Category Archives: Life’s Like That

As I wait for the words to flow….

This blog has been left to rust yet again by me. There definitely has not been a dearth of thoughts or happenings to be written about, but, barring a few sentences here and there, I have just not been able to sit and write lengthy posts. The words just refused to pour though and I just refused to prioritize my creative pursuits of any sort having been totally wrapped up in the parenting responsibilities and housekeeping chores.
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Nostalgic Moments at the Library!

On a visit to the Central Library at Bugis after several months, I stepped inside the all-too-familiar children’s section which houses this beautiful mock treehouse having recycled plastic bottles on ceiling doubling up as branches and leaves. The children’s section had underwent renovation and the treehouse with baby-friendly chairs and rocking stools all around it were inaugurated only in mid 2013. The collection of books was as attractive to me as it was to my daughter.

The year 2014 was when we spent at least an hour there every week as we let our then 2-year old daughter play all around the tree house, choose her own books and read those with her. I absolutely loved all those colourful baby books which were made all the more fun by having all those interesting features like flaps. Spot the pup, Usborne publishers’ book featuring that little, yellow duck hidden in all the pages, ABCD or counting books, numerous books on farms, Olivia the pig, Elmo teaching ABCD, animals, etc. and so on. Spot the pup series was the one S enjoyed so much that she called herself Spot and called her father and I by the name of Spot’s parents, Sam and Sally.

Yesterday, as I automatically turned towards our favourite board books section, the age group printed for that category brought with it with the cliched thought of how time flies! 0-3 years, said the board. Now, both my children have crossed that age group!

My thoughts didn’t stop with all the stages and baby milestones that my children have crossed or the reading milestones that S has crossed as she can now read all the children’s books and magazines on her own and even reads all his books for R too or the way R can mimic the phonic sounds of letters of small words now. In a year or so, he will also start reading simple books.

This library means more to us than just reminding us of our love for books and reading. This was a part of our weekly routine which only got completed with a visit to Krishnar temple, walking through Waterloo Street, which, to me, showcases perfectly all things typically Singapore, and shopping at Fairprice at the now demolished Rochor Centre.

As I went through a wave of feel-good memories, I found myself having a relaxing moment. And what better place to relax than a library which has this huge collection of books and comfortable seating to sit back and read and a small treehouse for babies and children to take their books to and ‘read’!

Coming back to the children’s section of the library itself, the rocking stools and chairs have been replaced with fewer chairs, the baby book collection not as much as it used to be. I couldn’t find even one Spot the puppy book. Have all been borrowed because of the double loan quota now?

But we still had a relaxing time as little R was busy exploring what was a not-so-familiar place to him. As for S, she was so happy to be back in the treehouse after a long time. Except that this time it was not a go-up-and-down-the-treehouse that she wanted to do or browse through Spot the pup or some board book, but it was some storybook that she grabbed and sat down to read as R walked all around the place playing with computer mouse or taking a random book or impatiently waiting to collect his Book Bug collectible cards from the machine. Time, indeed, flies!

Nostalgic Moments

Written a couple of weeks back….

Even as I am taking that train journey from Chennai Egmore to Mayiladuthurai Junction which always feels so comforting, my thoughts go on a whirlwind tour.

Sun shines brightly on the lush, green paddy fields and the winding canals. I see a white kokku/crane swoop down to a canal and see it reflected on the water. A sight as beautiful as this is a daily occurrence in this part of the world! Not content to call it just a crane/ kokku, I feel the urge to Google it to see if I can find the exact species of egret or stork or whatever it is. But I let it pass since it suddenly strikes me how simple life in itself was back then, during those carefree, childhood days which was filled with oodles of happy moments. It didn’t matter if it was a crane or an egret or whatever else it may be. All that mattered was going to the vayal / field with my maternal uncles and spotting those kokkus.

Looking outside from the comfort of the cooler confines of the air-conditioned compartment, I let that strong wave of nostalgia wash over me. Moments like those are just nostalgia and nothing more today. Time, they say, is the greatest healer. But all it actually does is help us get used to the idea of someone or something not being there….

As another year went by….

The last month of last year seemed to pass by very quickly, as every December has been ever since I became a Carnatic music and December music season aficionado.

December is that month when I am always in my beloved Madras, celebrating the music season gaining an enriching musical experience at as many Sanjay’s kutcheris as possible while my children enjoy their school vacation not caring much about what I am doing or where I am going. Being in Madras only has me rooting even more for life that would have been. Alas such is life and all that…. This December also saw me visiting my dream destination, Hampi. The grandeur of the ruins did indeed leave me in awe.
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The Rain Rant

I wake up to the sounds of raindrops falling. I wish the rain would stop soon. But till now it hasn’t. Yet another rainy morning which will mean taking umbrellas and watching our step carefully during the morning drop to school. Rains in Madras were/are a rarity and any heavy rainy day meant a school holiday. Rain in Singapore is almost an everyday occurrence and there is no way any routine activity will be stopped because of rain. Singapore, nowadays, is surprisingly pleasant too in the early mornings and during rains.

There was a time when I might have enjoyed this kind of a pleasant weather, but, nowadays, I don’t really seem to be enjoying it most of the time. Especially not when a full load of clothes are waiting to be washed in the washing machine! Rain translates to managing children with their umbrellas when outdoors, walking on wet floor which in some places turn out to be slippery, clothes hanging out to be dried ending up with musty smell and not feeling fully dry, children locked up indoors and missing their outdoor play time which automatically translates to extra screen time and so on.

There was a time when any rant of this sort eventually ended up with me tracing it all back to missing Madras. Today, while I still continue to root for my life back in Madras, I have come to terms with reality. You just can’t have it ALL in life, can you?

Cooking, Cleaning, Clutter Clearing, Celebrating

Fourth Saturday after today, I’ll land in Madras. Yes, it’s school vacation time and I can’t tell you how excitedly we are already doing the countdown!

Before that, Deepavali is the one thing that has all of us excited about. From the ‘fireworks’ (Do sparklers and other fire-less party poppers count as fireworks?) sessions with different sets of friends to the yummy sweets and snacks preparation to the family having holidays during Deepavali, it is going to be lots of fun. And lots of work too.

The house is at its clutter-max what with the kitchen sink overflowing with vessels to be washed, the ever-present colourful mess of toy cars and all sorts of vehicles strewn all around the house and the washing machine waiting with the full load of clothes to be washed!

I woke up in the morning thinking that I’ll not start Deepavali sweets/snacks preparation today, yet I suddenly felt that I shouldn’t let myself end up with too much to be done in the end. So I made lunch and dinner in the morning itself and started off the preparation for making Badam Katli.

That’s when R refused to go with his dad and S for the swimming class. While he cried and asked me to come with him, I knew S was rejoicing that he was doing a good job of it and I’ll definitely go with them. I am sure the husband too would have been happy to have some me-time at home.

Thus, the family succeeded and now, here I am, sitting by the swimming pool thinking of all that I could have completed at home had I had these two hours to myself. Then, it strikes me that I do have this one hour just for myself. But can I truly relax when I know that I have a long day ahead of me?

Did I tell you how I always find these swimming and water play sessions for the kids very tiring? I hate the wet and smelly changing rooms and toilets at these places and the wet and slippery floor around the pool too. From the moment we leave the pool it’s a lot of work till the children are given a nice, long bath and fed well. Not to forget the work later on when S’ long hair has to be dried and plaited.

Even as I write about all these routine chores which every Sita, Gita and Rita (how about a change from Tom, Dick and Harry since they, anyway, won’t be doing most of these chores?) do, I also realize how a major chunk or almost the entire day goes off in doing all these. Now, can someone tell me how does a SAHM find some quality me-time for herself?

On tantrums and crying spells

Murphy always strikes everytime I take a resolution of any sort. Here I was hoping to revive the mindfulness routine when Murphy’s law struck in full force within a few hours. S had a full-blown tantrum that evening right after coming back from school. At the end of a crying spell of any sort, which while happening will always look like it will never end, the child looks calm and, in fact, looks refreshed. But what about the parent?

From breaking one’s head at that time to think of anything to stop the tantrum and calm the child or finding it tough to maintain inner calm while the crying and yelling continue to blow out of control or pondering it all over once again trying to figure out on when and where I went wrong, it is exhaustion of sorts that I always feel. Imagine hitting a hat trick with this happening for three days in succession with the third day featuring an epic meltdown of sorts right in the play area in front of all friends, acquaintances and people whom you meet every single day! Embarrassment, helplessness, anger directed towards self at how, even after so many years, I am still not able to handle it ALL – you name it and I was feeling it all! Later that evening, S was completely calm and relaxed. She had finally let out all the tiredness of the last couple of weeks arising from all the excitement.

Just when I thought that I was done with all the crying from S, along came the icing on the cake from R. Now, he is one boy who is crazy about cars, or rather, all sorts of vehicles, robots and superheroes. And he always is choosy, going in only for specific toys which he will continue to cherish long after buying it. I was looking forward to being in the relaxing company of a good friend after all the exhaustion of the previous few days and took little R with the friend and her child to a fair/carnival. Fairs in Singapore are all about fun and interesting activities for kids and freebies. FREEBIES – that is where it all started. He really wanted a superhero soft toy at a stall, but he didn’t get it.

By now, considering the number of fairs that I have taken him to, one must have expected him to get used to luck, disappointment, winning, losing and all that. But, when the toy in question is a superhero, is it even fair to expect understanding from a 3-year old?! He really was in a big disappointment that he couldn’t get that toy! R had what is akin to an epic meltdown of sorts for his level, crying for an hour just for that superhero toy! While he is no match for his sister when it comes to tantrums, of late, his crying skill seems to be improving.

The last one week in itself has been similar to hitting a jackpot of sorts when it came to the children’s moods. Yesterday, by the time it was evening, I felt completely drained. In a miracle of sorts, both the children slept earlier than usual. That was how tired they were.

As for me, I ended up with a splitting headache and just couldn’t sleep. At 4 am, with a cup of hot coffee in hand, I sat down in front of the computer, reading random news. Then I decided to write this here to track my progress on maintaining patience. PATIENCE – just what is that??!

Reviving Mindfulness

Last year, I did a revival of sorts to this blog when I had a restriction imposed on my talking. Though I am giving this update here 10 months late, my voice did get back to normal and I revived my singing, albeit slowly from a few minutes at a stretch and bid adieu to the restrictions on talking too. But I continued to be mindful of how I was using my voice as much as possible, till a few weeks back.
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Post Navaratri Musings

Written last Sunday….

As I walk down to the play area from my home, I realize that it has been ages since the kids had what I presume their we-playtime in the play area without their friends for company. The sweltering morning sun has suddenly hidden behind the clouds and we now have a low rumbling thunder for company even as a pleasant breeze blows.

My thoughts wander to how fast the last one month has swung by. The Cambodia trip, the start of a new school term for my daughter S after a short break, Navaratri preparation and then Navaratri itself. It has been a busy month, albeit a nice one.
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Parenting Musings

I sit by the Swimming pool. While 6-year old S has been going for swimming class on and off for the last one year, 3-year old R is having his first trial class today. He starts crying and shouts I am scared. The coach asks me to stay put in my place. He takes my children farther away from me to the other side of the pool. Just when I think R’s cries have subsided and he is happily kicking, I hear loud cries again. Then I suddenly see him smiling and happily enjoying kicking his feet water splashing all around. Then the crying is back.

My thoughts turn to dream as I think about how someday, hopefully in a few weeks from now, he might stop crying completely and start enjoying his classes. Maybe then I can put that one hour to good use by sitting back and relaxing with a book or two.

My thoughts wander to how parenting is filled with so many stages of letting go of the need to protect the child and letting them move away from the safety net of the parents and try new things because that is what they want to do or that is what they should be doing at this stage in their life. I also think about the immense level of patience that parenting requires.

I have seen this Swimming coach not using his kindest tone or showing patience even once with my Daughter. That had seemed his way of teaching the children. Today I see a different side of him as he patiently deals with my son’s crying.

I type all this and more just so I can process all my thoughts and clear my head.