Tag Archives: motherhood

Moms and lunch boxes

My kids are now at the age where they seem to be hungry all the time and are always asking for food. One meal is barely over before they want to know ‘what and when’ they will eat next. As a mom it is nice to see this phase, but my kids were not always like this.

They were picky eaters and wanted only a certain type of food. My daughter would have milk only from medicine dispensers, strange as it sounds. 

There have been many different food phases in my kids’ lives.

I am reminded of a funny incident that happened many years ago, when my daughter was attending nursery school. I would prepare small sandwiches, mini dosas, mini idlis, vegetable wraps etc, trying to make my daughter’s lunch box as interesting as possible, knowing that she was fussy about what she ate. I would check with her the previous evening about what she wanted  – just to give her a sense of involvement, so that she would eat her food at school.

Picture courtesy – Clipart.com

I derived a lot of satisfaction to see her empty lunch box after school everyday! One day, however, the box came back untouched. I was worried if she was going to fall sick, but she seemed her usual self.

So, I asked her why she hadn’t touched her lunch. And this is what she said….

“Amma, the girl who usually eats my lunch was absent from school today!”

Aha….! That explained it all.

Lipsticks and little girls

It was a sweltering day, many years ago, when we had the naming ceremony for my baby girl, who was only 3 weeks old.  My mom’s home was teeming with aunts, uncles, cousins and little nieces and nephews, all of whom had come to bless and welcome our little bundle of joy.

I received hundreds of tips on being a mother, and hundred ‘must-know’ things about child rearing, and a dozen versions of who my baby resembled in the family. It was a normal, Indian family celebration.

I was a little tired by the afternoon, and when my mom caught my eye and realized that I was tired, she signalled for me to go in and take a quick nap. I slipped away, unnoticed.

I went and lay down, my eyes closing involuntarily. While still asleep, I heard something. I opened my eyes and realized that one of my nieces was in the room, before the dresser mirror.

I could see her reflection in the mirror, as she made faces at herself, and then tried on one of the lipsticks. Gently opening the tube, she used her finger to apply a dark maroon lipstick on her lips. I could imagine how good and beautiful she felt. After sometime, she quietely slipped out of the room.

Image courtesy – Shutterstock

I laughed, fully awake by then. I remembered how, as a little girl, my favourite game was to play ‘teacher’. The role demanded that I have long hair, and that I wear lipstick.

The hair problem was easily resolved. I found a piece of black cloth from my mom’s sewing kit and tied it around my hair, allowing the black cloth hair to fall over my shoulders to  the front. My students ‘had’ to see my long hair.

The lipstick posed a problem. My mom did not use lipstick, neither did my aunt. But my teachers at school wore lipstick, so I needed to wear lipstick to look authentic. Then I hit upon the idea of using the red liquid that Indian women use to wear bindis (the dots on the forehead). This was available in abundance, so during the afternoons when my gran, aunt and mom napped, I applied generous amounts of red on my lips and taught and educated many children every afternoon.

Lipsticks and makeup were forgotten till high school and university, when my mom gifted me my own lipstick for my birthday. I still remember its shade, copper brown. I still wonder how my mom knew what would look good on me! I used that tube till there was nothing left. 

After that first tube, lipsticks became a part of my life, and over the years I have tried many shades, and have settled on a few that suit me well.

A few years ago, when my son had his school concert, the little girls in his class were all dressed up like pretty dolls and fairies. However, a few girls had their lips in a weird kind of pout. On asking their moms, I found out that the girls had worn lipstick for the first time, and that they did not want for it to go away. I remember how much I laughed that day.

Now, my daughter grimaces when I talk about makeup or lipstick or accessories. She is ‘at home’ in her jeans and tees.

I smile as I look into the future, when my daughter will want to try on lipsticks and makeup. She just doesn’t know it yet!

A Mother’s Love

There are two sides to motherhood. On one side is when you are a child and receive the love of a mother; on the other side is when you are a mother and give your love to your child(ren). And you realize the value of the former only when you experience the latter.

I still remember that my mom was the nerve centre of our family. Her smiling countenance, her commitment to giving her best to every single member of the family, her superlative cooking skills, her ability to take on her children’s problems and lighten the burden for them, her unshakeable faith in her children and the belief that they were the very best.

From home mechanic to recycling expert to instant gourmet meal producer, my mom wore so many hats with ease and changed them in a jiffy. 

I don’t remember her ever being really sick. Even if she was a bit under the weather, she ploughed on, ever cheerful. However, there was this one time when she had slipped and hurt her knee really badly, and was out of action for a week. I remember how my siblings and I moped. We felt that the lights were dimmed in our house, the thread that strung us all together and got us going was not there. So, we spent time in her room, reading our books or sitting with her, wishing to hear her voice chiding us or her ‘mom looks’ that could freeze us in our tracks. Even those were better than having her unwell.

I did not realize all that I had learnt from my mom till I became one, and knew that being a mom means to GIVE; to give unconditionally, every single day.

             Image Courtesy – http://www.Cliparting.com

To love so much that you hurt. To want the very best for your children. To care too much, but to also learn to let go..and let your children soar and fly.

And retain every single memory of the wonderful years that have flown past, and the days that are flying past even as I type this. Rainy afternoons with hot samosas and movies, cycling trips with the family, stick figure drawings on the refrigerators, playing referee to sibling wars, cuddles and hugs, laughter and smiles, and lots and lots of love.

 A mother’s love. 

Catching some shut eye

Sleep means different things to different people. There is a lot more to the science of sleep than the oft-discussed night owl vs. morning bird.

When there is an infant in the house, the baby typically cries each time you put him or her down, so you learn to  maintain a rhythm that keeps baby happy, and that also enables you to sleep walk. And the next day, at work, you unconsciouly tap out that rhythm on the carpet.

But before the kids came along there existed a time when you could stay out late, watch movies, and still have a never-ending chat with your friends, and continue to feel rejuvenated; a time when you went straight to work the next day, looking fresh and ready to take on the day, without having slept a wink.

Even before this phase was the time in college, when the concept of sleep was alien. When you studied hard, and had lots of fun.

So, coming back to the kids. Your infant suddenly grew into a busy toddler, whom you chased under tables, and up and down staircases, whom you pushed on swings and caught at the bottom of slides. And then, when your toddler was all tucked into bed, and you looked forward to catching a few winks, the said toddler came crying with pain in his calf muscles or some such.

Then, suddenly, your teenagers and tweenagers had become independent creatures, and disappeared into their coccoons. And you said,  “I can finally catch some shut eye.”

                       Picture courtesy – Clipart Panda
But now, sleep plays truant. You sleep well some days and stay awake on some days. You ponder about life and wonder about what lies ahead. You look at the stars and marvel at the universe, and then worry that the alarm will ring in a few hours.

 And then again, there are those afternoons when you get two hours to yourself (the luxury…), and you make plans to read a book or watch a movie, and as you recline on the couch to enjoy the book or the movie, your eyes close involuntarily. 

Sleep….

The confession

Last month, we had to go to a friend’s home for a house warming party.  My son was going down to play with his friends and I told him that he had to be back by 6 pm, so that he would have enough time to wash-up and get ready!  Our conversation went something like this.

Son: So, where are we going?

Me: To Aunt L’s house.  She has moved to a new condo, so she has called us over for dinner.

Son: Oh! Aunt L?  Hmmm…(he seemed to be in deep thought).

Me: What?

Son: I have a confession to make.

Me: Sure, tell me. (….wondering what was coming)

Son: You know that there is a small hillock near Aunt L’s old house?  About four years ago, my friends and I walked up that hillock.

(My friend (the said Aunt L) had already told me that these kids had been going up and down the hillock and had asked them to be careful, as they could get hurt).

Me: Yes, I know. Aunt L has told me.

Son:  But that’s not it. Once, when Aunt L was not there (she is usually watching us), the five of us went up the hillock, and went through a small gap in the fence.  We found ourselves outside the condo.  There was a grassy slope, some trees, and at a distance was the next building.  We high-fived and came back into our condo through the fence.  Are you mad at me?

Me: I am not mad, but it could have been dangerous to go out like you did. You could have got hurt.

Son: Mom, it was a long time ago.  I wouldn’t do that now. OK, bye!

I smiled and imagined the scene. Five little imps, up for an adventure to conquer the hillock, and see the world outside.  I can imagine those giggles, the shared camaraderie, and the imagined ‘big’ conspiracy.  I wonder how much they had planned, and who amongst them took the call to get them all enthused and going.

Image result for children climbing up mountain clipart

Picture courtesy – Can Stock Photo

Five children, 7 to 8 year-olds, best friends,  in their shorts and t-shirts, scrambling up the hillock, quickly sneaking out through the fence, their hearts thudding in excitement at this sudden adventure, reaching the other side, looking at each other, and sharing looks of glee and sudden giggles, and then their thudding hearts reminding them of home, parents and fear, and the scramble back to the other side of the fence, back to safety, to the known and to the comfort of home.

And this is how it will be for our children.  As parents, we will never know some of the adventures that the children will embark on in their future.  They will try to conquer their fears by trying new things, sometimes they will do something because it is cool, sometimes they will do things that will help them reach their highest potential.

 

Earphones 101 for Moms of Teens

Every day as a mom is a learning journey. We learn new things abour our children. We learn that they see the world differently. We sometimes see ourselves in them and discover new facets to their personality; and then one day we suddenly become the moms of teenagers!

And by this time, most moms have had to probably take courses such as Patience 101, Understanding Teen Silences 101 and many more. But there is a must do course that will probably be fully booked all through the year – titled Earphones 101. These accessories take on a new dimension and meaning when you have teenagers at home.

They look harmless enough, when they nestle amongst the hundred other cables that are vying for space in your cupboard. They look nice, when they are in your handbag, and you feel good that there is always the option to listen to music, if and when you have the time (time…sigh!!!). Earphones were fun many decades ago, when you shared one ear-piece with your spouse, to listen to your favourite songs.

But, have you seen today’s teens? All of them seem to have sprouted ear-phones from their ears. With the theory of evolution being what it is, maybe humans will sprout earphones as a natural part of evolution. Imagine walking around with two small wires hanging from one’s ears!!!

So, as a mom, you expect answers when you ask your kids something. Immediate answers. But teenagers vanish into their rooms, and you shout through the door.

“Lunch is ready.”

Silence.

“Lunch is ready….can you hear me?”

Silence.

L.U.N.C.H  I.S.  R.E.A.D.Y!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There is an answering bark from the neighbour’s dog. Comforting.


Image courtesy – http://www.123rf.com

I enter my daughter’s room. She is oblivious to everything except her school work. And there is the enemy –  the earphones –  ‘they are the reason’  she has no clue that her mom may have permanently damaged her vocal cords. I tap her, and she looks up and smiles. She is gently swaying to the music.

I smile. I play dumb charades and show her that lunch is ready. She nods vigorously and takes off THE EARPHONES and gives me a hug. She is back in the real world again.

I sigh and decide that I need a hot cup of coffee to soothe my throat.

Mom observations

On my walk this morning, I saw a four year old girl and her mother. They were holding hands and were probably walking to school. The little girl was singing a nursery rhyme and the mom was singing along with gusto, totally oblivious to her surroundings.

I smiled, as I remember having done the same thing with both my kids. When the kids are younger, there is a lot of give and take in conversation, shared secrets, goofy smiles and tender hands that cling to yours. The universe then is a small place, for your child and you. Lots of time to spend, to read aloud, to bake, to colour and to carry out all those stress-free fun activities.


Image courtesy – Clipartfest

But during those years, every mom is desperate for some time out to do what she likes. However, it is only when you realize that the clingy four year old is now a strappy teenager that you want to relive those days again.

As the children grow and become independent, motherhood becomes more of an observation process. By this, I don’t mean that we are not involved. It only means that the children come to us only when they need something.

Displays of love are met with embarrassed smiles or  just a quick hug. The pi-chart that is their world shows a fat slice for friends and other activities.

As mom observers, we often wonder and sigh at this sudden passage of time. The love only gets stronger and deeper, but cannot seek expression in an impromptu nursery rhyme or colouring sheet anymore.

This love is expressed through an ocassional hug,  helping with chores, rebellion, coffee sessions and conversations in the kitchen.