Category Archives: Mommy

Making a wrong choice

I have been preoccupied. I have been debating myself on how exactly to pen this post. so here I go … It’s a rather long post, so please bear with me 🙂

Last year around this time, the start of spring I was busy looking for a good school program for the kids. The public school where we live does not have a preK program and they were out growing their day care program. When I started looking around, there were way too many options, private Pre-K and Kindergarten  programs seems to be a very good business. Every program was unique and promising in its own way. It just added to my confusion. I knew that my little boys who had then just turned 4 were very shy kids who needed time to adjust and get used to a new place. I evaluated every program available in my neighborhood and zeroed down on a school which had a part time program. I knew that my parents would be coming to spend the winter with us, so I knew I had backup at home for the hours when I would be working. I did not want the kids to be over stressed with studies this early and the school looked nice and comfortable to me. The classes were bright and colorful; the teachers came with a 20 year experience. “They must have seen it all” said D. I geared up for the initial struggle that I knew was coming. Pulling the boys out of the day care was going to be a big challenge, since the boys loved that place.

The first day went fairly well, the boys were a little afraid of the big building. This was a big school which went on till 8th grade. I remember how D and I had discussed that as the boys get adjusted, Kindergarten would be a cake walk.

As the days went the teachers opened their box of complaints. Every day after the school ended, I was asked to stay back till every parent had left after picking their kids up. I waited every day to listen how my boys refused to make a necklace out of beads or use scissors to cut simple shapes. I was surprised, because these are the things that they had already done in their preschool program. This was definitely not the first time my boys were going to a school. I came back frustrated not knowing how to deal with this problem. I knew that the boys would cry at drop off, that I was ready for. I was not ready for performance complains from teachers. A part of me was concerned wondering what was going on and the other was confused. The first thing I did when I got home was to give the boys some beads and asked them to make a necklace. I had no issues in making them do the tasks. That confused me further. Lack of skills was definitely not the issue.

Days passed but the complaints did not go away, the teachers were clearly not happy with the boys. Now they started saying that my boys lacked social skills. Now this was something that really told me that something was wrong, terribly wrong in the judgment. My boys can be everything, but the one thing that defines them is how extremely social they are. BB is known for being a chatterbox and junior for being able to adjust to every age group. But I did not want to be that parent who lived in denial. I started talking with my pediatrician; he saw nothing missing in my boys. “Give them time” he said. The same thing I have been telling the teachers. I reached out to the principle of the school. How can I help my boys ? What can you do to help my boys? These were the only two things I wanted to know. I know that my boys were ex-preemies, if they are having trouble adjusting or if there is something that needs to be done, I would rather do it now and get it sorted out. Sadly, no one could give me any answer. Months went by; the teachers started hinting at me that I have to repeat pre-K for the boys. I was still not convinced. Not that I did not want to hold them back, I was not convinced that they needed to be held back. I still am not convinced.

Nothing at school has changed in the last 7 month, except for the fact that my boys have a special dislike for school now. I am still asking the teachers how I can help my boys come up and do whatever the teachers expect them to do. At 5, my boys can recognize all alphabets, they know about 60 sight words, and they can write all alphabets. They have their group of friends and they talk nonstop. They play T-ball. Yes, they are still a little shy with strangers, but they do warm up pretty fast.

I made a mistake in not pulling them out, but I thought at that time that shifting them to a new school might send a wrong message to the boys and they would take more time settling down at the new place too. I have asked the teacher several times how she can help my boys get adjusted, but I never got a response. May be they needed some extra help, may be some kind of additional push. I can’t say exactly what. I can’t be at the class to do what I do with them at home. Whatever the boys have learnt so far, they have learnt at home. I cannot go back in time to change what happened; I guess I will have to live with this regret.

I have talked with many parents, and from what I understand the problem is, is that the teacher expects all children to behave alike, react alike or at least in a similar fashion. We were extremely fortunate to have had a pre-school teacher who was very involved with my boys. When they were younger and with Miss J, I never heard the word “they cannot…” from her. She was always positive and full of ideas. They need to do this project, here is what we can do to help them learn. In this school, I have heard a lot of things but what I have not heard is “here is what we can do to see if that helps”.

Last 7 months I have trained myself by going to websites on how to teach the boys handwriting, every day after office hours, I sat with them trying to teach them things they were supposed to learn at school. They were 4! It is not like they need to know the encyclopedia. Learning should be fun, at least that is how I look at it. If they get weary of school at the beginning, what kind of academic life are we looking at? I am not a teacher or someone skilled at evaluating children, and that is why I guess we have educational institutes and teachers. The school my boys go to is till the 8th grade, they have experienced teacher. If they can not answer one simple question that “what should I do to help my boys” who will ?

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Reasons

Junior comes and hugs me, “I love you Mommy”. My heart melts and I hug him tight . Looking into his eyes, I ask him, how much do you love Mommy? He enthusiastically spreads his arms, and this time he adds, “I love you Mommy because …”, I encourage him to complete his sentence, Yes sweetheart you love Mommy because ? My little boy runs away adding .. “Because you shoo the bugs away”!!!

I Love You

Someone shared this on their facebook wall today, and I fell in love with the poem 🙂

So true ..

I am your PARENT, you are my CHILD

I am your QUIET PLACE, you are my WILD

I am your CALM FACE, you are my GIGGLE

I am your WAIT, you are my WIGGLE

I am your DINNER, you are my CHOCOLATE CAKE

I am your BEDTIME, you are my WIDE AWAKE

I am your LULLABY, you are my PEEKABOO

I am your GOODNIGHT KISS, you are my I LOVE YOU

To be a Mother

A few days back I met someone who had once asked me why I wanted to have a baby. The question at that point had taken me by surprise. During those days we were busy taking care of our premature new born boys. Our world had changed suddenly and we had way too much to learn and cope up with. I do not think I had the energy at that moment to process her question in my tired mommy brain, so I just gave some vague answer about the joys of parenthood. I am not sure how convincing I was because I smelled of baby formula and my hair was a mess. When I met her again last week I remembered her question. It just got me thinking.

I do not remember when was the first time that I thought about becoming a mother. May be, it was somewhere after a couple of years of dating D, we both started talking about the fact that we wanted children in the future. I did not think about why I wanted to embrace mommy hood, but the desire to see an extension of us had started. I think both D and I have interesting personalities. Nothing ground breaking, but interesting in our own way. I love how we can be silly at any point of time and try not to take anything too seriously. Both of us have been fiercely independent, but we ended up quite dependent on each other for a lot of things. We are opposites in many ways, D can sing very well, I am musically challenged and tone deaf to a certain extent; he is a great cook, I very frequently set off the smoke alarm; I love reading, D starts snoring the moment he picks up a book; I am a sucker for romantic movies, he tells me every day how much he hates them; He has an inbuilt GPS in his brain, I am direction blind.  So I wanted to see another little person who would be a mix of the two of us. I wanted to see if s/he would inherit our quirkiness or our passion for travel. I hoped that s/he would love books like I do, and had D’s skill of seeing through people. There were so many things that had started building up in my heart. I do not remember questioning this thought ever. I just wanted a child of our own (who knew we would be doubly blessed 🙂 ).  After they were born, when they finally wheeled me to the NICU and we both saw the boys, the first thing we did I guess was to bend over the incubator and try to figure out who the little fellow looked like. It was tough to decide, considering the amount of wires and machines they had around their tiny bodies and the fact that I almost had no eye sight because of my DKA at that point. Even now I look at my boys and see a little bit of both of us in them. It just brings a warm feeling to my heart. The exact feeling I used to have when I had thought of having children many years back. I do not think I would still have a proper answer to the question…Why did I want to have a baby? I don’t know. I just did, and I knew nothing can be better than the feeling of life inside me. I do not have any words to describe the moment, when I felt the boys move inside me for the very first time. I think I skipped a heartbeat. It is a privilege to be able to create life, to be able to give birth. I would not have given that up for anything in this world. But still I do not think I have an answer. Every day after a hard day’s work at office, when I meet my boys and the way the run and hug me, I just sit still and soak it all up as much as I can. Why I wanted a baby? May be because I just wanted to be a mother. 🙂

How do you manage?

One of the many questions that I inevitably face almost every other day from fellow parents is “How do you manage twins? It must be so stressful. ” Usually, I mumble some random answer or just laugh it away. To be very honest, I have never found twin parenting to be very difficult.  I had either my mother or my MIL to help me out during the first two years of motherhood. By the time they left, the boys were already on a fixed schedule. They ate together, they napped together everything was in a set pattern. I co slept with them, so I was never sleep deprived.  I did not get back to work till they were 3, so I had all the time in the world. We went shopping together, we went to the park, we read books and then when I had to cook or clean or just laze around with my computer, they played around me with each other. And of course there was D! I never had to do anything alone when he was home or was working from home. We had our share of stress with the surgeries, the delays, the never ending throw ups. But then I guess we ended up having more fun.

In my mind, it’s easier to manage twins. I had t do everything once.  My boys gave up the bottle together, they learnt to eat by themselves together, and they got potty trained together. All I had to make sure was that they do not hurt themselves or each other.  When I read a book to them, I did not have to read the same story twice to each of them. Plus they had each other whenever they got bored of me. Parenting in itself can be very difficult at times, but I do not think that parenting twins is something extremely different than having two kids of different age. In fact, I found it easier because they are on the exact same schedule.

Another thing is that, I do not find being a parent to be extremely difficult. The fact is, even after I got back to work, with my office-work and the kids, I do get a lot done now than before I was a mother. Before I had my boys, my social life was restricted to the weekend. Now I meet other parents at the park every evening. Some of whom have become my close friends. We girls take our time off from kids to watch movies, go out for an occasional drink, text each other throughout the day, and in general just be giggly girls at times. Our husbands play cricket together. In the park, I have found someone who is now an extremely close friend of mine.  And the weekday fun is not just limited to the park. D and I often go to other random places with the kids during the week. It is now easier to eat out with the kids, so we take them out to restaurants or just for an ice-cream.  Our favorite place is a lake very close to where we live. We take the boys there and just watch them run around and throw pebbles in the water. It is not that I do not stress or complain. There are the melt downs and the naggings and all the other things that a 4 year old boy can do.  A simple trip to the grocery store needs a ton of planning!! But then they will be 4 only once. And I am learning too. Each day I promise to be more patient with them, only to forget it the very next morning 🙂 but to be very honest, it’s really really fun. Even with all the tantrums, meltdowns, whining and crying! I will not trade this for anything. It IS double trouble, and double the fun.

Car Crash

Accidents, even the smallest and simplest of them can be scary. Today I was involved in one. It was not simple and it was somehow I think my fault in judgment. Right now, I am drawing a blank on what exactly happened, but before I knew I was hitting the tail light of the car in front of me. The kids were in the car. I am still shaking from the whole experience. Thankful that everyone is safe and it was nothing serious. I do get effected with these things, so even though I have smiled through most part of my evening, went through the daily routine, I just cant get the sound of the cars hitting each other out of my head. BB got so scared in his car seat, he started crying. I can’t get his words out of my head. He kept on saying “Mamma I am scared” !! Poor baby!! Junior was fussing for a pizza moments before this happened, just forgot all about the pizza and was suddenly very quiet. I do not remember how it happened, but I can’t forget what the boys were doing the moment it happened.

Thankful that we are home and safe, but still shaky !!

Salaam Mumbai

I know… This line is getting over used and corny!

Yesterday morning when I received a BBM from one of my old friends telling me about the bomb blast, I slumped into my chair. Mumbai and I have had a very special relationship. Images of days gone by flashed before my eyes. I got very concerned about the well being about each and every piece of Mumbai I know. My friends, their friends and families… the places…the little boy who sat at the phone booth near my office … every little bit of Mumbai I knew. Are they all OK ?

This has happened in the past, it has happened again.Everyone seems to be getting more and more used to these attacks on humanity, I just cannot come to terms with it. This is not normal. This cannot be regular. I will not accept. And why Mumbai? It is the city of dreams… not nightmares ..

I was introduced to Mumbai by one of my college best friends. She used to keep calling me to come and join her in Mumbai, while I was happy and comfortable in Pune. Pune was home. I never could imagine myself to be a part of the fast paced Mumbai. I was far too laid back to be a part of that city. The crowd overwhelmed me, I felt small and lost. She introduced me to the restaurants where Mumbai glitterati frequented; we used to take long walks by the sea. She introduced me to the Bombay sandwiches and the cutting chais. I used to go and meet her every month and she kept selling Mumbai life
to me with every visit. I resisted. She insisted.

Fate has its own ways and I got an offer from a leading company in my field around 2002 which I could not resist. The fear of the crowd and local trains was not strong enough to stop me from taking the offer up I guess. Mumbai welcomed me like it does to the hundreds that come to her, with an open arm and a warm smile. Little did I know
that the coming 2 years would not only be the best in my life but would also change me as a person, for better!!

Mumbai has given me a lot. It gave me a bunch of crazy girl friends, some amazing moments and it introduced me to ME. It taught me the very basic lesson of life, live for your own self, if you are happy everyone else around you will be happy too. So many
memories from that city. Memories of those nights when I used to pack dinner home and sit by my window and eat, the endless traffic would never stop. I would sit there and the city by my side, and read my favorite authors at night.  It never let me feel lonely. Not a single moment. There is this one very special memory from Mumbai; I reached
Mumbai in March, and it was my birthday in April. I had never been alone on my
birthday till then.  I guess I was a little sad at the thought of being away from my friends in Pune that year, I think a few girls at work just figured that out. They had come from different cities too. We did not know a good place to go .. so they all took me to the
Juhu beach, bought a small cupcake for me and we sat feet in sand .. enjoying
the breeze .. and became friends. Shared chocolates with some street kids and
just sang the night away. I have had many birthdays before and after, at expensive places, with many other friends, but to me that was the best celebration I ever had. That’s Mumbai … Full of love and surprises at every corner. Ask and you shall receive.

It’s a city, which teaches you how to live,how to love, and how to be happy on your own terms. I eventually left Mumbai to be with D, taking a part of it in my heart, and leaving behind a part of me with her.

She has been through so many assaults, so many lives were lost … Why ? What does this prove or solve ? I do not understand how religion works, or what political agenda works behind such attacks. I am just another mother concerned about the world her kids are growing up in. I hope people start valuing life a little more. It takes a lot to create life, nurture it and give it a shape. It is not cheap. Every mother knows that. Yet so many mothers lose their children to war and such attacks.  I do not think I will ever understand why one human would even want to kill another one. How much hatred could lead to do that? I don’t want to know.  I just want to give my children a better world, like all other mothers out there. Is that too much to ask for? I want my boys to see Mumbai and embrace it like their mother had once done. I don’t want them to meet a scarred Mumbai… The spirit of Mumbai is what makes Mumbai and I want my boys to see that one day … In all its glory. Is that too much to ask for ?

-Peace.