Cell-Free days

1206558994350927690taber_No_Cell_Phones_Allowed.svg.hi[1]It was one of those crazy mornings. Something that almost every parent can relate to – a late start, school drop off, rain, toddler in tow…. You get the drift!

You’d also agree, that often, all this chaos culminates into a clumsy, yet clinical drop of a cell phone. A fall so strategic that your lifeline, your cell phone is smashed beyond recognition, beyond repair.   

And that’s exactly what happened to me. That’s right! I was sans mobile for a few days. I looked at my cracked phone wistfully, and helplessly returned it to my jacket pocket.

A phone is a phone is a phone. What’s the big deal? But here’s the thing: Old habits die hard. Even though it was dead, I longed to check my FB feed. The luxury I could afford myself when I had a few seconds to veg-out. I missed being able to read the news on the go. Something I liked to do when I had a few minutes to check-in with the world. I was unable to take cute pix of my boys to capture those “Awww…” moments that we as parents do every now and then.

It was an odd, lonely feeling, until I got used to not having my cell be the conduit of my escape or reality. In a weird way, I felt more “present”. I saw and listened more as my pace of life had somewhat slowed down. I remembered more since I couldn’t instantly capture it all.

I don’t think I realized it till I lost my beloved former “friend”. The preoccupation of having the power to send out that email now (versus later) is all pervasive. Previously I was so focused on snapping the “now” that I often forgot to savor the moment. My cell-free days had me smelling the roses. Now that I do have my old friend back, I welcome it, but I don’t feel as close to it as I used to!

 

 

 

 

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Play-foam on the plane!

There’s something pretty awesome and intriguing about play-foam, or “floam” if you may. It’s light, sticky and gooey in a weird way. It’s got this beady texture, it’s inexpensive and not messy.

One of the things that I almost ALWAYS travel with when I’m on a plane is this ball of blue floam. My kids, 2 and 5 (boys that too!) who are generally shifty, LOVE floam! Otherwise easily distracted, they find immense joy and comfort in squishing this amazing “thing”.

Once the kneading, pounding, pinching, “ball-making” is all done, the boys start jabbing plastic dinosaurs into their respective floamy piles. This is followed by putting all of this on Hotwheel cars. Once all this is done, I usually pull out coffee stirrers, and somehow the game is all about dinosaurs in fast cars in space….You get the drift 😊

At the end of ALL this, either it’s time to land, or nap, or a snack is on the horizon! Time passes, and the kids have clocked in a fair amount of self-driven creative play. Win-win?

Sure, there are books, crayons and iPads that are intrinsic plane activities. Throw floam into the mix too, and you won’t regret it, I promise!

Coffee Sense & Sensibility

Warm, acidic, caustic, yet interestingly flavorful and sweet. That’s what coffee is for me. An addiction, or a habit? I’m not sure. But what I do know is that I absolutely love to wake up to that smell. That ‘lilt’ of sorts that fires up my senses as I kick-start a new day!

Ummm…Coffee. I’m certainly not an aficionado. I wouldn’t dare to claim to be one, given the length and breadth of the very subject of coffee. I just enjoy it. It’s that simple. I relish a nicely brewed cup, and absolutely know when a cup of coffee isn’t the same. In that sense, I do have a discerning palette.

What is it that makes a good cup of coffee so important to me? To tell you the truth, I really don’t know. If I were to afford a guess, I’d say, there’s something about the taste. There’s something cozy, something so comforting about a warm cup of smoky liquid warming me up on a cold and rainy day. There’s something about a cup of coffee that can miraculously energize my fraying nerves even on a sunny afternoon!

The whirring and whistling sound of a coffee machine is enough to rev my senses. It makes the sweet anticipation of a piping hot cup of freshly brewed coffee a near reality. As I sit at a coffee shop, with that cup of magic by my side, the mundane becomes less of a chore. Armed with my laptop ready to hit my to-do list, I breeze through the humdrum with a smiling mind. It helps open the mind and broaden the senses!

Excessive, you may think. I understand. But, that’s what you do, especially in Seattle! Coffee has been a significant part of my life at various stages – as a student when I pulled all-nighters, as a young professional when I had to meet tough deadlines, currently as a mother managing 2 rambunctious boys! Coffee, centers me. Much like yoga.

Coffee creates a sense of community too. You invite someone over for coffee, you gift it to people, you meet at a coffee shop when you interview a nanny or a potential business partner, it’s the ideal ‘conservative’ launch pad for further dating…. You get the drift. I could go on, and on, and on. So, let’s meet for coffee sometime? 🙂

What is a Bad Mother?

autumn-moments

I had been feeling a bit under the weather lately and I realized that I’d been hit by the “I’m a bad mother” virus. I let my daughter stay up too late last few nights, I am not strict enough and she’s almost five etc. etc… you know the drill.

That got me thinking about what other “bad mothers” do out there. Honestly, what are your terrible parenting crimes or oversights?

I did what anyone with half a brain and a device would do – I googled it!
(search phrase: What’s a bad mother?).

Spoiler Alert – your mommy-self-esteem problems are about to go away:

  1. Top 10: Signs She’ll Be A Bad Mother – Let’s start with what NOT to read!
    http://www.askmen.com/top_10/dating/top-10-signs-shell-be-a-bad-mother_10.html

    So these guys think that a woman who eats too much, wears designer clothes, likes to party, and doesn’t spoil her man like she was his nanny would be a bad mother to her children.

    Hmm… I need to pause here before I throw up.

    Has no one considered that a woman who doesn’t yet have children, doesn’t actually need to tie herself up with chains of parental responsibility? Why would a young independent woman not want to splurge on herself or have a good time? Given the teeny tiny window of opportunity, the few years of freedom she has before the biological alarm clock goes off, right? right?

    I guess this article was written by a man, for a bunch of men and I have no business reading it – but honestly, it does establish that men have no idea what women are about. They did get one thing right. A violent woman is a no-go.

    So honestly, don’t beat yourself up or label yourself a “bad mother” unless you’re violent and have raging issues that need medical help!

 

  1. Typology of a Bad Mother
    http://www.phdinparenting.com/blog/2009/6/6/typology-of-the-bad-mother.html

    Now this has a collection of “bad mother” definitions!
    I hope you will agree with me that “Neglectful and Abusive and Don’t Know Better” would sum it up accurately.

    You can read more at the link. I am not really endorsing the myriad definitions submitted there, mostly because there isn’t sufficient context. But whatever you were feeling guilty about is probably too mild to make the cut.

 

  1. Signs of Bad Parenting
    https://kindredbond.com/parenting/Signs-of-Bad-Parenting-effects-good-parent

    Some really good points in this blog and again the most significant one is Neglect & Abuse. Some other thought provoking ones about encouragement of bad behavior, partiality, too much pampering etc. and how those add up to bad parenting.

 

Of course the point of all this was to confirm that I wasn’t actually doing anything “bad”, just having a less than perfect week!

#badmothers #nosuchthing #motherhood #guilt #parenting

 

Don’t Give Me The Finger!

So I’m speeding down our neighborhood’s main arterial road to pick up my son from school on time. Not recommended, I agree. But, I know those roads, I know the traffic at that time, I am a terribly safe & cautious driver, I wasn’t driving under the influence… Whatever! Judge me for all I care 🙂

Anyway, moving on.

I see a lady, a couple of blocks down, who wants to cross, but she really isn’t. Not that I slowed down or stopped to give her the option to do so. My bad, I know. I whizz past her, only to find that she’s giving me the finger! Rude, I know. But from her POV, I was the jerk. I agree.

I was annoyed, but I did make a note to myself. Going forward, if I find a speeding lady (and yes, it is mostly ladies, who speed on residential arterials), most likely, she is a stretched mama like me. Which means, if I’m the lady trying to cross the street, I need to give her the benefit of doubt, instead of getting all ‘look at these car jerks’.

I often find myself revisiting life’s little lessons, such as this one, when I’m at the receiving end. And, interestingly, I have been in this rather privileged position often, since the kids came along. Next time around, I’ll be more empathetic, rather than judge.

On a lighter note, would I be as ‘forgiving’ or ‘understanding’ should a guy be speeding by? Good question! He very well could be a ‘stretched dad’ (or not, depending on whether he’s sporting an Armani suit, listening to blaring hip-hop in his posh convertible…. You get the drift!) 🙂

 

Happily “Healthful” Days

With a smattering of Spring at times, and Summer on most days, the boys and I are enjoying our time outdoors. Our “outdoors” is mostly limited to 3 things – our  neighborhood “secret garden” (read: Pea-patch), weekly farmers market and Pike Place Market. And not to mention, our very own miniscule kitchen garden! That makes it 4 🙂

A few days ago, we sauntered into the secret garden to touch some powdery pollen, picked some raspberries and strawberries too. Yes! Straight off the bushes Emoji Finally, we picked some fresh wild roses and made a “nice” flower arrangement that sits in the middle of the dining table! FYI – This is how it’s done EVERY single time!

Today, our journey to Pike Place market was adventurous. A city bus AND the monorail took us to the Market, where we tried the famed Rainier cherries, and played by the waterfront. The way back was somewhat “somber”, with some energy drained, the boys sat taking in the sounds, sights and smells of their beloved bus, rather thoughtfully.

Later in the afternoon, we headed to the neighborhood Farmers Market, where my little one couldn’t get enough of the fresh farm-picked carrots, and the other one couldn’t get enough of the Rainier cherries (again!); and the 3 of us couldn’t get enough of the golden raspberries. Apparently, raspberries aren’t always red! At home, we watered our little kitchen garden and cut some fresh backyard-grown salad leaves for dinner. Eagerly awaiting the tomatoes and squash to see the light of day….

Love & Health to all!

For more info on the famous Seattle Pike Place Market – http://www.pikeplacemarket.org/

True Basics – How to break it down 

Bringing up a child is an education in itself. I learn so much Everyday! Mostly it’s through observing how the pure and sweet mind of a child works, but lately I am also learning vicariously from what is being taught at her pre-school. 

So the bedtime conversation goes something like this: 

Nona: “Mummy the teacher told us about good thoughts and bad thoughts” 

Me: (wondering – what the hell, is this some early version of sex ed?)

Nona: “Our thoughts are like seeds. If you plant bad seeds then you’ll get bad apples”

Me: “um… Right so you plant bad thoughts in your head you will be unhappy in the end – makes sense”

Nona: “mummy, you know Johnny was very naughty today. He had a bad thought and then he hit Ollie. Then Ollie had a bad thought and then he hit Johnny. The teacher said they were going to eat bad apples”

Me: *laughing uncontrollably and trying not to laugh* “yes that’s right baby, they will be very unhappy if they hit each other” 

Nona: catching on to the fact that she’s been incredibly cute in her translation – “mummy, is it funny?”

Me: reflecting – “no baby, it’s true. We all need to break it down. You can choose your thoughts and if you choose bad ones all the time, your mind will become very unhappy in the end. But you have the Choice. So plant good seeds and eat good apples! Don’t bother with bad seeds or bad thoughts”