Drafted on June 24
And just like that another school year has come to an end.
Ram had a graduation ceremony today as he is moving from lower to upper school in his pre-school. His teacher asked him what he wanted to be when he grows up and his answer was “a drawer”, as in an artist. This has been a big year for Ram, moving from a small home based care to a more formal preschool. He has come a long way – from pull ups to underwear, from singing alphabet songs to recognizing and writing them, and his vocabulary has exploded. His nap time teacher gifted a small pillow that says, “Good Night Love Muffin”, apparently that’s what she whispers to him at nap time. His room teacher made a customized book for each kid in her class that recounts what happened over the course of the year and ends with an introduction to their teacher for next year. They do put a lot of thought into helping kids have a smooth transition.
Hari brought home a bag load of materials from school. Unlike in India where kids follow a prescribed textbook, no such practice here, at least not in the elementary school. For the most part, learning happens at school and is fairly hands on with very little memorising. His progress report showed good progress compared to the earlier term. As part of his writing workshop, he brought home a book that he wrote on ABCs of Third Grade that extensively covers all the things that he learnt in third grade summed up in alphabetical order with his own illustrations to support the text. His writing journal also showed the creative side of him – they had to write about something that they dislike and that turned out to be the ugly brussel sprouts. On the topic of It cracked me up. In history, they learnt a lot about local history, and the civil war. Science was purely based on experiments – smelling, observing, and predicting. Math was fairly rudimentary but I know Hari had fun with FastMath, a software based math program.
Overall, happy and thankful that the kids had a good academic year. Although it may seem like we have years left before they fly out of the nest, we all know how quickly time fleets…! With that thought in mind, we are stepping into summer. Hari’s week is filled with play dates and Ram will be heading back to his home based care for a couple of weeks before his preschool reopens.
So close yet so far. It could have gone either way. They did their best and put up a good fight right till the very end. Hari’s baseball team had an excellent season this year but lost in the final game. It was hard to see the disappointment writ on their little faces. Tomorrow they will see the whole thing in perspective and will come to terms with it, but today they are rather miserable.
On a personal note, Hari pitched very well today. Neither did he walk anyone nor did he let anyone hit a run. For his contribution, he got recognized as the player of the day by his team. Go Hari…!
The school year is winding down in our part of the world. So are the after school activities. More on that soon but here are some little moments for this week.
- Ram experiences life in all its fullness. Lucky me, I get dragged along. “Shall we have a picnic snack mama”, “Do you want to go for a walk”, “Shall we go count the tomatoes.” If not for his spontaneous plans and the intensity with which he wants me to be part of it, I would live life a little less.
- One of the perks of working from home is you get to pick a spot of your choice to work. For a small part of my work day, I tend to settle down in our backyard with the rose bush, which by the way is bursting with roses, within my periphery, and the wind chimes making music in the background. Love it…!
- I don’t consider myself a cook. As in, I am not as passionate about cooking. I detest deep frying. I don’t have the patience for sweets. Baking is fine, but that’s high maintenance too. But I have finally found my niche in the kitchen – making accompaniments…! That’s my new found interest – making salad dressing, hummus, salsa, pickles, and chutneys.
- Da wore his suit from our wedding reception probably for the first time after our wedding. Opened up a treasure trove of memories – our wedding and our initial years of marriage. How much we have changed and how much our relationship has evolved over the years!
- I avoid paperwork in all forms and shapes but couldn’t run away from a couple that were due for the kids this week. And strangely filling those forms, and handing them over at the counter made me feel like I am more involved with the kids’ lives. A lot of life happens while fulfilling day to day chores.
We are inches away from the finish line. The detox program is coming to an official end tomorrow and what an incredible journey it has been…! The group was very committed and extremely supportive, with new recipes and exotic ideas being dished out by the enthusiastic members. And the nutritionist who led this program is a true inspiration. She led us every step of the way, gently guiding us when we felt overwhelmed, challenging us when we were getting cozy in our comfort zone, and putting things in perspective when we showed a tendency to go overboard. God bless her!
The program not only helped us get rid of toxins in our food but also got us thinking about toxins in cosmetics, toxins in plastics, and unhealthy distractions coming from social media indulgences.
Going in, my personal goal was not to see this as a two-week event but an experience that will help me make sustainable changes in our lifestyle. I expected difficulty giving up tea and dairy. While I still feel the pull for caffeine in the evening, I think if I give it more time, I will get over the hump. Here are some other things that I learnt.
- Making healthy well balanced meal is an important task. With so many competing priorities on one hand, and easy and cheap access to processed food on the other hand, it is often easy to underestimate the significance of cooking and let it slip.
- Forget low fat, low carb, low sodium, no sugar. Too confusing, too misleading, too non-intuitive. My new mantra – minimize use of processed food, and sugar. Everything else, eat in moderation.
- Replace regular honey with raw honey. White rice with brown rice. Canola oil with sunflower oil. Regular salt with sea salt. Some simple changes that will make a big difference.
I will start introducing dairy in my diet. I don’t intend to continue with my tea and cheese indulgences. I really would like for us to reserve eating out only for special occasions. I am also slowly weaning ourselves from the use of plastic. I even carried a shopping bag for my groceries this week.
Change takes time. Change takes effort. Change takes determination. Keeping fingers crossed…!
Managed to do the GF diet today and realized that South Indian meals are very GF friendly. Rice, idli, dosai, adai, and other rice based dishes are GF. Chapathis, pooris, dhalias, rava, bread and other wheat based products are not GF. I substituted white rice with brown rice and that pretty much took care of detoxing through the GF diet for today. Today’s meals consisted of oatmeal, brown rice with chickpeas salad, and pesarat dosai. Not very different from our regular meals.
As I pulled the corners of the blue fitting sheet on the twin mattress, I heaved a sigh. Ha, warm and clean, quite the contrast to the stench of vomit this morning. Poor Ram woke up in the middle of the night last night throwing up all his dinner. Just when he was settled and was about to doze off, the second session followed. The child simply couldn’t hold anything, not even water. He was not in form for most of today, but appeared to regain his energy levels towards the end of the day. Keeping fingers crossed.
It feels like the pesky little germs have been partying in our house infecting my children and leaving us with boatload of sleep debt. First it was Ram with cold, and cough. Then Hari had caught a stomach bug, which Ram has apparently picked up. Enough already!
We survived day 1 and day 2 of the detox program. I woke up yesterday feeling sleep deprived, so had a rough start. But Da doing it along with me made a big difference. Plus the group is highly energetic and supportive, that went a long way in helping us stick to the basic plan. The toughest period for me has been from 2:30 to 5:00 P.M. when the craving for caffeine and sugar kicks in. I am not sure if I miss the caffeine or the ritual of making tea more. Apart from that, detoxing seems to be fairly manageable. Caught myself reaching out for kids’ leftover food and snacks. Pre-planning meals and not having forbidden food with easy access seem to be the key. Also received the following useful tips:
- Start the day with lemon in lukewarm water. I am told that this gets rid of toxins in our body. We are adding a twist to it by having a spoonful of fenugreek sprouts.
- We are encouraged to avoid plastics as much as possible. That was in my list of things to do, so this program will help me get my act together.
- Got introduced to the concept called Oil pulling, which is essentially rinsing your mouth with raw sesame oil for 15 mins. Apart from killing germs, appears to be effective for sinus.
Tomorrow is Gluten Free Day. I didn’t factor that in my meal planning so I am giving it a pass unless I can wing it tomorrow with what I have.