Help

Last week, I was in my yoga class. As usual mind wandered off in the middle of pose and I was thinking, it was probably just after seven o clock. Nanny would have left and Murali is now taking care of kids. I was actually mad on him for some reason (in my defense, very valid reason πŸ™‚ ) and when I realized what he was doing at that moment while I was taking some personal time for me, my feelings changed completely. All of a sudden, I was not mad anymore.

You know I then thought, there are not many husbands around, who are okay with wives spending time away like this while they had to stay home and care for kids, that too after a really long day. Not once has Murali said anything against me going to Yoga. One of the Saturday nights, I was actually talking about going to Yoga Sunday morning as well. I said if I wake up early, I will go. You know what he said. He said, “It shouldn’t be like, if you wake up you will go. You should wake up so that you can go”. It didn’t work out the day after, but the next Sunday, I made sure to wake up in time to go to the class, just because of what he said earlier. And trust me, it was the best yoga class I had. It felt so good that after coming back, I gave Murali a hug, thanking him for making me go. How many people are supportive of their wives taking some personal time for yoga like this.

And it is not just allowing me to make time for yoga. Over the last two-ish years, I feel that, Murali has been as much parent as I have been. He has changed diapers, gave kids bath, fed them, put them to bed, entertained them and everything. Everything I have done, he has too. I feel so lucky to have that help around me. Every time someone asks me how do I manage all the work, home, kids etc., my answer always is, ‘My husband helps a lot’. He is truly the best help I could have. Especially when it comes to parenting, it is not just the help with diaper changes etc. that I need. But also, help with teaching kids the right things. Setting the limits like we do. Reading to them; Telling them what is okay vs. not okay; There are many things both parents need to be same page on and I am so glad that I have that with Murali. I have seen my life when people around don’t get the parenting approaches I follow and it is a hell. To have someone, especially husband, understand what we are doing and to do it together is a real blessing. It also helps a lot because, at times, I step out of the line and do something I shouldn’t be doing and he would be there to correct it or just calm me down.

When Abhi and Achu just turned an year old, our current nanny just started working for us. Bringing Abhi and Achu out of their low percentile weights was really a challenge and pain point for me. So I carefully planned their meals, gave our nanny all the instructions and let her do TV-time when kids are eating, so they would eat something. One evening, I come home, nanny tells me that kids ate well that day and she found some Telugu TV songs on some channel that is catching kids attention and that they ate without any complaint. Then it became a regular thing to watch those things when kids were eating. There was certainly something disturbing about what kids were watching, but I was too happy and occupied with their actual consumption of food to notice anything else. When Murali came home on the weekend, and saw what kids were watching, he gave me this look and asked me why kids were watching those sleazy songs. Only then did I realize that, that was what was bothering me too. That was no content kids should watch, no matter what age. I came to my senses and told nanny to not play those songs and try something else. She switched, and eventually kids liked something nice for them and ate. That should have been so obvious to me and it just wasn’t. That’s when we mothers need the help. Isn’t it? That way even if we unknowingly make mistakes, there is someone to correct it.

More than the help itself, I think the most precious thing to me is that I know how much he has changed after he became a dad. Truly, there were times I worried how Murali would be as a dad and I am just amazed at how patient he has become now. We have a strict 2 hour TV policy for kids. Weekdays, we do less than 2 hours, usually. And most of the times on the weekend, it is always me who loses patience and lets kids watch something. Murali, instead, always finds some thing to play with kids; some way to entertain them. It is thanks to him that kids (and me as well)Β have so much interest and know about solar system. He pretends like we are solar system, we all get to pick a planet and we go around our big orange ball. He so very patiently teaches them how to sort peanuts and beans (he also cleans up later πŸ™‚ ). He pretend plays harry potter bank withdrawal and deposit. Kids are always running behind him asking for experiments to do. Even after the very long and tiring day, he always makes energy and time to take kids out for a walk, without any help. He is the one who plays guitar for kids, indirectly makes them sing.

Add to all that, almost every other day, he is either cooking or cleaning. Sometimes I wish, he would go out to play cricket or tennis like other guys do and instead, he spends all the weekend morning taking care of kids and even cooking lunch and dinner while I makeup for my sleep time. He has an upcoming trip for a week. While I was excited for him to go, he said he was having second thoughts about the trip, worrying about how I will manage the two for a whole week (Don’t worry, I will make my revenge plans πŸ˜‰ ). Oh and it would be so wrong if I didn’t write about how he puts up with my culinary skills and silently eats all the food I make, without a single complaint. I mean, sometimes even I cant eat my food, but he manages somehow. πŸ™‚

Sometimes, I feel sad that if it is not me, it is him doing all the chores and that it is either one of us getting tired eventually. But I feel so good that Abhi and Achu get to see both their parents spending time with them equally. Every day morning, there is drama of Abhi and Achu don’t want to go to nanny and want to sleep and cuddle with me (seriously, this goes for like 30 minutes every day), but on the weekends, neither of them even notices that I am in the same room. As long as there is nanna, they have everything they need πŸ™‚ .

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The Talk

Abhi wakes up in the morning with a full diaper. He tells us,Β  “I think my diaper is a little tight”. I ask, “Can I change it?”.

He responds, “No. I love it.”

What is there to love about full diapers?

***

Nanna: Achu, What would you take when going into space?

Achu: All that you need is some toys. All that you need is some donuts and croissants.

***

Abhi and Achu find one of my books on the bed. “What is this book amma?”, Achu asks me.

Before I could answer, Abhi tells her, “Its only my favorite book Achu”

***

Achu skipped her nap and was in the loft with me, while Abhi was still napping. She promised to stay calm while I read my book, but you can guess how it went. Finally, she got bored and tells me, “I wish I could wake him up. I want to play with my baby blother”. (not brother)

But, when Abhi finally woke up, she screamed, “My brother is awake”. She is almost always the first one to notice that Abhi is up. Twin connection. Huh!

***

Some nights ago, at bed time, Abhi asked us, “What do computers do?”

Hmm. Already?

***

I casually asked Achu to make tea for me. Achu replies, “But Amma. I am a small baby. How can I make tea?”

You should hear how loud this small baby’s voice is when she needs something. πŸ™‚

***

Abhi complained of tummy ache this morning. Nanny asked how did he get it. He tells her, “I read so many books”.

Haven’t heard of tummy aches from reading books before.

***

I was probably having my tea watching something on my phone, and Achu orders, “Okay. You can watch five more minutes and then come out, okay?”

Yes, Maam.

***

<And that was my 300th post. Good job Me. πŸ™‚ >

Twin Playtime

Recently, we made up a new game with kids. Its called ‘Hug and Fall’. It’s exactly the way it sounds. I sit down, hug Abhi or Achu (sometimes both) and fall back. It might sound silly, but you have no idea how popular it is. It is the kid version of free-fall for them and they just love it. This morning, I was in the kitchen and guess what Abhi and Achu were playing. They were playing ‘Hug and fall’ with each other. And, Oh my. What a sight it was. I love to see them hug each other. But they usually don’t, unless we ask them. But for this game, as hugs are mandatory, they would stand in front of each other, hug tightly and fall down (more like, let go of each other and sit down).

It’s pretty sweet to see them interact with each other, these days. I have been waiting for so long for them to start playing with each other and they are doing so much of that now-a-days.These days, I let them go play on their own in a different room without any direct supervision. As long as I hear their voices, I try not to disturb them. But I can’t help not checking on them if there is silence. So, quite often these days, they both sneak upstairs. It’s either Achu calling, ‘Common Abhi. Lets go play blocks’ or Abhi going up first and Achu following him. Either way, they are mostly playing upstairs together. At first, it used to be playing blocks in the room upstairs (We have a whole room dedicated to two bags of blocks and a tent; Otherwise, the blocks would be everywhere). Abhi likes playing blocks more than Achu, so that would be over quickly. Once in a while, it would be so silent and when I go to check, I would find them both sitting on the couch in loft, waiting for me to come. πŸ™‚ Few other times, they would go to the closet in the blocks room and play there. Recently, they started spending time together in their own bedroom. I find them, lying down on one of their beds, reading their favourite books. They have read their favourite books so many times that they can just look at the page and say what is happening. Sometimes, in their own words; Sometimes, exactly as we read to them.Β  On the weekend, Achu was reading the ‘The best nest’ book and Abhi was lying down next to her listening. What a happy sight it was.

Then, there is the recent hockey game. Played not with sticks, but with remotes. That’s right. I was sitting on the couch recording, when Achu jumps into the room with a remote in one hand, hitting the ball, really hard (That poor remote 😦 ). Next thing, Abhi is yelling “Score….. Achu you got 20 points”. I asked him why they were playing with the remotes and he says ‘Because we are going to bang it. hit it and scooooore. Goalllll!’. Then, he kicks the ball with his remote. This goes on and on, while I am looking in total shock about their new little invention and worrying about the remotes. Game went on for like five minutes. (I know at least one of the remotes is working, we will hope the same about the other one)

Back to blocks, one morning, Abhi was building ‘the biggest truck ever’ (I don’t understand why everything has to be the biggest-ever). He was on bed with me, building his truck. This and that, and suddenly they come up with this. Abhi looks around, picks what block he wants, Achu goes and gets it, Abhi tells her where to put it on the truck he was building (which btw, looks nothing like a truck; Also, blocks are selected based on a theme and the new block just doesn’t go on the top. The whole design gets re-engineered with every block) and Achu adds it on.

One of the other activities we do is draw in the box. With what we owe monthly to amazon for diapers, we secure quite a few packing boxes. These boxes are so fit for a kid to sit in and draw. I just make sure the bottom of the box is covered and I let them go crazy with crayons or markers in the box. Either do this, or sometimes, little sister gets off her box and pushes the little brother sitting in his box. I was surprised she could do it but she pushed for about ten feet in that tiny box with all her energy. At one time, she was pushing him towards the door, I thought she was trying to send him out of the house. πŸ™‚

You know what else? Kids who play together, also lick their foods together. Well, luckily different plates. If one is eating food by licking the plate, other is doing so too.

I am sure there will be more of these in the days to come. Also the little fights they have now are going to increase, but I hope there will be more of the first one than the latter. We will see. πŸ™‚

Time To Yoga

When we were kids, our dad came home one day and announced that we were all going to join a yoga class. I am sure drama ensued but there was no excuse. Where we were supposed to go was not too far, but by my morning standards, it was way too early and far far far away. I was never a morning person. But that could not be an excuse because my dad wasn’t one either and yet he was up with us to go do yoga. The real culprit was my sister. She was the chubby one in the family and needless to say, everyone knew that we all were going to the yoga class because of her. She could have gone there herself and excused me because I was the ‘really thin girl who falls sick every month, just like that, and hence doesn’t need yoga’, but someone convinced my dad that yoga boosts whatever the hell it is in the body and will make me more hungry. Hmm. (What a weird realization it would have been in my dad’s head. One is doing yoga to reduce weight and other to increase). So, we went. My sister, dad and I, on our majestic green colored Vespa scooter (we loved it a lot). Everyday at around 7Β in the morningΒ to this far far away house (There was a movie theatre next door, but no, we were not supposed to go there).

This house was just anybody’s house. In the veranda, three of us and the yoga master (by master I mean, just another person who knows the poses already) got into really weird twists and turns positions. Hands here, legs there and keep a check on your breathing. Sit on your legs, fold your hands and kiss the mat. Check your breathing. Oh yes, I stopped breathing two minutes ago and almost turning blue, let me breathe. Oh wait, now my hands are coming out of the position. ‘Push hard’, master would say. ‘No way’ I would silently scream in my head and look at my sister having way more trouble than I am, laugh and feel proud of myself about how I just twisted my body. Then I would look at the master and think, ‘Wait, where are his legs?’ or ‘Oh. So, that’s how it’s supposed to be? I was doing it totally wrong’. Meanwhile my dad would be attempting the position very seriously and to near perfection. I can still remember his face, totally focused on breathing. Then I would stop laughing and start blaming my sister for what she got us into.

Weeks passed. We were all pros at yoga now. Or at least, as pro as we can get. Some days, master wouldn’t be there and then my dad would take over the guiding part. I very clearly remember his voice ‘Asana Stithi’. That is where we would come to sit on our legs or padmasana to start the yoga position. Soon, there were other kids, but we were the pioneers, of course.

Some time later, yoga master moved. ‘Hurray’, I said. ‘Finally, good riddance’. That was before I was told that the master is moving closer and to a bigger home to make more space for all of us. Sigh! No excuse in sight yet. Anyway, we drove to the new house. And oh my. Was it big! I mean, I have lived in houses or apartments all my life, but I have never been to a bungalow at that age. And this was one awesome bungalow, by all means. Brand new. Spacious and no homes arround, total privacy and huge, huge, huge. Alas, we were only allowed on the covered balcony to practice. And soon it was just another place to twist and turn our bodies and lose all the weight I gained by eating a little more yesterday (Like my mom used to say).

My sister and I stopped complaining. We started protesting. Sundays, we had no class and we were supposed to practice at home. One sunday, we declared we are not doing yoga. My dad declared we are not watching Rangoli. And then we were doing yoga (Rangoli was very important, right!). Some fights cannot be won.

Then, good things happened in life. We got transferred. Hahah. Finally, good riddance from the class. I don’t remember where we moved. Given that we moved every two years of my life (almost). There were no yoga classes to join, wherever we went. However, the damage had already been done. My dad was the master now and how could anyone run from that? Classes or not, yoga at home continued, but at much less frequency and finally, sometime during my engineering years, it stopped completely. I think I may have enjoyed yoga by then (since that is something not everyone can do and I can) but I was not complaining at all. My sister was super happy too. Then that phase was totally forgotten.

Some 10 years later, life has changed a lot. A LOT. Married and moved here. Murali off to school aka invisible. Hurting and boring raining weather and plenty of lack of exercise later, I joined a yoga class. This time by choice. The same twists and turns in random directions. and now, I was trying to ace all that. Exercise and something to do were definitely the reasons I joined the classes, but it surely is the connection to the yoga suffering we had that makes me laugh. All the positions were too familiar. The way we did and way its done now. Hilarious where the pronunciations of my American yoga teachers. It took me couple of days to realize that he was saying ‘Chaturangasana’. I am still amazed by the fact that they learned and mastered something from a different culture. Anyway, I took a monthly subscription then and dropped by couple times a week and was doing pretty good. Instructor here would let me demonstrate some of the poses for the newbies to learn. Hihi. That felt good.

Then, life changed again. AGAIN (Cmon, there has to be some limits on how much life can change). And the whole practice was forgotten. Two babies were born, fed, rocked etc etc etc. There was this too familiar complaint in my head to do something for myself, again and again. We moved to our new home last year but I had barely noticed that there was a gym located very conveniently on the way, one that also offered yoga classes. Seriously, how come something that big could be so invisible to me is a mystery. Anyway, Three weeks ago, something came over me and I just walked into the gym and signed up for the classes. It was going to be thrice a week class in the timings I can afford and I was determined to make it. So far (that is, in the last three weeks), I am hitting twice a week mark. That’s better, right. Than nothing.

Positions are familiar again, but, I know it takes practice to get into the rhythm. And it feels awesome. Everyone around me seems like a pro already, while I try so hard to hang into holding my hands in an eagle position, standing on one leg and another twisted on top it. I am getting there. The fact that I am going there is what makes me feel a million times better and brings back all of nice twisty twirly memories. Hope the journey continues for a longer time, this time.

P.S: Why is that when I see the other non-desi ladies in yoga positions, it looks so sexy, but when I look at myself in the same position, it totally looks awkward. πŸ™‚

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