Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Help !! Thief !!

Remember the fresh fruits Tara and I bought at the local market? Well they're gone. The only pieces of evidence left behind are the piles of mango peels and a few broken plates on the table.

The thieves in this instance were a pack of monkeys. We never saw them around the house until the fruit arrived. After our tiring outing we had barely left the fruits on the dining table and gone into our rooms to cool down, when they made a feast of the mangoes, right there on the table. To top it all the monkeys rather maliciously cracked a few plates on the table and left.

I felt rather sad as my host calmly picked up the broken pieces of her fine plates, and asked Tara to be careful she doesn't cut herself on the fragments.

Typical Indian hospitality. Their guests come first, all else much later..

I have to go now as the mosquitoes are having a fine feast on my arms as I type..

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Restless still

I learnt something today. Actually "learnt" is the wrong word, reinforced is more like it. You can travel all around the world looking for peace, but real peace is what exists within us.

Temples, retreats, scenic spots, stunning locales, mean nothing when the disquiet within is louder than the silence without.

I miss The Husband. I despise the situation he is in. I feel helpless. I feel powerless. We will turn a corner soon. I only hope it is sooner rather than later.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Bugs Shmugs...!!!

This morning Tara and I woke up full of energy and enthusiasm. Covered in mosquito repellant I took Tara in an ice cold air conditioned car to the local markets. We bought some fresh fruits, looked at some small market stalls, bought a few inexpensive things, then hopped back in the car where our poor driver was frozen stiff, unaccustomed to the low temperatures of our air conditioning.

He told us about a temple nearby and Tara seemed enthusiastic. So off we went, Tara kneeling on the back seat looking out the rear window. Seat belt laws in India are pretty lax, but the traffic flow is so random that speeds beyond second gear are few and far between.

We reached the serene place surrounded by monsoon fresh greenery. We were almost alone since it is school time and most families are busy at work or school. We admired, wandered around the peaceful surroundings then succumbed to the mid day temperature and headed home.

A lovely day for Mummy and daughter..

Sunday, 22 July 2012

The last two days

Tara's body has been ravaged by bugs. I feel terrible. I'm not sure if it's mosquitoes or ants or something else. I have been using anti insect lotions/sprays etc but each day sees a fresh red spot. Tara is everywhere. The freedom from heavy coats and lots of open space to run has her laughing and excited all day long. In this situation I can either curb her or just keep putting more lotions on her.

Tara is now an expert in ants. The red ones are "evil" and the black ones "just run around all crazy"

Then there are all other insects which are being looked at closely.

Life is exciting...

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Jet lagged and disoriented

I'm in India. It is green and beautiful...a bit humid but warm. The "koel" bird sings all day long. After initial admiration Tara said, "Now, it is irritating me!" So much for appreciating Nature :-)

Our flight two days ago was horrendous. The cabin was too hot and and that inevitably makes Tara ill. Poor little girl did her best not to vomit and was miserable during our 11 hour ordeal.As we landed at the airport in India, she vomited all over the floor, and apologized promptly to the officer in charge. Poor thing. Once in an ice cold air conditioned car she felt a bit better and we were whisked off by our concerned hosts who came to pick us up at an ungodly hour, around 4:00 am.

We reached our destination after another hour of driving. Tara was not in good shape but being very good for a child so exhausted and sleep deprived. I quickly settled her in bed and turned the room air conditioner on immediately. We slept till noon the next day not quite clear headed.

Two days later I made it to the computer, to post my thoughts.

Must go to bed now, so I can string together some coherent words.

By the way, The Husband didn't get the job. He is very hurt and upset as am I. But we each put on a brave show for the other. I could wring the neck of his employers who sucked him dry, and pulled the carpet from under his feet just when he needed a steady foothold in life.

I'm still not cursing fate or destiny.

I still feel the job best suited for us is around the corner. Better get to sleep now..

Monday, 16 July 2012

Flying tomorrow

Tara and I fly tomorrow. Non stop for 10 hours. I'm always on edge on these flights, at least till I'm checked in and through security and finally waiting for the flight to board. I tend to finish Tara's lunch at the airport. She cannot stand the food served on flight, and I don't blame her. Full of salt and not much else.

Once on board the first two to three hours are alright, then it's a bit tricky handling Tara who gets increasingly restless, till the last two hours when she realises the futility of her struggles and slumps over till the flight lands at some unearthly hour, and the mosquitoes come a-buzzing at the prospect of fresh blood.


I must try to get some sleep. Luckily Its an afternoon flight so no crazy hour rushing around.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

We miss him already :-(

So The Husband transported us to London like a good responsible Dad/Husband. We are staying in London for a day or two before our onward flight out. He drove back to our home, looking low at the thought of being away from us. Once there he will sort a few things out and then drive another few hours to his place of work.

The Husband is hoping to get a few extra hours of work to be able to save some money. He also has a job interview soon. What a life the man has! I always believed it is my holding back and hoping for a job where we live now, that has been a Karmic impediment to The Husband getting a permanent job anywhere. The Buddha once said, if you chase something it will always be a step ahead of you. But if you wish for something, stop chasing, and release that wish to the Universe to fulfil, it will come true.

Seeing him leave today something inside me shifted. I am now fully resolved to blindly follow him, set up my nest again, and support him in his efforts to keep us afloat, day in and day out. Tara will be devastated at leaving her school and home she loves so dearly behind, but it is my job to teach her how to overcome these life changes and still emerge the better for it.

Watching The Husband drive away, alone, I let go...I am now open to the Universe to bring into my life all the things we need to keep our family together.

It will happen. Watch this space

Friday, 13 July 2012

Hello Tara

After I finished writing my previous post, I felt like saying hello to Tara. Not my little girl of today but my grown up girl whose eyes will be reading this record of her life in the future. And my eyes are filling up with tears after writing those two words.

Someone I know lost their only child - a four year old little girl in a horrific road accident two days ago. In a split second, the little girl let go of her Mum's hand and walked on to a road, only to be hit by a heavy construction vehicle. She had no chance, and was gone...just like that. Her mother saw her worst nightmare unfold before her eyes. I have been trying to avoid facing up to the horror of that. In fact I stop my mind from venturing anywhere near the scenario, as I would not be able to deal with it. The parents....heaven help them.

As parents we have dreams for our children. I don't mean dreams of them becoming doctors, architects or rocket engineers, though that would be nice :-) I mean more like our children growing up happy, content, self reliant human beings who enrich their own life experience on this planet, and ours by allowing us to be a part of it. Those dreams for our children become the focal point of our life.

If I had one wish today it would be that no parent outlive their child. There are many more important things to wish about, but just for today that would be my wish.

Tara, your Mummy was an ace problem solver, (usually) and you are a part of me. When you were four and a half years old, one of your favourite stories used to be how you were born out of Mummy's egg, in my tummy. You laughed aloud when I enacted how you kicked inside me. You always said you grew from me, so you would be just like me. It gave you great security and satisfaction when you heard that story because in your eyes, Mummy was a rock who could do anything, and you being "just like me" made you feel powerful too.

I love you Tara. When you are grown up and read this, I hope you realize that your Mummy loved you more than anything or anyone else. Use that love to be your strength and guide you through any situation or challenge in life.

Last day of school

Life goes full circle.  started writing this blog when Tara started her reception year. It's been a wonderful year, with our share of challenges, and the satisfaction of overcoming those challenges, and emerging all the better for it.

Today I dropped Tara off at a local church for an end of year school performance. After that they go back to school for a party with games and dancing. Tara has been very excited. At bedtime Tara couldn't wait for morning to arrive. She asked me at least six times if I had set the alarm for the morning, just in case I'd forgotten and we missed the whole day.

There is nothing more satisfying than a child raring to go to school, and nothing more heart breaking than a child who doesn't like to go to school. I think a child's attitude towards the school going experience depends on three major factors :

1. The child and their personality. Something not in anyone's control
2. The home environment and inputs from parents in preparing the child for school
3. The school and every member of staff from the Head to the dinner lady and the cleaner.

It is a matter of great luck...even a blessing to have all three factors slot into place.

I have to say I am emotional at the thought of picking up Tara this afternoon. I'm sure she will be fine..I'm not so sure about me. I have no regrets about the way Tara is growing up. I don't miss or dwell on the years gone past or worry much about what lies ahead for her. I just love being with my Tara in the present.

Tomorrow we travel..

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

I love lists

I really love lists. First the making of the list, very relaxing. Consigning the contents of the brain on a list liberates me. The said list works best on paper, though off late I have been leaning a bit too much on the iPhone calendar. Writing on the list with a top quality pen or well sharpened pencil is of course vital.

Once the list is drawn, and a cup of tea had, it's the thrill of completing each task and ticking the list that is extremely satisfying.

Halfway through task completion, a good list maker realizes that a messy list with scribbles alongside is no good. It must be re-done with only the remaining tasks listed. A few more tasks can be added at this point, and another cup of tea downed.

On with the tasks, till every one of them is done. Mission completed...Satisfaction, followed quickly by a dip, a strange feeling. The kind of feeling one gets when a wonderful vacation ends. A cup of tea to regroup, and start all over again.

With all my travelling, before and after I had Tara, my list was a life saver. Travelling with a baby is challenging to say the least. So I created a master checklist on my computer that included every object I needed, big or small. The list was printed before any trip, and it saved me a lot of time and stress. As the years pass many items have been deleted from the list.

I love lists.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Job interview

It's finally happened, not according to plan but it has happened. The Husband has been called for a job interview next week.

I am relieved that The Husband finally has the elusive interview. On the other hand, we were all booked for a family holiday abroad, and now Tara and I are going without The Husband, flying out a day before his interview. What does that make me? A few words come to mind. Selfish, crazy, etc. etc. I would offer 'practical' as an option. Our tickets are of the non refundable, non changeable types, and it's a known destination full of familiar places and faces so we decided to travel. The Husband, by the way is insisting we go.

Maybe I give myself too much credit. Maybe he will have better luck without me around, or at least less stress seeing me trying to make everything comfortable and better. Maybe all this self talk will make me feel less guilty and focus on Tara and the new experiences that lie ahead of her.


Monday, 9 July 2012

Parent-Teacher meeting

It was another meeting at school. This time only me, no Husband. I felt quite out of place because I had nothing much to say. I saw other mums waiting their turn with little notepads, and pieces of paper, and felt a bit odd.

I was happy with my daughter's work and her in general, what else was left to ask or say? The teacher said Tara was very good and working well above average and that was that. I thanked her and then went off the look at her school work. Shortly after, I had Tara in the car and we were going back home.

So, what is wrong with me? I love my daughter, I want her to have a good education and be happy, safe and secure in her school. What I don't want to do is be paranoid and enlist her in every possible club and class that is available, to fill every bit of spare time she has. Some people feel I am not doing enough for Tara, but she is barely five. Childhood is transient and it's not long before it is replaced by worldly worries and ambitions. I must be doing something right if my child is above average in everything, and still finds time to play and laugh with us.

I was once asked what I wanted my child to be when she grew up. I replied, "Happy and Self reliant." I stand by that.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Rain, and more rain

I'm almost embarrassed to say I love the rain. With all the damage and devastation, and in some countries, the loss of life that the rain and ensuing floods have caused is shocking.

The fury of Nature. I'm not enough of an authority to say that human activity is the cause of this strange weather. They may well be, or maybe not. No one has lived long enough to experience the changing mood of Planet Earth.

Logic and reasoning aside, all I can see are fellow human being suffering, some due to incessant rains others through drought. With all the scientific breakthroughs and Higgs bosons being discovered, why can't the great minds figure out a way to channel excess water to the drought ridden areas? I know it's a silly question, but I'm feeling quite low at the moment.

Tara's school shuts on Friday and on Saturday we travel, to the other side of the world. A new perspective, more learning, more astonishment, more surprises.

Friday, 6 July 2012

First Report Card day.

A year has almost passed since my just-turned-four year old toddled into her classroom. Tara always hated being the youngest. She found courage in her little heart and gave it her best. There were many tears, months of adjustment, upheavals, until finally she settled into her happy routine, more or less.

Today was report card day. In my eyes my little one had done very well, so it was only a piece of paper that I went to collect in that sense. From another point of view it was a very important piece of paper. The feeling I got was similar to the one parents might have when they give away their daughter's hand in marriage. How strange! What a comparison. But that's how I think I felt. Happiness tinged with sadness, pride and hope for a better future for my Tara.

With that report card in hand I was handing my daughter over from her baby year to year one. A new step, a new direction, the start of many steps she has to climb in life. So what did her report card say?

Tara achieved all the set goals, and was above average in some areas. She was even recognized as "gifted" in music and art. What summed it all up for me was the comment by her class teacher. "Tara is a little girl, but very mature for her age."

She may be "gifted" according to her teacher, but she is the best "present" a Mum could have ever dreamt of receiving. For that I thank the Universe.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Performing arts day

It was Performing Arts day at Tara's school. I was tempted to give it a miss, but better sense prevailed. I sat in the school hall and watched one performance after another, including my little Tara looking radiant and super sweet in her pink tutu as she danced happily with her classmates for a short song.

I must be getting old because I had tears welling up at the performances of all the children. What was I getting emotional about? There were no child geniuses rendering soul stirring performances. Far from it. Performances were at times out of tune, out of step and ill timed. But that was what my eyes saw, not what my heart felt.

My heart saw little children, putting their best effort, after days of practice, up there on the stage, vulnerable and some lacking in confidence but still carrying on. I saw a little girl her hand in her mouth and eyes on the floor throughout her dance, I saw another child forget her dance steps and collide with others on stage as she tried to find a space to fit in. I saw a shy little girl who stood in a corner every morning when I drop Tara off at school, now transformed...her face lit up and posture straighter than ever, lost in the dance she performed. A tall lanky boy, trembled as he played the piano, another's voice barely emerged as he sang a song.

I clapped and smiled for all. No other emotion showed on my face. The last thing a child needs is a pity filled face. They are brave little soldiers doing their best, and I for one was very impressed with them all.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

And...the passport is back!!

Life is a roller coaster. Ups, then downs, then ups and get the idea. I had submitted Tara's passport renewal application on Thursday and the passport is back today! Hurray! That's another load off my mind. Isn't it funny how my headache is gone now.

I think stress is the worst thing for the human body. It destroys us and renders us immobile. It's not possible to avoid stress. But I believe it is an essential life skill to handle it and reduce it's impact. I'm all for it, because while I am very good at handling the stressful situation, I don't think I'm very good at avoiding the damage that the stress does to me, while I'm sorting things out.

The only positive is that while I am aware I don't digest the ill effects of stress well, I am dogged in my determination to learn how to do it.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Flurry of activity

Friday went past in a flurry of activities.
Saturday was Tara's party
Sunday was post party recovery
Today - Getting ready for school on a beautiful rainy day.

Till later !!

Sunday, 1 July 2012

My definitive party check list

I am not a kid's party planning virgin anymore. Yayy!

Okay I hadn't done everything myself but I had planned the whole day, right down to the smallest detail and made sure all boxes were ticked on my giant check list. Since it was Tara's first ever party it had to be extra special. Tara of course made sure she told each and every child she was not yet five.

I will put up my party checklist here. It is simple...and effective, and may well help another first-kids-party-planning-virgin Mum.

Number of children
Cost per child
Invitations - date of distribution
                  - date of RSVP
                  - date of Reminder
Party bags
Party supervisors/hosts
Entertainment: examples, Face Painting, Balloon modelling, Disco, Games
Thank you cards

Tara's day was very special and left us all tired and happy, and full of lovely memories to cherish.