Time was I could open my  mouth and insert my  foot into it quite comfortably and with relative ease. And with a great sense of style, that was of course totally lost on my audience, who were too busy rolling around laughing at my gaffes.

 

Then I grew up and it wasn’t such a frequent occurrence anymore.

 

But wait, said the universe. You mop your brow in relief? Not quite yet, my dear. Here, take this nearly four old. He will be doing the opening of mouth and inserting of foot henceforth. Said the universe.

 

What am I talking about, you wonder in puzzlement. I shall elaborate. So the little man starts at day care. He has a teacher there. And this teacher has a car. Why, you say, is that important. It is. It is integral to the story.

 

Now, the teacher. The little man is totally taken with this teacher. He’s that kind of boy, gives his heart freely and totally away, after a day’s acquaintance. For some reason he latches on to the idea that he must see this teacher’s car. He asks him, nay pesters him about it. He asks if it is a sedan, asks if it’s blue, asks if cars we pass on the road are his teacher’s.

 

My husband on hearing about this obsession with an acquaintance’s car decides to forewarn and forearm him. He decides that in this day and age where danger lurks in every parked car and in every abandoned car, the little man must be armed and able to face said danger. He tells him he must never get in to a stranger’s car. And that if a stranger ever asks him to get in to a car, he must never NEVER do so. And he must NEVER talk to strangers. And if a stranger were ever to approach him, he must come to the nearest trusted adult. And NEVER take candy from a stranger. And he must NEVER NEVER EVER get into a stranger’s car.

 

He did quite a good job, I must say. The next day when I drop the little man off at day care, the first thing he says to his teacher is “My daddy says I mustn’t get into your car because you are a stranger.”

 

Open mouth wide. Insert foot firmly.

 

 

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Such a misleading phrase. It assumes that the moment one brings a child into this world, one becomes a mother.

If only it were that easy. In reality, becoming a mother is a work in progress. Every day a child grows, develops, understands and communicates more. And the more a mother learns to be a mother.

As a parent, I think I know. After all, mother knows best, doesn’t she? But there is so much my son teaches me everyday. About him, about us and about myself.

My son is now three years old. And it has taken me all that while to scratch the surface on what it means to be a mother. It has taken me three years to accept it and to take pride in it and find joy in it.

Some days I regret that it took me so long. I mourn the wasted days and the moments that are gone.

But just as my son had to first crawl and then walk before he could run I had some learning of my own to do.

And so I tell myself, ‘Live in the present, savor the moment for it is so fleeting.’  To experience both success and failure, as I raise a child and in turn, he raises a mother.

“I’ll make you an offer you can’t refuse” he says, reminding me of a young Brando. Young like in short pants preschooler young. ” You give me the train station utility you just bought.”

“And?” I say.

“Nothing. You give me the train station. That’s it.”

Playing Monopoly with an almost four year old is an interesting experience.

First, the tokens. You’ll start the game with the airplane token and the child with the laptop token. By the end, fifteen minutes later, you’ll have no token and the child will be playing with all the tokens. I mean playing with the tokens themselves and not Monopoly at all.

Then the dice. You’ll spend a majority of the aforementioned 15 minutes searching for one die because the child will keep launching them under the entertainment unit. Not under the sofa mind, where you can reach in and get it out, but definitely the entertainment unit where an ant would have trouble squeezing under.

The counting of places. Every throw must and will end on Community Chest or Chance. The counting of places to ensure this is up to you, regardless of what shows up on the dice.

Buying places. No money? No problem! It’s like the sub-prime times around here.

Of course more fun times follow at the end of fifteen minutes as you follow the preschooler around the house and they shed mortgage cards and bank notes. Inevitably one card will be eaten by the devourer of toys who lives in the sofa. Also inevitably, at an age when he can actually play Monopoly child will blame you for loss of card. Even more inevitably, you will find yourself drawing this card with flimsy A4 paper and marker pens.

Ah, all this inevitability is making my head spin. I think I’ll go hide Scrabble before he tumbles to the existence of that even more delightful board game.

So the boy is off to preschool today.
Well technically he’s been there for an hour now.
It went surprisingly well, all things considered. I was remembering images from almost two decades ago, when my baby brother started school. He was so terrified, he was hanging on to the gate and refusing to let go. I was hoping I wouldn’t have to deal with that with my boy, because I would have just broken down right there along with him. I guess he heard my prayers, because it couldn’t have been easier. He handed over his teddy without fuss, held his teacher’s hand and walked off with her.
Except for one fly in the ointment. Just as his teacher was reaching for his hand, he looked at me. He seemed to be saying “Who is this person? Why are you asking me to go with her?” When I said “That’s your teacher”, he went off without a second look or word, absolutely trusting my word that this completely new person would take care of him.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is my son. Pride.
But that look has left me sitting here at a Starbucks, crying like the sentimental fool that I am and wiping my tears away. Praying he’s ok, hoping he’s having fun and realizing this is the first in a long line of goodbyes. He will go to school, on trips, to college, to other continents. And I will be there at every instance being excited for him and with him, wishing him well, telling him to have fun and saying goodbye with a smile.
And after he’s left, I will wipe away the tears and miss my baby with an ache, deep in my heart and soul.
As I am missing him now.

It’s another.
First it was Facebook. Then Twitter. The latest thing is Pinterest.

I resolved to try it out, fully expecting to be as annoyed as I was with FB and Twitter. But to my surprise, I find myself actually enjoying it.
I like the idea that it’s all images. I like the idea that I can set up boards for different categories and pin relevant images on there. A bunch of things about which I had hazy pictures in my head, I find have coalesced into sharper focus after I’ve pinned a number of images. I think this thing could be really useful in creating vision boards for various things.

Verdict: Cautiously optimistic I think.

Or is it?

As the rest of the world freezes, it’s summer here in old upside down New Zealand. But just when ya thought the sun would stay for more than two days at a stretch, they go and forecast rain for the next week.

I hate the rain. Makes me depressed and saps what little energy I have. Which is why I hate winter in Auckland too. I mean 6 months of almost non stop rain, how can I not?

I wonder though, would I like winter better if it snowed? Snow brings to mind hot chocolate, warm fluffy sweaters, heaters and maybe even a fire place!

So they’re blaming global warming for all the crazy weather everywhere. Maybe if we keep up the good work, it might snow in Auckland!

Not.

The title for this post started out being a toss-up between ‘I’m A Twit’ or ‘I’m A Twitterer’. The former was abandoned because people might read it and go, ‘Hey! That’s right!’. Why help crystallize the nebulous opinions people have about me?

The latter was abandoned, for no reason in particular.

So Twitter, eh?

Back in the day, before everyone and his dog got on Twitter, it was fashionable to say, ‘Are you on Twitter? I am’. Now that everyone in the whole world is on Twitter, except me, its fashionable to say ‘Oh God! Twitter! I don’t twit or tweet or whatever it is you do on there.’

So what if I’m the only one saying it? Hey fashions have to start somewhere and more often than not, they start with one person.

And anyway, I don’t really know if @I’m cool, in (insert foreign country here) and on Twitter could handle tweets from such an action packed day:

Me time! Classic movie ‘(Insert movie name here)’ is now screening

1:28 PM Nov 8th via Twitter for iPhone

Review of movie to follow. Which one? Check previous tweets!

1:29 PM Nov 8th via Twitter for iPhone

(Cunning tweet to drum up some followers for my twitter stream. Hah!)

Oh wow! Three minutes in and I’m already hooked!

1:32 PM Nov 8th via Twitter for iPhone

Oops! Unscheduled break! Had to put bubby back to sleep but back on now!

1:42 PM Nov 8th via Twitter for iPhone

Crap! Fell asleep 😦 Restarting movie

3:45 PM Nov 8th via Twitter for iPhone

Restart postponed to wipe drool off couch cushions.

3:47 PM Nov 8th via Twitter for iPhone

Baby is up. Nap time is over.

3:50 Pm Nov 8th via Twitter for iPhone

Point to note here, I only wish I had an iPhone, or an iPad. I actually have an iPod.

Not that I’m interested in @I’m cool, in (insert foreign country here) and on Twitter‘s day either: I woke up, I drove to work, I got stuck in traffic, work sucks, the coffee at work sucks, the work at work sucks, the pay at work sucks….

Did you know this? So yeah, rather than contribute to the noise in cyber space I figure I’ll stay off Twitter until I have something earth shatteringly important to say.

Like what I’m having for dinner tomorrow.

In the days of being single, hip and in the big smoke…

Ok lots of things wrong with that start. One, I never thought of myself as ‘single’ or ‘in a relationship’ or the weird ‘it’s complicated’. How is it complicated? Either it’s on or it’s off, what’s to be complicated? But that’s fodder for a different post.

Back to One: I was employed, bored, not broke and other things but nothing to do with my status.

Two, I was never hip. Never was and never will be. It just ain’t my thing.

And Three: The big smoke? I’ve seen bigger and better cities, so it’s looking pretty tame about now.

So anyway, back in the day, when one passed semi decent looking young men in the street, which was not often, one would remark to oneself or the friend (female of course!) by one’s side ” Cute guy!”

The other day I was in the university quad waiting to get to an appointment and as I watched young men passing, I wondered to myself “Is that what my son is going to look like? If he does decide to dye his hair, I hope he picks a different color.”

Things seem to have changed.

Oh right.

The whole being a mum thing? Still getting used to it.

Some Random Person (henceforth known as SRP): Are you from India?

Me: Yes I am actually.

SRP: Wow! You actually speak English!

Me: Yes! And we have running water and electricity and paved roads too! (Only in my head though)

 

SRP: Are you from India?

Me: Yes I am actually.

SRP: You know when I was in Rajasthan in 1986…

Me: Yes India is short for Rajasthan. The other states are all not part of the country at all you know. (Again only in my head)

 

And more recently

SRP: Are you from India?

Me: Yes I am actually.

SRP: Damn shame about those toilets in the Commonwealth Games Village.

Me: …….

If you live in New Zealand, there’s not much to do other than walk. When people here say walk, they usually mean a 4 kilometre hike. You can walk in the bush, in the forest, across hills and on beaches. Then for a change you can get up on Monday morning and walk to work. And people do this in sunshine and in the face of gale force winds. If it’s raining, they’ll make a concession and wear a jacket.

I’ve been here two years and it’s never occurred to me, ‘Why don’t I go for a walk?’. It’s just not my thing, you see. But this spring, today to be precise, I found myself thinking it was a nice day to go for a walk.

My modus operandi for going places is to familiarise myself with the first half of the route to get there and then improvise on the rest. I once spent an entire morning driving in all four cardinal directions and on all the major motorways in Auckland trying to pick up a piece of mail. It was a 15 minute trip that I turned into a 45 minute adventure ride.

So this time I decided to be methodical about the whole thing. I went to a lovely website that the regional council maintains about various tracks and walks available throughout the region. After rooting through a number of options and asking for recommendations, I settled on something called Fairy Falls Walk, which the site said was a lovely walk through forests, ascending a gentle incline to end up at the top of some falls. I made sure the trail rating was ‘for people who have no experience and no stamina’.

The Department of Conservation chappies also recommended I let people know where I was going, so if I didn’t turn up a month later they could come looking for what was left of me out in the woods. This being New Zealand there would be a significant bit left, because we have no wild animals here. Nothing dangerous, nothing scary and nothing poisonous. Anyway, having taken their advice to heart and having announced my intention to leave, I then proceeded to pack for this mammoth (for me) undertaking.

My survival rations included such hiking staples as Oreo cookies and Super wine biscuits. I also packed warm essentials like gloves, scarves, jackets and even a blanket. You know, in case I got lost in the woods and had to spend the night.

Instead of my usual tour of all the freeways, I decided to be a bit more planned this time. I checked maps and even wrote down landmarks that I would see on the way.

AA Roadside Assistance is a wonderful service where if you break down and the place under the hood of your car is one giant black box to you, the nice fellows from AA come and sort it out for you. I thought that might be a useful number to have handy. Of course to avail of this service I would need a cell phone, so I made sure my phone was all gassed up and good to go.

Course charted, survival rations packed and back up arranged, I headed out the door.

I was back in front of the telly in 5 minutes.

The damn car was punctured.

So much for walking.

Mental note: Never try to be organised.

And never go walking when the telly is an option. Much less planning involved.

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