Sunday, October 25, 2009

Outrageous Halloween?

Many of you have been reading my blog the past years.. and some of you have told me you liked it while others have thought I was way out of your realm talking about kids and parenting!;) I am now doing a lot of freelance writing.. writing some exciting and some other run of the mill articles! One very exciting thing I have been doing is writing some articles as a columnist on Worldnewsvine. The next couple of weeks, we are running a contest among the authors. I am going to be posting many articles hopefully.. unless my brain goes blank (that is something I am dreading honestly!). Anyway, today I wrote an article about Halloween and the outrageous costumes out there. Is halloween losing its true meaning? Are we encouraging our kids to dress more outrageously every year? Sometimes I do thank god I dont have a daughter when I see these costumes. Please read my article at and vote to say what you think about it. Please do leave comments to tell me what you think.

Have a great day! Cheers!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Getting glassy eyed about shoes!

Is it just me or is it true of all you mommies out there? It takes very little to send me oohing and aahing down the nostalgia lane! M of course snigger's on my crazy ways.. but then he is not a Mommy, so who is he to talk? Even imperfect mommy's like me take that trip down the memory lane once too often and fret about their kids growing up way too fast! I already have a kindergartner on my hands, can you believe that? I can't!

I bet you are wondering what caused this misty eyed look? We were visiting family in India and a little kid just over an year old toddled up the street and to our house. As I was yapping with his mommy (M's cousin) the kid refused to stay still! He kept hopping up and down the little step in front of our house! While little Mr. Cutie's penguin like trot was very reminiscent of Cheeky, it was the shoes that did me in and that made him keep hopping! They were light up shoes!

When he was a toddler, Cheeky would walk with his hand out on the side balancing his unsteady trot with his hands extending away from his body. Cheeky had taken his time walking.. he walked at about 14 months.. but then I have wondered it that was a ploy too. He had just upped and walked one day after making us wait for him to take those little steps! No holding furniture and trotting about mind you, just one fine day he got up and walked! Meanwhile as we waited, friends and family seemed to have a fascination for shoes! Even before he was born a friend of mine got him 4 pairs of shoes. Apparently she had gone shopping and had fallen for the tiny shoes.. so the unborn Cheeky got lucky. That had kind of set the precedent, everyone would get him shoes, from around the world too! He had shoes from UK, US, Nepal and so on. He had little squeaky ones, ones with floppy ears, ones with trucks and cars, canvas ones, cloth ones, woolen shoes and shiny mirrored shoes (like that of an Indian Prince). However the ones that he loved where the ones that lit up. I am sure each one of you got that for your kids.. The Laser light shoes - like this one. Little Mr. Cutie had one such on, and it even prompted a comment from the Big Cheeky Imp about how cute that looked.

I of course got misty eyed.. and made the mistake of asking the cool dude if he wanted one. I was immediately admonished "Amma, I need tie shoes not those baby ones" he said! In case you are wondering what tie shoes are.. they are the lace up ones! Cheeky has been asking me for one for such a long time now.. while I have been getting him all the rip tape ones!

I have always worried about shoes. It is so difficult to make sure that the shoes fit the little feet perfectly. That they are not going to trip and fall from shoes that are bigger or get blisters from smaller shoes! Talking of which, we all have unique feet and sometimes when we pick the shoe of a rack it just isn't perfect is it? I have always wondered why they no longer made custom shoes like olden days! I would love to have custom shoes just for me! And then I found this site online - Boys shoes. They have detailed instructions on how you can take a pic of the little feet on a grid and upload it, so they can make custom shoes just for your little one's feet. They also tell you how to make sure the shoes fit just right! Seems like an answer to my prayers, eh? Moreover they have a nice parenting community too that you can check out! Do check them out! They do deliver across UK and to some countries outside the UK too. Check out their store locator and see if you are lucky to be in one of those locations!
As for me.. I am going to go dream some more about shoes!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Walking Cheeky!

I have been writing some posts for and last evening I made this post A day out with Cheeky. It is about the woes and trials of walking a toddler. Also about leashes!
Wonder what I am talking about do you?
Remember I wrote about taking Cheeky to the Day out with Thomas? Thomas the train and Bob the builder made an appearance at a town a good hour and a half away from where I live. And like every parent of a 5 yr old we are suckers for the sweet smile and incessant polite requests of "please can we go mommy?". And so we got sucked into doing this for our son as well. I am sure the little imp punched in air "Yes! Got them again!".
However we settled in for a week and a half of incessant bouncing in anticipation. For that entire week all conversations in our home revolved around Thomas. From counting down the days in anticipation to threats of cancellation if that meal was not eaten or the toy not picked up! So having milked that anticipation to the fullest, mom and son and of course the dad settled in for a hour and a half drive. While for us it was an hour and a half of incessant chatter and no amount of favorite songs would give that a pause, for Cheeky it was a worrying hour and a half! Especially when the traffic piled up and we started inching our way down the freeway! Even if it was for a couple of miles, it seemed like eternity to the little imp! Anyway that is not what my post was about. Remember we were talking about leashes?
Alright once at the arena we were dragged from one amusement to the other. Our little imp skipped and hopped, jumped and pranced through the exhibits and tattoos and percussion music, not to mention the gift store while we struggled to keep up! At the end of the day, we the exhausted parents dragged the reluctant imp home. While we headed to the car we saw parents holding a leash. M gave me the look and I took notice. The leash was not on a dog! It was on a kid! I have seen this before .. at zoos and parks where the parents put their kids on a short leash! I thought back to the dog walker I see every morning.. She is always being walked by her dogs! And here were some parents who hoped they had had pets instead?
With my mind reeling with possibilities I headed back home and stowed the memory to a corner in my brain. A few days later Cheeky and I were at a mall and a lady talked non stop on her phone while she held a leash! The kid on harness (no backpack mind you, it was a harness), was on all fours! I had to rub my eyes and look again.. was I hallucinating? But no it was a child.. about 3 yrs of age. He was of course looking for a ball or something under a bench.. but still that was uncanny! Again I started wondering if the child would need therapy when he grows up?
Then I remembered an old Indian grand mom telling me of how she had to keep her son tied to the bed post while she cooked for her big family. She went on to have 7 children all of whom are well balanced adults! So what was I to make of it?
As I wrote this article for World News Vine, I started googling to find out more about leashes. I found people like me expressing shock at what they called lazy parenting... and others giving the reason. Parents of autistic kids, kids with ADHD and hyperactive kids. And suddenly it started making sense! Still I would presume a stroller might be more effective? For all other moms out there who are fond of the telephone, put that phone down for a minute and hold his hand.. that really works you know? Look at the picture.. the leashes are out of stock! So tell me am I missing something here?
Ever heard of the Wife Carrying Contest. No I am not kidding you.. read about it at my post -

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Happy Birthday Cheeky!

Oh yeah its that day of the year again.. Cheeky turns 5 now.. more on the day and the fuss we are making to come.. but for now like a nice little mommy, I am going to wish my little darling (if Cheeky) son a very happy birthday!!
The wishes started pouring in last night.. as it turned 7th around the world.. Cheeky checked his email and responded to the emails promptly... here are some samples!

Dear V patti and R thatha,
Thank you for the email. I am not in preschool anymore. I am in kindergarden. I have a lot of friends. My school's name is Shining stars. Are you going anywhere out?In America my birthday is only tomorrow. Mommy got me cup cakes to pass out to my friends. I also goodie bags for them. I bought them Tootsie pops, stickers and pencils and a lot of candy.Daddy is in LA. We will celebrate my birthday on 10th with Daddy and his friends.
Love you,

Dear Naani
Thank you for your email. We are celebrating my birthday on Oct 10th because my Daddy is not in Charlotte. He is in LA. LA is in California.Tomorrow Daddy will still not be here, but it is my birthday in America. I am going to take cup cakes with rings on it to school. I will pass it out to my friends.For my Oct 10th party I am going to get a big big birthday cake with Lightning Mcqueen on it.
Love you,

Please note that the letter has been drafted by little Cheeky to the last full stop!! See how he opens it with "Thank you for the email". And his signature end "Love you, "... I am still reeling from the fact that my little baby has grown up so much that he can write such a mature letter.. well almost.. he keeps talking about Dad being in LA.. just to set the records straight.. Dad is having the guilt trip.. he had to go to LA for a conference! And has been feeling so bad.. Cheeky is ofcourse milking it.. he got to ride on Thomas (Day out with Thomas was in NC these past couple of weeks) last weekend. Next weekend, he gets to have a party, go shopping as well as take the day off on Monday to spend it with Daddy !! Might as well spoil him proper.. what say?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Getting hitched.. the Tam Bram way!

I will chronicle the final part of our adventures in my next post.. for now just a news flash! We are back to boring old routine!! Now to the rest of my post.

A couple of things before I start.. no I am not getting hitched.. that happened 7 years ago.. (no I am not even going to give you a historical recap.. pulease!) However, I am urging my sister "The fantasy girl" to repeat history and get hitched.. but then she lives in a fantasy world and dreams of the knight in shining armor on a tall white horse sweeping her off her feet and riding off into sunset.. (with dust getting into their eyes?) So here is how I am helping her figure out that ain't happening in a household like ours! With a blog post!
Secondly, a little dive into what qualifies as a "household like ours"... A Tamil Brahman (Tam-Bram) household like every other with its own set of idiosyncrasies! This is what transpires in a Tam Bram (Tamil Brahman) household as a girl comes of the "Marriageable" age... which starts at 21.. in the final year of college!

Coming from a Tam-Bram household that struggles between being traditional and modern... as you can imagine groom hunting is quite an involved task in our household! While under usual circumstances the family treats everyone under the age of 40 as kids (Kolundhaikku edhavadhu kuduthaya - Did you give anything to the baby?), they are quick to notice when you turn 21 and are waiting to pounce on you! And if you as much demur, it is decided that you are in love with someone!
At least if you are living with your parents you are saved from further speculation. A friend lives across seas and is yet to make the plunge.. he is speculated to be married to a "Velakari oo Karupiyo" - foreigner, and have "Kolandhai Kutti" - roughly translated means kids/young ones; whatever that means! The poor guy apparently is making ends meet in his part of the world and just enjoying being single... while his relatives plot to reign in the net and get him hitched!!
Anyway, more on the struggles of the Tam Bram confused household! Traditionally the horoscopes are matched , parents are met and the marriage is fixed.. whatever happened to the bride and groom you ask? Here is where the (so called) modern outlook come in. With educated city bred foreign aspiring/living boys and girls, that is so not enough! So now they want to talk to each other and air out their views.. while the parents ask every night and day "So do you like the boy/girl?"..
"Ahem I need more time"..
"What do you need more time for, he is well educated, kai naraya sambadhikaran (earns a hand full... that's it?) and comes from a good family background what more do you want?" or "she is beautiful, adaka odukama iruka ( I have no clue how to translate this.. but roughly means she is timid and shy?) and comes from a good family background what more do you want?"
"Maybe I should meet him/her?"
"Sure get engaged first"
Meanwhile somehow the girl has convinced her parents and the boy has put his foot down and they get to exchange emails and have that phone call.. amidst daily enquiry from parents "What did you talk? What do you think? How long did you talk today?". And then the girl and boy now want to meet! If you think that will buy some time, you are grossly mistaken!
Sure say the parents with all magnanimity ... and then the parents of the boy along with a couple of well meaning, loud talking relatives, their boisterous kids and a few other tag along's arrive along with the boy! The boy and his retinue are greeted, fed and filled and the "Pon pakara padalam" - (Girl meeting ordeal) is on the way! (In the background.. the girl and her parents have a tiff about what she should wear.
"I will show up in jeans" she says "thats what I wear everyday, lets not fool them into thinking I am someone I am not"
"Wear saree" say the parents and they both settle for a salwar kameez "with sleeves!!!"... anyway moving on...the retinue has now been fed and all inappropriate questions have been asked by either sides!
"How much do you earn" someone asks the boy
"So do you cook?" the girl is asked.. and they are both perspiring from an attack of the heart and the nerves! Finally someone suggests that the boy and girl go away and talk in private! So they are off to some cramped quarters to talk to each other for about 45 minutes. If as they come out there is a smile plastered on their faces, and they did not walk out in less than 5 minutes.. someone inevitably asks "appo eppo nichyadartham?".. "so when can we have the engagement".. Excuse me?
Some Tam Bram households have crossed this stage and now let the girl and boy meet without subjecting them to this mayhem.. however not for long. The very first meeting comes with a deadline.. "so when will you have an answer?"... ever tried responding to that with "When I am ready?" you are bound to hear a full length lecture on how the western world has spoilt these children!!
If you are Tam Bram and single, it is advisable to avoid all kinds of big gatherings especially weddings (for that seems to set the tone to the hope that every single being is paired off)! Or have relatives who can fend off inquiries! However the relatives don't, the well meaning close ones walk around with a copy of your horoscope that is readily produced on even the subtlest of inquiries, while others are ready to pounce on you and get you hitched right there! And God forbid that the boy/girl happen to be available in the same venue! You are in for some big time match making!
And if you do give your consent to marry some dude, your journey has just begun.. there is the engagement and the endless stream of relatives and friends with their free advice to endure! Everyone you meet.. Tam Bram or otherwise will prod/ tease/ mock/advice on the only topic that occurs to them now.. your wedding! It is almost as though the rest of the world ceases to exist now! Everyone will ask you ..if you are excited? If you talk to him/her every day/night? How many times in a day? If you visit each other every weekend? If you talk to the parents too? If you are learning cooking? If you are doing the wedding shopping? If you are going crazy? (no that last one is common knowledge right? So why ask?)
Well at least most brides have the good sense to hire a parlor to do hair and make up (unlike me) and don't have to endure dozens of relatives getting creative! And most parents have given up their struggle against their kids independence and just let them be! Not to mention in this day and age, there are a lot of cafes (and pubs) across the town that you can skunk off too. Besides, expectations have almost hit rock bottom... as long as you are not eloping with some guy off the street and have consented to marry the guy picked/ approved (even if he barely meets the approval guidelines) by your parents.. they let you get away with anything! Some parents are learning to live with even lower expectations, as long as they are invited to the wedding they will live with it! But my Tam-Bram household is yet to get there!
And once you are married the next question arrives.. "So any good news?" ... yeah right, I got hitched isn't that news enough? But no.. the next step is to now produce a bundle of joy.. and then the next.. and then they can start plotting your kids wedding!! And the journey goes on...

The Elf on the Shelf! Me Too!!

So after years of avoiding the marketing gimmick of "Elf on the Shelf" I finally succumbed to the pressure and popular demand. I ...