The peace and joy and wonder of childhood!

You know what day it is today? It’s my yearly blog post update day! Yay! Look I just wait for something to really move me before I type. So some of you know that I am setting up a new business, this post is not about that, since if I were to start writing about that I will not be able to find time to set up the business any more. All I can say is its much more resource, money, time intensive than you first imagine it to be, but more on that later, maybe or maybe not. Back to what moved me.

So, Jahnavi is now about 2 & a half and terrible twos would be a huge understatement, one dialogue between me and Ashu doesn’t go by without some background score of a-b-c-d-e-f-g-h-i-j-k-l-o-meno-p-q-your-s-t-u-v-double-u-x-y-and-zee or some other song from that genre. Dance and music is a large part of every toddler’s entertainment and mine prides herself in being a self-proclaimed ‘balina’ (meaning ballerina). We were filled with mixed emotions when her pre-school sent a letter about her participation in the annual concert, mostly we were excited but we were also sad mainly because the costume charge, ticket costs and video recording would set us back by over $100. Anyway, so that happens of coming Friday.

Now if you don’t have a toddler (you would probably not read this) let me tell you that teaching them a dance, or anything, is a HUGE task and the key is practice and more practice. Beginning of this week Janu fell ill so she couldn’t go to school, which meant she missed her practice, today was her dress rehearsal. So, giving it due importance I thought I would take her to the concert hall and get her familiar with the place, loud music, big lights etc. a tiny voice at the back of my head was telling me that wasn’t the best idea but I went anyway. You get an idea where this is leading right? Yes, it wasn’t a great idea, she cried all through the practice, did not dance at all and hated the entire experience and understandably I was extremely sad as well. Only silver lining for me was she had a very grumpy face, while all others were smiling in all her photos, which I thought I would buy at some atrocious price per print (in this era of digital photography) to show her when she would challenge me for being emotional or stupid or other such stuff few years later. Need to be prepared! You might have judged me by now as a mean parent, but I heard lately on Ellen show, ‘What you think about me is not my problem‘, so living by that these days.

She is a very thoughtful person, my little Janu! When we came back home from the concert she slept off and then when she woke up she gave me a photo opp that would save me quite a few  dollars, its a pity the powder-pack was only half full or we would have had a whiter Saturday than that! Notice how she refuses to look into the camera.

 

OMG - One Mad Girl!

 

This incident and especially this picture gave me immense joy for many reasons one of them is, as I am told, I did the same thing decades ago (I am that old! boo hoo!) with kajal and on a beautiful & aspirationally expensive dress which my folks bought to dress me up for diwali. When I did this, my mumma let me just enjoy, the dress was already painted in black with kajal smeared all over, but she let me soak the moment. Some might think that my mum at that time and now I, should have disciplined our child but I think sometimes we should just let them live as they want, not singing or dancing for other’s entertainment but their own, sometimes being covered in powder all over, or blowing bubbles on a very rainy evening aren’t these the joys of childhood that we all yearn when we grow up?

I won’t really change my parenting style but just for curiosity tell me:

Third Time Lucky!

Today is the third day in a row when I took Jahnavi, my daughter, yes I have a daughter, she’s about a year and a half now! Cliché but true, time flies! Anyway, so like any other working (read over working, taking calls till middle of the night) mother I always feel that I don’t get to spend enough time with my baby, and as if to validate that Janu is sometimes more excited about the nanny than the mommy. Few mommies will be able to take this supreme form of insult and I am definitely not in that super tolerant group, so I decided to turn the tables. First, I identified a ‘low hanging fruit’ – evening play time! She loves her evening play time, that’s when she has most fun and there’s a lovely park nearby. Strategy prepared! Planning done!
Day 1 – Very enthusiastically, I took out the pram, some titbits, water, diapers, wipes… Yeah baby! That is how they roll! We set out and reached the park, and for the first time I realized the power of voice that this little person has. So Janu loves dogs, and the excited screams when she saw one pass by made the dog and the owner both run for their life, and Janu thought this was very funny so she added insult to injury by doing the baby-laugh-and-clap routine, which a few others also found hilarious and left the dog owner and me red-faced. Let’s say the road ahead was all downhill, literally and figuratively! Our visit ended with scattered food, wet shirt, dirty shorts and a new found respect for the nanny. But I didn’t give up.
Day 2 – Determined to do better, I got the whole caravan ready for a 60min park visit, the strategy was revised, water play ground identified as a sure-win! Once in the park, J shouted to get down, but as if delaying gratification will give her more happiness I pushed the pram about half a mile to reach the said winning formula, I had in front of me a frustrated baby and a sorry closure notice… Still cheerfully I got her out of the pram, to realize how quick her tiny legs had already become – I was overjoyed to see her run but afraid she might fall and sad that I missed all this till now, all was dim for a bit and a tear slipped. J was tired and wanted her snack, I took out the kiwi fruit and J fussed to eat it herself. Ever wondered what a combination of plastic fork with an unstable hold and thin kiwi slices along with an overwhelmed mommy and an excited baby would mean? A wasted snack and an angry baby, this was the bottom line of the second day.
Finally today, with learnings from the past and wisdom of the elders, no fork and no slippery fruit was taken. An orange and the sand play area with some lovely slides and a few colourful cork walking strips did the trick. Playing with a beautiful golden retriever named ‘Summer’ was the highlight for my supremely dog-loving darling, she saw Summer and kept saying “hi, babow” till the owner let her pet the dog. J was the happiest and I couldn’t have asked for more, when I ask- where does Jana go with mumma? She happily yells back “parrtttt”. For me that happy face is the reflection of success! Cheers to strategizing and planning!

This is on-sen-sation

Image courtsey Google

We visited Japan last December, in winter and it was freezing cold. The temperature would usually range between -3 to +3 C with some very chilly winds. I am writing today about an experience I had in Nozawa Onsen and to understand this post completely, you need to know some Onsen Etiquette’s (a community bath). Basically there is a dress code – you can only wear your birthday suit and carry a small wash towel. The water in the onsen is hot, I mean seriously hot like 45-46 C, these baths are open to public, before you get carried away, there are different areas for men and women. The ryokan (traditional Japanese hotel) where we stayed had an onsen which ran on natural spring water. “WOW! Snow outside, hot water in the bath, steam rising – awesome setting, this would be so relaxing – almost spiritual” is what I thought when I saw the brochure… “Let’s do it, its gonna be surreal pleasure” I had convinced Ashu.

I was super-excited about the onsen experience just until the time to go through the experience arrived, the single most embarrassing bit started pricking me – other women sitting naked and me walking in – what would that be like, eeewww maybe this is a bad idea… but I was the one who had insisted on this experience, I could not back out, and anyway barring that one thing its going to be such an awesome experience, I remembered the brochure again. I tried to think smartly and scheduled our visit at lunch time when we had the highest chance of finding the place empty.

At 12:30pm, collecting every bit of courage possible, when I entered the ladies dressing room I saw this oldish woman in the correct dress-code casually applying moisturizer – can’t say I was very comfortable with the sight, so I decided if there are more women here I am running away. I peeped in the bath from the tiny glass window, exactly like in the brochure I thought, there was no one there. I waited for the lady to finish her business – I walked around, flipped through a magazine, checked my weight (which I realized wasn’t the best idea) she gave me a look clearly saying “another dumb tourist, huh!” and finally she left. Then I was the queen… I got appropriately dressed and walked out of the dressing room, which I later realized was equipped with the best heating system ever, as soon as I stepped out I did not know what hit me (actually I knew what hit me, it was the freezing chilly cold breeze) I started the shower but there was no warm water, after showering in the coldest water I’ve ever touched (except while drinking) every inch of my body went numb, the hot water was exactly what I needed then – or did I? When I set foot in the bath, it was like my foot was boiling – what did I do to deserve this hell on earth to get boiled alive! I ran back to the dressing room took a warm shower.

When I walked out I saw Ashu lazing happily on a couch… did he even go in – I really doubt, I will never know, he claims he did! We went out for dinner, hogged on awesome sushi and sashimi drank some good ol’ sake and life was bliss again. Later that evening I thought, things that look like surreal pleasures – like sleeping on the beach, bathing in a waterfall, walking bare-feet in a lawn – are not as much pleasures in experiencing as they are in anticipation. Will I ever indulge in any ‘surreal pleasure’ again or will i just derive pleasure thinking about them? Hell yeah I’ll indulge! that’s what life is all about – experiences! Its so easy to just do the ordinary and be happy… What say you?