Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mindgames: Why do you crave more when you want to diet?

I'm typing this all out now because I want to get over my current/instantaneous craving for chocolate. Yes, I drank water already to stave off that sweet pang. Didn't work.
Yes, I've started on a diet. No, not one of those diets where you don't eat anything. I'm just about 5 feet tall and I weigh 66 kg. BAD NEWS on the BMI scale :-(

*I'm trying...and that's the keyword...TRYING ...to resist sweets and fried food. I give in every day -- but instead of eating one sweet I eat half. Instead of eating an entire vada, I take a bite and stop. If I don't eat even this, I'll have withdrawal symptoms)

*I'm trying to eat more salad at lunch AND dinner. (I had shrewdly skipped my salad routine a few weeks ago).

*I'm trying to eat smaller portions than I have been eating -- not dramatically less...just about 20 per cent lesser to begin with.

*I'm trying to eat dinner as early as I possibly can.

**I need to exercise too. That's something I must get around to. FAST. Yoga yoga yoga

But the very thought that I'm eating less is making me crave for more.
OK :-( Just when I was craving it, a young colleague came by with a KITKAT bar all peeled open. She held it out for me and I took a bite -- a teeny weeny bite -- but a bite alright! That's how strong my resolve is -- i just ate chocolate even as I wrote out this post waaaaaah.

Oh lord hellllppppp

Monday, November 29, 2010

King of the kitchen: stereotypes be damned

I'm so glad my dad's broken the stereotype. He's bought Sonny Boy his first play "kitchen set" -- you know the one with a little gas stove, cylinder, mixie, a rolling pin and board, a frying pan et all. It's a gift that makes its way into a little girl's hands much faster. Actually I'm slapping myself for not getting it myslef for him much earlier. Maybe I'm a perpetrator of the stereotyping myself :-(

But Sonny's just freaking out absolutely. He's always loved the kitchen, and kitchen utensils are high up the rank when it comes to "toys" (and I hear every mom say my kid too plays with vessels all the time, so there must be some magic about the kitchen and cooking).

Now he's busy rolling out little chapatis for us all and making "mommu" for everyone in the house. He likes to feed us straight out of the pan...I'd like to try that sometime, really ;-) His other hot favourite dish -- making us all some "neer" dosa -- he takes some water and ladels it out on a plate and lo! Neer Dosa ready.

The mixer, though, is his first love. He keeps saying a loud "juiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii" and fiddling with his hot orange mixie. He seems so proud of it. He's been showing great interest in cooking -- I hope it lingers on and he becomes one of those guys who can make himself a decent meal when he wants to, not when he's forced to (there are very few such men in our family, mostly some uncles).

He loves the knife. He keeps asking for it, saying he'll cut vegetables for me and give. So yesterday I handed him a plastic spatula, told him it's a knife, and gave him a carrot. He sat down to cut it, and after some frustrating efforts, came back very irritated and told me "This is not a real knife...it's not cutting. Give me the real one!"

He loves washing the rice and daal when I'm getting ready to cook it. He loves washing up pulses, he loves stirring the sprouts when I leave them on the dining table.

Basically, the maid is his favourite person now, so he imitates her washing clothes, sweeping and swabbing the floor. He absolutely loves "CLEANING", and will take any kitchen cloth and start scrubbing the cupborads.
Yipeee three cheers to my Sonny Boy!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Quit to become a SAHM: weighing the pros and cons

My mind is right now so beautifully messed up. I want to call it quits on my almost 11-year-old career.
I don't want to also, because I'm "-" this close to the top. The money's decent. And i need them both -- the sanity of the job and the value of the money, with a loan on our heads.

BUT. And this is the BIG BUT. My folks, with whom I leave Sonny Boy, along with the assistance of a part-time Nanny, aren't able to take it any more.

Ok it' a bad patch. The Nanny's been on leave almost a week now because she's unwell, so my parents are FREAKING.

They are aged, they aren't exactly in the best of health, and they are sounding like they need a break from Sonny Boy.

My mom had a meltdown this morning. She said it's all just too much for her. Understandable. She has a lot of physical constraints.

I don't want to leave Sonny Boy at a baby-sitting setup right through the day. That, I'm very sure about.

I'm tired of searching for new nannies -- they are all ultimately the same -- they are never around when you most need them, go off on long leave often, and keep asking for a hike in pay. No amount of pampering them pays off in the long-term relationship. It all one day boils down to money.

But I just can't imagine myself, after 11 years of financial independence, asking the husband for money for every single thing. My savings are minimal and I will have to ask. Very tough thing to do, when you have a big beautifully puffed up ego.

Workaholic that I am, will I be satisfied with running home? Forget satisfied, will I be able to do all the housework at all? Honestly, office work is way less than housework. At home, there's always something constantly to be done. Even when everything's done. It's tiresome, there's no pay, no bonus, no performance-incentive, no perks, aaarrrhgghh.

AAAAAAARGGGHHHH. I need some sane SWOT analysis of my situation. And knowing myself, I'll paint such a bad picture of being a SAHM, I'll refuse to quit.

Dilemmas, dilemmas....more dilemmas. With each day, I'm becoming more inclined to quit.

At what price should I continue working? My parents are unhappy (but cover it up with a smiling mask), my kid is tied down to the house because they can't move around much. I'm feeling guilty about both. I want Sonny Boy to change his routine; parents won't agree. I can't force them. All this will change if I simply hand in my resignation.

But I can't really get back to work after a break. The industry is mean to people who call it quits.

Should i, shouldn't I? Can I? Will I? Should I? Ufffff

I look out the window and it's all grey and cold.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I've shaved and other stories: a quick milestones/achievement roundup of Sonny Boy..Yeah, I can be a proud mom too.

Sonny Boy is going to be two-years-and-four-months old in another 12 days.

As I look back on that, I realise there are so many things about him that I'm proud of, and happy for, for him.
I also realise I crib so often and so much and sound so negativistic here all the time, I'm making a monster of him and myself.

And then I realise he's not so bad, and neither am I. It's just that once I'm done releasing my frustrations on the blog (caused mostly by him and occasionally by hubby) I go back to Sonny peaceful and brimming with love. So thanks "blogging" -- for doing this much -- to allow me let off steam on you, rather than on my son.

Here are a lost of things he does now...I haven't made any scrapbook and i keep no other diary, so I hope this one is "for the record" and is around for me to access when Sonny is, say, 20 and I can tell him embarrassing stories about himself.

1. He's interested in doing things around the kitchen -- he loves peeling peas and togarikaalu, which is in season now. He does it with my grandma.

2. He quite enjoys helping me pluck and sort out methi (fenugreek greens). And i must say he does a dedicated job of it.

3. He can pull on his own nickers and pants after doing the loo round. And if there's enough time, he can even peel them off before heading to the loo. After a bath, he likes to wear his pants himself. That's way better than fighting wearing any clothes at all!

4. He can make up and tell stories. And very cute ones at that. He's inspired by the Panchatantra stories. Most of the characters in the stories are animals. And interspersed with them are his playschool teachers! Most of the animals have a upaaya (idea)! And once he finishes the story, he'll say "ashtey" (that's it) to hint to us that we must shower our appreciation. And he can't wait...so he'll follow "ashtey" with "CLAP!" (He told me four stories back-to-back before going to sleep this week, one night.)

5. He's singing rhymes like crazy -- mostly in English and Kannada and some in Hindi. He's picking up about two a week.

6. He is also beginning to deliberately distort language -- he sings rhymes with all words ending with the same sound. Or beginning with it. And enjoys everyone's amusement or irritation at it. He knows he's singing it weird and loves the sound of it.

7. He talks to his Teddy Bear -- this morning he was teaching Teddy to count out coins from a box. He even wanted to take Teddy along for a haircut.

8. He's showing more and more interest in eating by himself. Messy, prolonged, process. But boy! Is he interested! Whether to eat with hand/spoon/fork, he's an eager beaver.

9. At the park, he used to be fairly scared if any other child came and stood behind him to climb up the slide and he would just back off and let everyone go, stand and stare. Last week, I was thrilled to see when he went and told an older kid "Please, I'll go first". And the kid let him, and helped him up. He can climb up the wooden "monkey ladder" with ease and confidence.

10. He's got an imaginary friend whom he talks to sometimes...not very clear yet, but he does it sometimes.

11. He loves puzzles and gets tired of doing the same ones pretty fast. I love the excitement with which he puts the pieces together and complains before doing the complex ones saying "idu tumba traas kodattey" (this one troubles me a lot).

12. He brushes his teeth -- no toothpaste. And often drinks the water, much to my irritation. If i ask him to rinse and spit out the water, he loves to swallow it and giggle away.

13. Yesterday, he told me his cheeks were "soft", his hair was "nice". And then when I continued saying his chin was "soft" too, he told me it was because he shaved!!!!!

That, i think sums it up for now. And I love 13, so I'll stop there.

PS: I suddenly realised how "kicked" it feels to be proud of your child's achievements, even as I typed each one out. If you have a kid/s between 2 and 2.5 years and are feeling the same way, do share your pride with me, and I'll create another post to put it all together (just because I'm  in a good mood). Don't forget to put down the child's age, and do mention if it's a boy or girl. If you're a blogger and have already blogged about this (which I'm sure you all have ;-), do mail me a link and I'll see if I can add links too. Cheers!

Friday, November 12, 2010

"The Social Network" or how to get millions of other people to be friends online while you lose your own best friend and real relationships

Watched the movie "The Social Network" last night. First things first -- I'M NOT ON FACEBOOK. It's a badge I wear with a certain amount of pride and conceit, yes.

It was a movie that took me by the collar, gave me one hard hit below my chin as it opened, and had my rapt edge-of-seat attention the whole way. For starters, it's great movie making that did not involve action/sci-fi/computer graphics/animation.

Ok so enough has been written about how it's the story of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, how it's based on the non-fiction book "The Accidental Billionaires", how the whole thing is so much fiction and so little fact. "You don't get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies" says the film's tagline and it just about sums up the essence of the film stupendously.

I'm looking at it as the Facebook movie. I've always resisted being on Facebook. I've refused to be Facebooked as many times as I've refused to eat okra/ladies finger. That's a LOT number of times.
I'm sick of all my friends who ask me, as if it were so ...so inevitable that I, like everyone else, should be on Facebook. I don't want to, thank you.

 I don't want my life to be one big open book. I like to live secretively. As much as I can, though I am a blabbermouth. But blabbering in office when five are listening is hopefully, very different from blabbering to 500 on Facebook.
I was once on Orkut. And it skewed my life so bad. I got off it and swore I'll never be on anything like that again. I was ADDICTED. In office, I would come running in every morning to check what "scraps" had come my way. In office I would have barely logged out from it to do some work when I would sign in again -- just to see if anyone had said anything inane to me. I didn't have an Internet connection at home. On my off days, I would go to a cybercafe to check my Orkut profile....jeez, I'm glad I'm past those days of "want to be friends" requests from wierdos.

And yet I see myself all over the office  all over again -- in the form of the younger lot that is now on Facebook, and is constantly on it at the workplace. Yes, sometimes I do feel left out. I regularly ask the best friend (a college classmate who's been "friends" in real life for over 11 years now) when I chat with her on the phone once a week -- "So what's up on Facebook? Anyone else in the batch had babies?"

I have asked colleagues to login to their account to show me pictures of other colleagues at wild parties -- I have had my share of voyeurism.  But I'd hate to think what would happen to me if I had my own Facebook. My life would have been messier than it already is. I even read a piece in The Guardian on a guy who was contemplating "Facebook Suicide" -- a desire to kill his account on Facebook. Wish I could find it and link with it here...

Anyways, I went to the movie, because I know what the phenomenon of Facebook is about, to a certain extent, from what I've heard/read up on/seen. I wanted to see the face behind Facebook -- the guys who created it all. The debate of how authentic the facts are may be being thrashed out all the time, but it's a story well-told.

It's about a young guy's wanting to belong when feeling left out and rejected, of grabbing attention with his code-building skills, of the brilliance of wanting to connect young people seamlessly on the Internet (I don't think Zuckerberg really expected everyone's dads and moms to be on Facebook to keep track of their kids notoriety!). It's about his Eureka moments when he suddenly gets an idea for one more distinctive feature for Facebook -- the status message! It's about a student's vulnerability in the big bad world of money, of prioritising friends, of letting go of them, of deceit, of ambition, of wanting to make it big.

The lawsuits that followed the founder of Facebook form the crux of the film, from where the story spreads out its tentacles. I don't want to tell the story here, because, whet the hell, you'll find the synopsis on the Internet and perhaps Facebook! The whole point is to see the film to get an idea of went on in the lives of these guys, what they created as against their own lonely quiet code-engulfed lives. I loved the end -- it's such a picture of loneliness, isolation and desolation of a guy who helped a million people become friends.

The film is young, fact, racy, has you laughing so very often, and listening in with a knowing look. Facebookers will probably enjoy it a lot more than I did. But at the end of all the suing, all the money, all the success and all the disaster, you definitely are left feeling for Zuckerberg.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Adventures in MIL-land

Or I could call it "My damp squib Diwali and other stories..."
Ok this post is just for laughs (seriously, wink wink). Hopefully I'll laugh at it some day.
Back from mom-in-law's where we celebrated Diwali.

It was an adventure for many reasons, starting with the fact that it's a jungle out there!

No really. It started raining real hard the day before we landed.
The courtyard in the back of the house was teeming with slimy slugs and little shiny black frogs, among other things. And of course a whole lot of slippery green moss.

The loo is on the other side of the courtyard!
So all through our vacation, we were running across the uncovered courtyard to take a leak, mostly in the rain...haha. And I had to traipse carefully, avoiding slugs and trying to keep my balance on the slippery courtyard. And if Sonny Boy wanted to pee, I had to carry his highness across with me -- he refused to step on the slimy courtyard, though he loved watching the slugs and bugs.

The main source of water for the household is a well in the courtyard. Something had happened the day before (very strategic of the well, i was thinking) and the water had gone smelly. MIL insisted nothing had fallen in it (it's an open well and i didn't dare to peep in; no one wanted to consider the possibility of getting the water checked or cleaned!). She cooly told us to add some Dettol into our bathing water and supplied us with two huge bottles! For rinsing our mouth, there was stored tap water (piped corporation water comes once in four days). In Rome, do as the Romans do....

The much-loved and revered ancestral house (over 60 years old) is crumbling. And in the rains, water seeps into the walls. There's a musty smell about the house and a dankness i can't explain. The much-loved and revered house cannot be repaired or re-built because the grandfather built it! There's no running water in the kitchen and it's stayed that way all through...even now. MIL says she doesn't need it. I squirm every time she washes vegetables/greens/coriander.

Due to a small family feud (ahem ahem), I didn't have to cook for the entire khaandaan as expected -- just for the six of us, as against the  expected 11 or 12.

Sonny Boy and I fell sick because of the rains, the wetness of it all, the cold... so MIL said "No curd!" We both sulked so much. :-(

Most of the holiday was spent ferrying wet clothes from the open courtyard into the kitchen and then running back again when even a ray of sunshine was visible, in the hope that the clothes would finally dry!

And in between all this was MIL's don't-touch-me madi phase in the mornings when she would cook for the Gods. So I would do a little dance as i made breakfast or tea, and remember not to bump into her and spoil her sanctity.

Oh and tea! I made lots and lots and pots of that. That's one thing MIL loves to give up whenever I'm there -- making tea. And the family drinks lots of it, over and over again. Fresh. Never from a flask, mind it! I get better and better at brewing tea every time i visit them.

The family also does not believe in vegetables! I mean it. After the first day when we ate sprouts and a side dish with greens, and the second day where there was brinjal/eggplant, there was just LOADS of fried food and dishes with oodles of besan flour. Result: Sonny Boy and I were constipated! And we both developed a throat infection :-(

Ok enough....I've been cribbing and bitching too much. But just to re-live the experiences over and over again, thinking and writing about it, lets me cut free from the cycle of that existence. And to move on with the grind back home.

Monday, November 1, 2010

I'm getting slap-happy. Feel like monster mom

I can't control my hand these days. It instinctively flies at Sonny Boy almost every day. Yeah that's bad. But what the hell! He's always spilling out food stuff from jars on to the floor, and throwing goodies out of the window, sticking his dirty finger up the water filter tap, defiantly peeing just outside the bathroom door -- the works.

Defiance. That's what I see in his eyes.

Am i getting too hard on him? I don't really have too many dont's for him. But the few things i don't want him doing, I DON'T want him doing.

I've tried ignoring him when he misbehaves (because i think he does it for attention).
I've tried holding him close and slowly and calmly telling him the consequences of what he's done ("See, now we don't have grandmas' yummy food left to eat" -- kind of stuff)
I've tried telling him a strict no, looking hard into his eyes.
I've tried smacking his bottom and sometimes rapping him on his back.
I've tried short time outs too (something i hate, but decided to give a shot, in desperation).
Nothing seems to work.

But most instinctively I've been slapping his bottom.
My mom and grandmom keep warning me that soon he'll be so immune to the slaps, he'll get more stubborn.
My dad in all patience tries to tell him what he's doing is wrong etc. Then he runs out of patience too and complains to me.

Spare the rod, spoil the child, I tell myself.
Then I keep reminding myself, I wasn't spoilt, and I was almost never hit -- twice precisely through childhood, and both times by my father! And my parents swear I was well-behaved and never needed so much disciplining.

I mean, Sonny Boy has to be reasonable at least some times -- at least five out of 10. Yesterday again he'd managed to reach the salt jar; nanny grabbed it in time. And he threw a tantrum saying he wants the salt jar. I asked him "why do u want it?" and he says "I want to throw salt on the floor"! and cried again without letting up. Ufffff... I tried telling him that salt was for eating; the only person listening was nanny.

P.S: Happy Diwali every one. Have a great year. I'm away for a few days, doing the customary "Diwali with the in-laws in husband's hometown" which translates into cooking humongous amounts of food for the joint family that will be there in full force -- 12 adults and four children. Sigh. Yeah! I have to say happy holidays ;-)

Oh and another PS: Please do catch this film called Udaan (made in 2010), starring the very sweet and angelic-faced Rajat Barmecha, and Ronit Roy in a very hate-able role. It's so much about breaking free and coming of age; but for me, it was so about how not to the kind of father Ronit (Bhairav Singh) is in the film. And don't watch it during the festival. Before or after is better; the film can be heart wrenching at times.