shh.

Yesterday k got back home right after work instead of heading for his own steam blowing workout session, in no small measure thanks to a phone call in which I must have sounded at the end of my wits as I juggled a very hyper 16month old who wanted to go out to play, a 6 year old I throes of a craft phase (but we must make 10 glittery ice cream bars for my shop) and a 9 year with science and Urdu test revision in play. Might I mention here that no matter how much hired help you have, there are days when everyone just congregates to that one foot of space around you, constantly. Khair, back to my story. It was 6:30 which meant the days tolls had taken place on all of us and the monstrous avatars  we try to keep firmly chained during the day were biting at the bit.

He arrived took stock and took over one and half kids while I quickly propelled the day forward to our favourite point on such days- bedtime. (Can you hear, nay practically FEEL my sigh of bliss down to your toes?)

Once the kids were out, there was complete silence and after the cacophony of three varying agendas being demanded at once, let me tell you it sort of feel like suddenly being submerged into water, where there is an extreme sense of awareness but also a gratifying lull in the pace of time. K and I then went around the room putting stuff away, minimal words really. No chatter on how the day was, no hug, no interaction nothing. We had our dinner also in the same way, padded in the cottony silence and then finished our episode of Good Wife. There was the next day to plan, work emails to be sent and while usually chatty, talking about the day, yesterday I was depleted. All I wanted was quiet. To somehow redeem myself from the Jekyll like persona that had gripped me in that last hour, I needed to literally mute.

While the numbers were equal I never really realised the immense draw of “emotional crutching” that is required from the person who is (merely by the chance of being more available) a primary caregiver. We are the police, the doctors, the huggers, the fixers, the bad cops, the managers, chefs, waiters, the CEOs- basically several hundred worth of job titles rolled into that one mama. It’s a sensory overload of feelings and beings on some days- to the point that all you really crave is a cool dark cave, with good wifi of course.

I didn’t say anything to k last night, and while maybe it was the general vibe of heaving sighess around me that was the give away, he was smart enough to keep his distance and throw the coffee and cheesecake at me. Good man.

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Monster me 

I absolutely hate yelling at the kids. Or needing to talk to them in a tone where there is no room for discussion or leeway. Ideally we would have a relationship where I would require something and if they aren’t able to fulfil that they would negotiate other reasonable terms with me. Is that too much to ask? Don’t answer that.

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So of course I often find myself in that place where I have to be communicating my thoughts not only sternly but in a tone that’s several octaves higher than what makes me feel human. And sometimes in the middle of that yell-fest, I will teleport above my screamy self and watch hovering above the scene, how horrid and crazy I actually can look while trying to get something or the other across to these kids that I love with all my  all. It’s stunning the irony that these very people who I would literally jump in front of a moving bus for are the ones that manage to evoke this face contorting exasperation and fury.
One of my standing annual resolutions has always been to be a zen-ner parent. The one who will get the message across in modulated lyrical tones rather than angsty high pitched ones. For most part I think there has been tremendous improvement and then suddenly a day appears where my carefully constructed and managed Jenga tower of emotions and control will come crashing down and I am back at square one, painstakingly collecting blocks to start over.

Does it damage my kids forever? I sincerely hope not. I tend to be somehwat humourous when angry and my examples and comparisons always elicit some giggles along with the fear and sulk from them. I am hoping in the long run my crazy love otherwise for them will cancel it the negatives and they will walk on forth with just the positives. Fingers crossed. And oh yes, resolution renewed for the new academic year yet again.

Recap: Suddenly Seven

I used to do these recaps fairly often back in the early days of parenthood, excitedly logging in gurgles and sounds and quirks and likes and oddball bits of information with much love and clearly more time. Reading back it makes me glad I did because the memory is an odd thing, and while some things come into sharp focus as the years go by, so many little fun things melt into a warm blurry mess. And since Nadi’s seventh birthday just passed, what better time to put down for posterity some of those things that I want to one day embarrass him with?

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Dear Nadooni,

Watching you with your friends is unreal. The relationships, the conversations, the self assured way you suddenly fall into a leader role, the nuttiness and especially the happy vibe you exude that draws your friends to you are all things I watch with fascination, especially since you were a shy little person not too long ago.

I love that you ask questions I have never even thought of, about things I haven’t noticed in detail.

We have had our battles, you and I, but we both know we are each other’s best champion, even in the middle of what you right now call a “daanto”. Isn’t that cool?

I know you love me but how you are with your dad is unreal. It’s like a force field of love and I can see it emanating from your eyes as you follow his every move to try and emulate his existence. From what he wears to a repeat of his phrases and his interests and habits. It is borderline creepy. Some days I get jealous. I have to admit. But mostly I am just mushy.

Everyday as soon as you come back from school, even before changing out of that filthy uniform, you must grab a paper from the printing tray, reach out for whatever pen is handy and start drawing. It is almost like the school day isn’t complete till your hands have sketched out something- expelled that leftover energy brought in from the playground. Once done is when you finally focus and get going on the usual routine.

You are quite impressed with the fact that post workouts my arms have become”tighter” and that I also sweat (like Abba, you said in starry eyed wonder) but then you grab my arm from underneath and tell me I need to work harder since it is still “quite squishy”.

When Lily says a longer, fancier word or sentence than what we are used to hearing, you will cock your eyebrow at me above her head with that barely contained grin you have and we will both share a moment of pride and excitement at how grown up and amazing she is.

You are a complete push over when it comes to her. From packing up her endless lines of animals to going to the other end of the house to fetch her Elsa’s shoes, you will grumble and huff but comply. You love annoying her as well. And when you think I am not looking, you will do something to bug her, which when I call you out upon, you will cheekily answer to with “But that’s what brothers are for!” I don’t quite know where you picked up that line but it makes me laugh.

You are a creature of habit where food is concerned. Just like me and your Nanna. You can have the same thing day and day out for years. Happily.

Your obsession with characters of a villainous nature is going strong. You find them interesting, studying their mannerisms and intentions to a point of exhaustion. Your villains of the hour right now are Hans who has reached delightful new lows in your eyes because he pretended to be good and Megamind whose dialogue “Remember, bad guys always lose” you have repeated ad nauseam to the point when both Lily and Leens are quoting is as a mantra.

One only needs to say the word “poop” for you to start giggling crazily. I don’t get it. I thought it was a boy thing till Lily and Leens also followed suit. Now I just think its mad.

I love watching you with Aanoo. It’s like your face physically morphs into this mushy looking, soft eyed pulp. You talk to her in this weird baby-like tone (which we all agree is quite scary but in a terribly endearing way) and she completely responds by always trying to touch your face. It’s oddly reminiscent of you with Lily when she was a baby. You are exactly the kind of big brother these 3 girls will use to their hearts content to get away with god-knows-what.

These days you (and Lily) love hearing stories of when me, Maii and Bia were small. You want details on what we did, where we lived and what our fights were about. I am really enjoying this as well, because it is jogging my memory on details I thought I had forgotten.

You can do all those daily little things on your own now. Eat your food. Take a bath. Style your hair. Tie your laces. Make your chocolate milk. Choose your clothes. And yet you still want me to be next to you every night just as you fall asleep. Thank God for that. It’s true what they say, that the days are so long but the years are so short. I love you so so very much my baby boy. Always be as you as you can be.

Love, Mama

 

 

the signs are everywhere

Nadi: Mama, what does that sign mean?

Me: It means that you shouldn’t blow your horn loudly because there is a hospital nearby.

Nadi (after a bit): And what does that sign mean?

Me: That sign means that no trucks are allowed here.

Nadi: And that one?

Me: That you should not turn this side.

Nadi: So all these signs tells us what are bad things to do?

Me: Not bad but yes not right. Things that are not allowed.

Nadi: So why are there no “No lying” or “No pushing” signs put up all here there, everywhere?