Of Challenges and Birthdays

There have been a few of things I had planned to do. But they had been pushed to the back burner because of various reasons/excuses.

Now, I just happen to be lucky to be part of a wonderful group on FB called the IndiBlogeshwaris, hosted by Vinita. I say ‘lucky’ because they are an amazing bunch of women bloggers, who haven’t yet kicked me out, because I hardly contribute anything. It takes me time to get comfortable in large groups, and here, I am happy being in the sidelines enjoying the fun and the banter. Having said that, even being in the sidelines of a group like this, is a wonderful experience, so much to learn from, so much to take away. Just like this challenge that they came up with on the 1st Anniversary of the group, to pick up one task that we take up, and resolve to complete it in time for the first birthday of the group.

As I said, I had a few things that I needed to do. The most important for me at the moment being the need up the practical test to get my manual driving license. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve been putting it away. I would have put it away for a bit longer, citing the need to settle down first etc, etc, etc before taking it up, especially given the buses seem to work for me fine, at the moment. Thanks to this challenge, I set about it immediately. Got myself an instructor(I can’t drive the car we have now, because of some insurance issues with the lease, until I get my license), and started my lessons.

I wish I could declare that I was successful, but I haven’t. I wished I could get a test date soon enough, but clearly luck was not with me. It is rather far away. So while I haven’t successfully completed the challenge, it certainly helped me focus and go for it. And I think it gave me the drive to give it my all. And for that, I am grateful to the IndiBlogeshwaris! Here’s wishing a wonderful group of women, a wonderful 1st Birthday and many, many more to come!

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The 3 Cs

Cleaning, Clearing, Cooking

It would be no exageration to say that the last few days have been crazy for me. I have been cleaning, clearing, cooking, hosting a party, and cleaning, clearing all over again.I do have loads of left overs to not have to worry about cooking though 🙂

It was daughter’s birthday last week, and I decided to do a small get-together, with our close friends, at home. And also ambitiously decided to cook. Of course, better sense prevailed, Or rather husband prevailed. He refused to even let me think about it. He knows me. So I settled on cooking a few things and ordering the rest – just to make me feel less guilty about not cooking entirely. You see, I have some friends who cook for massive parties, and I feel so inadequate. Husband, of course, believes that we should outsource everything that is not our core competency, and we should enjoy the day rather than go crazy cooking. Which I agree with, most of the time.

Thank goodness, he drilled some sense into me. Even with the little that I had to do, I was running around like a headless chicken. Shopping for everything we would need, cleaning, taking the opportunity to clear out clothes and toys that we needed to give away. Which just made it crazy, because I just ended up doing things which I could have easily done another time. The only way I could pull it off, was by staying away from the laptop. I allowed myself the phone(but of course 🙂 ).

To cut a long story short, in the few days that I cut off myself from the laptop, my efficiency doubled. My cupboards are lighter, my carpets are cleaner, I wish I could say that I was lighter as well, but after a party, that would be a small miracle 🙂 It won’t take too long for my carpets to go back to their earlier state, but I seriously plan to keep my cupboards light. I’m going to have a tough enough time trying to pack things into boxes without adding to it by shopping some more.

Now, with the party and the mess out of the way, I’ve got to get ready to go to Venice 🙂 We are off to Venice next weekend! And I suspect that I will have to go on another blog sabbatical to get everything ready to go.

So I’ll get back next week and comment, reply to comments, read, etc, etc, etc 🙂 I’ll try to sneak in when I can, but I might be better off staying away from the laptop. Oh, and please do wish for us that we get good weather this time! AND by good weather I mean, HOT weather!

PS: Leaving you with a picture of one of the things that I made, and luckily, turned out to be a huge hit 🙂 especially lucky, because it was a first time experiment 🙂

My Most Beautiful Thing

Well, not a thing, but a person, daughter.

It is not very often that I take part in contests or events in the blog world, mainly because I find it difficult to write on demand, but when I saw this event – My Most Beautiful Thing Blogsplash, to be held on the 24th of April, it felt right – just apt to do a post on someone who means everything in the world to me. Especially as she came into my arms, six years ago, on the 24th of April.

I still remember my first sight of her. That squealing baby, is now my six year old, who thinks she knows the answer to everything. I can’t even playfully ask her, ‘where did my little baby go, when did she become so big?’ she has the answer, ‘Amma, you were a tiny baby once too, look how giant you are now!’. Well, at least someone thinks I am not a midget!

Looking back, I can’t even imagine a time without her in our lives. Her infectious laughter, her optimism, her bubbly excitement, her nonstop chatter, and her ability to find ways to entertain herself. It would do me a world of good, to take a few a pages out of her book.

I’ve not written letters to my daughter on the blog, but here’s what I would want to tell her.

My darling girl, you brighten up my(and your Dad’s) days in more ways than you know.

You  are a truly morning person, who wakes up with a smile, and wakes up with one blink of your eyes. Those eyes, which once once open, don’t close. Of course, I am delighted about it now, but a few years back, all I wished was for you to go back to sleep so that I could catch a few extra winks. Now, of course, you entertain yourself with a book, much to our delight(and relief, if I am honest).

You’ve made me proud in so many ways, with your impeccable behaviour(well, most of the time), with your consideration for others, and your sense of fairness. You strive to be fair to even those who might not have been exactly fair to you. You even try to hide your disappointment when your parents give you a dictionary as a birthday present, and actually tried to use it immediately. Of course, it made your delight at your actual present(a set of your favourite book series even more interesting to watch). Every time I have a parents consultation with your teacher, I come back with a huge, huge smile The one time, Daddy managed to get time off to attend, he came away teary-eyed with happiness too. Both of us wish we could record the meetings and show them to you when you are older.

My precious blessing, I can’t describe how much pleasure it gives me when you come running out of school, hurl yourself into my arms, give me a massive hug, and then go on to tell me about your day. Some days, of course, are extra special, because you’ve discovered that wobbly tooth, you’ve been waiting for, for ages. It is another story that I feel queasy when I see you wobbling that tooth.

You can’t sit still, not even while reading, you change positions, even almost turn upside down, engrossed in your books, lost to the world. I can’t tell you what makes me happier, seeing you reading like there is no tomorrow, or looking up from the book, and telling, ‘I feel like there’s a thunderstorm around me, because I’ve been reading about it in the book’! I can’t tell you how happy I am that you’ve discovered the magical world of reading. May you always enjoy reading the way you do now.

You’re six years old, a big girl, according to you. It’s been six years since you came into our lives, and nothing has been the same since.You’ve changed me, the way I do things, the way I look at things. Makes me so proud to be your mother. Here’s wishing you a lovely birthday, doing what you wanted to do (play Monopoly the whole evening after school, you are easy to please, I have to give you that :). Hopefully, we will be the kind of parents you would be proud of, as well. Hopefully, we will bring you up with the kind of support, and love you that need.

May you stay blessed and the cheerful, sunny person that you are. May you continue to find joy in the smallest of things. May you be reach for the stars and beyond, and may you be happy in whatever you do.

With all the love in the world,

Amma

My most beautiful thing…

This is my contribution to the My Most Beautiful Thing event, inspired by Fiona Robyn’s Book –My Most Beautiful Thing. Fiona has made the book free on Kindle and PCs for today and tomorrow. I’m off to read it, what about you?

Birthday Wishes..

As they say, some people make a difference. Some people connect with the first comment they make on the blog world.

The first time I came across Sakshi, was when she commented on my name mutilation post about how she was called ‘Sexy’ by her son’s friend 🙂 Since then, I have been known to frequent her blog – even when she does not post , hounding her till she posts,along with Deeps and SJ. She is one person totally capable of spicing up comment sections with her comments and making us roll with laughter with her hilarious posts 🙂  And her photo posts – they are a wow!! I am so glad to have known you here, Saksh!

I had been planning to wish her very tamely on Facebook and Orkut, when Deeps came up with an idea of surprising her with something else 🙂 Thanks Deeps, for that Brilliant idea! Here’s wishing one of the warmest, funniest and cutest persons in our blog-samaj a very, very, very Happy Birthday! Sakshi, Hope you have an absolutely wonderful day! May you get all the happiness in the world!

Sakshbday 3

Saksh, all those gifts you see in the pic are for you – Jimmy Choo shoes and a Jimmy Choo bag, knowing how you love grocery shopping in your JCs 😉 We weren’t sure what your favourite colour was – so decided to get you  Govinda Style multi-coloured ones;)

PS : Comments are disabled here. Please head over to Sakshi’s place to wish her 🙂

Delighted to be Back !

I’ve been missing our wonderful blog samaaj absolutely loads! But had to stay away – if I wanted things done:(

Anyways, it has been a fruitful week, real life wise:) , if not blog world wise, for me. Managed to get some things back on track, managed to spend a lot more  time painting and dancing with daughter and most importantly made some head way into studying as well. So much so, that I have started enjoying taking tests 🙂

I also ended up out of the blog world for the Friendship day and Indyeah’s Birhday 😦 So happy friendship day to all of you and a belated Happy Birthday to Abhi! Hope you all had a wonderful time!

Ashwathy had asked me, in a comment, in my previous post, if I plan to come back all fit and toned- that unfortunately, is still not happening – I doubt if blog breaks can help in that, sadly 🙂

Anyways, I have loads to read, and just then, my wireless connection is acting up:( It hangs every five minutes! So if I take ages to reach your posts, and if my comments and this post has loads of errors – please look the other way – my only aim is to submit before the connection hangs again!

See you around!

AND yes, I still have not got around to replying to all the comments in the previous posts – will  get around to it – eventually 🙂

Of Birthdays, and some other musings…

Last weekend was one of the most hectic, crazy and fun weekends ever.. We had a wonderful time, starting from Friday morning..

Friday was my daughter’s birthday and we had planned a party on Saturday as it is easier for most people. Since I wanted to something special on Friday too, I baked her a cake, decorated it all in pink 🙂 , decorated the living room with banners and balloons and was rewarded by my daughter hugging me and saying that ‘Best ever cake, best ever, ever birthday party ‘:) Yay!!!! It might be another story that she most definitely does not remember any of her previous birthdays – but that absolutely made my day 🙂

Saturday was another story, we had ordered a ‘princess cake’ for her – a pink one of course 🙂 And both of us were delighted to see the cake – it was gorgeous, absolutely beautiful – and wanted to hide it from her and show it to her at the last minute – but she saw it and loved it!!! She had the most lovely time, playing with all her friends – I think all of them loved balloons the most.. We tried party games, but most of the little ones preferred, running after balloons to any party game – so we just left it at that 🙂

After the party, we invited everybody who was left at the party to come home for tea – we had to leave at 5:00 sharp – they were quite strict with the timings and none of us wanted the party to end 🙂 So we all came home, where the adults had tea and more cake 🙂 And the children had the most wonderful time, digging up the garden 🙂 Some parts of our garden has landscaping with pebbles and they had a ball, digging up pebbles, pretending that they were at the beach digging up sand 🙂 So now I have a garden all dug up, pebbles all over and a rainy Monday , so it is going to stay that way until the sun decides to grace us with his presence 🙂

It was a wonderful day, barring just a couple of things that I wanted to write about.. One of the children, a little boy, was one of the most unruly, and ill mannered child that I had ever seen! He was one of my husband’s colleague’s son and it was the first time we met him, and I was so shocked at the way he was behaving.. He was just going around, pushing every other child, grabbing whatever they were playing with, shouting and screaming almost all the time.. and one time, he even slapped a little girl on her face! And the worse of it all, he had a very derogatory way of speaking to the girls – if he were older I would have thought that he was an MCP – but a child who is not even 4 behaving this way? It just makes me wonder of the kind of parenting he is getting… His parents were very proudly telling me that he watches B4U music and Hindi serials – he does not like children’s channels – made me wonder….

And I also got to know that educated, aware, women still feel that having a brother is necessary for a sister to feel ‘protected’!!!!!!

Happy Birthday, My Baby

I know, that you probably will correct me that ‘I’m not a baby, Amma’ , but for me, my darling, you will always, always be one.. You will probably be my baby even when you turn thirty 🙂

What a journey, this has been – the last three years.. You came into our lives and changed it forever.. From that little baby, who was placed in my arms, to the bouncy little girl of three, today..

As you learnt to feed, I learnt to feed you,

As you learnt to turn over, you taught me to me extra careful,

As you started to crawl, you taught me to keep the floor totally ‘Dettol clean’ 🙂

As you started to walk , I learnt to be there, to ensure that you don’t fall,

As you fell, I learnt to let you fall and learn from that fall – however difficult it was for me :(,

As you learnt to speak, I learnt to be extra careful of what I say in front of you :),

Every time you saw some thing ‘amazing’ in the most routine things – it made me see the world with different eyes,

Every time, I see how easy it is to make you happy, just reminded me of how small things can be so joy full!

As you grew more and more independent, taught me not to be clingy and let my little bird soar!

Baby, as you grew from that little baby, into a toddler and now into a little girl, I was growing too, with you..   I can hardly express what I feel today, when I see you prancing about all excited about your pink cake or your balloons, all I can say, is that you have made my life complete.. you have given your dad and me so much joy, that we will remember and cherish forever… All these years of waking up in the middle of the night, first for night feeds, then because of bed-wetting, and nowadays, just because you want Amma to give you a ‘cuggle'(cuddle) 🙂 – given a chance, I would do it all over again. Everything is worth it for one smile and a BIG HUG of yours 🙂

Happy Birthday, my little girl, my precious gift! I wish you all the happiness in the world!

 

PS: Haven’t been able to reply to any comments since yest 😦 Am a little caught up – but had to do this post… Will reply over the next 2 days 🙂 Wanted to post snaps too – but am running out of time…

This day, three years ago…

I don’t know about you all, but I keep doing this – ‘last year, this day , I was doing this’ or ‘ last week, this time, we were doing this’ or ‘ last month this time, I was enjoying my vacation’ or ‘next month this time, we might be doing this :)’. With all my daughter’s third birthday preparations that’s going on, I’m not surprised that my mind went back to this day – three years back 🙂

Well, this was the day I got to know ‘when’ I would have my baby 🙂 or in other words – my c-section got scheduled 😦 What better way of relating all this – than do the first born tag ! This tag had been going around when I was on vacation and was one of the tags I absolutely wanted to do !

Was your first pregnancy planned?

Yes – Almost by military standards 🙂  I had started folic acid tablets way in advance, had got all fit by regular working out and had also learnt swimming because I had read that it helps in the delivery- all wasted because I had a c-section:( Right down to co-ordinating with vacation plans and work milestones 🙂 It was a completely planned for and totally wanted baby 🙂

2. Were you married at the time?

Yes  – for 5 years and I think a lot of people started believing that there were problems – which incidentally was not true. We wanted to wait till we were both ready for parenthood , with both our careers at a certain level.

3. What were your reactions?
Was esctatic, because  I almost believed that I was not pregnant – so that blue cross was totally wonderful to see! Did 2 tests to confirm 🙂

4. Was abortion an option for you?

Absolutely not!

5. How old were you?

29 yrs

6. How did you find out you were pregnant

Home Pregnancy Test

7. Who did you tell first?

Husband of course – actually he was right there – so did not need any telling 🙂 And then we took a pic of the ‘cross ‘ in the test 🙂

8. Due date?

May 5th – but she was born on April 24th.

9. Did you have morning sickness?

Nope! I was extremely lucky in that!  I just felt queasy when I smelt fried food – no sickness at all.

10. What did you crave?

Nothing in particluar – I just loved food –  I was always hungry – and would eat huge amounts of food – but was very strict with what I ate.  Would eat loads of veggies, highly nutritous food – no fried stuff  – that was not difficult, given that the smell made me queasy 🙂

I particularly loved dosas and there is a portugese food chain here- which I used to love (still love). I had the most wonderful colleagues then. One of the guys actually made dosas and brought it to my place – in wet, London weather – just because he knew how much I loved dosas 🙂 Around that time we had moved house( in my 8th month) – so these guys wanted a house warming. I was in no position to cook  – so they actually came home and cooked the most wonderful chinese food and celebrated it 🙂 It was the most wonderful time!

11. Who/what irritated you the most?
Nothing. Just re-confirmed with my husband who says nothing irritated me 🙂 – apparently I was very sweet – unlike how I am now 🙂

12. What was your first child’s sex?

Girl  – only child.

13. Did you wish you had the opposite sex of what you were getting?

No – desparately wanted a girl – always wanted a girl! We had found out in the 5th month.  Though the ultrasound said that it was  a girl, everybody who saw me told me that I looked like I was carrying a boy – as per mid wives tales – and was hoping that it was a girl 🙂

14. How many pounds did you gain throughout the pregnancy?

12 kgs. I ate very carefully, all the most nutritious food and in the right proportions – so I did not put on too much weight – until after she was born.  I think I actually put on weight after having her 😦

15. Did you have a baby shower?

Nope – I had a team full of men 😦 But they did give me a wonderful goodbye gift – as I was leaving that team when I went on maternity leave 🙂

16. Was it a surprise or did you know?

N/A

17. Did you have any complications during your pregnancy?

It was a totally smooth sailing pregnancy – until the last month. I suddenly developed a condition called SPD – Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction.  Within days, from being up and about , I was on crutches and in constant pain. The last month made up for the entire pregnancy being a breeze 😦  Here in the UK, if you have a normal pregnancy – you might not even meet a doctor – you are examined almost entirely by midwives. So the first time I met a doctor was in my 36th week and at that point – I was still fine. Barely a week later I could not walk and a midwife advised me to talk to my consultant(doctor). And 3 years ago, on 20th of April, the consultant examined me and took the decision to go in for a planned c-sec. The only date they had was on the 24th of April. I was not too keen on that date , because my parents were reaching London on that day. The next available was on May 4th and the doctors were not comfortable to wait till then – so 24th it was.

18. Where did you give birth?

London

19. How many hours were you in labor?

N/A.

20. Who drove you to the hospital/birth center?

Husband.

21. Who watched you give birth?

Husband and the ob/gyn team. Husband got to cut the umbilical cord  :D

22. Was it natural or c-section?

c-section

23. Did you take medicine to ease the pain?

Epidural. I was totally aware of everything – barring the pain, of course 🙂

24. How much did your child weigh?

2.65 kgs – She was a tiny baby 😦

25. When was your child actually born ?

24th April at 12:20 pm

26. What was your reaction when the doctor announced the sex of the baby?

Delighted – though  we knew. It was nice to get it confirmed though 🙂

27. What was your first reaction on seeing the baby?

Delighted, happy, proud 🙂 She looked totally like my husband 🙂 A tiny replica 🙂

28. Did you cry?

Nope. I just remember grinning away like a Cheshire cat 🙂 For some reason, felt extremely happy and proud 🙂 It was such a magical time! I remember smiling at every nurse and midwife and patient I met on the way to the ward 🙂

29. What did you name him/her?

My little monster 🙂 I call her loads of stuff  – except her real name – she actually used to get scared when I call her by her real name –  I do that only when I am extremely angry 🙂

30. How old is your first born today?

She is 4 days away from turning 3 years old 🙂

My pregnancy was one of the best times in my life. I had a lot of fun, ate all the right things, read every pregnancy book I could lay my hands on 🙂 I had subscribed to every baby website – babycenter and stuff , would check every symptom in the books and the websites – but had an absolute blast! Worked till the last month and got on crutches as soon as I stopped working – guess it shows that I should have worked till the last day – must have been ‘work withdrawal symptoms’ 🙂

This was a tag, I really, really enjoyed doing.. It brought back memories of that magical time of my life that brought my dear daughter to our lives! It is so difficult trying to even think of the time when we did not have her – she has so completely taken over our lives !

The most difficult job I’ve ever had..

is trying to plan my daughter’s 3rd birthday party… Last year we got away with taking her to the London aquarium – she was delighted and was least interested in having a party! The year before that, on her first birthday, it was more for us than her, actually. And so much easier to organise.. I can’t believe it that I managed to do it all – while working too.. This year. however she knows everything  about a party! She has her own list of demands.

She wants a ‘Happy Birthday to me’ party:) And wants to be a ‘pincence'( her version of ‘Princess’) and just to be ensure that we do not feel left out – she’s told us ‘Amma pincence and Daddy pincence!’ She still thinks that Daddy is a girl too.. No matter how many times I tell her, she still goes, ‘Good Girl, Daddy’ and now Daddy is a ‘pincence’ too 🙂   So now she wants a pink pincence cake and lots of bloons(Balloons) and Party tooters and chocolates’ . Thats all! Nothing much!

Well, Amma has been extremely lazy, was lost in her blogging world, oblivious to the fact that daughter’s birthday is less than 3 weeks away! So, in complete panic, I did what I do best, log on, where I got waylaid commenting and reading your posts – when I remembered – Oh no! I have another agenda for today!

So have now started the search for a venue.. I found some great places where they take care of everything, including party invites, all we have to do is turn up with the cake, which too by the way, they would be happy to provide – at an additional cost of,course! As if I would assume otherwise! So what is the problem? Just this – all these great places are all booked! sob sob 😦

 Here were some sample conversations with some of the venue managers..

Me, ‘Hi, I was looking to book a birthday party for my daughter – on the xxth.’

She, Oh, I’m so sorry Ms X, but we are totally booked on that day.., would you be willing to shift your party by a coupe of weeks? I might have something then’

Me, ‘ Oh, No, thank you very much for your time’

Or alternative scenario

Phone Ringing… No answer.. please leave your message after the beep!

So now, its very clear that I am very late 😦 Let me see, surely there must be something available!! I have left loads of Voice Messages and emailed every Tom, Dick and Harry! Please please pray for me!

I have done a few useful things though,

– Have found a bunch of party food suppliers:)

-Have found party paraphernalia suppliers (what paraphernalia, you might ask , well, you’ll be surprised to see the amount of stuff that goes in! Parties certainly have become very very sophisticated these days, apparently,you need pinatas, party favours, themed cutlery, and not to forget the most important thing – the cake!! Of course, a lot of websites have loads of advice how an organic, homemade cake is the best – but thats one headache I’d rather not take up..For one, I’m lazy, two, Its going to be very difficult to keep in intact till the party starts!

So please, please pray for me – that I actually find a party venue!! And any advice is welcome:) And no, I really don’t fancy holding it at home 🙂