A milestone and a cross-out

My first cross-out from the 2012 agenda has been done. A major one at that too. Any guess? Yes, my lil'one is now potty trained. It is almost a month now that he has achieved this milestone. The su-su part is still playing hide and seek but we are getting there too. Slowly but steadily.

For all the heart-ache I had over crossing this hurdle, it really seemed like a dream where R learned to use the potty within one week of us initiating the practice. I had backed off twice earlier, when he first just refused to even sit on it and later when I spotted his trouble of going the western way. We started off quite skeptically this time; the hubby too got involved (perhaps with greater interest than enthusiasm than me). However, we saw that R was far more willing. He didn't jump off the seat, even if the session didn't end up, err..fruitfully, if I can say that. On the fourth or fifth day, he did it successfully. I didn't jump too much. I thought it was a fluke and should not celebrate prematurely. But, he did again on the next day and continued to every single time and day for a week. He even started to warn us before susu happened! We were overjoyed to taste overnight success. Our boy was almost toilet-trained. But, like an evil-eye cast by our own joy, R stopped giving us su-su warnings just as suddenly as he began. Thankfully the potty thing was still on so we decided to count our blessings and be a little patient for the rest of the battle.

I admit it was frustrating to concede to the fact that it might take R a while to get a hang of the whole thing considering the fact that he HAD actually got it right for one whole week. Every time I was confounded by despair, I would cheer myself with the fact that R is trained for potty and that is not to say the least. It is a huge achievement in itself and no mean feat. I had to give the boy credit and applaud him for every time he used the potty for su-su too. This strategy did and still is working in bits and pieces. R is getting there slowly. Although I cannot guess the 'when' part because there are days when he gets it right 7 times on 10 and some days its 3 on 10 and yet on other days, none at all. So, my expectation graph more or less resembles the mountains we used to draw on paper as tiny tots. But, I am now relaxed with the routine and do not get over-worked if he doesn't get it 4 times out of 10. He is getting it right 6 times is well enough and we will eventually get it right all 10 times.

This book helped create a headway

And, I here by award R this certificate

So, yay for us!!!

A musical journey down memory lane

I was first introduced to Tamil film songs by the better half. Till then only O.P Nayyar, Shankar Jaikishen, Naushad, Salil Choudhary and the likes kept me enthralled with their melodious music. I only knew "Illayaraja" as a famous name and A.R. Rahman was synonymous only with Roja. I was crazy (still am) about old Hindi film songs. My mother would lament that if I had shown half the interest I had for film music in Carnatic classical music, I could have made a good name for myself there! Anyway, that would be a topic for another post.

On our first ever date, after we said yes to one another, my husband, then not even my fiance, gave me a MP3 player. It was his player but he gave it to me upon knowing my liking for music. The player being his had some of his favourite songs. And, nope, none of them were Hindi songs. He doesn't even know any of the Hindi composers I've mentioned above but let's not get into that. That was the beginning of my tryst with Tamil film songs. And, I was (am) impressed by his taste in music. Later, after getting married, I was further introduced to some lovely gems, mostly from the 70s and 80s era, by Illayaraja. And then some more by A.R.Rahman, of the era when he used to truly compose mesmerizing music.Yes, ARR fans can pound me but I maintain that the music in which he used to infuse his soul into every song composed is rarely a norm these days.

Every song has memories associated with it. My early married life has a lot of memories associated with the songs I first listened to. Memories of the days when I was new bride eager to be in the best books of my better half, trying to understand what he liked and experiencing whatever made him happy. Memories of the first house we did up; painstakingly, buying every item with careful thought and consideration, taking our time to fill the house with luxuries, basking in the everyday happiness of hunting and procuring little knick knacks and essentials. Memories of leisurely mornings with hot coffee and warm breakfast; of putting together a meal before the husband came home for lunch; of many a burnt or poorly cooked meal but never a ill-word spoken of it; of the many happy evenings of exploring the city hand in hand; of the dreams we built as a couple.

Of the many songs that take me back to those days, this comes foremost to my mind; a gem by ARR:

Too late to react

In a split second, she was soaked; or so it seemed. The warmth settled slowly, making a deeper and deeper imprint. She had tried with all her might but could not stop the inevitable. She could help neither..
...from falling in love..or
..the tea from staining her attire. Both had left a deep impact!

Fourth Tuesday prompt from Preeti Shenoy

A relationship takes its time to thicken, fills the pores of your heart and leaves an imprint that takes a long long while to vanish even when the attempt to wash out the memories is in earnest. Much like a tea-stain.

So, can a relationship be compared to a tea-stain? I guess so.

This is my first feeble attempt at a 55er. Happy Valentine's day!

The balancing act

I am sure most of us parents want to raise well-behaved children and there are no two ways about it. Despite well-meaning intentions, we do go through the terrible phase of tantrums and wild antics along with our kids. It is considered quite normal that kids do misbehave in phases and not abide by the rules laid down. When you view the issue on hand at a micro-level- that is at the parent-child level- it becomes fairly simple to dole out solutions and employ them (maybe successfully too). However, when the same is viewed at a macro-level- that is as a society, where there are other kids to deal with too- the solution rarely ever works.

In my observation, we, as a society, do tend to favour mischievous kids over calmer and quiet kids. Deep down secretly, we wish our kids to do naughty things, so that we can proudly announce their (mis)conducts to others. The naughtiness is compared to Lord Krishna's antics and generally the behaviour is made light of. Yes, let us accept it. How many times have we gloated over the child's good behaviour when we are in public? By good behaviour I mean small things like, when the child shares his toys with others, keeps the woollen cap on when it is windy, doesn't run helter-skelter when the adult is talking to another adult. Yes, we are happy over these facts but don't necessarily make it public. On the other hand, when the child does the opposite, we like to relate the stories to people who may lend a ear, even if it is just to evoke empathy. Of course, when the naughtiness gives way to bratty-ness, we despair and we seek out ways to calm and sober down the child.

Kids, being kids, do not know the difference between being naughty and being a brat. A very thin line there which is crossed even before the parents can blink their eyes. Soon, the cute little naughty child metamorphoses into a tantrum throwing brat who knows how to get its way, anyway. When, at a particular phase of toddler years, the only constant word is "NO" (spoken by both parties), every issue faced is blown out of proportion; it is mostly a war-zone and both the parties end up exasperated and cranky. The more you try to control the situation, the more it threatens to get out of control. You end up doing all that is listed under the 'don't s' of good parenting.

The thin line of indulgence and going overboard with it needs to be tread on carefully each time (by the parents). The acts of the children are innocent but they pick up on our responses and reaction. The fact that we narrate their antics to others in their presence or smile indulgently when they repeat adult-talk because we find it endearing, acts as an encouraging sign. The signal sent to them is that they would get the required attention by doing this and will expect the same response by repeating the same act. There! we are trapped by our innocuous reactions and before we know it, we are on the path to rectify some grave damages.

Then, there are issues faced when you are a socially mingling lot. The right behaviour taught at home is put to test constantly when the child is with the peer-group. Since every parent deals with the terrible twos and threes differently and also because every kid is different, there is bound to be a disconnect when you compare a sample of kids from the same age-group. When a well-behaved kid comes in contact with a no-so-well behaved-one, the parenting skills get under the scanner and need to pass the test each time (for either set of parents).  With so many challenges, I wonder how some parents make parenting seem like a cake-walk, while the rest of us huff and puff our way through it!

Parenting  never assumed such a gargantuan role in the topics for debate before today. And, it has predictably become the most-stressed job for parents. The more anxious parents are to "get it right", the more stressful the role gets. Excited to-be parents, lay down the ground rules to bring up the unborn and wait anxiously to try out their manual of 'fool-proof' techniques on the kid. Only to realise that their kid turned out to be of a different brand, a manual for which, God forgot to send along. Then comes the trial and testing phase to discover which key fits the lock. Most times there are different keys to the same lock and sometimes there are no keys. Trust in yourself, absolute patience and will-power becomes the power-mantra. In a recent article by Vijay Nagaswami, he writes how and why, despite being indeed a stressful job, parenting needs to be enjoyed. Do read the article. I totally agree with the points he mentioned.

p.s. Also read Why French parents are superior? and let me know your views.

Over a cup of tea

She looked into the image
to have a peek into and gauge
the person that looked back
to reflect on life, to take stock

the image appeared blur
and she couldn't see so clear
her eyes blinded by pain
of sorrows that pour like rain

As she ponders in silence
over her cuppa, hot and nice
mixed with milk and some spice
she knows then, for she's wise

only leaves that boil,
leave a fragrant trail
ready to make self avail
of tribulations and travail

A nice cup of tea is known to rejuvenate one's body, soul and mind. It unclogs closed pores in the mind, clears foggy thoughts, and charges one to take on the next chapter in life.

The above lines are in reply to Preeti Shenoy's third Tuesday prompt here

There is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea.  ~Bernard-Paul Heroux

To be content in your skin

I am jealous. Of people who write so well. Of people who converse so well. Of people who make friends so easily. Of people who look so confident and sure of themselves wherever they are. Of people who can make small talk and not make it sound awkward or deliberate but as though they would love to know you. There are clearly two categories here: One, that strives to get noticed and the other that effortlessly gets noticed. (Of course, there are arguments about the second category that the strife wasn't for all to see.)  Both categories are talented and am not saying it is sheer luck that worked in favour of the latter.

Some people just have it in them. It's one thing to be good at something but another to command fan following and respect for that talent. It is never easy to win respect or awe from others, especially from your contemporaries, and once you do, you know you are there. Call it charisma, style, the X-factor- there is definitely the extra edge-whatever it is-that clearly makes the popular stand out in a crowd of equally good and sometimes better people.

It makes emulation for others even more tough. Not because the opportunity gets any lesser. But because, the bar is already raised so high that it becomes difficult to handle your own expectations. It is alright to say that whatever you do, if you do it from the heart, the rest will follow. That does not make decisions easier. Or for that matter the journey. Of course, it depends on where you want to reach and how you consider your journey to be. For some, it doesn't matter where they are heading, they just enjoy the journey and it shows in their work. However it is difficult for many, for instance like me, who judge my own actions by the response I get from people and doubt myself each time I meet with a unsatisfactory results. I get bogged down easily. I am not one of the self-motivated types. I am like a leech on to a plant of approval and thrive only on being assured and reassured of myself.

When you look up to someone from your own field, you admire his work and aspire to get there someday. Somewhere along you get inspired and chug on a path that gives you happiness. Then, along the journey, you meet like-minded folks who like you are pursuing their goals drawing inspiration from similar successful people. Experiences are shared and tribulations poured out. You connect at one level but compete at a different level. Conscious or sub-conscious comparisons are made and you set out to level or exceed scores. You determine yardsticks for your success. Every step you forge ahead becomes a greater reason to compete and race faster. And then, the beauty of it all is lost. Simply because the passion is replaced by a rage. The happiness once derived by simply doing a stuff is replaced by a sense of restlessness and dissatisfaction not because you are doing well but you are not doing well enough when pitted against your so-called peers.

Why is it so difficult to just be yourself? why cannot there be peace in knowing and accepting that you may be good but there will be several others who are better than you? Is this some deep-rooted insecurity that makes you want to feel included, to make your own place and still be a part of the world?

If I went under a Xerox copier

Ok, that's figuratively speaking. Don't panic, yet. This is a fun tag going around the blogosphere and I read it on Smitha and GND's blog on the lines of the recent Kotak Mahindra Ad. If there was another you, what would you do?

[For the sake of the post, *Dme: duplicate me and *Ome: original me]

I can only think of how difficult life would be for people around me! On the other hand, if I had a *Dme, we would technically be identical twins, only, (if I get this concept correctly) it would be just me again with the same heart and soul. [And, of course, she should not have a mind of her own. She'd do exactly as I want her to, else I'll be one of the poor souls at the receiving end.]

1. I'd let the world believe that she is just another person who happens to look like me. That way, I would act bitchy about the Ome behind the Ome to know the real friends and real foes (whatever that means) of the Ome.

2. The *Ome can blog, browse the net, read books and laze around to her heart's content without feeling guilty 'cause the Dme will be doing the other important tasks of cooking, cleaning, playing with R.

3. The Ome can have cozy dine-outs and movie-watching dates (with the hubby, of course) while the Dme takes care of R and since Dme is basically the same as Ome, Ome need not feel guilty (or so Ome thinks). *muhahaha*

4. I hate buying veggies, separating and putting them into bags and refrigerating them. Dme can handle them and also the part about deciding what to cook (err..umm..also the cooking part maybe, I can take over sometimes too)!

5. I am torn between wanting to work and being a SAHM. If there is a Dme, the problem is completely solved. We can keep swapping roles as and when we tire of the self-designated roles.

6.  There are somethings I would love to have but loath the hard-work associated with it, for example, gardening. I wish to be surrounded by well-maintained and beautiful plants but I cannot bring myself to do the research, digging, potting, pruning, and all the rest. So, here comes Dme the saviour!

7. I have a liking for many things but hesitate to try them out for want of time or confidence. With a Dme, the Ome can experiment with the salsa class and the Dme can attend baking classes. Just an example.

8. So, what is Ome going to do then, apart from lazing around and having "me times"? Give the Dme a break at times and let her re-charge the batteries. Com'on I have a kind heart. Ok?

So, what would be on your wish list if you had another you for company???

Word power!

A thought and a word,
go hand in hand

to be woven in a song
or cut like a sword

Words can bridge two hearts
or cause people to fall apart

Such is the power
of a 'word' spoken

It can leave you broken
or set on a trail less taken

Hence, is my urge
to tread with caution

For words, however wise
in your eyes,

can thwart a growing dream,
however slim

And, there is no denying
that given a chance
even a pawn can become a king!