Let Go of Time

Sometimes you can’t help but wish that kids came with a Sleep On-Sleep Off button! It always feels like their body does just the opposite of what your mind is wishing them to do.
Every night the girls and I struggled with opposing plans…they wanted five more minutes of the day and I wanted five extra minutes … to myself. We would get into bed and despite knowing I sounded like such a boring nag, I would keep repeated.. Its late, go to sleep, close your eyes. And the more often they heard it, the more awake they seemed to get! My eyes would be glued to the clock at the far end of the room..watching seconds and minutes tick away, knowing it was eating into my precious me-time.
Unexpectedly the clock was my biggest lesson.
One day I decided I needed to break the cycle of forcing sleep, letting anger build and finally having the kids doze off with their last image of you being that of an angry disappointed Mamma.
All I had to do was forget the clock.
Once I stopped looking, time wasn’t an issue anymore. Girls and I would snuggle into bed and just chat as they winded down. we told each other stories, made funny sounds, laughed over dumb jokes and calmed each other down. Sleep came a little slowly but naturally.
So maybe it took fifteen minutes more but it certainly was a more relaxing end to the day. And I don’t think any amount of me-time can feel as good as those fifteen minutes with my best girls!

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Is There Life After Work?

She was the CFO of Lehman Brothers. That defined her. Then it was gone. And she got her life back.

I’m not going to get into a post on work-life balance and associated cliches. For one I don’t even know how we don’t realise the irony of calling it work-life and not perhaps work-home balance.

i just want to focus on one sentence which hit me smack in the face and left me with a nose-bleed.

“Like everyone, though, I did have relationships — a spouse, friends and family — and none of them got the best version of me. They got what was left over.”

Guilty as charged. Here I was – the good employee, caring boss, cooperative co-worker. Then I packed my bags and came home to be the grumpy wife, impatient mom and disinterested daughter. How mind-numbingly pointless was my life!!

Now what?

‘Tis the Season …

… to be jolly! Fa la lala laa la la la la. Christmas really gets me all festive. I find myself humming carols through the day and generally feeling very upbeat. And now with kids at home, it’s all the more fun coz Santa’s coming to town!

Two December’s ago, when K was 4 years old, Santa got her a pair of lovely Barbie roller skates. Since then she has been convinced that he can read her mind and will get her exactly what she’s hoping for! Makes my job tougher as I have to keep asking subtle questions about the secret Santa gift and then try to fulfill the request. Sometimes I fumble and say something like, “go get those skates I got for your last year” and she will immediately correct me. “Santa gave me those!”. Sigh. But what’s childhood without these little white lies and a kid full of excitement and joy, right Virginia?

So this year too, two weeks to Christmas and our little tree is up in a corner of the living room. K has hung the tiny decorations and V watches curiously as the lights go on and off. This is her second Christmas so a little too early to worry about whether she’s been naughty or nice. Santa wont skip her for the world. 🙂 Though K does have a different view -” V’s been quite naughty this year. I wonder if Santa will get her something. Don’t worry Mamma, I’ll share my gift.” Moments that make motherhood so worth the while!

Evenings carols resonate through the house, either K & I singing full blast or the CD player or both. And thankfully our apartment complex gets as pepped us as me about Christmas. So we had a bunch of kids singing carols on each floor. And V made me carry her and follow them from floor to floor. She just couldnt figure out what they were upto. One dude with a guitar and all these kids singing. There must be some chocolate at the end of this, she must have thought.

And tomorrow is the Christmas Carnival – a full day affair with stalls and rides and games. The grand finale is a skit where K plays an angel. An angel that has been religiously attending practice every evening, no matter how tired she is. (There’s that love for the stage again!)

So wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and hope Santa fills your stockings with all sorts of goodies. And now this Santa will run off to buy some goodies for home.

Leaving you with a pic of the lovely tree at my workplace, which is on a floor above a popular mall.

Full House

So after a week of doing nothing in Goa, we moved on to week two, a week that was to be a complete contrast to the idle days of sun and sea.

It started with an overnight train journey to my hometown. Once upon a time I used to love train journeys, especially when we moved from the economical wooden plank sleeper class to the comfy confines of an AC coach. I don’t remember exactly when this subtle upgrade in bookings started but it’s difficult to reverse it now. There’s always some convenient excuse – too hot, too noisy, maybe it will rain and we’ll get leaky windows! But off-late, AC coaches have been my nemesis. Am surely allergic to the blankets or the sheets or just the air! I invariably leave the train with a stuffy nose and mild fever. Anyway, it’s for the kids, I told myself and hoped for an uneventful journey (last time K developed an ear infection and howled the whole night!). Luckily the girls slept peacefully and I could hear the hubby snoring on the upper berth. I spent an uncomfortably cold night shuttling between K’s berth and V’s berth. It was way too cold in there.

The morning brought in my 35th birthday which eventually the clan remembered 🙂

The next few days were a cacophony of aunts, uncles, cousins, cousins’ kids. And the brilliance of the concept of ‘joint family’ dawned on me again. The kids took care of each other. They ate together, played together, slept together. They didn’t miss TV and most definitely didnt get bored. Ofcourse for kids these days, games dont always involve significant movement of hands and legs… they sometimes involve some very Angry Birds!

The old wooden swing was installed. In its hey-dey and even today, the ten feet by four feet beast could host at minimum a dozen of us – sitting, standing, screaming. K and V (on my lap) loved it!

There’s something wonderful about sitting up late into the night with family, chatting about the good ‘ol days. An aunt or uncle or sometimes both simultaneously, is always willing to dig out old stories, anecdotes of small incidents made huge (with an generous sprinkle of masala!).

So after week one where the four of us were confined to each other, week two was all about going our own ways and enjoying the comforts of a full house. Ying and Yang.

Holiday means Nothing

In order for someone to be your soul mate, your idea of a vacation must match. So I love that my dear husband and I agree that when we get some time off, we should simply do nothing.

It has now come to be that our holiday dates are decided by an another supreme authority – the school. I made it clear to my dearly beloved colleagues that when school shuts for two weeks, I would disappear for two weeks. My time with my girls. And two weeks at one destination is a little too much even for a bunch of lazy folks like us. So it was Goa for week one.

This time we had five full days to stretch, pull and drag around our laziness and inertia. What joy! And I chose the Park Hyatt as it is an outstanding property with a pristine private beach, large pools and most importantly a kiddie delight called Camp Hyatt. I simply love the facilities – toys, books, art and craft sessions, movies, games, etc. Cant expect a 6-year-old to stay idle for too long, so this is a real boon when the sun is too bright and hot outside.

So despite pre-trip resolutions to get out of the resort and see the ‘real’ Goa at least once, we never did! Have saved the churches and flea markets and plantations for the next trip :-). This one was all about pure R&R. So we, especially the girls,were content with our set of activities – swimming in the pool, sliding into the pool on the water slide, rolling in the sand on the beach, collecting shells, hours under the bathroom hand shower, jumping on the soft mattresses and pillows, eating, snoozing… bliss!

This was V’s first time on a beach… must have felt like an endless sandpit to her! Loved the way she set about exploring it on her own terms – feeling the wet sand, rolling in the dry sand, taking cautious baby steps into the water as the waves lashed against her tiny feet. Fearless, curious, adventurous.

K, the seasoned traveler, had packed her backpack with her favourite books, crayons, her ‘secret diary’, toys for V and some knickknacks including her latest craze, Uno cards. As soon as we reached our room on Day 1, she declared the antique style writing-table to be her sole property. All the contents of the bag were carefully placed in various drawers, mentally categorised I am sure. She loved sitting at the table writing little notes to herself or us, doodling, playing games with imaginary friends – that corner was her world. She loved her Didi at the Camp – making shell cards, paper flowers and other colourful trinkets. But like the rest of us, most of her time was in the water! Except when Daddy was pretending to be a shark 🙂

We all needed this precious time together, away from the daily routines. Father bonding with daughter, sister bonding with sister, Mother enjoying the view and the space. 🙂

Next time will see some Goa. Promise.