started on my favorite moves. I love that Uff Teri Ada song The Mommy Woman listens to these days, hands in the air, a lil head banging, shake that booty baybeh! The other fun thing I discovered just two days ago was that playing in the water can actually be fun! To tell you the truth I was getting a bit bored of listening to The Mommy Woman go on and on about how I was scared of water. Scared, pish tosh! Sitting in a tub full of water and swatting at some rubber ducks may be her idea of fun, but please spare me! I mean why would you want to get your neck wet and your hair all messed up?! But this Sunday, The Papa Man filled up the large inflatable pool with water and a few of my favorite toys and got in there himself. He looked like he was having a ball so I thought I'd try dipping my toes in too, and it wasn't that bad you know. Ten minutes later I was in the middle of all the action splashing The Papa Man with water and having a total blast! Ooh what fun! Of course The Mommy Woman was being her usual pestilential self buzzing all over the place like a honeybee who's overdosed on coffee and taking snaps like it was going out of fashion. Really, these grown ups can be so embarrassing sometimes! Take our evenings in the park for instance. My pal A and I like to greet each other with squeals and hugs, before having some heart to heart babbles and screeches, given that we meet only  once a day. I mean I am entitled to some privacy for quality time with my friends right? Try telling that to The Mommy Woman! She and A's mom are perpetually in splits while A & I are trying to make some conversation, cooing and gushing over us all the time. If I had my way, I would put The Mommy Woman in my cot for a time out while I get some quiet time to myself. If only I had the strength to get her in there. Hmmm, there's a thought! Maybe I should drink that sloppy white stuff The Mommy Woman tries to make me drink all the time, after all she did say it would make me strong. Getting back to our evenings in the park, they really are my favorite time of the day. I love going out and especially if its a trip to the park or a garden. The Papa Man is going to take me to the Zoo and the Circus next week! I love animals, specially bow wows and I heard The Papa Man say there's a bow wow show in the circus so I'm super excited! I even like the bow wows in the park and I wish I could spend more time with them everyday, but The Mommy Woman always throws a spanner in the works! I mean is there any harm if she runs around the park with me in the pram chasing the bow wows for a few hours every day, I ask you? But no, all she does is is point out a few bow wows from a distance and leaves it at that.Bah!

Here she comes now to check my diaper AGAIN. Talk about obsessive compulsive behavior, the woman is at it all. day. long. Maybe I should just learn how to use that pink potty contraption she tries to make me sit on some times and get it over with. Then I can lock myself in the loo like The Papa Man with my copy of Sleep Tight Bunny and get some peace and quiet. Meanwhile, I guess I just have to live with The Mommy Woman poking around. Being the ever so helpful sorts I try and help her while she cleans me up, I mean it is MY bum, is there a problem if I put my hand in there and squish around a bit? Really, these grown ups have a problem with EVERYTHING. One of these days I'm going to have to give her a piece of my mind. I mean I try to be patient with her but there really is a limit to how much you can take! Take bedtimes for example; for the last couple of months I'd been sleeping at 8.30pm on the dot and letting The Mommy Woman and The Papa Man take some time off. But now, the minute I decide I want to join the party, and its all "Oh God she just doesn't sleep on time!" I mean what's a girl got to do for fun in these parts? Drop The Mommy Woman a line if you get time, won't you, and ask her to take a chill pill!

Hark! There's the phone, must rush before The Mommy Woman beats me to it! I'll drop by again later if I manage to get her to play quietly by herself while I attend to my stuff. Laters, then!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Over and mun-done with!

It's over! I was hoping that I could write all about how my fears had been unfounded, how I needn't have worried and how it all passed off without a hitch, with zero or minimal tears being shed. But alas, it was not to be. The mundan was the MOST horribly dreadful experience with Nikki crying so hard and so piteously that the mother in law finally couldn't bear it any more and went off and locked herself in her room. To begin with everything went wrong- the barber type razor we had procured specially for the event turned out to be faulty. The chappie who had come home to do the mundan fiddled with it for close to an hour before throwing his hands up, so P went off to get another one which was immediately washed and sterilized. My OCD which normally goes into overdrive at times like these ensured that I took my time over the washing and sterilizing, so by the time we finally got started it was well past Nikki's bedtime and she was tired and sleepy. I was hoping that the fact that we were doing the mundan at home would make her more comfortable but the sight of the razor wielding barber was just too much for her, what with her current phase of stranger anxiety being at an all time high. She howled and howled and howled all the way through, while P held her and I  unsuccessfully tried to entertain her with cartoons, music, books, toys and all manner of funny and not so funny faces. She did get a few minor nicks which gave me the unbearable urge to break the razor wielding chappie's neck in three places but she didn't really get hurt, the crying was more due to worry and sleep driven exhaustion. And the razor chappie was really quite patient on hindsight, considering that I had grilled him like a drill sergeant before the mundan and was literally breathing down his neck with not-so-helpful comments along the lines of "Naheee! Sambhaal ke kijiye!" "Dheere dheere!" and "Usko lag gayi to mujhse bura koi nahee hogaa". Yes I really did say that.
I knew I shouldn't have watched that infernal saas-bahu soap with the MIL earlier that day, they always have a melodramatic rub off on my less than stellar Hindi speaking skills.

Finally it was over and we quickly bathed Nikki, dressed her scalp with a touch of Dettol and some BoroPlus as recommended by the MIL and rocked her to sleep, before breathing a sigh of relief that the ordeal was finally over. That night as I passed Nikki's cot on my way to bed I felt a sudden pang as I caught sight of her; she didn't really look too different, just very vulnerable and tiny and lost with her hair all gone. But the next morning, once our sprightly little imp was awake and back in mischief filled action, we found that the new look suits her, she looks rather like a cute baby Zoozoo :) And now I can look forward to her hair growing back and using that collection of baby hairclips and braid bands and cute all-girl hairstyles and....oooh someone stop me before I metamorphose into that coconut oil bottle wielding amma from the Garnier ad running after her daughter for the daily champi!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Eleven months and counting!

Hello people! I celebrated my eleven months birthday this week and I decided it was about time I made my debut on the blog scene. That and the fact that The Mommy Woman doesn't look like she's up to writing a post anytime soon. Last seen she was wandering off, a glazed look in her eyes, muttering about how kids grow up on you all too soon and some such thing. She has also taken to sitting on the couch in a semi trance reminiscing with tears in her eyes about the days of exclusive breast feeding, now that we do that only once a day. The woman has me flummoxed I tell you! I mean all these months she was referring to herself as a cow and Mother Dairy and generally lamenting her complete loss of freedom and now when I'm all for giving her a free rein all she can do is moan and groan about it. She has even given up her morning gym session and hangs around waiting for me to wake up instead, so we can do our quick round of nursing.

Anyway, moving on, I thought I'd regale you with an account of what I've been up to in my last month of babyhood. Coz next month on, I'm all set to join the tantalizing toddler brigade, wooo hooo! I thought I'd begin by telling you all about the supreme oratory skills I've honed over the last one month. My superior linguistic abilities are lost on The Mommy Woman of course who insists on reducing my prowess to mere drivel with nick names like my 'cute little chatterbox'. Bah! There are other such embarrassing monikers too. Like the other day when we got into a cab and she insisted on referring to me repeatedly as her 'golu molu'. So much so that the goofy cab driver asked her if my name was Golu Molu!! The ignominy of it all! Anyway I got my own back by chewing the cab's rather nice looking, brand new upholstery, that had the desired effect on the two of them. Golu Molu indeed!

Speaking of chewing, I've been doing a lot of that lately. It seems to satisfy those sharp white things sprouting in various places in my mouth,that are causing me severe discomfort, especially at night. The Mommy Woman and Papa Man stay up with me trying to comfort me, but they haven't been doing a very good job so far and all this lack of sleep is beginning to make me cranky. The lack of shut eye hasn't seemed to dampen The Mommy Woman's enthusiasm for the sharp white, objects though; each new arrival is greeted with excited squeals and much poking and prodding around in my mouth. These days she has taken to shoving a cold, rubbery green thing in my mouth with loud cries of 'Chew Nikki chew, its a teether!', quite unlike the 'No No Nooo' that greets me whenever I'm peacefully chewing the bathroom mat or the carpet. Of course I will have none of this high handed behavior. Nobody tells me what to chew, and I make sure that rubbery green thing gets nowhere near my mouth!

I've been having great fun ever since I discovered I can get around everywhere using my hands and knees. It looks tough but there's nothing to it really, you just propel yourself forward using both hands and knees, moving them faster for increased speed. No more lying around on that boring play mat watching the ceiling, with the only change of scene happening when you roll over. Now I can zip around all over the house! I even play peek-a-boo with The Mommy Woman sometimes, hiding behind the couch so she can come find me. It helps keep her occupied. And then there's the fun playtime when The Papa Man comes back in the evening, we zip around from room to room chasing each other till I can barely keep my eyes open and then The Papa Man puts me to bed. Hey wait-a minit! Its a PLOY to get me sleepy, that tricky bugger! Wait till he gets back tonight, the slippery eel. Do I have a surprise for HIM, I'll stay up all night a-ha-ha-ha!

The other fun thing I like doing is rolling over and crawling off at top speed. I don't do this all the time though, just for select occasions. Like diaper changes. Or massages. Or clothes changing time. Great fun. Even more than the exhilarating feeling of freedom, is the effect it has on The Mommy Woman. No wait, actually its even more fun when she takes of my diaper to clean my bum and I put my hand straight into all the poop. Boy does that send her into a tizzy! She tried pulling a fast one on me initially by putting something in my hand to distract me, but I saw through that soon enough. I don't think she was terribly pleased when I shoved my hand along with her favorite lip balm into the poop.

Moving on to more fun things, my favorite time of day is when we go to the park, mostly in the evenings. I get all excited whenever the door to our appartment is opened and we step out, but sometimes its just to wave goodbye to other people who're leaving which is most disappointing. I so love going out myself! Evenings in the park are even more fun because I get to meet my friends, other people my own size. We even talk the same language and I have great fun babbling with my pal A and riding around the park in my pram. It'll be even more fun when I start running around, The Mommy Woman tells me. Hah! Little does she know. Anyway, at least she won't feel bad about missing her gym session then, I'll make sure she does enough running around herself.

My favorite place in the house these days is the kitchen. That's the best place to scan the ground for interesting looking things, take my word for it. Why just yesterday, I found a large red thing which crackled each time I pressed it! Mirchi Mirchi! The Mommy Woman screamed and made a big fuss about washing my hands after that, which I quite enjoyed too. I'm quite a water baby and love splashing around at bath time in my tub. I even have a book which The Mommy Woman reads to me at bath time. It really is about time she got me some new books though. I mean story telling is great fun but how many times can you listen to the same stuff over and over again? I've been trying to tell her as much by flinging away the old regulars that we read every day with a look of great disdain, and she finally seems to be getting the hint. She was telling The Papa Man something about getting me new books last evening. I hope they get me something interesting. Maybe something about 'How To Stay Awake, Seven Straight Days In A Row And Keep Your Parents That Way Too'. I have been doing a decent job of it for the last two nights, but then this pain with the sharp white things gets in the way and spoils the fun a bit.

Ooh here comes The Mommy Woman now with that sinister 'time for a nap' look in her eyes. Now that's something I detest! I try my best to wriggle and wail out of The Mommy Woman's grasp but she can be a real Nazi sometimes! Best to lie low for a bit, maybe she'll forget about napping. Specially if I coo and give her one of my sweet baby smiles, that usually does the trick.
Catch y'all later then, gotta go now before I'm packed off to the cot. Drop me a line or two if you'd like me to come by more often. The Mommy Woman has been threatening to do one of her long, rambling, sentimental posts to commemorate my first birthday next month but I can come back after that if you like. I should be able to manage it, given that I plan to keep her busy with learning how to watch me walk. Until then, buh-bye!