Friday, March 29, 2013

Day 18 - Last Day

My post is 24 hours late. Sorry. My tablet, she is broken. Ellil dropped it last week and it decided to go on the fritz 2 nights ago. So I'm on another computer because I had to post this last entry.

I'm a different person now than I was 3 weeks ago.

I have more confidence in my ability as a parent. I didn't have a breakdown. I didn't freak out at the kids. I didn't even tear my hair out. I did lament. I did complain. I did get angry and frustrated and even a little exasperated. And that is human.

I have newfound respect for my children. When things were getting out of control, at least one of them calmed themselves down to make it easier for me. Ellil understood and responded to things in a far more mature way than I expected a 3 year old too. I am very proud of them.

I am even more grateful for my mother, father, brothers and sisters-in-law because they all helped me get through this.

I am grateful to my friends for their constant support and encouragement.

I have consistently written in this blog, something I hadn't done in a long time and it's been extremely therapeutic and eye opening as I learned things through my writing and others' comments that helped me understand and work through my challenges.

I appreciate my husband more because I was reminded of how much he does contribute and help in running our home. The kids' attachment to him was evidence enough of how active a role he plays in their lives.

I may not have lost any weight during this challenge, but at least I didn't gain any!

I am really happy that Raj is back.

I am going to enjoy my Easter. I hope you and your families do as well.

After Easter, I will come back with my April Weight Loss Challenge. Or more appropriately, fat loss, muscle tone and eat proper challenge.

Thanks for sharing this experience with me.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Day 17 - MC

My tablet has started acting up, so I'm sending this from another computer which is why this entry is so late. Apologies for that.

Tuesday flew by. Now that we have settled into a routine it hasn't been that bad. The only thing to note is I think Ellil misses her Dad more than she lets on. I catch her saying things in her sleep or when she's super tired or when she thinks no one is listening. I've tried my best to explain but I'm not sure how much of it she is absorbing. Raj will be back Thursday so hopefully things will go back to normal for her by Easter.

There are some things I just cannot do. I can't be her Dad. I can try to be there as often as possible, teach her things, play with her, sing her to sleep but at the end of the day she still misses her 'Appa'. I get it. Each relationship offers something different and I'm actually elated that she has cultivated such a good relationship with him.

It's important that she cultivate good relationships with family members including her grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins. Each dynamic is unique and the more of these strong relationships that she develops the richer her life will be. And she will in turn pass on that skill set to Ro (hopefully) who will also see the benefits of having these relationships and he will want to forge his own as well.

Being from a family that has moved around a lot we never had the benefits of extended family much. Here in Canada it's been the 5 of us forever. We've only recently started to create our own families and that is how our family has grown. And I want my kids to have stories to share about growing up with not just siblings and parents but cousins and grandparents and uncles and aunts and family friends.

Sorry, have to cut this off. Ellil just got up.

One more dawn. One more day. One Day More!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Day 16 - MC

Day 16 - MC



Monday Monday. So good to me…Monday Monday. It was all I hoped it would be.

I get that happiness is a choice but I still find it so much easier to be happy on warm sunny days than cold dark days. Many self-help books will tell you that weather shouldn’t really matter because it’s all mind over matter blah blah. Well, if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter ;) But I still can’t help myself. Today was warmer than most and sunny. 7 degrees Celsius at one point and I didn’t need a winter coat. First time in 4 months.  It seemed that everyone who I bumped into was in better spirits, including children.

Be it the sun or some other stroke of dumb luck, the day went by without a hitch. The icing on the cake; Ellil crossed a milestone in the evening. She got out of all her clothes, took out her pajamas from her dresser and completed her entire nighttime routine by herself! This includes brushing her teeth and applying lotion to herself. And she did it smiling, yapping about her day at school while I got Ro changed. I sat and watched in quiet jubilation, celebrating every win with pursed lips. I know if I get too excited too fast she gets all embarrassed and stops midway through the activity so I had to contain myself until the very end.  It was so fulfilling to witness but slightly melancholic as well. My little girl is growing up so fast. Sometimes, too fast.

Another wonderful thing that happened to me today, totally unrelated but had to be mentioned is the fact that I got two letters from a dear friend of mine. Actual letters in the mail written on paper with a pen! At first I got scared. I assumed it was bad news for some reason. I mean, why else would someone go through the trouble of writing their thoughts down on what appears to be such a slow medium and then mail it in the regular mail? And then I opened it and I was so relieved that it was not bad news at all! It was a letter than informed me how she was doing, the way letters are supposed to! And I felt so special that someone went through the trouble of sending me this with words of encouragement about my blog. She too has a blog, This and That by Din. Check it out. She is a do-it-yourself maven and has essential tips and suggestions about how to make home projects easier and simpler.

Thanks so much Denisse! I miss you and wish we lived closer to each other. But I will visit during this mat leave. I promise.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Day 15 - MC

Day 15 - MC



Today was my youngest nephew’s Anna-Prashan. This is a rice eating ceremony that all Bengali kids go through at 6 months of age. It is the time when the child is introduced to solid foods and of course rice is the first thing all Bengali kids should eat.

The weather was beautiful. All the children were in Indian clothes, as were most of the adults. Even Ro was in a traditional dhoti and kurta, Rajasthani style. It was the same outfit that Sathyam, my oldest nephew, wore to one of our friend’s engagement parties back in the summer of 2009. Crazy how fast time flies. I feel like Ro himself has grown so much in the past few weeks.

I’ve realised that when the odds of children to adult ratio is stacked against you, as in this case with this challenge, there are certain things you must be okay with in order to survive. I say realised because it did take me a week or so before I could come to terms with it. In a nutshell, pick your battles. I’m no longer on top of the laundry. And my kitchen is messier than I would like it to be. There you have it. At first I was doing laundry and dishes and tidying up every night after the kids went to bed, but I was super exhausted and not being able to keep up with them, especially Ellil.

The last few days I changed priorities. Now, I go to sleep when the kids go to sleep and I wake up when my body tells me to. The kids always sleep longer so I try to do laundry or dishes or tidying up or whatever needs to be done in that gap. If I don’t get to do all of it, I have to wait until the next available opportunity.  This means not all the chores get done. So be it.

The trick is really dissecting the urgent work and the important work. If something is urgent and important, you must do it first. After this we tend to automatically do the work that is urgent but maybe not that important in the big scheme of things. And other work, like the important but not urgent stuff gets left behind.
For example, dishes in the sink; urgent but not important. Urgent because the dirty dishes are staring you in the face and it’s hard to get dinner prepared with a messy sink, but not terribly important because you do have other dishes in the cabinet that you can use for the next meal. However, the task of taking your kids to the park.  Important but not really urgent. The kids will occupy themselves be it with dolls, cars or TV so taking them out isn’t urgent but in most cases playing outdoors in the park is a much healthier way to spend an afternoon than staying indoors, especially if you have an unexpectedly warm day during a cold, harsh winter.

Bottom line. Prioritize.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Day 14 - MC

Day 14 – MC



Things came together today. It really did. I have to admit I was at my wits end sometime between Day 10 and 13, but today, Day 14, Priya got her groove back. Both kids cooperated and the 3 of us managed to work it out together. I wonder if that’s the learning curve.  14 days of treading water, some days better than others, and then finally all the stuff that you experienced and stored in your database comes into use.  I could chalk it up to a fluke day and better to be lucky than good, but it really felt different.

I felt that when I spoke to Ellil this evening, she understood that mommy needed her help so to listen and do as mommy says. And that Ro also got that I needed him to be ok sitting in the swing because I had to get some important stuff done within a certain time frame.

What do you think? Am I totally out to lunch in thinking that kids this young can connect well enough to understand you when you really need them to cooperate? I must’ve been sending them some sort of ‘mother in distress’ signal subconsciously that they picked up on.  Whatever it is, I’ll take it with open arms because I could use a few more days like this.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Day 13 - MC

Day 13 – MC



I went downtown to visit some of my co-workers today and Rohit accompanied me. It was his introduction to my colleagues and to the magic that is a trading floor. Do I sound like a nerd? Perhaps it is because I am a nerd. Again, no shame in that. I felt so alive on the floor. So in my element.

I got to parade little Ro to everyone and of course they had nothing but great things to say about him. I ate it all up. Nothing is so sweet to a mother’s ear than hearing others say incredibly wonderful things about her children. And I am no different. After I showed him off we went to lunch with my boss (a great guy by the way, and no he doesn’t know about this blog so I’m not writing that in for him. I actually mean it.) Again, I’m probably in the minority but I’ve been blessed with having really good bosses for most of my career.

In any case, it was so invigorating to be chatting about the markets and the economy and what customers are doing and what trends we are noticing.  I haven’t had a solid conversation about this stuff in such a long time. Once the weather clears up I’m sure I’ll pay them another visit, before my mat leave is over.

I love being a mother. I really do. But being a full time mother, a stay at home mom, is ridiculously tough. Toughest job in the world, hands down.  I am enjoying my time with my kids but I am also looking forward to going back to work.  In order for me to be the best mother I can be to my kids, I have to be working out there. It’s a type of gratification that nothing else can fill, for the moment. Maybe things will change down the road as things evolve, but for now, this is what I want.

Different strokes for different folks, right?! J


Day 12 - MC

Day 12 – MC



Today I had a dear friend from my undergrad pay me a visit. I hadn’t seen Lisa in over 10 years. What a great reunion! She’s married now with 2 beautiful children of her own. She brought her youngest with her today.

You often don’t realise how much time has passed until you suddenly come face to face with a blast from the past, and a girlfriend with whom you went dancing, drinking and giggling over cute boys with is standing in your vestibule with her 1 year old son talking about her 4 year old daughter and supportive husband. Where did the time go?

I’m 35 years old. There’s no shame in that. I’ve lived a pretty decent 35 years. Yes I’ve made mistakes. I’ve trusted and hurt the wrong people and I have the scars and regret to prove it. I find this society, our society is so hell bent on fighting age. ‘Don’t grow old gracefully, fight it every step of the way’ is a slogan as are numerous others that follow along the same vein.

I find myself at odds with these notions because growing up in India (where I spent the first 7 years of my life) old people are revered. My grandparents lived with us. They were always seen as wise by every other member of the family. They knew things nobody else did and had lived through experiences that made for incredibly interesting lessons. They had answers to just about every question and great anecdotes about everything imaginable. You always spoke to them with utmost respect, no matter what your age or ‘position’ in life was. They were the elders of the house and they were always treated with that kind of respect. Their skin was wrinkled, their hair thinning, their movements slower but all of those things made them even more lovable. They always had magical stories to tell and they told them with such intensity and passion that they could feed even the pickiest of children.

Children held a certain place in the family. Parents held another place in the family. And grandparents held another place in the family. Each place was important and you knew to enjoy that place that you were in and you also knew that over time you would graduate to the next level and then to the next level.  It was natural and expected.

As a grandchild, I loved my grandparents. I had 3 of them. 2 grandfathers and a grandmother. All from my paternal side as my maternal grandparents had already passed away. My grandmother, my grandfather and his brother, my grand uncle with whom I was probably closest with. They gave me no reason to be afraid of getting old or any reason to want to fight getting to where they were. They had a full life with rich stories and always made kids laugh. Why would I want to fight that? Living a full life should age you shouldn’t it? Every laugh line has a fond memory attached to it. Every gray hair a lesson learned. A softer body made them more huggable and the speed of their gait was slow like Sunday morning. And that’s why they looked different. Not bad. Just experienced and lived.

So imagine my surprise when I came to Canada and started seeing ads about how growing old is negative. Or at least looking old is negative. I didn’t get it then. I don’t get it now. I definitely have every intention of living a healthy lifestyle so as to avoid or prolong health issues, but aging is evidence that we’ve lived. Evidence that we’ve fought our share of battles and enjoyed our piece of life’s pie. Our age should be celebrated not mitigated. I think if we change our perspective it always makes the future bright and isn’t that a much better way to spend the rest of your life?  


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Day 11 - MC

Day 11 – MC



If I had to give a title to the events for today it would be, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

The Good. Ro rolled from his tummy to his back today! Not once or twice but every time I put him on his tummy. His head propped up and resting on his elbows and tummy, he looks around and laughs and then as he’s getting tired he pushes his right hand, almost like a jerk and flips onto his back. And then of course his big round eyes get bigger and rounder and he starts looking all around him at the new view. Hah! What a wonderful sight to see. He's growing up so fast.  Also, I’m pretty sure he’s right handed but time will tell for sure.

The Bad. Well, it wasn’t really bad. It was just one of those moments where I really felt for my daughter. Bad only because I couldn’t really say or do anything that I think would give her real solace. Ellil had been acting out all evening, especially after her swimming class. While I was getting her ready for bed, almost at my wits end, she looked directly into my eyes and flat out told me that she misses Appa and asked why it was taking him so long to return. I went quiet for a moment. I didn't really know what to say but I had to respond because she wasn’t asking a rhetorical question. I hugged her and told her she should tell Appa that she misses him on the phone tomorrow, and that he’ll be back by next week and she can spend loads of time with him once he is back. She nodded her head and then I carried her to bed.

Don’t get me wrong. It was not a very melodramatic moment and Ellil was super tired, as she typically is on swimming nights. And 3 year olds go from extreme happiness to sadness to anger to elation to defiance to acquiescence all within 30 seconds. I am actually very happy that she articulated her feelings. I think kids need to learn that from a young age, otherwise they will find their teenage and adult years to be extremely tough. If they are encouraged to introspect about their behaviour and ask themselves consciously why they feel what they feel, the practice becomes habit forming and effectively becomes a type of self-therapy.

I do ask her when she is acting out, ‘why are you acting this way, it isn’t like you to do this’ or ‘what is going on that is making you do this’ or if I suspect it might be something in particular, I do flat out ask her if that particular event/person or thing is the cause. So this time I think she connected the dots all by herself.    

The Ugly. I think I know what my April challenge will be. A weight loss challenge. I haven’t been to the gym one single day and my diet has been sub-par at best. I refuse to buy fat clothes but I don’t fit into my regular clothes well at all. What’s a girl to do? Argh...


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Days 9 & 10 - MC

Days 9 & 10 – MC



Yesterday was insane. You know that saying, when it rains it pours? Well, the heavens were angry and the sky opened up and it poured down on me. Ellil did something naughty and so I had to ground her, which means no TV for one week. That punishment is hurting me more than it’s hurting her I tell you. It just compounded the problem even more. Again, you won’t care to know the mundane details but I was so tired I passed out by 9pm, woke up briefly around 4:30 am and was back asleep within the hour!

This morning I was feeding Ro in the bedroom. Ellil came up and wanted to play with him at the same time. I told her, “Honey, don’t distract him right now. Let him concentrate. It’s not easy for him to drink his milk and do something else.” To which she replied, “It’s not easy for me!” Surprised, I smiled and bit my lips. “It’s true.” I said. “It hasn’t been easy for you has it?” She didn’t respond but went back to playing on the bed.

Sometimes, I forget how small she is and what a change she is going through. She went from a 2 parent to a 1 child environment to a 2 parent to 2 children environment and now to a 1 parent to 2 children environment. Albeit, the last one is temporary, it’s still a shock to her system I’m sure, especially since her concept of 3 weeks is well, nonexistent at this age.

I can grasp time and can anticipate an end to this lifestyle, when I’m having a bad moment, I can remind myself that there’s only a few more days left, but she doesn’t grasp that so for her this change might impact her more deeply right? Plus, she’s not at a stage where she can fathom let alone articulate her feelings so the idea of missing someone, or sharing attention probably just gets lost or confused with things like eating too much chocolate or lack of sleep.

Dad has a lot of catching up on TLC to do with all the members of the family when he is back! Well, at least it’s a duty that should be fun to fulfill J


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Day 8 - MC

Day 8 – MC



I had a wonderful day today as well. 2 days in a row is a treat. Took Ellil and my niece to their dance class and got to bond with one sister-in-law in the morning. After lunch, my brother and nephew came over so I got to bond with him (long overdue) while Ellil and Sathyam played together. And in the evening my parents came over and mum is staying the night so made it easier for me to go through the bedtime routine with each child one at a time.

1 on 1 time is essential with kids. I’m sure we all know this but not only do you have to be cognizant of it, you’ve got to make the extra effort to do it regularly. That’s been a lesson I’m learning now that we have our second. Pre Rohit, there were 4 different ways our immediate family of 3 could hang out. Mom and Dad. Mom and daughter. Dad and daughter. Mom, Dad and daughter. Now, with Ro in the equation, that combination jumps to 9. The four from above plus: mom and son. Dad and son. Daughter and son. Mom and two kids. Dad and two kids. And let’s not forget the fact that we all have to spend some time alone without any of the other members. And each of us also spends quality time with cousins and grandparents and uncles and aunts. You can see how the combinations can get increasingly overwhelming with each additional child.

There’s got to be a law of diminishing returns after kid number X, because the possible combinations would be too large and there just wouldn’t be enough time to run through all the different dynamics and spend quality time in each of these scenarios.  I’m sure it’s different for different couples. Some are maxed out at one kid, others are able to juggle more, but there’s got to be a specific magic number after which 80% of the parent population would just subconsciously logout or go into sleep mode.  Any thoughts?

I think it's important for each couple to figure out what their magic number is. Suffice it to say, our number is 2.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Day 7 - MC

Day 7 – MC



Tis the night before Sunday and all through my house
Not a creature is stirring, not even a mouse.
The TV is off, the kids are in bed
The only light burning is the one in my head.
I think of the day, how fast it has past
I sigh with relief for I can lie down at last.
But thoughts in my head, keep my mind wide awake
I shut my eyes tight, but the sleep is all fake.
So I rise from my bed and tiptoe below
To the den I arrive and dim the lights low
I turn on my machine and type like a fiend
To remind myself of how lucky I’ve been.
For family that’s there, no matter the time
For friends who arrive with food and some wine
For words of support and ‘likes’ for my post
And ‘likes’ and comments for the pics that I chose.
Sometimes I feel proud, sometimes I feel brave
Sometimes I get scared and want to hide in a cave.
But then I envision two tiny faces,
Bright eyes and smiles and tender embraces
I can’t let them down, I won’t run for cover
My duty's to them; it’s what makes me their Mother.
I’m feeling a little emotional tonight, can you tell? I don’t usually ad lib terrible poetry. I usually spend a lot of time writing terrible poetry. And under normal circumstances I would never post something like this but I’m sure I will be forgiven given the circumstances, right?!

Today was a fun day. Busy, but fun. My dear friend and business partner, Nafiza and her family came to visit for lunch.  We've started a new business called cookiesncakes and we even have an fb page for it. She made this ridiculously beautiful cake (which will be posted on the cnc page in fb) for Ellil, which was very sweet of her. I was very touched as she did it to distract Ellil from missing her Dad. And, it was a red velvet cake which hands down is the BEST red velvet cake I have ever eaten, and I’m not just saying that.  Try it and you won’t disagree.

In any case, it was great to have the company, and I didn’t have to make a single meal today. Mum covered breakfast (did I mention how great she is) and Nafiza brought enough food for lunch and dinner and I still have leftovers for tomorrow including most of that delish cake!

Sometimes a break from the ordinary is essential just to recharge your batteries, as minor as the break may be, don’t you agree? And cake. Well that helps as well.

Day 6 - MC

Day 6 – MC



I guess the darkest night is just before dawn. And today really felt like a new beginning. I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that I actually slept for 6 hours the night before ( I passed out putting Ellil to sleep).
I knocked off a couple of things from my ‘to-do’ list and spent time with both kids! Ro cooperated very well today. Ate well, slept well and played well. Ellil did the same. And they both went to sleep without too much fussing. Better to be lucky than good, I say. And I’ve always been lucky.

So much so, that I even had some time to look at the markets and do some trading. Although the speed with which I do things here is exponentially worse than what I’m used to with work. And here’s the thing about work. I’m on mat leave and so I have more time to take care of the kids but how do single parents who work, manage? If they do it successfully, or do it at all without cracking, they must be the epitome of efficiency or at the very least have incredibly good time management skills right? And they must function on less sleep.

You know, I expected to be tired from this challenge, but not so soon. I thought I’d at least make it to 2 weeks before I felt overwhelmed. But if I hadn’t had a day like today where things fell into place smoothly and my mother came over which helped with me getting more work done, I would’ve been there. Sitting in frustration station, counting the additional grey hairs I’ve accumulated and eating chips and cake!

I'm proud to say that the bag of chips is still unopened and in the pantry and I didn't even bake a cake to appease that craving. What a difference a day makes. Thank you Friday.


Friday, March 15, 2013

Day 5 - MC

Day 5 – MC


I knew I’d have a day like this, but not so soon. Instead of boring you with a recap, let me just say it was a late and busy night and I was so tired that I passed out and just woke up a little while ago. I didn’t do any of the stuff I usually do after the kids go to sleep, including this entry. So, this is going to be a short one as I have to finish everything before they wake up.

Raj is back in 2 weeks! Boy, sometimes time goes by way to slowly.

The day in and of itself was not bad at all. The sun was out, and the kids and I did some hanging out. In the evening, my sis-in-law came over with her two kids and it was a fun evening. I’m a lucky gal. My sis-in-law even offered to drop Ellil off at school today which means I don’t have to wake Ro up in the middle of his sleep and put him in the car seat and carry him all the way to Ellil’s classroom and back. Yay! I totally took her up on the offer. At first I thought I’d try to do it on my own but you know what, I’m not ashamed of letting family help me. That’s what family is for, right? Goes both ways.

Oh, HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY! I know this because I still have to go make green rice krispies squares for Ellil’s school and I have to dress her up in green as they are having a St.Patty’s Day party today. She’s pretty excited. Her first St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Very different from the type of celebrating she’ll be doing for this day when she’s of drinking age…I don’t even want to think about it.

I gotta say, I’m proud of the fact that despite all the madness and lack of sleep I haven’t snapped at my kids yet. But I really do wish the weather gets better so I can at least take Ro for some walks outdoors because going to the gym has been pretty non-existent.

Off to melt green marshmallows!


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Day 4 - MC

Day 4 – MC


Down, but not out.  

Today was a little trying. It should’ve been predictable but it was anything but. Ro decided he wanted me to carry him all afternoon. So I did. Even if I put him down for a second, he made it a point to vocalize his displeasure until I carried him back up again. All in all, he was in my arms from noon till 5. The first couple of hours was fun because we played and we danced and had some tummy time and exercises. But then he got tired and irritated and just did not want to be left alone anywhere. Not in the playpen or swing or seat or mat.  My mother came (God bless mums) to relieve me so I could go make dinner. As soon as dinner was ready and Ellil was fed, I had to take him back from my mom again so she could go home and by the time I finally put Ro to sleep it was almost 8:30 p.m.

You know, every night as a habit I try to recap my day and think about how productive I was and what I learned from it. I’ve been doing this for over a decade now and for the most part it really helps me feel better about the day that I just lived or at least give me focus for the next day. But today was one of those days where I haven’t a clue what I was supposed to learn.  Does making dinner and feeding and bathing my kids count as being productive enough? 3 more minutes till March 13, 2013 is gone, never to be seen again. Outside of the spit-up and drool on my shirt sleeves, residual baby lotion on my hands and baby toothpaste stain splattered across the chest of my shirt, how am I different now than I was 24 hours ago? 

The glass half full people will say “Don’t be silly Priya. You had a full day to love your kids and bond with them.” To which I’d reply, “Yah yah, but I do that every day and then I do some more. I didn’t get the opportunity for the latter part today…you know the part where I do something for me.” Ding ding DING!! Did you hear that alarm bell go off because I just did and boy that was a rude awakening!  I suppose some days it really isn’t about me. Sometimes, it’s purely about taking care of the kids’ needs and that is all. Is it really that simple? Wow. Food for thought.

Motherhood is humbling.

I highly recommend it.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Day 3 - MC

Day 3 – MC


Ever have one child go down for a nap only to have the second child up and then when you put the second child back to sleep, the first child gets up again? That was the theme today. I was chatting with an oldest and dearest friend of mine, Denisse, about this (and by chatting I mean electronically…I really need to pick up the phone more often) as she has two children of her own who are older than my pair by a few good years. She mentioned in one of the comments that even at the age they are now, the ratio of 2 kids to 1 parent would not be a good idea.

People have told me that the first five years is tough but after that it gets a lot easier because they’re more independent and have their own lives so to speak. I gave that a little bit of thought and my conclusion is: Don’t believe the hype.

I realised that the first five years of your child’s life is physically exhausting with everything from sleep deprivation to poor nutrition as you find yourself stuffing whatever comes your way into your mouth because you can’t remember the last time you sat down to have a wholesome meal. And of course the fact that the word ‘boundary’ doesn’t mean anything to a toddler or an infant. So there is no such thing as ‘your schedule’ or ‘your time’.  It doesn’t matter if you’ve committed to body step at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesdays. If your baby doesn’t settle or throws up, or both, guess what? You’re not going to body step. And ultimately, it is all understandable because they are so little and they need every bit of you, physically, at any given moment. That’s the initial, primal need. That is the circle of life. And let’s face it, they didn’t ask to be born. You chose to have children.

As they start to grow up and figure out how to do things on their own, the physical demands are not as bad…hopefully.  They are sleeping through the night, can go to the washroom and clean themselves on their own and can even pour themselves milk and cereal and feed themselves on a Saturday or Sunday morning if you really need to sleep that extra half hour. But the part of you that is now being tested is your emotional self. And this testing creeps up on you and hits you hard on the head much like a frying pan would.

I’ve heard so many friends and colleagues discuss different situations with me that I would have no clue how to deal with if it was thrown at me.  Really. No clue. Let me give you two examples. A friend’s son goes to the playground to have some kid tell him they won’t play with him because they don’t play with ‘coconuts’. He comes home and asks his mom, completely innocently, “Mom, why am I a coconut and why won’t they play with me because of it?” or another friend of mine whose daughter, a shining example of a good natured child with excellent academic skills, and a violinist has a ‘secret’ boyfriend. They know because they spied on her facebook page but she doesn’t know that they know. Yeesh…and you want to know what the kicker is…these aren’t even the really tough issues to sort through.

When I was a kid I really believed and still to an extent believe that my parents had the answers to everything. I asked tons of questions but they always seemed to give me an answer that made sense or left me satisfied.  But now as a parent myself I feel like I don’t know much of anything. Forget second-guessing myself, I’ll be questioning myself up and down, inside and out from here to Perth, Australia and back.  All we can do is try right? And this time HOPE and PRAY we don’t screw it up.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Day 2 - MC

Day 2 – Motherhood Challenge


Slightly more challenging day today but all in all, manageable. Remember my plan to do all this stuff before the kids wake up? That plan of action came to a crashing stop when my eldest woke up before 6 am. In half a daze she meandered out of her bed, somehow made to the washroom and then came quietly down the steps and straight into my arms. I tried to put the dishes away with one hand while carrying her in the other arm but , A) I’m  not as strong as I used to be and B) she isn’t as small as she used to be so that task I wasn’t able to complete. She fell asleep in my arms so I took her back up to bed and this time I fell asleep while trying to put her back to sleep. It was still dark, I was a little chilli and the rain drops were tapping on the windows like little secrets. The bed was still warm and so inviting, I didn’t stand a chance. So, all 3 of us woke up together and it wasn’t so bad after all.

The climax of the day was late afternoon, early evening, when both kids conspired to test me. One fell asleep on my lap, the other in my arms and I literally sat in one position for about an hour and a half (which is fine since I had the remote within my reach so was able to watch a movie… JK Rowling’s biography) and let them nap. It was a very peaceful bit of time and I daresay even somewhat magical to have them both so close to me, watching their bodies rise and fall with absolutely no care whatsoever about anything at all.  Peace, calm, serenity all left the house like a bat out of hell when the two woke up at the same time. I don’t know who woke whom up but they were up and they were not happy to be up so they made it a point to vocalize it. Two kids crying, one trying to outdo the other, (it felt like). What to do? The floodgates opened and a flush of questions gushed through my mind. Do I sit down and nurse one and try to sing to the other to calm her down? Do I calm the older one first and hope that helps the little one calm down? Ro couldn’t still be hungry? I just fed him an hour and a half prior. Why is Ellil crying?  Are they tired? Hot? Cold? I had no answers. Just questions. So I did what any sane person in this situation would do. I laughed, left the room and went next door to the kitchen. I came back 30 seconds later, turned on the TV for Ellil (something I hate to do). She did stop crying and then he stopped crying and he fell right back to sleep! Order had somehow been restored. Sometimes, the end does justify the means.

With the end of day 2 coming up in 7 minutes, now 6 minutes all I can tell myself is I have 16 more days to go. This isn’t a sprint, but a marathon. I know I can. I know I can.

Day 1 - Motherhood Challenge

Day 1 – Motherhood Challenge



So far, so good. Kids are accommodating for the moment. But I must admit, it was a bit of a cop out on my part as I spent a chunk of my day at my parents’ place. I think one challenge that I will have that I didn’t realise till earlier this morning is how much my kids will miss their Dad. The first thing out of Ellil’s mouth Sunday morning was, “Where is Appa (Dad)?” To which I had to remind her that he was gone to visit his Mum and Dad for a few weeks. And I swear, even though little Ro is only 3 months old, he was looking around all day as if he was searching for his Dad. He must’ve noticed that one of the familiar faces he sees every day for the past 3 months is suddenly not there anymore. I was able to distract him for the time being but I may not be so lucky 10 days into him not seeing Appa. It made me wonder, what do single parents do if they lose their spouse while they still have such small children? Be it death or abandonment, how do you explain to a child that a face and body they’ve come to realise as an extension of themselves is no longer going to be around? And that too without words or words that they’d understand? It’s one of those conversations you hope you never have to have.

Day 2 is starting now and my plan is to get myself ready and have breakfast done and kitchen clean before the kids wake up. I should also get Ellil’s clothes ready for school, otherwise it’s 15 minutes of trying to explain to a 3 year old that wearing her Princess Belle dress to school is not appropriate. Wish me luck!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Motherhood Challenge

The Motherhood Challenge.



As a working mom I am fortunate in that I have a husband who does way more around the house than I do. From cooking most days (but he is a chef by trade and previously owned his own restaurant and is very passionate about cooking…so cooking doesn’t count as a chore for him, I think?) to all the work ‘outside’ the house (mowing, shovelling, garbage/recycling) and even laundry.  So, I’m running a little experiment over the next three weeks to really appreciate my ‘other half’.
Raj is leaving to visit his parents overseas today. The kids and I are staying here. The little one is too young to be travelling so far, otherwise we would all go. This is going to be a time for a lot of firsts. First time Raj and I are not sleeping under the same roof since we’ve been married. First time we aren’t travelling as a family. First time I am handling both kids by myself!
Now, I’ve had tons of people offer to help. Even my mom’s offered to stay the couple of weeks to make it easier for me. But nay I say! I’m going to take this as a challenge to see if I can do this on my own. Now I’m not an idiot or a masochist, really. My folks live a few minutes away so help is just around the corner.  The safety net is ready…Here we go… 
My goal is to post every night or every other night. Commentary and suggestions are more than welcome. As are surprise visits with dark chocolate and red wine ;)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Lesson 2

Lesson #2


The triple threat when you really want something ladies…or gents for that matter…is something I stumbled across over the past 12 months.  Faith, will and action. Case in point, my almost 3 month old son. Up until last year when I got sick (shingles) I didn’t really consider myself as unhealthy as far as having another child was concerned. We have a beautiful baby girl and both Raj (my husband) and I wanted a second but we weren’t sure when exactly. We figured we’d let nature take its course and if we did, great. Now I’m not very free willy about these things so although I said it and agreed to it, in the back of my mind there was a very conscious clock ticking. I didn’t want the age gap between the two to be too wide or too narrow. We tried for a better part of a year I’d say and nothing happened. Then when I got shingles I was really happy that nothing happened. I couldn’t imagine being pregnant and having shingles all at the same time. So once I got better I resolved to get myself in as best condition as I could to ‘house’ a baby for 9 months. I ate half of what I normally eat, exercised and got the help of my endocrinologist and within 3 months I dropped 12 pounds and was expecting! Didn’t quite think it would happen that fast but it did. 

At first I was going to write hope, not faith, but the fact is it was actually faith. I figured if I did the best I could and I still couldn’t get pregnant then it wasn’t meant to be. I’d be sad as hell of course and there’d be times I’d wonder why I wasn’t capable of something that ought to be so simple (and I know logically it isn’t but when you’re feeling sorry for yourself it is!) but I maintain that there is always a reason for things turning out a certain way. Remember in one of my posts I wrote that I am a collector of quotes and sayings? Well, there’s one that sticks with me through thick and thin…”The world is conspiring in your favour”. I firmly believe that and I think if you believe it, it will come true. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.  And that in a nutshell is faith isn’t it? You aren’t sure of the outcome; you may not even know what kind of outcome you want. But you do know that however things unfold it will be for the best. Whereas hope has a definite outcome that you want realised. And boy, did I ever need hope a few months into the pregnancy. That story for another day.

It’s funny, as I re-read this it’s as if the journey was short and sweet. It only took two paragraphs to sum up the tough few months that I had to live through? I guess so.

Monday, March 4, 2013

What a difference a year makes.

What a difference a year makes.



When I first started this blog it was December 2011. I started the blog after a terrible bout with shingles. I was bedridden and when not crippled over in pain it gave me time to think. I was actually forced to think because I couldn’t really do anything else. I got shingles on the left side of my face and top of my head. There was no real reason for it as it tends to typically affect older people or people with weakened immune systems. I was 34 years old and pretty healthy. The third reason the doctor and various other websites listed was…stress. I never fancied myself a stress-case but I did have to allow myself to give this reason some weight mainly because I had so much time to think about it. When I’m confused or muddled or stressed I always turn to my pen and diary. I have stacks of them, dating back to middle school, which is around the time I first came to Canada. And all that writing somehow brought me to this blog and the idea to start one seemed only natural.

However, sharing the blog (which is the whole point of a blog isn’t it?) I still wasn’t comfortable doing. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to because I know that sharing experiences is therapeutic for the writer and entertainment for the reader. If the article is really good, it obviously offers more than just a cheap thrill.  My problem was that I was skeptical about how much I would expose and how vulnerable that would make me. So for all of last year, I wrote my usual stuff, posted some stuff but told no one about the stuff! How crazy is that?? With that being said, it’s time to fight my insecurity and tell people about this blog, hoping that it is the start of some dialogue between me and any reader. I suppose that because I’m a year older I should act a year wiser ;)

And this year I have learned 3 very valuable lessons. I’ve learned that pain, no matter how painful won’t kill you. I’ve learned that faith, will and action are the triple threat when you want to achieve something. And I’ve learned that dreaming big is not for the faint of heart.


Lesson 1

I had two really big headaches between December 2011 and December 2012. Almost exactly to the date.  The first one was…you guessed it…Shingles. This felt like a constant stabbing of a hundred daggers into the side of my head and forehead. Or better yet, it felt like maggots or some flesh eating critters penetrated the inside of my head and was eating me alive from the inside out. It was really that horrific but after a couple of weeks of this cruelty, the clouds finally parted and I was as good as new. Actually even better because now I had a fresh perspective on my life and how I wanted to live it. 

The second time was in December 2012 where I suffered from a post-diural headache from my epidural which I got when I was delivering my son. The post diural headache occurs when the anaesthesiologist screws up the epidural and accidentally punctures something near your spine that they shouldn’t. Some liquid leaks out and travels upwards into your brain and messes with it and gives you these massive crushing headaches. As is evident, I’m no doctor so for a more clinical explanation feel free to look up Wikipedia or something but what I will tell you is that whenever you lift your head from a lying flat position you feel like there is a heavy weight on the top of your head and it is just pushing down on your head. And if you try to fight this pain by continuing to sit up (which I did a few times since I was trying to breastfeed my baby) the pain is so bad that it makes you throw up. But again, after 10 days of advil, coffee and water I was back to normal.  In trying to figure out what lesson was I supposed to learn from this God awful 10 days what I’ve come up with is that whatever hell you’re going through, keep going and it too will pass. It’s like that saying, “Tough times don’t last, tough people do.”  Now, I’m not calling myself tough or anything but definitely tougher now than I was before.


I’ll discuss lesson 2 and 3 in the next couple of entries.