Almost a year and half back, my life was full of meetings, deadlines, server breakdowns, client meetings, software package releases, bug fixing, system testing, client demo, bug reporting .. and on and on.
Then, once I am inside my office at sharp 9 am (because of daily SCRUM meeting), after dropping my 3 year old girl, in the childcare and 1 year old younger girl with her childminder Mags, along with all their accessories (read as nappies, baby wipes, extra clothes, favourite toys, medicine, bottle etc) my adrenaline level will always be up on a threatening high, thinking/ worrying about “oh my god, what will be coming next!”.
No, it is not always the unexpected problems in work that make me panicky. There were also terrible times (testing to the core) when I get calls from the childminder that my younger one has a tummy bug or a vomiting bug which she has gleefully received by kissing another kid or that she is out of nappies or from the childcare that my elder one fell in the playground and lost almost 2 inches of her facial skin…. These phone calls come exactly, while I will be in the middle of a meeting. When such panicky calls come, it’s always, ALWAYS my turn to drop whatever I am doing, ask my manager and take the car and drive as soon as possible to be with them.
Because of this I may have to cope by working late. I don’t remember even one incidence where my husband went, instead of me. (of course, they have both parents phone number, but the calls will come only to mummy’s phone!) It was always the mom, who “should” be in charge.
There was even a phase when my both kids where in nappies, having baby food and wearing Babygro. I know (and I have seen) my relatives jaw dropping and blaming me at the fact that they aren’t potty trained at 2.5 yrs and 1 yr. In front of them, I am such a lazy and irresponsible mummy, who is not even interested in trying to teach them the basic things of life, especially Indian culture.
How can I ever tell them the truth that Ireland is an extremely cold country, with drizzling rain all over the day. At present, in January, our winter temperature is -5 to -8 deg C. Since two days it has been snowing. When the kids start school at 9, it will be dark and temperature will be -2.
The maximum summer temperature we get will be up to is 12 or 15 deg C and that too for a maximum of three weeks. After that Irish climate is again back to square one. So, kids (and adults) are dressed in layers and layers of clothing. There is a thumb rule that nurses say to new parents, “potty training, only on summer” or else the kids will be frozen.
And when we go to Kerala on our 20-day annual “holidays”, it will be always me, the villain who didn’t expose Malayalee food (and Malayalam) to them, especially spicy curries, that their breakfast is cereals, and when they were bottle fed, I had to bring Aptamil there as they totally refused to go along with Lactogen.
They were not born in Ireland. But from 6 months onward what they see, hear and feel is Ireland.
Now my elder girl is 6 yrs. Sometimes she is so bossy that even I feel a little awkward. She is in senior infant (which is equivalent to our UKG) and here their classes finish at 2 pm. At 6 I was in first standard in India. But here there is rule that the kid should complete this much age before he/she is admitted to school.
Back here, after picking her from school, today I had to buy some home activity books for her for English and Maths and we went to the shopping centre. I had already told her that we are going to buy her the home-activity books, (didn’t want to create an embarrassing scene in middle of shopping centre) and as expected she wasn’t enthusiastic at the fact of getting more homework . (the school doesn’t give her homework. So I buy extra activity books for English and maths and make her do at home… ie what she hate.)
When we entered the shopping centre, there was an “after Christmas sale” going on and as a woman, “normally” my feet took me there even without my brain’s acknowledgement. I swear I didn’t have any plan to buy anything for me. It was all destiny.
Due to recent weight gain (thanks to hypothyroidism), I had to change my whole wardrobe and was looking for some larger tops to wear with jeans which hopefully can conceal my layers of fat. So, the available sizes in that shop were S, M, L, XL.
Now my 6-year-old “chaperone” took the responsibility of choosing clothes (and their size) for me.
She: “Mom, this is S, it will look good on you ”
Me: “No dear, mummy is now M, so look for that” ** yes, she started reading English ***
She: (after taking a M size) “OK mummy, I decided. You are going to wear this, try it.”
I heard someone giggling nearby and saw the girl behind the cash till suppressing her laughter. Here my daughter is blissfully unaware of the embarrassment, her mom is going through and exclaimed loudly, “Mom you are not a size L, you are a size M “.
I glanced around if anyone was hearing this conversation. By god’s grace there wasn’t anyone in the shop except some old skinny ladies. I was hoping against hope that they haven’t heard any of my “lady ga-ga’s” ramblings and comments about the tops, colour, size …arrrrh..
Finally, somehow I picked 2 tops (according to her choice) and while paying at the till came her trump card “Mom, next don’t we have to buy activity books?” They are for her and her sister, who has never shown any interest in finishing the pages of their activity books or homework. And the girl at the till was gaping “Wow…isn’t she something?”. Then I told her, “Don’t go by her words, she likes to boss around me and her sister”.
But one thing I must admit that she is a shopping freak, exactly like her mom. Even after 2 hrs of walking around the mall, she didn’t complain. Here I must say that the younger one is the nightmare a shopper (especially one who regularly window-shops) can ever imagine. She must be carried, she is ever ready to get lost in between racks of clothes, and worst of all she won’t answer, when we call her name.
She thinks it’s funny playing peek-a-boo “I see you” in a shopping mall. There was a day in creche, when they locked her out as she didn’t answer the roll call. When I went to pick her, I asked where is my girl and only then they noticed that she is missing and started looking for her. She was out in the garden so engrossed in playing with her “home and kitchen”. Thank god it was spring and the temperature was a bit OK.
So, after a 2 hr walking in the mall, when we got out, and as usual it was raining as it always does in Ireland. This time we had shopping bags and was worried about if they get wet somehow, we reached near the car… and just when I was trying to shove the paper shopping bags into the boot, I heard a panicky scream. My girl was worried about one of the three “well done” stickers on her jumper that she got in school for winning the game, “I spy with my little eye <description of whatever they see around>”.
So, she got three stickers of appreciation and found that somehow one sticker was missing while we were walking through rain.
Seeing her face, I knew that it is not going to be fine, anymore. Before she asked me to go back to mall and look for the lost sticker, I suddenly got into the car and told her “Look carefully. It might have stuck inside your coat” and used that moment to drive home.
Even now, while I am writing this, she is still mourning at the loss of that “precious sticker of appreciation”.
I have heard others say that the younger one in the family will be the spoiled one. Here it’s the younger one who thinks she can get away with everything that can get a ‘timeout’, by crying (mostly without tears). She literally has wrapped tied her daddy around her little finger.
For her, ‘daddy’ is her friend. So, for her rule of discipline can never come from her daddy. The “rules” come ONLY from the ‘monster mummy’, which she reluctantly must do. Three people in our house has a question that they ask each other
“Who is the boss?”
(answer in chorus) “Mummy…”
I will see how long this is going to be….