Archive | January, 2016

Day 30- Day at the slopes

31 Jan

– Every time we go skiing I crib about how long the whole process of getting your skis and getting on the slope actually takes. But then I conveniently forget about it before the next time we go.

– And this was the first time we did the whole thing with a child. It puts a whole new meaning to the term ‘ long day’

– Bandar was a sport all day. Putting up with long waits and public restrooms for 8 hours , all to attend a 2 hour boring ski lesson for toddlers.

– The husband had fun snow boarding but is pretty sore by now.

– I have eaten way too much junk food and have not regrets not skiing.

– Blogging on vacation with others is awfully boring and socially rude and I am totally blogged out at this point

Day 29- Zoo time!

30 Jan

Apart from the beaches, the biggest excitement for me about moving to SD was the zoo. I have always had a strange fondness for zoos for the longest time. I always try to find a zoo when we are vacationing and this was even before we had a kid!And to top it , off late,  fortunately I have ended up living in cities with some pretty amazing zoos .

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The husband and I had visited SD for our first wedding anniversary in 2010 and we spent a whole day at the zoo. We talk about that day even now in vivid detail and have some amazing pictures too from then.
So its always a fun experience for me to take Bandar to the zoo now that we have moved here. I am leaving you a picture of one of our favorite exhibits the Panda.
We learnt on our most recent visit that Pandas are fairly territorial and don’t like to share. As Bandar is working on her sharing too, she totally relates to this personality trait and often chimes that she simply is like a Panda!
Happy weekend all!

Day 28- Games!

29 Jan

This is our small connection of board games and puzzles. They lie on the top shelves of our study and are hardly used nowadays. But they much loved indeed.

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Settlers and Ticket to Ride need atleast 3- 4 people to be any fun and we really don’t have another gaming family to connect with here.For this simple reason I cannot wait for Bandar to grow up! I have a long list of similar games on my Amazon wish list but I might as well hit delete on them for a few years.

A few are two player ones – Scrabble, Chinese Checkers, Mancala and the Husband and I have spent many an evening playing these during the first few years that we were married. Once Bandar  came into our lives we simply haven’t had the time.
Maybe we should restart our weekend tradition  of a two player board game. Bandar is probably old enough to not eat the pieces now and might let us play.
I grew up playing a lot of these games with my family and its one of those traditions I want to incorporate in this one as well. One of my early memories is coloring at the table at maybe age 3, while my parents played a game of Scrabble. At 6 , I joined them playing 4 letter words. And then at 10 years old we played with my infant sister playing on a mat by our feet. 10 years later she beat us all hollow with her superior vocabulary!
Chinese checkers was another family favorite. My parents have actually fought over that one – they are both sore losers. That one I learnt to play at 5 or 6 and while Scrabble was a weekend favorite, Chinese Checkers was a weekday night activity before bed  .
When my dad visits me in the US in recent years, I make chai for us both and we sit and play and chat – the best bonding ever. Wish we could this more often!
Mancala I associate mainly playing with my sister. Someone gifted her a set when she turned 5 and we have played that one for hours on end holding mock 5 game tournaments.
With Bandar at present its only Candyland and Snakes and Ladders so far. She already seems to be s sore loser like her grandparents and we are working on the ” its fun to play and okay to lose ” messaging here . But I do hope to integrate board gaming into our lives a little more this year.

Day 27- Random blues mid week

28 Jan

I have too much on my plate right now at work and no real time to compose a good solid post. So these scattered thoughts have to do for now. Most are woeful ones anyway.

– I have been 5 days more or less sugar free and am about to give in with work stress. I say more or less as I am eating peanut butter on toast most days for breakfast and it has sugar. Mostly I am off all desserts, juice, candy and other snacks with sugar. I am tired of the whole thing now and I have brownie mix that is calling my name and banana bread that wants to be baked.

– I am worried about the weekend to some extent. We are spending a weekend with 2 other families in the hills and I am wondering how it is also going to be.

– This week seems to be dragging for me but at the same time I am glad that  were longer to give me time to get work done.

-The day after a fight with the spouse are awful, awful days. We fought last night and it was actually a real fight after maybe 2 months. Anyway, we made up before falling asleep like we usually do but I feel drained and bruised emotionally today as expected. This leads to extreme clinginess and neediness on my part.  And as its a working day for both of us packed to the height with meetings , we don’t have the luxury of giving into the clinginess at all, except maybe a few texts and calls. In a way, I guess work helps take ones mind of the emotions.

– I have stopped making salads off late. My eating habits for almost 6 months after we moved here were clean – I mainly ate a finely chopped salad for lunch which energized me and made me feel light and nice. But laziness to chop mainly has driven me to eat a carb loaded lunch of bread or idlis nowadays.

– I  am also back to cooking more food than we consume and wasting. Need to get a handle on it.

– I feel like a bad daughter as I simply haven’t picked up the phone and spoken to my parents much off late. We speak almost everyday but off late they have tiny calls , not long and leisurely.

Day 26- Bunnies in the yard

26 Jan

When I came to the US about 10 days after I turned 21, I was picked up by my cousin at the airport and taken to her house where I stayed for a few days till my future roommates arrived in the US and we moved into our grad student style awful house. My cousin and her family were all at work most of the day and I was left alone in this house and was slightly awe struck. So many things were different and I missed my life back home in Bombay .
The unwieldy huge gallon for milk in the fridge versus the small familiar steel utensil of milk on the stove that my mom miraculously always found time to boil in the mornings, even if she had to leave to teach a 7 am class. The humongous mugs for tea and an assortment of teabags and instructions on making myself some in the microwave. The yummy granola bars that were left out for me as snacks were nothing like I had before, well maybe a little like dry fruit chikki from Lonavla. The pre cooked from the weekend desi food in the fridge that I was told  to put on my microwavable plate and heat for lunch. And it was okay to reheat an eaten off unwashed plate for seconds in the microwave too. Blasphamous in my house in Bombay:) The intimidating many remotes for the TV and also the complicated directions to call India through Reliance call cards. I barely understood most of it as instructions were being doled out…blame it on jetlag and overall confusion in general. Then they left – they drove their cars out if the two car garage with it giant automatic doors and they were gone .
So when the house was empty, I sat down at the little kitchen nook table and looked around me. The house with its grand staircase. The kitchen with its wonderful island. The two sets of couches in the formal living and the den. The little kitchen table and the massive formal dining room. Americans obviously didn’t do things in half measures.  And the yard – I saw a family of jack rabbits playing about and amused myself as I nibbled my granola bar.  Remember I had no smart phone then and really no mode of distraction, all the time in the world to just take things in. So this was the sweet American life obviously.  A nice house and bunnies playing in your yard. Obviously, that is when one has finally arrived in America and made it, I reasoned in my simple 21 year old head.

So like everything else in the last 9 years, this scene somehow moved around in my head. We have lived in about 6 homes together in 7 years and about 4 each before that individually, give or take. In the last 7 years itself though, many a time I have had the feeling of “making it”. It is really just a state of mind and doesn’t matter where you are , my 27 year old self told me a few years ago. You are independent,  making a living, have a wonderful husband and child – if this is not making it, what is?
Anyway,one day last week like any other day,  I woke up at the crack of dawn to work and pottered down to the kitchen to make my tea and I set my laptop down at our kitchen nook to work . I picked up my microwaved tea with its tea bag, and set it down besides me and looked up to see one little bunny wandering about our tiny yard! I looked around me at where I was and told myself I had finally arrived but the journey had been a blast!

Day 25 – Desi Birthday Parties

26 Jan

Bandar and thus I, have been in  about three birthday parties this month alone!Ample opportunity for me to people watch as I barely know any one here. Here are the typical sights of a desi party :

The toddler Birthday child could care less about the event.

I think the age is maybe 5 or 6 years when the child himself starts enjoying the birthday. Atleast in most other parties that are not desi, a big deal is made of the little birthday child. But in a desi one, the child is seen wandering around looking quite confused while mom and dad entertain the guests and the guests entertain each other and the older kids play.

Elaborate Food

The food is never limited to snacks. It is always  a meal – lunch or dinner. And quite elaborate. I really don’t know how the sandwiches, samosas, chips, drink, pop corn , cake , jello, pizza ONLY  culture can be brought back into desi birthdays and REPLACE meals.  That is what the menu looked like for my birthday parties growing up. But as I am sucked into the system and have eaten many a meal, I will end up falling into the same food trap for parties I throw too.

Outsourced games

Off late, there is an entertainer who is hired and does magic/balloons/games/face painting etc. He effectively takes the kids off the adults hands giving them time to mingle.  I miss the fun, simple games my parents and I sat and planned and executed for our parties. This is one thing I want to bring back to any parties I organize for my child.

Random adult asking poor , scared child if he/she recognizes them

I have witnessed this in more than one party and poor helpless child depending on his/her age either truthfully says no( below age 5) or smartly fibs with a yes( over 5)

 

Mealtime media

 

Its meal time and the 80% of the kids as small as 1 year old are glued to their parent’s mobile or tablet as their parents stuff food into their mouths . The standard distract the child and stuff their mouth routine.

The Gossip all around

You can hear – “Oh how fat/thin you have become” atleast a minimum of thrice in any party if you eavesdrop on conversation around you . The favorite topic among the ladeez. Apart from that, there is a lot of gossip in general going around. As I am fairly new to the scene, I am watcher at this point and not a participant, though that can change given the situation.

 

 

Day 24 – Musicals

25 Jan

Today was the we took Bandar to see her first musical performance on stage – Disney’s Frozen on Ice! I really did not know if she was going to enjoy it or even understand it, but trust Disney to their thing. For a child who has never seen a Disney movie , and barely knows the characters through books, she actually enjoyed the whole show and even laughed at the jokes!

The Husband and I love watching shows on stage ourselves. We have seen a few performances of travelling Broadway shows before Bandar was born. Our favorite of course was Phantom of the Opera. My least favorite was maybe Wicked. Would have preferred watching Wizard of Oz, which I have heard is really good.

Another wonderful musical experience was Lion King. This is one that both the husband and I wanted to watch together. Funnily enough I saw it with my mom and sis in London and he saw it with his sister in Austin.I think this is even off Broadway now , so chances are we won’t get to see it together ever:(

Ironically, we didn’t see a single Broadway show when we lived in NYC. I blame it on Bandar being too little and us too scared to leave her with a sitter. Oh well, guess now that she’s seen her first show, I am just excited for seeing some more in the future with her.

Day 23- Here’s how you cheat on your blog marathon challenge on a weekend

24 Jan

You simply list out the events of the day as you are making polite after dinner conversations with guests.

The day started with Bandar’s usual ballet- tap class. She looks forward to this so much and I love the drive with her , just getting to catch up on our week.
Then we had a birthday party to attend- the typical desi one with gossip, desi food, judgement and very little to do with the kids themselves.
Then it was nap or ‘cool down’ time for an hour at home.
We had some friends over in the evening and they told me not to bother to cook . And I truly took them for their word. So I served popcorn and soup and we went out for pizza. Now we are attempting to find a movie on Netflix while the toddlers play.
But as its almost 11 pm I doubt any actual movie watching will happen!
So that was my Saturday!

Day 22 – Travel with kids

23 Jan

As we are the first couple among our closest friends to have kids , we (or rather I – this ends up being a women discussion somehow. The guys I know who are in the process of thinking through a baby do not choose to talk about it at all , but the women  will if they are close enough to you) get pulled into discussions about how a baby changes travel. The disclosure here is that I am no expert on travel with a kid in tow either, but I am just here to share the little that I have learnt along the way . And hopefully make you realize that travelling with a child is just different and not really that horrendous. There is a certain science to it and really nothing beats seeing the world through your child’s eyes. For both me and the husbadoo, that simply makes the journey worthwhile.

So what really changes when you travel with a kid?

Schedules – So you obviously want to get the most of your sight seeing and major activities for the day done when your kid is in a good mood. And this is usually in the morning. So ideal scenarios are leave early to get the max out of your day. But we are not naturally early risers on vacation. So we prefer good breakfasts in the  morning , leisurely starts and a well fed, happy child instead. Sometimes Bandar will  nap on the go towards afternoon, sometimes she won’t.

Picking & choosing – If you were the kind of person, who wants to go on every hike the city has to offer, sometimes 3 a day , this is going to be an adjustment. We recently realized we can do one super fun hike with Bandar – about 2-3 miles for Bandar and an awesome lunch and then a restful activity like beach time. We cannot do back to back hikes like before. So we have to pick the one we absolutely want to do. Also you realize, there are some activities you take turns doing instead of as a couple – like surfing or snorkeling. The other parent gets to spend quality beach time with the child. For me, this is the biggest miss of all – I enjoy activities like snorkeling only with the husband , so that is a bit of a sacrifice till she is a little older.

Length of trips – We still do short trips, instead of longer ones as we do not mind skipping sights. But if you want to see every single thing and also have your child fairly happy each day, consider a few more days than you originally had planned.

The mix of activities – I do not think you absolutely have to find kid centered activities in each holiday to do. Some cities we do a zoo, in some we skip it altogether and do adult activities like cable car rides instead. We have realized the child doesn’t need a lot to be entertained. She is probably as excited about the zoo as picking stones on a hike.

The level of risk – Someone suggested overnight buses to us between 2 Malaysian cities recently. And another suggestion was a ferry ride – 4 hours long, to an island. Even without a child, I personally would pay more for comfort, speed and safety. And with a child, safety is perhaps the priority. So we flew, instead of various other modes of transport. We also rent car seats when it is advised.

Medical care – You never want to use medical care on vacation, but have your research done on where to go if you need it. We have a little ziplock of Bandar’s motrin, Tylenol , Benadryl and thermometer that goes with us EVERYWHERE. This also means you perhaps avoid stuff that might not make you sick but could make your child sick . Bandar swam with the husband in some secret reservoir in Langkawi and drank a little bit of the water too, which had us worried ! Ideally, she should not have been in the water in the first place. Nothing happened, but maybe we got lucky there!Oh and that was one of Bandar’s most favorite memories of the island!

Food – If your child is eating your kind of food by 1.5 years old, more power to you. For us, we still have to find kid friendly food places. Most cuisines accommodate us very well. Indian, Italian, Asian, Mexican all work well for us. When we travel internationally, I am a little hesitant to let Bandar eat every meal outside still, so we alternate between making stuff with a rice cooker in the hotel room for her, prepackaged snacks, fruit and some food outside.

Potty breaks – Yes, this is a big one. You always need to know where the closest potty is. Be aware of this and keep wipes and other essentials with you.

Drinking water – Keeping your child hydrated is a big one too. Especially being out for long hours.

Carrying your child around – I miss the baby carrier stage. We also never had the robust back pack carriers for hikes that you see muscled daddies use!Just google this if you don’t know what I mean. But these actually make outdoor activities so much easier. Strollers are good for the city scene. We alternate with the stroller and encouraging walking. The stroller is fabulous for a nap too.

Nightlife and other adult stuff – We are not night club people, so we don’t really miss this part at all. We also now are ultra cautious and avoid places like hookah bars and smoking areas of restaurants. We prefer the more family friendly locations. But again, we were a boring old couple even before we had Bandar, so go figure!

So there you have it, its not all terrible is it? The best thing you can give your child is experiences , so go ahead and book those tickets.

Day 21 – Liebster Time

22 Jan

The very kind Monkey Mind bestowed upon me the Liebster award. No day like a busy weekday to use this for a post! Thanks so much, Monkey Mind.I really enjoy reading your blog because somehow it reminds me of those first few years as a newlywed couple !

liebster-award

11 random facts about myself

I wonder how many of these I have posted before. I am sure a few have made an appearance on my blog.

 

  • I love dimples ! The H has one and Bandar does too, yeah!! I don’t have any and strongly feel a dimple makes a person incredibly more beautiful.
  • I overcommit to a lot of stuff and then stress myself out – whether it is cooking, cleaning, work – you name it.
  • I don’t think I have a real hobby , except maybe reading, which also I don’t do enough of. I am not creative – I don’t draw, paint or craft.
  • I do not like old food beyond a day old in general. I tolerate a few more days old if I have cooked it myself. Beyond that , I just have to trash it. The H will happily eat one week old food which grosses me out
  • I love the idea of exercise more than the actual exercising itself. I love planning work outs but not executing them.But I do like the soreness after a good workout.
  • I dislike flowers – this is a weird one. I cannot stand dried, dead flowers and can smell them a mile away. I just about admire fresh ones on plants and trees. I gingerly touch a bouquet that is offered. Imagine how horrendous my tam brahm wedding with flowers galore must have been for me.
  • I am fairly messy by nature – I am working on this and trying to change slowly but surely. The thing is mess doesn’t bother me much. I lived alone in pigsty style for a bit before I got married and loved it.
  • I am pretty good in academics in general – school and college. What people don’t know is I have to slog my ass off to be that good. Nothing comes really easily to me – maybe it’s luck or the fact that I just need more time or several readings to assimilate. So I don’t really consider myself gifted or smart even. The husbadoo on the other hand was the one who breezed through school and college with least effort and never really aspired to top. I always aspired to top and sometimes did and sometimes came in second. But always, always worked harder than most. I sincerely hope Bandar takes after the H in this aspect and doesn’t need to slog.
  • I have a savory tooth more than a sweet one. I will go for the chips over the cupcakes any given day.
  • People ask me if I miss India and the answer honestly is no. The only thing I miss about India is my family – my mom, dad and sis and that’s about it. A close second if maybe random food places and food .Guess I sound very unpatriotic but that’s how it is.
  • I love travel and am most happy when I have a trip or vacation planned. Unfortunately the H and Bandar are less enthusiastic travelers. They enjoy the place once they are there but don’t particularly like planning or even enjoy the process of travel

 

 

Now, let’s answer the questions she has for me. Super fun set!

  • What is the best thing you have done for yourself till now?

 

The best decision I ever took was to choose to get pregnant at 27 with Bandar.

(We really didn’t have a choice on when to get married – our folks accepted the relationship and hurried to make wedding arrangements and we were married at the age of 23 and 25. So I really can’t say it the timing was my decision. But that said it was also one of the best things I did – marrying the guy of my dreams young .)

But the baby was solely our decision and I am so thankful we took the plunge.  At 30 , I worry about the pending second one we want to have and am so glad we don’t have to deal with the stress of  getting pregnant , birthing and raising two from scratch like some of my closest friends. We’ve done that once over and are so much better for the experience. Bandar has only enriched our lives in the last 3 years and not held us back in any way.

Life is somehow easier in your 20s,health as a whole for you and your partner are better and careers work themselves out. This was solely our experience though and of course, other opinions might differ

 

  • If you can have a free pass to skip a chore today, what would you claim it for?

 

Loading the dishwasher and making lunch for tomorrow. So thankful that the H did both today.
3) What is the one pet peeve of your partner that annoys you? In case you are single, what is the one pet peeve of someone close to you that annoys you?

Right now, its his reluctance to be brisker in the mornings as we get Bandar out the door to school. This morning routine is still hugely stressful for me.

 

  • Books or movies?

Books any day!The movies never liv up.
5) Are you happy with where you are in your life right now? If yes, write a line or two. If no, compare the present and your ideal scenarios.

Yes, quite happy in most respects.

Ideal scenario would be of course – personal chef, personal stylist, personal make up artist, personal  trainer all living in an outhouse at my beck and call.

 

6) Morning person or night owl?

Forced to be a morning person due to my work hours.
7) Any one crazy incident from your college life that you spearheaded/were a part of.

 

We were a group of four girls and often roamed the streets around college during breaks and during cancelled lectures(which surprisingly were plenty). Our college was near this area called 5 gardens in Bombay.  This area often had young couples sitting cozily by the green expanse. Some necking, some full on making out, some just holding hands . One of the games we four girls played was Truth or Dare. And the Dares were invariably approaching the random couples and asking them innocently, where garden number 2 was. Or asking them to point to the gardens one by one and count them out loud, saying we had to figure out if there were really 5! This of course produced many hilarious encounters and we have troubled a ton of couples this way.

 

 

8) Your personal favorite post from your blog. And reasons, please!

All the “ Bandar talks “ related psots. It is so much fun to read back and see the baby talk from just a few months ago. Reminds me to blog more about herand makes me hope she will like reading them herself when she grows up.
9) How much water do you drink in a day?

Far too less. Maybe 16 ounces …awful I know.

 

10) Remember when you laughed hard last? What/who cracked you up?

Watching Modern Family with the Husbadoo last weekend. Its usually the highlight of my weekend and sometimes I purposely let my backlog build up to watch atleast 2 shows back to back.
11) What is your signature dish? A picture, if possible.

 

A few things I make well are Ragda Pattice, Palak Paneer and a healthy Tiramisu. I haven’t made the Tiramisu in years now – maybe in a few months from now and I will post a picture

I am not tagging anyone here but everyone who is doing the Marathon or not, please take it up. I am also retaining these questions as they were fun to answer.Marathoners can thank me for getting you all across one more day and the finish line.

Thanks again, MM for this fun one!