Jotting down some notes from a webinar I attended on raising high schoolers. All these seem common sense but they are easier said than done. Noting down some key takeaways for myself.
Listen more, listen better – A lot of times I find myself entering into a conversation with my children with a talk track in mind or with a mindset to give advice or I am royally preoccupied, which means I am not truly listening. My listening skills can use some honing.
React less in the moment – I always tell my kids that even if I get upset in the moment, the frustration is fleeting and temporary. Appa or amma may get upset but always remember that they are your ultimate well wishers. They understand it intellectually. However, their brains are wired to avoid confrontation and unpleasantness in the short term. They don’t think long term. In the moment, seeing their mom upset is excruciating for them. As much as I don’t want to embrace sainthood and keep it real, it does look like I need to put in the work to stay calm and be objective.
Trust them and Praise them – Trusting is not a problem for me but I do tell myself that it is important to verify even when I trust them. For e.g. I trust my child to spend the money I give him wisely but it is good practice to share with me how he spent the money.
Junior year is hard – they are taking tough courses, they have to take SAT and ACT, they are learning to drive, they will be visiting colleges… simply too much going on in that one year. Go easy, stay empathetic, be supportive, be less judgmental, do not be dismissive
Stay engaged and involved – They are physically developed and selectively mature. Often this can mislead us into thinking that they don’t need us as much. Nothing can be farther than the truth! They will not ask for help unless it is too late. It’s good to let them figure out but it’s important to BE there.
… born out of wanting to but not knowing what to write. Don’t tell me, I didn’t warn you.
What do I write?
How much do I write?
Do I even want to write?
There is nothing to write.
It’s the same old stuff.
The same routine.
The same breakneck speed at which life is racing.
The same juggling act.
Days turning to weeks,
Weeks into months,
Months to years,
A few decades go by,
Just like that!
I learn about myself,
And the world at large,
The good, the bad and the ugly.
It’s all a package!
The small differences that I overlooked
Are now staring at my face.
Elders – aging, fading, vanishing
The inevitable cycle of life.
Peers – greying, adulting, whining
Thank God, I am not alone.
Offsprings – love, nurture, and let go,
That’s how it works best!
NOW is all I have,
Off I go,
To live my mostly mundane
In an extraordinary way!
After almost a month of silence, I am back with my Little Moments for the week.
- The big news this week is our kadai kutti has started wearing prescription glasses. A couple of months back when we got a letter from the school regarding vision screening, his eyes welled up at the mention of wearing glasses. He simply didn’t want to be the boy who wore glasses. No amount of coaxing made it an acceptable outcome. But in no time, the resistance melted away, just like that. How do kids do that? What is the knack for not getting trapped in mental narratives? The possibility of wearing glasses made him sad that day, he experienced the sadness in all its fullness. Once done, he simply moved on. He picked a frame exactly like his anna and has been thrilled to bits with his new look and the ability to read long distance.
- At Sunday school, I reminded one of my students, who was perpetually late for all her submissions, about an upcoming deadline. She turned to me and confessed, “It must be frustrating to have to repeatedly follow up with me when you have other things to take care of. I am really sorry about that. I am not good at remembering things.” LOVED the honesty and I was so proud of her for being aware of and owning up her shortcoming.
- Reading City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert. I am still in the first few chapters but it has been a pleasure. It’s a book with glitz and glamour and has a certain playfulness to it. It has brought me much needed lightness at the end of long intensive work days.
- Sunday school mid term is coming up. That is about the only time that I sit with Ram for academics. We are learning about Indus Valley Civilization and the Vedic age. The caste system, Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. Teaching is such a fulfilling and elevating experience. My heart brims with joy after each of these sessions, be it 1:1 with Ram or in a classroom environment at Sunday school.
Hope you are all had a good week. What little moments made your week?
All good things come to an end. So did our holidays. The week leading up to christmas and new year is probably the only time in the year when things truly slow down. And slow down we did! The holidays were brimming with little moments.
- No set routine
- Sleeping in
- Staying up late
- Binge watching Office
- Love notes from two little twin visitors stuck on our refrigerator
- Chit chatting this, that and everything in between with friends
- Cookies, cake, ice cream
- No chauffeuring around
- No scheduling nightmare
We went back to school and work today. Suffice to say we are all suffering from acute case of holiday withdrawal.
20 things that I will be striving to do in 2020. Some of these are stretch goals and some of these are hard to track but I will be striving for them anyway!
- Come up with my 20 for 20 list. If you think this is a low hanging fruit that is an easy one to check off, do not be misled by the seeming simplicity of it. I wanted to do an 18 for 18 list. 2018 came and went but the list never happened. Rinse. Repeat. 2019. So after two attempts of wanting to but not doing, it makes sense that I have it first on my list, don’t you agree? If you do not have a starting point, where do you even begin?
- Read 20 books. Not reading as much was my biggest regret of 2019. Reading does not find a place when there is so much more going on. But not reading is not an option, so have to figure out how to make it happen. Reading at night does not work for me. I will target to read first thing in the morning. If that does not happen, I am just going to drop everything that I am doing, to simply read. All I am targeting is 15 minutes four times per week.
- Weigh 10-15 pounds lighter at the end of the year. This is a moonshot for me. I have done this in the past but every time I attempt to lose the weight I have gained back, it becomes that much more difficult to lose again. Things to remember, I have developed strong inertia for workout and have repeatedly succumbed to temptations this past year.
- 10 baking sessions with Ram. Now that I do less of everything with Ram, this is my attempt to get us more exclusive time with him. Plus all that Sugar Rush watching has us itching to make cupcakes, buttercream and ganache. I know this goal is an irony considering my goal no. 3 but the plan is to abstain from all things sugary and frosty.
- Learn to make one Indian sweet like cashew/badam/milk burfi. The rare times I have attempted to make burfis/cakes they have turned into halwa. It will be kind of cool if I can crack the formula for making it. The whole world seems to be making it in style. I should take interest and make the time.
- Settle into a snack routine during the work week. Our breakfast, lunch and dinner during the work week is normally well planned and we have fallen into a rhythm. It’s snack time that’s the bane of my existence. Without proper snacks, we tend to go overboard with dinner. The goal is come up with few easy grab and go snack options that we can fall back on during the hustle and bustle of evening relay race.
- Get better at making chapathis. I have always wanted to make soft moist chapathis but mine are far from it. I lack the practice it takes to get there. The goal is to make chapatis once per week for dinner and once for lunch (for kids).
- Follow IPL with Hari. Everybody around me watches cricket. I don’t want to be left out! Plus when sports is such an important part of his life for the first offspring, I should at least try to cultivate some interest in some sport.
- Watch one TV series or movie series or weekly movie session with Da. Again this sounds simple but weekdays are crammed and even if we are able to make time, with more gadgets than people at home, it is so much easier to go solo. I resort to watching a rerurn of Friends and Frasier (which are no longer in Netflix I hear, what blasphemy is this?) while Da does rerun of some alien or sci-fi show. But in the past we have had a good time watching shows together (Killing Eve, Homecoming etc.) so would like to work on this.
- Watch one TV series with Hari. We just have one season of Office left. Have to find something that I have not watched and he is eager to watch.
- Learn to operate the TV Projector. Please don’t ask me for how long we have had the projector. Just too many remotes to watch one show. Still… not knowing is not an option.
- Personalize Alexa Show options. I have a tendency to buy and not utilize things. I bought the Alexa for a purpose. There is so much value I can gain out of it. Need to look through options and personalize it.
- Set up the underutilized shelves and storage spaces in the house. These underutilized spaces can add so much value to the everyday quality of our lives!
- Residual clean up of the yard, remove weeds and plant perennials. I have wanted to do this forever. But I realized that I like the idea of doing it but not actually doing it. Need to find it fixed.
- Internalize dance items that can make up for one margam. Doable but needs consistent efforts. Also, easy to forget the items if not reviewed consistently. The goal is to build muscle memory so with a quick review it will be easy to recall.
- Write 48 blog post for 11 months. I am not counting Thanksgiving month and posts in that month as I have fallen into a routine of a day a post that month. This year, I want to learn to write by showing and not telling, purely for the joy of learning how to do it.
- Learn to do eye make up. Not the eye shadow kind but just learning to use eyeliner. All I can do is Lakme kajal stick. Will be fun to explore other options and see if I can do it.
- Do a Shutterfly album of Hari’s upanayanam. Yes, it will be two years this May and yes, we do not have a single hard copy of the function.
- Learn to recite Vishnu Sahsranamam fluently. The goal is not to memorize but read it fluently. In honesty, I had this as a goal for 2019, made some progress but would like to push it towards completion.
- Weekly rituals with the kids – game night with Ram, cuddle and read night with Ram, check in with Hari.
Strive to do better.
Strive to get better.
Strive to be more present.
Strive with momentum, overcoming inertia and temptations.
Strive with acceptance, including accepting resistance and denial.
Strive with things that are within my control.
Strive in spite of things not in my control.
Strive one day at a time, one goal at a time.
Acceptance of the present moment. Being in your doing. Clarity in your thoughts. Conviction in your actions. Courage in your voice. Faith in your efforts. Determination to overcome setbacks. Dreams fulfilled and goals accomplished. Relationships and friendships that nourish you. Abundance of tender, love and care. Robust health, sound intellect, and peace of mind. I wish you all these and more, in the coming new year and always! Happy and meaningful 2020 to you and yours.