Night time woes

16 Mar

Daylight savings this year has really been the last straw to break my back . Our sleep situation has been terrible the last few months . I elaborate on this below . But the net is we get to bed terribly late and that would be okay if the evening had been productive with a few hours of office work after the kids went to bed , or a clean kitchen or even some snuggle time on the couch . But no, I have really been going to bed feeling I have accomplished nothing in the last few hours . So I get to bed late , take even longer to fall asleep , get up a few times with a Bandar to literally hand her a bottle of whole milk and end up sleeping through my alarm(s) and rely on my body clock to wake me up to finally waking up past 7 am in a panic and ultimately drive Bandar and the hubs up the wall trying to get her to school before the bell , which results in all three of us having a terrible morning . Phew , deep breath ( longest sentence award , anyone ).

It’s been 5 working days of daylight savings this week and our entire family has stirred at 7:30 am or later on 3 of the days and miraculously Bandar makes into school by 8 am and the rest of us have been out before 9 am. But I am really ready to make some changes to this overall situation here . Or rather I have to for the sake of my sanity and that of family members .This might seem fairly obvious but days that start with no shouting from me and happier days for the whole clan .

I am the first to admit our sleeping situation with Beetle needs work . As a reminder Beetle baby is now is 20 months old . We co sleep on a king size mattress after dismantling our tall bed for her safety . Bandar sleeps in a small study like bedroom attached to ours in her canopy princess pink bed . There is a door connecting our rooms that we leave open . We start the going to bed process really late – anywhere between 8:30- 9 pm and when the lights are finally off , Beetle glugs a bottle of whole milk ( ba ba ba ba she screams ) , cuddled against me in bed and then after a resounding burp , she will get off the mattress and totter into her sister ‘s bedroom and start engaging her in conversation. Bandar has been told not to respond to Beetle at this time but of course she does . The few times Bandar has not responded have resulted in Beetle bug giving her a thwack on her face or pulling her hair to extract an answer . So then Bandar will cry and I will get up to comfort her and bring Beetle back . Beetle will come back , sip some more milk and go off again to her sister’s room . At some point I give up trying to get her back and lie down pretending to be asleep and browse mindlessly under the covers on my phone . Beetle will move between the rooms , open drawers here and there in the dark , periodically come back for milk . Oh and I forgot to add this – in a fit of hope a few months ago , we foolishly thought Beetle was ready to transition to the crib converted to toddler bed in her sister’s room . Of course she wasn’t , but we haven’t converted it back to a crib . So every other night , Beetle will ask to sleep on her own bed and we get excited and put her into the toddler bed to only have her cry in a minute to be helped out of it again . But of course , the next time she asks for it , we indulge her again thinking today is the night she is magically ready for the transition . Going back to a regular night of Beetle tottering around in the dark , around 11ish she will come to the mattress and lie herself down . She will ask for milk again – by this time I have usually gone down once already to get a fresh bottle . She will take a few sips, say very clearly “cuddle me amma ” which means she is ready to sleep and finally fall asleep . Other days she has these few sips but instead of cuddling me , she will chose to orient herself with her head on my tummy or on my feet and finally fall asleep . By this time , I have been in bed for about two hours lying noiselessly for the most part and I have no motivation to get up and do any office work or household crap . Not even the temptation of an hour alone with the hubs downstairs stirs me and I continue mindlessly browsing my phone and struggle to fall asleep by 1 am . The H comes to bed sometime between 11 and 1 too and he finds himself a spot on the bed. Miserable situation all around , right ?

What can we do to change this ? Plenty I guess – sleep train Beetle , stop bottles , make bed back into a crib and dump her in there and leave the room, shut down my phone . I know these are the logical things I need to do , I have been postponing them for God knows how long now . I am feeling ready to start small this weekend and am going to start by not touching my phone in the bedroom with the hope that it will actually accelerate the process in some way . We are also seriously considering stopping the night time bottle for Beetle this week but this is a big one that big sis put up a huge fight for at almost 2.5 years . So let’s see how it goes . Wish us luck !

Weekend tales

14 Mar

The only topic I can seem to blog about is what we did over the weekends . I am seriously living for these weekends right now – they are slower paced then what I typically enjoy but they are exactly what I need .

Friday evening we started our weekend having dinner with some friends . I am helping them plan their Japan trip and it was recollecting tidbits from own trip last year . We had a desi dinner and started Codenames to be interrupted with Beetle being sleepy and uncomfortable. So home we went .

Saturday morning started with us making ambitious plans to hit up the zoo after lunch . I had a successful morning running laundry and getting the kids dinner made before we headed to our favorite info Chinese place for some noodles and fried rice . We washed down our yummylicious lunch with boba drinks . My favorite drink right now is a matcha milk tea made with plenty of boba . It’s a carb and sugar filled delight. ( boba is awfully starchy and though I order my drink without sugar I am sure it has a good amount ). We hit up the zoo and found parking but were hit with a gust of wind . We chickened out and headed to the science museum instead . Bandar gets to learn something and Beetle gets to play in the kids indoor play area . We returned home for dinner and I hit the gym and got some much needed me-time . Sunday AM started with delicious avocado toast at home . We did random cleaning up around the house and played with the kids . Having no major activity planned was relaxing . I made a date to do a quick one hour shopping trip with a friend and returned with a lovely dress , top and earrings . I inaugurated the earrings and can’t wait to wear the dress . I want to start a no shopping month but it is so hard when a good sale beckons . Our cook lady came over and we indulged in some good old homemade desi food . I helped Bandar with some math in the evening while the hubs played with Bandar .On the whole a perfectly lazy day .

Last weekend

8 Mar

Almost through the work week and it seems like a good time as any to share what we did last weekend . I am seriously struggling with my blogging game as you can tell here .

-Friday night , the hubs worked late . I made a butternut squash sauce pasta with veggies for the girls which they gobbled up . Then I had the girls in bed fairly early . They are ,for whatever reason , both on our bed which though king size is terribly cramped for four people . Bandar kicks , Beetle moves and rotates and the H and I end up sleeping at weird right angles to each other . I really dislike everything about this arrangement but am unable to figure out how to get everyone to their respective beds before I lose my sanity . Anyway , back to Friday night , I think I slept off with the kiddos .

– I started Saturday morning by heading out to a Kick boxing class . I bought an impulse Groupon to try ten classes at a ridiculously cheap price . However I am on class two and really want to give up . I cannot get the moves right , I am exhausted by the warm up as I am probably not nourishing myself right or hydrating enough , I am pissed off with the cliques in the class and a whole bunch more . But I will keep going of course for 8 more classes as I hate wasting hard earned money . Anyway as I am clearly not working hard enough for more than 15 minutes of this class , I leave feeling not at all tired and craving a one hour cardio session at the gym . I called home to find the kids doing great with dad but somehow felt I had too many things to take care of that day that I couldn’t afford another 1.5 including commute for another work out . Guess lesson to me to give every workout my best as it is probably the only one I am going to get for a couple of days .

– I rushed home to do some cleaning for the house cleaners . This is where I pick up and tidy as the house cleaners move from room to room and try to get our abode inhabitable for the next few weeks .

– I then grabbed Bandar and headed out to get a birthday gift for her friend . We debated between Ross and Target and decided to try Ross first . Ross is such a hit or a miss for us – you sometimes find the perfect gift at few bucks cheaper than other places and other days the goods are just not what you want . Anyway we lucked out by finding exactly what her friend wanted – LOLs . Is anyone else’s kid into them ? My kid is generally late to trends and is only now enjoying hatchimals and shopkins . We also got some leggings for Bandar . She was super sweet the whole time and didn’t even ask for a thing which in the past has been a huge problem . So of course I rewarded her with a $2.99 hatchimal which she proceeded to hatch out the rest of the weekend .

– Grocery run followed and then it was back home to stuff in some lunch and head to the bday party . Unfortunately for the hubs ,cricket was cancelled and he got saddled with toddler duty . I meanwhile got to enjoy my 6 year old all afternoon.

– The birthday party was at some sort of bouncy playscape place . I chatted with some mom friends while Bandar had fun . Then it was back home to Beetle and the hubs. Beetle had to be coaxed to nap and as everyone knows it’s hard to coax a toddler to do anything . Anyway she finally dozed off after putting up a fight , and I used that time to do some math practice with Bandar .

– In the evening we met some friends for dosas and then went to their house to let the kids play awhile . I realize my friends here are so so different from the people I usually gravitate towards but at the end of the day the kids get along and the adults get along and the equation works . We got home around midnight and went straight to bed .

– Sunday AM we met up with a friend for desi lunch and both the kids behaved amazingly well. Bandar entertained herself with drawing and Beetle fed herself beautifully. We then headed to the mall to get Bandar some leggings. Beetle went nutso at the mall though refusing to sit in her stroller and running amok . So different than her sister who practically lived in her stroller when we lived in NYC.

– Sunday evening made me a tad anxious for a long and worrisome work week ahead . Anyway I felt I had a personal victory as I managed to get all the laundry folded and put away neatly as I busied my mind with the work pondering .

So that was our weekend ! Took me a few days to get this post written and it’s almost time for the next one 🙂

Back with a bang!

28 Feb

Hola folks !Anybody here ? After a long hiatus , I realize I am ready to blog again . What brings me back you ask ? I am truly just back selfishly for myself – I miss having a record of my life , of my kids growing up , of pleasant and unpleasant memories . I also miss the connections I made through blogging and the thrill of reading and responding to comments . The reason I stopped blogging was an intentional well thought of decision . Life got busy and one thing needed to take a backseat in 2018 and it was blogging for me . I hope I can resurface in this space and start recording the normal things I usually blog about . So let the randomness begin 🙂

Wrapping up our Japan trip – Summer 2018

23 Aug

For our last day in Kyoto, we decided to go to the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. Such a good choice for our limited time in Kyoto and even more limited itinerary with the kiddos . We started the day off by vacating the Airbnb and getting our bags into storage at Kyoto station. Then armed with the bare minimum, we first grabbed a random brunch at a bakery in the station. We finally made our way to Arashiyama . The walk from the station to the grove is fun as it really let’s you get a glimpse of how the locals live . We debated renting bikes but a child seat for Beetle seemed to not be completely safe. So walk we did .

The bamboo grove absolutely took our breathe away. Despite the tourists it seemed weirdly serene. We walked to the Tenryuji temple and loved the temple grounds. We spent a good one hour or so there before Beetle had a meltdown and feed and made the decision to really head back to Kyoto station to at least make a 4:30 bullet train back to Tokyo. The journey back to Tokyo was not really exciting but for a diaper blow out , and we all were very tired at Tokyo station at 8 pm or so. We stopped by T’s Tan Tan for another round of vegan ramen and Beetle at that point projectile vomited for the first time in her life ! So in all of this we realized it was really late and we guessed our Airbnb host would be waiting for is. Little did we know that he was mildly panicking at this point thinking we were lost in Tokyo. Anyway we made it with tons of luggage and tired kids to the Airbnb for our last night in Tokyo. This was the most average of all the places we stayed on on the trip and a lone cockroach spotting didn’t help matters either. Anyway it was one night so we weren’t all that worried. The host then dropped us at Narita in the morning for our 10 hour flight to Mumbai.

And that’s a wrap ! I really think we will be back in Japan at some point in the near future, maybe when the girls are older for more adventures . For now, these 6 short days gave a small glimpse of this beautiful country that has so much to offer .

Tokyo and Kyoto – Summer 2018

11 Aug

Our visit to Hello Kitty world will go down as the funnest evening Bandar and I spent together one on one in a long time. We did this on the afternoon of our second day in Tokyo. So unless you have a child who absolutely wants to go here , you can definitely skip Hello Kitty world in Tokyo. Bandar and I had seen videos and read about the place before we got there and it was the one thing she wanted to do in Tokyo. So we picked the cheapest way to do this – an afternoon trip so that we could just pay half price. However instead of getting there at 2:30 pm as planned we reached the theme park at 4 pm and surprised the staff by saying we wanted to go in even if it was just one hour until the park shut. The hubs , his sister and Beetle stayed out and entertained themselves and it was the perfect mother daughter date for Bandar and I.

The entire theme park is dark and is built in a sort of cave environment , and this makes the lights and music and dance more prominent somehow . We went to the one ride we could find- a boat ride to Hello Kitty’s birthday party . Bandar and I had an absolute blast.Everything we saw or heard was in Japanese . Except one sentence being shouted over and over again from the stage performance – ” Happy Easter “. We wondered why anyone was celebrating Easter in June but oh well the whole park had us in splits of laughter . We took a million pictures and selfies together , explored every inch of the park in the one hour we had there and saw three quick shows that we didn’t understand. Bandar was so delighted to get me to herself and I was so happy to spend this perfect silly evening with my first born.

After the theme park visit , we wondered around looking for a store that sold diapers and wipes and ended the evening with Boba tea before a long train ride back home. We ended the day around 9 pm.

Day 3

This was the day we were off to Kyoto by the bullet train ! We woke up early to vacate the Airbnb and cleaned up our mess as best as we could. Bag, baggage and children in hand we made it somehow to Tokyo station. Here we figured out baggage storage in the self serve lockers . The locals were so so helpful when they saw us trying to figure it out . We then went to the part I was most excited about Vegan Ramen ! So I had been dying to try T’s Tantan , a vegan ramen restaurant at the station. Imagine multiple vegan options in ramen ! My face was alit with excitement when we found it . We stuffed ourselves with the best meal of the trip ..omg ramen heaven. We then went looking for sweet treats in the stores around . We found the most adorable looking pastries and candy and bought a few things for our journey. We then walked to the Imperial Gardens and spent some time there before finally making it back to the station to board the bullet train.

The bullet train was a fun experience too overall. We kept trying to look out for Mt. Fuji for the first 1 hour or so and then gave up knowing we had past it. We somehow kept Beetle still for the 2:45 hours and made it to Kyoto. We then shifted to domestic subway lines and go to our next Airbnb !

Our Airbnb in Kyoto was perfectly lovely. It was in a traditional Japanese house with Tatami mats and mattresses for bedding. We had the best time stretching out our legs and watching beetle crawling around and cooing .

After a short rest , we went out in search for vegan food. We found our primary vegan restaurant choice closed and got bit crabby with each other to then finally land at Kyoto Tower food court. We had boba ( again !) , Vegan udon, and hold your breathe – veggie tacos ! Oh and we found vegan doughnuts for breakfast. After stuffing ourselves we made our way home. Our Airbnb had a tea palor with low seating but sadly I never got to enjoy it with the kiddos being as they were. I went to bed with them.

Day 4 – More Kyoto adventures

Our first order of business the next day was getting to an Airbnb experience I had booked , mainly for Bandar to enjoy . A kimono dress up for the whole family ! So we found our host who had the hubs,me and Bandar dressed up in Kimonos in no time and we then walked to a nearby shrine for pictures . What fun this was ! Walking with those wooden clogs for a mile was really hard . We got some excellent pictures. Then after changing out , we went in search of lunch – Mediterranean this time. Our search led us to a place that served falafal sandwiches and though we had an incident here with the hubs and I sparring because if something silly the kids had done , we made up quickly and tried to enjoy the rest of our meal. Amazing falafal though!

We then set off to see our first shrine in Kyoto – Fushimi Inari. The red Tori gate pictures that Kyoto is so famous for are clicked here. Bandar got a kick out of the legend of the fox who had the key to the granaries associated with this shrine and occupied herself counting statues of foxes. Beetle surprised us all by saying “Tori” when we prompted.

After our fill of stairs and Tori we went to another beautiful shrine Keyomizu Dera. The only thing I didn’t like about this shrine is the fact that it isn’t near a subway station and led us to take an expensive taxi ride to get here . We started our tour by first indulging in Matcha ice cream and then we took in the splendid 360 degree views of Kyoto. Beetle choose this serene moment to have a diaper blow out and made diaper changing in the wilderness around the shrine quite memorable .

We then called it a night by returning to Kyoto Tower to our now familiar food court and then home to our Airbnb.

Next up , our last day in Kyoto and return to Tokyo.

These steps are real fun with a baby strapped to you and a folded stroller to carry and a cranky five year old who wanted to be lifted

Tokyo – Summer 2018

9 Aug

So from my last post you must have gathered we survived the 12 hour journey to get from San Diego to Tokyo. Direct flight at that – small mercies that I am thankful for. We landed in Narita Airport around 4:30 pm . Our first bit of business was putting our huge bag for our onward journey to India in storage. Super easy to do at a specific booth in the airport . Once that done we did the money exchange and were armed with some yen. We then found a shuttle bus counter to give us a ride into the downtown area – Ginza. Here is where I think this wasn’t a super smart move ,but seemed the only affordable option for us. We spent $75 approx on 2.5 tickets and took a good 1.5 hours to get to our destination. If we had less luggage and no kids I have no doubt we could have done the subway. We took the subway every day after that with kids but on that first night with our luggage it was just too much to figure out . If we were willing to spend about $300, a cab would have taken us downtown. Anyway with everything sorted out we finally got on the bus close to 6 and reached Ginza at 8ish.Ginza is the business district and accommodations here are pricey but it’s central location and the umpteen transportation and food options it offers alone make it worth it . The husband’s sister joined us on this vacation and had already flown in earlier that evening and settled into the Airbnb. She walked up to the bus stop to pick us up armed with a Margherita pizza for Bandar who was starving . We walked to our Airbnb, the most expensive one we stayed in on the trip and it was cute modern apartment that served our purpose. We were exhausted to go looking for food ourselves so made do with Maggi that first night . As the hubs and I hadn’t had Maggi in about 4 years, this was a huge treat for us. We went to bed at around 11 pm local time.

Day 1

The sub dawned bright and early – truly the land of the rising sun. Despite our best laid plans , feeding the kids and ourselves all took some time and after a Starbucks stop we found ourselves finally at the Station . We picked up our Japan rail passes which we had pre-ordered and used the subway to get to our first spot – the Sensoji shrine. It started drizzling but stopped shortly afterwards. We walked through the path that is flanked by small stores , stopping every now and then to pick up knick knacks and grab a bite of matcha flavored this and that . At the shrine , Beetle got a tad cranky and we took it in turns to go in and have a look. Beetle had a full blown meltdown at this point and I had to find a corner to sit down and breastfeed her. Once that was done she seemed fairly okay for the rest of the day. We then made our way back towards the central part of town. We got great views of the Shibuya crossing and clicked pics with the Hachiko dog statue. We then started a short but seemed longish because of the kids and our hunger, walk to the Meiji shrine . Of course , we saw a Star bucks and had to make a pitstop for a diaper change , solids feed for Beetle and cool drinks for adults. Walking in summer in Japan is just like it is in India – hot and humid . We finally got to Meiji. But before we explored the shrine , we went in search of a vegan ramen place without a name that my friend had only described. I don’t know if we found the same one she was thinking of , but we found one atop a Hedgehog cafe ( yes, real thing to pet live hedgehogs) and treated ourselves to yummy vegan ramen for a late late 2 pm lunch. Bandar who loves ramen in the US wasn’t a fan of it in Tokyo 😦 Guess she likes the Americanized version .) The hubs and I enjoyed ours though . Beetle was rather a nuisance at this meal – she managed to spill vinegar over herself when my back was turned. Restaurants in Tokyo are usually cramped and small and this particular one didn’t have a high chair . Anyway we somehow got through our meal. Fed , we next wanted to get some boba ! So into the harajuko district we went .Think of this part of town as hippie ville if you will . People watching while we got our drinks was so much fun ! Armed with our drinks we made our way to Meiji and Beetle obliged by taking a nap. After we got done exploring we made our way back to Ginza and called it a night as we were still jetlagged .

Day 2

My favorite part of this vacation was planning each day in the morning with the hubs and writing down our directions , train stops etc .

We left the apartment around 9 am and armed ourselves with some convenience store snacks to prevent extreme hunger and maintain good tempers in kids and adults. Then we headed in the subway to Akihabara – the electronics hub in the city. Our main stop this department store of about 7 floors flooded with electronics and also floors dedicated to toys , exercise quipment etc. We spent most of our time browsing and finally bought something small for Bandar on the toys floor.She picked a tiny stuffed animal and a logic puzzle solving game (the latter at our insistence ). Next stop was lunch. We went in search of this vegetarian Indian place called Vege Herb Saga. The shortish walk in the heat was well worth it for some good food.

We then headed to Hello Kitty World , which I will save for another post.