Thursday, August 30, 2012

Summer Fun - part 2

A lot happened this summer. We have been busier than any given school day and I am just about ready for this vacation to end! But before that, here’s a list of the fun things we did since my last post on summer.

Berry Picking
So, berry picking, as an organized activity for the kids is a relatively new concept for me. BUT picking anything from a tree or a shrub is definitely not new to me!

Who would have thought that my daughter would be doing the same thing almost 30 years after I started doing it, the only difference being my mother didn’t pay for it, hers did. If the suspense is getting too much, let me clarify.

As a child, I spent every summer vacation in my native village. And there, come every afternoon, armed with stones, our group of cousins would go mango hunting. After a bit of roaming around in the hot sun, we would come across a farm whose owner would have gone home for a siesta. Two of us would keep a watch out for passersby, a few would aim hard with the stones and try and get the mangoes to fall from the trees and the rest would quickly stuff the hidden fruit in their pockets and shirts. The entire “picking” would take about 10 minutes and then at the sound of a warning whistle we would all run for our dear life, dropping half the mangoes on the way! I still have not been able to figure out why we resorted to stealing even when we got to eat mangoes at home, plentiful and all summer. I guess it was the case of forbidden fruits being sweeter!

My kids’ picking party was nothing like mine. We drove to the nearby berry farm one hot afternoon, carried our own containers, had them weighed and walked through rows of delicious raspberries and blackberries as pointed out by the farm owners. Along the walk, we ate as many as we collected and when we could eat no more, we returned to the cash counter, our containers full of delicious fruits.  The fruits were then weighed and paid for and as we left for home, the kids were already debating on whether to make a juice or a pie out of the remaining raspberries.

Beach Again

Having your wedding anniversary fall in July can be fun, especially if you happen to reside in a city where summer starts in July and ends in September. My sweetheart of 12 years thought this was a good year to give me the first ever anniversary surprise. On the special day, we drove up to the nearby town of Cannon Beach and checked into a hotel right on the ocean. The gentle roar of water and the sight of waves singing along the shore made for a beautiful and romantic evening. The kids played in the sand as we watched them,  hand in hand, feeling proud and emotional thinking about the journey the two of us started 12 years back and which had now two added travelers who brought with them love, joy, laughter and fulfillment. Witnessing the sun set over the water would have been a wonderful conclusion to the evening but the clouds refused to make way for the sun that day. But we were too happy, too much into our own celebrations to let it matter.

Dollar 1 Movie

It helps to have friends who take your kids to movies with their own and even better pay for them! A couple of theatres in the city run movies for a dollar one particular day of the week through the summer. Two of the moms and also my friends, took a bunch of kids for the movie “Hugo” taking advantage of the discounted rate of a dollar per movie. The kids had a blast watching the movie together and I was glad to have someone else do my job for a couple of hours!

Card game night

If left in a casino alone with considerable cash to spend, I would probably last the whole night! My love for playing cards (read harmless gambling) is well known in our circle of friends. I love to get people together for a game of cards which is mostly for my own enjoyment than anything else. In my experience, once they get started, even folks who aren't much into playing cards, find it hard to stop. 

One Saturday night this summer when I invited a couple of family friends over for a few card games, we literally played the night away, most of it anyways! Beginning at 10 p.m. we dealt a couple of easy games to start with. Everybody started getting into the grove past mid-night and before we knew it, a glance towards the clock on the wall told us it was 3.30 p.m. The surprising part wasn’t the adults playing cards till so late, it was our kids who were still up and playing in the other room, not even one of them showing any signs of sleep.

As we whispered good nights at the door, it was hard to keep the girls apart from each other, still giggling secrets, the thrill and excitement of having stayed up so late in the night with friends, clearly visible on their sweet little faces.  My little baby was growing up, soon, her friends will be her world, more than me, the thought was a bittersweet one, but, she will always come back to me, I told myself shaking away  all the insecurity and walking up the staircase as she called for me “Mommy, come and tuck me in bed”. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Wrong but feels right…

Off late I have been doing things that are not right but don’t feel wrong. And this fight between the wrong and the right often leaves me confused. Most of it is to do with me being a mommy and to do or not to do is sometimes really not in my hands. Yes, I let my kids blackmail me into doing things I don’t want to and shouldn’t be doing but find it hard to put my foot down. There, I said it!!

Can’t say I am proud in this admittance but am not ashamed either! Yes, I spoil them, let them take advantage of the fact that I love them and occasionally, turn a blind eye to their blunders and on not so rare instances, I also let them escape a punishment well deserved.

Some of my misdeeds need a special mention as they smell of a strong disapproval from the “parenting authorities”!!! Like what?

Like when my toddler refuses to be fed and her six year old sister begs for the same. The solution – I let the toddler dirty herself and the dining table and eat whatever she can while I hand feed (or spoon feed, depending on what’s in the plate) her elder sister who is not embarrassed to be seen gulping down food at the hands of her mother.

Like when my kids fight. They love each other to death but on any given day they can be heard screaming, biting, hitting and running for their dear life to save themselves from the other about a million times. I interfere or let them figure it out themselves depending on how occupied I am at that moment. If I am talking on the phone I conveniently go deaf to ear piercing fake screams of “Heeeeellllllpppp” and if I am doing nothing, I call for an instant silence and quickly pronounce a “time-out” for the guilty party.

Like how I usually encourage my kids to ask questions and patiently try and answer all of them ranging from stupid (why can’t I drive your car?) to downright irritating (why is the blood running in our body?). BUT if they find a visibly wrong day to ask all the questions one after the other in quick succession, a day I happen to be pissed about something or not happy about my life, they get the “No more Whys” look and a curt answer that signals an end to that conversation, not that they are good at taking hints!

Like when it comes to discipline and things that kids are and are not allowed to do, me and the Dad are always in unison and on the same page. “Always”…if you don’t count this afternoon when I ignored the squeals of delight as the girls jumped on the living room couch, a feat strictly forbidden otherwise by their Daddy.  

Like the time and effort me and my husband took to ensure the kids slept in their own rooms after they turned three. It took about 4 months with the first child to accomplish that and with the second baby, the process just began. And yet, they are both in our room, on our bed on Fridays nights, spring break, their birthdays, our birthdays and anniversaries, sick days, first day of school, last day of school, Christmas, Diwali, New year and well, I am already losing count.

I should be mad, considering how many sleepless nights went into establishing this one routine of sleeping in different rooms. But instead, when they come, with their pillow pets and pink blankets, there is somehow enough room on one queen bed to accommodate all of us together and I sleep more soundly than the kiddos, snuggling up to their soft touch and tender breaths.