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Special plate

We had friends to stay over on Sunday and as it is the new normal, I marinaded chicken, veggies and M grilled them for dinner.

M started grilling and items were disappearing in lightning speed as everyone was hungry and hot fresh grilled food always tastes better. I was busy in the kitchen preparing tomato thokku for the one day trip planned for next day.

Adi observed the whole scene for a while, then came near me and whispered that I should take a break and have some food as I will not get any if I wait till the last. I nodded my head but continued with kitchen work. Few minutes later, she handed over this plate to me and asked to save for myself to eat later.

That divine feeling of someone caring for you and thinking about you took over me instantly and I wanted to just preserve that plate of food for eternity.

I grew an inch taller that day because of abundant happiness. This is my the favorite phrase from a tamil song.

Quarantine time has brought us closer than before and I count my blessings.

Mother’s day 2020

Started with this post yesterday but dozed off before I could publish. So please adjust and read it like its published yesterday 🙂

I woke up before the kids, walked around the home, had my coffee in peace, made few phone calls and then it happened!

LHB woke up and freaked out as last night he ordered me to stay in bed all day today. He made me go back to bed and stay there for next two hours until breakfast was ready. While Akka was busy in the kitchen, LHB was busy walking between bedroom and kitchen to make sure I am not stepping out of the bed. I was bed locked. Thankfully, I was allowed to speak over the phone so had a looong chat with my friend. He said I can even watch TV if I am bored BUT I was not allowed to step out of the bed.

After two hours, I was blindfolded, taken to the table and presented with an elaborate spread.

Dosas
Scrambled eggs
Buttered bread
Leftover capsicum chutney
All sorts of sauces/jams/pickles
Masala chai in a travel mug
Hot water in flask

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Adi made all of them with no help and the little boy helped to set the table. I was surprised and proud. We relished the brunch and then I was allowed to carry on with weekend kitchen chores.

Next 4 hours was spent in kitchen with songs in the background. It has been a while I listened to songs and the songs lifted up my mood. I decided to make mango kara kuzhambu. Just the thought made my mouth watery and I could literally taste the kuzhambu even before it was ready.

In the next 4 hours, with songs playing in the background thik thai kitchen* dished out

Idli batter
Onion tomato chutney
Mango drumstick kara kuzhambu
Brinjal fry
White rice
Appalam/Fryms
Ground and refilled all spice powder – pepper powder, jira powder and saunf powder

We had dinner in formal dining room and I dressed up for dinner 🙂 Looking at me, LHB also dressed up and surprised us by eating dinner all by himself like he made a plate for himself and ate with hands.

*thik thai kitchen – LHB named our kitchen as thik thai kitchen as apparently he believes that his mom loves Bharathanatyam form of dance.

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He forgot to give me the cards and made up during bedtime.

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Music class and parenting

Hope all of you are safe and staying indoors. This post is not about how we are adapting to the new way of life that would have been an impossible distant dream until a month ago.

Adi learns carnatic music for few years now. She lost interest sometime last year and have been asking me to stop the class. I promised her that we can stop when we move to new neighborhood citing that as a reason and initiated the conversation with teacher after our move.

The teacher didn’t agree to stop. Her point was Adi is almost close to getting to advanced level and it is not a good idea to take a break now. She advised to continue with online class. So we continued but ever since Adi would take a break every few weeks with some lame excuse. Slowly, she started whining for every class and it was getting worse!

Yesterday, she started whining an hour in advance and went on and on. I tried explaining how her teacher is not agreeing to stop but she didn’t listen. I felt bad for Adi as this setup is not helpful for both her and the teacher. She is not going to learn anything if she attends class with this mindset. So, I called the teacher few minutes before the class and tried explaining again but she didn’t budge. The teacher said let’s go with today’s class and then she will talk to Adi.

The class got over and then teacher called. I explained to her how its getting hard week by week and then teacher spoke with Adi. She explained to her about how close she is to get to next level and how dropping at this stage is not the right decision. This girl nodded her head to teacher and agreed to all that she said. The call ended on a happy note and I felt so relieved.

Later the evening, while we were working in Kitchen Adi started a conversation with me.

Adi: Amma, I have a random question for you!
Amma: Yes dora daru (that is how I call her these days. I will write about it later)
Adi: Why did you call the teacher before class?
Amma: Because, as a parent I have to address your concerns. I cannot ignore it. I didn’t like you whining and felt it needs to be addressed.
Adi: Do you want to know a fun fact?
Amma: Yes
Adi: You did good parenting today!

That comment from her made me fly high. Nothing has changed, she is going to continue with the class but I am glad that I made a decision to call the teacher and not ignore her whining.

Lesson learned: It is very important to show your child that you are listening to them and taking appropriate action as needed. Ignoring the situation doesn’t help to build relationship with a teenager.

Heaven is

the salad your daughter makes for you when she gets home around 2:30pm and you are starving as you skipped lunch attending back to back calls since morning.

Bonus – she serves it to you 🙂

Now I am craving some masala chai and troubling her to make some but she is not budging!!! It seems her quota of help is done for the day!!!

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Today’s dinner

What happens when you watch too much of Master chef? See below

Adi made this dish for my dinner today and presented it to me as

Enjoy the Cheese ravioli on a bed of sweet kale salad topped with roasted potatoes, dried cranberries and a dash of feta cheese 🙂

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Food drive

Adi is participating in a food drive to collect non perishable items from neighborhood and donate it to a local food pantry. The concept of food pantry is new to me. Underprivileged people can register to this food pantry and get food supplies on monthly basis to help feed their family. I don’t know the nuisances involved in this system but isn’t this a great idea to support families in need?

We have to go door to door (think of those census people or the marketing representatives ringing our door bell), explain the cause and request for food donation. I have never done this before, ringing a stranger’s door bell and Adi was not comfortable with it either. Add to that, we don’t live in a community or Asian dominated neighborhood to share common connections. The diversity rate of this neighborhood is very high.

M had his own set of doubts. What if a guy opens the door with a gun pointing at you? Nevertheless, I dared to go ring the bells for a good cause. The kids tagged along and I made Adi do the talk when each home owner answered the door. Some peeked only their head out and said sorry, some went into the kitchen and came back with some donations, some promised to drop something at my doorstep after next grocery shopping and some showed good interest asking for more details about the drive.

I didn’t expect anyone to drop items at my door step as I was very sure they will forget my door number right after we leave. But, this old gentleman came to my home yesterday straight from grocery shopping and dropped in not just 1 or 2 bags but almost 5 to 6 bags full of rice, pasta, canned tomatoes, beans, cereals, jam and many more items. Repeated thank you and God bless you is all I could mutter. I have asked Adi to make a handmade thank you card for him.

This was a unique experience for all of us and I hope the kids will not shy away or hesitate to speak up or ask for help for a good cause in future. It was very difficult for me too but not anymore.

Summer ends and School begins

It is first day of school today. The older is stepping into 10th grade (they call it Sophomore year) and the younger is stepping into 1st grade. I am working from home today and the home is so quiet and empty.

This summer, we didn’t do anything fancy. Kids just stayed home with grandparents and the four of them being at home all the time kept the home fully alive. There is always something going on

LHB’s summer at a glance:

Ammachi (that is how kids call Amma), did you see the TV remote?

Thatha, thanni venum (can you get me some water?)

Ammachiiiii, don’t use the mixer now. I can’t hear anything from the TV!!!

Thatha, its bad to watch laptop in the morning. Close it NOW!

Ammachi, paal (can you get me some milk?)

Guys, who is working from home tomorrow?

Ammachi, dish washer clean-a? (when he wants to grab a cup for water or a bowl)

Ammachi, can you switch off the cooker? It’s disturbing!!!

Ammachi, innikku diiner-ku enna panareenga (what are you cooking for dinner tonight?)

M have installed wireless plugs in main rooms to control the power via phone. He has set a schedule to turn off family room by 9pm and it needs to be manually turned on the next day. This is how LHB demands to turn it ON next day as TV is in family room

Appppaaaa, turn on the TV NOW, or else I am going to eat you!!!

LHB calls me while I am at work in middle of a call and goes on and on and on about how Thatha is not behaving, how he litters and how he sneezes without a tissue!! He starts “Ammmaaa can you hear me? You know what Amma, you know, Thathaaa…..”

He will visit basement office room at least 10 times in a day when one of us WFH. I have trained him to whisper or make gestures to ask if I am in a call and if I am on mute before he starts talking. The way he does that is uber cute.

He would have called out for more Ammachi and Thatha than Appa and Amma in this summer and that is exactly how I have dreamed summer to be for my children. If not all summer, at least one was made possible. I am a happy bean (Oh Adi is into this phase to call everything a bean and I am an influenced mother)

In the last two weeks, he made friends with the high school boys living next door and started messaging them using iPad inviting them to play. They had few play sessions shuttling between the homes and jumping in trampolines. Adi was astonished as she was so hesitant to even say a Hi while this guy was rocking the show 🙂

Today is many first for LHB:

  • First day going in school bus all by himself
  • First day taking home packed lunch (I hope he handles the dabba well). We practiced opening and closing the dabba a few times at home but still I am nervous
  • First day going to public school system

Its new school for both of them and they have to build everything from scratch! It sucks! Hope they will have a wonderful school year.

Why do I yearn for alone time when they are around and miss them terribly when they are not around? Can’t wait for them to come home and share all stories.

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Adi’s lunch

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LHB’s lunch/snack (Pasta/Apples/Grapes)

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Adi boarding bus (that’s another enthu dad taking pic to embarass his kid)

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LHB boarding bus (the last guy. why rush?)

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LHB’s school (I went to school few mins after the bus left to just witness, enjoy and breathe the first day air at school 🙂

An evening to remember

So many things happened/happening now in life. But, I would like to record yesterday evening here before that memory is replaced by something else in my tiny memory bank.

Its about yesterday’s evening routine at home. I am single parenting the kids for past few weeks and though it is tough and challenging to juggle all needs of every day, I took this as an opportunity to take charge of the situation.

LHB is now trained to eat on his own, focus and follow my instructions during study time and he has not watched TV for the past few evenings. This is a big achievement for me.

The kids and I eat every meal at home together in the table without watching TV, talking to each other about the day.  I love this routine. Yesterday, LHB was sharing with us how his lunch buddies didn’t help to get lunch and his dotting Akka was advising him how he should get the help of his teacher at such situations, how he should speak up and stuff. I was a silent observer of the conversation puffed up with pride.

LHB is listening to me and understands the implications of his actions. I have to move on and accept the fact that he has grown from being a baby to a big boy. He is now capable to process instructions. I should not treat him like a baby anymore!!

We watch movies together on weekends, have our own fun time before going to bed and laugh for silly reasons.

It is exhausting and this may not last for long but I am totally loving this dedicated time with kids. I do not want to trade this for anything else in life.

It’s official

I am a high school mom now 🙂 The girl has started her high school journey today. I hope she enjoys this high school tenure, has loads of fun and stays responsible. She has a bus to catch at 6:45am in the morning for next 4 years. That means the poor Amma has to make her lunch dabba and breakfast ready by 6:30am!!!

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We prayed and did our family ritual of jingu chikka dance before heading to the bus stop. Appa, LHB, M and myself were hiding in the bushes closer to the bus stop as the girl strictly denied our appearance in the bus stop. How can I let her go so easily without seeing her blushing?

So, when she was about to board the bus she was telling her friend that “My mom will be here somewhere taking pics” and was searching for me while I walked up to her and clicked this pic. The moment she realized my presence she turned around. A moment that will be etched to my memory for a very long time!

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And its my birthday today! Out of all the days, today is the day I noticed a grey hair in my head! Seriously!!! Signs of growing old I guess 😦

And parents are here for a month. Amma made paruppu urundai kuzhambu, beans usili and vada curry today. What more can I ask for?

Trying to live every moment with them as their stay is short.

LHB deserves a separate post. All his terrible two tantrums that were saved for years are thrown at us as if there is no tomorrow. I am just hanging at the edge waiting for his school to reopen in 2 days. Phewwww!!!!

Howdy all?

Graduation 2018

Big day was 19th June. The girl graduated 8th grade. The school arranged for a promotion ceremony and it was a sight to watch all the young ladies and gentlemen dressed up for the occasion. I took day off and played chaperone for the outing planned by Adi and two of her besties after the ceremony.  I took special permission from the school principal to take LHB to the ceremony and he tagged along for rest of the day.

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We all had lunch at Panera bread and then watched Incredibles 2 in big screen. We were a good 15 minutes early for the movies on a weekday matinee show but still couldn’t get a better seat. Almost half of the 8th graders from Adi’s school were in for the same movie!!

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I suggested the girls to do one thing crazy to remember this day and the outing. They discussed about doing a Russian dance in the parking lot but decided otherwise later. Kids these days are too conscious!!

In the evening, we visited Adi’s piano teacher who is in rehab. He broke both his legs and is recovering slowly. What stood out for me from this visit is the post his son wrote about him in FB wall. He had written that his father had made life so simple for him that whenever a situation comes he would just think “what would my father do in this situation?” and there comes the clarity! To lead by example. I had goosebumps when I read that post and could see the pride in his eyes. It took him a whole 15 minutes to figure out FB and show that post to us and he didn’t even know about that post until a friend of him called and checked about it! Social media is still alien to a set of people.

Wrapped up the day with dinner at A2B. Melt in your mouth awesome food but service was too slow that we had to cancel the order of adai aviyal. They serve one of the best authentic masala chai I have tasted so far in this country.

Summer vacation is starting tomorrow and I so badly wanted to at least get this post out of my way before I disappear for 2 months.

Happy Summer!