Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Farewell for Mothers!

Now who would have thunk that?

In kiddie's school - us under appreciated mothers were given a farewell - by the teachers and the 'junior' moms. It was such a shockingly pleasant experience - other than the fact that it was indeed a 'farewell' that I was quite emotional by the end of it.

My back is holding up better now (touchwood!) so I was able to attend the event + Have also started organizing the long neglected workspace!

Its good to be better! What say?

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Sick Leave!

A quick post to remind you that I still exist!

Been a sickly last few days - very sore back combined with yet another flu-like attack and I've been flat out quite literally! So much so that out of the last 72 hours I may have possibly spent 36 sleeping! Its been quite crazy for even me to cope - I'm still somehow managing childcare duties while sleeping/lying down in all the time in between :(

Add to that - its Christmas next week, and apart from putting up the tree and crib (which the Kidlet and the husband actually did)..nada..nothing!

I feel so low, but I guess I'd rather get better than worsen my condition by over stretching :(

So thats news from me then.

Ciao!

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Behind that door..

I ran. Fast. Out of breath. Lungs bursting. Legs hitting the earth. I thudded up the path, around the corner, right up the stairs and reached the door. I flung it open and..

It was pitch dark. And quiet. Only the slow creak of the fan that moved unseen above, broke it. I stepped into the cold floor, instinctively leaving my slippers behind. She had never liked my coming into her room with my footwear on. She had never said so. But I had always known, even whilst breaking this unspoken rule.

As I moved in, I could feel her presence. She never had had a bed of her own. But the last time that I had visited her, there had been one. A metal contraption of the kind that she would never have approved of, had it been her choice. As my eyes got accustomed to the darkness some of the first shapes I could see were that of the IV stand, tubes running down its length and a white basin placed at the foot of the bed. The rest of her bed was one amorphous being.

I had been told not to bother. She would most likely not respond. The doctors were doing their best to keep her out of pain, I had been told. She slept through the days, waking only to scream and be calmed down by medicines.

A memory flitted by in my mind as I moved towards her bed. I was five then. Mother had gone on one of her field trips. Only Baba and the other servants were there at home. Bhai had left the room after touching my forehead but once. 'Oh no, you are ill again' he had said. He was thirteen then. Meena had comforted me all through the night, as my body raged with fever and sleep came in the form of nightmares. She was not allowed to sit on my bed and even though there was no one to remind her of this all night, she stood there for all those hours. Patting my forehead down, and praying beneath her breath for my recovery.

I could see her now. Her mouth open and coverlet askew.  I picked up the basin of water that lay near her feet and readied a cloth to wipe her mouth. Meena would not approve. But this was my choice. In gratitude to the woman who had lived her life without many choices, but had helped bring up one who had fought and won her right to choose.

THIS POST IS PART OF THE MARATHON BLOGGERS WEEKLY THEMED CHALLENGE. THE FIRST PARA OF THE POST WAS THE PROMPT FOR THIS STORY THEMED CHALLENGE :)

 


Friday, 14 December 2012

Holiday blues

The cards spell out JOY..Peace..
Tis is the season of sparkling stars and mistletoe..
Of warmth and togetherness and lots of good food...
And if you are a real Christian - a season for worship, introspection and forgiveness ..
But when it comes to Christmas time - all I feel is a certain dampness in my heart...
It's been years since any if the above was even remotely felt. All I can feel is a heavy sense of getting through the days with as little emotional effort as possible.
This is the only time of the year where I resent planning anything - because as luck would have it - these plans never turn out as they were supposed..
Now, we just go out of town on those days and spend Christmas with our families in whatever way they deem worthy. It feels like a lot less effort - but also a lot less return.
Why am I on a rant about this? Because deep down I believe that every family should have its festival traditions - and ours has yet to make any .. It may be a whimsical, impractical desire - but that does not stop me from wishing for it! And that is the reason I feel blue as write this Christmas card to you :/

On failure..

As part of the marathon blogging effort this month - I had to write one post every day .. And I managed to - for 12 days - but what happens on day thirteen? I slip. I feel miserable. If what I want to do in my life is to write for a living I need to keep deadlines.
But enough of self pity and flagellation :/ I'm picking up from where I'd left off - because giving up forever was never the plan !
How is it going for you all.. What are the resolutions and challenges that you are fighting to keep up with ?

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

When we fall

Like she did today ...

There you are, going about your own business, doing the things that you are supposed to be, worrying about trivialities - and your child falls.

There is something second splitting about watching your child fall or get hurt. Everything is in slow motion and unfurls frame by frame. And yet your feet do not move fast enough. And then there is that sickening thud when there is impact .

In retrospect you wonder if you froze for an extra instant. Couldn't you have been faster. Was it your fault that it happened in the first place? Were you not supposed to be more vigilant to start with?

Where are the answers when one needs them? Where is the reassurance when the pain that your child bears crushes you with guilt? What do you do when you know that you have failed without even having tried too. But most of all why does it hurt more in your heart than it possibly could have hurt your bruised child?

Monday, 10 December 2012

What I would like for X-mas



A world without stereotypes :)

Gifts that are not pink

Toys that do not scream dress up and coy

Stories that are not about happily ever after

And treasures that ARE thoughtful and interesting instead

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Of a lazy lump and a Lit fest..



So the weekend before the big event (Ya,ya..the fun fair!) and all I wanted to do was to curl up under a blankie and sleep. But what do we have instead? PLANS. Suddenly in my usually go-with-the-flow pace of my life there were plans.

My in-laws are here and they really wanted to visit the Mount Mary church in Bandra. Saturday morning was fixed for the excursion - and since the TOI lit-fest is happening in Bandra, I made hopeful noises about attending a session or two after church. It helped that two authors whom I've read and sort of admire ( Suketu Mehta & Katherine Boo) were doing a session together.

So we all went up to Bandra and visited the church. After which we made a pit stop at Candies which really did me in. The stuporous travel, followed by the soporific lunch made me want to do just one thing - go back right where I belonged - under the blankie! Yes ..:(

Instead, what I had was an enthusiastic bunch egging me to go to the lit-fest. 

'You already are in Bandra. All you need to do is walk in to Mehboob studios' 

'But I need to use the Loo!'

'I am sure there are loos around this part of town'

'But how will I get back? I don't know this part of town'

'How long have you lived in Bombay? You can always ask. We will send the car back' (Also hinted: How old are you exactly?)

'I don't want to go alone'

'Do you want me to come with you?' (This from the husband - who errrm does not really make a great lit-fest partner..sorry A)

Anyways, the majority won and I was left huffing and puffing along with the artsy crowds (what is it with lit-fest and fab-india kurtas and kohl-lined eyes and wooden beads and unmade hair?) . Anyways, I luckily found myself a companion after a very frantic whatsapp session. I got a seat in the front row!! (Yay!) Managed to do some celeb type spotting (Kiran Desai, Nandita Das and of course the aforementioned speakers) and finally felt my apprehensions melting away as the session progressed..

And for that I need to thank the husband, the parents and of course the kidlet - I think I had forgotten how it feels like to have some time of unbridled enjoyment not festered with guilt! I sort of liked doing this - and be prepared A - next time you may not have to try so hard to convince me ;)


Saturday, 8 December 2012

Blast from the Past!

This post is part of the 'Marathon Bloggers' challenge that I am doing this month! The themed post for this week is 'Blast from the Past'. You need to be glad that I did not find the picture that I had actually wanted to post about - it would've been one weepy washy tale ;)

Instead I give to you : The fried fish from Namma Bengaluru!



Alright - jokes apart - that is me standing in the back. And the sweet lady who is seated is my first ever Boss! Yes, you guessed it - my first job! My first gig after doing the all important MBA, landing a job in a land far away from home and even living all by myself!

Though I do look like fried fish ( I did go through a no-makeup phase, eh?) there is a reason why I like this picture - and if you haven't noticed - I am THIN!! And I am wearing WHITE pants! I had forgotten  that I ever owned a pair in that colour - let alone merrily wore it to work! 

I also like the picture a bit because of the T-shirt I am wearing - it was partly designed (ok, only the words on it were) by me - and it was not the only one created. It was part of the merchandise that we had made for a play we had done at MICA (my alma mater).

But mostly I like the picture because it reminds me of youth, of new beginnings, of the sweet promise of tomorrow, of a new phase of independence and responsibility that was just taking off...





Thursday, 6 December 2012

100 cupcakes to X-mas..

..really, don't ask..
 
two words

FUN FAIR

in my daughters school!

What do I have to do, in this parent sponsored jamboree?

Image : cutefoodforkids.com
1. Bake a 100 cupcakes - ice them in a X-masy theme - pack them in individual packages.

2. Be 'Props in-charge' for a puppet show. Have you seen puppets. How tall are they? What do you think their shoe size is? Do you know a clever way of converting 'sexy-suzy' teacher puppet into old graying 'aunty-carol' puppet?
Image : allthingschristmas.com

3. Buy christmas decorations for a classroom the size of an average Bombay living room - not bad you say. Now hand me a budget of 1000 Rupees. Oh wait, don't smudge your manicure (of how many rupees?) while you are handing me that note ? :/

4. Buy raffle tickets. Sell raffle tickets. And how will a raffle ever be one without your generous contribution to the raffle prizes? What did I hear you say ? A lose-lose situation? Close.

5. Wear a two-sizes too small T-shirt in a dried puke hue which screams out to the world that you are 'Super Mom'. If that doesn't do it for you - heaven knows what will.









Disclaimer
: This is a totally fictional post. All rants and complaints are of an imaginative nature. I am of course a very happy to help, Bree incarnate, Mom-in-chief! 





Monday, 3 December 2012

Home Improvement..

Ok..let me begin by saying that I am not one of those eternally arty and crafty people. And this is not to say that I do not admire people who are! On the contrary, I perk up at the sight of a beautifully done up house, or corner, or store, or anything. I lurk around on decor and interiors websites which give me an instant pick-me-up! It is a dichotomy in my personality that I find most difficult to reconcile (Which basically means I can sit in the middle of what essentially is a pigsty and drool-drool-drool at pictures of stunningly done up spaces or art projects!).

Why am I going on about this you ask? Because, I just got over with a mini home-improvement project just about an hour back. This involved mostly added shelving and juggling around of a few fittings. And I am exhausted. And - the house looks even more chaotic than it was before..hmmm! How do these guys who do it so well, and make it look as simple as a-1-a-2-a-3..do it?

Image Courtesy : Design Sponge
Image Courtesy : housedecorationx.blogspot.in
Well, since I am still trying to figure that one out and simultaneously looking at pictures of what I would like my workspace to look like...I've decided to share some inspiring home office pictures with you all.

Most of these pictures have a white accent - but unfortunately my workspace is cream and brown! But oh - I love these home offices - don't you ?

Image courtesy : cbc.ca
Image courstesy : housetohome.co.uk

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Food memories

This year has been full of interesting ideas and people as I have already mentioned.. part of which has been participating in the NaNoWriMo (or the national novel writing month!) - albeit ever so briefly and now I have signed up with the marathon bloggers - which means one post every day - all of December!!Yay!

Which brings me to the topic of conversation for today - food! Indeed I have come to believe that food and blogging have some sort of illicit relationship, you know. Every second blog I go to has got to have delicious, delectable, drool-worthy pictures and recipes and soliloquies about food, food, and food! And oh my lord - am I complaining? Not at all!

So, heres the thing : as part of a food based theme, I've brought it upon myself to write about 5 memorable meals that I've had. That cannot be difficult, can it? Lets find out.

My trajectory of food appreciation (or rather the realization that there are food categories beyond dal, chawal and chocolate) began only after I got married. My idea of food heaven was the Hot Chocolate Fudge at Nirulas..and as you will see, not much has changed.

So ladies and gentlemen, here is presenting my 5 favourite food memories of all time:

1. Hot Chocolate Fudge at Nirulas, New Delhi
Do not tell me that you are from 'the Dallee' and don't know what the HCF is. When I was in college (a seriously long time ago) Nirula's was THE place to hang out. And the HCF was THE thing to have. With its generous dollops of thick fudgy chocolate and ice-cream and nuts - it was just the treat to be had by poor starving students. There are days in hot humid Mumbai, that I seriously crave HCF - but have yet to find a worthy equivalent. Anywhere! (Not even the Frozen Hot Chocolate at Serendipity NY). So there.

2. Anything with Pesto Genovese
Ok, I have a little food crush - and it is green and sort of slimy. It goes by the name of Pesto and originated in quaint little Genoa. I had it for the first time at its place of origin (yes - bragging rights - fresh off the mortar in Genoa). It surprised my taste buds with its flavour and yumminess. I am no food blogger - but really I have since been hooked to this divine accompaniment - and use it with everything - from parathas (gasp) to Cheese sandwiches - with Italian hari chutney like I call it!

3. Hot dogs in NYC
Image Courtesy : tooflynyc.com
This should be banal, I thought. What's the big deal about a piece of bread with a sausage? Oh, but how wrong I was. I hereby declare the NY Hotdog the best on-the-go food in the world. The sheer simplicity and taste make it win the prize. Trust me, I love the Bombay vada-pav (and I live next to Ladoo-Samrat!), but the hotdog made with its melt in your mouth bread with the cooked just right sausage has won me over. No accompaniments needed. Heaven.

4. Death by Chocolate at Corner House, Bangalore
When people think of Bangalore, they think of gardens, of cool breeze, of pubs maybe, but leave me to it and I'll come up with Death by chocolate. So much decadence on one plate is criminal. And I can confess to have indulged in this crime multiple times. It really is a good thing I don't live in Bangalore anymore.

5. Bircher Muesli, Switzerland 
Image Courtesy : myswitzerland.com
Bircher Muesli is an acquired taste - but once you acquire it, it is difficult to forget or not to lust over. Made right (unfortunately only happens in Switzerland) it is the ultimate cold breakfast. With its creamy undertones, bursting berries and inherent mealiness (I am not really trying hard to be poetic here!), I just cannot begin to describe how refreshing a bowl of well made Bircher Muesli can be.

And that dear friends are the top 5 food memories that I can think of. You may notice that they are not very well refined - and mostly fall into the 'junk' food category. Do not judge me please - I can savor a fruit salad as well - as long as it is pepped up with some lime and chaat masala :)

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Happy Birthday Blog

Yipee! Yay! Fantastico....ribba-dubba-gazoomba Ganganam style! We are ONE today!

This blog officially celebrates its first birthday - and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you, you and you (because you know there are still just three of us who read it )..No sweat though.

It has been a pretty good year for me (touch - wood, trees, roots, shrubs!! really) and it all pretty much can be traced back to around the time I started this blog. We had just moved house - into a new complex, which greatly improved our quality of living. And by that I do not mean in the social pecking order. It has been good for kidlet, good for me and the spouse in so many different ways. So theres that.

And then there is the positivity that this blog has seemed to signal. The first blog that I ever started back then in 2006 was called 'Suspended Imagination' - you can pretty much imagine how far that could have taken me. Then I went on to a hugely imaginative motherhood blog called 'So the house is a mess' - yes, the truth lies in the point of view. Do you really need to know more about all the other fledgling ideas I had? (Hint : Consumer Research, Design (!)). But even though I still harp on and on about general interest randomness - at least I am having fun doing it - refer to blog address, it is fun times around here :-)

And now for a tiny announcement - and no its really not what you were expecting to hear : I have started a new website - thechildrensdaily.net ! Why and what you ask.


Why? Very simply, since I have been badgering my head around trying to get this freelance writing thing right, I though to myself let me at least start writing something useful which will get me practice and get feedback.

What? All the news a Parent can use is what I am planning to write about. Which means, news and discussions from around the world which can be good to know for parents. Written in bite sized features - you see I have always been a big De Witt Wallace fan.

And that's that then. I would be hugely grateful to you if you could visit the site and leave comments and feedback for me. And that would be the best birthday gift this blog could ask for :-)

Cheerio!





Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Mamma Baby Mamma

You are a Mom. You are a baby.

My Mom, she still thinks of me the same way like I think about Kidlet. Which essentially means if I don't pick up the phone for more than an hour of her trying (mobile-landline-mobile) there is just cause for panic. Things like naps, school appointments, silent mode are not excuse enough. "But, I was worried about you!" she always gasps, while I roll my eyes on the other end of the line.

And you thought growing up into a mother would make you less of a kid. Tough luck there!

I am my mother's youngest child. She had me when she was 45. I had my baby when I was 27 and am exhausted by parenting already at 32! Where did this woman get the strength to bring a baby into the world at 45 I wonder. And oh, I forgot - I was baby number seven. I ask my Mom sometimes, "Why? Why did you do it". She is totally dismissive of the question - like any doubts never occurred to her.

Now in her late 70's she claims to be tired. I would be surprised if it were otherwise! But that doesn't stop her from pressing on. Each phone call is an exhaustive newsletter of which child and grandchild of hers is doing what. She and my Dad still get into elaborate machinations when any one of us even remotely needs any help. And here I am looking forward to the day Kidlet passes out of college and gets a job.

I look at her and I wonder why people stick on to this parenting gig. Heaven knows it gets a lot of flak. You are constantly under scrutiny and not to mention are second guessing every decision you make. To top that, every one of your child's heartaches becomes your own. And there are new things to learn every step of the way - theres nary a let-up! But here we are, my Mom and I - trudging on with a commitment we made to that one little heartbeat that decided to leap into our world.

My name is Nidhi. I am my baby's Mom and I am my Mom's baby. And I am proud and happy that I can claim to be both - oh wait I need to answer that missed call, before we get all panicky again ;)

Friday, 26 October 2012

Upheavals and then some settling down!

So, the good news is that the significant other and I have completed 7 years together! I for one am just rolling back and forth in the time reel to process how that ever happened. I mean, when one gets married, one doesn't really prepare for milestones like these, no?

It has been a sort of fun month too. Kidlet has her concert coming up at school and we have a slightly modified schedule, which involves her leaving very early and staying at school for an hour more. Though it has been an upheaval of sorts - from school at noon to the crack of dawn can be one!

There are other things too - which I am so grateful about. And given the fact that I find more occasions to whine than to sing about, so to speak, I would prefer to dwell on the positives for a change this month. For starters, I danced. As in really really danced. If my math and memory serve me well its been a decade since I well and truly let my hair loose and danced. And it just happened. Without much planning, at the most innocuous occasion (Husband's office party, if you must know!) my heels just started clicking together - and there I was on the dance floor - and boy am I glad I did that. Otherwise who knows how long I would have kept those hips just lying around. Ha, ha, ha..ok, not funny!

Next item on the agenda has been getting back on the career track. With some hits and several misses. Still a fledgling as a freelance writer. Though I know it would be way easier to get back to Research (my previous full time wage earning profile!), I really want to make my way forward as a writer. This month I had a few positive meetings with people interested in my work - so fingers crossed, lets see what comes of it! There are also some ideas that I really would like to see take wing - so fingers crossed for that as well - but lots of anticipation too :)

If you have been reading my blog (fat chance, I know!) you know of my guilt about not blogging about the kidlet more. But help is here! Blogadda has started a new platform for parent bloggers called Parentous.com. And guess who appears in their Wednesday offering? Kidlet, of course!

And on that happy note, I wish you good tidings with a promise to be back sooner next time with a more well thought through post. Have been battling a sinus infection - and am not sure if it is the clogged airways or the medication, but I'm quite out of breath nowadays - ah well, you cannot win 'em all, eh?






Friday, 5 October 2012

An Uncomfortable truth..

As I type this, there is a voice inside me telling me not to do it. "Don't do it, don't go out and tell the world what a horrible terrible mother you have been."

What exactly am I talking about? Like the world (or at least those in India ) wakes up to daily updates of baby Ahuti who died at the hands of her mother - I feel fraught with despair, not just for the poor poor child who died a death so brutal but also for the mother who was obviously over the edge and desperate. By no means can I condone her actions but as details of the case emerge - of a mother with three children - two of them premie twins with obvious care needs .. Children who cried and screamed through the night - and ostensibly no or very little help for the mother...I can somewhat see how the tragedy could have unfurled. Though the extent to which the child (children?) was abused is simply bone chilling, I simply cannot join in on pointing fingers at the parents with righteous outrage.


The reason being that several times in the past five years I have felt on the verge of hitting my child. Out of despair, frustration, tiredness..anger! I know many of you would say - but of course - most of us feel like that at some time. But what I am talking about is another feeling - one which involves grievous body harm - a feeling of harming your child so badly that it shuts up, quietens down - acquiesces..submits. The feeling I am talking about is at the edge of desperation and would according to me qualify as being beyond the ambit of anger and sense.


It happened to me more than once. This feeling that I am talking about. When kidlet was younger than a year old - I would sometimes scream - at her, at the walls..or into the towels in the bathroom. I possibly had post partum depression - who is to know. Since we lived abroad with no family or support around - my desperation just kept getting exacerbated. My child was fortunate that I did not take out the violent feelings that I felt onto her during that time. Really- I am grateful for whatever last vestiges of sanity that I had for keeping me from doing anything stupid - either to myself or my child.


I took anti depressants ..vented out on online forums .. Cried, cribbed and shouted at my husband..nothing provided respite. Then one day, I got a glimpse of how dangerous I could become. It was one of the nights that my husband was away. My daughter - always a fitful sleeper was not only awake but crying - a persistent whiny cry. I tried to pat her, carry her, sing, feed ..she would not budge - the whining persisted for the next few hours. I was exhausted - I implored her to quieten down ( she was around 20 months old) she responded by increasing her pitch. I raised my voice - the whining turned into full fledged crying. I shouted. She cried even louder. Then almost by its own volition my hand raised and rested with a resounding 'thwack' on my daughter's back. It was all quiet for a second. I looked at my daughter in the darkness and I could barely make out the shock in her eyes..and then I hit her again on the back..yes I did it twice. And even as I cried I felt the worst feeling that a mother ever should - that of feeling good after hitting her child. That one second of shocked quiet felt good. Good sense made me pick her up and take her to the living room and switch on the lights before I could do more harm. My daughter continued to cry. But suddenly I was numb to it because I was too shocked by my actions, too scared of myself. I begged my uncomprehending child for forgiveness. Later that day I would confess my actions to my mother and husband. They both reacted as they should - cautiously understanding but asking me to find ways to control my rage.


After that day, I became truly aware of how dangerous I could become under the combined influence of whatever environmental and biological factors that there were..and I knew I had to be very very cautious of myself. I would be lying if I said that I never again felt like hitting my child. Several times when I felt myself moving into that mood I rushed to another room - shouted, screamed, threw things around .. Put on music and closed my eyes .. But thankfully I managed to resist the urge to hit her again. The guilt and shame of that time has stayed with me though. Every time I remember that instance (and now that I write about it) I want it to have never happened. And then when cases of parental abuse come up in the media, I shiver and recoil in terror. Maybe I never could have actually committed such violence but my experience has shown me how darkness can seep through into what is otherwise painted as the most wondrous time of your life - motherhood.

I am not sure if I can do a 'moral of the story' sort of end to this post, but the reason I wrote about this is to admit to the tumultuous nature of parenting. Not every motherhood is hunky dory and filled with play doh and gurgles and all things happy. For some, parenting can the most painful, challenging thing - it would be good if we could accept that as being a possibility. 

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Junk Happens..

The morning was spent clearing up. Associated junk everywhere. Things that I do not remember willingly bringing into the house have comfortably settled into their nooks and crannies. And the darned part is this -most of this 'junk' is glue and paper, glitter and scribbles - you guessed it - painstakingly ( or maybe not) created art and craft.
When one first has a child, each milestone that she achieves - be it hand eye co- ordination, colour recognition, pattern drawing etc. etc. - one proudly starts documenting and displaying . Then the inevitable happens - there are too many of these sticky gluey things all over the place . A dough frog starts looking a more realistic green, because it has actual mould growing on it . And dry mud filled pots which have long forgotten spores populating your allergy inclined nostrils. Glitter makes a constant appearance and you start recognising paper mâché by its smell.
When kidlet was younger most of these craft projects were home based.  There is a framed smudge of paint on my walls - something the lil Picasso had made when she was just one. Awww? Not really. I wince every time I see it - my only hope is that when she has kids of her own I can palm it off on them and tell them their mum made it when she was... Anyhow back to the present. Nowadays it is not just school and assorted classes which despatch cartloads of craft that my progeny has created, the eternal irritant - birthday parties - have also started churning out much of the same . How many name plates , hand prints, puppets and so forth can one deal with ? And relegating to the dust bin feels like such a criminal waste.
Honestly I sometimes feel overwhelmed by the amount of things in my home that have some stamp of kidlet on them. Sure I try to appreciate the effort and thought that goes into making these things - but need there be so many ?
What do you do with the arts and crafts overflow in your house? How do you deal with it? I am toying with the idea of keeping one carton - and pruning it every year to have only enough things that fit that size carton.  I plan to have memories, but not so many that they ramble onward with silverfish and mothballs in their tow!

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Adjusting around..one rented home at a time!

Wow! I cannot believe I am writing this post out almost one year after moving into my new home! It is annoying to think that there still are rough edges to be smoothened over all around, things to be fixed and yet many more things that are still waiting for their own 'space' in what is fast becoming their old home. Welcome to my world of a Mumbai 2 BHK - 2 bedroom-hall-kitchen i.e.
This home of ours, which comes at a rent so high that one has to whisper and look apologetic while mentioning the sum. Apologetic, simply because it sounds (and feels) like a criminal (bleeding, bleeding!) waste of money. Granted there are so called amenities - club house, pool, etc. etc. but travel up just a few kilometers and the monies for something similar would be significantly lesser - and not to mention less polluted! Anyhow, that rant is for another day.
For the time being my bone of (dis)contention is the fact that I am still 'adjusting' us into our new home. By that I mean, our needs, our belongings and our differences in height. Do not consider the last bit jest. Consider this - tables. To begin with the dining table. Since the spouse had cleverly allocated furniture purchases to yours truly(within a certain budget of course), I had shopped according to my tastes and abilities. I brought home a fairly simple glass topped dining table with a cute under pane of glass - you know like a display rack? When the table was delivered, what do we have but the husband going ahead and knocking himself on wood. No, seriously - he of the 8 extra inches than me length has his knees knocking into the aforementioned 'under-pane' wood, every single time he sits down at the table! And since given the size of the house, we do not have a separate work area for him (as yet - more on that later!) he has to sit at the dining table to work. And needless to say I don't have the heart - or the moral right indeed - to stop him from eating dinner, sitting on the sofas.
Without going into what happens to be very many such instances - big/small, equally niggling - all I can say is that things can get pretty uncomfortable. This happens to be the 5th house that we've moved into in the last 7 years. And this is discounting some short term rentals! And obviously, over the years we have collected some furniture - depending on that particular life stage and - woe- shape and size of the house! And I have come to believe that my wood is just like me - too bloody stubborn and with a mind of its own - in most cases it doesn't fit in and sticks out like a sore thumb! There I've said it now.
I know it is quirky yet to be expected in lives such as ours - lived as it is in homes we do not own. I neither have the heart or the money to throw out all that is old and keep getting new things every time we move. In a way it gives us semblance of continuity in our married story - like all good home furniture should. There are broken bits and scratches that shout out an anecdote every time we pass by. And since I'm not much of a photograph chronicler - these are more permanent markers, however hotch potch! Now only if I didn't get a backache every time I sat at my 'desk' - a chair I bought as a newly wed snuggled next to a builder built console - in a drastically different colour too. Sigh!

Monday, 20 August 2012

Stay at home holiday for a stay at home Mom!

This has been a long weekend. A six day long one to be precise. Thats a perfect holiday length and the time of the year is good too. So, what stopped us from packing our bags, upping and going off to someplace nice(r)? In the land of aplenty, ennui has set in, unfortunately.
For the last couple of years, after having been housebound for a short while with a young kidlet, we have been intrepid travelers - like many others of our socio economic milieu. Like my corporate slave spouse will vouch - getting away from it all has become a necessity more than a luxury. The pace of our lives, generally sky high stress levels and lesser and lesser 'family-time' as such has ensured that a 'holiday' is the best thing that the good doctor could prescribe for people like us. We have willingly joined the generation of weekend travellers - looking forward to 'long' weekends with the impatience of milk starved puppies - or some such!
This weekend was a much anticipated one to begin with - 6 days yaar! Thats enough time to go to Bangkok for a combined spa/retail therapy holiday. We also have half a dozen nations which await us with visa on arrival only. Woe be to us - last year - this is exactly what we did. Hopped on the next available flight to a south east asian country - only to be greeted by half of Mumbai there! Trust me I like a familiar face or two - but entire batches of people you know? Anyways, that also is beside the point. Like a frequent flyer will tell you - after a while airports all merge into one and traveling is hardly unique - and much less -de stressing. And traveling with kids honestly - is - for want of a better word - a pain! Young kids can be annoying and demanding - and travel can bring out the worst in them. I have done enough holidays by now to really really dread trips that involve me travelling alone with the kidlet. However many electronic gizmos you may have at your disposal - there are ear aches, tantrums, spills and managing gazillion tit-bits of hand baggage and kid while making a visit to dirty loos in airports, petrol stations, burger joints etc. etc. etc..! Needless to say, over the years I have become one unhappy camper. I dread holidays. Especially since the days and opportunities for solo holidays are long gone.
Enough complaining now, no? Today is the 6th day of the aforementioned 6 day holiday. One has survived living at one's own address for the said time period. More importantly the kidlet does not look very deprived of the 'lost' opportunity of travel and widening her worldview (or any other such lofty aspirations we sometimes try to ascribe to our wanderings!). We have entertained ourselves with swimming, mundane other classes and vapid visits to Hamleys - not to mention going down to celebrate Independence day instead of being outbound from the homeland! I have not gone out of the way to do anything remotely educational or crafty - or inspired. I've just let things be. The plumber and electrician and other sundry workers have been around to fill in the hours. Its been life as usual. Television has been used as a baby sitter and Mommy has been taking long afternoon siestas. And its ok. We have survived!
I dont really know why it feels like such a big deal. But it is. Over the last few years, I've been almost scared to spend a 'unplanned' holiday. It has become a big deal - to DO something. Anything. How can one waste a holiday? How will one entertain the kid? Yes - how? Like sitting around, doing nothing, is the absolute worst crime in the entire world! Well, now that I've done it and feel no worse for wear - I can highly recommend it. Didn't Seinfeld do 'nothing' make millions and retire in comfort to do much the same? Even though that fails as an analogy (far-fetched - my middle name) I tell you on - nothing beats - siestas on your own bed, and pigging out on pocorn in your own living room. Try it - its a different kind of home stay!!

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Are you ready to give your kid a 'Tablet' ?

A week ago kidlet's school had a meeting where parents were told that iPads were bad for young minds and arms. Expectedly so, there were murmurings all around at the debatable decree. Though the teachers went on to state that they were not saying 'not-ever' but rather 'not-now'.
Brought me back to ponder our own decision to not get an iPad - for us, the home or indeed the kidlet. It was not a well thought out, all pro and cons weighed decision to be very honest. Actually the decision was hardly one to be made at all since we are a very techno-ambivalent family who are likely to be unexcited about anything gadgety. However, there were social pointers all along (at least since the last two years) kids around us were raving about this new 'toy'. Conversations were about the latest apps. Local newspapers started running features on best educational apps. And the killer - playground mothers claiming sharp jumps in vocabulary and math skills- all thanks to fantastic apps!
I was tempted to think about it for a wee bit of time. But one feel of the iPad and my tiny kidlet's wrists and the decision was easy to make. And there we let it rest. Thats until - I went and got myself an iPhone! On our trip to the US this year - the only time we got unlimited access to super-fast WiFi - I downloaded a few 'educational' apps. None the wiser about popularity of these things I just trusted the star system to choose. Kidlet was predictably very happy and it took her almost no time to figure it out. At first I was very impressed at how fast she picked up the game (it involved addition and subtraction - concepts still new to her). Also, come on - what a fantastic baby sitter! I could suspend imagination in my book and she could be soundless for stretches of time en-gripped by her game. I can see why its so easy to get hooked.
Back in India with the lousy net connection on my phone and the aforementioned gadget unfriendliness, the addiction to the games fortunately died a slow and natural death. But to be very honest it did make me wonder- what's the harm in learning a few new things through technology? After all that IS the way forward - if not already the way. And there are so many things out there that kids pick up that you and I, on an ordinary day would not even fathom acquainting them with?
The meeting the other day in kidlet's school made me start thinking again. How early is too early? How much is too much? And are our inhibitions based on evaluations of benefits/dangers or are they just schema based on our own childhood experiences and what we have been taught to believe? Wish there was an easy answer to that.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Networking down :)

Been a while, been a while! Have been off social networking sites and blogging for a little while now. There was no specific reason for it. I just felt suddenly 'off' being on the information treadmill constantly - whether self or other generated! I must say I was not entirely successful- I found myself sneaking onto twitter (which I hadn't deactivated) or craving FB (which I had). Wrote numerous 'potential blog notes' on my iphone. But then I left it at that. It has pretty much been a time on catching up on real life without any digital incursions. And like various others have noted before me, once you get used to it, you don't really miss it!
This once in a while detachment makes me feel good actually. Like a wee bit of meditation -don't laugh! It may sound crazy but in retrospect for all the (relatively little) online interactions that I had - my brain used to feel like a cauldron of tiny spark plugs not knowing what to do with the incessant activity. And I just do not mean just excess information - there were these emotional responses going all over the place. Needless turmoil happening over pointless incidents. I mean really - feeling slighted when some rank stranger does not reply to a twitter comment? What is that? Losing sleep over few or no comments on basically narcissistic pictures uploaded on facebook. And errm, losing hair over low blog readership!! As if there were not enough real problems to deal with - I was adding to them a legion of imagined slights.
So, now why am I back? Who can I kid. I need to be in the know, it feels odd getting the news from the papers the next day, and not breaking by the second on twitter. I miss the easy repartee which one can share with total strangers - and not feel obliged to be anything further. I do definitely like catching up on people I would have otherwise relegated to memory had it not been for facebook. And why would I call myself a TypeWriterMom if I did not have an updated blog for all to see :)

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Am I too much about Me?

The incredible lightness of being had taken over. Not in physical terms of course (more about that later)! I just had really bad tech karma last month - involving a titanic promise Mac machine-which sank..a telephone sim card which wiped itself out and other some such. We also had the annual Mummy show - the Project day at kidlet's school that is. I turned a year older - yeah that happened too.
But not too much about me this time. I mean I realised there is too much about me on this blog - am I supposed to be feeling guilty about it in the first place? Is it politically correct to say that you have a blog with 'Mommy' in its title but not really write too much about being one? Is it stupid to feel guilty - or am I just being feminist about a non-issue? Who knows!
Anyhow, ever since I got back to blogging and acquainted myself with twitter, I've gotten myself surrounded by people who seem to not only be amazing mothers but also very intuitive and expressive ones at that. I read about other people describing their children in intimate detail and fondness. I feel close to their experience - because even if their realities may be starkly different from my day to day existence, there is something very universal and touching about their experiences. Most of the time I find myself paraphrasing that 'this happened to me too..my kidlet does that too..'. An then of course the thought comes to me - why did I not think of that to pick up, dust up and frame for posterity. Am I going about my days being a non-observant mother, or am I just too caught up in the minutes and the to-dos that I miss the daily wonder of living with a growing child? Am I just being too self-indulgent in thinking that all mothers have the ability to even pick up the 'wonder' quotient from their daily lives? Well, I do not think so, really. For I know for a fact that there a several occasions in a day when I am paused by something incredible (in my eyes ) that my child has done or said, but then the moment passes and we move on to the next. I have never been a journaling sort - pictorially, verbally or otherwise. It is a deficit that I have lived with. But now, I wonder if it is time to remedy it.
I would like to really try. So be forewarned, a lot of kidlet to be coming up in the following blog posts. If she doesn't turn up and there is to much of 'Me' around kindly give me a slight nudge ;)

Sunday, 8 April 2012

The month that weighs in ;)


It is April already? It is already April! Is it?

This is the special-est month for me in the year, because of course, my birthday falls in this month and not to mention it is summer holiday time! Call me childish, but give me some credit for still getting excited about a birthday. Most people on the wrong side of thirty nowadays would rather mope around the birthday month - that it lasts just till their fortieth comes around, is another matter.

I am telling you, the only time I really dreaded my birthday was when I was about to turn 30. Sort of momentous, isn't it? The big 3-0 ;) Anyways, now that the milestone has been crossed I don't worry too much about the age than as much about the size. My size, that is. The bitter weight gain-weight loss yo-yo that I have been on since getting pregnant has left me at a size I would rather not mention. But here is the big damning revelation - I am currently the exact same weight as I was when I was 9 months (+ a few days) pregnant! How I reached here is a really looooooong story, whittled down for your perusal below :

Chapter 1. Pregnancy, Childbirth and first year of baby : We went to Zurich when I was 7 months pregnant as I have mentioned before. So I happily gained a few extra kilos(extra to the ones I should have ideally put on) in the last few months of pregnancy because of the extra (yummy) food that I suddenly had access to - read- cheese, bread, baked goodies and err..chocolate!! When baby was born I did lose some weight and went on a spree of weird diets to help me lose the extra tyres. Here may I thank Dr.Atkin, Grapefruit and boiled egg, Beyonce Knowles aka Master Cleanse and a host of weight loss supplements readily available at the friendly neighbourhood Pharmacy.

Chapter 2. Baby's second and third year: This period was a stressful period due to various reasons that I will not get into here. But will suffice to say, that emotional eater had by now become my middle name, so much so that it had come and 'round'ly sat on my mid-section! During this time I made my acquaintance with Messrs.Fat Loss for Idiots (Google it up), Beyond Calories, Raw food chicas, The VLCC institute of whip-thin rude nutritionists and sweaty hot pulse weight loss machines, Personal trainers, Bolly-robics, Plain Vanilla Bollywood dancing, Altitude Chambers (Reduced oxygen and all that jazz), and my favourite thus far Dr.Dukan (I even bought the special oat bran from Paris!). This was also the time when things like Acai Berry, flaxseed oil, Sibutramine and other such exotics entered my medical cabinet. And also a thing called Eltroxin - for the lil mister Thyroid gland who had apparently gone stuporous during my pregnancy. Long story, short : If you showed me a new 'sure-fire' method of weight loss, I would be sure to give it a go! Sigh! Weight gained during this period cancelled out any weight loss I had had after delivery!

Chapter 3. Year Four and running : Well I am not the one running. Weight loss efforts have been pared down after a very real and very painful 'gym' injury (Yes, one of the few times that I was there!). I tried to learn swimming, but - cough, cough - after a near drowning experience, have well - given up on that for the time being.

Now that leaves me fair and round at round one! Zero Points :(

What should I do now? This year, as in the last few years, as my birthday huffs and puffs its way around I am again lost for answers while the adipose cells are possibly settling down with the popcorn or whatever it is that makes them stick to me like fevicol ka mazboot jod!

So I have set myself a small challenge - only for the month of April. What it is I am not going to say here. If I meet it -swell. If I don't then well, there is another not so funny blog post coming your way! Wish me luck - and, oh - a Happy-go-lightly Birthday!

Monday, 2 April 2012

The week that was!

What a strange week it has been. I've been ill (with a clogged ear, nose, throat, head...will spare you the details) - and have not really had time to realize it. The beauty of having a child is that once the motions of the week start, you really have not much time to dwell on ailments and other derailments ;) Unless of course you are unbearably ill or something. Anyhow, I managed somehow with Paracetamols and Sinarests of the world, till I realized on Saturday that the uneasiness that had begun the week before with fever had not yet subsided, so I had to finally finally resolve to antibiotics! Am still not completely A-ok, but hopefully should be better this week with the antibiotics etc.
This week is of course going to be shorter, what with the long Easter weekend coming up. We have nothing planned other than going to church all four days! After a winter of discontent the heat is catching up with Mumbai now. I am getting all worked up thinking about how to entertain the kidlet this summer, once her vacation starts! We have planned a short trip in May but for about 3 weeks before that there is nothing planned as yet. The last two years I had sent her to a Summer camp ( 3 hrs of craft, activities, singing games etc. ) at the Toddler Activity Centre at Worli. But this year I don't want to do that again. For one, the idea of shunting ourselves about town during holidays is a royal pain! Holidays are meant for laziness (Ok, a bit!) and relaxation no? I'm actively looking for options near home - but the sad part is the few that are there are really not that great (alright you can judge me, but I would expect a certain standard for any activity. If its not worth it then kidlet could rather watch TV at home than go out and do something totally wasteful!). Have heard a lot about Raell Padamsee's acting workshop - so I may be enrolling her for that given her penchant for full on dramebaazi!
Lets see!
Sorry about this totally random rant. I had some mind-boggling(!!) topics lined up to blog about, but this illness has really slowed me down :(
Hope you have a great time this summer, wherever in the world you are. Cheerios :-)



Wednesday, 21 March 2012

And then we have special days

Or right now, today is 'Fathers Day' in kidlet's school. Last year too they had one. Wherein the Dads, those beings who get parenting medals for being chief wage earners and general entertainment specialists , get a whole day (of school) dedicated to their wonderfulness! Do a sound a bit jealous now? Well, thats because I am - a bit - very teeny bit - jealous. Not to mention they don't even have a 'Mother's Day' to compensate.
Anyways, minor cribs apart, the entire last week has been quietly anticipatory. I have caught the kid singing her 'Daddy' songs inside her little tent or surreptitiously in front of the mirror. Obviously they have been preparing and rehearsing at school . There will be games played and cards given. The teacher apparently asked the children what they liked to do most with their Dads or like kidlet puts it "Why you love Daddy a lot?". I'm smiling thinking about it. Especially so, since she has told them something on the lines of 'video games' ;)
They also had a Grandparent's Day last year. It had taken me by surprise. Neither of our parents live in town, and I should have ideally liked some advance notice on this one. Though by a happy coincidence, my parents had come to town on a trip at the time, and there was a really lovely memory that was created that day. My parents were beaming, they had received acknowledgement at their youngest (and 15th!) grandchild's school. The school had kindly taken portrait pictures of the children with their grandparents - and that picture is precious indeed. Something, that on my own I have not done.
Which brings me to ruminating on the significance of these 'special' days. Most days I would tut-tut and say, these are over-romantiscised new phenomena that marketeers are using to pander to newly rich pockets. Maybe true. I agree, we all grew up with more or less one special day - which would most likely be our birthday! I do not remember my parents being called to school for anything other than Parent teacher meetings, much less the grandparents being called for anything. Sometimes, the thought does cross my mind that maybe we are really the over-parenting generation. Making life all fairy tale like for our kids.
But then , I pause and think to myself. Is it really that bad to celebrate family?Relationships? People who mean so much to us. Sure, we love them regardless of the day maybe even tell them often too. But taking out some time to celebrate that wonderfulness can not possibly be a bad thing. However many cheesy cards and punny rhymes that would mean.
And at the end of the day, however much I joke and whine about all these days. I secretly look forward to them. Wait to be taken by surprise. To be told, 'Yes, I see you. You mean much to me!'. Yes, that cannot be a bad thing. No, Not at all!


Sunday, 11 March 2012

Being an asocial Mom

This post has been brewing in my mind for a while now. I have been wondering how to put it across, indeed if it was worth a blog post at all. Anyways I have decided to talk about it now, since there seems to be really not much else to talk about : unless you want to read my review of 'Kahaani' ;)
Here goes then, the dilemma of a somewhat asocial person in the juggernaut of motherhood. When I say asocial I do not mean 'anti-social' which in the true sense of the word means somebody who is against society. Let me be very clear, I am not anti-social. I am, for lack of a better word, a recluse. Left to my own devises, I would rather spend all my time at home, reading books or on the internet. Even when I go out (to exercise, for instance) I prefer times (afternoons, late evenings) when not many people are around. My husband sometimes jokingly refers to me as a homophobe (though what he means is an Anthropophobe). Thats what it is then. It does not bother me (or the spouse, thankfully). If it seems like a perfectly fine thing to you too, you are right. It actually is pretty ok. It takes all types to make the world go around, no? And I've managed to be like this for 30 odd years and no-ones really come up to me and said, 'Arre but why are you like this?'.
But obviously there are some kinks in this way of being. For starters I'm not very good at networking. Put me in a new situation, and it takes me more than what would be the average time to get warm. For example, during the course of my working life, I worked in 3 different cities -offices of the same firm. Every time I reached a new office I would be paralysed by fear. Why? I'm asocial remember. It means I lack certain obvious social skills which help most people to mingle, break ice, forge relationships , etc. etc. I say this with not a dime of self pity. I am just stating the facts.
Very few people who would have worked with me would remember me as a recluse though. They'd say I was more of the class clown. And sadly they would be right! This paradox can be simply explained.Usually people who don't have the social skills to engage with others in a more expected manner use other means to draw attention to themselves. And who ends up being the clown? Someone who goofs up a lot and leads to a few laughs, no? This role is the easiest one for an uneasy person otherwise, trust me!
Either that or I'm just awkward. Sometimes I just jest with myself saying, middle name awkward. Physically awkward, as in limbs a-skelter, eyes a-batting, all the wrong words tumbling out of my mouth at gibberish speed, sometimes inaudible. But the best is this, many a times people who have become friends have come back to me and said, 'In the beginning we thought you were so arrogant!'. Yeah - I guess you come off as stand-offish if you are out sulking in a corner shuffling your feet. And who'd know you are a plain dork if you have 'come close to me and I'll eat you' look on your face!
Anyways, so thats all about me. All huffety puffety people skills and then I go along and beget a child. Of the many things that nobody ever warned me about having a child was this - the enormous amounts of social interaction this would entail. And then we added some sludge to misery by going and having our baby in Europe of all places - in a country where they didn't even speak our darned language. Goodness I was so uptight during my labour that I would temper down my screams to (hopefully) more genteel 'aaaahhhhs' while the true-blue german down the corridor, also in labour, shrieked her lungs out with gay abandon!
After finally getting back to desh-land I realised quite protractedly how much of a village it actually takes to bring up baby. Especially if the baby in question happens to be a night-sleeping averse, screamathon by day, totally marching to her own tune type trooper! We did a fair bit of house hunting and moving around within the country in her second year. It was a lot of effort - both physically and mentally draining. I had nobody to talk to or advise me. It felt like a lone battle. When we moved to Chennai for a few months, I enrolled the kidlet in a mother-toddler programme. So that she could have some company and I could also hopefully make some friends. Given my track record, it took me a phenomenal amount of effort to go through with this thrice weekly ritual of strapping howling child on self and taking her to a class where mothers seemed to have cliques of their own and even the kids seemed far more well-behaved/trained than mine. And as was the case, by the end of six months when I had got myself slightly friendly with about one and a half other Moms it was time to move back to Mumbai again!
By the time we were back in Mumbai (kidlet was just about to turn two) I knew that she would have a speech delay. I have always been cautious about mentioning this in public, because at the end of the day it is my daughter's life and when she grows up I do not want her to feel that I was telling the world her story without her knowing it. But now that she's grown a bit and now that I have met several people who are traumatised by such things, I know that it is better to speak out about these things. Yes, so where was I? Yes, the speech delay. I knew that the best way to help my daughter get talking was letting her meet other kids her age. We were new in town and had taken up an apartment in a fairly old housing society populated by mainly gujaratis. These people had been living there for donkeys years, and they didn't really warm to renters very easily. It was then that I felt really depressed about my asocial ways - I knew that in order to help my daughter, I had to get out of the house more, meet more people and get more friends for her in the the bargain. I had also put her in a playgroup - which she loved - touchwood! But that was for only two hours in a day. I'd spoken to a child psychologist who re-iterated the same - get yourself out more often. Lead by example! Well, the happy fact is that I did. Despite my almost physical dis-inclination to do so, I started taking the kidlet out more. It took a while to break in. I surprised myself by going and talking to strangers - many of them openly hostile - oh groups can be very clannish sometimes I tell you. I started talking to my daughter more. Since I was the only other person in the house most of the time (the husband travels much) I really had to make the effort and talk for two people. I'm telling you, the initial few days after I consciously started to make the effort to talk more, my jaw used to hurt at night. Truth.
Then came the one year of acid-testing. I'll keep it brief because it still leaves a bad taste in my mouth, talking about it. We put our daughter in a very highly recommended Montessori nursery. Honestly, we did it because we thought with the 'let the child lead the way' philosophy, our child would have room to grow at her own pace. No such luck!! The darned place had old snarky looneys for teachers. People who screamed and ranted at little children who did not conform (I am not making this up - I've heard enough of it with my own ears). This teacher would call me in almost every week to humiliate me about something or the other. I am told that this is the schools regular tactic - but at that time, I used to rue my tongue-tiedness. I wanted to be able to stand up and tell the lady to buzz off - loud and clear. Both my husband and I fought the negativity as best as we could, but the whole while I felt let down with my inability to engage. Finally in the last month of school, I did gather courage (fueled by enough pent up rage) to go and complain about the teacher's behaviour to the head of the school. Sure enough, the teacher's bad behaviour stopped. Would you believe it - I have kicked myself enough times over the last year for not having done it earlier!!
Luckily, we got out of that nursery and now have gone to a significantly better school. I still find myself tongue-tied and fumbling at parent-teacher meetings and other socials. But with time I have also noticed things about myself which have changed. I no longer rue much over prospective social outings. I've been to several play-dates at other peoples homes where I feel uncomfortable but rather than blowing up the feeling I just keep my mouth shut, sit back and enjoy seeing the happiness on my daughters face.
My mom tells me I was very sociable when I was young. I would go up to strangers and say hello to them, readily welcome visitors to our home and make plans to go to theirs. I'm not sure when all of that changed. My daughter right now, is much like me at her age - sociable and outgoing. I would wish a better outcome for her than for me. That thought is what helps me step out of my comfort zone without many qualms nowadays. That and my daughter's guiding hand, in the play area and elsewhere, where she just sits down next to a child and says, 'Can I play with you? Will you be my friend?'.
At the end of the day, isn't the child the father of man?