Showing posts with label parenting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label parenting. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Creativity in a bento box



Peach coloured skies with purple clouds. Crimson grass. Orange elephants and magenta seals. Nikki goes through a sheaf of A4 size sheets of paper, filling them up with a plethora of vibrant colours. We are at an art workshop for kids and I’m accompanying Nikki as she experiments with finger paint (so squishy!) and painting on different mediums (can I start painting your bed after we go home?). There’s another little boy seated next to us who seems concerned about Nikki’s artwork.

“The sky is not that colour” he whispers to his mother in obvious anguish. “The grass is not red.”

The mother hisses something back at him and he subsides temporarily.
The workshop facilitator hands out fresh sheets of paper; this time with line drawings on them, and jars filled with fat crayons which Nikki grabs with glee. It’s a picture of a house with a fence and a garden. Nikki deliberates between the finger paint and the crayons, makes up her paint and smears paint liberally across the picture. Strokes of paint fill up the house and the garden; an indigo roof, green walls, yellow grass. The little boy cannot contain himself anymore. He abandons his own drawing and is at our side in a trice.

“No, not like that!" he chides Nikki “You have to draw inside the lines! You will get a red mark. Sky is blue, grass is green!”

His mother pulls him away before I can reply and rebukes him thoroughly for not concentrating on his work.

She turns to me with a tight smile “She cannot colour inside the lines?” pointing at Nikki.

“I’ve never asked her to” I smile back.

I did give Nikki a colouring book once; she had been gifted a Winnie the Pooh one for her birthday and given that Pooh threatened to overtake our theme for home d├ęcor during those days I thought she might like it. She didn’t. She never actually took to colouring within the lines, preferring instead to fill up reams of blank paper with her artwork instead. And fill them up she did, astonishing me sometimes with the creativity and imagination only children possess.
She draws the rain and butterflies, families of fish and music. One side of our fridge is filled with renditions of tea parties in the clouds and the moon taking care of her baby. We don’t really miss colouring within the lines much.
I know that Nikki is asked to colour within the lines sometimes at the preschool she goes to, and from the activity sheets I am taken through at PTMs I know she can do it perfectly well if she wants to. But I also know that she does not enjoy it, preferring the freedom a blank sheet of paper offers instead.

We are lucky to have found a preschool that encourages creativity among its children. There are no red marks for drawing. Purple skies are encouraged, as are pink elephants and geese with polka dots. But I know there are a lot of parents who don’t like this approach, preferring instead the more traditional one of teaching kids that the grass can only be green and colour is best used within boundaries and not splayed all over the paper. Just last week I overheard a mother complaining about how sand play needs to be structured with kids being given specific instructions on what to do with their spades and buckets rather than just being left loose in the sand pit; and another parent of a boy in the nursery class lamenting how his child is not being taught how to write yet. I listened to them talk and felt a little worried. And then I read the morning papers, all about artist Aseem Trivedi being arrested for displaying ‘too much creativity’ and felt positively scared. Aside from the misuse of a colonial era law or the growing intolerance in the political and social environment, what is equally alarming is the judgement that is so carelessly thrown on an individual’s creative expression. Who decides what is too creative? Or too little? Are there measures defined to judge how much is 'too creative' or lines and boxes that it can be fitted into? Are we looking at a future where our preschoolers go for sandpit class, learning precise co-ordination of spade with bucket and move on to postgraduate in fine arts which clearly specifies what is too creative and what is not? The curbs on our creativity grow deep roots. Our educational system has traditionally been one based on rote and memorization rather than independent thought or creativity. There are firm boundaries that are drawn when we are very young and we grow up learning to live within them. And when some of us think or speak differently, it can create a lot of discomfort.

Nikki in the meantime has moved on to caricatures and is busy sketching portraits. A gargoyle-ish figure with pointy hair is me, I am told. One vaguely resembling Suppandi is our cook. Her father is a dignified looking turnip.

“We will put these up on the fridge” I tell her.

“Okay but not this one. This one is too nice and this one is horrible. Put this, it is just right.”

Creativity really is that simple, and it doesn’t take a three year to show us that. Let the artists define their own boundaries.

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'

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Mommies need appraisals too!

This weekend I caught up with a few of my ex-colleagues from one of the companies I had worked for in my corporate avatar, back before I gave it all up to be chief slave to the little tyrant who now rules my home (and my life ) with an iron fist. This particular group of colleagues had also grown to be good friends over the years but it had been a while since all of us had got a chance to meet and I was looking forward to catching up with them. I was therefore a little surprised when my initial excitement at seeing them all together was returned with wan smiles and terse ‘hellos’.

“We had our year-end appraisals today” they explained morosely “And now we need a stiff drink each to forget them quickly!”

It turned out that three out of the four friends I was meeting had been given a rather rough time during the appraisal by their immediate bosses and the fourth friend’s appraisal had been, in his own words, ‘too confusing to make any sense of’ and he had left the meeting with more than his fair share of existential angst!
“You’re so lucky you don’t have to go through these corporate feedback sessions anymore!” one of my friends exclaimed as we reminisced about one joint appraisal we had gone through years ago, when we were still mere rookies in the corporate world. I laughed in response and the moment was drowned in a fresh round of minty Caprioskas brought to the table, but the words came back to me hours later when I was back at home, ensconced in my daughter’s room as we built large teetering towers with blocks and shaped little red butterflies with blue dots out of Playdoh.

True I didn’t have any formal feedback sessions anymore, ever since I had swapped my demanding corporate job for my even more demanding role of mommy, but sometimes I felt I sure as hell needed them as much if not more than before!

Motherhood brings with it a barrage of advice and feedback, and it starts even before the star of the show, the baby, makes its first appearance. Right from the moment you break the ‘good news’, or, if you’re the reserved kind, from the moment the bump begins to show, everyone from your vegetable vendor to complete strangers you run into in the parking lot, consider it their moral obligation to offer nuggets of advice and wisdom. When the baby does arrive, the stream of advice flowing in multiplies manifold and swells incessantly until you’re ready to throw in the oars and make a mad swim for it. Most of the advice is well meaning and can even be helpful of course, but the sheer overload of information coming in can often be overwhelming for an unprepared first time mother. Over time you get used to it and you even begin to discern the good advice from the unnecessary stuff, but one thing remains constant: your new found status as mom ensures that the advice keeps flowing in thick and fast at every stage of your child’s growth.

Given that parenting is one role that doesn’t come with an instruction manual, I’ve often felt that sometimes it might help to get objective feedback on probably what is the most important role I will ever play in my life; that of shaping and nurturing another individual. And so I decided that I would put my business education and my corporate training of many years to good use and give myself a ‘mom-praisal’. My husband decided to play the part of objective third party since my boss was too young to conduct the appraisal and could not be trusted to not throw a tantrum or make ludicrous demands if things didn’t go her way, and we got started. I decided to give my mom-praisal the importance and structure it deserved and created a list of performance parameters against which I rated myself, borrowing generously from the many performance appraisals I had gone through in the corporate world. Here’s a quick peek at what my mom-praisal score card looked like:

1.Displaying a Sense of Urgency:
This is one area where I score hands down, even though it would not be entirely untrue to say that my performance on this parameter is driven more out of fear of failure than anything else. For my boss does not tolerate tardiness at any cost! From a dirty diaper to a demand for food, right from the early days of her birth, my daughter made it very clear that not displaying a sense of urgency when it came to her needs being met would mean retribution of the most severe kind: ear splitting shrieks and mutinous howls. Displaying a sense of urgency soon became second nature.

2.The ability to innovate and think out of the box:
Much as I’d like to gloss over my (many) shortcomings as a mom, this is one area where I’d have to admit defeat. For when it comes to parenting I’ve always found a sense of security in following the text book approach. Parenting tomes of all shapes and sizes occupy pride of place on every conceivable surface in our home now and everything ranging from a tantrum to a refusal to eat the midday snack sees me rushing to consult my trusty mommy manual. Definitely not an example of innovative thinking, though I must say I have invented a pretty nifty technique of speed reading my ‘What to Expect in the toddler years’ while simultaneously entertaining my daughter with a snazzy rendition of ‘Dorothy the Dinosaur’. The husband however is one of those dads who can think out of the box and make it look as easy as shelling peas, so there is hope for me yet!

3.Monitoring and communicating progress frequently:
Another area where I can proudly pat myself on the back. Right from my bai, to my daughter’s playschool teacher, to the hapless husband, to anyone else who cares to listen, I make it a point to update everyone with any semblance of progress. Right from the first utterance of a new word or a particularly complex sentence construction, to a tantrum free day, to successful trysts with the potty, all progress is painstakingly monitored and communicated. The bulk of these communication updates happen with the husband who is given a blow by blow account as soon as he walks through the door. Yes, this is one area where I think I deserve a notable mention or perhaps even some mommy accolades for exceeding performance benchmarks. The husband doesn’t seem particularly pleased about it though!

4.The ability to manage stress with ease:
Now this is a tough one because I am one of those people who tend to get stressed easily. And while I make sure I don’t let my sky rocketing stress levels get to my daughter (mostly), I don’t exactly handle it with ease either. My way out of a stressful situation is usually to stuff myself silly with the most calorie laden food I can get my hands on. Like the time I binged on a pizza the first time my daughter fell ill. Or the walnut brownie with fudge overdose to help me cope with the first day of school and having to let my baby go into the care of strangers for two whole hours. Or the innumerable bars of chocolate to soothe my frayed nerves before her first solo stage performance. I’m getting stressed just recalling all of these instances! Think I’ll just take a quick nibble of some chocolate to help deal with the, er, hunger.

5.Do I strive for constant self development?
Now this is something I haven’t thought about for a while. I’m always thinking about ‘developing’ my daughter, of course. Developing gross and fine motor skills and physical balance and co-ordination are routine playground conversations with other mums. I make a sincere effort to foster a love for reading and am working at developing her socializing skills since she has been displaying marked signs of having inherited the anti social gene from her mother. I try and bring on the creativity by getting the husband to spend time with her while I re-read my book on ‘how to foster creativity in your child’. So yes, I get full marks for trying when it comes to developing my daughter. But me? I guess I never really thought about me. I suppose I’m in a happier place than I was before since my daughter took over my life. I’ve finally become patient and selfless, qualities I always admired in others and sorely lacked myself. I’ve learned to stop, slow down and relax. More importantly, I’ve finally got my priorities right and figured out the things that really matter to me, and that’s made me feel more settled. So yes I guess I have managed some self development without consciously striving for it.

I’ve decided to make my mom-praisal a regular feature to ensure that I don’t stagnate as a mother. Maybe, when my daughter is older she can take over the appraising bit and give me some feedback to make me a better parent. Until then, I will have to make honest and brutal self assessment work for me, I suppose. I have to admit though, that unlike the often dreary appraisals from my corporate past, doing my mom-praisal was kind of fun. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that this time round I am hopelessly in love with my new boss!


Originally written for "The Punekar"

------------------------
Manasi Vaidya, Author of "No Deadline For Love"

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"
Join the Facebook page here!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Parents' Night Out

Many many moons ago, when Nikki was still a relatively young baby and not the fiercely independent toddler she seems to have turned into of late, the husband and I attempted an evening out without her. I had just stopped nursing Nikki, correction, I had been brusquely weaned with many an imperious shove and ear splitting shrieks by the child who was clearly more interested in the fascinating world of solids and other beverages that did not involve the mater and my indispensability quotient was at an all time low. To save me from the depths of misery in which I abjectly wallowed, P suggested we attend a friend's party cum art exhibition at an upscale restaurant that was also conveniently located quite close to our home. After battling several inner demons I finally took the plunge and decided to go. Careful arrangements were made to handle the most important part of our evening, namely babysitting Nikki. My parents who happened to be in town kindly agreed to look after Nikki for the evening and accordingly arrived at our house a couple of hours before we were to leave for the party. Our erstwhile maid S (a thousand curses on her pointy little head) was instructed to feed Nikki and ensure that she was sound asleep in bed before leaving for the day, since Nikki was used to be being put to bed by her. With all arrangements seemingly in place, we left while Nikki was having her dinner after kissing her goodbye. Or rather, P kissed her goodbye and then dragged me out the door as I threatened to turn into a clingy, sobbing mess. (Don't even ask me what I'll do on the first day of big school. Nikki, I'm sure, will be fine.)I still remember the panicked visions I had as we drove out of the society gates, of Nikki tearfully weeping for her mother who was far, far away. Fifteen minutes into the party and seven panicked phone calls later (yeah, I know I'm THAT mother.sigh.)my parents assured me that Nikki was absolutely fine and could I please put a lid on it and just enjoy the evening. There had been no tears when we left or thereafter and after devouring her dinner, Nikki was now cheerfully engaged in poking the eyes of her doll out, her favorite activity at the time (the chappie who said that stuff about sugar and spice and all things nice sure would've changed his mind if he'd met my little girl).

"I think YOU are the one with separation anxiety", a friend who was with us at the party announced as she watched me gaze anxiously at my phone for the umpteenth time. "Try to relax will you!"
And so I did. I had a drink. I ate an canape. I began to enjoy the music. And I was finally beginning to rid myself of the clouds of worry that had hovered miserably over me all evening when my phone rang. It was my dad.
"What is it?" I yelped as I answered, the canape turning to ashes in my mouth.
It was Nikki of course. She had been absolutely fine till that dreaded hour of the day, or rather, night: bedtime. Apparently, S, conveniently forgetting my laboriously spelled out instructions had vamoosed as soon as Nikki was through with her dinner and instead of going to bed soon after her meal as she was used to, Nikki had continued playing for well over an hour post dinner. As a result she was overtired, sleepy and cranky by the time my parents finally tried putting her to bed and not seeing either P or me around she decided to let them have it with a series of high pitched wails and cries for her mama and dada. Distraught with her crying my poor parents took her down to the park and took turns walking her up and down where she finally calmed down albeit temporarily. Several failed attempts to get her to sleep later, they finally called us. We rushed home only to find that Nikki had finally cried herself to sleep just minutes before we reached and was curled up miserably in her cot. She didn't sleep well through the night though, and woke up crying quite a few times with a tortured look on her face, refusing to be comforted by either of us. I wore my own tortured look for the next full week and needless to say, that was the beginning and end of any fanciful notions we may have had about being super cool parents cum party animals.

We took to going out in the day since Nikki was absolutely fine being left in the company of her grandparents then and took turns going out in the evenings. Or we planned evenings in child friendly locales so that we could take her along as well and life went on an usual. Until the weekend before last when we found ourselves in the possession of passes for a rock concert. P, the eternal optimist, suggested we try taking Nikki along, after all she was old enough now and our concerted efforts to avoid repeated replays of Rythmic Rhymes From The Animal Kingdom by getting her to listen to our music had ensured that she was developing an ear for rock too. And so we went. And had a blast! The venue was a well spaced out open air amphitheater with sprawling lawns all around interspersed with cobbled pathways and little tinkling fountains making it an eminently child friendly venue. We found ourselves a grassy spot, not too close to the speakers and settled down to enjoy the evening. Only to find that we were being quite outdone by our little headbanger who'd really gotten into the groove and was dancing around shaking her booty and thoroughly enjoying the music. She even got hold of some empty beer cans halfway through and was jumping around with them looking for all purposes like she'd just swigged down the contents, making another couple nearby give us incredulous, shocked looks.
"People nowadays, they just don't pay any attention to their kids!" I heard them mutter as they threw me a disapproving look. Which in a perverse sort of way made me feel like a REALLY cool mom. Because, you know, I'm SO not one.
And then after she'd had her dinner, Nikki obligingly went to sleep right around bedtime and stayed that way, enabling us to stay on till the very end when this amazingly talented band from Shillong played some of the best rock I've heard in a long long time. We were so kicked we actually considered going for the after-party post the show but then decided not to push our luck and went home instead.

The next weekend saw us at another concert, Gary Lawyer live this time round, paying a tribute to Elvis. And guess who turned out to be the biggest rock aficionado of all? Even though it was well past her bedtime by the time the concert ended, the youngest Elvis (and Gary) fan at the venue was enthusiastically clapping and going Woo-Hoo! after every number! She enjoyed the music so much that we dusted off some of our old Elvis CDs the next day and had our very own rock and roll party at home. I guess 'The Wheels on The Bus' are going to have a wait a while for their place in the music system!

Much encouraged with these recent successes, we're now seriously considering venturing out more often in the evenings with Nikki. Outdoorsy venues with great music work beautifully. Nikki as it turns out is quite the party animal and likes nothing better than hearing that we're going 'out in Nikkkkki's car!' as opposed to 'its bedtime!'
The quiet dinners and plays of yore are going to have to wait a while though. Not unless I can convince the parents to babysit again!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Boss kaun hai, maloom hai na?

Ten reasons why, in the last couple of months, I've begun to see my ex-boss in a new light:

1. My new boss is one of the most demanding people I've ever met. I'm expected to be on call 24*7. 365 days a year. For the rest of my life.
2. My new boss keeps erratic hours.Picture this: Its 3.45 am after a long, tiring, never ending day. You collapse into bed desperately hoping for a few hours of shut-eye. Only to be awakened by an urgent call from the boss. Tough luck baby. The boss needs you. NOW.
3. As may be obvious from point number two, my new boss thinks life is too short to be whiled away sleeping. Awake and active is the boss's preferred mode of operation. Sleeping on the job is heresy!
4. Face time is very important with the new boss. You gotta be around if you want the boss to be happy. And you DO want the boss to be happy. Trust me.
5. My new boss hates structure. Or scheduling. Needless to say there's no point in my making any plans. You just have to take it as it comes and hope it doesn't blow up in your face.
6. My new boss has a unique style of communicating which I am yet to become proficient at. So I currently try to make things work through trial and error. And the boss doesn't like error.
7. Hell hath no fury like the new boss in a bad mood. The boss's expressions of displeasure are enough to peel the plaster off the walls. I work very hard to keep the boss happy all the time!
8. I used to have a life before the new boss entered into it. P used to have a life before my new boss entered his life as well. Now what's left of our lives revolves around the new boss.
9. My new boss is not toilet trained. And one of my future assignments will involve doing the needful. Sigh.
10. I'm in love with my new boss. So everything is personal, even though nothing is official.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

First time here!

I've finally done it! After months of wanting to write a blog I am finally writing my very first post. Yippee! I'd always meant to start a blog after the birth of my daughter who is now five months old ( I know its shameful, but I am truly the Queen, no make that Empress of procrastination), to chronicle the wonderful journey that is motherhood, but just didn't get down to it till today. Well better late than never as that wise saying goes. And to justify the delay, oh all right, to save some face, I had also moved cities soon after her birth so that was two BIG life changes and it was tough coping. Which is when all the wonderful blogs I've been reading for some time now stepped in like old friends and made up for the feelings of loneliness and being overwhelmed in a new city as a new mum.

So am very very happy that I am now actively participating in this exciting blog world and not just being a passive reader :) This blog is meant to share my journey with my baby girl as we discover life together with baby(hers) and mommy (mine) steps. Oh and while we're at it we're also going to have loads of fun and hopefully make some friends!