The Scorpios

Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Ps and Queues

Scene 1
Me at 2nd position in the queue at Reliance Fresh outlet.
A guy and a girl come over. The guy has lot of veggies / Chocolates gathered in his arms. He placed it on the billing counter. I knew what was on his mind. I quickly put my shopping basket on the counter. The billing guy started billing the other person’s items. I told him “would you please bill mine first since it is very obvious I was waiting in the queue”. The guy quietly billed mine. The lady sniggered and passed some comments which I couldn’t quite well catch.
Mind you, I voluntarily allow people with 1 or 2 items to go ahead and get theirs billed before mine. What irked me that day was that these people behaved as if it was their birth right to jump the queue and be first. They could have lined up behind me and needn’t have created this scene. Or they could have politely asked if they were in such a rush to catch some train or flight!
This total lack of manners appalls me. Even school kids have more sense. They know how to take turns and use the swing or how to wait in queue to get into the bus or say please and thank you. As adults we tend to forget the basics.
Scene 2
2 years ago we were waiting as a parking slot at Poompuhar was getting vacated. Just when we were attempting to park, a Qualis cut us from the left and moved in. I was carrying that time and normally was scared of confronting people at that condition but don’t know what happened to me, I just walked out and told the driver that we were waiting to park. My God! The whole bunch of those inside began yelling at me. Finally the security chased them off that area threatening them with police and all. I was shaking for quite some time at my foolishness in attempting to get them see reason especially when I was carrying and was obviously on a weaker wicket!
Scene 3
I remember in my hostel days, I was waiting to buy the ticket. Would you believe it, a policeman shoved his way through? I told him off saying you are the one who has to guard the law and not break it. You should protect us from miscreants but you are being he culprit. Sheepishly that guy removed his large hands from the ticket counter and allowed me to be first!
Scene 4
I was trying to buy some cakes from Nilgiri’s counter. A father, mother, son trio were waiting for their bill. The 3 of them were hogging the entire space of the small counter in such a way that nobody can come near the display and make their selection. After all it takes a while to choose from the assortment to cakes & snacks! I don’t know what is the compulsion for the entire family to gather at the counter that too for the bill? As if they are the only customers and nobody else matters. Why can’t they just back off? That too after I made 2-3 polite circles around them and obvious attempts to break the inner circle. They just looked at me and turned away, and I somehow I found it even more difficult to look through the gaps between them.
I don’t know why nobody wants to be 2nd. Everyone wants to be first as far as self gratification is concerned. Why not be the first to volunteer for something worthwhile? Why not be the first to speak out where it matters? We keep our traps shut that time but when it comes to self, oh we break queues; we curry favours from everyone starting the door man to receptionist to get in first. Try observing people in a doctor’s waiting room! The way they follow the receptionist to be able to get in faster on some pretext or the other!
Oh, well as rants go, this one will keep going if I don’t stop it!
Take it up as a tag! Share your worst "ps & qs" related memories!!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Ojas & Tejas Update

1. Ojas has responded to teasing in a not very sportive manner. He broke his pencil into 2 and I laughed at him and began to rough him up a little bit. He gave me a tight slap on my right eye. He spent a few minutes pacifying me when I began to cry. He and Tejas were fighting over a particular cloth diaper and he lost the battle. Hubby teased him and Ojas gave him a good beating in response. Need to watch out before provoking him.
2. Both have developed a sudden interest in fitting the puzzle pieces in the right slot. They know what goes where in their transport trays (2 nos), animal tray and Alphabet tray. Hey don’t like if any piece is missing and bug us to find them. Many times during the day, Tejas can be seen moving from one room to the next with the Alphabet tray and pieces in his hand and a few pieces clenched between his teeth. (this one is going to be a multi-tasker like his mom). Ojas likes to encourage Tejas and direct him from far when he working on the puzzle. He gives a hearty clap and wah wah when Tejas slots them correctly.
3. Ojas tried to put a diaper for me. He asked me to sit on the diaper and when I did so, he got annoyed as he could not see the ends of the diaper for securing it.
4. Tejas was pleasantly surprised watching a just taken-off plane from the car window on airport road.
5. They have got fairly settled on their sleeping routine. Both sleep on either side of me with their feet on my face preferably and milk bottle in their mouth.
6. They have started wearing slippers at home, albeit for short stretches. Got some good ones – footfun from liberty with a strap behind to secure it. Also a pair of bubblegummers from Bata which they love. Unfortunately I am yet to find another pair. I am trying to get them into this habit. I hate seeing them walk bare foot collecting all the dust. Infact picked up a couple of good sandals from Foot Fun for Rs 250 and their usual Kittens from Metro for Rs 450.
7. Tejas has got into the habit of selecting his and Ojas’ dresses for the day. Infact sometimes during the day, if he feels like it, he picks up another dress and asks for a change. Fast becoming an extreme clothes horse like his Dad, and his Mom’s genes is not helping either. Ojas is also picking up this habit now. They love new clothes and refuse to take them off once worn.
8. When Tejas cries, Ojas calls him, “Bah Bah Bah” and then tries to pacify him by running his hands or feet on Tejas’ face.
9. They can stand and touch their toes to nose.
10.They play ring a ring a roses and try to sing Rojes, Rojes, hatha hatha (Hasha whoosha) and then sit on the floor.
11.Anything on TV is either Cartooo (cartoon) or Kaate (will bite/ scary). Yesterday Dhoom II and Harry Potter last week got a fair share of such comments
12.They have picked up this nasty habit of chewing on cloth. When caught, Ojas tries to cover his head and Tejas tries to clean his ears with it.
13.Both lift their arms to get the deo sprayed.
Check out the Globus Sale. To my surprize I found some good kurtas!!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Are we channeling our child’s creativity?

‘No’, ‘Don’t’, ‘Stop’, ‘Sit quietly’, ‘Out of the way’, ‘Don’t mess’
Familiar words aren’t they? How many times we let kids be just that and not try to make them behave like semi adults? Rarely!! We are either over protective of the kids, our material possessions and our sanity or too tired to clear the mess after them or plain impatient. And the more we try to prevent them from doing something the harder they try to make sure they do the same.
I did exactly like that and one fine day realized that I am transforming more and more into a tyrant mom rather than the cool, hip mom I always intended to be. And I was not helping one bit in maintaining decorum as the double trouble found had their own methods of getting their way. Somewhere down the line, after motherhood, the real me got lost. I was no longer the same "Itchy Aunty" for whom the kids in the complex used to wait so that they could ask silly pun-lined quiz or tell PJs or discuss the curent story book they were reading.

Time to chill!

Principle 1
If you cannot beat them then join them
They love opening the drawers. I emptied the lower drawers and filled them with their toys and locked the others. Win-win situation.
Sometimes they cry when they can’t get things right like buckling/ unbuckling the belt. Lend them a helping hand.
Principle 2
Don’t stop or mollycoddle, attract with distraction
Take out puzzle or a toy and start playing with it as if it is the most interesting thing in the world, preferably turn your back against them. You bet they will sneak up behind you and join the fun
Principle 3
Time Out
No mine is not -stand in the corner. They will probably think it is some other game. Mine is “time to show belly button or chubby cheeks”. They just drop whatever they were doing or whatever tantrum they were throwing and play along.
Principle 4
Put on their shoes and send/ take them out and have a nice time pointing at various stuffs.
Notes for future
Creative Play when they are bored
1. Scrap Book/ Collage making- mess up with pictures, cutting, pasting and cataloging.
2. Greeting Card making- we could even get the good ones scanned and printed
3. Story telling/ writing/ read and explain the story to me- an aunt used to ask my cousin to write his own story and he used to be quite imaginative for his age
4. Play with Clay
5. My favourite- jigsaw puzzles, jumbles, word games, building blocks, 20 questions, dumb charades
6. Drawing, Painting, Coloring book
7. Kinder – Garden- Nurture a plant, even if it’s a money plant in the bottle or a 9 o’clock rose in the pot. The easier the better.
8. Simple tasks- re arrange the cupboard/ book rack/ kitchen shelf in a self planned order- all whites together or all English books together etc. There is something extremely therapeutic about cleaning and re organizing.
9. Count up your collection in the piggy bank, buy something out of it.
10. Go shopping
11. Monopoly
12. Music- sing, play or listen
PS to self-Don’t forget the activities need to include you or hubby or both

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Factual Fiction- Illness

The friend mentioned that she had a mysterious pain at the back of her head.
She started worrying. Wishing well for her friend.
“May be it is because of the root canal treatment I am undergoing.”
“Yes, it could be because of that. May be it is that only. I am sure it is because of the tooth problem. Any tooth or ear problem often affects the neighbouring regions. Check with the doc, it must be that.”
Her mind was at rest. After attributing the ailment to a cause.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

What lengths people go to annoy a pregnant woman

1. Tell you not to tell anyone about the pregnancy until 3 months are over- well I have told you, why can’t I tell anyone else
2. Worse still, they do it for you- flash your news to the world
3. Ask loudly in a crowd- How many months?
4. Wonder looking at your tummy- you look as if you can deliver anytime
5. Always focus on your tummy while talking to you
6. Looks like it is a boy as the tummy is outwards/ Looks like it is a girl – when they did it for me I almost laughed out loud- especially those who did not know I was carrying twins- they could be right either way.
7. Touch your tummy without asking to feel the baby
8. You don’t have edema? Wait till next month, you will get it. They almost rejoiced when my feet began to swell.
9. You are not having nausea? It will come, wait and watch.
10. You must do more exercise- like sweep & mop the floor for easy delivery – (irrespective of whether the doc advised bed rest)
11. Prescribe what you must eat and what you must not to ensure getting a fair child.
12. This one tops- sit with the wife in the gynecologist’s waiting room and never vacate the seat for another pregnant woman.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Dress Me Up

3 years back when we bought our apartment, the first thing the visitors noted was the wall colours followed by the light fixtures and then the woodwork.
The bright sunflower yellow breaking the light green (jasmine wisp) and beige (sugarcane) colours of the rest of the walls were proving to be a talking point for our visitors.
I remember the pains we took in deciding the colours. The long hours spent at the Asian paints colour screen deciding the shades in various simulated lights. To tell you the truth what we picked up based on the computer turned out to be unpleasant on the walls. So finally we had to beg or buy a single can and try out on the wall directly before taking a call.
We were sure that we wanted a yellow breaking wall in our rooms. Apart from the reasons of it being a happy, cheery, welcoming colour, we choose it because it was the safest bright colour. I would love to have a red brick like effect or a crimson/ deep pink wall with a self pattern right behind the bed but hubby was strictly against such bashful bright colours. With both our Leo temperaments, we did not want too much of red adding fuel to the fire, not to forget that we chose the South east rather than south west room as the master bedroom. So yellow it was to break the monotony of jasmine wisp and sugarcane. And the jasmine wisp has a role to play in toning down the fiery nature of the yellow.
We also went overboard with the lighting. We did not want to leave even a single space unlit. Apart from the tube lights for everyday use, we added extra light points for “yellow’ lighting which gives a warm, cozy, romantic feel and also imparts a different glow to the skin. We found a nice shop at Mount Road called MS Lights which had a lot of trendy, modern fixtures and the owner was talking in marketing language- defining the concept and whether it is modern or traditional or futuristic. We selected quite odd shaped fixtures the prime method of selection being the quantum of light they were emitting rather than keeping it to themselves. Usually there are these flower shaped ones that don’t allow the light to emit into the room. All the yellow walls were given Picture lights so that when we invested in paintings, the light would highlight them well. We also selected a crazy looking chandelier.
For all our pains, the 1st year was spent in paranoia, nobody allowed to lay even a finger on the wall, no furniture should be touching the wall etc. Today all has gone for a toss. With Ojas & Tejas competing with each other on who scrapes the wall better with the mobile phone or the rackets, we cannot even dream of maintaining the walls now.
So tell me, what colours you chose for your walls and why? What is a nice colour or texture to experiment with? May be the next house or the next painting time we could think about it!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Welcome Home

The 3rd car Ojas & Tejas have purchase in the last 6 months- Innova in October, Swift in February and now The Honda City that replaces the Innova.
Both had a ball at the Honda showroom near the airport, running all over the place - they have never seen such a huge space that's why. Since we walked in on a Sunday evening, the place was empty of people. The rains and the starless sky contributed to the choice of the colour- Galaxy Grey! This and the Midnight Black Swift, together they make a good pair!

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Judgment Day

MM puts me on the jury to be judgmental. Here I spew the venom of my pet peeves
1. I judge those who do not value time- keep others waiting remorselessly, don’t care for their time and nor for other’s, exceed their presentation time limit and believe that the longer they speak, the clearer their message. Includes trolls like clients who believe that the supplier deserves to be treated like shit, doctors who walk in fashionably hours late (regularly, not one off case mind you) and then give audience to medical representatives or take long phone calls, bosses who allow phone calls to interrupt important meetings like appraisal.
2. I judge those women whose prime occupation is being a door mat. The things they love to do is cook for the family and the friends, force feed you, fill your plate with mounds of stuff that you were better off not eating while you were looking away, not allow the people to remove their plate and put in the sink but grab it from them, ask you all sorts of questions centered around food- what did you eat, what you will eat, what did your wife cook for you for breakfast, lunch & dinner, what did you eat at the party, are you hungry, the baby is hungry (say this every 1 hour or less- believe me). The end result of all this will be food served by her for you, your kid, your friends, the driver, the maid, the watchman and then packed for you to take it home. They will make your bed for you, spoil you rotten, fold your clothes, tidy your cupboard, pick up after you, spoon feed you, tie your shoe laces (yes), wash your undies, you name it and they do it for you like a genie. They never allow their kids to be self sufficient or responsible and make them a pain in the backside for their wife/ children/ room mates in the hostel.
3. I judge people you don’t value money or things bought out of money- they give it to every undeserving beggar in the street, buy the most expensive thing in the name of good taste (I call it foolishness, not to hunt for a good bargain if it is available), over order food and then waste it, tip over handsomely to appear uber generous, prevent others from driving a bargain, prepare humongous quantities of food and then pack up for every person they see (why do they tend to forget that those people are perfectly capable of cooking their own food and may not even like your style of cooking) . If you don’t respect wealth, wealth will never respect you.
4. I judge those girls who think all boys in school/ college are staring at them and trying to make a pass at them so they don’t want to go alone to the water tap or to another class or across the play ground.
5. I judge those who are uncaring for the environment in the name of convenience or forgetfulness- forget to switch of the fan/ light, convenient to take a print rather than do it on the computer.. well if it was your own paper and your own printing machine would you go so easy on paper or do hundred screen edits before taking that print?
6. I judge credit stealers- peers, bosses, friends who bring out the I word when we was more apt. 2 classmates of ours had to go for a paper presentation. After round 1 she comes and says “my paper got selected”. After round 2 she says –“we lost”.
7. I judge filthy tongued people who cannot digest their food without using swear words, dirty ones that too. I wish for them that their kids use the same words for them.
8. I judge people who chose only extremely dull colours for themselves and then judge others who are comfortable with bright colours. Look at your own tastes first before judging others tastes. Includes people who do not believe in dressing up for the occasion. Always visible in their filthy nightie or the ugliest clothes inspite of calling people home for dinner. C’mon, move it! Make an effort to look presentable.
9. I judge people who don’t read. How can they deprive themselves of the charms that the books/ magazines provide? Even if you read only the level 1 of books and are not into heavy reading, please read. Broaden your avenue.
10. I judge people who are glued to TV every waking moment. So much so that they don’t hear what’s going on.
11. I judge people who cannot multi task.
12. I judge people who spend long hours on the phone at the dining table / when guests are around.
13. I judge self appointed BBC. They want to be the 1st one to tell the news to everyone even if it does not belong to them or is not too sensational- who is pregnant, who came home, what milestone did the kid achieve (let the poor mother/ father do the honours). Included are those who published the Harry Potter spoilers. GROW UP AGAIN! WHY RACE?
14. I judge those mothers who try to be one with the crowd with their sons or daughters. They want to be present at every function, every dinner party, every gathering of friends, want to be included into every conversation, want to know every dirty secret or sordid love affair about the friends. Grow up and find your husband or friends to supply you with nasty gossip.
15. I judge uncles who try to boisterously back slap you on every occasion or even try to play holi with you or ask you why you have painted your nails. (my scorpio sis pinched one such uncle and kicked him hard when he tried playing holi with her, verbally applauded by another onlooker uncle who commented- who said you are supposed to play holi with daughters?).
16. I judge parents who don't have time to play with their kids - with books, toys, puzzles.. if you don't then who will nurture them?
17. I judge people who are sloppy about their work- if you have taken it up, do it, format it well and take the effort to make your work presentable.
18. I judge those relatives and friends who don't make the effort to stay in touch and then taunt- oh now you remembered me when I call them up.
19. I judge those who create a big fuss at any photo opportunity. You need to coax them to come for the photograph. Beauty Queens
Pant pant pant.....this is exhausting... And I also judge those who don't take up the tag-collection of stars, suki, lumi, just like that, minka, nm

Meanwhile, are my HP obsessed eyes playing tricks on me or do you also see the likeness? (Tejas is going to kill m for this)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

On Why is This Important to Me

Does it really matter? All this ho hulla over getting slimmer, losing weight and looking fit? Usha did a post on it some time ago. Honestly, sometimes I too feel like giving up everything and live to eat as usual. Why am I taking all this trouble? Why am I torturing myself with diet control and so many hours of workout? Why am I denying myself of all the foods that I love so that I could lose all those extra baggage I am carrying. Sometimes it depresses me and I wonder how much time more before I can fit in my pre- maternity trousers. I have talked to fellow gymmers and they have assured me of good results. And then there is this very fat guy whom I know who says I must not do diet control but only exercise. Sometimes it is a torture to wake up in the morning, slipping away silently so as not to wake up the kids, then worry in the gym about the kids- what if they wake up and look for me?

Well so what actually motivates me?
1. when I think of the wasted number of hours in trial rooms. Me moving slowly and steadily from a size M to XL and beyond. As if it is not bad enough that the Fab India guy keeps telling you loudly enough that Madam, you are looking in the Medium section.
2. I don't want to be called the fattest among all as MM said about someone who declared that it is official she is the fattest.
3. I recall how I could run the entire length of the train without feeling out of breath and tired (treadmill experience) - and it felt good to be able to do that.
4. I love clothes of all kind and it is a pity that my saris are wasting in the cupboard as the blouses protest when I try to get into them. Chiffons and georgettes are absolute no nos with the spare tyre around the waist. Not to speak of some very good trousers and skirts.
5. When I remember the looks people give me when they see my loaded plate. (somehow it doesn't matter if thin people eat lots- nobody laughs at their plate)
6. My rings were getting too tight to wear
7. I don't want to be known as someone who has gone over the hill mentally and physically after having the kids.
8. When I think of Madhuri Dixit after 2 kids
9. I imagine that once I reach the zone of ideal weight, how nice it would be to eat an entire bar of chocolate without worrying that my weight will go out of hand. (so all boils down to being able to eat, which I was anyway doing)
10. I am tired of sucking my tummy in at every photo opportunity
11. Last but not the least, the competition hubby is giving me- getting fitter day by day, I don't want to be called the perfect 10 couple, me the zero, he the 1!
edited to add courtsey comment of whatsinaname,
12. a client when visiting our premises said- let's not do the tour of the premises, since you are expecting, you may have difficulty walking around! That bad eh!! come to think of it, it was a chimmney calling the kettle black situation still it hurt....

And people, in deference to my torn ligament happened when I thought let me do that extra 5 seconds of grapevine on the stepper, last Friday, I am not posting on weight management for 2 weeks- the entire duration that I will not be gymming- proud to inform you this is my first sports related injury that I can sport!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Waiting for Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows

Call me nuts but though I got into Harry Potter a little late in the day, I have read every single one of them multiple times. Sometimes I thank God for making me discover the series late. Otherwise the suspense would have killed me. I got to enjoy 5 books in quick succession that way. Call me silly but at times I have found myself wishing that such things really existed.
I wish Tejas & Ojas grow to like and enjoy the books eventually.
What I really like about the books and admire Rowling for, is that each element in the books are supposed to fit in like pieces of a huge jigsaw puzzle. Whether it is the so called “gleam of triumph in Dumbledore’s eyes in ‘The Goblet of Fire’” or the death of Sirius Black not being a mere tear jerker introduced to make Harry’s woes even more profound. Rowling has got logic for every incident, name and character she has used. The legends and beasts she has employed in the book are solidly backed so no wonder there is a book written on the background of the legends cleverly hidden in the Harry Potters.
Just to recall a few of my favourite episodes in the books, apart from the fight scenes-

1. Philosopher’s stone- Dumbledore dishing out points in the end to Gryffindor and the Chess scene.
2. Chamber of Secrets-Harry’s encounter with Riddle’s Memory
3. Prisoner of Azkaban- Lupin’s lessons with Harry on creating Patronus, the one in which Hermione discovers Lupin is a werewolf.
4. Goblet of Fire- Harry & Cedric decide to take the cup together- loved them playing fair game, Rita Skeeter’s secret getting out
5. Order of the Pheonix- Umbridge and McGonagall pitted together, discovery of Dumbledore’s Army.
6. Half Blood Prince- Everytime Harry uses the Potions book and Hermione’s reaction to it.
Well, right now, I wished I had paid more attention on the details and therefore could have drafted my own thesis on the whys and what next and what may happen in the next. But, I read the books more for the story than anything else. Not to try to find out gaps that would be answered in the subsequent books. Not to try and identify potential spoilers and do a lot of guesswork on what will happen next. But as each book got launched, the heat and excitement seems to catch on and I find myself wondering what happens in the next book.

Here’s my wish list for book 7 apart from Dumbledore & Sirius comeback-
1. Neville gets to use the Crucatius curse on the Death eaters that tormented his parents, his parents get cured and he gets to do something impressive
2. Dolores Umbridge gets her punishment – not death- something that she lives to remember and get tormented.
3. Snape getting redeemed- I wish Dumbledore was right about him and he is indeed my favourite villain character. Sharp witted, sharp tongued and talented.
4. Another wizard Chess equivalent from Ron. He always seems to get overshadowed in brains by Hermione and talent by Harry.
5. More of McGonagall
6. Lupin avenges Greyback
7. Do something about Draco please, he is so pompous and sure of himself.

That makes me look so sadistic right!

Go on, tell me what your favourite scenes are and your wish list for book 7.
Which character do you identify yourself with most and why?

It’s Hermione for me- always in the library, worried about homework and being proper in school, being ready with complete notes for exams.

Edited to add- I wonder what reason Rowling has to make Dumbledore mess up some things inspite of being the greatest- whether it is the way he misjudges Harry by not telling him what's going on- the order, prophesy etc, Occlumency lessons, not being around when Harry needs him the most and eventually dying!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Right of way- ambulance

When the VIPs pass, all traffic is halted for hours together.
Some celebrations cause traffic to be diverted or halted or blocked.
But when an ambulance waits at the signal, stuck behind waiting vehicles, I have never seen the traffic police allow that lane a green signal so that the ambulance gets a clear passage.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Save the Environment- Best of Waste

I did one on saving our precious water and I did one on diapers Now this one is another one on going green, recycling and maximizing usage.
1. Ditch those plastic carry bags. Get your own shopping bag. Most stores have the habit of putting different categories of items into different bags- sometimes one ends up with a separate bag for Bread alone. Return that extra bag. Some stores give large carry bag for a small item. Ask them for a smaller one. And when you can stuff that purchase into your handbag, refuse the carry bag all together.
2. Re use the carton packing of sweets, cake etc- use it to pack your lunch and save the usage of water for washing your lunch box for that day. Use the shirt carton for storing bangles, medicines or letters. Use the shoe box for storing the shoe polishes. I always send the empty packages to the packaging department to reuse it for the next courier.
3. Switch off the computer screen when not at the desk. Set the power saver mode on the laptop for shorter durations. It could be a good idea to let the laptop discharge and charge it again rather than plugging it in everyday. Good for the battery and good for the environment. Switch off appliances from the main switch when not in use.
4. Reduce use of paper- avoid taking print outs & photo copies when not needed. I have a colleague who has the annoying habit of leaving photo copies of newspaper articles in an envelope on our desks. We could have circulated the original article among ourselves.
5. Maximise the usage of paper- every bit of space in every scrap of paper should be used before discarding. If possible, use it further for packing your food / soaking the oil off fried food or shred it and use it as packing material in the office. Sell it to the waste fellows who will recycle it. Use the newspapers similarly and you could cover your books with the newspapers or use it as gift wraps- claim it to be your own contribution to saving the environment. Especially the magazine sections or old calendars are great for covering those precious books and lining the cupboards. Kids could use the calendars or old greeting cards for their artwork or for making them into tags for pasting on the gifts or using them as funky invites for their birthday. One just needs to challenge the kids and they will make it into something useful. Punch together the one sided papers and tie with a nice string and make it into a scribbling pad. The secretary in my previous office used to get our binder to bind it into various sizes and believe me; it was much sought after by all. If possible, share the newspaper with your neighbour or read the office newspaper rather than buying. Donate old magazines to a clinic/ parlour waiting room/ library.
6. Reuse terracotta / clay pots / vases as flower pots. Punch a hole at the bottom before using.
7. Wash clothes once or twice a week. Use the most energy efficient washing machine.
8. Get better fuel efficiency by parking in the shade wherever possible, reducing usage of A/C, switching off the ignition if you need to stop beyond 30 seconds, taking less congested route, car pooling, walking instead of taking the vehicle, keeping the tyres well inflated, off-the-clutch driving, reducing usage of brakes (remove foot off the accelerator instead), planning your route in advance, car well serviced.
9. Recycle old clothes- use it as nappies, dusters, mops. Make a carry bag (especially trousers and jeans make funky bags- use the label to make it look hip), cut it into smaller pieces and fill it into cushions, stitch the front and back panel of a shirt at the bottom, button it up, write some funky messages with a marker and put it on a hanger to use it as a wash bag. Socks or vests are very good as surface wipes and for stuffing cushions. I normally ask my tailor to return left over bits from my fabric and use it for making night suit/ home wear for my kids. You could even use it to make a patchwork quilt or apron. Remember to save the buttons and re-use it.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Factual Fiction- Nose Digger

You need to talk to him. You get up from your seat and walk towards the cabin.

You can see him busy with his disgusting hobby.

You retrace your steps immediately. You give him sometime to get over with it.

You come back after 5 minutes. You are thankful that he is writing something.

You get in and speak to him, careful that you do not give him an opportunity to shake hands with you or touch your book/ pen. You are not even looking at him while talking since you are so vigilant about not touching any stray nose boogers rolled away on the desk.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Twin Language

Also known as idioglossia or cryptophasia is not entirely fabricated as often believed. This could be a manifestation of the support system the twins develop for each other when either or both have delayed speech development. So the foreign sounding incoherent gibberish continues till they catch up with the rest of the world in speech. One theory indicates that this could be because twins are born at 37 weeks or before, which is premature by standards or the low birth weight. A British study showed that twin language is higher (around 50%) in twins with speech and language difficulties than for twins with normal language (11%).
It could also be because of more one-to-one communication time or opportunity with each other rather than adults or their strong non-verbal/ intuitional conversational skills.
There could be code words but then who does not make code words- there are siblings/ couples/ families who make code words and terms that only they understand then why should twins / multiples who have shared the same womb space not do the same?
Then there is the unique closeness that they share.
Telepathy is something that exists between couples/ friends too so we cannot attribute it to being existent only among multiples. So sometimes, they actually do not need to talk to convey.
The Language learning process is aided through interaction and environment. Reading, writing, gesturing- all are forms of language
As Parents,
1. Listen & Respond to the sounds and gibberish that children speak
2. Watch out for steady progress not speed
a. a general thumb rule would be 1st words between 12-18 months, 10 words in 18 months
b. 21 months- identifies objects in pictures, uses 2 word sentences.
c. 50 plus words at 2 years and understood about a quarter of the time
d. 4-5 word sentences & correct grammar which others can understand by 4 years
3. Tempt them to communicate-
a. Talk to each twin separately even if you need to ask the same question twice over.
b. Demonstrate and watch- play with a toy/ puzzle/ building block, peek-a-boo, keep favourite food out of reach.

Theoretically these are right but practically this may not be easy. Ojas & Tejas manage very well with sign language. They either express very well facially or point at the object in question or the best method is “wail” and bang the head to the floor or the door. When they talk gibberish, they have a particular tone which they can recognize. At that time, they shut all of us out and focus on each other. The game could be their version of cricket/ badminton/ or pulling clothes out of the cupboard. They actually discuss how to go about the game.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Ojas & Tejas Update

The highlight of last week has been Hubby quitting his job (finally) and concentrating completely on the business. Finally he can see a changed me.. Me not cribbing when he is working late or going for client meetings at odd hours and on weekends. It's for us and not anyone else he is working now.

The flip side is that his brand new Innova, Blackberry, and his Laptop go back to the office, I need to ensure that there is sufficient food at home for there are no more Sodexho coupons, and perhaps no more abroad trips & thereby frequent flier points for quite sometime now and therefore no more cheaper diapers from abroad...and no chocolates either! The perks of a regular job apart from the so called assured salary at the end of the month!! All for good I hope!

Ojas & Tejas Update
1. They love pretending to put deo- hold the can near the underarms and say “tss tsss”
2. When we ask where is buttocks., they give a smart rap on it
3. I have recorded their crying on my phone. When I play it back to them, they kiss it
4. Hubby lay on his stomach and asked them to massage his back. Ojas wanted to do the same for me. He instructed me to turn on my tummy and lie flat and proceeded to massage
5. At night, I put the milk bottle in my cupboard and don’t give them until they are dressed and ready to sleep. Last night I asked them to come to the room to sleep and have milk, Ojas straight away went to the cupboard and said Baatoo (Bottle)
6. When I said Beta, Ojas responded Bataaa
7. They drink water from the glass using a spoon, creating the most annoying mess.

8. I was giving Tejas a wash. He showed me his hands and said “kai” meaning wash my hands also.
9. They can recognize crow and call it Kaa Kaa
10. When I gave then cold water, they correlated it to Ice
11. I switched off the light of the room and pretended to close the door, expecting them to rush out. But they smartly switched on the bedside light and continued their game

Friday, July 06, 2007

Holistic Weight Management- The Exercise Mantras

Weighty One-Liner
Cousin R’s Wife D- Both R & I got pregnant at the same time. I delivered but R still hasn’t
Exercising simply put is a way to expend those calories taken and stored.
1. At whichever time you choose to exercise ensure that you have a gap of 2+ hours from your last heavy meal or 1hour from your last snack. Set a time of 1 hour to 1.25 hours for exercises.
2. Gym gear- Comfortable shoes which you have not worn outside, track pants & shirt, sports bra for ladies, face towel, Water bottle- get something funky/ nice which makes you feel good about wearing it everyday for the gym. Also keep a large towel for the post gym shower/ steam/sauna. A spare set of clothes incase you want a change.
3. It is recommended that one alternates between weights/ floor exercises and cardio work out each day
4. Don’t overdo- allow a day’s rest for the muscles to recuperate and relax
5. Obtain the optimal exercise card from your consultant.
6. Pace- the slower you do the weights more the resistance and better the fat burning. For non weights exercise- do it at a fast pace (like aerobics/ dancing/ running/ jogging/walking)
7. Warm up is essential- these are low intensity exercises that mobilizes the joints, prevents injury and allows maximization of the high intensity workout.
8. Stretch in the opposite direction after every exercise to ease the muscles.
9. Follow the order of exercise recommended. It helps in optimizing the exercises.
a. Overall, if you are doing lower body first, finish all exercises in the order recommended related to lower body and then move to upper body exercises.
b. Better to do the exercises involving larger muscle group first than localized muscle group- lower body general first followed by focused thighs/ calf and back first and then biceps/ triceps.
c. Moreover if you lose all the energy doing biceps first, you will be unable to use your arms for the back exercises.
d. A short cardio before the work outs mobilizes the fat burning.
10. Get them to train you on the correct muscles and concentrate on those muscles while working out- visualize them working hard to burn the fat tissues stored and getting you in shape. Only and if only you get the technique right, the correct muscle groups will work and you will feel the strain in the right place.
11. Surprise the body- Prevent Conditioning-change the frequency/ duration/ intensity and type. Start light and increase it as you get conditioned.
a. Are you finding the repetitions too easy? Either you have got conditioned or you are doing it wrong. Check with the instructor to give you a change of exercise or increase the intensity
b. Choose the right fit between number of sets repeated and increase of intensity. The later is mostly recommended.
c. Every month the set of exercises are changed to avoid conditioning
d. The more the number of machines/ type of exercises, the better the body performs- a cardio of 40 minutes is more effective if it is alternated between 2-3 machines instead of just 1 machine
12. Breath in (during relaxation phase) and out (during exertion phase) in rhythm with the weights going down and up- give the muscles oxygen. Failing to breath will built up internal pressure and may cause broken blood vessels/ hernia
13. End with cool down- helps you relax, prevent soreness and release the waste products out of the muscles

Thursday, July 05, 2007

This Happened Closer Home

A family we know very closely, close enough to share the same compound was looking for a match for one of the sons. The message was sent across families they know and finally the marriage was solemnized with a family friend’s daughter.
The couple took off to UK where in the MIL insisted that the DIL stays with her as the couple’s respective jobs were in separate cities and she could stay with her until the son managed to move to her city. Time flew and on her 1st anniversary, the DIL requested her MIL to let her join her husband. After a great deal of convincing, the couple got round to staying together.
The wife used to wake up in the morning apparently confused at the deep sleep she used to fall into night after night. One night she decided that she would be careful and abstained from drinking and eating. As the couple turned in for the night, she pretended to fall asleep.
To her horror, she discovered her husband wake up and get decked up like a girl and walk out of the house. The shocked girl followed her husband and found herself in a hotel. She managed to confront her husband in a hotel room.
The husband and wife returned home and they had a showdown. Apparently the husband even beat her up.
The wife called up her aunt who advised her to collect all her jewels and walk out. She pocketed her jewels in her coat and walked out of the house and reached her aunt’s place. She filed a case, got divorced and today is settled in Delhi and working, peacefully.
The relatives pretended that they were all this time unaware of this boy’s preferences.
The incident left me shocked at what arranged marriages may bring in. The parents try hard to uncover all details of the other party before solemnizing the marriage yet many end up getting cheated. Regarding this incident, I have too many whys to ask but I know there are no answers to it. While this account of mine just indicates the bare bones facts, my mom has an extremely filmy version told first hand by the girl’s family. As humans, we think such things happen to others, unknown to us. The moment things happen closer home, we sit up and think.
In a tragic incident last week, my opposite door neighbour succumbed after his car was hit by an oncoming bus as he was turning into the ECR from boat club. The door went into his stomach. The wife was hysterical and in and out of consciousness. We could not muster the courage to tell her 2 kids aged 6 & 11 about the loss. The frightened kids were taken to the hometown along with the sedated Mother for the funeral the next day. We haven’t heard from them since then. Just 2 weeks ago he wanted to co-invest with a few neighbours in a plot of land. So much to do and all left half way. Normally any accident leaves us disturbed but we carry on, drive away from the scene and live our life. But this one made us get involved beyond the accident spot. Scary and Sad.
I leave a thought behind.
As parents, our kids are our responsibility. Can we make an –“In Case of Emergency Flowchart” and pass on to close relatives/ friends???

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Visiting the Newborn(s)

Taking the story forward, it is grand to have visitors coming to bless the newborns. But when it happens at a time when the new parents are inconvenienced, then it is not so welcome.
So there are several types of visitors –
1. The Racers- They try all possible measures to be among the first few to visit your baby- so that they can boast about beating everyone to the race. They will land up at the hospital moments after your baby is born and try to gain an entry by all possible means. If nothing else, they will visit the baby in the nursery and leave. Many times this is done out of genuine liking and closeness especially by close friends and relatives but many times to prove a point. While as people they are generally welcome by the couple, but as new parents, they may find it intrusive.
2. The Runner ups- These are the type who try to finish the ritual by visiting necessarily while the baby is in the hospital- so that the parents do not feel bad that the close neighbors/ friends never bothered with a visit. They stick to the visiting hours and many times they plan, team up and visit. So it is like one grand outing for the entire crowd but too large a crowd in the tiny hospital room. And since the twins needed an extra crib, there was even less of a space in my room. They had a great time arguing and discussing the various differences between the facial features of each kid while I had a tough time worrying about the gown being in place and the buttons not popping out and the nurse had her own tensed moments when the blood being transfused to me began spilling out like the last few drops of ink from a fountain pen. These will be usually closest neighbours or office colleagues or if you or the husband happens to be a boss – then the team members who don’t wish to be singled out as the one who never visited. They will come armed with camera and take shots. Many times, people don’t like their kids being photographed by all and sundry before they are old enough. Again done with genuine but slightly forced affection.
3. The Planners- usually works it out together with the mom on which is the most convenient time to visit. Frankly there is none, and since the trouble of planning is taken, usually a mutually suitable time is chosen. Supposedly gives the parents ample time and opportunity to be appropriately dressed and be ready with appropriate refreshments / sweets for the occasion. They come on time, armed with suitable gifts for the baby, talk softly, will not pick the baby unless offered, and if offered, they will wash their hands and do so, not sit on the baby’s bed for fear of transmitting germs and leave as soon as they feel that the baby has declared that it is feeding time. All in all, the model visitor and most sensitive to the mom’s feelings.
4. The चिपकू/ Leech- Will have the grace to come after giving a few hours advance notice but will decide that a good 2 hours time is appropriate to justify all the effort they spent in getting dressed and coming to see the baby. Doesn’t spot the signs of fatigue or restlessness in the parents or the babies.
5. Mother Hen Variety- These behave that they know what is best for your baby and give you all advices on how they have been there, done that and that is the best researched way to handle / feed/ pee/ poop/ bath the baby. Many of their tips will be useful but they tend to get too preachy. Well we all are, when it comes to discuss motherhood / pregnancy but a participative approach would be more welcome. A give and take of views with the new mother- after all she would also be starved for adult/ peer company at this point.
6. Eager Beaver- they will take charge of everything- nappy changing, holding the baby, (top) feed, entertaining the baby etc. Many times it is a relief to hand over the baby to such types as they are usually good at it and comfortable with babies. Sometimes a new mother may not feel like it. Important to read the (non) verbal signals the mother may throw.

7. Just like the old times- Drop anytime- They drop in without or with a very short notice (barely enough to get your place in order and your baby dressed for the occasion) at anytime usually evening or mid-morning- just for a few minutes to take a look. Even if your house is in a mess at that time, you always can give the excuse that things are hectic round here with the kids now.
8. The Laggards- They will turn up one fine day when you feel that you have finished with the entire stream of visitors. They will be some long lost friend who suddenly came to know about the now not so newborns. They come at a time when the parents have begun to feel comfortable handling the baby in various situations and the baby has also set a pattern of sleep/ wakefulness. One may end up welcoming the change of having a visitor to chat up with and this may turn out to one of the better visits.
That was on the visitors. Some cues for the new parents
1. If the visitor has informed beforehand, get the babies neatly dressed and freshly powdered just before they are coming in. Also get ready yourself and if time permits, set the house in order. You don’t want to portray the image of being a sloppy, bedraggled, clumsy parent.
2. Put a diaper/ rubber sheet- it is really not ok if your baby pees/ poops on the visitor. Incase of pee/poop happening, it could be a good idea to get into another room for the diaper change- have some dignity on the baby’s behalf!
3. It’ a happy occasion- keep a stock of sweets/ chocolates handy to celebrate the occasion- make the effort for the person who is coming to visit your baby for the first time. Welcome the visitors with appropriate courtsey and do not make them feel like an intruder.
4. If possible, have a camera handy to record the visit.
5. Many people are not comfortable holding newborns or babies in general- don’t push them to carry your baby.
6. Be positive towards the visits especially if it is planned beforehand- it will give you the much needed break. If you have help at home, do not hesitate to relax at that time and if you don’t- allow the visitor to help if you are certain that the visitor does not mind helping with the baby.
7. Especially with twins, the chances of getting visitors is higher because it is not so normal. Poeple are excited about comparing how similar or different they are. It surprised me when people were apparently surprised seeing that Ojas & Tejas are non-identical. I had visitors who mentioned that they have come because their kids wanted to see twins (for the first time)! So parents, be prepared for the enthusiasm and be happy about the high numbers your famous kid(s) are clocking. They have come because they like you and care for you and wantto be there for you in your joy. Have a visitor book handy if you feel like recording the thoughts and impressions of your important visitors for posterity.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Playschool yes or no?

It is that time of life when one begins to start thinking of playschools for their kids. Neither I nor my hubby or siblings have been to play school. The concept at that time was very rudimentary. We hit kindergarten straight. And we haven’t turned out badly at all.
Having said this, I am not closed to the concept of play school for my kids. MM spoke at length on this sometime ago I will do my research well and probably rely on Art Navy to come up with her list from where I will shortlist! And I have a responsibility too. My friend AD is waiting for my shortlist to refer to. So the cycle continues. While each of us may select something totally different, we will always like to share our thoughts and inferences with other mothers.
Ojas & Tejas are 19 months plus now. A part of me says it is time they start going to a play school for a few hours.

Observations that support the view-
1. They love to interact with other kids but they are much older to them and hence the interaction is more led by the kids – they say something and the boys laugh or repeat or react. The interaction is not on equal platform
2. They enjoy playing with each other and plan games too

3. They behaved atrociously with a guest of their age- snatched the toy she was playing with- time they learnt to give and take
4. The jealousy demon hits them when they see me with any other kid- a far flung thought -may be once they start getting used to children of their age, they will be able to understand that no matter how many kids are there in this world, I will always be their Mamma and love them most
And the observations against-
1. When I see them sleeping peacefully till 9-9.30 in the morning, I hate to think that if they have to do a play school they need to wake up early as it takes atleast 1-1.5 hours for them to eat their breakfast, do their big job and then bath. Normally they intersperse their morning time with a lot of play and sleep after bath. I really do not have the heart to disturb this easy life of theirs.
2. They have to work hard for the rest of their life. I want them to enjoy this carefree life. I never bothered when they didn’t start teething/ walking/ crawling/ talking on the milestone defined time. They did their milestones a little later than usual. I always said- whole life they have to talk/ walk/ work hard…why this rush…
3. We never bothered about routine and fixing sleep/wake-up / meal time initially. After a point we realized that from their health point of view and also the caregiver’s point of view, it is important that they get plenty of good sleep and also eat on time. But I don’t want to make things regimental so soon for them- the school, being on time, the works.

Having said this, I still am more pro-pre school.
The school which I finally select should meet the following requirements-
1. Comfortable timing- and not too long a duration- My MIL should get sufficient time to get them ready on time. Can’t be too early because we parents really don’t have the time in the morning.
2. Outlook- creativity, learning through fun, non-academic, singing, dancing
3. Right Brain activities- clay modeling, building blocks, story telling, drawing, painting, music instruments, puzzles
4. Getting Dirty (in clean mud/ sand)- playing in the sand, gardening,
5. Interactive Teaching - Skit, puppetry, picture books, models
6. "Live Demo"- Great if there could be pets - children love animals and what better way to understand animals (rather than usborne touch & feel books)

Watch this space for updates on the schools I visited- when I do it

Monday, July 02, 2007

नाक कटी / Nose Cut

मैं अपने भाई से- मेरा लेटेस्ट लेख पढा?
भाई- क्यों, अखबार है क्या, जो ताज़ा खबर पढना चाहिए ?
(मेरा पहला हिंदी लेख!)

Me to my brother R- Did you read my latest post?
Brother- Why is it a newspaper that I should read the latest news everyday?
(My first Hindi post!)