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.