Friday, November 30, 2007

But I'm J

After all, wouldn't you be pleased that your child was happy to play with someone else other than you?

If they cooed and gurgled in response to someone else's voice?

If a smile as wide as the vast ocean opened up when they saw someone else?

If it was the same person in all the above cases?

The person who will have primary care for your child once you go back to work.

But no. The contrary woman that I have become, it means that I am jealous. There I've said it. I AM JEALOUS. Of my maid :((.

Now it's not that Squiggles spends all the time with her. Usually it's a couple of hours in the day when I go to the gym or if I have some errands to run which would be much faster accomplished if I left her behind. Plus, I think overall she's a clingy child (I told you I was confused) so I consciously want her to be comfortable with people other than me. But the problem is that she's not comfortable with people, just ONE other person.

And it's not as if she prefers my maid over me. If she sees me, she starts clamouring for me. It's just that whenever we're playing together or just chilling out and she spies her, she breaks out into a grin, calls out to her etc. Which is great, isn't it? It's almost as if I want Squiggles to give me all her attention when it is convenient for me to play with her (I know that I am very childish and immature) but also to happily go to someone else when I have other things to sort out but still kind of want me even though I'm busy.

To give credit to my maid, she is super with kids. She has 2 of her own and has a wonderful way with children. Ever since Squiggles was a few days old and in the height of her colicky state, she would manage to calm her down where my mom or I would fail. She keeps advising me on how to handle her. If I'm being reasonable I will listen to her and what she says usually works. So I ask you, shouldn't I be happy??? And I AM. But I'm also J.

*starts beating her head against the screen*

Now I really don't want Squiggles to stop liking her. Honest. Because that would make life verrrry difficult. As I said she's clingy and if the only other person she goes to suddenly falls out of favour, then I've had it. So I don't want this state of affair to stop. But I'm J.

*starts smashing her head against the screen*

I want the sane woman who used to live inside my head back. Pleeeeeasssse come back. Please.

Does anyone know a psychiatrist? A good one.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Of cabbies in Madrid

Madrid was the venue for our 4th anniversary celebrations. I'd found cheap flights on Easyjet long before I found out I was pregnant and way before there were any signs that we would ever move back east. That was our last holiday as a couple.

As with any holiday that I plan, I had meticulously researched the city, its sights and nightlife, weeks before to make sure we wouldn't miss out on the things that we were keen on. I'm a fan of Flamenco. I've watched a few Flamenco performances in London and thoroughly enjoyed them. One of my favourites was a performance by Paco Pena and his troupe at the Royal Festival Hall in May 2004. That was the only time I have ever heard 'once again', 'encore', impromptu clapping and whistling in a performance in London. It was that good.

I was on the lookout for an authentic Flamenco experience in Madrid. A lot of googling later, Corral de la Morreria caught my fancy. Though on the pricier side it could count among its patrons the likes of King of Jordan, several American presidents, many representatives from Hollywood etc. So of course, that decided it :). See, I now have something in common with all of them! I booked our places for the Saturday night show. It was our anniversary that day and this was going to be a special treat.

The restaurant cum theatre was a cosy place. The whole concept was for you to enjoy your dinner while watching the performance in the style of the old days of restaurants/bars hosting artists. Every guide book will tell you that the real Spain starts coming alive after 10pm. No self respecting Spaniard (southern) will consider stepping out for dinner before then. The restaurant had two sittings. All keen to experience the real Spain (in one city!) I booked the late sitting hoping that all the 'tourists' would be in bed by then. Again everyone had the same idea :). When we got there it was already brimming with tourists. But hey we were tourists too, so no complaints.
It was a charming little place. I'd expected it to be bigger but it was comfortably cosy. Tables were within touching distance of each other, the hum of chit chat dominated the air. Candles flickered, creating romantic shadows. As we took our seats the singers came on to begin the performance.

The most fascinating thing I find about flamenco is the music. Even though a lot of people will associate Flamenco with the dance, live music is an integral part and it is that that brings the dance to life. Pre-recorded music just doesn't do it. Flamenco is all about melodious singing accompanied by the Spanish guitar and a lot of rhythmic clapping and foot tapping. As the voice of the lead singer soared in the room I knew we were in for a treat. His voice was mesmerising. And he was soon joined by the other three male singers. The rhythm set by their hands and feet.
And then the dancers in their gorgeous costumes.
Song after song, dance after dance, they continued to enthrall. Dinner was delicious but secondary. Impossible to concentrate on food when such magic is being created. We were disappointed when the performance came to an end an hour later.
But at least it gave us a chance to concentrate on the food!

We had almost finished dinner and were thinking about leaving when the second performance of the evening started. Not sure whether we were allowed to watch it a second time and yet too greedy to leave without being shoved out, we decided to risk it. But no one asked us to leave. Instead we just got drawn in to the show again. Though the artists were the same, the songs and dances were different this time.

At last, mindful of my pregnant state, DD suggested we head back to the hotel. It was past one in the morning. There were a couple of cabs waiting outside.

SM: Look, there are cabs waiting outside. Do you think someone has called them or are they just waiting generally?
DD (helpfully): How would I know?
SM (rolling her eyes upward): Let's walk out to the main road and get a cab there. These guys will charge us extra just because they know we came out of this place.
DD: Don't be stupid. You've spent a fortune in there and now you're worried about a few euros. It's late, you're pregnant and we won't get a cab this late that easily.
SM: Humph... OK, then ask him if he'll go.

DD walks up to the cabbie and gives him the name of our hotel. He nods vigorously and we climb in. I'm secretly glad DD didn't agree with me because I am pregnant and a little tired and I'm wearing heels (vanity thy name is woman)! Of course I didn't say any of this to him. As the cab moved off I had a quick look at the meter. The cabbie hadn't switched it on. I nudged DD.

SM: He hasn't switched on the meter. He's going to take us for a ride. Ask him to switch on the meter.
DD: Stop losing it. He'll switch it on.

100m later.

SM: He still hasn't switched on the cab meter. He will ask us for a ridiculous amount when we get to the hotel. Tell him to switch it on.
DD (again helpfully): What can I do?
SM: Tell him to switch it on!!!
DD: No, you tell him.
SM: You're the guy. You tell him. I'm pregnant. What's the point of you being around? DD, you should be ashamed of yourself.

Very reluctantly DD asks the cabbie to switch on the meter. He promptly complies.
Cabbie: Where are you from? America?
DD: India.
Cabbie: Aahhh.

200m later

The car comes to a sputtering halt. The cabbie turns around with an apologetic look and says in broken English, "Sorry. Car broken. Cannot go. You leave."

We get out of the cab and start walking. 30 sec later the same cab whizzes past us, takes a U-turn and heads back towards the restaurant. DD and I look at each other and burst out laughing. We've been bumped! By a cabbie in Madrid. This is so filmy! You can expect this to happen in Delhi with the autowallahs or with cabbies in Mumbai but Madrid! We were still grinning a few minutes later. It felt like a mini adventure. Stranded in the middle of the night in a strange city, don't know the language, clearly targets for any bullies, pregnant woman on heels, metro shut down hours ago and hotel a few km away. We start walking as we reminisce about all the bollywood movies where we've seen that happen.

After walking for a bit, DD spots a cab across a square and does an award winning sprint to catch the cab, hops in to it and comes to pick me up at the corner. This time we have a nice cabbie. And the hero and his pregnant wife head back to the comfort of their hotel.

I wonder how different this year's anniversary will be. We will complete 5 years in a few days. And what do we have to show for it?

Squiggles and a lot of wonderful memories.

Milestone Alert

Squiggles can now sit on her little tush without any assistance from me for a few seconds at a time. Of course, she soon topples over. One second she's sitting all merry and the next she plonks down side ways, head first.

As a result, the proud parents keep making her sit but more to enjoy the spectacle of her toppling over which always gets a few chuckles going!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Alert - One deaf female coming up

I think it would be an understatement to say that Squiggles has been screaming. Not your normal screams but high pitch cries that have been wreaking havoc on my right ear drum. I am convinced that if this continues for very long then I will soon be enjoying my hereditary deaf genes. And that is going to leave her where? Crying and mummy not picking her up because she can't hear her. Can anyone please explain this to the madam?

Cause for such crazy behaviour is yet unknown. Not that she's crazy but I haven't figured it out yet and until I do I shall classify it as crazy behaviour.

*one finger in the ear to block out sounds*

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The real tag: 22 things every guy wants to know about women

After my little joke here are my REAL responses!

1.How do you feel after a one night stand?
Wish I wasn't wearing heels.

2. Do you ever get used to wearing a thong?

3. Does it hurt?
Only if you have appendages down there!

4. Do you know when you are acting crazy?
Woof Woof

5. Does size really matter?
Yes and whoever says otherwise is lying.

6. When the bill comes are you still a feminist?
Never having been there when the bill arrives I can't really say.

7. Why do you take so long to get ready?
I'm delaying the inevitable.... seeing you again!

8. Do you watch porn, too?
When you're watching it.

9. Will something from Tiffany's solve everything?
That's just one of the ingredients. Obviously here size DOES matter.

10. Are guys as big of a mystery to you as you are to us?
How hard can it be to understand 2+2=4.

11. Why do you sometimes think you look fat?
I AM too fat for the skimpy clothes I want to get into. It would never do for you to say so though.

12. Why are you always late?
What's a couple of hours in the grand scheme of life, eh?

13. Does it bother you when we scratch?
Depends on what you're scratching.

14. Do you wish you could pee standing up?
Yes, so I could squirt you in the face.

15. Why do so many women cut their hair short as soon as they get married?
Just to clarify, which hair are we talking about?

16. How often do you think about sex?
Often enough but that doesn't mean you'll get any.

17. What do you think of women who sleep with guys on the first date?
You want to know where I stand on the issue of multiple partners??????

18. Would you?
If it wasn't clear by my response above, NO.

19. Do you realize every guy wants a girl just like his mom?
That just proves how stupid they are.

20. Why does every woman think she can change him?
Because from time immemorial she has been successful.

21. Does it matter what car I drive?
Yes. Especially if I want to have a go at it.

22. Do you ever fart?
You moron, you think any woman would #17 after that question. No wonder you're left with scratching yourself all the time.

The tag still stands Choxbox, Sujatha, and Suki :).

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Tagged: 22 Things Every Guy Wants to Know About Women

Moppet's Mom is a very crafty lady. She's decided to reveal it all and wants me to join in! Never one to back down from a challenge. Here goes.

1.How do you feel after a one night stand?
My feet ache.

2. Do you ever get used to wearing a thong?
Do you?

3. Does it hurt?
Oh no. You should try it sometime.

4. Do you know when you are acting crazy?
Me? Crazy? What? Who told you that? Tell me their name! Now!

5. Does size really matter?Of course not! (wink, wink)

6. When the bill comes are you still a feminist?
When the bill comes, I'm an opportunist. I never let the opportunity to have someone else pay up pass.

7. Why do you take so long to get ready?
Why don't you take a little longer to get ready? You sure could use it!

8. Do you watch porn, too?
Don't need to, thank you very much!

9. Will something from Tiffany's solve everything?
No. A sincere apology would probably cost you more, but it works much better.

10. Are guys as big of a mystery to you as you are to us?
No. We're not the smarter sex for nothing, you know.

11. Why do you sometimes think you look fat?
Having to hold my breath before I can button my jeans might be a clue.

12. Why are you always late?I'm not.
Why do you assume that a woman will be late?

13. Does it bother you when we scratch?
No, it's natural. Men are just closer to apes on the evolutionary ladder than women are.

14. Do you wish you could pee standing up?
No. But I realise this is a big achievement for your kind, so well done!

15. Why do so many women cut their hair short as soon as they get married?
To relieve boredom.

16. How often do you think about sex?
Nowhere near as often as you do, I'll bet.

17. What do you think of women who sleep with guys on the first date?

18. Would you?
Yes. No. Maybe. Not.

19. Do you realize every guy wants a girl just like his mom?
Really? I'm glad I didn't marry Every Guy then.

20. Why does every woman think she can change him?
Because Every Guy's mom obviously didn't do such a great job.

21. Does it matter what car I drive?
No. It matters how you drive it.

22. Do you ever fart?
Yes. But only YOU can do it on demand.

I tag Choxbox, Sujatha, and Suki.

Friday, November 16, 2007

'Nothing' Holiday tales

I'm trying to think of a word to describe our holiday but I can't think of one. It was just what we needed. Very relaxing and simply wonderful. We did absolutely nothing. Zilch. Na da. Nothing. It was completely different from our usual holidays. There were no planned days, no must sees, no nothing. We ate like pigs, drank like fish, bummed around, wallowed like hippos in the pool, and just did nothing. I know I keep going on about it but one more time.... NOTHING!!! And it was brilliant. I'm all for nothingness :).

Squiggles was wonderful...... most of the time :). As much as can be expected of a 5 month old and much better than our expectation (it always pays to have reeeeaaaaallllly low expectations!).

I have to admit though that I could be found several days before we were due to leave praying fervently that Squiggles would be alright and nothing would prevent us from leaving for our much looked forward to break. Visions of nebulisers kept haunting me. DD had been coughing for several days and I was afraid that Squiggles would catch it from him, thus preventing us from going on holiday. So, for a change, I went around admonishing DD to have more cough syrup, plying him with Haldi ka Doodh (hot milk with turmeric) and asking him not to pick up Squiggles.

Of course once we reached there safely I was constantly haunted by visions of having to catch an earlier flight back home because she was ill. Please tell me that all mums are crazy. I used to be totally bindaas (carefree) before and now find myself going mental with crazy fears.

The flight itself was uneventful for all other passengers including Squiggles except of course for me. Mindful of all the sensible advice given by all my blogging mummy friends I was determined that Squiggles should feed during take off. Quite characteristic of our relationship, Squiggles demanded milk much before take off. I tried putting her off by distracting her and constantly harrassing DD by asking him every 10 seconds "Should I give her milk now? Should I give her milk now?". Finally, as the plane started moving, out of sheer embarrasment from all the squealing and squirming that was going on, I started feeding her. As fate would have it, there was a queue of planes waiting for take off and we had to wait for 5-7 mins on the runway. Predictably against all my determination to feed her during take off, Squiggles promptly fell asleep just as the plane started gathering speed for take off. As the plane rose in the skies I could be seen quite harrassed forcing my nipple into Squiggles' mouth who was quite firm about not wanting it and kept her lips tightly shut. Silly child. I kept trying to force my nipple in her mouth for the next 10-15 mins with DD looking on exasperatedly. I, quite convinced that she was going to be in pain when she woke up, and he, quite convinced that he had gotten on the plane with the wrong woman - an escaped lunatic instead of his wife. Needless to say she was fine and I was perspiring by the end of it all.

I decided to be more relaxed during landing and take my cues from her behaviour. Invariably since I had decided to be more 'cool' about it Squiggles decided that she was indeed very uncomfortable with all the pressure and proceeded to maul my breast and nipple throughout the descent. Sigh.

We finally landed and for a change were not the first ones out of the plane. Gathering the enormous amount of hand baggage - 20 diapers (someone suggested on my blog that I should carry twice the amount that I thought would be necessary, you see), several changes of clothing, god knows how many burp cloths, blankets, car seat, my purse, baby carrier etc. - we couldn't have got off any earlier (we were the last ones off the flight). We were going to get visas on arrival in Phuket so hadn't bothered to apply for it beforehand in Singapore. Since my dad had warned DD that we would need references for our Thai visa application, it was obvious that DD would disregard that advice because of its source! Anyway with my quick thinking and even quicker call to Moppet's Dad, we were sorted.

We collected our many bags and headed out to look for our transport to the resort. Our agent had arranged it and considering the number of things she got wrong I was pretty relieved to spot someone holding up a placard with our name on it. DD loaded all bags in the rear but Squiggles' mammoth pram and car seat could not fit in. There was no choice but for poor DD to hold the pram (or should I say travel system) in his lap in the 30 min drive to the resort :)). If he felt a bit ridiculous arriving at our luxurious resort with this big green thing in his lap he didn't let on. I know if it had been me, the entire 30 min ride would have been punctuated with curses!

Every bit of stress and depression was washed away as we entered the resort. It was twilight by the time we reached there and the resort was bathed in twinkling candlelight. Sounds of rushing water reached us and fresh lotus flowers greeted us as we entered the lobby. It was magical. I couldn't have wished for a more beautiful and romantic setting. Many a time you look at photographs of hotels on websites and cynically assume that it cannot be as good. But for once I was spellbound. It was more, much more beautiful than I had envisaged. Check in was quick and we were led out to a golf buggy which would take us to our villa.

We didn't get a chance to take many pictures of the resort by night but here's one of the bar area.

And a few of the resort in daylight.

There were many firsts on this trip - Squiggles' 1st holiday, Squiggles' 1st flight, Squiggles' 1st stay in a hotel/resort as well as.....

Squiggles' 1st time on a beach

Squiggles's 1st time in a swimsuit

Squiggles' 1st time in a pool

Squiggles' 1st time on a boat

DD's first massage.....!

After being pummeled by a fat woman on the beach DD decided to try out the 'Gentleman's package' at the spa. Now it sounds dodgy I know but considering where we were staying I was confident that DD was safe from amorous advances by thai beauties. He came back thoroughly relaxed and raving and this is what the conversation was like.

DD: That was superb (it's his mot de jour)
Me: Really (wicked smile). So did you umm.... you know.
DD: What?
Me: Did you ... you know.... ummmm........ get.....ummm... (go on to complete the sentence)
DD: You are crazy. Where do you get such ideas from? It was great. I fell alseep halfway through the massage.

Phew.....Very relieved, I gave him a big hug :)). He responded by laughing heartily, big rumbling laughs from a big man.

Another highlight of the holiday was the bonding between DD and Squiggles. She finally saw him for more than 30mins at a stretch and was forced to spend quality time with him while I was spa-ing. Here's DD walking her around in her baby carrier while I gulp down my 4th plate at breakfast (did I mention breakfast was super yummy).

I managed to get two glorious massages at the spa while DD dealt with an inconsolable Squiggles. Did I feel guilty? Nah..... alright just a teeny bit but not enough to stop me!!

This is where we had lunch on our last day.

Oh and I forgot to mention that DD bought me a bottle of Dom Perignon from the 1999 vintage to kick start our holiday. Mainly because I've been going on about the fact that his colleague and he shared 2 bottles to celebrate his impending fatherhood at a time when I couldn't even smell it. And also because he's such a sweetheart.

I feel absolutely great...very refreshed and raring to go. Which reminds me that we're off to Delhi in exactly 3 weeks. Me alone with Squiggles. Now that should be interesting......not.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Deepavali - The Festival of Lights

Feeling very self important a little girl walked hurriedly towards the kitchen. Bending under the shelf she spied the tell tale trail of mustard oil and followed it into the pantry. The bottle of mustard oil in hand, with a skip in her step she dragged out the bag of diyas from the store room. She knew the big roll of cotton was in the medicine cabinet. And finally what she needed was a pack of matches. Tearing a piece of cotton from the roll, she carefully and meticulously stretched it until it was long and thin. She chose a diya from the bag. Carefully she poured some mustard oil and dipped the cotton wick in it. Lips pursed and holding the match far away from her body she lit the diya. Slowly the flame came alive, flickered and then steadied. The glow from the flame of the first diya of the season warmed her heart. As she went about placing diyas all along the perimeter wall of her home, a sense of pride and satisfaction glowed in her eyes. If you looked carefully you could see the diya reflected in her eyes. If you looked harder you could see the same fire burning inside.

Today's fancy ready made diyas with candlewax don't appeal. Painted diyas don't appeal. Tea light candles seem too fancy for something so pure and simple. Fairy lights are a modern invention. It's the traditional mitti diyas that I miss. I miss the ritual of preparing the baatis (wicks), the satisfaction of pouring the oil into the diyas and the gentle sense of everything being right with the world when the diya comes to life.

For me it's Deepavali, not Diwali. It's the hand made diyas not the store bought ones. The excitement of sharing sweets with family, friends and neighbours. Dressing up, wearing pretty bangles and little jhumkas (earrings). As I sit far away, my Deepavali remains incomplete without my diyas. Tea light candles fill in.

Here is this year's diya.

And Squiggles in her Diwali outfit courtesy her Appammai.

Here's wishing all of you a wonderful and happy Deepavali!

P.S. Squiggles has misunderstood the importance of Deepavali. Instead of appreciating it as the Festival of Lights she thinks it's the Festival of 'Drink-as-much-milk-as-you-can'. So we have been spending some quality time together!!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Holiday Holiday Holiday Holidayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy


11 months and 10 days

That's how long it will be since my last holiday. That was to celebrate our 4th anniversary and we chose Madrid. I'd booked our flights months ago, long before I knew I was pregnant. We got a fab deal on our hotel and it was a relaxed and chilled out break.

Now almost a year later we're off again... finally :). DD and I both love travelling. Our holidays are usually action packed and we rarely spend any time in the hotel. Both of us are ever so keen to explore, discover off the beaten track spots and just soak in the atmosphere. While we were in London we would average 1 long break (10 days to 2 weeks) and 2-3 short weekend breaks each year. This was in addition to our annual trips to India but those we never considered as holidays. We would often return back from India needing a holiday after the hectic family and friends meeting, food hogging home visit.

So the need to take a break, get away from the mundane has been gnawing at us. Somewhere at the back of our minds we've been waiting for Squiggles to grow up just a bit and for us to feel more comfortable in our role as parents before we venture out on a holiday with her. So, unlike any of our holidays before, this is purely about relaxing and getting used to holidaying with an infant.

Phuket................ here we come. White sandy beaches and clear blue water. Yummy, spicy Thai food. Heavenly and cheap thai massages. Nothing to do. No cooking, cleaning or whatever. No giving instructions to maid. No grocery shopping. No thinking what should be on the menu today that will meet DD's approval. No gym :). Only DD and me...... oh and Squiggles LOL.

I'm hoping she'll be half good because expecting her to be 100% good is tempting fate. If I can get a massage a day and one other treatment I shall be pleased and purring like a cat. Sigh... I am tempting fate!

It's been a rocky start to the holiday though. I found a travel agent in Chinatown (bad bad idea) and though I didn't have any references, they were affiliated to a major travel group which handles holiday packages on behalf of Singapore Airlines. So I thought they would be squeaky clean and easy to deal with. Boy was I wrong! I have spent several hours on 4 separate occasions trying to sort out what seemed on paper to be a simple plan.

Suffice to say, DD was yelling at her yesterday because she had so screwed things up. I'm not going to go into details but I finally picked everything up from her this afternoon and I hope eveything improves from here on.

Now the trickiest part of the holiday. What do I need to take for Squiggles to make sure she's comfortable and is happy because that is directly corelated to how much we can enjoy the break. So all of you who have gone holidaying with an infant, this is your time to give gyan (advice).

Here are the things I'm struggling with.

1. I give her a bottle of formula to supplement breastmilk. How can I sterilise her bottle and other stuff while we're holidaying without having to buy an expensive steriliser? We just boil her stuff at home at the moment.

2. Can we take her in the pool?

3. I was reading somewhere that infants under 6 months should not be exposed to the sun. Do we need to get her a cap/sun shade type thing?

4. We're planning to buy a baby monitor so that we can sit outside in the garden and use the pool if she's sleeping. Any suggestions on brands if you've already bought one?

5. How do I keep her calm on the flight? What was your experience? What should I be prepared for?

6. Anything else that I should keep in mind? I will be taking her medicines just in case.

Oooooh I can't wait. And even the fact that I don't have a swimming costume and don't deserve to wear one isn't dampening my enthusiasm. I soooo need this. I'm so excited :))))).

I haven't gone yet!!!

I realised from the comments from my last post that everyone thinks I've already left for Delhi. Well, I haven't. In fact I'm not due to go till early Dec :). You see I'm a great planner and so I even worry in advance. But thank you all for your support, helpful suggestions and for not telling me I'm the worst person on this planet. I've finally figured out that if I chill out and let Squiggles be brought up in the goold old fashioned Indian community way then everyone will have fun and so will I. So, thanks for knocking some sense into me.

I realised this morning that I haven't checked my own blog let alone someone else's because it has just been crazy. I have re-surfaced briefly and will try to catch up with all of you. I've had visitors constantly for the last 10 days. In between all of this I'm trying to organise a holiday for the three of us before Squiggles and I head to Delhi and am stuck with a most incompetent travel agent so it's been quite stressful. I used to laugh at SAHM's who used to say they were really busy. Well I'm eating my words now that's for sure. Working life seemed like going to the spa in comparison.

Got to go now but will be back with a bang!!!