Dog days

 D

ays gone by have been discouraging. Everyday has promised rain and rain has everyday been a day away.

It is getting wearisome.Like my very achy back. Clammy and sticky and muggy , just like my head. It must rain before it becomes a nonevent. Like me.

There has been no inspiration and I have been dragging myself quite a bit. It is more about what happy circumstance I can bring to life than what happy circumstance life can bring me. A big burden it is and sometimes I am just not up for it. Curling up into a ball in a corner is very very inviting.

But then there are very real babies and very real whining. And there has to be a very real mommy in a very real mess of a house. So real it is oppressive.

I know I should be picking myself up and counting my blessings and looking at my sweet children and be grateful but then I am a bit too tired to find enough good to cheer me up today. I am sad today.

I think I should let me be sad. Putting on a happy face too long might just make me unreal. After all I have very real days to survive, very real children to look after, very real spills to clean.

Sad and hurting is real too. I must hold on to live it through. Maybe I’ll make it ( to where??) . Dog days are real.Tantrums are real.Hunger is real. Flies are real. These frogs are not.

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I am sad. Big bear is in need of cheer.  Our babies are chirpy. And these guys?

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They are flourishing.

I am going to wait this out. In a very real setting.

Dog days might get some relief.

The gray clouds might keep their promise.

It might rain.

 

positive parenting

Camera360_2015_7_23_090428how to be a positive parent when you weren’t raised that way.

This is NOT to point out parenting mistakes my parents made. We all make them.They  have mostly been good and kind to me. But now that I am a mommy myself I can’t help wonder if more positivity and more acceptance would have made a difference in the way I have turned out.

I think it would.I was an extremely sensitive child. I want to be an accepting parent. A positive one. I do not want my children to be afraid of me. Or listen to me because they fear rejection. Or lie to me because they believe truth will trigger a storm.

I want them to feel loved.In times good and bad. Not love they have to fear losing if they make a mistake. Love that “if ” can not challenge and “but” can not budge.

I want them to be disciplined and know right from wrong. But I want to let them fall out once in a while and make amends. I want them to see the pride in success and the dignity that is in failure.

I want to believe in their small talk as much as in their big dreams. And accept if they have absolutely no dreams at all. Do we really need to grow up with big aspirations of who we are going to be? As if the whole growing up thing isn’t traumatic enough!!

I want them to become their own special persons. They are not here to be just the ticket for my lost ambitions.

While I want them to have necessary etiquette I do not want them to hurriedly lose their child like honesty.

I want them to know that I will always have their backs.And that I respect their little rights as much as I assert mine.

And I am here to really listen to what they have to say.

Positive parenting can be hard if you, like me did not have a very  happy upbringing. But then if you were hurt, it makes it easier too. Here’s how:

  • GOALS are important but not the far-sighted long-term goals. The understandable, the feasible, the little goals children can comprehend and touch.My seven year old can not be studying to become a professional but he can be studying to learn to add. To add is our short-term goal.
  • Do not hush the child too frequently. To you it may sound unimportant but it may be big league for your little one.
  • Do not make every thing educational.IT SUCKS THE FUN OUT. EVERY BIT OF IT. A movie night is a movie night and a day at the beach is a day at the beach. Let us not always count the number of shells we found. May be feel them together ??
  • A failed test is not equal to a failed life. Try and equate and you are a failure.
  • Forgotten homework is not equal to irresponsible behavior.
  • Occasional neglect of responsibility deserves gentle reminders not harsh punishments.
  • Accept. All peculiarities. Children want to know you love them as they are. Aren’t they perfect?
  • Please do not keep commenting on your child’s looks.  We are all very impressionable regarding that. Aren’t we?
  • Do not label a child. EVER.
  • Spend time with them. You’ll yearn for lost time later.
  • Pay attention. They are little with important  little things.
  • Be respectful. Babes learn by mimicking our behavior.
  • Make home a friendly place. Where they would like to get their friends.
  • Do not compare with other kids. And do not always try to give examples of your experience. There is not just one kind of experience. You know that !!
  • Praise and appreciate. They deserve it.
  • Get down on your knees sometimes. From a child’s height  there is a very different, more beautiful perspective.
  •  Do not play favorites if you have two or more children.
  • DO NOT expect your bigger child to act all grown up when the new baby arrives. You decided to have another baby. Your child did not decide to have a little sister.
  • If you make a promise, try to keep it.
  • If you do wrong, be gracious and say SORRY to your child.
  • Do not expect overnight changes in your child. Change is always gradual. Be it undesirable behavior or an irritating habit.

And then giggle together. Tickle each other. Be silly. Not nag ever. Fight and make up.

Be friends with the littles. That’s a great start!

 

 

 

crafty mommy

cheerfully busy
"MAMMA IS BUSY AND MAMMA IS CHEERFULLY BUSY,"says my wise seven-year old.
His observations are exact to the point of suspension of belief and the beginnings of new impressions. He says and marches on. I am left trying to find my lost balance, digging my toes, holding on to some urgent something to do.Being busy till I see daylight and know it is true - I AM BUSY. AND I AM CHEERFULLY BUSY.

I have enough on my plate every day to call it an overload. Yet, I yearn to make. Something. Anything.EVERYDAY. Ideas strike as I do the dishes and colors appear as I launder. It is like I find a map and a key. And time will twirl and there will be extra minutes for me to turn into a crafty mommy. My boys love it when I am cheerfully occupied in artsy -craftsy ways. They  ‘help’ , occasionally yelp. But this is one time you wouldn’t hear me complain a crumb.

LITTLE THINGS THAT CAME TO BE.

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I haven’t met a flower that I didn’t fall in love with.Or that didn’t fill me up with lofty dreams of color.

I like it when we have flowers at home. They bring some outside in. I like the hint of green amidst bright-colored blooms. I like them in a window. Atop the fridge. On a table. on my kitchen counter.Anywhere. They make my home feel loved. Me feel loved.

Then one day they shrivel and dry. And I can’t trash them. I like their new vintage-y beauty. Usually I’ll air dry them and make pot pourri but it is sticky here when it ain’t raining. So here’s how they turned out this week:

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My baby’s hands are always photobombing. Err… I mean he is such a help!!

Camera360_2015_7_15_110012We melted wax , added rose essential oil , cloves ,vanilla and dry flowers. Poured into moulds. Dashed them into the freezer for five minutes.( seconds, we are impatient here). I goofed up and used cork screw lids for moulds and my little treasures refused to pop out. I managed to get one out. The others are being called ‘WAX COINS’ by the young ones. They have a faint delicate fragrance. And if you are the dainty kind, you ll love these around your house.

Some of the flowers found themselves in bonny airy mesh bags with drops of patchouli oil ( I got that a year back to cure my acne, and it never suited my skin. I am glad I can use it in better ways.)

Camera360_2015_7_15_041156I quickly blanket stitched the bag while I put eggs to boil, talked to my son about his day at school and played target for my baby’s scrunched up paper balls throwing practice.

I left two hanging loops at the sides , so I could curl them around a cinnamon stick .I twirled a piece of twine through the stick too.  Like this:

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It stays next to my kitchen sink. I’ll freshen it up with some more drops of oil every few days.

Camera360_2015_7_15_044628I made one with cloves too for the Bathroom.

 

Aside: Dish washing is serious business in my home. I do not have a dish washer and no help with house keeping. I wash so many dishes so many times a day. Something pretty near my sink saves me from dissolving into bubbles. And I am loving this new find :
It smells wonderful ,looks clean and is a grease stripper really. Lasts me a week . And isn't expensive. I love this thing. I am sure my sixteen year old self is cracking up in disbelief that in another sixteen years she ll be declaring to the world," hey I dig this grease stripper lemony thingy dish wash." My consolations sweet sixteen. And life isn't so bad at 32.
 Disclaimer: I wish I weren't saying this : THIS ISN'T SPONSORED IN ANY WAY. I wish in all ways it were.

I mod podged an old biscuit tin into this:

” Home is where the cake is “. Yes, yes, YES.

I covered a clip board with nice paper and soft lace to make a memory board for the scatterbrain that is me:

I already dressed him up as Charlie Brown on the thirteenth only to thankfully discover at the last-minute that we were early by two weeks. Not so much of a scatterbrain after all.

We love this tropical velvety fruit called litchis. Big bear and I make a frozen dessert treat out of it. Watching ‘MAD MEN’ and sucking the cold yummy-ness was my favorite thing these last few weeks. I realize now when Mad Men have left the screen and litchis are gone too for the year.

The twigs from that pretty fruit into this twiggy heart, A tribute:

Camera360_2015_7_15_111413 Looks like I am having a gala time. O dear but am not. My toddler is around ,you see.And I am taking it one minute at a time.

Living it. Being crafty and cheerfully busy.

Thanks son for that revelation you gave me.

 

 

 

Why?because

Camera360_2015_7_9_032434I have been waiting to be here. I have been waiting so long. My plan of running around the house all the while feeding tummies, wiping messes and waiting till there is some state of order to finally sit and be here awhile has been a complete failure. And a bitter one.
The wait is too long. My patience is threadbare. I am under the weather. I have a cold. And a persistent backache. And a weird headache. School has started. The routine has begun.The toddler has a cough. I just shouted at Big Bear over the phone. I am Miss complainy-pants. I am just what I don't want to be. 
I can do better. I just shouldn't wait for very long. And I must learn  to work in chaos.
why?because

There are good things in my life.

We had three unbroken days of beautiful rain. Big bear and me, We found a few minutes of togetherness in the balcony to just look at the sky. Clouds inked the skyline like a mighty mountain range and reminded us of our up in the hills days. We haven’t seen such times in forever and a day but that the memories are so close and hurt and refuse to fade is a wonderful positive sign. I believe and abide by it in my most shameful angry moments. I know we will be back.

The sun shone today. And the hills and cliffs sent some winds our way too. I love the hushed sunshine and the quiet breezy ways of the wind. I love days like this.They stir me in spaces I have forgotten exist. And if I have been holding back tears for some days, they let them out.

Big bear just texted to say that he already ordered pizza and I don’t have to make dinner tonight. I was longing for twelve seconds in bed, and now I have an hour though babies will surely keep tugging at me. And that is nice too when I am not in a flurry of things to do.

Every single day I have been able to craft a little something. A five minute something or sometimes in the kitchen too while making lunch for the children. I wonder how but I manage.

Some sparrows come to our balcony in the afternoons. Chirpy and shy. I like it when they are here. It is an event to me.

My little boys are both in an unending questioning mode. “Why? because.”  Sometimes I get so tired just listening to the whys , I see visions of because blurring in my head.  Permanently. I am starting to think so much of why?because in my life is a sign.

Why?

Because I need to look more at the good things . And learn to be a little happier.

Why?because

I can.

 

 

 

 

win the homework battle

win the homework battle
homework caddy

It is a BATTLE. Homework is. And victory can not be yours if you do not keep patience.

My kid is mostly happy and he is very smart too. But suggest doing homework and he mutates into a lackadaisical alligator. In the slowest slow mo he crawls to his drawer. Somehow gets his books out (imagine the clumsiness-he is an alligator) and wriggles back to the table. At this point, his eyes are almost always dilated ,clouds are gathering and tears are on their way.

This very child can finish a book 400 pages thick , back to back in a day. Ask him about tornadoes and earthquakes, he is a know-all. He could craft all day if I let him. He is aware, cares about the environment.

But HOMEWORK ,the very word triggers weird alligator behavior. And Homework isn’t just responsible for his metamorphosis but mine too. Into ‘desperate do anything to get it done’ mommy. Oh I really do hate myself then. I just hope my boy doesn’t.

Psst : We have had wars! Numerous WARS. In the end the homework was done only to leave both of us exhausted and undone.

PPssst: When I was utterly defeated , I quickly in child like handwriting scribbled a few sentences (that is all the homework was) in his book. SHAMEFUL, I have since known. And corrected my irresponsible actions.

Camera360_2015_7_5_111227We never have a lot of homework. Thrice a week with a weekly Monday Test. Just enough to keep the child busy for about an hour. Just right to build in a little bit of responsibility.

But then who loves homework? I didn’t. Unless it was something my favorite teacher sent home or it was to do with drawing. And that is the whole purpose of it. To slowly, grudgingly learn responsibility.

I ended my WAR like attitude some weeks back. I have since taken on a laid back carefully thought plan of action. From an insane battle I am slowly changing it into a quiet busy time when neither of us is losing it.

ARM yourself . Yes, arm yourself with unending patience and a loving smile.

ARM your kid with a homework caddy, fill a box up with sharpened pencils, erasers, rulers, crayons and glue. Keep the usage limited only to the homework hour.  Forbidden is FUN. Recall something?

HOMEWORK is not an EMERGENCY. GRADES aren’t up for SALE. I have stopped acting like that and so should you. The more rushed you ll seem, the more sedate and unhurried your alligator will be.

Assign an hour to homework. Start by the clock. And the dreaded hour will start getting better. Allow sighs, wide eyed looks, droopy looks , tired hands, rubbed so much it got torn pages, tears. YOU ARE ARMED, remember? With patience.

DO NOT EVER DO YOUR CHILD’S HOMEWORK. NEVER. EVER. NOT A WORD. PERIOD.

PRAISE. Remember potty training? Whoo hoo high five kind of praise. It touches their little hearts.It works better than those stars and smileys.

On a no homework day , stick to your schedule. A little mental math, or a spelling task or a crossword.Anything that makes for quiet study. I do not let my boy read his story book in this hour lest he gets confused. This is not a favorite quiet activity time but an hour for something you are supposed to do.

Let your child play with abandon. Homework stays within its time. No nagging before or after.

If it doesn’t get done one day, it is okay. You are not rearing an irresponsible human being. Do not panic. All days aren’t the same. Some days are difficult. And children need to learn that.

If you ever come to the point when your child is feeling overwhelmed or crying ,then it is not the time to make them learn from their mistakes or start a new lesson. That time is later.

Do not COMPARE your child to his peers, or your friend’s very sincere child or a hard working cousin. That is the most disastrous mistake to make. Your child is a bright individual. Help him accept his singular self. How proud you were when he was a new born? How unadulterated the love was? Keep it that way. She is still the MOST  beautiful wonder your eyes have seen. MY SON IS MY FAVORITE SEVEN YEAR OLD IN THIS WHOLE WIDE WORLD. They quickly forgive our yelling and bad moods. And we must let them express their dislikes and anger too. Sometimes.(ha ha!!)

Do not punish. It isn’t your homework. Not giving in homework one day makes the child realize that he should have.

Camera360_2015_7_9_113500Homework and school is not the only education. Apart from that one hour, my child is free. He finds creative stuff to do. He learns better on his own. He plays. He recently discovered a colony of earthworms at school and got declared the most observant on a nature walk. These are things I am really proud of. He knows.

Stop being hyper vigilant . This very moment.

We aren’t supposed to micromanage our children’s lives. It isn’t a numbered dot to dot. A free hand drawing it is. A doodle. Right just the way it is.

Give time. Take time.

In the homework race do not miss out on the laughs.

Camera360_2015_7_9_113331He is still the baby in your arms in so many ways. He always will be.

This alright already.

I need to find my alligator. And tickle him into homework!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Multitasking mommy

When do I NOT multitask? That’s a question.

I multitask all the time. From the moment I drag, pull myself and whatever else it takes to get out of bed to the minute my head hits the pillow.

I multitask all the time. I might just go dysfunctional.

In one sweep I turn off the lights, pick some random toys and carry my toddler and answer an’ extremely very important absolutely urgent that can’t wait’ question asked by my eight year old.

I make breakfast, pack lunches, throw in a cake and wash dishes and listen to a screaming uncontrollable toddler.

I wash clothes and I sing rhymes along to entertain.

I keep an eye on the imp all the time as I make the third grader do his homework.( That’s another battle and deserves a separate post.)

Even now as I write, there is a deafening meltdown on. It has been an ear splitting twenty minutes. I have offered water, hugs, kisses and a little treat but it will stop when it will stop. I must write if I have to stay sane through this.

I glance here and there at a newspaper then run off to change a diaper.

My brain is a little tired of multitasking and of being ever vigilant.

It is not just my brain but my house too. A small space that threatens to cease to exist if I don’t run laps of picking up. I am afraid it will disappear.

All the multitasking , every day makes me drained.

There is no vacation in sight and Big Bear has had a lot of office work, so I haven’t really even talked much. I haven’t felt lonelier.

But then with all the picking up, I pick myself up too.

I craft. I make something. And then I put it up. I don’t feel unsung for a while then.

While I craft, I let the children surround me, stand over me and let them ask all the questions they want. I try to not think about the mess that there will be once I am finished. I just work.

Here is how I ignored the sticky surfaces and the cheeky tantrums today:

satchetstuff-satchet

 

Follow directions here.

readyhang

 

 

 

 

 

tantrumtry

 

like-itI keep planning what posts I am going to write. How I am going to become a Photoshop pro. It doesn’t happen and those posts don’t make it here. All I have right now is a certain immediacy of writing. Anything.

My kids are playing with a dragon toy and making sounds like BAM and BOOM and STOMP and CHOMP and Brrrr and all of it with just the right sound is landing on my head.

I’ll just leave this here for now. And go take a fleeting look at what I made today.

the workings of the toddler brain

workings of the toddler brain
"W'/here is he? The toddler?

I panic every five minutes.

Hanging from the edge of the bed. Trying to squeeze himself behind the refrigerator and wherever else he shouldn’t be.

Tearing up books he loves. Throwing his favorite cuddly down the balcony. Climbing everything in his way.

Grabbing at whatever is forbidden.Playing with switches. Going off with his brother’s things.

Where is he?

Reading to himself. Singing. Quiet in a corner.

Where?
Is he?

 

Grubby. Grungy. Covered in felt pen.

Crying a minute. Expecting lunch the next.

he?

He is on a

R oll.

 

A see saw. A roundabout. A slide
E
ager as a beaver.

Bright as a button.

Don’t you see. He is wired this way.

This is the way the toddler brain works.

And me?
D
on’t ask.

 

I am nuts. Bonkers. A fruitcake.

with sprinkles on top.

 

 

`

 

 

Mommy going guilt free. part 1.

A

LL of last week has bolted away and I am lost in the middle of nowhere. All I remember is accelerating to catch up with time. I wonder if it was eight minutes ago I was in college? Or eight years?

Maybe I have been sitting on a wall of clouds and dreaming away. More likely I was picked up by a tornado that whisked, ripped ,swirled,twisted,curled and has just flung me down. Either way I am suddenly in a Wednesday. And I need to organize my brain.

Well, now it comes back to me that I am a mommy to two little boys.( WHAT??) and Big Bear is here with me. He was with me in college too.(My boyfriend!!?) . He has been riding the tornado with me!!!  And he is the reason I have survived.

ASIDE: Big Bear is my Boyfriend. He is my boyfriend!! I mean it is so cute to have a boyfriend!!! I have a boyfriend!!! I needed to release that. There is silly girly giggly frilly stuff inside me begging for life.

Back to lost in time serious stuff.

I have survived but I have changed from an all important me teenager to a least important me mommy. I have done this to myself. I have become my very own last person. When I first became a mommy, I instinctively put baby first.Then my baby turned toddler turned boy, arrived a new baby turned toddler and I am still by force of habit putting myself last.

My shower is at the end of the day.Fleeting.

Every single of my meals is hurried though I spend hours in the kitchen cooking up new foods and getting up in the middle of the night poring over recipe sites. I LOVE COOKING. But I can’t seem to make time to have a quiet dinner or lunch or breakfast or snack?? And long long ago I used to hang upside down on the gate and eat apples and call it ‘thinking’. I am not so wise anymore.

I suffer from severe guilt pangs. I am guilty if I let my baby whine and moan for a minute. I am guilty if my boy can’t turn in homework one day. I am guilty if I don’t clean up. I ‘m guilty if I can’t make dinner every single night. I’m guilty if times are hard. If money is less. If my children are sick. If Big Bear is even a little cross.

And I am never guilty when I am unwell. When I wanted to give my body a ‘beautifying age defying’ green smoothie I saw ten months ago and that would take me ten minutes to pack into a glass and I never took the time and the effort to make me feel better.

I am never guilty when I really must lie down and don’t.

I keep a pretty book of puzzles for ‘ DISCERNING SOLVERS’ in my kitchen. It makes me so proud. My brain itches to do it everyday and I don’t. And why on earth  don’t I feel a whimper of guilt about it?

I cut my hair because there was no time to comb it??

As a little girl, how many times did I get lost reading about fascinating tea times and high teas and just afternoons. How soothing I used to find it when my mother would just sit down at the table and do nothing but have tea. How I wondered about having my own children around me as I would take warm sips. I never gave myself that luxury. Nor have I given my children a chance to study a quiet resting sipping tea mother. And I am not guilty. I am ashamed.

My guilt is biased. And I am unfair to me.

I would like to lift myself up a little bit.It is urgent. I don’t want to be “Me first” anymore. But I don’t want to be “Me last ” either.

I am going try taking a few baby steps. One week at a time. Here’s what I am going to try achieve this week:

  • I am going to paint my toe nails.
  • I am going to solve one puzzle from my pretty puzzle book. And I am going to prove myself to be discerning solver.
  • Three days a week , I will sit down for ten minutes and do nothing but sip tea.
  • One night a week I will have a no cooking guilt free dinner. I may not be able to go guilt free but no cooking.YES.
  • I will follow my night-time skin care routine every single night.

If you are feeling bothered and there is time for everything but you, then YOU MUST YOU MUST note down a few little things you want to do and make them priority. Because it is priority.

I am already feeling a little important. A little something jotted down , A to-DO LIST that you’ll be happy to do. It works wonders!!

I am feeling so important right now, I wanna ride the eye of the tornado.

P.S : I’ll be back to report on my achievements(!) . So stay tuned in.