Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Sucker Punch

Mood:  Hyper (my coffee must have been strong today) and Irritated (why oh why does the housekeeper feel the need to come at a different time everyday and be here when I have to pick up my youngest from the bus stop???)
Listening to: Dude Looks Like a Lady - Aerosmith

I’m not sure if I’ve harped on this enough on the Internets, but my own personal Waterloo is pregnancy. Namely the fact that I would do many, many unsightly things in order to be able to have another baby. And I’m not talking about the unsightly things that happen in order to create a baby. Ahem. 

Unfortunately, Daddy G has decided that he’s done having babies in the house and it is time to move on to the next phase of our lives. I don’t recall ever agreeing to this decision, but I suppose it is what it is. I have been trying to make my peace with the fact that my uterus is no longer needed for procreation. It has been a surprisingly hard path for me. I’m usually pretty good at taking life as it comes and making the best of the situation that I’m in. For some reason, this issue has been pretty hard for me to accept for what it is and move on.

My husband’s cousin is pregnant with her first baby. I won’t mention the sex of the baby since we have some family drama going on about certain parties wanting to know what it is and certain parties not wanting to know. It’s complicated. While I’m over the moon thrilled for her, I could almost feel my heart being ripped out of my chest as she asked for any advice I had to give and what stuff was essential to buy for the baby.  It’s been almost 5 years since I walked into my house the first time with my youngest baby. It has been a long time folks. Yet it still felt like a sucker punch to the gut, having to see her pregnant (thanks a lot Skype!) and talk about why a newborn needs a fingernail clippers. That same sucker punch that got me when we moved here and got rid of all the baby clothes, a different cousin had her third son, and just about every damn time I see a brand new baby that I have to suppress the urge to squish because it’s so cute.

Folks, I’m not sure how to just calm down and let this go. I don’t want to be bitter about it (although I definitely do not agree to the way this decision was reached) and I definitely need to get over the sucker punch feeling that comes with realizing that I will never have that again every time I see it and am reminded. I don’t want to wince every time Daddy G makes a joke that our girls are getting too big and maybe we should just have another baby. I hate this because it seems tremendously cruel to me, but I don’t think he really even gets it. I want to be able to come to terms with the situation and how it is and make my peace with it.

Anyone deal with this? If so, how did you manage?


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Rituals of the Daughters

Listening to: Spies – Coldplay
Mood: Mellow

Children are big on rituals and repetition. Anyone who has been a mom or dad for more than say a year has probably had multiple lessons in this.  Books that must be read a few times every night, movies that are compulsively watched until mom or dad feels like having his or her own tantrum and breaking that stupid disk already, questions that are repeated ad-nauseum. It’s all part of child raising territory.

The G household is no exception. My eldest isn’t so bad anymore, but even at 8, she likes to know the schedule and it should resemble what she expects. My 4 year-old however, has gotten into a “helpful” streak. You know the type, where the adorable kiddo wants to be helpful but really ends up making like complicated and drawn out for you because they want to do everything.

It has really been a struggle for me to just calm the heck down and let her do her ritual. Yes, she wants to help with the laundry and the only thing she really wants me to do is validate her button choices on the washer. Will it take me a half an hour to get one load of laundry into the machine? Yes, yes it will. Is that really a big problem in the long run? Absolutely not.

The thing that makes me just calm the heck down about everything taking about 3 times longer than usual is that kids are only helpful for a very, very short period unless you are a uber parent and can train them perfectly from birth. Even then, most 10 year olds will have times when they just have better things to do than be helpful, even if it’s something expected of them. I love it that she’s helpful and I’m hoping to stretch that out as long as possible. If I’m always rushing her and giving her the message that her help isn’t really helping, she’ll not want to do it anymore.

Another thing going on here is not that she wants to do chores necessarily, but that she wants to spend some time with me and do stuff with me. Since I don’t have domestic help that does everything, I do have obligations in our home. I also have online work that takes up a considerable amount of my day.  So productive time spent with my daughter? Yes, thank you.

There are certain chores, like cooking, that I can manage to talk my eldest into helping with, but it has more to do with spending one on one time with me than actual cooking. If her sister joins in, she’s out of there.
Here at the G household, we are trying to ingrain the fact that we do indeed all live in this house and that I, the mom, am not responsible for cleaning up after everyone all the time. There are chores, and we all help split the housework. As you can imagine, this was met by quite a bit of resistance when it first started and more than a little of me walking behind the girls and making them redo stuff that they had done 

incorrectly/sloppily. I’m not talking about nit picking here people. If my kid can bring the clean, folded laundry into their own room, they can put it in the closet where it goes. Even my 4 year old can manage this fine. So when it ends up piled on the bed instead – nope, go do it right. My kids like help when they do chores. So I usually try and plan our day so that ALL of us are doing work. I’m not doing their work, but I’m also not sitting on the couch watching a soap opera and eating bon-bons. Not that I get the chance to do that anyways, but at least they feel we all have work to do.  One of the best ways for kids to learn chores is helping their mom when they’re little.

It’s adorable to see how proud little kids can be of doing things by themselves also.

So encourage children to help. It gives them a time to do something with you and gives them a sense of pride that they can be both useful and helpful.  It also sets an excellent track for them to continue on in doing chores. An example:  If I ask my 4 year old for help putting away her clothes, she tells me I cannot help her. If I tell her she has to put them away, she tells me she’s busy.  Some rituals that kids have are beyond annoying, some can definitely be used to help their development.


Friday, June 29, 2012

Butt Hangers

I found a blog today by one of the writers that I follow that had me literally laughing like a fool for a good 15 minutes. I so wish I had a little boy so we could have life lessons like this:

I love it. Keep it up Bearded Iris!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Worst Mommy at the Bus Stop

Mood: Totally chill – it’s been an excellent Saturday morning

Listening to: Well, not much.

I am not a time management super hero. There’s definitely an argument that could be put for me totally sucking at time management. I do usually manage to be somewhere if I need to though.
My youngest comes home on the bust around noon. I am expected to be at the bus stop to collect her, which is totally logical because we can’t have 4 year olds wandering around by themselves now, can we? If the bus driver/assistants can’t find a parent, they bring the kid back to school. Her teacher informed us that the bus leaves the school at 11:30. Now I’ve driven to that school more times than I can remember, and it NEVER takes less than 40 minutes to get there in a car. A car that can move in and out of traffic much easier than a gigantic school bus. The first day was kosher. I went at 12, the bus showed up at 12:15 as expected. The next day, I went at 12 and the bus was already there…waiting for me to collect my daughter. I asked all the other moms there if I was wrong about the time the bus would come. They told me that they had been asked to be at the bus stop by 11:45. I’m not really sure who told them this, but such is the way with the school my daughters attend. The next day, I went out at 11:30 just to be on the safe side. The bus again showed up at 12:15. The next two days I came at 11:45 and the bus came at 12 – all good. Yesterday, I came at 11:50 and the bus was there again, waiting for me. Not waiting for 15 minutes types mind you, the other parents were just wandering off. The bus driver got rather pissy with me and told me I had to be on time. Um, how can I be on time when you come a different time Of course the driver only speaks Kanada, the local language, so my asking him that was totally ineffective and a lost cause.

To top it all off, my housekeeper Indira has started coming early lately. When we hired her, we asked her to come at 10:30. The time slowly crept up to 12:30, and now it has come back to 10:30. I have no idea why, let’s just not go there – it will only confuse me more. There’s just no way she can be done before 12. I absolutely hate leaving her alone in the house, especially if I’m going to have to sit at the bus stop for a half an hour until 12:15. She doesn’t like leaving unless I’m home, so I find her sitting there waiting for me to come back.

I’m not really sure how this works. Is it reasonable to expect me to sit at the bus stop for a half an hour if the bus is late just so I will be there if it’s early? I’m not even sure of the physics of the bus leaving the school at 11:30 and arriving at my house at 11:45. Seems rather hoodoo-ish to me. I guess I don’t have much choice but to suck it up and sit there for a half an hour. I definitely don’t want to piss off the bus driver and have him bring my daughter back to school if I’m not there the minute he pulls up. I don’t have a car and it would be a HUGE hassle to go and get her.   Ugh. I hate feeling like the mom at the bus stop that never has her act together and can’t manage to get the schedule down.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

On What Your Kids Read

I recently read a great article written by Liz at Mom101 about another article that had been written about Cosmo being evil and teaching our daughters sexuality. I loved Liz's response to it. Go check it out. Well worth the read to prompt some thought on how you want to handle dealing with what your kids are exposed to.

How do you handle what your kids are allowed to read/watch? I'll be writing a post on this shortly. Until then, give it some thought.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

On Being Homesick

Listening to: Cartoons - not even good ones. Ugh.
Mood: Meh.

The other day, my elder daughter told me she was missing “home” and that she really wanted to go back to New York. We had a little chat about how we would definitely try to go and visit sometime, but Bangalore was our home now. We talked about the things she misses and more importantly, what she finds awesome about India.

It was a little unexpected for me, because both of my girls have pretty much adjusted like champs, not a peep to be heard. I honestly expected much more backlash because one of my nieces cried every day for 3 months after they moved here. While I’m glad they have been so adjusting and have had a great attitude, I’m glad some of this came out.

My family moved a lot when I was little. My dad has a perennially restless soul and never stayed one place for too long. This has pretty much been genetically passed along to me too. I married someone of the same nature. We've lived a rather nomadic life ourselves.

I felt really bad for her, because I remember all too well how difficult it was for me when my family moved. Fortunately, she’s much more outgoing and makes friends much easier than I did at her age. I was painfully shy. My eldest is a sensitive soul and doesn’t do well with meanness/sarcasm. Unfortunately, that’s something that she’s had to deal with a lot more now that we’ve moved. She misses the independence of getting in the car and going different places. As of right now, we don’t have a car.  She misses things being easy. She misses things being clean. I felt bad for her, because I have my own times when I miss living in the US. I LOVE living in India, but there are definitely some things from the US that I miss.

I talked to her about what helped me when I was younger, and we thought about some things she could try to help her think happy thoughts about the US but not miss it too much. After all, the plan is to visit eventually and we most likely will go back and live there after a while.

I’m hoping that when she gets a bit older, she’ll look back on this time and think of the good things she enjoyed, even if she does remember the harder parts. That’s what happened with me.


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Swearing and the Sex Talk

Mood: Stabby. Someone is doing construction in the apartment above ours and for some reason, must pound on the floor all the time. For the past week. Stabby people.

Listening to: Minority – Green Day.  As well as the pounding.

I understand why it’s thrilling for kids to swear. I remember my own illustrious track record with using the most offensive words I knew, of course never so that my parents could hear me. That would have resulted in a beating that prevented me from sitting down for a few weeks – I was much too smart to get caught. 

However, my vocabulary was quite limited until I got into Jr. High. In fact, the year I turned 13, we moved down to the Florida Keys. That was the beginning of the end. I was thrown in with a lot of kids who had a lot more world exposure than I did. What can I say, I was a sheltered kid. My “boyfriend” took perverse delight in teaching me all kinds of fun words, and hoo boy did I ever put them to good use. Some 17 years later, I still have a mind that would put a sailor to shame. My husband has finally given up his campaign to clean up my mouth when I talk to him, because really, not happening. This type thing only comes out in front of my husband, and occasionally good friends if I’ve been drinking.

One thing that I have been almost paranoid type careful about is not swearing in front of my daughters. How can I expect them to talk politely if I am not a good example? As far as I know, I have never sworn in front of them. Well folks, I’ve been relieved of the shame of being the one to break their swear word cherries. Some little punk ass kids beat me to it. Not only have they been taught a word that will make my mother faint, it’s the mack daddy of all the swear words. That’s right, it’s my favorite – Fuck. For some reason, it’s heart breaking for me to hear my 4 year old tell me that “this boy I know” Hitish says fuck all the time. I am relieved they didn’t learn it from me, but I still am pissed that they had to hear such things at a young age.

Daddy G saw red and wanted to pass out beatings to the little offender.  I vetoed that idea, as we are trying to avoid beating the G-lets. I sat the girls down and explained exactly what “fuck” means and told them I expect it not to come out of their mouths for at least 15 more years, longer for the youngest. My husband came in after they went to bed and asked me how I explained it.  

“It’s an extremely rude word for what mommies and daddies do to make a baby.” Was my calm reply.

He burst out into embarrassed, amused laughter.

“What?” I asked as innocently as possible.

“Oh nothing, it’s just so…accurate.”

“Well Daddy G, it’s more fun to say if the meaning is a mystery. It’s also less fun to say if it doesn’t embarrass your parents.”

“I can’t believe you just talk to them about sex like that.” He said, turning as red as his brown skin allows.

Sigh. “Daddy G, if it becomes a non-taboo subject and they feel we can talk about it, I’m hoping it won’t be something they feel the need to sneak around and discover on their own in a non-responsible way”

“Still.” He said, still embarrassed.

“I cannot believe you are such a prude about these things. You certainly didn’t balk when you and I explored sex in the most irresponsible way ever.”

“Can we not talk about sex, us, and our daughters in the same sentence??” he begged, rapidly backing out of the room.

“Chicken!” I called after him.

At least one of us is going to be a grown up about the sex conversation. Until then, to the little punk who teaches my daughters offensive words: I have 22 years of learning on you. I can put your little behind in place without using those words at all. I suggest you don't try me. I know who your mother is also, and I'm sure she wouldn't approve.