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.

when the cat stays at home

Six months ago yesterday, on November 30, after a series of some unfortunate events and people, K left his last job under not the most ideal of circumstances and not the way he would have liked.

It was literally on his birthday that the decision was expedited (yes timing was sucky), semi unexpected (you can always sense doom can’t you?) and then in equal parts both thrilling, a massive relief and scary. Thrilling because December was coming up, friends and family returning for the inter holidays and it meant he would be around (unless he got a new job immediately of course, but somehow at that point I wasn’t factoring that in). It was a massive relief because toxic environments are never any good, no matter how good you are at what you do. And scary because, well, three kids and only a part time working me and allll this upcoming time at home.

Now we aren’t the kind of couple who need their space too much and we are quite happy o toddle along with the kids doing our stuff together, and yes here I am talking about those brainless mall jaunts as well as the annoying grocery runs. He is fairly laid back and I am not so laid back but somehow we manage to make it all relatively painless for each other. Mostly. I hope. But here we were facing  yawning chasm of time- completely unplanned and also with no timeframe to the togetherness. It could be weeks or God forbid, years. What would we do with each other?

I could jazz it all up angsty wife style and talk in aggravated detail of the few days where we were literally on each other’s faces. Like wherever I turned he was there, and while when I am handing over the baby, it’s a great thing, when I want some alone time to work or spring clean (yes I spontaneously do that) or just lie and stare at the ceiling like a zombie, HE WAS THERE. Not really wanting anything, mind you but just around, standing or sitting or breathing. BEING THERE. Even being HELPFUL, sometimes. Most annoying and even more unrestful.

But mostly the last six months were quite fantastic and I wish it was part of adult and working life that you had to raise a baby together for the first year because it makes allll the difference to one’s sanity to have four hands. It isn’t only about the help (even though thats a huge part of it) it’s also about the time to have conversations when kids are in school, it’s about having him be a full time person in our lives, part of the muck of baths and lunch and lego emergencies and doll play and the chaos of that 4pm cabin fever, not one that is stuck at work and hearing about everything in past tense and coming home to clean and sleepy children.

I will not say that K didn’t worry. I think he would be inhuman to not, given we are all by products of a rather conventional culture where work is WORK. And mind you we got a lot of well meaning but mostly really daft advice on how he should take up ANYTHING that came his way. Even if it was a step down and even if it wasn’t anything he wanted to do. But I stood my ground. We were not going to settle. He would find and take up only what felt right. We were lucky. We had savings and freelance projects to see us through this “difficult” time. I use these beloved inverted commas here mainly because I feel like I am cheating when I focus on the apparent stress and tension being jobless has attached to it. Oh I admit very freely that panic can easily skirt at the edges of existence every day because if you let yourself go down the very steep path of what if, you can imagine alll sorts of scenarios. But I think I am a bit different that way. I know that things open up that we cannot even imagine if we are patient and right and kind and basically awesome. And I pretty much rail-roaded K into my way of thinking also. I believe and not just to say because I sound cool or calm, that what is our right, what we deserve is created by the kind of people we are, the kind of actions we perform on a daily basis.

Many things did come our way, some potential filled, others complete busts but on their own they would either fizzle out or fall through. We heard chatter on how he was over qualified, on how there are just no jobs for his position right now and all sorts of practical blah blah that people feel helps justify why something isn’t happening. My take was always it’s not happening because it isn’t meant to, yet. When it is, trust me, and I said this to him often enough to be labelled annoying, the opportunity will literally be created out of thin air and everything happen without us even trying. This has been the pattern I have most detected – to have faith in powers we cannot even begin to understand, and not give into the human induced panic that flutters into being when there is something we cannot control.

I really couldn’t bring myself to panic, given we were having a great time. The kids were thrilled after the initial shock of oh you’re still here and found it so easy to switch half their incessant need for chatter to him (oh yay). He was able to be a part of their lives in ways he had only heard of in fairytales before. I didn’t have a hard time thinking of it as a holiday sabbatical and yes, I know, it doesn’t happen to everyone.

So yes, it all played out at incredible speed in the last 10 days and he is back at work today, hopefully in a job he will love and thrive in, of course, but can we please have a moment of silence for all the times I was able to switch off in the last six months without worrying and another moment of silence for the extra 20 minutes of nap time I got very often. I will miss having them around. Err him, I mean of course.

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Midnight Feasts of the Grown up kind.

It was the days of 35/S. I remember waking up once in the middle of the night and following a trail of laughter and conversation to the kitchen with the round rotating top table, only to find all the adults of the house indulging in what seemed like a midnight pagan ritual of eating without the little people. It seemed wrong and oh so secret and simultaneously so completely exciting. I recall vaguely sharing with cousins and siblings the next day that indignation of our parents looking so happy and chatty in the wee morning hours and that too, without us. If I squint hard enough, I see khajla pheini on the table, and anda paratha and I can smell the tea. The one that is made in saucepans not in kettles.

Perhaps because I am that parent zone right now, a lot of my own childhood memories seem to be sliding back into consciousness. I am remembering details and regurgitating instances that I had even forgotten I was aware of, much less that they had imprinted in my mind. Sehris at my mother’s house  have always been a time of conversation, laughter (and fights too) and time spent together. Having hailed from a family of mostly morning people, we would be at our best most hysterical at this point, truly turning it into a fun if exhausting get together. Though my own family now  is smaller and younger right now,  and K is definitely less of a lets-socialize-at sehri person, today, Lily scuffled into the kitchen at 3:30am while we ate and chatted, and then as she stood there, staring at us with a mixture of quizzical fascination and bewilderment,  I was suddenly transported back to that night when I walked in and discovered the grown ups having fun without us.

Because I will forget and I don’t want to.

Random conversation just now.
Nadi: Do you know you came out of Mama’s tummy?
Lily: NO I DIDN’T!!
Nadi: Yes you did. Ask mama.
Lily: Mama Nadir telling lies!!
Me: No it’s true you did. You grew in my tummy then the doctor took you out.
Lily (worriedly): But why did you eat me?

‪#‎becauseyouareyummy‬ ‪#‎nadilily‬ ‪#‎longsummerafternoons‬ ‪#‎summerhols‬

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Maleficent vs Lord Business playing out on my shoulder
(complete with sound effects) is just not conducive to any kind of concept and design work.

#workfromhomewhydontyou #summerhols #nadilily #play #freelancelove

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Way too early morning craft talk today.
Lily: mama will you make me a cutout with the strong glue?
Me: UHU?
Lily (confused and a tad but panicked): Mama it’s me Leila!!

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It was World Day parade today at her school and Leila was- wait for it- a “Pakistani”.
Some gems she has shared with us this week on being one are:
1. Pakistanis only eat chapati.
2. They wear red Kurtas.
3. Only boys are Pakistani. (so in the spirit of the parade, she was a boy today)
4. They talk in “sla-laikumm”
5. They sing the national anthem together when happy.
6. Pakistani’s cousins are from France

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Both kids have declared that it’s “cheating that the REAL heart looks nothing like the drawing heart” and that “it’s not even the right shade of red”.

#reality #nadilily #verylongafternoons #biologyfail

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Hey Leila- why do you want to be an astronaut when you grow up?
Because I want to.
Yes but why an astronaut?
How else will I see the stars Mama?

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The Lily Diaries – tips on staying moisturized.

Turn around and finding lily smearing my favourite cream all over herself liberally.
Me: what do you think you are doing???
Lily: Puttin’ cweam!
Me in utter exasperation: Kaisee HO tum Leila!!
Lily: Sho shoft, Mama.