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Quarantine life

Life has changed for everyone across the world and I hope all of you are finding ways to keep yourself sane, safe and healthy. There is still so much happening in our life and I am learning to live by every moment. I want to jot down my list as categories

Blessings list:

  • Family is safe and healthy.
  • M returned from India just few days before the lockdown started. I just couldn’t get my head around the what-ifs of “if he got stuck in India”.
  • All of us are able to move forward with our work/school with minuscule impact.
  • All the quality time and random lighter moments with family.
  • Impromptu family quick lunch time on kitchen table on days we all could take a 30 minute break from work.
  • LHB’s random melting talks like “Will you be a dear and get me a glass of water?” or “Mother dearest, another Dosa please”. I am sure we have missed living through these moments in the old normal busy life.
  • Access to food, coffee and of course desserts.
  • Family Indian regional movie nights on Friday and Saturday. We explore Hindi, Malayalam, Telugu and all other regional movies.
  • Extra sleep time in the morning (this should be on top of my list).
  • No rush bedtime routine (I have started story telling session about Tenali Raman/Akbar-Birbal and we play one board game on most nights).
  • LHB workout routine by dancing mindlessly for Tamil peppy songs and the rest of us sitting around him and laughing hysterically.
  • Kids doing workout as a punishment whenever they use improper words. 20 squats if they say “you are a butt”, 20 jumping jacks or burpees are other workouts.
  • Being able to carryout with most of the work that we used to do in old normal life.
  • More bonding time with family.
  • Not holding on to grudges/skirmishes for a prolonged time. Trying to take one day at a time and look at every day as a new day of opportunity.
  • Weekends mostly start with a family conversation on brunch table with hot just off the stove fresh food.

Whine list:

  • Forcibly becoming a first grade teacher. I dread the study sessions with LHB. He brings the worst out of me and I feel like a terrible parent at the end of every session.
  • Not being able to listen to music (the only time I listen to music is during my commute. No commute, No music).
  • Using Milk like gold.
  • No break from cooking/ever day cooking (it is physically tiring but I enjoy the after moment when family enjoys the meal as meals are mostly prepared based on family members suggestion)

Things I am doing during quarantine time that would have been distant dream otherwise:

  • I start my day with Meditation and Surya namaskar at least 5 times a week.
  • Take workout seriously. Burn the calories either in elliptical or by following a random HIIT workout video at least 3 times a week.
  • Be mindful about the choices made with handling kids (getting better at Respond vs React).
  • Read a book (finally!!!)
  • Active in Instagram (Only food pictures. It will come in handy when the family accuses me of not cooking. You can find me as “anikrish”).
  • Volunteering opportunities. Being part of Mask making project and making a difference in the community.
  • Weekend video call with parents where kids bond with them. I always want to do this but could never get to it due to lack of time and running around hectic weekend schedules.
  • Drink two full bottle of hot lemon infused water throughout the day.

As you see, my whine list looks meagre compared to blessings list so I make it a point to stay positive and count my blessings every single day. That could be one of the reason why I am working on the art of “let go” more than before. It gives me jitters when I think of all families who are impacted first hand during this unprecedented time.

My typical quarantine work day:

7:30am – Wake up
7:30-9am – Morning home duties (Meditation, Surya namaskar, cooking)
9am-5pm – Work, work, work with little breaks. These days I am mostly on video calls all day so have to be presentable too (that means a decent shirt with PJ pants) !! I found a way to setup a budget standing desk with package boxes to alleviate the back pain.
5-7pm – Dinner/cooking/cleaning time.
7pm-10pm – LHB’s study time (If my stars align then he will manage to finish them by 9:30pm so we can play a bedtime board game)
10-11pm – Bedtime routine (story time, game time and then eventually crash time)

My weekdays are passing by like a flash and weekends get over before I could blink my eyes.

Ani’s nest is kind of getting very comfortable with this setup that its going to be a very hard transition for us to get back to old normal life.

Looking forward to hear from all of you my readers. Just tell me all is well on your end and send some love.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Thank you

Thank you all for your encouraging positive comments. I am working on lifting my spirit up and stay focused on things that need my attention. Its okay for the dark thoughts to come and go, its even okay if tears flow down, just let it flow or wipe it and continue to do what you do. Don’t sulk and give in to negative emotions!! I am repeating to myself often!

Kids have resumed school today after 10 days and I am able to breathe easy. Naughty LHB took his own time to get ready and made me drop him at school!!

Just for laugh:
Amma: LHB, please come over to take your medicine
LHB: Arghhhhh!!! Its that time again!!
Amma: LHB, please da, Amma paavam da, please come and take your medicines da
LHB: Amma, you don’t understand. My life! My choice! I can choose to not drink the medicine
Amma: **passing out instantly** and Adi rolling on the floor laughing..

If only Amma had even 5% of this wisdom!! My life, My choice it seems…

Adi and I were laughing over it for rest of the day by randomly saying “My life, my choice” and she kept mocking me “You don’t understand Amma”!!

Weekend highlights:

  • Adi attended a sweet 16 surprise party at old neighborhood.
  • LHB and I killed time at Chuck e cheese while the girl was partying
  • LHB won second place in a cub scout boat race. Don’t ask me how many participated 🙂 its 3!
  • Adi attended “Make a blanket” event at the temple. They made blankets to be distributed to terminally ill children at the hospital.
  • Quick stop at friend’s home to wish their daughter for her birthday.
  • I have started watching “Super singer junior” and had a very good laugh. Though I don’t like the way the kids are engaged, some lighter moments and laughter is guaranteed and I need them very much right now!!

We spent a solid 3 hours in making this boat last weekend. LHB chose to paint them red and blue.

Screen Shot 2020-02-24 at 4.12.36 PM

Hugs and love to you all.

Fear of judgement

It is the fear of judgement by someone I want to keep first in my trust list that keeps me up all night and makes my cheek wet at random times more than the pressure of physical labor and mental stress itself.

From what little I know about myself, I can handle any level of physical labor but I cannot overcome the fear of being judged.

More power to girl friends, my maternal family, blog friends, neighbors and supportive work environment. I could not survive this phase without you all.

The kids have ear infection and on antibiotics. They were home all this week. I have bad cough and taking OTC medicines, resumed work after two sick days and workplace has been very supportive. I cook between meetings, feed kids and make sure they take their medicines on time and rest well. Everything else has taken a back seat.

How would you react to someone who judges you as

It is very much possible that they got sick because you didn’t handle them properly?
Washed clothes as piles on the floor? Aren’t they supposed to be on the closet?
When did you last sweep the home?

Read the first line, this someone is not just someone to hit ignore, it’s the same one I want to keep first in my trust list. Life is hard!!

#10-more-days

Sickness Overloaded

So, as usual we had a busy long weekend running between classes, Adi attending a sweet 16 party celebrated at grand scale and LHB having his own low scale birthday party at home. He invited few boys from his class.

And we got sick right after LHB’s party was over. All 3 of us are running temperature, having dry cough and feeling low. Kids and I took sick leave today and planning to just extend it tomorrow too. I made veggie soup, kanji and surviving with comfort food and rest. Hope to get back to normal in few days!

Today is probably the first time Adi is taking a sick day and she is freaking out texting her classmates to find out what happened in each class.

Its tough to see kids sick and care for them when you are sick too!! Can’t this sickness wait for few days to catch me? If this is not enough, I feel terrible about missing out things at work front!!

Survival continues!!!!!

Appa’s spy

#appas-spy

Scene – On call with Appa

LHB: Appa, I want to talk to you in private and he walks into my closet with the phone. Closes the door but I could hear him!

You know Appa, these girls, they are using your card to order in Amazon. They are ordering stuff in Amazon with your name Appa.

Appa says its okay and then he steps out and tells me all about it. He felt so relieved when Appa said its okay.

We were ordering a party dress for Adi in Amazon and placed order with M’s card as it was auto saved in the account. I was too lazy to reach out to my wallet.

I least expected this little fellow fooling around to notice it, remember and tell his Appa. He didn’t utter a word when we were ordering instead observed it all and reported to his Appa dutifully!! Naughty guy!!

I feel that some change happens (either good or bad) right after I speak about something in this blog. Do you remember how few days ago I vented about the pain of making LHB do his math/english work. He is acting like a charm for past two days, following my orders and doing all the work he is expected to do with no whining or tantrum!! I hope to not jinx it :fingers_crossed

Weekend

Note: I wrote this yesterday (Sunday) night but dozed off before I could publish it so publishing it as is!

Recording about this weekend so I can come back and read this on a day I can’t pull myself through a demanding day to remind myself that I have done it in the past and can do it!!

This weekend became super crazy with couple of makeup/adhoc classes, mall shopping, conference call, potluck, guest visit all thrown in these two days. I got all of them done but not happy at all as its past 10pm on Sunday and none of us are in the right mindset to start a fresh week!!

Wish I learn to say NO to myself but I don’t know which one of this I could have said NO to. All of them sound equally important to me at this phase of life!!

Saturday:
8am – Wake up, prepare breakfast and part of lunch
10:00am – Drop LHB at his makeup class
10:15am – Drop Adi at her adhoc class
10:30am – Come back home and continue with lunch prep
11:00am – Pickup LHB
11:10am – Come back home and continue with lunch prep (Sambar making was literally done in parts today, like saute onion/tomato, switch off stove, step out of home, come back, add veggies, tamarind water, switch off stove, step out of home, come back, add dal and finally call it sambar!!)
12:30am – Drop LHB at his class
1:15pm – Come back home, LHB takes shower/eats part of his lunch. I gobble up my lunch and pack dabba for Adi!
1:45pm – Pickup Adi, drive to nearest mall (She wanted to get a gold shade dress to attend a sweet 16 party next week and I wanted to get some supplies for the low key birthday party for LHB at home next weekend). Kids eat lunch in the drive!
4:!5pm – Leave from mall
4:45pm – Costco grocery shopping
5:30pm – Return home, put away the items bought from mall/Costco and wrap up dinner
6:30pm – Leave home, take Adi to her class
8:45pm – Return home from Adi’s class
9pm – Login to a conference call for volunteering
10:30pm – Wrap up the call, spend some time on online shopping as Adi couldn’t find a good dress in the mall.
11:30pm – Call it a day and go to bed!!!!

Sunday:
8am – Wake up, prepare breakfast, clean home, wash dishes, make semiya payasam (big tray)
12pm – Get ready for Pongal/Sankranti potluck at LHB’s Tamil school
1:30pm – Arrive at the venue, help to setup, serve (we had banana leaf serving style), eat yummy lunch and watch cultural programs.
5:30pm – Leave the function in the middle as Adi wanted to comeback home to finish her homework. I missed watching ladies dance 😦
6:00pm – Arrive home, clean home, make Tea
6:45pm – Guests arrive. High school girl with her parents. They wanted to know more details about the volunteering opportunities
7:30pm – Guests leave. Start with vegetables chopping (prep work for kids tomorrow lunch box)
8:30pm – Sit down with LHB to do his homework
9:30pm – Draft this post while eyes are begging to go to sleep.
10:00pm – Waiting for Adi to come to bed as she is still working on her school work!

LHB is giving me such a hard time today with homework. We both are not in our best state of mind and he is just sitting on one page of Math for past one hour!!!! Doing Math/English work is such a painful process for him and I seriously don’t know how to help him. He hates it when I nudge and I hate to do it too but is there any other way out?  I even stopped nudging him often. All I asked for was just 1 hour each day this weekend and he made it a painful session for both of us!!

Pictures from potluck:

LHB sat with his friend in a different row and ate by himself. Proud moment 🙂
Look at all the munchkins in Veshti.. LHB is 3rd from right!

Getting along

Today morning:

Scene: On the way to airport to drop M. LHB came along as it was an early morning drop and timings worked out perfect to drop him at school on the way back.

I asked something to M and he snapped at me with raised voice

LHB: Amma, you will not see Appa soon again. He is gone for 1 month. Be nice to him.

I had to clarify to the little one that its not me but his Appa who raised his voice and felt terrible about it.

Adi got used to our skirmishes but LHB observes keenly and even voiced it out loud few times in recent months as “Will you guys ever get along?”

One day, M and I were having a casual convo and laughing over something and this boy shouts from behind “Akka, they are getting along, they are getting along” **face palm moment**

But, that triggers my thoughts “Will we ever get along? like ever??”

P.S: Day one of single parenting. Just 26 more days to go!!

Today-01-29-2020

5:45am – Wake up, pack dabba for kids and myself (I also packed a dabba for my work friend)
6:50am – Send off Adi and continue with kitchen work
7:15am – Wake up LHB, help him get ready and I get ready too
7:45am – Both of us leave home. Drop LHB at neighbor’s home (they were kind enough to drop him at bus stop along with their daughter at 8:35am)
8:00am – Board the bus
9:30am – Arrive at work, get settled
10:00am – First meeting of the day starts
10:30am – Go to tech concierge as laptop crashes
10:50am – Drop the food at work friend’s desk. Didn’t see her as she was in a meeting.
11:00am – Next meeting
12:00pm – Head back to tech concierge to hear that they need some more time to fix the laptop. I was praying to get it fixed with not losing the data
12:30pm – Lunch time
1:30pm – Next meeting
2:40pm – Get the laptop back with all data intact (smile wide for the first time in the day)
2:45pm – Head back to desk and then realize that I misplaced my lunch bag, make two rounds around all the places I visited after 12:30pm
3:15pm – Eureka moment to check with Lost&Found concierge, I walk into their room and this person hands me over the lunch bag. I was puzzled at how he knew (Adi asked me the same question too when I shared the incident with her at dinner table). Apparently, I had a paper with my picture in the lunch bag (smile wide for the second time in the day)
3:20pm – Surprise bump into the work friend in hallway and get a big hug (Smile wide for the third time in the day)
3:25pm – Walk back to desk, get some work done
4:00pm – Leave work, take train to arrive at the bus stop, stand in line for 10 mins
4:25pm – Board the bus
5:45pm – Pickup LHB from aftercare
5:55pm – Arrive home
6:00pm – Dinner time (all 3 of us had dinner at the table talking about our day)
6:30pm – Take LHB to bi weekly cub scout den meeting, stay there and help him with the activities
7:45pm – Arrive home, I did a pep talk to LHB while returning, he listened and settled with his homework right after we reached home. I started with prep work for tomorrow’s lunch and cleaning dishes/kitchen while helping LHB with his homework.
8:30pm – Adi takes a 5 minute break and both kids have hot chocolate while having a quick chat.
9:00pm – LHB was not done with part of the work but I asked him to call it a day and watch TV for 30 mins as he behaved very well today. Poor champ was on the run from 7:45am to 9:00pm and I felt he deserved a break before going to bed. He gave me a hug and settled with one TV show.
9:30pm – Bedtime routine. Adi was in her room all day today as she has mid term test tomorrow and had a lot of materials to catch up. She has asked me to wake her up at 5:45am tomorrow for final revision.
10:00pm – LHB goes to sleep, Adi and I catch up on few emails that needed both our attention
10:30pm – Adi goes to sleep and I start drafting this post. Its 10:43pm as I type this.

Hope I will hit the snooze land by 11pm. Tomorrow is another long day!!

I can’t even say there is only two more days for weekend as weekend looks busier than weekdays!!!

All I need is just one relaxing evening with kids and go to bed early.. Will it happen soon?

P.S: The biggest smile happened when the work friend sent a message in the evening saying my food was the best part of her day today, that it helped so much to go through a tough day. I made rotini pasta with vodka sauce, Italian spices and veggies (capsicum, onions).

Not so good day

Been to the office today, first day in this new year. The only feel good factor of the day is the visit to office. Got to see familiar faces, wish HNY, catch up and just sit quietly in my seat.

Spoke with a common friend during morning commute to check on Bharu. Couldn’t control the tears following through my cheeks as I was talking to her.

I think I just have to accept that this is me. I can’t hold back my tears and it flows out unbiased to circumstance/people. You will know why I am declaring this by end of the post and I am saving the best of the worst of today for last!

Had long lunch session with a colleague/friend and for the first time I let her speak and took the listening side. Usually when we catch up every few months I take most of the time to fill her up with all my updates but today she needed the time. I listened to her and at the end shared some of my perception on her situation. But, teared up towards the end of the conversation when I was telling her about Bharu!

I have been crying at random times since I heard the news and the situation is not helping at all.

Spoke with a family friend Akka during evening commute as she lost her father last month. We were sharing the commons between her father and my FIL and again tears were flowing down without my conscience.

Later, stepped out to pick LHB from his class and crashed Tesla on car #1 while trying to take it out of the driveway. Tesla’s back and car #1’s front are damaged. I already damaged the front side of Tesla while trying to take it out of the garage last month.

That is it. I lost it totally after returning home especially when M took a look at it and estimated the damage. We are under tremendous financial pressure right now with multiple loans and the crash at this time is not something we can handle. It was totally my mistake and I had a huge bawling session hiding in my closet. The mind did its part and pulled out all that is going wrong at recent times in a 70mm screen and made me feel terrible. It keeps warning there is more to come and my unknown fear was only manifolding.

Thankfully LHB finished his homework with no fuss and there is not much chores to wrap up so all I wish to do now is hug my kids, go to sleep and wake up as if today never happened. But it is life and my heart is going to feel the pinch every time I see those dents that we cannot afford to fix now. I made a costly mistake today and feel terrible about it!!!