The Playground Chronicles

18 Aug

We are now at a place where we have year around better weather than NYC and a play area in the apartment complex , so that is where Bandar and I find ourselves most evenings after school. The area we live in appears to have tons of desis and everyone is down at the playground with their kids most evenings. Random tidbits from the last 10 days:

  • Cliques – Desis and cliques appear to go together and the playground is no exception. There seems to be a regional divide firstly and then smaller cliques within the regional groups. So damn complicated and hard to penetrate for me. The great North – South Indian divide rears its head in the regional group formation. With me being Tamilian who speaks fairly decent Hindi you would think we would fit seamlessly into either group, right? Wrong. For some reason, neither group has embraced Bandar and I with open arms, yet.
  • Staring – Bandar and I are still truly the “outsiders” here even after 10 days in. We are stared at continuously from the point we enter the play area to the point we leave. One obvious reason they stare is the fact Bandar and I communicate a lot in English with the occasional Tamil phrase thrown in from my side (when I remember I should be teaching her my mother tongue). Maybe they are trying to place us first. I don’t know! But they do stare constantly, till I start a conversation and put their curiosity to rest. Yes, we are new , just moved here, my child is almost three, she in pre school (met with already, gasp?). It’s always me starting the conversation too, never anyone else and I am getting tired with the whole thing.
  • Feeding while playing – It’s only the Desi parents (yes , Dads too!) who run behind their kids who are on bikes and skates, with a fork full of food. Ridiculous! Granted in our one month in India last year for vacay, Bandar was on a complete food strike for reasons known to her and the grand parents prodded that I feed her something as she played downstairs. That is one habit I am not going to let transfer to our life here.Anyway the fruit on fork, thrust into playing three year old’s mouth made the husbadoo and I giggle.
  • Play time is parental phone time – The scene is the same every single day. When we head to the play area just early enough before the preset cliques arrive, we see individual parents and their respective children there. The parents are all on their cell phones, lost to the world, while the kids do whateva-the-hell they like. Just seeing this from afar as I approach the play area, makes me vow that play time for Bandar is the only time in the day, I devote completely to her and her needs.  I may actually stop carrying my phone with me to the play area completely. I try to get Miss lazy-bones Bandar to run around, I try to get her to start conversations with similar aged kids, coordinate a silly game of hide and seek and other things to keep myself away from my phone. It would be oh-so-easy to pick it up and browse when I am surrounded by the clique moms all around me .

*On another note, I realized that I am semi distracted almost always through the day in the few hours I get with Bandar and this needs to stop asap. This requires a post of its own.

  • The indiscipline in general – Yes, kids will be kids but there is a certain amount of restrain to be followed in a public place. There are other residents who sadly live around the play area – I cannot imagine how awfully loud their evenings must be. And I hate to generalize but not a single desi parent stops to reprimand their brat from creating a ruckus. But the few non desi parents around shush and quieten their kids at the slightest raised voice. I am as desi as they come with my loudish voice, but I would like Bandar to learn how to behave and talk in public . So though we run and play and talk louder than we do at indoors, I am trying to be more mindful of where we are and remind her of it constantly.

16 Responses to “The Playground Chronicles”

  1. srividhya August 18, 2015 at 4:37 am #

    I have heard this from other parents too. Welcome to CA 😉 😉 Me and kiddo are not park persons. (I made him that way especially after moving to Bay) As soon as we come back from day care now school I try to keep him home and we spend the time at home together. Weekend we either walk or bike. I think I will be the only parent who doesnt take the kid to park that often. But whenever I go I have had similar issues. I will be one standing all alone. I do check my mails in the park but the parks close by are so crowded that I need to keep an eye on him always.

    • popgoesthebiscuit August 18, 2015 at 4:53 am #

      I would be happy to stay home in the evenings with her, Vidhya. What activities do you do with him indoors? Ideas are welcome for times we are indoors.
      My problem with indoors is I will get preoccupied in cooking or work and ignore her like I did in NYC. And she plays by herself with imaginary friends etc. And talks to them too! Very independent. With regards to going outside every day, guess we took Bandar once or twice to the play area here and she now thinks is the routine. Drink your milk and go out to the play area. And then I feel guilty if we don’t go as if I am denying her something. Also the mil and mom drilling into my head that a kid needs to run and play and exercise to sleep well..maybe once her trike arrives from nyc we will be fine cycling around.

      • srividhya August 18, 2015 at 5:39 am #

        I agree with your parents. Kids needs to run and play. In my case in all the day cares and play school that vaandu went they had play time in both morning and afternoon. When I pick him up around 4:30 he will always tired and sweaty. So we come home and while I cook he watches something. And then he also pretends and play a lot. I listen to all his conversations during this pretend and play. He mimics what they do in school so it helps me to understand whats going on. Also I had friends who have same age group kids. So either he goes to their house or they come over. Other than that we play blocks, gears or listen to songs and sing. I forgot the other thing was play dough.. OMG I might have got loads and loads of them. As my hubby travels a lot I don’t have any routine also. Each and every day is different for us. Guilty feeling is always there for me too. I think how much ever we do we always have that I think.

  2. Bhavani August 18, 2015 at 10:49 am #

    I have seen this in parks dominated by desis…the area we live we will be the only desis 99% of the time. And we don’t do parks Mon-Fri at all….once we are home..shower down time with pretend play, books and some TV ofcourse. I finish my cooking, dinner and bed by 8..45…once school starts…homework saga..swim, music etc and they are exhausted…

    Hope you find some good company of friends soon:)

    • popgoesthebiscuit August 18, 2015 at 7:31 pm #

      The more I hear about downtime on weekday evenings at home the more I like the sound of it! Bandar is so damn tired out at school anyway. But the precedent we set in the first 10 days seems to be the issue.

  3. Dil On The Rocks August 18, 2015 at 10:53 am #

    So envious of your year round awesome weather. And the proximity to the beach, how about that? 😀 Amazing place, isn’t it? We went to the beach last month. Achu has been asking non-stop to head back again, but I cannot do another 4 hour trip with kids again. So, forget about all the desi drama and go enjoy one beach outing for Achu, please 🙂

    • popgoesthebiscuit August 18, 2015 at 7:33 pm #

      Dil , I will surely think of Achu at the beach this weekend.Promise! Come and visit , I know for a fact that the kiddos and we will hit it off.So seriously plan! We randomly promised Bandar a beach visit every weekend before we moved here and you may be sure she is ensuring she gets it.

  4. ramschnRamya August 18, 2015 at 7:24 pm #

    I’ve been here all around but haven’t really commented. But this post did make me want to drop in a few lines.
    First, w.r.t – stares / not being able to get into the circle of desis – It’s been just 10 days for you I would say. When I moved in to our new house – and believe me 60% of my community were desis. Right, left and center and you would hardly find a few houses with Americans. Also we moved in winter. So we would see all desi kids and mom’s plan play date with their kids but never would invite my daughter. All the kids were 4yr olds. It so happened, they would be walking into my neighbors house right in front of us, and my daughter would ask me – Why are they not calling me? I had no answer to that. So we used to stay indoor or go out once in a while. But over a period of time, as the kids started talking, summer coming in, everything changed. She is hardly home now. Always out playing or at someone’s backyard. But it took about 4months for this to happen.
    The reason being – everyone have their own judgmental thing going on. You are fairly new, you talk in English with your kid – as far as I know, it’s a big no-no for Indians here. It’s more of a cultural thing that you are supposed to teach your language to them is how others view it. They don’t know how you would react if they are going to talk to you. So give it sometime – Make it a habit to go to the park as much as you can. Kids definitely need that. And you will slowly start seeing a change in them and also in you. It does take time to warm up.
    But you can always keep that distance – but still make your presence felt. That is upto you to decide how far you would want someone to invade your privacy. Because, we Indians are always so nosy and want to know everything that is happening in other person’s life and parks are the best place for that to happen.

    • popgoesthebiscuit August 18, 2015 at 7:36 pm #

      Thanks for stopping by to comment. Glad I am not the only one who has gone through this. Our move to NYC about 2 years ago was different because of the fact we weren’t around desis where we lived. So this is a new experience for me and Bandar. Yes, we probably need to give the whole thing time. Totally agree with you about the nosiness, haha!

  5. princessbutter August 18, 2015 at 9:26 pm #

    Maybe time to hit the parks with more non-desi ppl. Seriously man! Toddlers, kids, adults, we are so clique-ey it makes me mad.
    Also, for some reason, desi parents are very bad about passing judgements and prejudice down to their kids. Noticing that so much with the way my niece Vi is growing up to be so scared and timid and extremely sheltered.
    I hate to generalize but then it really does happen. How is Bandar’s school turning out to be?

    • princessbutter August 18, 2015 at 9:33 pm #

      Also, regarding the loud kids, that is my pet peeve! Weddings, parties, parks, you name it! Parents don’t even glance at kids running like hurricane, knocking stuff off.
      You know on Moony’s bday, I drove to the temple to pray for, you know… It was Saturday evening. I was really hoping to sit down and find some peace. But there were children for the bal-vikas thing and they were just running and shouting and the adults were glued to their chairs talking amongst themselves. I think someone told them to quiet down like once half-heartedly. I did not find my peace there.

    • popgoesthebiscuit August 21, 2015 at 7:14 am #

      Dude , play area in the apartment complex dominated by desis. Few non desis leave in 10 mins before I can befriend anyone. Also I will then be the bitch who only talks to non desis. Hear you about brats at the temple. Problem is desi parents do not discipline

  6. perspectivesandprejudices August 19, 2015 at 2:08 am #

    So much about this post resonates with me. I definitely don’t want to encourage my children running around and fed. I’d like to bookmark this to read sometime again later 🙂

    • popgoesthebiscuit August 21, 2015 at 7:14 am #

      Haha..of course, your experience might be different and you might meet the most awesome desi group of moms to hang with

  7. Pepper August 19, 2015 at 5:21 pm #

    I’m probably not the most eligible person to speak considering I don’t have a child and also my opinion may be a bit different from other people commenting here. But I think you are doing an amaazing thing by taking her to the park everyday. I would totally ask you to keep at it. I am such a firm believer of a set time for outdoor and most importantly, unstructured play for kids.

    When the weather doesnt permit, you have no option, but since you have good weather year round, I would consider that to be the perfect opportunity. It may be a bit tiring for you, but I really hope you don’t stop. I think outdoor play contributes to overall growth and development in a way indoor play cannot.

    • popgoesthebiscuit August 21, 2015 at 7:18 am #

      It is tiring , Pepper . But more than that I don’t know if Bandar gets anything from it. She prefers to play by herself even at the playground and is always with imaginary friends. I read a lot about it as I was worried and apparently playing together is a skill that comes a little later. I do know she likes 1×1 interactions with like one kid at a time. Bonded a lot with a kid exactly her age in Austin and even here with one kid , but our play times don’t match. Anyway what I am saying is she is doing imaginary crap at home and outdoors .is there really any benefit in taking her out then? Also this is all new for her. Not played like this since forever . So maybe will take time to adjust. Who knows?!

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