Experiences, Family, Gratitude, Hari Katha, Kids, Little Moments, Memories, Milestones, Ram Leela, Uncategorized

Play Ball

Now that Ram is also playing ball, our weekends are spent hopping from one baseball field to another. Some days I wish we had more time to ourselves but most of the days I am thrilled that Hari gets to do something that he is passionate about. If we don’t support him in his endeavors, who else will? 

Hari is playing for the town team as well as for a private club. The former is for fun and the latter is serious training. In the town team, Hari gets many opportunities to pitch, is a good hitter,  and is shining bright. Today the parents from his team lavished praises on him. Got the mom in me thumping with joy. In the private club, the standards are much higher, the players are more competitive, and Hari’s potential is stretched. It’s a humbling experience for him and takes his skills to the next level.

Ram is having a ball at his baseball practices. Mostly, because he gets to hang out with his buddies. It’s too early to say if his heart is in it. Hari complains that he takes too many breaks. “Just let him be Hari.  He is only five years old. If it’s his thing, he will eventually get to it. If it’s not, we will support him in whatever he is interested”  As I put it in perspective for him, I put parenting in perspective for myself.

Da seems to be enjoying the coaching gig. Hari tags along with him during weekend practice sessions and is coaching the little kids, which he simply loves!

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Loss, Uncategorized

Tribute

Today, life gave a knock on my head and sternly reminded me to not take it for granted. 

The culture co-ordinator of my sunday school emailed a bunch of us informing the passing away of a former teacher. A life gone too soon. Three years back she was a living, breathing, smiling, teaching, mentoring, parenting, working individual. She was a second grade teacher in Sunday school, who hand held me on several occasions. She was intelligent, knowledgeable, good natured, and was someone who cared a whole lot for what she did. She taught me a lesson or two on classroom management, and her values have inspired my teaching style immensely. I liked her a lot as a person and respected her even more.

Miss you very much Madhvi ji, my heart goes out to your very young kids. Thank you for mentoring, guiding and being there for me during the initial years.  You made me want to be a better teacher. May your soul rest in peace and may your family find peace.

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Hari Katha, Kids, Little Moments, Milestones, Uncategorized

Middle School

The middle school orientation for kids and parents are done. Hari has made his choice of elective courses,which is pretty straightforward for the first year. Enticed by the prospect of being served Mexican food and a possible trip to Puerto Rico, the child has signed up for Spanish. Between drama and band, he chose band as he has made progress learning trumpet this season. 

There is a tug of war happening at home. Hari thinks that with middle school he will be the master of his universe, and we are overwhelmed with this fierce push for freedom and independence.

I have been talking to a lot of  middle school parents and kids just to get a sense for what is in store. As much as I would love for my kid to be true to himself and not agonize over fitting in, standing out petrifies him. A middle schooler in  This American Life podcast hit the nail on the head when he was asked what made middle school challenging “You get judged by everyone in middle school”. Snapchat and social media are huge I hear. Parents have advised setting clear cut rules for cell phone use and have them signed by the child. Keep talking to him a lot, advised another parent as that’s the biggest challenge with middle schoolers – they shut themselves. A newspaper article pointed out that parents are less confident in their parenting in middle school, as they don’t have the support group that they have in elementary school. 

Deep down we see that Hari is still a tender child. We see reserves of innocence, and the need for parental approval and appreciation. We can sense a rebellious streak but we also see that the child has a conscience. We are looking forward to meandering the maze of middle school years with the child, with empathy, without judgment, by being open and honest.

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Books 2016, Little Moments, Ram Leela, Uncategorized

Reading aloud

Ram is not an independent reader yet, but I am reading far more advanced books to him than what I did for Hari at this age.  I stopped reading to Hari once he started reading on his own, although he lingers and listens when Ram and I read at breakfast.  With Ram, I hope to keep up the practice of reading aloud a little longer.

What a joyful experience it is to read with someone, especially a tiny tot with eyes that show expressions of wonder and comprehension. Ram likes to pick a character as we read along and pretend that he is that character. Then we get silly repeating some of the dialogues from the books. Also, how could I miss out on the  last opportunity to read all the books that I did not read as a child.

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Books 2016, Uncategorized

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

Ram and I finished reading Charlotte’s Web this evening.  It is gem of a book that left us choking as I read the last few chapters aloud for Ram.  The friendship between Charlotte and Wilbur – how very genuine, loyal, and selfless. The prose is sheer poetry in pockets. Not to mention how very funny it is in parts and how very cleverly the author has weaved in new words for little readers to learn. Much fun was had recalling the conversation between Wilbur and Charlotte and the antics of Templeton. Ram and I highly recommend this book.

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Hari Katha, Health and fitness, Life, Little Moments, Uncategorized

Sick Child

Hari stayed home today as he was sick with cold, cough and allergies. Poor child, he had a rough day with incessant sneezing and coughing. I was reminded of the nightmare that his first year of daycare was. It feels  like a different era. He was so puny, was off the charts for his weight, and was a frequent visitor at  the doctor’s office.  Even as a one and half year old, he would bawl every time we entered the parking lot of the doctor’s office as he knew too well what was in store. That phase did eventually pass, thank god for that!

As I called the triage nurse for advise today, I realized that in another 10  years, Hari will not qualify to be seen by a pediatrician. This baby of mine will be an adult child in a decade. And we all know how quickly a decade passes.

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Family, Life, Milestones, Uncategorized, Us, Wishes

Blessed togetherness!

It’s time to reflect and celebrate. 

togetherness

15 years back, a week before my wedding, I had a meltdown. I detested the idea of getting married.  Having to give up my nascent career, acclimatizing to a new family, and starting out from scratch with a person, that I did not know a whole lot, in an unfamiliar environment. If someone asked me what I wanted in a husband? I would have said someone with the same wavelength as mine. I look back and laugh at the naivety of that statement. 

The first year was filled with many firsts. First time flying in an airplane, first time moving to a foreign land, first time making a full meal, first time setting up a house, first time being in a house all day all by myself, first time not working or studying. What should one do with one’s time was the million dollar question that drove me in a whirlpool of self pity.  No car, no washing machine at home. My first brush with American television was at the laundromat. I went to the local convenience store so I could speak in broken hindi to a desi shopkeeper. I got a glimpse into the disparity in America as a I volunteered for an organization that served the  homeless.  Oh the rush and thrill of new beginnings! I look back, wonder and pat our backs for going through the nerve wracking phase without realizing the enormity of it. How could two risk averse individuals like us dare to be so vulnerable when we barely knew each other?

The assimilation into the new culture began slowly. Watching back to back Adam Sandler movies, dressing up for Halloween, daily visits to library, eating falafel, jalapeno poppers and haagen dazs, shopping at Abercombie, 4th of July fireworks, the driving lessons, fishing for friends, friends’ friends, second cousins, and third aunts. The never ending posing for and taking  pictures and getting two copies developed hurriedly to send back home. Keeping track of who is having babies? Should we be having one? Then when do I make something out of myself? Will we be going back to India for good? Who will take care of our parents if we don’t take care of them? Clearly, we had questions but no answers. Da was settling in his job and I joined grad school. He biked to work, and I took our car to grad school. Looking  back, this was probably the phase in which we laid the foundation upon which we have built our lives. We discovered things about each other, and were happy inspite of knowing the good, the bad and the ugly!

Then came other life events – being part of sister-in-law’s wedding, Hari’s birth, father-in-law passing away, getting into the job market, day care struggles, my brother’s wedding, living with mother-in-law, moving into new house, appa’s 60th b’day, having appa and amma over, new nephews and nieces, my grandpas passing away, getting green card, Ram coming into our lives, and so many other happenings. Looking back each of these events have shaped us individually, as a couple, and as a family. They have made us stronger and fond of each other.

Today, marks 15 years in this journey of togetherness. Life has been good, and the times it has not been as peachy, we have found strength and solace in each other. We have made mistakes but we have also learnt how to forgive each other. We fight a lot, but we are also quick to apologize. We have understood what works for us, and the trade offs we are willing to make. We disagree on more things than we agree on, but we accept each other for who we are. We are just glad that we picked each other to go through the journey of togetherness. 

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