Judge me all you want! Its my life 😊

Of all the things that I have been judged, one thing that bothers me(not that it bothers, I can’t take that off my mind) is how I got married?

How could I do this to my parents?

How can I change who I am for a person I love?

If I change myself that is not even love?

My upbringing comes up to a big question mark?

How can I be so selfish about myself?

All these questions are for as I mentioned before, How I got married? Yes! I got married not the way my parents wanted me to, not the way anyone in my whole extended family ever got married. Also, I never ever saw a marriage of that kind myself because I got married to a person who doesn’t belong to  the “religion” I grew up in.

To answer all these questions, I dint fall in love head over heels with this person so that I could forget the world. It was not a  fairy tale. My wedding was not what I imagined. To say the truth I was not one of the girls, who fantasized about my marriage. Growing up I thought myself as ugly and “black” , who had big nerdy glasses. During my school days I was called “chachi 420” (kamal Hassan’s movie which was originally “avvai shanmugi” in Tamil). I grew up to fulfill my parents dreams to study well and get into a reputed engineering college and eventually get placed in an IT company, which I obviously did and I really enjoyed being  independent. Like, Carrie Bradshaw explored  and enjoyed the city of New York, I too explored in the city of Chennai a.k.a Madras.

My husband, was not a person that I liked at my first initial meetings with him. I hated him from the bottom of my heart, which made him to approach me more to irritate me. Eventually, the talks turned out to last longer. As we were restricted from mobile phones in college, we used to speak only on weekends that we go home over the phone, even though we did see each other daily in college (college rules 😳).  So the longer we never spoke at college, the longer our conversations would be over the phone 😉.  Eventually circumstances made him my best buddy. Like all the best buddies in movies, mine turned out to be a relationship forever. So, Did I decide then itself that I would convert and marry him? Hmmm..🤔 Let me think! My thoughts at that time were FEAR. the fear of approval from my parents. To me at that time, being with a person I knew was important. I dint wanted a stranger. I wanted to be with someone who knew me for quite an amount of time, if not long enough.

So, when things got serious and we tried to get all our parents on board for a “no religion” wedding we couldn’t do it! I couldn’t think of a life of mine against my parents and my husband’s too. I wanted a family, I dint want to leave one of them completely disheartened. I thought to myself,  what did I want eventually, its the companionship with him until the end of my life. So, I came to a point realizing “how I get married” does not matter, its who I get married to matters. And I tried to convince my parents with the same thoughts.

I had this huge fear in me, as I was going to their place for the first time, after 2 days of my wedding! I mean, normally everyone does the same but at least in arranged marriages parents meet at least few times ,visit each others homes and there will be a hope because we trust our parents. But, I stepped in their home with pure trust in myself and my husband. we started a life with trust in only “US”. I must say the fear about getting into their family vanished in like few hours. I don’t know, I just felt really good to be there. I’m a person who tries to stay away from stay overs. I never get comfortable that easily in someone else’s place. Growing up away from your native, I had  to stay in some of my friend’s house as my parents used to travel frequently and they dint want me to miss my school. I got quite choosy about where I had to stay.

May be, I was not so scared because, I have met his parents before we breaking out the news to them. I remember this incident where I met his mom. It was our graduation day, I came there with my grandparents and my sister. He came with his parents. While traveling back, he asked me to meet his mom. I was terrified and nervous. But, she smiled. I mean that was not a “who is that girl my son is introducing me? Is she only a friend”. It was a casual “ah nice! good to know you” kind of smile. She was warm, pleasant and innocent. That day I thanked god that my mom was not there at that moment. Because, come on! she is my mom, she would have guessed what was on my mind the exact same second, as she did in every moment of my life. She had her instinct telling her all the while that “there that guy is not just a friend”.

I have a story for that too, for why she has that “doubts”. So my husband he lives in the exact border of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, which is a outskirts to outskirts of Trivandrum. After engineering, we were appearing  for multiple  examinations to get into what we called as “CORE companies” (in simple terms NON-IT companies). I As we stayed, little more near to Trivandrum (5 hours of bus journey) than to Chennai, my father preferred Trivandrum as those exam venues (Believe me I had no say in this). SO, we took this opportunity to introduce ourselves to each others family. So, for the first exam he arrrived  by car. He convinced his father to drop us at Kaliayakavilai, from where we could travel through bus to home the rest of the journey ( this reduced the travel time by few hours). So, we were traveling in car he was talking to my dad which isn’t odd, as everyone were men and Tanej was a chatterbox which couldn’t raise any doubts in his father’s mind. But, he was texting me to start a conversation with his father. For the starters, I suck at starting a conversation. Next, we don’t talk to father in law or future father in law or a girl friends father too for no reason until they  ask us something. Luckily It was my dad, he kept his suspicion to himself. Then the second time It was my Mom, my really suspicious mom. So, this time too they offered the ride and we took it! But the combination was unlikely. Again, dads speak to dads, moms speak to moms but us nothing much to speak there, just wait for the time to get off 😉.

My mom guessed it from the start, but my dad even though having his suspicions refused to believe it because it was me. So, why did I want to dishearten him by changing my religion. It was simple, They are my parents, I can talk to them and make them understand (although most of the talk was done by my GodFather). I believed in them that they will understand me on day or the other. And they did, even before marriage. Its their right to deny me of my wishes as they were too scared to send their darling daughter to someone they merely knew. When I broke the news of me considering to convert for marriage my dad had so many questions, for which I dint have convincing answers. Still, I managed to convince him (again most of the part was done by my godfather, I will never take credits for that). So Finally, I managed to convince my grandparents first with the help of my Godfather. Then our parents eventually agreed to our wedding.

So, My parents had to break this news to their siblings (my mom dint since, I did that for her. My Godfather is her brother). So, there was this day when my dad’s whole family was in there, My dad broke the news. These were exactly what they said. “So, My daughter decided to get married to a Guy from her college, He is not our caste not our religion either. We have decided to go with her, If you are onboard come to the wedding else we dont have a problem”. After 2 years of disagreements and struggles,  the way they defended their daughter was a shocker. Some of them supported them whole heartedly while some were reluctant.

After all this time too, I find people talking to my face, behind my back, sharing posts in social media about this indirectly. It is always good that you respect and feel your religion is something very important to you. But, You are never entitled to other persons opinions and decisions. You cannot Judge/criticize  that person with that decision of theirs. You can never fit in that person’s shoes.

I wanted to be with a person who would respect and love me for who I am, who lets me think about me sometimes (most of the times in my case) . Also, who I am is never ever defined by my religion. Its my family, my upbringing, my nature my temperament that defines me. I loved to be with this person. I am happy and satisfied living with this person knowing the fact that Im never perfect and he is too. So, This switch was not easy neither on me nor my husband, we had to convince our parents. Our wedding was arranged by my husband alone, where he managed to bring in both our parents and make them talk to each other for the first time (after they knew about us) on our wedding day. It was not easy, but it was worth it! Of course I couldn’t let them go. It’s still not easy for me after the 5 years and a kid. It will never be easy also. I face my own twisted situations that I have to deal with. But, I am so glad that I have the most reliable person with me to deal that. No, I have my own little family to deal all my problems. We have no clue on how our son’s future is going to be, but I am so sure that he will grow to figure out what he wants. He will know that we, his parents will be always supportive in his decisions if it makes him happy!

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(P)oop(S) !!!

Today, after 5 hours of school, I managed to find Jivin in the same clothes I sent him to school. Yes ! He did pee/poo in the potty overtime without any accident or being prompted. This indeed, is a greatest achievement, moms of 2-3 year olds will understand this better.

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Before I was a mom, When I hear the word “poop” I would cringe and feel very disgusting 💁🏾, today I can go wash my sons poopy bum in the middle of my lunch 🙄😏. It was an easy transition, go through 9 months of pregnancy and 8 jours of labour Bam!! you wipe the first Poop 💩. Believe me That is so so so easy than it sounds. A bum being wiped laying down is easier than one thats running around to sit on your bed 😱😨😰.

Once Jivin turned 20 months the myths and mysteries of potty training started hitting me hard. Stories of moms with older children that I was watching, made it scarier. Then when Jivin was around 22ish months, in our early childhood class we discussed on this topic. There were many pointers put forward and some helped while some dint. So, the Only thing I learnt was, never start a potty training unless the kid and the mom is ready.

I’m not gonna share my story as every one has theirs different from mine. I’m gonna give some pointers,

  • Your baby poops (may be pees, but essentially poops) at the time when you sit to have your breakfast/Lunch/Dinner. When they are in diapers, the diaper change can wait for another 5 mins until you finish your food. During potty training its worse, You need to get in action immediately, else you will be  scrubbing the floor and your toddlers poops pants 😒, in between your meals.
  • The probability of your toddler wanting to pee/poop is very much higher, when you are in your potty 🚽 😭😰. And This can happen in reverse too 😉😊😜.
  • There might be many ideas/tips in internet for potty training, which might have a disastrous results. Like I saw this below image in internet and tried it, the result was, I had to fish out crayons and markers out of the toilet 😩😔

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  • You start with no pressure on kid or me, at one point you will find yourself yelling at your kid to “get on the potty now!” 🙄😣
  • Strictly leave the paper towel holder empty. You will figure out why.
  • You will yourself on the bathroom floor for the 60% of the day 😒😞😏.
  • When you teach your kids about independence and privacy by asking them to stand outside of your bathroom door. They give you back the same. You give them 5 mins of privacy to find the worst mess to be cleaned up 😩😫
  • Don’t be surprised if your bathroom smells like a public toilet, even though you clean it daily.
  • As a Mom of boy, I can say you will have to hear the nastiest things they say while pooping 😳😵.
  • NEVER PLAN A TRIP/JOURNEY IN THE MIDDLE OF POTTY TRAINING.

But seriously guys, I realized potty training isn’t hard. It’s just a matter of time they pick things up.Here are the most important things that drove me easier to potty train my tod was,

  • Diaper free Time (daytime).
  • Take them to potty every half an hour.
  • Never shy away the diaper free time when you are outside. When you know you will be at a place with toilet access try it!!
  • Reading lots of book on potty training. “Potty” by Leslie Patricelli was Jivin’s Favorite.

I am hoping for a smoother night time potty traning too. Fingers crossed and open for suggestions .

Thanks for reading !!

Say “YES” to vacation with Toddlers !!!

What came to my mind when I thought about road trip with toddler for 6 hours ? An IPAD loaded with all his favorites. I started a week back, trying to download rhymes into an iOS system. And I did it, I had an hour rhymes with me. But That wasn’t enough. I can’t expose him to screen time for 6 continuous hours. I needed back up, the day before our travel I realized I could have got a car seat tray for him. I knew I was late coz it was not available in the nearby stores. So, Instead I carried a cookie tray with me.

I carried healthy food and snacks on top (fruits, nuts etc..)  , then moderately healthy snacks (crackers, veggies strips), then have to hide the bribe(able) snacks ( chips, cookies, etc..). Also snacks have to be separately packed for the 3 day survival in our vacation. I had to find hideouts inside the car to fill in with snacks and toys. 3 day survivals would go back of the car. Next the toys, I carried his electronic laptop, phone, play doh, handmade puzzles, threading toys, and lots of books.

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Our plan was to leave at 5 am in the morning, So I should be loading the car atlas an hour before that. I needed a pattern in arranging stuff in the car. So, I loaded the car the night before (except the fruits and milk, as I needed them to be fresh in refrigerator). loaded the toys and snacks in the back pushes of front seat and the space in the dashboard. So, that I need not carry a heavy bag occupying my leg space and also, this reduced the need to stop the car regularly.

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Jivin was bathed and dressed the night before going to bed. On the day of travel, we woke him up at 4:55 am and took him to his car seat. He was cranky and whiny of course. We spoke to him, explaining how we were going on a trip and that lead to some calm. He was quiet for an hour or so. Later when he started to whine, we put on some of his favorite songs singing dancing in the car  😜☺️😊. After 2 hours, we took a break for breakfast, which almost went for 45 minutes. It gave him sometime to run around play and change of diapers. Had his breakfast too 😉.

When we resumed our journey, with a Skype chat with the grandparents. after a while he napped for an hour-long. Then again, starts all the whining,  crying, kicking the car seats, again some snacks from the top helped us this time. Then, I brought out the play doh which went about for about 35 minutes. Then the threading toy, the laptop, all I can say is I managed him until we reached Chicago outskirts with all these. He got cranky when we entered into the city with the traffic and speed limits( I don’t know about him I definitely got cranky about that 😜). So, I just opened the 3rd set of snacks, to keep him busy for a while.

So, Until we reached, we did not need the IPAD, which made me want to boast about it in my blog. The story of the next 3 days, Mom Need a vacation. So, please DO NOT JUDGE ME 😊. Screen time did save me a lot 😊😜😁

Keep calm and Read a Book.

“Children are made readers on laps of their parents ” – Emily Buchwald

That snuggly cozy feeling when you have you little ones close to you, is the best feeling in the world. Once they are toddlers and start to move around you will miss those cuddle  a lot. Now we get this time while reading !

Neither me nor my husband have been a bookworm. But, I don’t know why the idea of reading to our baby was something we always were onboard with it. It was not until later, I realized reading to your kid is a golden opportunity to nurture them. We started reading to Jivin, when he was like 2 months old. Mostly what we started was the picture books naming the animal, fruits etc.., It was later when he turned 8-9 months old, we started reading to him board books which I got from thrift store. I came across the below image randomly on Internet, by a Mom showing the collection of baby books. So, I decided this as my ultimate goal.

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Later we visited “Barnes and Nobles” for the book hunting,which made me fall in love with the kids books. I wanted to get almost every book in there. The collections in there were mind-blowing. So that day, I picked 3 books, which included the classic Eric Carle’s “The very hungry caterpillar” crossing off my first of the “ultimate goal”.  Also, after this visit I realised my engineering books were lot cheaper than these one 😉😜

Later when I heard from my neighbors that we can access the local library, I made a visit. It was too good, many baby/toddler books were available, the feeling of not being able to own so many books faded away seeing the library. We have read almost 70% of my ultimate goal. I own the “chicka chicka boom boom” (got as a freesbie for attending  a paid kids event) it is the most fun way of learning the alphabet. I also own “brown bear brown bear”, one of my favourites from Jivin’s books. All these are classics, which every baby needs to read.

No.! I did not read through out my pregnancy, I wasn’t that kind of person 🙄. Also, He did not just hop on the board for reading activity. It was a really slow and regulated process. The initial books I got from thrift store were stepped, drooled, chewed and torn into pieces. I never showed an interest in books. Just to make him sit in a place and to do a quiet activity we used to keep on offering him. Sometimes I read to him aloud while he was busy engaging other activity. Making sounds and enacting the book a bit also helped probably. Slowly he started to bring the books to us. The attractive colors and pictures brought him nearer to books, this also reduced the screen time for him.

Jivin was kind of falling back in meeting some of his milestones, Reading books, helped us a lot to move forward. One more book was “first 100 words”, which played a major role in his speech and language development. It is highly recommended for babies around a year old. He would point each and every picture in the book and ask me to name it. Even though non verbal at that time, he would disagree if I named anything wrong. If I read a page wrong, he would  disapprove it. He knew all his books. He even now knows which page has what in it. Now, When we are around books, he expects the phones, laptops, to be kept away. We read for our meal times, play time, enact a book some days, books keeps us sane when either of us are sick.If you want to skip a nap fine..! still we need quiet time so read books for a while. Nap time and Bed time never happens without reading atleast 4 books, ten times each probably. It is tiring, but we sometimes we dont want to crush his affinity for books.

Along with Jivin, My husband and me started to love the habit of reading.

Mom’s struggle against T(toddlers) V(valentine)…

These days when Little J asks for “Amma….TV.. wheels on the bus?”, my brains actually start working faster, I keep saying “Dammit..! Think of something to distract him”. It is a combat to keep these toddlers off TV. I confess I hate it when my boys (I have only one son the other is you have to guess it  ) watches TV.

I am not that Mom , who could say that my Kid has never ever watched TV so far. Yes my son has watched right from 3 months. I need a break  from him how much ever I love him. I need to keep it together when I am in the verge of losing it. But I choose what he sees (at least up till now I have managed to). He watches rhymes so far, I just switch it on lie down on the couch for a power nap while he sits beside me and watches without shutting his eyes.

Because I give  him that TV exposure, I try to indulge him equally in other activities. I came across a video from the ECFE class (It’s a class for both mom and tod) I attend for my son. In that they once had a session explaining why TV isn’t recommended  for toddlers. Babies and Toddlers Brain is a developing one, it actually grasps everything with actual human interaction.Tv Just shows of random things and will not do the actual interaction. Studies say that the amount of screen time they get in their younger age affects their ability to concentrate as they grow older. Every hour they watch Tv as a kid will reduce their ability to concentrate by 10%. There are lots go blogs and videos confirming them. you could just google them out. I’m placing one of them here, which I came across in the parenting class.

Ok! So, I need my me time and give his screen time reluctantly, Is there something I can do to compensate that? Yes ! lots of interaction with your baby can reduce or even nullify the effect of TV. For example, if they watch an hour of TV daily, then taking them to play ground for an hour can nullify that. Yes! Every hour you take your child to a playground increases their power of attentiveness by 10%.

Also, I noticed the more the screen time the more violent were his tantrums. The stuff they watch may be kids stuff but It isn’t “us” that is teaching them something. A box can never replace us in any way. That is what I realized. Being a SAHM, with no help around I am compelled to give him some screen time when I am having very bad days.

Most of the days, I try  various other stuff. Until Jivin turned 2 and could be little independent, I would drop off all the work and just sit with him when he wanted me around. I would take him outside take him outside and stroll around telling him stories, even though we had to eat all day. When I look back at pics of young Jivin, I realized my house looked like a mess.

Now, I include him in all my chores, I leave him with laundry basket asking to put it in the washer. We do lots of things together like, cooking, chopping vegetables, peeling onions, potatoes and eggs, washing the vegetables, vacuuming the house, cleaning up his room, grinding in the mixer, loading the dishwasher. It might take me hours to do these stuff with him, which could be done only in minutes by me. This way it keeps both of us busy. On days when I need to work alone, I give him a bowl of beans and a spoon which he loves to spoon and dump. A tub of water with a sponge where is he can squeeze the water out. Sometimes letting him peel of a banana, orange, pomegranate, shelled pistachios. These activities also helps him in his development of motor skills.

When its bright and sunny,  we take a really long walk, spotting the vehicles, chasing the goose, which also helps in increasing his appetite and making him tired. When its rainy and cold, we have our own dance party indoors. Sometimes we work out, run around the house crazily, laugh out for no reason (He likes to laugh like that).

There are millions of activities for indoors and outdoors, it’s just a google far. Pinterest is all about ideas for the laziest moms like me,I practically live on that. There are many Facebook groups out there that helps with engaging the toddler, I follow these groups below. Many awesome moms gives out wonderful ideas.

Early Learning and Positive Parenting India for Preschoolers and Toddlers

Play, Learn & Explore with Tot Labs by Mumma Diaries

Zero percent screen time is something I can never do. I’m just a mom, who is trying to find the balance between the right and the wrong. When I am having really bad day rather than yelling at him, a screen time is definitely better is what I feel. Similarly, Reducing the screen time can give us lots of our time with  Jivin.

Mom ! I can do it myself!!

After a bath today, Jivin refused to put on his pants and shirt.

Me: Kana pants potukko da. (Put on your pants dear)

Jivin: Pants ema ma..( I don’t want pants momma)

Me: ends? (why)

Jivin: inno pants ma (I need another pants ma)

Me: Neeye un shelf la poi solaria Enna pants venum nu( DO you want to pick your own pants)

Jivin runs to his shelf, picked his own choice of pants and shirts which obviously I dint like. He had to go to swimming class in an hour and this wasn’t the way I would dress him up. Reluctantly I had to dress him up with the pants and shirts he chose. Once I dressed him up, he had this big smile  and he asked me, “Nalla irukka? super a irukku” (Do I look good? I look super).

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It striked me how much he has grown up. I was amazed by the fact that, how he started to appreciate himself for being independent. It makes him happy. Once in a while letting them do what they like no matter what the world thinks is gonna build their confidence and strengthen the self-trust.

Jivin now wants to do everything independently from brushing teeth to getting in his car seat. Last week we had a struggle of buckling himself in the car seat. I couldn’t let him do that by himself as it was a matter of safety. So we had to come to a compromise, he gets to put the upper buckle and i do the lower one. He learnt wearing a buckle is hering that “click” sound. he always makes sure he hears that click sound.

For brushing the teeth, we do two turns, mommas/daddys turn and his turn, that way he gets the control and we make sure his teeth is clean.

This whole independence  thing is driving me crazy, still I have a responsibility of not crushing his spirit. Learning to be patient and giving him some time is helping me go through this stage. This spirit during the potty training sessions, will make you exhausted and tired 😓 . I will reserve that topic for my next blog.