Thursday, November 12, 2009

Here Comes Trouble

Typical scenario at breakfast/lunch/dinner:

Mom and Rohan wrestle to keep Rohan on his chair at the dining table. Rohan agrees to stay, provided he's standing or leaning precariously against the back of the chair.
Mom: Rohan, noooooo! Sit properly baby, or you're going to fall!
Rohan: (happily) Fall.
Mom: No fall. Rohan will get an owie.
Rohan agreeably sits down -- for precisely 3 seconds. Then he's leaning on the table, climbs it. Mom firmly picks him up and puts him in his chair.
Mom: (pointing to Rohan's nose) Rohan, you are trouble. TROUBLE.
Rohan: (perplexed) Nose?
Mom: Yes, Rohan's nose.
Rohan (smiling toothily): No. Tubble.
Need I add the terrible two's have begun in full force Chez Muser?

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Why Work?

My neighbor was in a mood today. She keeps going back and forth over her decision to re-join the workforce after having 2 kids, even though she's now been doing it for over a year. Every day after she comes home from work, she says, "I just want to resign. I miss my kids. I should just resign."
Today, she talked about why she went back to work.
"It was just killing my marriage," she confided. "I couldn't stop myself from resenting K. I mean, he had lunch breaks, where he would get to relax. I would be so frazzled by the end of the day, watching the kids."
She talked about her friends who were stay-at-home moms, how they would endlessly bitch about their husbands. Maybe she was waiting for me to make a similar confession.
Instead, I said, "It is hard. It was harder for me when I had just Raina to take care of. Now that I have two, it's easier."
A paradox, I know. But what I mean is that I am now more used to the job.
After Raina was born, the first couple of years were miserable for me. I had been working till a month before her birth, and I sorely missed being outside the home, interacting with fellow adults. Motherhood seemed such an isolating experience to me. And anyone who's ever earned a paycheck can testify that there's a unique satisfaction in making your own money. For not just days but months I resented my husband for being able to say "bye," turn around and head to work. I couldn't sympathize with his concerns at work, simply because I didn't feel I had anything worthwhile to contribute to the discussion. There was nothing exciting going on in my life, or so it felt like to me. In short, I loved my daughter, but I was bored out of my skull.
So when she was 15 months or so, I put her in a home daycare for a few hours a week. It was so liberating to be the one to say "bye" and turn around and leave. It sounds pathetic, I know, but I needed that break from my daughter. I needed to use my brain, interact with grown-ups, make a little money and become a "productive" member of society again.
I continued to freelance from home until Rohan was born. Then I went back to being a full-time stay-at-home mom. Sure, I did a couple of projects from home, but it was too taxing to work during naptime or after the kids went to bed at night. So I gave it up. I could've put Rohan in a daycare instead. I chose not to -- because I was actually having FUN.
Sure there are hard days. It's true that raising two doesn't double but quadruples the workload. The laundry is endless, for example. The dishes, oh my goodness. And then there are worse days when I feel like an unpaid servant.
But I am not one, I remind myself. I am a mom. And I get the chores, but I also get the hugs, the taking care of booboos, the questions, the laughter, the sheer joy of watching my kids be kids, be siblings, bond and grow.
I don't resent my husband anymore for going to work everyday. Some days, I actually feel sorry for him because he's missing out on some fun times. But then when he comes home, I get to recount what the kids were up to all day. And no, I no longer think I have nothing worthwhile to contribute to our discussions anymore.
So if you're a working mom, I want to hear from you. Was resenting your husband part of the reason why you went back to work? Just curious.

Monday, July 27, 2009

No News Is Definitely Bad News...

... and there's been no news of Pikey for almost 2 months now. We've informed our neighbors, put up fliers, visited the neighborhood animal shelter. I had pinned my hopes on the shelter because Pikey didn't have a tag or a collar and if someone had found her, that's where she would be.
There were lots of cats. Lots of black cats. But none with Pikey's sweet face. None who was 8 years old. None who meowed happily on seeing me and Rohan. So we went back to the car. I buckled Rohan to his seat, sat down behind the wheel and bawled.
There's nothing else for me to do.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Pikey The Explorer

This Saturday, it will be 2 weeks since we last saw Pikey The Cat.
It's been a long 2 weeks.
Since then, we've wept, called out her name endless times, walking our front yard and back yard.
We were hopeful, at first. Even though the longest Pikey had been out was one night. Always the next morning, we would see her black funny face at our backdoor, meowing piteously, waiting to be let in so that she could run upstairs to our bed, cuddle on soft sheets and take a blissful nap.
When we didn't see her the next morning, we went looking, sure we would hear her meowing behind a garbage can or underneath the car parked on the driveway. When we'd looked and looked, we figured she was hiding somewhere waiting for the dark to make her way home. You see, while Pikey acted like a tiger on the prowl at night, during the day, she was just an itty bitty scared kitty.
So we waited that night. And waited. We checked the back door many times before finally falling asleep. Called out a few more times. Tried not to think of the coyotes the neighbors had seen nearby a few weeks ago. The first tears began to fall.
Of course we didn't tell Raina about our fears.
We told her that Pikey was off on a big adventure, exploring just like Dora.
Rohan thankfully is too small to miss her. Even though he was the one who adored her the most, followed her around like Mary's little lamb. She rarely minded it, often plopping down right next to him, so that he could pat her gently or tug at her tail.

As the days passed, the tears began to fall faster.
P and I recalled the many times Pikey had made us laugh in the 8 years she'd been with us. Recently, she'd made us angry more often than not. Bringing mice home. Clawing the new handmade rug. We'd been impatient with her, complaining about the black hair all over the house that she'd shed. Maybe she decided she'd had enough, P said.
I pointed out to him that through it all, Pikey still slept right on top of him at night. Or next to him. Somewhere within touching distance. That she still got attention in the evenings once the kids were in bed. Pikey time, we called it. She'd plop on a cushion on our laps and get caressed to her heart's content. Then off she'd go to the backyard, and from there to the canyon beyond, hunting mice, doing what cats do.
But when it was time for bed, we'd call out to her and she'd often come running back.
So we've put up some posters in our neighborhood. If anyone's seen a black cat with yellow eyes, skittish but affectionate and very, very loving, please call.
Deep in our hearts, we're still hoping. We see her everywhere, a black blob in the closet shelf, in the shadows of the house at night. But for now, the food and water bowls have been put away.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Raina Proposes

About a month ago, just when she was about to step into the bath, Raina had something important to say.
"Mom, when I grow up I'm going to marry Z," she said.
Z is Raina's best friend at preschool, and to him, she's the "awesomest" girl he knows. Z's a little younger to Raina, so he started in her class just a few months ago. One day they began chatting, and since then, it's been Z this, Z that Chez Muser. It wasn't hard to figure out why they became such fast friends. Z's parents are from Lahore and his resemblance to Raina is marked.
A couple of weeks after announcing her nuptials, Raina said, "Mom, I'm so glad Z is not my baby brother. Because if he was, I couldn't marry him, and I want to. I asked him today, and he said, 'OK.'"
"Oh, OK," I said weakly. "Good to know."
My 5-year-old girl just made her first proposal.

Monday, May 04, 2009

5 Things I Love About Being A Mom

1. I get to be always right!

2. I have magic eyes at the back of my head and can shout out without looking, "Rohan! Don't climb that chair! You'll fall!" "Raina, let Rohan have that toy back NOW!"

3. :) It's not only OK to yell, it's part of the job description.

4. I can make foolish faces and play silly games with the excuse that I'm doing it to entertain my bacche.

5. In my kids, I have two willing partners ready to dance it out in the living room any time of the day.

6. And here's an extra: I get to be as sentimental as I want over them, take pictures of them using gazillion angles, hug and squeeze them when I feel like, smother them with kisses, all without feeling a fool.

Thanks for passing on such a wonderful tag, Eve's Lungs! And now doing my dooty and tagging Mystic Margarita, Dipali, Choxbox, Cee Kay and Maggi, who's had a new baby but it's time she got back to blogging so here's the incentive!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Mouthing Off

Rohan had his 18-month appointment yesterday, and as is usual, the doctor asked me if Rohan says any words.

"Ummm," I began, "He says 'boon-boon' for balloon, and 'car' because he loves cars, and 'mun' for the moon, 'bah' for ball -- he loves balls! -- mama, dada, 'na' for raina his big sister, 'whoo' for shoe, 'vis' for fish..."

"So he says a lot of words," said the pediatrician, seemingly hopeful of stemming the flow of words.

"Uh, yeah," said I, stopping short. I still hadn't told him about 'kak' for truck, and oh god, how could I forget, 'mummm' for Pikey the cat because she says "meow," and as she meows ten thousand times a day, we have to hear "mummmm" ten thousand times too. And "va-va-va" for the dog as in "bow wow wow" and just "wa-wa" for water and most importantly, "duhn!" said while raising his hands to his ears to signify he's done eating something. And then there's "ta-ta-ta" he says, waving one hand to indicate he wants to listen to music while he eats so please could I turn on the iPod.

There's the frantic "Ta! Ta! Ta!" when he wants Mommy to do something but she strangely enough can't understand. But mostly, he manages to get his point across.

I'm sure the doctor would've wanted to hear all about it. He must have been running behind on time.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

American Born Confused Desi Cat

So Raina and I were conversing today while I was folding laundry. I was reminding her that her friend "I" was going to have a baby brother soon. Ergo, we wouldn't be going to NY for a while to see them.
Me: "Aunty is having a hard time figuring out what to name I's new baby brother."
Raina: "I know the perfect name! She should name him 'Sock.'"
Me: "'Sock'?!"
Raina: "Yeah, I like that name."
Me: "I think Aunty wants him to have an Indian name, like I."
Raina: "And like you and me and Rohan and daddy..."
Me: "Yes. All of us have Indian names. Except Pikey (the cat). Poor Pikey. We should have given her an Indian name too."
Raina: "Let's give her an Indian name!"
Me: "We could give her an Indian middle name. Do you have any suggestions?"
Raina: "Parvati. I think we should name her Pikey Parvati."
Me: "I think I'll call her 'Paro'."
Pikey Parvati, you're officially an ABCD cat now.

Friday, March 27, 2009

"If Pappu Can't Dance..."

"..., Mommy, he really needs to join a dance class so someone can teach him," said Raina this afternoon, while listening to the song. A few days ago, she wanted to know what "saala" meant. That was a hard one. "It's just an exclamation, baby, like oh my gosh," I said, lying through my teeth.
Somehow she's not convinced.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Quid Pro Quo

It's a truth universally acknowledged that parents of all 4-year-olds threaten and negotiate and occasionally bribe their recalcitrant offspring to get them to do... anything. Anything you want them to do, anything they didn't think of themselves first. Because their initial response is usually some form of "no."
A good portion of my day passes in this way with Raina. (It's no wonder that I find her way more exhausting than my 16-month-old who's at this sweet and cooperative stage. Alas, this too shall pass.)
Today, Miz Raina turned the tables. Or attempted to.
We'd spent the morning at the park and while I was strapping in the kids to their car seats, Raina said, "My mouth is feeling bad." This is a typical prelude to a request for chewing gum. (Digression: The chewing gum is the sugar-free good-for-you kind, but she doesn't know that. If she did, of course, she'd request candy 24/7.)
"No, Raina, you aren't getting any gum," I responded, trying to nip the request in the bud.
"But I want some!" said Raina in her perfected whine.
"Nope. You get gum only as treat and you haven't done anything today to get it. You take a nap, you'll get some," I said.
Raina folded her arms about her and exclaimed, "I'm going to be so mad."
"Feel free," I invited.
And then came The Threat.
"If you don't give me gum, I won't draw pictures for you at school anymore," she said.
Trying hard not to laugh, I said, "That doesn't work with moms, sweetie. It only works with kids."
After a while, I added, "I really like your pictures though."
"Well, I'll draw you some when it's May," she mollified.
Let's see if she sticks to her resolve.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Yoga Epiphanies

My favorite asana in yoga is the shav-asan. Literally translated, the dead body pose.
And it's not just because I'm such a lazy bones, but because of these thoughts that course in my head during that time. Thoughts that aren't really supposed to be there in the first place as the aim of shav-asan is to have reached that point where my mind is empty of all thoughts, all the noise of living, the bad and the good. The 90 minutes of physical activity that precede the shav-asan, where I push and pull myself "beyond my flexibility" are all leading up to this, the most important of all the poses.
However, anyone who's tried meditating in any form knows it's hard. Emptying the mind of thoughts requires practice. Since I'm at the beginner level (a level I've been at for several years now), I instead let my mind drift. And sometimes, just as the oxygen flows into my brain while I breathe evenly in and out, my mind opens to new thoughts, new perspectives.
The other day during shav-asan, I was looking at a statue of the Nataraj that was placed in a corner of my local Bikram Yoga studio. I have looked at a similar statue for most of my life. In fact, I have one at home. But I think I really looked at it for the first time that day. I observed not only the grace and beauty of the pose, but also the majesty and the dignity. And I thought, here's an example of how one should live one's life. With balance, and beauty and above all, with one's head held high. Not with pride, but with a poise borne out of graceful effort.
Late this morning, my thoughts followed me home from the yoga studio. I was feeling pleasantly tired. After a long bath, I tucked Raina next to my napping husband (Rohan was already down for his afternoon nap), and fighting the urge to join them in bed, I headed downstairs to cook. And as I began prepping for coriander chicken, I let my mind drift. I could've taken a quick nap, I thought. But right now, the kids are asleep, it's really the best time to cook. And I thought a mite wistfully of the time prior to the kids, when during the weekend or a holiday, I could've napped when I wanted. And I let myself wonder what I would feel like today if Raina and Rohan hadn't been. If I'd just gotten back from a yoga class, what I would've done.
I was shocked out of my stupor by how empty I felt.
I know there's more to life than having kids. I know lots of couples who are my age and still don't have any. Some don't even plan to procreate, and that's fine by me. I'm not big on lecturing people on how to live.
But it seems to me that having kids has given my life a purpose it had lacked. I'm not a very ambitious person, but even I'm surprised as to how meaningless my life prior to mommyhood seems now. I remember being quite happy: I was working in a job I enjoyed with people I liked. It wasn't terribly challenging, but it was alright. I was happily married and working on acquiring a sense of responsibility (read: trying to cook and clean).
But being a mother, this is my life's work. Where I'm constantly challenged to be more patient, more knowledgeable, more loving. Where what I do has real, tangible consequences. Where I AM indispensable. What life role could be more satisfying?
Is this biology talking? Maybe it's material for another yoga session.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

All Those Who're Tired of Reading About Michael Phelps...

... say "aye." OK, young man got caught with bong. It happens. The best of us have taken a whiff. And this country's even had a popular president who admitted he "smoked" pot but "didn't inhale." So why go after Phelps? He maybe an 8-time Olympic champion, but he's 23. Fact is, the American media and public like their demigods. And when the gods show they're all too human, it reflects on them for putting their "idols" up on that unworthy pedestal in the first place. They SHOULD be mad at themselves. So go rant in some quiet corner about the unfairness of life. Don't bore us.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

You Know You're Old When...

The Love Anthem of your youth plays on a TV commercial for laundry detergent. Berlin's "Take My Breath Away" from the movie Top Gun is the soundtrack while a man is shown sniffing clothes washed in Gain. Such is life.

Friday, January 09, 2009

This Tag's in the Bag, Ana!

OK, Ana of Thinking Cramps (check blogroll) had tagged me ages ago, and I promised her that this would be my first tag in 2009. So here goes:

My oldest memory: Waiting up for my parents to come home from a party, so I could complain to them about my leg hurting and they'd give me medicine and tuck me in between them. Bliss!

Ten years ago: Oh man. I was 24. First reporting job in Nowhere, Indiana. No desis in sight. Stressing about getting an H1 work visa, so I could continue working in the US and stay close to my then-boyfriend (now husband) who I'd see over the weekend. Stressing about living within my practically non-existent income. A burger in McDonald's was a once-a-week treat. The good old days. Maybe, maybe not.

My first thought this morning: Dang, is Rohan up already?

If you built a time capsule what would it contain: Dental floss. Someone would need it.

This year: Raina will go to kindergarten. Amazing.

14 years from now: Both my kids will be teenagers. Kill me now and get it over with!

Tagging: Nobody. Most folks get grumpy when I tag them. And those who don't have done this anyways. Cheers!