Monday, September 29, 2014

My precious

Have I said this before? Of course, I have. Maybe. I don't remember. But we will talk about it again.

Anyway, first things first. Welcome to the time of the year that I like the most. Every season comes with its own joys. The snow of winter, the bloom of spring, the sun of summer & the cozy of fall. Something about fall yells cozy up. Bring a blanket. Or two. Or three. Bring your sweaters. Get your comfort on. Bring your family together. Sit down. Relax. Do nothing. Enjoy the rain while sitting inside your cozy cove. Our fall did kick-start with viral illnesses. One by one. All wickets down. First it was Sammy. Literally, the first day of fall, she was sick. Then it was Rehan. And now the husband. Thank goodness I have a rock solid immune system to get me through ;). And hopefully I have not jinxed it now. But my hope is - this too shall pass, and we will be able to enjoy the new season in its full glory.

As we welcome fall into our world we spend some quality time indoors just being. This gives me extra moments to capture and mummify in my heart for ever and ever. They are random silly moments that deserve no mention or attention. But they were pure joy for us and we couldn’t stop laughing at our funny silly kids. These are my precious. I will continue to capture as many of these as mommily-possible.

Like last evening Samaira was pulling my pants as I was trying to cook dinner. I got terribly annoyed and asked her “Sammy what are you doing?” In all her innocence and with a matter of fact expression, she responded “I am pulling your pants.” Of course. What did I think she was doing? Both Siddharth and I cracked up at her matter-of-fact delivery.

The other day when we were giving a medicine to Sammy, Rehan left whatever he was doing and ran to us and said “ma turn.” He actually said it. Crazy! My little boy is growing up too fast. Not that I am complaining. Except just a little bit.

Siddharth was eating sonf (fennel seeds - Indian mouth freshener) this one time and he gave one seed to Rehan. Sammy saw that and came running to Siddhu. Siddharth didn't pay any attention and kept eating more sonf. Sammy looked at him impatiently and finally said "Sammy is right here, daddy!" We both laughed so hard. Well, that is definitely one way to tell she wants something.

Last week we were shopping for kids’ clothes for fall when Sammy ran to the end of the aisle and stood against the wall and started shouting “Where is Sammy? Rehan, where did Sammy go?” Rehan slowly started moving toward her and screamed “aaaaaaaaaa” with excitement when he spotted her. Sammy said “There she is.” Then she pushed Rehan in the corner, which he submissively accepted, and she said “It is Rehan turn.” They did this for about 5 minutes as Siddharth and I hurriedly looked through the clearance section to spot any useful treasures. Kids keeping themselves entertained - priceless.

Btw, Rehan is one of those people who smiles when he makes a mistake. You know that kind? I belong to that kind. And he does too. It makes getting and staying angry with him a little difficult. If he does some mischief and I yell at him, he smiles at me giving a sneak peak at his bottom two teeth. How on earth am I supposed to stay mad at him? I welcome any and all advise.

Oh, and the latest. Our parent dilemma of to sleep-train or not-to-sleep-train continues. But in the meantime, Rehan knows how to get our attention. He sleeps in our room on a mattress that is next to our bed. When he wakes up in the middle of the night and we are not in the room, he cries for a bit. When we don’t respond, he climbs on our bed, reaches for the night-stand, throws the alarm clock on the floor and says “Uh oh.” He did this once and saw how instantly we came inside the room to make sure everything was ok. Now he knows what makes us tick. So he does it every time we are not in the room. Last night, he climbed on to the bed, jumped on to the night stand, got on to the other side of the night stand with his hands against the wall and knees planted firmly on the night stand - obviously stuck. Siddharth walked in the room and saw Rehan stuck between the wall and the night stand. Rehan looked at Siddharth and responded "Uh oh." My little devil.

One special one. I had given a list of about 25 restaurants to Siddharth. A list of places that I want to try. Siddharth called every single one of those restaurants to see if they could make something special for my birthday. Something that would blow my mind. He finally settled on one and kept it a surprise for me. He arranged for a baby-sitter on my birthday evening, which I knew in advance because I checked his text messages :). But I had no idea where we were going. Siddharth did give me a hint that I would be surprised at who recommended this restaurant for my birthday, because that would be me, thank you very much. Needless to say I enjoyed the food, the company, and everything about that evening!

Oh, so many moments to capture. In a timeless capsule. A new season gives me new rigor to capture and preserve. So before it gets old, let me hold it all in a place where I can look back and cherish my little monkeys.

It would be wrong to say that joy is all our kids give to us. And vice versa. They give us a lot of trouble too. Sammy is stubborn as hell. Rehan has quite a temper. The combination is quite lethal. To top it all there is my impatience. And of course Siddharth’s need to always be clean and tidy definitely does not help, especially when that expectation is from our toddlers. But we have learned to live with each other in spite of our challenges. Very happily so. Because that’s what you do when you are a family. Accept each other unconditionally.

This makes them my precious.

An awesome birthday-date-night with my precious!

My Positivity
This past Sunday. We went to Costco. That is our weekly grocery haul. We then had lunch at our favorite South Indian restaurant. We came home and spent about 45 minutes cleaning and drying all the produce. And then magic happened. All four of us – the kid #1, the kid #2, the mom and the dad – all. We slept. In the middle of the day. For three hours. Boom Bang Boom! Beat that. I know. You can’t.

Monday, September 22, 2014

My zing and my zang

My day and my night. My ying and my yang. My tick and my tock. My ting and my tang. My zing and my zang. My Sammy and my Rehan. They are two sides of the coin. They are quite similar in some ways, and quite different in others. It is so interesting to watch the differences and the similarities in their personalities. It reminds me every time I see them that it is not always about finding similarities among people, but it is also about appreciating, rejoicing, respecting and accepting the differences. Both Sammy and Rehan are caring and loving in their own way. I just have to recognize their way and love them for the way they love.

While Rehan's face forms an inverted U when we drop him at the day care, Sammy can’t wait to be with her friends and pretend like we are not even there when we are barely done saying bye.

While Rehan comes running to us at the end of the day when we go to pick him up, Sammy runs in the opposite direction and pretends to be really busy with her friends or toys so we understand to not disturb her.

While both my kids are super-stubborn (guess who they got this trait from? Hint: their mom), Sammy is easier to pacify and make understand that certain something is not allowed. Rehan on the other hand gets angry. Like really angry. He is all of 15 month old. How does a child so young know to be angry? Well, genetics do play a certain role I guess.

While Rehan is happy to eat anything and everything, Sammy refuses to eat any vegetables except for peas. I could cut carrots into the size of a sand particle and she will manage to spit that particle out!

While Sammy loves to listen to songs and rhymes and stories at the end of the day (and pretty much any time of the day), we still don’t know what makes Rehan tick. We don’t have a solution for when he cries. It is almost like our guess would be just as good as our next door neighbor’s.

So, there. They are different. And I love it. I value it. I treasure it.

They both love in their own way too.

This one time, Rehan hit Sammy with a plastic ball and I instinctively yelled at Rehan for throwing a ball at Sammy. I asked Rehan to say sorry to her. And he, in his own way, sat in front of her and touched her cheeks. That was his way of saying sorry. Sammy went ahead and hugged him and said “I love you Rehan. I love you.” Sammy on the other hand will jump and attack Rehan with her hugs and kisses when she wants to pacify him. So much so that Rehan now runs scared in the opposite direction when he sees her coming to give him a hug. We just laugh at the spectacle. Because clearly that is the right thing to do as parents.

Just yesterday, instead of sitting in her car seat, Sammy wanted to sit in the driver sit. So I let her sit there while she was pretending to drive. I leaned over to make sure she is fine and she pushed me away saying “Go away. I am driving.” I immediately fast forwarded 10 years (or maybe 5, who knows) and started imagining this dialog coming out of her mouth when she will be in her almost-teens. This dialog will surely come up in some other context, if not driving. I am preparing for it. And while there is a rebellious undertone to it, something about it made me happy. I can’t point my figure at it. It may be very hard to comprehend the possibility of liking something in that statement. But I did. I was celebrating her zing. Her streak of independence.

Most of the times, Rehan does not like to be held. He wiggles his way out of my hands the minute I try to hold him. But completely randomly, out of nowhere, to my utter surprise, he will take a break from him blocks and come give me a hug and say “mummmaa.” That. Right there. Is my zang. I celebrate that attachment. I understand it is probably an under 5 year old thing. But I will celebrate it while it lasts.

Just honoring and celebrating my zing and my zang when I have the opportunity. can only try!

My Positivity
Last sunny weekend of this summer. Spent with good people, in a good beach, at a nice hour, with nice food. There is a lot to be thankful for.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Go Gold

September is childhood cancer awareness month.

I know this kid. Actually I don’t really know him. I used to know him. Not quite though. I had never met him. I hadn’t met his parents either. We were on a common e-group. He was 7. I saw his pictures. I read his story. He was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Giloma (DIPG) last June. DIPG affects the pons portion of the brainstem, which makes nervous system function impossible. It is one of the most resistant of all cancers to chemotherapy treatments. Most patients will die within a year of detection. It primarily affects children. There is no cure. It is even said that a cure for DIPG will result in a cure for almost any type of cancer. So, I read his story. Even though I had never met him or his family, I was a part of that journey in a very tiny way. I followed him. This kid loved planes. He wanted to be a pilot when he grew up. He fought a very brave fight. I didn’t witness most of it. Only the snippets his parents shared. Every word, every sentence, every emotion, every feeling shakes you from the inside.

That’s the thing about little people. I try not to use the word “God” a lot in my writing. But I will use it today. They are God’s creation. If God could ever be proud, it should be on his creation of this thing called childhood. Children are innocent, forgiving, kind, and generous. We are born with these qualities. Each one of us. Some of just retain it more than the others. But the kids have it all. I am so jealous. So when something as disgusting as cancer happens to a kid, then all you want to do is throw something heavy across the room or scream out loud. Neither of those will make you feel better. But it will reduce the energy inside you to think or act negatively. And if God could ever feel sorry, it should be on allowing this thing called childhood cancer. Little people must not be hurt. Ever. Didn’t he understand that? I don’t know at what point a child stops being a child and starts being an adult. But children are too innocent to be hurt in such a way. I am all for learning as you grow and making mistakes and learning from them. But this is not required.

But that’s not the point. The point is that watching your child hurt is one of the worst punishments for any parent. Watching your child go through cancer is worse than the worst punishment.
When someone talks about funding for the cause I don’t hesitate to act first and think later. I don’t go about weighing the statistics for the leading cause of deaths in a country. It doesn’t matter. I don’t even go about listing the illnesses that have impacted me directly\indirectly either. It doesn’t matter. The point is that when a kid gets sick, all the idioms and axioms are rendered useless. So if I can donate for the cause, I do. And that is how we get 1 step closer at a time. To treating cancer. To eradicating this monster.

One of the things I remind myself not to do on hearing about a cancer diagnosis is to thank God for making sure that our kids are healthy and happy. And it is not because I am not thankful to God. But it is because I don’t want to make someone else’s sadness a point of solace for me. I don’t want to think about my luck and my stars when someone else seems so hurt. I never say something thankful when I see something bad happen to someone else. While I believe in counting ones blessings, I don’t think a cancer diagnosis fits under the timeline for the same. I try to just be in the moment. Think of the child\kid diagnosed with cancer. What is it that can be done to help? Be there. Say something. Don’t say anything. Just be there.

So, be kind. Be nice. Everyone is having a bad day, at some point or the other. Everyone is struggling with something. Everyone is hurting from a loss. It happens. So give people the benefit of doubt. Be nice. 

And you know what, he didn’t have cancer until the day he did. So fight cancer with all our might. Go Gold this month. At least in your heart.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Moments into Memories

I am a sucker for pictures. I view our old pictures at least once a day, if not more. Even when I have no time. I somehow gravitate to browsing through old pictures in the 5 free minutes I might get in an entire day. I am thankful that we take pictures. I am pretty sure Siddharth is also thankful because I am always so insistent, annoyingly so, on taking pictures to capture every possible moment we can. Most of the moments captured hold a very special place in my heart and each one tells a story. Story of that moment. How it happened? Why it happened? How I felt about it? How I felt in it? Looking at pictures floods my mind with snapshots of that moment. Those moments are etched as a memory, forever in me.  Sometimes these pictures refresh my long lost forgotten memories. It is precious. These pictures remember my memory, as I would have said a long long time ago.

We spent the first few days of this month basking in the sun and sand of Puerto Vallarta. It was heavenly. The vacation did us so much good that even the crazy humidity couldn’t dampen our spirits. We spent most of our time in the pool, or eating, or sleeping, or lazing. Isn’t that what vacations are meant for anyway? The weather was in fact perfect because somehow it was a perfect combination of heat, sun, overcast, rain, thunderstorms, lightening, water and wind. The pool temperature was perfect. Not cold for sure. Slightly warm. Definitely not hot. We could spend hours sitting in the pool – after breakfast, before dinner, maybe in between too. Kids could walk in the pool because it was just the right depth on the edges. I have to admit it was sometimes unmanageable to control two kids who wanted to run toward the center of the pool, or get out of the pool and run outside. Rehan wanted to throw his pool toys outside the pool all the times. Just so we could bring it back to him. Just so he could throw those again. Samaira wanted to get out of the pool every time we were in it. Or she wanted to get in the pool when we were outside of it. But who cares about these trivial logistics right? In fact, I want to go back there, just to soak in more of the same.

The best part was our vacation was the company of our closest friends and their cutest munchkins! We in fact managed to surprise them by showing up one day before they were going to arrive. Siddharth shocked them even more when he pretended to serve mimosas at the entrance of the hotel as our friends arrived. They actually accepted mimosa from Siddharth, said “thank you”, and realized a few seconds later “wait, who is that?” Company trumps all evens and beats all odds. And we had fantastic company. We spent a day roaming around the town. Shopping, site seeing, roaming, photographing, you name it.

My favorite was the old town in the city. It reminded me of Hawaii and Greece all at the same time. It has the greenery of Hawaii and the character of Greece. I wanted to spend an entire day there. I might just go back there to spend an entire day in specific parts of Puerto Vallarta. This beauty does not get old, my friend. And too much relaxation never hurt anyone.

There has been a common theme every time we have been to Mexico. At least a few people come up to us and start talking to us in Spanish. They assume we belong to the country, which, I think is splendid. It makes me blush and gloat and I take it as a huge complement. Except I don’t know the language. Oh, well! I will learn it someday. Maybe.

We did pull off a stunt in the last few hours in Puerto Vallarta. We left our SLR in the random cab that dropped us from downtown to the hotel. We realized we didn’t have our camera about 5 min after that cab left. We searched for our camera everywhere we could. Siddharth left in another cab to try and find our original cab in which we left the camera. Siddharth somehow found a friend of our cab driver, made that friend take him to our driver’s house, had the cab driver’s son call him on cell phone, waited till our cab driver reached his own home – just to find Siddharth waiting for him. In the end, however, we did not find our camera. We lost it. My heart still tugs every time I think of the last few hours we spent looking for the camera. The only solace I could find was in the notion that maybe whoever got our camera needed it more than we did. That – I can live with. Plus, I have those small tiny moments etched as a memory, forever in my heart. It is priceless. Something no one take from us. Plus, it gives us another reason to go back to Puerto Vallarta. To turn more moments into memories. We will be back for more!

Family Four-fi

My Positivity

It was a little hard this week because we lost the camera. But have you ever asked a kid what their biggest problems are? Milk. Hunger. Sleep. Poo-poo. Pee-pee. While the whole camera craziness was going on, Sammy and Rehan were unperturbed by their surroundings. They were busy fighting for The Cat in The Hat. The uszh. And that is my positivity this week. Can I become a kid again? Pretty, please?

Monday, September 1, 2014

"I am not as bad as I look," said Failure

This is like déjà vu. Like it is happening all over again. Like I have talked about it before. Multiple times, maybe. But that didn’t stop me from writing about it yet again. It is that important.

I think destiny does us a major solid each time we fail. Success makes us happy. It makes us efficient. It makes the whole world go around. So, by no means do I want to take away from the idea of success. I love success. I love to succeed. It hurts to fail. It makes me wish away failure. But here is the point. When does our real growth occur? Not quite literally. Not the physical growth. But emotion, intellectual growth. The kind of growth in which our bodily-humanity-cells grow. That growth occurs when circumstances are not pretty. When they are not picture perfect. When the outcomes are not what we expect. When we struggle. When we fail, or when we have the perception of failure. So, while success grows the world, failure grows people. I have to remind myself to greet failure and disappointment with as much dignity as I treat success. This message hits harder every time I realize how little we control in lives. Our corporate world and type A personalities will have us believe that we run the show and control the world. But, no. Oh, no. Could we be more wrong? What we can have a direct control over is our own self, our own actions, and our own thoughts. Sometimes, not even. The maximum we have over everything else is some level of probable influence. Definitely not control. This is no cop-out. This is to say that we need to draw a map of control and of influence. Neither will predict a desired outcome. But it will help us manage our efforts and therefore our expectations.

While I am trying to write all of this, a little voice in my head is going, “T – stop being all preachy and lessony. This world is full of experts and gurus. It does not need yet another 30-something, mother of two, sort-of-engineer, sort-of-business-girl giving advice on how to live life and figure out the important stuff in life." You will be amazed at the promptness with which I am able to shun that little voice in my head and get on with my life-lessony-rant. Because some things are just that important. So I lose my inhibitions, keep calm, and preach on.

So, people. Listen to me. No, I am totally kidding. Not that preachy. But seriously. Just joking.
The point is that I am trying to embrace failures and disappointments with the respect they deserve. To the point that I am still able to lament, stop lamenting, stand up and move on. I have a very, very , long way to go. But I am up for this challenge. Looking for the brighter side. The sliver-lining. The sunny-side up. Or what have you. Words can so often be our biggest enemy, but they can be powerful as well. Just writing these words and articulating these sentences can lift my spirits.

To top it all, Sammy & Rehan are there to teach me and help me course correct every time I get off the wagon. Every time I see them fall off the stairs, cry, and get back up to climb the same stairs again, I make a mental note ‘Did you just see that? What failure? What disappointment?” Remember it. For future reference.
A failure is only a failure if you let it beat you down. Or else, it could be your BFF.

And every failure in life can be overcome with some ice-cream anyway
My Positivity
My coworker mentioned this quote the other day, “Seek first to understand. Then to be understood.” Whoa. Oh hey quote, where were you all these years? Thanks for entering my life with a bang.