Absent Parenting

17 Aug

I have been an absent parent this summer. By this I mean I have been physically present but not all there . I have been preoccupied with work mainly and have let the husband pick up the load on the home front . His job allows for some flexibility in summer and we have taken advantage of this . He has been taking the girls up to bed for several weeks now and taking care of all their pre bed tasks , with me just following through on the actual lying down with them in bed until they sleep . I definitely have the easier job as it means I have to just lie still in bed usually spoiling my eyes playing on my phone in the dark under covers while Beetle moves around and tries to sleep .

I realized this all yesterday when I for a change decided to take the girls up to bed , leaving the hubs to actually look over something for my work .Bandar brushes her teeth herself and is fairly easy . I did the regular diaper change for Beetle and then took her in to brush her teeth . That is when I realized this was really the first time in my life that I was brushing Beetle’s teeth ! My first thought was holy moly , she is our second child and we have not been very diligent with her teeth care at all . Bandar was wrestled with twice a day for a thorough teeth brushing form age 1, but I had no memory of ever brushing Beetle’s teeth morning or night and Beetle is over two years old . I asked her which one was her brush – the orangey one she said , where is your paste I asked and she handed her trainer tooth paste to me . I squeezed out some paste and asked her to open her mouth and completely expected her to put up a fight but she was surprisingly very compliant . That is when I realized the hubs had taken care of this by himself every day – morning and evening , trained her completely by himself and I clearly had no clue . Part of me was a tad disappointed that I would not be wrestling any more toddlers to brush their teeth again as I had missed that stage with Beetle with nothing to show from a career standpoint for the work I had put in instead . But then common sense prevailed and I was just glad that the hubs had taken over in the area and saved me all the trouble . I have a fabulous partner I can depend on to share the load and that is all that matters.

Weekend tales

6 Aug

This entire weekend was just so bleh . We did nothing memorable that is blog worthy but I am going to post this anyway to force myself out of my blogging rut .

Friday started in the worst way possible . The hubs told me he had finally got new batteries for our weighing scale so I obviously jumped on with an empty stomach . Guys , I am up a freaking 4 lbs in a month ! OMG ! I already had 5 lbs to get to my dream weight and now I am 9 lbs from that number . I am so miserable . But then I proceeded to eat my way through the weekend instead of taking some serious efforts towards my goals .

Friday night we stayed in . I rushed after work to pick up Bandar and Beetle and to get Bandar to her swim class . I had our awesome baby sitter pack snacks and books for Beetle and she went through everything we had as we waited for big sis to be done . Then it was showering Bandar off and this was an achievement in itself with Beetle not in a stroller in a wet changing room . I gave Beetle a packet of fruit gummy snacks to eat while I worked on Bandar . Husby hates these fruit snacks – 11g of sugar he says , but I honestly think it’s okay a few times a week . Am I terrible mom ? Maybe . I think there is way more sugar in a cupcake or chocolate and they sure are getting those occasionally too . Oh well , the fruit snacks that day let me shower , change and semi dry Bandar without Beetle falling on her head in the changing room . I know this because she has fallen before and I have worried about a concussion all evening .

I got the girls home and gave them dinner before the hubs was home . Then I scurried to the gym for some much needed me time and had the most pleasant 1 hour of the week to myself . My Apple Watch which I have had for almost a month now practically buzzed with joy when it saw I had actually finally decided to get some exercise. I basically met a very mediocre step goal and a 30 min exercise goal it had set for me for the first time ever . Poor watch , it definitely has the worst partner in me .

I trudged home at 9 :30 pm to a sleeping hubs and wide awake Beetle who greeted me with joy and then proceeded to snuggle with me to sleep.

Saturday morning – we divided and conquered . H took Bandar to gymnastics while I took Beetle to her chiropractor appointment. It’s over a year since we started chiropractic treatment for her ear infections and we have had zero ear infections this year , touch wood . For a child who was in the verge of ear tubes with four back to back ear infections despite being home with a nanny , this was a win and I will take it . Beetle is fighting yet another cold right now , and the treatment was much needed . We met back the house and went to our favorite Indo Chinese place for lunch . This is one of the few places Beetle agrees to dine at these days when she doesn’t get her only preferred choice which is the Olive Garden . After lunch , we got bubble tea for the hubs and I and then went to the kids Science center . There was a Science festival underway which Bandar and the H attended and I know for a fact H enjoyed way more than Bandar . Beetle and I went off to the kids play area and Beetle was assertive yet kind with the other kids . My phone wasn’t charged which meant I had to gasp , actually engage and play with my child for two hours which I did with low energy . We left the museum before closing and enjoyed beautiful Balboa Park in all its summer glory for a few minutes before heading out . We stopped by the Indian store and after a major grocery haul got home.

Sunday was the blahest day of all . I had my Indian cook scheduled to come and did some prep work for her in the morning . Soon as she came , I was out the door for a yoga session at the gym . Rushed back to have the hubs rush out for cricket . My kids were adorable but super hard that day . Lunch was fed to Bandar . Beetle picked at her food in a sleepy haze and finally went down for a nap . I did a mountain of laundry folding and put away ( 3 loads that were collecting dust in the guest room ) and ran yet another load . I truly cannot stay on top of this household chore . I played Chinese checkers with Bandar to have her wake up Beetle in her excitement and then of course the game had to end . Beetle finally ate lunch at 4 pm. The hubs came home a whole hour and a half later than normal and I was basically stir crazy at that point . We took the kids to the park and a desi place for dinner and I ate a vada pav whole and some cheese dosa bits and some idli bits despite my resolution that I was going to try and lose 9 lbs by December . The sad part is I wasn’t hungry for any of it and totally didn’t need it . The Sunday evening blues had set in by then and I was basically eating for lack of anything else to do . We got home and had the kids showered and in bed by 9 pm which is usually early for them given its summer .

So that was my weekend ! How was yours ?

Week day nights

2 Aug

I have loved eating out since I can remember . My entire family did and that obviously is where I got it from . The hubs does too and we are really a match made in heaven in that regard . Pre kids , we didn’t think twice about a meal outside on any day of the week . We would think about it and off we would go . One kid slowed us down a tad but not much . Bandar loved eating out as much we did . “Mamoo place” , she would exclaim as we strolled by any restaurant that was setting up al fresco in NYC. When I think back to the places we have taken her to in the city with a stroller in hand , I am so proud of ourselves . Of course , she complied and was as good as gold all through the meal . Child after my own heart .

Fast forward a few years and we have Bandar who is 6 going on 16 and Beetle who is 2, and well really just a normal 2.

I get into such a rut with dinner prep by Thursday of most weeks that I raise to the Husby that we need to eat out. He usually complies – we are terrible influences on each other and always have been . So we typically try and leave the house as soon as possible for dinner . But with kids that ends up being past 7 pm . We usually try and feed Beetle a little something before we head out and this is what takes up a lot of time. When we do get to dinner , Bandar is starving and cranky . She is opinionated about where to go and often her choice which is always Italian , more specifically Olive Garden , is always vetoed by me due to the carbs and cheese, she is quite grumpy to settle for any other place we land up at . She will nibble a few bites and then barely eat and rest her head on one of our laps making me super guilty for coming out at all with a tired child . Beetle is sweet for the first half of the dinner as she is decently fed , but then sleep gets the better of her and all hell breaks loose. Dinner overall has been underwhelming the last two times we went out on a weekday evening , including my birthday this month and leaves me feeling it was a waste of money and energy and time . Lunch or brunch on a weekend is much more conducive right now to our family and that’s what we end up doing a lot .

So there it is – we are now those people who don’t give up the routine on a weekday evening to go out for dinner anymore . I thrive on spontaneity rather than routine like some others , so this is a huge deal for me .Hopefully this is only temporary until our kids grow up.

Belize with kids – Part 2

27 Jul

This is a continuation of our trip to Belize with kids age 2 and 6.

After day 1 , the days really looked very similar to each other . We started every day that we could with pool time , bakery goodies , walks along the beach and our biggest decision was where to have lunch and dinner !

Day 2 started with the rain , so we stayed indoors a bit before heading out for a swim . We then rented a golf cart to the other end of the island and settled for lunch at the Sandbar which was a bar and restaurant . Great pizza but average veggie burger ! After walking along a bit , we stopped in town for frozen custard . It’s supposed to be thrice as rich as a bowl of soft serve ice cream but then I wasn’t calorie watching on this trip !

Day 3 , we made arrangements to get back to the mainland for a guided tour of the Mayan ruins at Lamanai ! So our day started bright and early at 6 when we were picked up at the dock of our hotel . 2 hours later we were in the mainland and started a 1 hour bus journey . This to me was the hardest part of the day as Beetle just didn’t sit still . Then there was a river cruise for another hour to take us to the ruins . The prospect of seeing crocs kept us all excited but sadly we only saw birds and turtles . Beetle was the most let down . The food arranged for us has beans and rice and fried plantain as the veggie options and we did just fine on this . The ruins were wonderful . Our tour guide was so knowledgeable and our almost 7 year old Bandar loved all the folk lore he shared . It was a sweltering hot day as should be expected of summer in the tropics and it tired us all out a bit .Beetle spent a lot of time in the carrier and we kept both kids well hydrated . Oh we did see howler monkeys at Lamanai which got all of us in good spirits for the leg home . Our return was essentially the same trip . The boat ride was a bit choppy back to Ambergis Caye and Beetle went into one of her most pensive moods in the carrier with her head buried in my chest 😦

After this adventurous day, we decided that we wouldn’t do any more all day trips during this vacation despite our kids being such troopers .

Day 4 was my most favorite day of all . After our morning swim , we rented a golf cart and headed to secret beach ! This is not really a secret as there are signs everywhere but it is a good 1 hour journey in a golf cart . Once we got there , we parked ourselves at a beach shack style restaurant and walked several feet into the water to still only have water about waist deep . The lovely blue , calm and pleasantly warm temperature water is something I will never forget . This was perfect for the kids to frolic about in. In Belize , the waves break at the reef and not at the shoreline . (San Diego with its many beautiful beaches has its waves and frigid temp waters that make moments like this a little harder to enjoy but nevertheless I am not complaining ! I truly do live in paradise the year round .)

We found lots of vegetarian options at the restaurants on secret beach but our favorite moment was savoring the coconut water fresh from the coconut like we had done all through our life growing up in India ! Bandar didn’t care for it but Beetle loved it and fought for her share !

Sun soaked and well fed we started our trek back in the golf cart . We would have loved a stop at the Truckstop again but realized that place is closed on a Tuesday. So we finally got Bandar her promised ice cream only in town .

Wednesday was a solo adventure for the hubs who tried scuba diving for the first time , he came back not a huge fan . I swam with the girls in the morning . Let me just say two kids by yourself in the pool is hard . Bandar with her intense swim camp this summer actually surprised me with her skills but I could not take my eyes off her for a minute , and Beetle despite her paddle jumper floaties needed watching . No distractions for this mama that morning and I was on high alert . Once everyone was cleaned up and the hubs was back from his half day adventure we walked the beach path to a fun restaurant – Wild Mangoes ! Loved my veggie burrito bowl there . Our dessert was a brownie with coconut ice cream and so good ! Bandar was kind enough to share a good bit with her parents .

We rented bikes after lunch and headed to a fruit stall and paleta stall . Paletas are cream or water based ice creams and a Bandar and I dig into our strawberry and coconut ones respectively .Oh the hubs had Bandar in the child seat and Beetle in the front carry strapped to him ! This left me to truly enjoy my bike ride and ride light πŸ™‚ He still ride way faster than I did !

Thursday was a snorkeling trip . Bandar despite her new pink snorkel gear was terrified , so we took it in turns watching the kids on the boat and snorkeling . I actually got terribly sea sick for the first time ever and was truly done with boats of any sort by the end of it . Lazy afternoon and paddle ball with the hubs on the beach set me right ! Our kids played in the San while we got a good game in . Truly one of the nicest moments of our trip .

Our dinner on this day was super special and worth mentioning . We took a golf cart to town again and tried – Elvi’s , that everyone said was a must do on the island . We had a reservation through the hotel and I am glad we could avoid the wait . Such a lovely dinner with great Caribbean food from the vegetarian menu . Curry and coconut rice for the win again for me . I could not get enough of it πŸ™‚ They also had a delicious complimentary corn bread that I still dream about .

Friday was our last full day on the island . Morning swim as usual and stopped by the bakery for some fresh jalapeΓ±o rolls baked specially for us ! Short but sweaty bike ride later , we had a lovely brunch at Mesa . Amazing food – I had these bean patties in a salad that blew my mind and Bandar’s half order of pancakes had me jealous and drooling too. We wrapped up a lazy day with a golf cart ride into town for souvenir shopping , chocolate and hot sauce gifts and finally a sunset dinner at Wild Mangoes again ! I had a heart of palm and tropical fruit salad that was so good . By day 8 , I was regretfully embracing salad as a meal as I had really eaten my delicious veggie way through the island by then .

Saturday was our long day of travel back home . Short plane ride , long lay over , long plane ride , gross airport food and super long lay over and one more plane ride sums it up ! We got home around midnight after about 14 hours of travel and were all thankful for the Sunday ahead to truly recover .

Was this a modified itinerary because of the kids ? Yes absolutely – we did not river tubing or cave exploring that we otherwise might have . But was it the Belizean vacation of my dreams to celebrate ten years of togetherness ? Absolutely – and it wouldn’t have been the same without the girlies with us .

I came back truly refreshed and rejuvenated to hit the last half of this year out of the park.

Beautiful Belize

25 Jul

I have wanted to go to Belize for the last 12 odd years ! I think my desire was fueled by a Frasier episode ( The Cranes go Caribbean ) that I particularly loved . Anyway , it was not anywhere within our budget for a honeymoon ten years ago and then there were those years of figuring out adulting – little humans to birth and raise , many moves across states and all that jazz . So our Belizean vacation didn’t materialize for a good long while . Then last Christmas, the hubs had this idea to gift me a holiday 6 months out to match with our 10th anniversary . One big gift instead of two – smart guy indeed . So I remember sitting at the kitchen table around Christmas ever narrowing choices between the Amalfi coast and Belize and given how old our kiddos are , Belize just won . We never once thought about leaving them behind mainly because the only folks I would possibly leave my kids with are the grandparents who live thousands of miles away in India . Annual visits are barely enough to bond with them leave alone be completely in their care . So that is how we ended up doing a trip to Belize with a 6 year old and a newly minted 2 year old this summer.

We started bright and early on a Friday morning and were well prepared for our long day of travel. Our connecting flight was to Belize city was through Houston. For this trip we took Bandar’s chromebook preloaded with downloaded Netflix shows . The girls are very into Llama Llama now which is a sweet adaptation of the books and they got a lot of screen time on our travel days . Actually let me be honest and say , this trip was a rules out of the window heavy video used for distraction trip . Not ideal but it got the job done and gave us parents some down time . When we got to Belize city we had already been traveling a good 10 hours at this point having left home at 5 am . But we weren’t done just yet . We got into a tiny propeller airplane for our final flight to Ambergis Caye – the island off the coast of Belize that would be home for the next 8 days . The plane I think was a twelve seater maybe and the hubs got to ride with the pilot ! How cool was that πŸ™‚ You know it’s going to be a good trip when you are singled out to hop into the co pilot seat !

Our short 30 minute flight with glorious views of the Caribbean turquoise waters brought us to our destination . We got into a rickety cab and made our way over to our hotel . We stayed at lovely eco friendly hotel that I can not recommend enough . The staff and our stay overall was just fantastic and I can’t wait to go back some day . Our one bedroom suite came with its well stocked kitchenette and we were left lacking nothing ! We had a hammock in the patio to complete my vision for the perfect vacation setting .

After settling in , we set off to get some basics like milk for Beetle. The store was basically right next door to the resort . I love walking around and exploring a new to us place and we did that a lot this trip . We ordered a pizza for the first night for the majority of the family and made some khichidi in my trusty rice cooker for Beetle who surprisingly hates pizza . ( we need to change that before an Italy trip . Right now any pizza in hands reach is thrown on the floor with a ” go away pizza ” said loudly ) .

Day 1 of our trip ! Waking up to this view was a treat in itself ! We set off in search of a lovely bakery that everyone had raves about . Coconut tarts , a mini loaf of banana bread and tea later , we were well fueled for a mid morning swim !

After two wonderful hours of playing in the water , we were ready for super late lunch ! We walked along the beach to a vegetarian friendly lunch spot . That is when the rain started ! So of course we hopped into a beach shack style restaurant for a quick drink and break and waited for the rain to abate . Finally around 3 pm we found ourselves at Iguana Juan ‘s. You will see the cutest signs for them all over the island ! We loved this place so much that we wanted to come back a second time but somehow missed doing so. Quesadillas for the kids , a veggie burger for the hubs and a coconut curry for me ! Perfect Caribbean vacay food .

We trekked back to our hotel stopping by at the Belize Chocolate Botique for some chocolate. Some rest and relaxation at the hotel followed and this included TV for the kids and us . The hubs and I started watching the Indian version of the Office on this trip and it has us in splits of laughter . I love the US adaptation and didn’t expect to like the Indian one but totally did . In the evening , we rented a golf cart to take us to the Truck Stop . Think of makeshift set of outdoor container trucks as store fronts selling pizza , Asian food and Mexican fare . Some live music , an ice cream for Bandar and we were ready to call in a night for day 1. So we enjoyed our bumpy ride back to our hotel .

Will post what we did on the other days soon!

Books

4 Apr

2019 has been a bad year for reading for me so far . My book club , which prospered and grew from strength to strength in 2018, has become a huge source of stress this year . We decided that we would add more non fictional books to our reading list this year and that seems to have really transformed this activity I enjoyed to one I have started to dislike and dread . I know I need to read beyond just fiction but I am not at a phase in my life where this seems feasible . Case in point , we picked Michelle Obama’s Becoming and I have been unable to get past page 50 in two months ! What the hell is wrong with me ? I admire her so much , I love the writing , I am fascinated by how relatable her childhood years seem but why can I not get myself to read beyond 5 pages at a time ? So I have been dodging book club with great difficulty making up excuses of sick kids and working late husbands , to simply not tell them the simple truth that I cannot finish this book that everyone is raving about and that I never want to read a biography again !If that was not enough , there is this book club at work that I am a part of .The first book they picked was Brotopia. I bought the book enthusiastically on Kindle and despaired as I could not get past chapter 1. I attended a wonderfully scintillating discussion despite not reading the book though and vowed to read the next one . I can’t read a non fictional book digitally I thought to myself . The next book they picked was “Be Brave , Not Perfect ” . Asian author I admire – check , relevant – check , aspirational as I raise two daughters in this world – check , short book – check . Oh and this time , I also won the lucky draw / raffle and won the physical book a month prior to book club . Guess what happened – I didn’t get past page 25 . I saw Reshma’s TED talk to inspire myself to finish but it didn’t work . Nope , I decided to show up yet again at book club without reading the damn book and found myself seated next to super smart female executive I am admire and I broke into a sweat . I have literally never shown up in school and college without my homework done and here I was two months in a row winging it! God bless the moderator- she never once called on me and I somehow bumbled my way through the discussion . Thankfully we got through only discussing half the book and decided we wanted to come back together to discuss the second half . So I have a little more time to redeem myself .

Oh and if this all wasn’t enough I signed up for a desi moms book club in my neighborhood to make even more new friends and they have also picked Becoming for their discussion ! So now I have to absolutely finish that book .

So what exactly have I read so far this year ?

I read one new to me book – A place for us . It’s a story of an immigrant family and if you like family drama this one is for you . Sarah Jessica Parker recommends it which was one of the main ( only ) reason I picked it up πŸ™‚

I then started rereading my favorite books / parts from the Anne of Green Gables series . This was prompted from me binging on the Netflix remake – Anne with an E . So I had to go back and reread all my favorite parts ( read Gilbert and Anne’s relationship developing ). Are there any other huge fans of this series reading this ? Say Hi if you are .

And that’s really it . You have the gist – I have no appetite for anything non fictional and because those have been the only books thrust on me this year so far , I have hardly read . I need a good , light book to get into the swing of things . So I welcome recommendations .

P. S sorry the font is so messed up on this post . I am posting from my phone app as I have forgotten my log in any other way ( shows you how long I haven’t blogged ) and can’t seem to fix it .

A is for airports

2 Apr

In full disclosure, I signed up for the A to Z challenge with some gentle prodding from Pepper as it seemed like a great idea to find my blogging mojo again . Alphabetic prompts , sounds easy enough to get out of a rut right ? It clearly is harder than it seems – I am sitting in a hotel room after a long long day and am scrambling to come up with anything remotely worthwhile posting before the clock strikes midnight . Here goes with a super short post !

A is for airports ! What is is about airports that makes me feel grubby and gross ? I am one of those people that has to have a shower once I get off a plane before I do anything else ! I literally feel I am washing the germs off myself – the germs that a million people traveling from everywhere have brought with them . And then there is the airport smell . I think airports have a very distinct smell of sweat and grime . I actually even think the coats I wear on the plane carry this smell and if I had a choice I would dry clean my coat immediately after it makes a plane trip . What pisses me off if is when well meaning family members don’t follow the same ritual I have of coming home from the airport and heading straight into the shower . Especially after an international trip. I have to remind them to even wash their hands and gently keep saying things like “freshen up” . What I mean is get your ass in the shower and clean up before you spread airport germs !

Am I being paranoid ? Please don’t tell me I am the only one with these idiosyncrasies.

In retrospect, there is so much I could write about airports here – the hustle and bustle that I love , the food, the people watching opportunities , the conversations – but al I decided to focus on was the germs !!