Friday, 30 December 2011

Its a what??

So we are sitting around, enjoying the balmy weather, sipping our drinks, when all of a sudden there is a complete black out! The twinkling city lights we were watching suddenly disappeared.Tara , luckily was sitting next to me, and jumped on me knocking my drink over. A million thoughts ran through my head. Was it an air raid? Or an emergency? We were certainly not in a war torn area, Far from it. The only violence I had seen here was monkeys fighting for fruit.

Within seconds someone appeared with a few candles and placed them around with some smoky circles which let off grey smoke. These as I discovered later were to ward off sneaky mosquitoes who might want a piece of us in the dark.

"Its just a power cut" said my host calmly. "I will get the generator started in a minute".

As if on cue, Tara piped in, "It's a what?" 

Back where we live electricity supply is something we take for granted. The fridge always runs, we can read books at night, and basically have power on when we want to, even if it is wasteful.

"A power cut means no light my dear," explained our host. Before Tara could retort with a million 'whys' I interjected and asked to know more. Electricity in this country has more demand than supply. So occasionally, electricity supply is shut down for a few hours to prevent an over load on resources. Some luck few , like our hosts have their own personal 'generators' which are speedily turned on to ensure uninterrupted power.

Tara looked up at the night sky, and with a gasp pointed to the startling display of stars...millions and millions of stars shining on a clear night. It was an amazing sight.

Within seconds a little lad had the generator started. It made a loud sound like a motor but the lights came back on. A few streets down people without generators gathered in the front of the house, along with neighbours, catching up with each other and having a hearty laugh or two amid candles.

In a few hours the power was restored and life carried on... My mind did wander to home, wondering what would happen to the contents of my freezer if we had a power cut..I also made a resolve to save energy whenever I could. It is a precious resource, and many people make do without it.

We are returning home in ten days time. I will miss this place, power cuts and monkeys all included.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Driving through the city our airconditioned car stopped at a traffic signal. We were immediately surrounded by almost naked children, ranging from 2 to about 10 years old, pressing their noses against the car windows, asking for money.

Tara looked scared, but fell silent. Later she asked me who the children were, why they had no clothes on, and why did they not stay at home with their mummies and daddies. After a failed attempt at explaining that they were poor children, I had a further volley of questions, ranging from what does poor mean, why don't grown ups look after the children etc. etc.

What is poor? Isn't it perceived differently, by different people, in different countries? Loaded questions. I can't understand the situation myself, how can I explain it to a 4 year old.

What defines poor?

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Of monkeys and bats!

Tara eyes are wide in wonder. What a lovely sight to see...her wonder I mean. What she saw were wild monkeys sitting on a tree, scratching each others backs while lounging in the sun. Then came the volley of questions about what monkeys eat, why they are sitting around doing nothing, why we don't have them back home etc. etc.

Later that evening just as we were sitting down for dinner a bat flew straight through the open doors and flew madly in circles in one of the rooms. Tara and I ran for cover while the rest of the people around us carried on as if nothing happened, as the bat was locked in the room while the meal was resumed. I hope someone let him/her/it out. Of course he wasn't in the room the next morning so maybe they did.

Another afternoon Tara stared at a towering banana tree and its magnificent pinkish-purple giant flower. She reluctantly touched a large petal that had fallen off the tree. It looked too big to be a 'friendly flower' she said. To be honest I never knew the banana tree had I know..

A big highlight was Tara riding a camel with her aunt. She was overjoyed. I refused pointblank to get on one. I'm not really adventurous, and clutched at my heart while Tara swayed amidst peals of excited laughter.

Tomorrow is another day. Who knows what we will find..

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Good and bad

Every country in this world has its good and its bad. When I travel I notice both but try not to dwell on the not-so-good aspects. It defeats the whole purpose of travelling to other places if we expect to see the same things as home.

I don't enjoy all aspects of countries, but do try to refrain from talking about the bad. Is it my place to make a change? Is it vital to convince others that my way is the better way? I'm not sure. Its complicated. What is not complicated is to appreciate and marvel at the majesty and goodness that's around me.

Planet Earth still mesmerizes me.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

In a place far, far away...

So we made the flight and emerged jet lagged and sleep deprived in another part of our beautiful planet. The sun is glorious but we are ill. Tara's ear was absolutely fine. But she's been vomiting all day yesterday. I also have had a nauseous feeling in my tummy that just won't go away. Tara's made a quick recovery today but Im still feeling ill.

It did make me reaffirm my belief. You can have all the money in the world, all the sunshine to bask in, everything....but if you don't have your health, you have nothing. So first and foremost I pray for good health, everything else is secondary.

Friday, 9 December 2011

And so we fly!

After all the health scares, we made it to Friday. The last day of school. We go on holiday tomorrow, Tara and I, leaving behind The Husband who battles valiantly on to secure a permanent job and provide for his Princess...that's Tara by the way, not I.

I don't think its selfish to go without him. We are travelling halfway across the planet to spend a few weeks with both sets of Tara's grandparents. Time with them is invaluable for her. It's a lot more work for me, so I don't get much of a holiday.

Everyone is getting older, and things don't stay the same for long. So I think we seize the moment...and don't look back in regret. It's far from ideal not having Tara's father with her, but we don't live in an ideal world. We enjoy what's good, and try and get past the not-so-good bits. The plan is that once he gets his permanent job, we save up and go to Disneyland together. That will be our first ever family holiday together.

Im tired, still have to finish packing...(big yawn). Come fly with me, fly, fly away......

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Nobody's listening

Tara has started not listening when I talk. While Im trying to say something to her, she is either jumping around talking about something else or totally disregarding what Im saying and putting in her tuppence first.

At first I was worried that her hearing was going, after all that worry about the glue ear problem that never was. Then I realized that maybe she has thoughts and neurons firing at great speeds in her developing brain, and she is in a hurry to get all her words out as her thoughts come up.

At first I exploded with, 'Why doesn't anyone listen to me anymore!' Then I realized I first need to slow her down, maybe sit her down, get her attention and talk in a calm voice. The Husband saw this behaviour first hand when he got back from his interview, which by the way went well, so we have to wait and see. He proceeded to reprimand Tara too, but I stopped him and later explained that when she is so excited, we need to calm her down then talk.

I have been yelling a lot the last few days, and I can't stand my own voice when I do that. But it seems a bit out of control at the moment. Maybe after Tara's doctor's appointment I will be the one feeling better!

Nativity flower

Last night was bliss. Tara went straight to bed, with no intention of talking on the steps. Since The Husband had to be out of town for the night, I went straight to bed too.

We all had to rest because today is Tara's class nativity play, and my little one is a flower. Its a whole different story how I struggled to find green leggings for her costume. I finally bought white ones and dyed them green. Why doesn't anyone manufacture green leggings for little girls anymore? Well someone in Hong Kong does, according to Ebay, but it was too expensive and would take 20 days to get to me, so no thank you.

Anyway, I was told this morning by Tara to :

Come on time
Wear a nice dress, not pants
Bring a video camera and 
Sit in front so I can get good shots

Okay, I think I can handle that.

Im trying to shake off a ton of other worries from my head to enjoy the nativity but Im afraid Im not able to. First, there is the doctor's appointment for Tara's ear tomorrow to make sure once and for all she is okay to travel. We fly on the 12th of this month. She was complaining of a tickly ear again this morning and since then my stomach's been feeling funny. Second, The Husband had to miss Tara's nativity play, after promising her he would attend, because of a job interview that cropped up today. Tara wasn't too pleased, and The Husband depressed. Third, The Husband's car packed up yesterday, and is in the garage. We don't know when it will be back or the big fat repair bill we have to deal with. That leaves my little inexperienced never-been-far-from-home runaround to take us to London airport.

With all this stress, the holiday doesn't seem like an enjoyable prospect. But the money is spent, Tara is excited and I just have to deal with it.

My stomach still feels funny. That little knot just won't leave me alone. Still, I will be there for Tara's play with camera in hand and a big smile when I see her. She's too little to deal with life's practicalities. For now she is just a little flower in a nativity play who is looking forward to seeing her Mum brandishing her camera in the front row. That reminds me I need to leave earlier than usual to get a decent place to sit in.

Till Later! 

Monday, 5 December 2011


So I kept my word, and arranged a meeting with Tara's teacher after school.

I made Tara sit next to me, as I spoke to her Miss. I started off saying that Tara had been very upset over the weekend about forgetting her hat and gloves, and she didn't know how to get through the various gates from the playground, right through to the glass doors of her classroom.

As I started talking, Tara got up and pointed to other things in her class, totally disregarding my talk. I told her to sit back down while I explained her 'problem' to her teacher. She looked totally disinterested and laid back, and started to walk around her classroom - a complete contrast to the broken down child over the weekend. Her teacher said that Tara had mentioned today that she kept forgetting her hat and gloves, and the teacher had agreed to stuff them in her pocket before they went out.

So the problem was in essence, 'solved'

I was piqued. Once again, my child made me look like the crazy, over concerned MUM, while she was the good little girl who could sort everything out herself. Thank goodness I had brought along a Christmas card and box of chocolates for her teacher. This meeting looked so foolish.

Back at home, I updated Tara with my solution to her great 'problem'. I had bought an extra pair of 'emergency' hat and gloves to keep in her coat pocket in case she forgot them in class. 'Oh okay,' said my pride and joy, adding that I had better sew on some name labels on them, and she skipped away to carry on with her life.

I felt totally under-appreciated, not for the first time in my life, and then I understood the meaning of a 'thankless job'. Being a Mum is indeed a thankless job. Solving problems is just a normal part of my job description. Tara's happy. Im not supposed to ever expect a thank you, or dramatic gestures of appreciation. All I want today is a good night's sleep.

Sweet Honey

I've tried something new for Tara's cough. Its Honey. Not just any honey but Manuka Honey. The higher the number written on the label on it, the more potent it is supposed to be. I think it has helped fend off a chesty cough in about a week. I have used it along with a saline nasal spray and am pleased to report positive results!

Some argue that her cold and cough had already run their course so its not the honey or saline spray. I choose to believe it is the honey and the spray.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Floods of tears

Another thing I noticed about Tara at school, and in general is that she is an overly sensitive child who gets anxious easily. I saw other children with the same issues as Tara, but they were more laid back and did not get worked up to the extent that they stressed themselves out. But then again, all children are different.

So last night on the steps, amidst huge floods of tears Tara told me about her two new problems.

First, was the school jumper that was inside out when she took it off. She struggled to put in back on again and did not know how to 'unbundle' it.

Second was, the classroom door. Whenever she was slow to get her 'bundled' jumper and gloves and hat on, the other children and teachers were already outside in the playground, and the classroom glass door shut itself, leaving Tara alone inside, and very scared.

Inspite of telling myself not to worry about these 'small' issues, I do think these things are a big deal for a little child, just over four years old, who clings to her mother and cries for a full 45 minutes, explaining between sobs how she just can't do it.

To my credit, I held it together and stayed the course with her. I was tired, and have been unwell for the last few days. But I hugged her, heard her, and we decided on two courses of action. First I got her jumper in, and showed her how to 'unbundle' it around five to six times. She had a couple of tries herself, and I promised her we would practice till she got it. I reminded her of past successes like, learning how to put on her socks, her shirt, her pinafore, her shoes and lunch time issues...all of which she couldn't do when she was little, but was successful in doing now.

By now Tara was exhausted. She clearly needed to sleep but her mind was heavy with issues she needed to off load. She wiped her face and asked me to write a card to her teacher explaining that she struggled with the doors. I promised her I would talk to her teachers, and we would tackle the door together on Monday. As I put her in bed, she did fall asleep, maybe not stress free but totally exhausted. I couldn't do much after that either so I just went to bed right away.

We both tossed and turned last night, and Tara didn't wake up smiling this morning. Childhood is supposed to be the best time in our lives. Mine wasn't, and I'd promised myself that I would make sure my child was happy. Im a bit emotional, but will still agree that Tara is by and large a happy child. She is safe, intelligent, well provided for and has all the opportunities ahead of her. To expect plain sailing all through one's life is living in fool's paradise. I will have to teach Tara to expect hurdles in life. I will also have to teach her to jump over the hurdles, or sometimes just walk around them.

I cant be a magician and magic away problems from Tara's life, I can be Mum and teach her how to handle life.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Mum the Volunteer

Tara's been excited all of last week. Her Mum has volunteered to help out at school this afternoon.

I walked into her school at 1:30 p.m. not knowing what was expected of me, or what exactly I was supposed to do. I was met at the playground by Tara who ran into my arms screaming 'MUMMY'. She was closely followed by a few other children who were looking at me, while Tara said, 'I told you my Mummy would come....I told you' She hugged me again with pride in her eyes that I hadn't let her down. I couldn't believe that children as young as four and five were so socially sensitive.

I excused myself and explained that I had to let her teacher know I was here. Formalities done, I was assigned the task of making something artsy-craftsy for Christmas for 16 children, four at a time. I really appreciated the fact that the teacher picked Tara for the first group, and also asked her to sit next to me while I started the activity. It was a sensitive thing to do,  almost like letting the child with a birthday sit on a special throne at their birthday party.

I was pretty impressed at how I handled the kids, as was Tara who periodically came up to me for a special hug... reassurance perhaps that she was still my special girl. There were additional perks for Tara as her Mum was allowed to help her with her coat and book bags etc. I of course helped the other children too. Needless to say Tara was very pleased with the whole experience and my performance. I also think she had climbed a notch or two in the popularity charts, as some of the girls asked if they could come over to Tara's house to play.

From my point of you, I got a chance to take a peek into Tara's world, from the inside. I observed some of Tara's routines, like changing coats, tidying up and finding their way around a school playground full of noisy, boisterous but reasonably well behaved children of varying ages. I also noticed the dynamics of children's groups, the survival of the fittest, and struggles of the weak.

Im glad I went in today, and recommend that every parent does it from time to time. Its a learning experience, that's well worth the time and effort. For me, my reward was the smile and pride I saw on Tara's face as she went home with her Mum, who 'wore a nice dress and shoes.' Tara's words not mine.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

All okay.....but is it?

So I went to the doctor's office with Tara and kept my fingers crossed through waves of nausea, which were probably stress related. Up to this point I have been battling one illness after the othe,r all the way from September, when Tara started school, Tara needs a break, I need a break.

The doctor switched off the lights and examined Tara's ears and heard her chest.

'No fluid in the ears, no chest infection, just a bit of redness in the ear, probably leftover from a previous ear infection that had been treated with ear drops 2 weeks ago.'

Instead of profound relief, strange feelings came over me. Wait a minute, the other doctor had said she was full of middle ear fluid, in other words glue ear. Now this one says she doesn't have it at all. I know which doctor I want to believe, but can I? Should I? Many times when we really want to hear something we tend to lean towards it, but I must keep a balanced head.

So we have the all clear to travel, but I still booked a third appointment to see a doctor on the 8th of December, 4 days before we fly. That would give me enough time to decide what I want to do.

Some might say Im over cautious, But in my opinion, a holiday that carries with it the smallest chance of my child losing her hearing is just not worth it. Im probably going to start packing, but not get too excited over it till I land safe and sound at my destination.

At the end of it all...Im deeply grateful, and would like to send out a thank you, to anything or anyone, at being granted the smallest hope that my child has been spared another ailment.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Doctors appointment today

I cant do anything else now. Tara's doctor's appointment is today and I just want to be sure she's okay.

'Go away glue ear...please.'

To be perfectly honest, if it is glue ear it can take anywhere from 3 months upwards to clear up. So Im hoping, its not glue ear to begin with.

'Be something else unimportant, then go away please!'

Sunday, 27 November 2011

What next?

Okay, Im done crying, feeling angry, feeling sorry for Tara and (to be honest)  felt a bit sorry for myself too. Glue ear. I hate that word. Ive looked all over the internet and cannot decide if its a big deal or not. What I did understand is that it can take at least 3 months to resolve itself at the very least.

I have a long haul holiday booked for the middle of December, and am looking for information whether its okay to travel with Tara or not. I couldn't understand the last doctor so Ive booked another appointment for a second opinion and follow up. This time I think I will ask the doctor questions and hopefully will get some straight answers.

There's no two ways about it. If the doctor expresses even the slightest reservation about Tara flying with glue ear, the holiday is off. To hell with the holiday, to hell with my own desperation to see my family who live on the other side of the world, to hell with everything. I love my Tara, and just want some respite for her.

The only good thing I can say about glue ear is that I don't think it causes a child any discomfort or pain. Tara is eating, playing, laughing and being herself. The doctor did mention loss of hearing till the fluid leaves the ear, but Tara seems to be hearing just fine. I have to keep testing her hearing from time to time for the next few weeks which is no big deal.

The Husband seems to think its okay to fly. Im not so sure.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Its just a common problem

So Tara's illness has been ongoing. Its all very common in children is what everyone says. Does that make it any easier to deal with?

Tara had a  doctor's appointment this morning to see if her ear infection was gone. The doctor looked in and decided there was no infection but Tara had glue ears. We sat looking at each other. I was waiting for him to elaborate. He was waiting for...I don't really know what he was waiting for. An explanation proactively would have been a good thing, especially since Im no doctor, Im just MUM.

So I broke the impasse and asked what the way forward was. He said it was a common childhood problem, and should resolve itself in a few months. If Tara had hearing loss or the problem did not resolve itself in a year, surgery was an option. I gulped and we all thanked each other and left.

I must admit Im a bit bewildered. I respect doctors, lawyers, and all the other professionals that 'know their stuff'. All I want to say is that all that knowledge means nothing if not used properly. From my point of view, Im seeing an expert and all I want is this:

1. Them to understand that Im not an expert
2. An explanation of what the problem is
3. A solution to the problem if there is any
4. Clarity

When I came away from the doctors office I was upset and didn't know what to feel. Was there a real problem? How bad was it? Is my child in pain? Is she going deaf?

Then I hit the internet and educated myself. Armed with more information I feel a bit better. Tara's cold, caused her to have a ear infection. This ear infection caused glue ear, which basically is fluid collecting in the middle ear. In a few weeks, all things remaining the same, the body would absorb the excess fluid and the situation resolves itself.  So I cant do anything until a few weeks anyway, and Tara seems fine, eating, sleeping, playing and going to school. (I did check it is not contagious)

Im just a Mum, but show me some respect

Im going to my room to put on my ipod, roll into a ball and have a good cry. I feel very alone.

Thursday, 24 November 2011


Im one of those people who will smile at a passer by if our eyes meet. Its not contrived, or something I have to think about to do. Its more of a natural reaction when I see someone. What is interesting is the range of responses.

People sometimes give a restrained smile back. Others look down, probably wondering if Im a nut of some sort. Still others look right through me as if Im invisible. Very occasionally I get a cheery smile and a 'Good Morning!'

Every person is different. There may be a lot of people out there who are really friendly when you get to know them but who may not be comfortable smiling at random strangers. There may be others who may flash 100 watt smiles at anyone they see, but may not be all that friendly when you get to know them.

Judging is so easy.... and unneccesary.

I don't have to, or even want to  'get to know' every passer by in my life. I just smile. Sometimes it makes me feel better, other times it might be just the thing someone else needs. The net result is still a better looking world.

Have a good day today.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

It seems to work

As a mum, I try to do everything I can to make Tara feel better when she is unwell. My biggest challenge has been her blocked nose. With this condition, a child can't breathe, sleep or eat properly so in my opinion its the toughest thing to deal with.

I tried :

Vicks rub
inhaling steam at bath time
smelling some oils
elevating bed mattress
high pillows

Nothing seems to work, except maybe Vicks for a short while. I am totally against any nasal drops or sprays, as in my own personal experience, I underwent horrific rebound addiction for which I was treated, as you would drug addiction. It remains to this day one of my worst experiences.

So it was with great trepidation that I agreed to try a new nasal spray for Tara suggested by my local pharmacist. The lady insisted it was 100% natural saline and not like the other nasal sprays in the market. I bought it reluctantly but when I got home I read every word on the leaflet to make sure it was natural. It is called Calpol Soothe and Care, suitable from birth. No preservatives or chemicals or stuff like that, just saline. I was desperate because Tara's congestion was worsening her ear infection.

I started spraying her nose often, and also started her antibiotic ear drops. To my relief her congestion has reduced considerably, and her ear infection seems to be clearing up. Tara announced yesterday, 'Mummy, I can smell again after a long time.' Music to my ears. I might add that the congestion did not clear up immediately with the saline spray. It took a day or two for it to start working. This in itself convinced me that it was just pure saline and not something chemical.

Im also slightly congested. I will get some spray for myself and see how it works. I am still scarred from the memory of the trauma I suffered getting de-addicted from my Otrivin nasal spray. But if something is good enough for my child, it should be good enough for me.

Now if only I was calm and brave like Tara when stuff is being shot up my facial orifices.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Everyone's ill

What a rubbish weekend. The Husband, Tara and I are all sick as....sick people.

In order of priority, The Husband was left in bed all day, as he had to be back at work on Monday. Then after a doctor's visit Tara was sorted out with antibiotic ear drops, and was given a new doll. (She's totally in love with Disney fairies these days). That left me. Im feeling really bad but just getting on with it. In my book, if I have no fever, then Im just not sick. The blocked nose, the sore throat, the cough that rattles my ribs and generally feeling bad are just minor issues...

Its another thing that Tara made me a fairy and we play acted entire adventures the whole day so her father could rest. Each one of us held a fairy and we flew up the stairs, under the stairs, inside a box, till I almost exploded with frustration and a very, very sore throat. Its so strange. As a child these dolls would have been the stuff that my dreams were made of. Now they are Tara's, and I can't stand them. Well, I don't really hate them. Deep inside me there is still a little girl who actually loves the pretty wings and faces of these dolls, but Im sick right now, and Im also not in the mood to play  a never ending fairy saga. But to my credit I held my nerve and did not yell at anyone. Now that is an achievement.

Stay well everyone. Nothing in the world matters if we don't have our health, and I mean nothing...

Friday, 18 November 2011

Pick your battles

I was boiling with anger after Tara's school nativity costume fiasco. In my emotional state I wrote a pretty stinging letter to her school teacher. The next morning, as I was getting into the car to drive Tara to school, I suddenly tore the letter up. I was getting late for the school run, so did not wait to analyze why I did it.

Later on I wondered if I was a coward. Or did I do the right thing by listening to a small voice in my head that said, 'Pick your battles.'

These teachers are human too. These are also the same teachers who try to ensure my Tara has her winter hat on when she is outside, as she is more prone to catching a cold than other children. These teachers are also the ones to give Tara a cupcake after she went back to school the day after being ill last Tuesday.

I guess if I want to fight, there are many reasons out there. And if everyone thought the same, boy, it would be one mad world out there. So I guess I will choose my battles. But all you teachers out there at Tara's school, don't ruffle my feathers. I am after all my Tara's warrior Mum. Haiee...yaah!

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Little flowers

A small child is like a little flower. Beautiful and very fragile. When people start treating every child like they would their own, only then will there be a shift in how we treat children in general. How easy it is to get incensed when there is an injustice done to our own child, and how easy it is to disregard others' children.

I can say with full confidence that I speak and behave with all children like I do with my own. I don't mean I go up to children and tell them to do this or that properly. No, I ignore all that and leave disciplining children to their own parents. What I am talking about is this. When a child in the playground hovers around me and looks at me, I give them a smile and say hello. If a child wanders over to me and asks me something, I give my complete attention and answer their questions.

Its important to treat children well. I am amazed at the number of times I see grown ups disregard children, not just others children but even their own. Then we complain about how our children are turning out to be. Parents collectively need to open their eyes wide and look beyond their own selves. When our children grow up, they will be in a world full of other people's children. Isn't it then in our own interest to make a difference and make a good impression on every child we come across?

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Is it just me?

Today Tara's went to school, excited at the prospect of meeting Pudsey Bear. At last, my little one is settled at school, and life will be normal.

When I picked her up at the end of the day, there was no excitement in her face, instead a cloud hovered over her head and she looked quite glum. In the car I asked her if she met Pudsey bear and she nodded her yes and was quiet. So I left it at that.

Later in the bath, Tara burst into tears. Between sobs she explained in broken sentences how she was made to sit in a separate classroom with another classmate, while the rest of the class went on to practice for their nativity play. They were excluded because they didn't have their costumes which by the way, weren't due until tomorrow.

I am furious. Isn't this institutional bullying? Damaging innocent children's psyches is surely institutional bullying. Two 4 year old children kept away from a school play rehearsal for not having their costumes in before they were due ? Absurd.

There will be words tomorrow.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Tara's bedtime prayer

O My God
I love you
Please bless my
Father and mother
Brothers and sisters and family
Teachers and all my friends
Bless me
And make me
A good child.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Not the cold again!!

Just when you think It's all over, it comes back.

Yesterday was a lovely Mummy-daughter day. We spent time having fun, going to a party and back home to join Daddy for yet more fun. Days like this make me let my guard down, so Tara's bedtime situation caught me off guard. Soon after getting ready for bed, even before we sat on the steps for our talk she was in floods of tears about not being able to wear her jumper at school. Of course it started when I told her it was wet after being washed a few minutes ago, and we couldn't practice it right there.

Tara's awful cold and blocked nose hasn't helped the situation. The last two nights were blocked nose horror and she lay helpless trying to pull in air, perspiring with the effort and getting increasingly distressed.

I wonder why there is no cure for the common cold  and blocked noses yet. It is the single most annoying and distressing conditions mums have to deal with. A child can rest through most other conditions, but inability to breathe pulls down even the toughest.

Tara has just recovered from a terrible chest infection and she's already caught a fresh cold. I hope this one resolves itself soon. It's two nights of no sleep for both Tara and I, and I suspect tomorrow might be a tricky day for school.

Friday, 11 November 2011

So far, so good..

Last night was uneventful. Thank God for that. Soon after her bedtime routine, Tara and I sat on the steps and she asked me the same questions again. I answered them again, calmly and confidently. As I saw her looking up with her wide innocent eyes into mine, I realized that every time she asked me the same old questions, there was brand new worry in her eyes. Till we have our talk. Then she relaxes and is ready for bed.

And so it happened. We hugged, talked and she got into her bed. Then....silence. She slept all night.

Putting ourselves in others shoes is not as easy as we might think sometimes. With the best of intentions and determination, I hadn't been able to find a solution to my child's fears for such a long time. I thought I had put myself in her shoes, but clearly I hadn't ... until now. I used to dread bedtime. I didn't think about Tara's agony, but of what I viewed as Tara's annoying little habit, that made me lose my temper every night. Now, I can't wait for bedtime, so I have one more chance to look into those gorgeous eyes, and talk to Tara and watch her worry melt away into sleep filled relaxed eyes.

I thought back to a few months ago when every night Tara used to wake up at the same time, crying saying, 'the monster is biting my tail.' Every night I dismissed it as a nightmare, and told her to go to sleep. It must have easily been at least a month, when I found out that Tara had threadworm. The 'monster biting her tail' was my little girl's way of saying that something was bothering her down below. I just didn't get it. Of course when I found out the cause of her suffering I turned into a Goddess with a thousand hands ready to kill every single worm that dared to cause discomfort to my daughter, and 6 back breaking weeks later, I did.

Why does it take me so long to "get it?"

In my Tara's eyes I must seem like Wonder woman, who wields some sort of power to solve all her problems. I'm just poor tired old mum, trying very hard not to fail her. 

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Just perfect

My own frustration sometimes makes me react wrongly to Tara. Her repeated questions about the same issue every night at bedtime is like slow torture to me, and after a promising start I end up losing my cool and telling her to be quiet and go to bed. It's obviously not a solution to the problem. Which makes me think...Is there really a problem? Or am I making one out of simple and common annoying childhood habits..

I don't think I was a particularly wonderful child at all times. Repeating what others said was a favourite pastime of mine, and why wouldn't everyone enjoy that endearing (NOT!) game? How soon we forget what we ourselves did as children.

Last evening I tried something new. I told Tara that just before bed we would sit on the steps outside her room and talk about anything she wanted to. But no talking in bed. Round one was good. We talked about her two pet peeves - lunchtime routine at school and dressing herself up between classes. That done, we got into bed, tucked up and warm. Two minutes later was Round two. Tara had a few more questions. So I calmly got up, got her out of her warm bed, and we sat on the steps to talk about the same things again. Then back in her toasty bed. After Round Three that lasted less than a minute, Tara was asleep.

This felt much better. Talking over her bed rail in the dark inevitably led to tears almost every night. I will try my new plan again tonight.

Everyone needs to talk to someone about their feelings. My daughter was trying her best to talk to me, and I ended up shouting at her every night. Not good. Like I said before, it can take me a while to get things right, but Im not perfect. Im just a Mum trying to get things right for the only thing perfect in my life...Tara

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Oh Chest infection!

So Tara is recovering from a chest infection, now I have it. But ever since I've become Mum, I haven't had the luxury of lying sick in bed. There is always something to do and I can't leave Tara to I soldier on no matter how bad I feel. The downside is that I find it harder not to lose my temper.

I can never figure out what Tara's doctor wants me to do. If I take her in before she is really bad, I am always sent back saying that she's not sick enough, and her body should fight off her illness. But when I decide to keep her home till she sounds "bad enough", I feel I should have brought her in before things got so bad.

I'll get it right some day, like so many other things in life.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Another way

Life is short. How many times have we heard that before? Still we strut around, puffing our chests like pigeons, dragging the weight of our ego and prejudice, like unnecessary baggage. If we look back at our life, and imagine that each decade is a chapter, how long would our book be? Eight chapters if we are lucky, or nine. With age comes hindsight. 'If only...' and 'wouldn't it be wonderful....' , become constant refrains. The wisdom of our twilight years plays hide and seek with us in our youth.

People constantly say that we should let people make their own mistakes and learn their own lessons. I'm not sure about that. It's a bit like reinventing the wheel. What a waste of time. History is important and teaches us lessons, so we don't do stupid things again and again. When someone tells us, don't smoke, it can kill you, or don't drink alcohol and drive, I believe we should take it at face value and not 'discover for ourselves' if that's true

I guess what I am trying to say is that sometimes it could be a good idea to set our pre conceived notions and ego aside, and learn life's little lessons from the world around us. Its good to realize that sometimes we may not be right, and there may be a better way elsewhere, that's all....

Monday, 31 October 2011

Oh, Happy Day!

So half term is finished. I'm not sure whether to be happy that I will have Tara off my hands, or sad that she'll be gone for the whole day again. It was wall to wall sickness, and she is still a bit run down, but the doctor said she's okay to go to school so here I am at the school gate.

I am nervous taking Tara to school, after the week gone past. It was a difficult week full of sickness and bad moods. I hoped she would go into school without crying or clinging to me.

When I walked in, I saw two little children clinging to their mums looking weepy and ready to cry. As my nervousness rose, I glanced at Tara who seemed okay. Suddenly she spotted her favourite teacher. I leaned over and whispered in Tara's ear, 'Why don't you go and scare Miss, its Halloween after all.'

A smile appeared on Tara's face and for the first time she let go of my hand, went over to her Miss and after a gentle 'boo', she was holding hands with her teacher and laughing as she got into line ready to go to into the classroom.

I was so happy and relaxed as I walked back to the car. I wish I could have this feeling everyday...

Friday, 28 October 2011

Silent song

I believe every woman's life is set to music and song. Not music and song as in a specific instrument or words of a composition, but song and music as in a kind of feeling. The song is sad when she is sad, and full of joy when she is happy. Women live their lives full of these songs, making them highly emotional beings.

The saddest woman is not one who has a sad song playing in her life. A sad woman is one who has had the music and song silenced. Every day goes past, whether happy or sad, in a sequence. The over riding emotion is numbness.

Songs are killed by life events so profound that they silences everything. Its different for different people. Causes can range from heart break to bereavement, but the effects are devastating. It might be the same for men, but I speak from a woman's point of view. I get it and I'm sure other women will understand what I'm talking about too.

That silenced song can be deafeningly painful.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Half term, half crazy

So its half term and school is out for a week. Im already half crazy thinking of ideas to entertain a four year old with a chest infection, who doesn't want to watch television, and the weather is non stop rain for the last 48 hours.

This television idea coming from me is priceless hypocrisy. Before I had Tara, I was of the firm opinion that a parent must be more involved in their children's activities and television was something to look down upon as a short cut.... an easy tool for lazy parents.

Oh my good Lord...a million apologies to all the parents in the world. Television is a dear friend who provides pockets of relief through the day. It is a baby sitter when nature calls and your child is old enough to say disgusting things while you attempt to relieve yourself under tremendous pressure.. no pun intended !

Back to half term, Tara doesn't want to have anything to do with:

Play dolls
Dolls houses
Any form of art/colouring/painting/cutting etc
Play dough
Television or computer games
Musical instruments
Soft toys

Basically anything in the house that's already been played with.

So she's in a bad mood...Im feeling cornered...I can't wait for her bedtime which is still some way away.. and I will sit down to numb my brain with television. It is a great invention..really

Tomorrow is another day..Im so worried..I hope the sun is out at least. The weather report says no it won't. School opens on Monday.  I will miss her then...You just can't win

Monday, 24 October 2011

So tired!

In life there are many moments when I say, 'this is it...I cannot be more tired than this.." Then something else comes along and tests the boundaries of tiredness.

I was prepared to entertain Tara through the half term. That is a different kind of tiredness. But what I got on Saturday instead, was projectile vomiting, followed by a visit to the hospital emergency in the early hours of Sunday.

To cut a long story short, Tara is ill, and I am exhausted.

As usual, I must check myself. It's not about me alone. Poor Tara has her first holiday since she's started school and she is so ill that she's sleeping on any surface she can find,when not vomiting or blazing with fever.

Its only Tuesday, so I must soldier on and make my little one better...

Wednesday, 19 October 2011


Today was Tara's assessment meeting with her class teacher. The Husband and I reported on time wearing smart clothes, ready to ask a lot of questions.

Tara's teacher thankfully gave us a good update on her progress and it really made me relieved and proud when I heard of all the things she did. I also saw her school work, and in the scrawls and bendy words, I saw the effort my precious little four year old was putting in so that her Mummy and Papa are proud of her. I also saw the section where children tell their teacher what they want to be when they grow up. My Tara said she wanted to be a dinosaur because she wanted to be bigger than everyone.

In those few words, I could see how daunting this new world must seem to a small child, barely four years out of her mother's protective womb. Not only does she have to do so many things to prove herself, but she has to fend for herself in a group of older children of varying personalities. Is this childhood? In today's competitive world, children are pushed harder and challenged way beyond their capabilities in an effort to stay ahead.

In that moment I decided Tara doesn't have to be a doctor or a lawyer if she doesn't want to. Today, all she has to be is a child, happy, safe and full of wonder at the world around her. She will learn essential life skills and  get appropriate qualifications in good time. When she grows up she will be prepared to deal with all the challenges, disappointments, joys and heartbreaks that life will throw at her. But for now, I just want her to be my child, my little star, Tara

Monday, 17 October 2011

It's Monday!

It felt like a heady mix of relief and joy when Tara jumped up this morning and said, 'It's Monday!' No tears, no sulking, just a declaration of the day. It's been ages since I've woken up with no panic or trepidation. It feels wonderful!

Maybe it was the action packed Saturday, relaxed lazy Sunday, the special 'good behaviour cupcakes' I gave her yesterday, or a good night's sleep with no dreams involving dinosaurs chomping her tail.

Whatever it was, I hope it lasts, or that will be be another few theories down the drain...

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Im sorry I blew up

The Husband usually makes it home just a little before Tara's bedtime. Father and Daughter share a light snack and read a couple of stories. In case The Husband is late, I send Tara to bed at her usual time. If I keep her up late, to spend time with her father, the next morning is usually difficult, and her school day more of an uphill climb. I do make an exception on a Friday night and maybe some Saturdays too. But it's back to her routine on Sunday.

The Husband came back from work last night, having had another stressful day. I do understand the stresses and strains of work and the kind of pressure he is under. But I still blew up at him. I'm going to try and explain the reason as best as I can.

If  The Husband makes it home and has some time with Tara, he should be fully available to her in that time. That is her time.  He has to make an effort when she looks at him, and be interested and involved, even if it is for 20 - 30 minutes. I know he's had hell at work, I know he's tired, and got a lot on his mind, but should we expect a four year old child to understand that? Is it fair to even expect a child to be so grown up, when all she wants to do is see her father's face light up when he sees her?

I know he is working to provide for his family. If Tara isn't around and he is, I would not ask of his time, because he needs that time to unwind. As a wife I can do that. But I think being a parent requires tremendous sacrifice. Every parent should watch a movie from 1999 called 'Life is Beautiful' by Roberto Benigni. Tragic and beautiful, it's about what lengths a parent can go to, to shelter their child from harm.

Where we are, we are fortunate to live in times of lesser troubles. We are safe, have food to eat, are healthy and getting by. We need to be grateful....and smile at our children more often. It doesn't cost a thing.

Looking back I should not have blown up at the poor man. I could have explained things a bit better. Just as I don't expect Tara to understand all her father's problems, I should also not expect The Husband to be a mind reader. Point noted for future reference.

I did apologize and we made up ;-)

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Im bored

I am pleased to report that Tara has improved considerably over the last two days, and we are talking as usual again!

So after school, bathed, fed, homework completed, we stood in front of her toys and I asked what Tara would like to play today. She stared at her toy shelf bursting with toys and said, 'Im bored with these toys, I have nothing to play with.'

I had a lot of words of wisdom waiting to tumble out of my mouth when I heard the word 'bored', but stopped myself just in time. I also remembered just in time that our mother-daughter relationship had just overcome a rocky patch and I have to be patient.

My mind wandered back to my childhood, and recalled my one and only doll Gigi, who had been played with so much that she barely had a few strands of hair remaining, and all manner of make up smeared on her face. Our television also had one or two channels mostly featuring boring old documentaries. I still managed to have a great childhood, so what was Tara complaining about? That sanctimonious thought was suddenly pushed aside by several others.

While it is true that I grew up with limited material possessions, it is also true that I grew up in a sunny land, with a large house, acres of land, a tennis court, fruit trees we could climb all day, our own farmland with a menagerie of animals ranging from cows to roosters, and at least a dozen children as companions to play with. That was just the tip of the iceberg, and yet school holidays were spent sitting on walls and annoying my mother with constant refrains of, 'I'm bored Mummy'

Coming back to the present looking up at the toy shelves in our small house with rain pouring outside, I realized that every child has the right to be bored. Whether a child lives in Disneyland, or a small house filled with toys and rain outside, he/she will eventually say the words, 'I'm bored.' It is a birthright.

So I did what my Mum did. I got creative

I shut the toy cupboard, pulled out some old cardboard cartons, set them out on the living room floor and had a whale of a time playing 'Dinosaurs in caves'. Maybe tomorrow I could cover some chairs with old sheets and play 'Lions in caves'.

It's true we do end up like our mums...Thank goodness for that

Monday, 10 October 2011

Teachers responsibility

When we are young and vulnerable, it is our teachers at school that we look towards for support and approval. While the job of the teacher is to impart education, it is also a unique job that has the power to impact the future of these children they educate.

I remember way back when I was in school how there were teachers who shattered my confidence and self worth. But there were also these absolutely amazing teachers who took me out of that hole and set me on a path that led me to achieve what I set out to do.

I will never forget how a history teacher refused to mark me higher than another pretty student who she was fond of, despite the fact that my work was far superior. One time she even came up to me and said I did good work but she didn't want to upset her 'pet' student. No matter how well I did it was never good enough.

I had another English teacher a year or two earlier, who I idolized and admired. Something happened along the way when she got the wrong end of the stick and flew into a rage, singled me out in my class and point blank accused me of something I never did. From that day on, no matter how hard I worked or tried to impress her, she always marked me down. Facts emerged later that absolved me of any wrong doing in the matter concerned, but the teacher's ego never allowed her to talk to me about it, choosing to ignore me completely instead.

These were hard, hard blows, that did knock the wind out of me. When the exams finished,  and were marked outside the school by external examiners, I did end up top of the class in both History and English.

Teachers don't just teach. They are role models and people who wield tremendous power over the lives of children. While they are human beings, their ego, their personal preferences and moods have to take a back seat, so they don't adversely affect young minds

For every irresponsible teacher however, there are many more wonderful teachers who do a fabulous job indeed, and make us believe that teaching IS a noble profession.

Away from school I had to get extra tutoring in Math to help me as I was falling behind. At that time I came across the most patient, kind and determined lady whose house I went to four evenings a week to study. She was of humble means, had her own three children to look after, she cooked and cleaned while helping me with my work, and she was deaf.

She understood me, and after a while I understood her. And my confidence and abilities grew by leaps and bounds so much so that I graduated in accountancy and completed my post graduation in management.

It was with great pleasure when as a successful banker, I went back to school and met a teacher who had written me off. I just hope they reflect and reassess their teaching styles because I was just lucky to have made it inspite of it all. Not every child is so lucky.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Leave the moon alone!

I was reading something today about how loads of Titanium ore has been discovered on the moon. Titanium is a very precious metal because it as strong, or stronger than steel but much lighter. So basically a very desirable ore. There was also buzz about future potential for mining on the moon!

Great! Some people see mining potential, I see potential for a huge future war! Who does the moon belong to anyway?

As a species we still haven't learnt to co-exist happily on our beautiful planet. Every other day there is a war with someone or the other about borders, oil, gas, Uranium or something else. Can you imagine what will happen when people figure out how to land on the moon? I see a cat fight of epic proportions.

So join me in praying that we resolve to make complete peace on our own planet, rid it of toxins and pollution, make it borderless and safe, and leave the poor moon alone..for all eyes to gaze at in equal wonder.

Tara agrees completely.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Mood swings already?

The last few days Tara's moods and behaviour have been volatile. She's picture perfect at school and according to the teacher is funny and doing her work well. But as soon as she comes home, she morphs from the mythical happy child into a grumpy, teenager - the kind of person who has a grey cloud with lightening bolts over her head.

My experience with Tara is that if she is coming down with an illness she tends to be grumpier than usual a week before she actually gets ill. But its been more than a week, and she is still acting up and showing the Husband and I bad attitude. Im not used to that and am not taking it very well. Initially I tried to nip the problem in the bud by telling her that she needs to be polite and not behave that way. This ended up with Tara in a flood of tears and my mood ruined. Then I tried asking her if everything was alright or if something was bothering her, but got no result.

I'm tired now. So I've taken my father's advice of just letting her be. Im not talking as much. Not to prove a point but simply because I don't feel like it any more. Im feeling a bit hurt and disappointed with my child's behaviour towards us at home, and a bit bewildered that the same child is very good with everyone outside home. I don't really know what to do. So I will just not do anything for a while and let her be.

She's not turning into a teenager already is she? Thinking about it , Tara never had the terrible two syndrome. Or maybe it just took its time getting here...

Thursday, 6 October 2011

You never know..

There is something about articles written about losing weight that make us read them. In my own experience I discovered that except for certain medical conditions, losing and maintaining weight is governed by three main factors

1. Eating the right things
2. Eating the right quantity
3. Exercise right

In short getting the input-output balance right. But every time there is a new article that boldly declares, '10 top tips for losing weight' or 'wonder foods to lose those inches', I'm right in there reading every single line. At the end of it, it all boils down to the three main points I have mentioned above.

So what am I expecting? Let's see. Im expecting a short cut, that doesn't involve hauling my backside to the gym or watching what I eat, or how much. When I'm in a particularly optimistic mood, I'm also looking for an article that says its okay to eat a whole bag of chips or a whole tub of ice cream.....a day. Or a magic pill that evaporates all the excess fat with no side effects. It never happens.

Like most things there are usually no short cuts. Time, effort, energy, determination are what it takes to get something in life. Even after knowing all this, the next time I pick up a magazine, and see someone write about "Get thin in a week", you bet I will read it, because you just never know.....

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Our job

It was just another morning, waving goodbye to Tara at the school gate, I was walking back to my car along with a couple of mums. One of the ladies, who I considered the "leader of the pack", suddenly started talking about how overwhelmed she felt today, after yet another difficult evening with her three boys.

One of the other mums gave her a hug and asked her if she would like go out for a cup of tea. That was it. Those words of kindness caused a flood of tears and she started talking about how she was finding it difficult to deal with her boys over the last few days. I felt for her. Here I am analyzing and stressing over every little thing about one child, and this lady had three boys and a very busy husband who couldn't help out as much as he wanted to, because he worked very long hours.

Being a mum can sometimes be a lonely business. You can be surrounded by children and family and still feel lonely. Mums have feelings and needs that are often put on the back burner. Children always come first. And heaven forbid we do something for ourselves, or have a mini outburst at our kids, the guilt squeezes the last ounce of strength from us.

"Look out for yourself
Have a pamper day
Do what you want to do today."

All wonderful advice, but easier said than done. Being a mum is not a problem that we need to find a solution for. The love we feel for our children is all it takes to spur us on. But every once in a while we need acknowledgment for our job which has no pay or retirement age, and still is the most rewarding in the whole world

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Same, same but different!

All of us have feelings. Feelings are universal, but understanding and interpreting another person's feelings, and expressing ourselves to someone else does not have the same universality. This is true of people living in different countries or of the significant other we live with - our partners/husbands/wives, whatever they are called these days..

Conflict, confusion and misunderstandings exist because although we are essentially same people,  our level of understanding and interpretation is different.

But come to think of it, this very diversity is what makes our lives so vibrant and interesting. 'Singing from the same hymn sheet' would give us all just one song to live by, and that would be mind numbingly boring.

What a treasure trove of tunes we could have in our lives if
we all sing our own song,
be heard by others,
then step back and
listen to someone else...

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Its NOT the time of the month

Let me make one thing clear. Attributing everything women do or say to "The time of the month" is so passe. Having just written this I'm looking all over my keyboard for the mark to put on the 'e' in the word "passe", and cant find it...

Just to set the record straight I know there is a mark on the 'e' in the word "passe". Im not being sensitive because it is the "time of the month". I just happen to have reasonable writing skills with fairly decent understanding of grammar. By the way its not the time of the month for me..just in case anyone is interested..

Where was I....

Women are not all fuzzy, emotional, difficult to understand creatures. If we react to something in a certain way, there is usually a reason. It may not be an obvious reason, but peel away the layers and you will find a reason...usually.

a) We may be fed up having to say the same thing so many times.
b) An issue has not been resolved so it keeps popping up at the strangest of times
c) We have a lot of internal conversations in our head because sometimes others don't like to talk about things.

There are many other reasons I want to put down here but that yell from Tara can't be ignored.

In the mean time don't think she is having her time of the month if she doesn't gush over the tickets to the show next Friday night. She's probably thinking of punching you since it was the month before she had told you her parents were visiting that day, and you seemed quite happy about it too!  You should have noticed the date marked in red on the calendar, on the fridge, or the various post it notes all over the mirror. You could have at least put it on your nice phone that makes odd beeping sounds at all odd times of day or night, and reminds you about very important things, like meeting the boys after work, or when the next episode of "24" is on..

So there!

This is in no way disregarding the very real challenge of PMS in some women. It IS a condition and it IS real. It is also remarkable how many of us deal with it and not impose it on the rest of the world.

Friday, 30 September 2011

Im tired..

I'm feeling really tired today. Maybe it was the hot uncomfortable night that had us all tossing and turning, or its my astronomical water bill that's knocked the wind out of my sails....or maybe I've done it to myself by revolving like a satellite gone crazy around Tara and her life. I admit I am a bit of a control freak and want things just so...

If Im not ensuring that Tara's weekdays go well, Im planning how to make her weekend an extravaganza, for doing well at school all week.

I am tired. The Husband is at a critical stage of his career. He needs to make a crucial leap that will see us all better off. So Im leaving him to it, as talking about it makes him sigh just that bit louder.

What about me? Weekdays or weekends are just the same ...

Im just tired.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

What's going on in that little brain?

Dropped off Tara at school with no dramatics this morning, thank goodness. Last evening was a different story.

After school, its usually bath time before Tara's dinner. After dinner its playtime, snack and story time, then bed. Its the routine that's been working ... more or less. Last evening during playtime, Tara was huffing and puffing trying to get little plastic Minnie Mouse dressed up in her plastic shoes and dress. It's quite tricky even for grown ups to get this right and it just caused a mini fuse to blow in Tara's head! She stood up put her hands on her hips, lips quivering declared, she would throw the toy in the bin as it did not work.

At this point what I should have done is let the matter blow over, but no...I decided to be all Mumsy about it and extolled the virtues of being grateful for what she has and how she should play with something else instead. Bad call ! Tara lay face down on the playmat and cried and cried and cried. At first I made the situation worse by saying that I wouldn't play with her if she was that way. Bad call... again! She cried and cried and cried some more, until I changed tactics, took her in my arms and just cuddled and rocked her, all the while asking her to calm down. When she did, I gently asked her what happened. And it came out..

"Mummy, everyone tells me what to do ALL the time, all day in school. Now even you tell me what to do ALL the time..."

I stayed quiet and it dawned on me. My 4 year old is growing up and is going through a major life change starting school. As adults it takes us just a minute to flare up when we feel undermined or controlled. Yet we expect children to fall in line every time, no questions asked. How would that make them feel? Children starting school makes many parents heave a sigh of relief as it gives us more time to do things while our children are "taken care of" in school.

4 years old and suddenly having a mountain to climb is traumatic, even if the mountain comprises, being able to pick up your own coat and bag, get in line, change your clothes, use the toilet, eat your lunch quickly, clear out your plate and tidy up after you, fend for yourself in a playground full of older children, do your work in class...........all without Mummy. Having to learn something in order to survive is not necessarily a pleasant experience for many children. They figure things out eventually because they have to, and slowly may even enjoy their time in school.

But till then, a little extra love, a little extra understanding, and maybe a bit less lecturing and lots more cuddles will not go amiss. I get it Tara...I do...I love you, I miss you and Im proud of you. Today you can decide what we play and how...

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

What day is is today?

As much as I love Tara and her funny yet interesting questions, there is one thing that drives me nuts. Every morning, every single morning since she has started school, and kindergarten before that, its the same words..

Tara : "Which day is it Mummy, weekend or weekday?"

Mummy : "Its Tuesday, so its a weekday"

Tara : " that a school day?"

Mummy : "Yes it is"

Tara : "Can I play on my computer?"

Mummy : "You certainly can.. on Saturday"

Tara : "Is it Saturday today?

Mummy : "No its Tuesday"

Tara : "Is it the weekend?"

Mummy : "Its Tuesday, so its a weekday"

and so it goes on and on, in a loop, until I lose my cool. Which makes her sulk or get teary, and its the start of yet another day...

I came up with a good idea of a whiteboard with the days of the week written on it, numbered and color coded. Tara has to tick each day at the start and put a line through the day at bedtime. It worked well for a few days, then the novelty wore off.....and its back to the daily days of the week tussle...again, and again and again....

Monday, 26 September 2011

Under the weather

Im feeling a bit flu-ey today. Heavy head and running nose. Being this way makes everything around seem unpleasant too.

Tara seemed to be settling well at school last week. Just before bed last night she asked me why the teachers keep shouting, eat, eat eat at lunchtime. She also said that one of the boys in her class hit her sometimes. Maybe it was my flu or just the protective mum in me, I almost lost the plot at the idea of my precious, well behaved girl being hit. Thoughts zipped through my head while I calmed Tara down and put her to sleep. Later I could barely get dinner down my throat. Its a good job I had a whole night ahead of me, else I might have exploded like a bomb on the school authorities right then.

The night was unbearably long, which in hindsight was a good thing as it gave me time to think.

The next morning as I got Tara ready for school, there were luckily no tears, and during a general conversation, I asked her what she thought we should do about the naughty boy who hit her. "Ignore it Mummy", she said with so much wisdom and maturity that it threw me off balance.

I thought about it and my 4 year old was correct. All my built up confrontation melted away. After I dropped off Tara at school, I did put in a quiet word with the teacher, keeping her informed of the little boy's antics. She said, "That's just boys being boys". Now that could have pushed me over the edge and made me box Miss's ears, while I said, "That's just me being Mum", but I remembered the words of a very wise soul...Ignore I walked away.

If my little Tara can pick her own battles, so must I.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Turning a corner

After trawling the internet looking for websites, finding solutions to a 4 year old's crying problem in school, I was amazed at the number of suggestions of medication for anxiety.

I mean...come on! Tara is 4 years old, never been in a full day school setting and is finding new routines a bit daunting. As a mother it's up to me to be calm, re-assuring and positive about school, not shove medication down her throat after 2 weeks ! Im shocked.

On the plus side, the last 2 days were heaven. Tara and I discussed all the challenges and routines in school, and arrived at solutions to each one of them. Now school time is good! I leave a child at school who smiles and waves bye-bye, sometimes Tara even throws in the odd 'see you later alligator'

It seems we may have turned the proverbial corner!

Monday, 19 September 2011

Starting Primary School

As if battling pinworms wasn't enough, Im now deeply involved in another battle in the form of Tara starting 'proper' school 2 weeks ago. Having recently turned 4 years old, Tara has started at reception year in school.

The pinworm battle is a long one, lasting about 6 weeks. Round 1 was a success, and it seems we are on the home stretch...and winning! Hurray. Another few weeks will rid us of the problem...for this time at least..

School is something else...I have to take a deep breath, look calm and take Tara to school now. Her lower lip is starting to quiver, forming a pout ready to send some tears out at the school gate. We have talked about how things are, found a few problems and solutions but still have some way to go...Fingers crossed..

I think I need to accept the inevitable and stop crying at the wheel of my car (after I drop her of course). then I can convince her that its all okay. Will take me a bit longer...I miss her.

Sunday, 4 September 2011


Im exhausted. Tara managed to get pinworms and it has sent me on a physical and emotional rollercoaster.

First reactions:

1. I am not a dirty person. How could my child have pinworms or any worms
2. Physical revulsion at the thought of creepy crawlies
3. Guilt, at how I could let it happen

After first reactions, as usual I went through a cycle of shock, worry, anger, snapping at The Husband, then resolution to solve the problem. So I go into overdrive.

First I hit the internet and become an expert on the subject. Then I find out causes and am re-assured that its not my fault. Next is the doctor's appointment where I feel a bit more reassured. Finally the solution, one dose of medication, followed by back breaking cleaning for 4 weeks that's left me physically shattered.

It will take me up to 2 weeks to know if we are rid of the worm problem...till then my life will probably be on hold ..I wont't let some creepy crawlies win will I ? Its another matter that its very easy for Tara to bring more bugs back from school.

Its funny being a mum. A child's illness puts everything else on the back burner. And unfortunately with children, illnesses are usually back to back, so my life will be on the back burner for a long time I suspect...But for Tara I wouldn't have it any other way...That's what mums do.....

Back to, cleaning, more sanitising and disinfecting...

Tuesday, 16 August 2011


The last few days I've not posted much, but I have had many thoughts swimming through my head.

After the chilling Norwegian gunmen's heinous act, and the frenzy in Jersey which claimed innocent lives, I realized that both acts affected children. I am by no means downplaying or undermining adult lives lost or destroyed irreparably in numerous incidents around the world, where someone takes it upon themselves to kill others in the name of what they believe is right.

I have a suggestion. In future why don't these terrorists who cant stand the state of the world or people, just kill themselves, and go direct to have a chat with the Almighty about what to do about the 'problem' they see in our world?

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Playground Politics

Tara had a play date today at the local playground. Well...not really a playdate. A group of mums from nursery decided to pack a picnic and meet at the playground. Tara was very happy to see her old frtiends, even asking by name for those not there.

Most of the children are around a year older than Tara, and it showed when they played. Tara waited in line for her 'turn' at the swings and climbing frames only to be shoved aside by the older ones. She was a bit crestfallen and tried to keep up.

It made me wonder as I watched. I raised Tara the old fashioned way. She has to mind her p's and q's, wait her turn, and treat others with respect. Was I doing the right thing? Would she be able to survive the world where people who shove, get to go on the swings first?

I don't know the answer, but I think I will stick to my way.... it just feels right.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

One thing..

If I was to name one thing which I think is the root cause of all problems, it is intolerance.

Think about it. Intolerance in queues, traffic situations, husbands and wives, family in general, other people's cultures and traditions etc. etc.

Intolerance goes hand in hand with impatience, false ego and perception of lack of time.

We just can't wait. We think our time is paramount and our ego makes us feel more important than we are. All these put together make us angry and intolerant. Most of life's problems can be traced back to this. Let's all try and change this one attribute in us, and take a new look at the world we plan to leave our children.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Am I home yet?

Its been a few days since Ive written. I've had family staying over and it was....interesting. can't live with them or without them.

Before I was married to The Husband, I couldn't wait to get away from my family home, to spread my wings, be my own person, live my life et al. Anything my mother said to me was interpreted the wrong way and the classic, "no one understands me" was my constant refrain. 

I have a wonderful husband and lovely child today. But even now, at times, I feel..I want to go home..

So where is home? One thing is for sure, home is not a place, in the physical sense, like a piece of land with a house on it. Home is probably a place where we feel at peace, secure and we can We are embroiled in relationships and the business of living every single day. Life, at every stage does not easily allow us to "be". So we keep looking....and hoping...that one day we will be home, wherever that is.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Another year!

Tara had a perfect birthday today. She went to bed with a smile, and I with aching muscles. Putting the special day together had me running like a headless chicken, but it was worth every discomfort when my little lady put her arms around me at night and said she had a wonderful day today.

Another year has gone by. I was led to believe that it gets harder with children as they grow up. I disagree completely. In my humble opinion, the first 6 months are hell on earth, the next 6 months marginally better, as you get used to being in hell. 18 months things start looking up, 2 years it feels easier as does 3. But 4 years later, I feel immense pride in having a perfect daughter, so easy to be with.

Or maybe that's just Tara. One hell of a good girl! Its my privilege to be her Mum.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Waste not...

If there is one thing I don't like, detest even, it is perfectly good food being thrown about. Like a cake fight, or tomatoes being squashed in a seasonal festival, or milk being poured over divine deities in exotic countries. In most circumstances I try to be non judgemental of lifestyle choices and cultural traditions. But when it comes to food, I cannot pretend to be rational and reasonable.

Some parts of the world have people starving, clasping their dying children close to them, looking around with cold, hopeless eyes for a morsel. When I think about it, or even worse imagine myself clutching Tara, not knowing if my precious baby will see the next sunrise....the feeling of desperation overwhelms and horrifies me. Im a mum, so are millions of other women who watch their precious children die due to starvation. In this day and age it is morally and spiritually unacceptable.

It is nothing short of criminal to play with food. Make no mistake. Where we are born is just luck of the draw. We must not have the arrogance to believe otherwise. So the next time you or I waste food, let us try to think many times. I choose to belive that if there is a God, He/She would much rather we feed a fellow human being than accept offerings meant to curry favour with Him/Her

Saturday, 30 July 2011

In my own shoes

Yesterday I was speaking to a friend who lost a dear one. She said a year on she still felt raw pain, was unable to feel real joy, and was unable to move on. My first instinct was to tell her that it would get better soon, and she would be fine once she comes to terms with her loss. Instead I was quiet and just squeezed her hand.

I put the kettle to boil and looked out of the window, at the flowers in the garden. Every flower was different, so were people. Some of us bounce back quicker than others. It doesn't make us better or stronger...we are just different.

As I handed my friend her cup of tea, she looked up at me and said, "Thank you.....for not lecturing me about my loss."

After she left that day I thought about the number of times how with the best of intentions, we often end up making others feel worse. When we try to put ourselves in someone's shoes, we literally put ourselves in their place. We then decide how we would feel or react and expect them to feel or react same.

So the next time, instead of trying to walk in someone else's shoes, I think I might stay in my own shoes and walk beside them instead.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Is there anyone out there...

When I started writing this blog, (which was not so long ago), I needed a space to express myself and put some thoughts and feelings into written words. Not much thought went into my target audience....which by the way... is me.

A few moments ago, a thought ran through my there anyone out there who might have read my words? If there is....well...hello, how are you? Hope you are having a nice day..

Sometimes that's all another human being needs to hear or perhaps just want to say to someone else. We are all connected, not directly maybe. We share common concerns, similar challenges, insecurities, joys, tragedies etc. but people sometimes choose to look at our differences, which by the way are superficial.

The pain of losing a loved one is common, as is the excitement of feeling passionate love. Scratch below the surface and look past the first few layers of all people....I would wager we are all pretty much the same.

So if there is someone out there reading this, "Hello....I want to share one moment of my existence with you, and stand with you, sharing any emotion you are feeling at this time. No one is alone, there is always someone out there"

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

My little politician

Tara sat on the steps and triumphantly declared that she had put on her own socks. The Husband nodded appreciatively as if she had just discovered a new planetary system. Tara rose up slowly and declared that 'Miss' in school had taught her how to put on her socks.....and taught her numbers.....and the alphabet.....and tidying up etc. etc. etc. I couldn't stand being all magnanimous anymore, and exclaimed, "Didn't I teach you any of those things?"

Tara turned around and said, "Of course Mummy, you taught me one thing..."

Great, I thought...just one thing...

"....and that one thing is EVERYTHING." concluded Tara with a flourish of her little arms as she strode away.

I was speechless....for a change. My little not-yet-four year old had said so much, with so few words. 

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Day out

Its Sunday today. As a family we tend to have a set routine on Sunday. Tara's Dad, (henceforth known as The Husband) usually takes her out for the morning. They visit their usual spots, have lunch and come back home, giving me the vital me-time I have for myself, to do as I please. Today I wanted to do something different....the 3 of us together. The Husband disagreed, but I dug my heels in.... Im good at that....digging my heels in. So we went to a beach, hardly 5 miles away. It took our breath away as a collective 'Wow' escaped our lips. All these years we have been so close to paradise, but always looked further afield.

Human nature I suppose. The most precious things are all around us. We just have to stop looking at the horizon for that perfect job, that perfect partner, that perfect life....and just look at what we have in and around us, and be grateful. Its a lot more than other people have. Everything in life is relative.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Keep talking

It is important to talk. To people, animals, plants, pictures, the sky, or even to oneself. 'Talk' may be the wrong word, 'communicate' is more appropriate. Words need not be the only medium of communication. Mothers and babies communicate by touch, while people in love communicate across a crowded room with just a look,

To stop talking is to stagnate. So say something everyday, even if its just a prayer

Friday, 22 July 2011


It was the last day of Tara's kindergarten today. Some of us mums-at-the-gate met up for coffee. It was interesting listening to the common concerns and hopes of other mums. Then the tears started....oh dear I thought sanctimoniously.

We all left to go back to school and waited to pick up the kids. This was followed by exchanging of numbers, pictures...and....more crying..

Today was a party by the teachers for the kids at the school. The bell went, and the children all came out one by one smiling and happy, while all the teachers and parents clapped. I was fine amongst the blubbering women...until my not-yet-4 year old Tara walked out smiling, carrying all her bags, shoes and report cards...wearing a paper crown.... and I unreservedly joined the tears brigade..

Teachers were thanked and hugged, and presents and cards given. The head teacher gave a small speech, which she has probably given many times over the last 25-30 years. She took Tara as an example of a child who has come a long way since that dreaded first week, and I was proud. 

Tara hugged her favourite teacher and said a well rehearsed "thank you for everything" as more sniffles wafted through the air. The kids were mostly happy and laughing while the mothers were a mess, what with our eyeliners and mascaras smeared everywhere but our eyes.

It was a day not only about the children, who frankly didn't seem to care about the fact that it was their last day at school. It was perhaps more for us mums-at-the-gate, with our dreams, aspirations and apprehensions for our children as they take another step towards growing up.

I think its time to go home. My little baby is all grown up and going to big school soon...More tears anyone ??