Mommy Fears and Heart-stopping Moments

From the time Logan was small, one of my greatest fears was that someone would grab one of my kids in a public place and run off with them. When Logan learned to walk and could get away from me, I kept my eye on him like a¬†hawk. I remember so clearly how hard it was for me to turn my back for even a second. I literally would have to tell myself it wasn’t awful to glance in another direction for a second.

It got harder when Lila came along and began walking and both wanted to go in different directions at once. I think if it had been possible, I would have turned into some version of Inspector Gadget with extendable arms and a 360 degree rotating head. Ha. Taking them to the park was crazy, and we only survived the mall because of the stroller where one of them would always be confined.

I’ve since learned to watch them closely but I don’t have my eyes glued to them at every second. I spend most of my time anywhere moving my eyes from one to the other to the other and back to the first one again. ūüôā Well, I can sort of trust Logan, and sometimes if the girls want to run to the small lake and Logan wants to be in the adjacent playground where I can see when he is on the top of the slide, it’s okay. Or if in the toy shop he wants to look at books over in the next aisle where I can’s see him while the girls play with the Lego display, it’s okay. I do check on him often and he’s fine. But I can’t trust the girls.

Scarlett loves to run as soon as my back is turned, and has given me more than one fright at the skating rink. Often someone will see me looking wildly for her and will point me in the direction she went. And last week at the rink, Lila decided she didn’t want to finish the exercises with the teacher so came looking for Scarlett and I. I was at a place where I could see them with the teacher, but she managed to sneak out, and then went and asked some lady to help her find me. I was proud that she remembered what color I was wearing but upset that she left, and after I spotted her and called her back, ¬†she got strict instructions to never leave the rink if I wasn’t in sight.

What makes it harder for me is how people here in India are so attracted to them, because of their light skin color. People constantly sneak photos of them, touch them, pinch their cheeks, and want to be near them. The very few who do ask for photos first always get denied. I mean, why do they need pics of my kids? The rest can be glad I don’t go smash their phones. It’s so rude of them to just take their pics but what can I do?

Kidnapping is a very real fear here. At least once a week I read about one in the paper, often with sad results for the child. My kids being white could be targets so I do have to be careful. Even though most people are just being friendly, it’s better safe than sorry.

Just last Friday, while at the skating rink, I saw what I thought at first glance was my nightmare coming true. There is a balloon vendor there every day, and of course Scarlett spends lots of time watching the balloons. I was seated on one end of the rink, further from the balloons than normal, but I could still see her clearly so I let Scarlett walk over. I was watching her the whole time, so I jumped when I saw a man run and grab her real quick. I ran through the rink to where he was standing, but before I could exit the rink, a cow with large horns ran in front of me, with her owner at her heels.

Once realization dawned, I was grateful to this man for having gotten Scarlett out of the way in time and I thanked him, knowing that he wasn’t trying to take her but was saving her from being injured. But those few seconds when I didn’t see the cow and thought he was running off with her were¬†heart-stopping.

What is your biggest fear regarding your child’s safety? How do you deal with it?

Then and Now

Do you ever take photos of your kids somewhere and then take them again in the same place a year later, just to see how much time has flown?

 

Pic #1: Logan was 4 years, 3 months; Lila was 2 years, 10 months; and Scarlett was 1 year, 3 months.

Taken February 14, 2012

Taken February 14, 2012

 

Pic #2: One year and one month later: Logan is 5 years, 4 months; Lila is 3 years, 11 months; Scarlett is 2 years, 3 months.

Taken March 16, 2013

Taken March 16, 2013

What a difference a year makes!

Our Trip to Mangalore

Mangalore is a small city on the west coast of India. Logan and Lila have been there a few times but not since they were tiny, so it felt new to them, and Scarlett has never traveled before. This was her first trip anywhere and she was very excited.

The afternoon of December 26, 2012, we boarded a train, on our way to “nana’s house”. At first they loved it, but after a short time, Lila wanted to get off and go home. She hasn’t traveled away from home since she was a baby so being in unfamiliar surroundings made her uncomfortable. After a movie and dinner, they slept by 9 p.m.

During the night we traveled down through Tamil Nadu, passed through Kerala and then up to Karnataka, which is where Mangalore is situated. Chennai is on the east coast of India and Mangalore the west, so it was a coast to coast trip, though since this is the bottom of the country, the two coasts are not that far from each other.

The next morning we arrived around 9 a.m. A short ride from the station took us to the house where Glad spent part of his childhood and his teen years. Everything was interesting for the kids but nana quickly learned to take the keys out of the cupboard doors and to keep them locked as the kids tried to get into everything! Lila misplaced some of the keys and Logan wanted to find all the toys nana had stored, prompting her to hide some of them since Logan is neither quiet nor gentle in his play.

Most of the time there we tried to keep the kids busy. We took them to the mall a few times, the beach, a park with a small train ride that circles the park, and on our last day, Pilikula Nisargadhama, a zoo and nature park. I think the best part about this place was that the big animals didn’t have cages but large open spaces with trenches for barriers. We saw lions and tigers in their natural habitat, lots of deer, elephants, birds and more. All the animals were native to India.

When at home, it was a bit of a struggle to keep the kids out of trouble. Nana’s house is not really child friendly and they did get bored sometimes but the overall trip was fun. The children slept together in one big bed, but, same as they do at home, they would slowly come and join Glad and I in our room. Often in the morning the kids would be in bed with me and Glad would be in the kids’ bed. Ha.

Logan and Lila did at first find being in a new place for more than a day difficult. They would cry and ask to go home to their own beds and they wanted all the cuddle toys we had left behind. (I let them each bring one.) But after talking to them and lots of explaining and comforting, they got used to it and enjoyed their time.

Our third night there we went to a party with lots of Glad’s relatives and family friends. It was celebrating his deceased paternal grandmother’s 100th birthday. Yes, you read that right, a birthday party for a dead person. I guess it was a reason for them to all get together and party.

First they had prayers and a little about her, her children, etc. Then they moved into games, and by the time the drinks came out, all these people who had been sitting so stiffly at the beginning were up on the stage dancing. Ha. My kids love stages and if there is one, they want to dance on it, so they had a great time.

On the trip home, the train left earlier so we had more time in which to entertain the kids. At first the car had very few passengers so we claimed a few seats next to each other, even though the ones we had were not confirmed and were spread out across the car. The kids watched a few movies on the laptop and took a nap, but by 6 p.m. we landed in the station that took on the most passengers and the car rapidly filled up.

We had two upper berths and one lower; the upper ones were near each other but the lower was at the other end of the car. So we decided that Glad and Lila would share the one at the far end, Logan had one upper one and Scarlett and I shared the other. Logan had slept on an upper bed on the way there and made it through the night, but this time he didn’t. Logan has a habit of hanging off his bed in his sleep. I often find him half off his bed or even on the floor. Everyone put the lights out by 9 p.m. since the train would get in at 5:30 a.m. so I put Scarlett to sleep, then made Logan lie down. He played for a while then went to sleep. Between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m., I woke twice and moved Logan towards the wall since his legs were sticking out.

No sooner had I moved him the second time and climbed back into my bed and found a way to be comfy (since Scarlett likes to sprawl and take up most of the space) than I heard a thump and Logan began crying. He had fallen off the bunk. The man on the opposite bunk below was picking him up by the time I got down again but Logan wouldn’t stop crying. He had hit his head pretty hard, but Logan hates pain of any kind and cries as if an injury is much worse than it is. ¬†The man who helped him traded bunks with him so Logan could be on a lower bunk, but then I had to sit with him for two hours during which time he cried and cried, used the toilet several times, then finally threw up.

After that he was able to sleep again, but it was already 4 a.m. so we didn’t have much time to sleep before having to get up again. The whole time I was down with him I kept looking up to make sure Scarlett didn’t roll over and fall off the top bunk. Needless to say, when we got home by 6:30 a.m., we all went to bed again and slept for several hours. ¬†And yes, Logan is just fine. We thought if the pain continued we would have him checked for a concussion but he said it was just sore but didn’t hurt. I think the pain was more from his freaking out and the vomiting from the two hours he spent crying.

So I don’t look forward to traveling with my kids any time soon. Especially by train. I’m doing my best to prepare them for the huge change of moving countries sometime later this year, and I hope they won’t take long to adjust to the new place, but 24 hours or more of plane travel? Spare me, please!

Happy New Year!

So how is the new year treating you so far? It always makes me feel like change is possible; a new daily planner to fill, new goals to reach, new things to try. I do have a personal goal that I will get into in another post; this one is just to talk about what I’ve done for the past 5 days.

Jan. 1st – Our last day in Mangalore. We took the kids to the zoo in the morning, rested and relaxed the rest of the day.

Jan. 2nd – Packing! Caught the train home at 12:30 p.m. (Details of the trip and train rides will come in the next post.)

Jan. 3rd Р Arrived in Chennai at 5:30 a.m. Came home and we all went to bed. Got up by 10. Spent the day cleaning the house.

Jan. 4th – Logan and Lila had school (they missed 2 days since it began on the 2nd). I spent the whole day cleaning, interspersed with cooking, baths, potty runs, play monitoring, and so on. Nothing out of the ordinary.

Jan. 5th – Today I’m still cleaning. Just took a break to write this and update a few things.

It’s amazing how much dirt can collect over the course of a week, well, 8 days including 2 half days on the train. Here in India there is always dust in the air, so much so that daily dusting would not be a waste of time. Not that I have the time to do it though. I usually do it once a week, twice if I can manage. So you can imagine how dusty the house was after a week of no cleaning. It also smelled of damp since it had rained a few times while we were gone.

In the past 3 days I have:

  • Dusted everything, including all doors, door frames, window frames and grill work, shelves, t.v., living room cupboards and shelves, photo frames, bookshelf, air conditioners, toy shelf, bed frames, woodwork on the couches, etc. The dust was thick so it took more than a quick wipe.
  • Changed the bedding on all the beds.
  • Washed 7 loads of laundry, including bedding, curtains, and screens.
  • Put away about 1/2 of the laundry.
  • Rehung the screens and curtains.
  • Cleaned the fridge and microwave inside and out.
  • Cleaned out the pantry and all food storage containers.
  • Cleaned the main bathroom.
  • Polished all glass doors and tables.
  • Threw out all sorts of garbage that was lying around.
  • Took down the Christmas tree and decorations and put them away.
  • Reorganized several shelves.
  • Washed the fake flowers.
  • Swept the balcony.
  • Swept the floors countless times.

And I’m not finished yet. I still need to clean the fans, get rid of all the cobwebs, thoroughly sweep and mop the whole house, clean the second bathroom (the one we rarely use), and deep clean the guest room. I’ve been working from front to back, so the guest room is the last place that is still messy and dusty. We have a large desk in there that is full of papers, some important and some junk, and it has to be gone through since the drawers have fallen apart and no longer have bottoms to them. It is one of those¬†press-board desks and quite old.

Having a clean house aside, we are expecting guests some time next week, people we haven’t seen in a few years. There is no way I’ll let them see the house as it usually is. ūüôā I can’t stand that. So I will continue to clean for the rest of today and do what I can tomorrow¬†despite back-to-back balloon sculpting events, and I’ll try to finish on Monday (while I also fit in the grocery shopping). So if you don’t hear from me, you know why.

Now if only there was a way to magically paint the walls this weekend.

Christmas Eve 2012

It’s come round again, and so quickly too. Wasn’t it just summer? Didn’t my kids just have their birthdays? Where has the time gone, and why does it seem to fly by faster each year?

Christmas Eve – Since the 1st my kids have been asking when Christmas morning would come. When could they open stockings and gifts? When could we go to the mall to see the decorations? When would school be out and holidays begin? Now it is the 24th and I am still wondering what happened with all that time I thought I had.

Today we took them to the same large mall we went to last year. There was only a central display, nothing they could actually do, like the train we rode last year. It was a two-story teddy bear house, complete with dancing bears, a teddy ferris wheel, bears drinking at tables, standing on balconies, and one army bear standing guard at the entrance to make sure no one went in. These bears were about 3 feet tall and dressed in party clothes (except for the army bear, of course – he wore the Indian army uniform).

Then we went over to Hamleys just for fun. They love this toy shop, since there is lots to see and even play with. Their usual strictness about not playing with all the toys seemed to be relaxed and the kids had fun touching all the displays. Logan found a mat drum kit and had a ball with that, while Lila drove a scooter around and Scarlett tried out each rocking toy. If it could be played with, they did it.

After ice cream and a short walk around the mall, we were leaving when I noticed Santa was in the toy shop, so they went over for a treat and Hamleys badge before we headed home.

We spent the afternoon at home, playing, eating, napping, and lots of t.v. In fact, because of their naps, the girls weren’t ready to sleep until late. It was 11 p.m. before I got them into bed. Then I decided to do some prep for tomorrow morning. So the strawberries are washed and ready, the biscuit dough is made, fruitcake is cut and cookies are ready to be put out. The children are all now sleeping soundly, as is daddy, who fell asleep on the couch with the t.v. on and Scarlett in his arms.

Which brings me to why I felt the need to write a post after midnight.

As I filled stockings and laid the gifts around the tree, I felt just a twinge of sadness. My own stocking will remain empty and there won’t be any gift for me under the tree. As a child I always looked forward to opening gifts and seeing what unusual surprise there would be in my stocking (like the year when I was around 13, it was full of stickers that needed to be colored). Now that I am the one doing the buying, wrapping, and filling, it seems weird to put out gifts I bought myself.

Actually, I have yet to get myself a gift this year. I did buy two tops but I needed them right away for the cooler weather so I’ve been using them already. Sometimes it’s hard being married to a man who hates shopping so much that he refuses to go get me a gift, even if I give him ideas about what he could choose. I can’t remember the last time I had a surprise gift for either Christmas or my birthday.

So this is one thing I am looking forward to in moving closer to my family – gifts! Ha! No, I don’t mean it that way, it’s just that it’s nice to get a surprise instead of something I pick for myself, and coming from a Christmas-loving family, I know they will do it. At least I hope you will. ūüôā (I love you guys.)

I guess most mothers face this, at least until their kids are grown enough to go shopping on their own. I plan on training mine to each get me something so that, come Christmas morning, I will have at least 3 gifts instead of none. It will always be a dream to get a gift from my husband, but maybe one day it will come true.

So tell me, ladies. Does your husband/boyfriend buy you gifts or expect you to get your own? Men, do you buy something for your wife/girlfriend even if you hate shopping?

Our Move – Progress Update

In case you are new here and have not read any of my posts from a few months ago, you should know that we are planning to move to Canada some time next year. (One thing I have discovered since moving from Blogger to WordPress is that a lot more people find and read your posts. I’m still figuring out how it all works.)

To date, we have retained the help of an attorney who specializes in immigration cases; have filled out innumerable forms; have gone over said forms with the help of an assistant multiple times, in order to make sure everything is just right; and yesterday Glad and the kids  had their required medical checkups.

Normally my kids nap, but in order to make it to our appointment on time, we had to leave right after lunch. At first it was all fun and games, being out of the house, no need to nap, extra play, but the length of time we were there began to take its toll. Glad had to fill out a mile of paperwork for himself and the kids, and then we had to wait 2 hours before any of the required tests began.

The kids spent that time reading books, drawing, and exploring. Then, when they got bored with that, they ran around despite my attempts to get them to walk or sit down. ¬†After two hours on the fourth floor, we were sent to the second floor for the tests, right around the time that Scarlett couldn’t last any longer and fell asleep.

I was concerned about what they might require and how we would deal with tired kids getting blood tests. Logan especially would freak out, I knew. But I needn’t have worried. Only daddy needed the blood test, and Logan learned to pee in a jar for his urine test. There were separate test requirements for kids under 5 and over 5, so the girls didn’t need the urine test.¬†They were measured (height and head circumference) and weighed, and a doctor gave them a once-over. Logan kept moving away because her hands were freezing cold and she finally resorted to putting a glove on to get it done. Logan and Lila almost ransacked her office, and she had to call in a nurse to hold sleeping Scarlett so I could dress and undress the other two, keep Logan from knocking everything over and Lila from drawing on every paper in sight. (I think it was about this time when I began to dream of vodka and bedtime.) ūüôā Logan has ADHD so keeping him cooped up a long time is not fun. He begins to do things you didn’t think a child could ever dream up.

We had to wait a while longer while Glad was checked and met with a separate doctor, and they were all so bored and tired, and hungry. I hadn’t brought a snack for them since I had nothing in the house and we had forgotten to pick one up. Scarlett only had a short nap, and they all kept moving the whole time, so finally, after 3 hours, we left and Logan and Lila had a short nap in the taxi on the way home.

They fussed and cried at being woken, and then begged for snacks, but I gave them dinner instead, seeing as it was nearly 6 p.m. and they usually eat at 6:30. They watched a video and ate, and when they were finally in bed at 9 p.m., they went to sleep quickly instead of taking a long time like they normally do.

As for Glad and I, we were in bed by 10. I can’t remember when I last went to bed so early, but I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer and I needed the extra sleep.

It’s Almost Here!!

Wow, Christmas Day is almost upon us and I have yet to write anything about how we have been enjoying the Christmas season so far.

I like to decorate from the beginning of December, so around the first I pulled out our new tree. For the past 2 years we had a tiny tabletop tree, but I was ok with it as it was easy to keep the kids away from it and I didn’t have to worry about it being pulled down. This year someone gave us a bigger tree, about twice the size of the old one, that rotates and has fiber optic lights on the ends of each branch.

I set it up one morning while Logan and Lila were at school. Setting up the tree is my job and the only way to get it done undisturbed is when they are out or sleeping. First I had to figure out where to put it, since there is only one electrical outlet in the living room and the t.v. was planted squarely in front of it. Then I had to rearrange some furniture since I planned to put this cute electric train around the bottom, if I could find a spike buster that could handle different types of plugs together so that the tree, train, t.v. and set-top box could all be connected to the same outlet.

This train was given to us 2 years ago but I never used it because we only had the small tree and I also didn’t have a proper spike buster for it. It is not Indian-made so the plug doesn’t fit into the outlets here.¬†I knew the kids would love it though, so once I was sure I¬†could plug it in, I set it up around the kids’ plastic table. Then I added a white bed spread to resemble snowy mountains and put the tree on top of it.

                                                         The finished results.

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When they got in from school that morning their faces just lit up; they were so happy. They have named it the Polar Express, after the movie, of course. Lila especially was so happy to see it, as when¬†I asked her what she wanted for Christmas, she requested a train. She saw some¬†in some of the Christmas cartoons¬†they have¬†been watching and it was all she wanted. So she thinks it is¬†hers. Ha. At¬†least I don’t have to buy an expensive train set that they would break in a week. They aren’t really ready to care for a toy like that, so I’m happy this fulfilled her request.¬†¬†

I hung out our stockings in the same place as last year. To keep them clean all year I wrapped each one separately in a plastic bag, and they looked great when I pulled them out.

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Something new I did was make a wreath for the front door out of old cards. I simply cut a cardstock ring, arranged the cards around it, then taped them in place. In the middle is a paper wreath Logan made at school last year that I had saved in the decoration box. The card on the bottom lights up when you push the button, so Logan spends lots of time pushing it.

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The kids have been enjoying some of their favorite Christmas movies again this year, eating my fruitcake, and going for outings to our local malls to see the decorations. Since only a small percentage of the population¬†in India actually celebrate Christmas, the challenge is to find places that look Christmasy. Malls and 5 star hotels are the best places to go. Next week we will again go to the large modern mall that had a huge Christmas display. I’ve seen what they are setting up for this year and I think the kids will love it.

Beach Outing and Nana’s Birthday

Ok, time to update you all on our doings. Time has not been on my side as far as being able to sit and write. My morning priority has been exercise, but in order to get it, I have to get up at 6 every morning. By the time the kids are off to school, house is clean, and any other stuff is taken care of, it is time to make lunch, feed and nap the kids, and I’m ready for a nap myself.

Afternoons are full of playground outings, cooking, cleaning new messes, disciplining (by far the most stressful part), baths and homework. By the time the kids are in bed I’m ready for bed myself. I think it’s time to evaluate my schedule and see how to work in some writing time every day so it doesn’t pile up on me. I’m looking into what I need to do to make the switch from writing as a hobby to making it my profession, ie. get paid for it.

Until then, whenever “then” may be, here is today’s post.

Ok, so Glad’s mom was with us from the 10th to the 26th. Because of our move, and knowing that once we go it will be a long time before she sees us again, Glad arranged for her to be here during the kids’ and her birthdays. We also plan to visit her for Christmas, and we will most likely stay with her a while before we make our final move.

Anyway, the 21st was her birthday and my kids were excited. They knew it would equal more cake (which they can never turn down) and they hoped for other fun. They have yet to figure out that adults aren’t as into birthday parties as kids are. Logan and Lila had decided that Nana was turning 3 years old and that she needed a number 3 candle on her cake. Ha.

I made our favorite chocolate cake (if you haven’t tried this recipe, you have to) but I only made a third of it since I wanted a small cake. Fewer leftovers mean less temptation and a smaller waistline for me, if you catch my drift.

That afternoon we went to the famous Marina Beach. Despite its popularity, we have never gone there before, mainly because it is normally qute crowded and swimming is not allowed due to dangerous undercurrents. Drownings are reported in the local paper almost weekly. Being a weekday afternoon, the part we went to was rather empty.

While Logan kept badgering us to let him in the water, Lila was freaking out from the strong wind and the sand hitting her legs and she wanted to leave right away. Scarlett seemed to enjoy it, and she had her first horse ride.

We didn’t stay long, less than an hour, but at least some of us enjoyed it. I convinced Lila to collect some shells that littered the sand, and we plan to make something with them.

Click here to get more photos of the afternoon and Nana’s birthday.

The last 2 days Nana was here, Scarlett warmed up to her and started talking to her all day long, wearas in the beginning she was scared and wouldn’t go near her. I think Scarlett will enjoy visiting her at Christmas, though I am not looking forward to the train trip. More on that another time.

Halloween Party and Sweets Contest

Because of the cyclone, schools had to postpone special activites, so Lila only got around to her Halloween party on November 2nd. Halloween is not celebrated in India, but her school is American based and believes that celebrating certain foreign holidays is good education. The kids dressed in either orange or black, or a costume. Each of the children brought gifts or treats to share (but no candy) and they did some related art activites.

Lila decided (with my help since this was new to her) to be a dancer. Her dress says “Love to dance” and she does. Her hair seemed especially curly that morning, so instead of brushing it, I left the curls and just gathered some of it up to keep it controlled. I took a lot of photos so bear with me. (These aren’t even all of them.)

Her first bit of makeup. See the cute earrings we found? 

She loves to pose for photos. All of these were her own doing.

Daddy’s painted-on moustashe and gotee.

One for Logan, even though his school wasn’t celebrating.

Of course she had to have one too.

 I found out that morning that I had again been assigned the task of judging the sweets contest, so a short while later, Scarlett and I headed over to the school. I dressed Scarlett in the school uniform as her costume. Doesn’t she look cute in it? This is one we had first bought for Lila but it was too small. She sat for a while in Lila’s classroom with the kids, wanting to be next to Lila and join in the fun.

Lila’s class. See her there by the window?
Then she and Lila had some fun playing while I did my bit for the judging. 
We had two things to judge. There was a pumpkin carving contest …
and a pumkin halwa contest. Halwa is a sweet that can be made from a variety of fruits and veggies, or dhal, wheat, and other grains, and it is very popular here. There were 20 entries and we had to taste each one, then rate them one to ten for taste and presentation. These contests are meant to help the parents feel a part of the school and join in the celebrations. There is, of course, a prize for the winners.
Yes, that is my white arm there. ūüôā Probably the only one in the whole school. Ha.
 So after eating all those ghee-based sweets and rounding up my sand covered girls, I headed home to help Lila open gifts, make lunch, and get back to my normal life.

This Past Week, Or, How I Almost Burned the House Down

Things have been hectic around here this week – the cyclone aftermath, 3 days of school cancelled, trying to not go crazy with cooped up kids who only wanted to go outside, application forms to fill out for the immigration process, extra cleaning and laundry to catch up on from the long power cuts, Lila’s Halloween party and judging the sweets contest (next post), a birthday party to attend, parties to plan, and today Logan just had to come down with some tummy bug and spend the day throwing up bile.

I’ve also forced myself to get back into my morning exercise after a time of not doing it, so by the evening I’m so tired that all I want to do is chill in front of the t.v. and rest my body and brain. But there isn’t much time to rest. I have to plan Logan’s school birthday party for this friday. That means baking and getting some small giveaway gift for the other children. Giveaways are a custom here, and so far Logan has gotten something nice from each of his classmates parties so, though it is optional, I feel obligated to give something. Something small, but still something.

Then Glad’s mom arrives Saturday. She is coming for Logan and Scarlett’s birthdays, and hers is around the same time so we will celebrate it as well. Sunday is Logan’s birthday and tuesday is Scarlett’s. Tuesday is also Diwali so that means more holidays. And monday we are spending at the passport office while we do the paperwork for the kids passports. I’ll be doing good to get a chance to sit, let alone blog.

Ok, well, the cyclone mainly caused damage to trees, at least in our area. One huge one fell just down the road, and several fell at our local park. I think there may have been a minor quake as more than one tree fell in such a way that I’m sure it couldn’t have been the storm. We didn’t seem to have winds strong enough to topple trees, at least here away from the beach. (There is currently an oil tanker on the popular Marina Beach that the storm swept ashore.) Our local park is still flooded and the sand in the playground won’t dry; it just isn’t warm enough. So I’ve been having the kids run around the jogging path instead of going to the playground.

The massive tree that fell. The roots were under cement and that was ripped up, as was the entrance to the house it was in front of.

This is the bottom of our street – it’s a complete river during the rains.

We had one night where the power was out all night, when that big tree fell. It tore down some power lines as well as smashed some small buildings that were directly opposite it. Anyway, because the lights were out we had candles lit. Not so safe with kids, I know, but we don’t have a battery lamp or an inverter. They have learned to be careful.

At bedtime I left a candle burning in the hall between our bedrooms, because the kids can’t stand the house being pitch dark when they wake at night. They have a knack for waking up just as soon as the power goes off at night. I can almost time it. The candle was on a foam plate, which was on top of the hard plastic stepstool that always sat under the sink. I had a fleeting thought that maybe the plate would melt but I was sure the candle would go out before anything serious could happen since it was quite small. So I left it.

About 2 hours later, I woke to hear Lila calling me. I got up and as I passed the hall, I could make out a ring of fire on the floor. The combination of the dark and no glasses limited what I saw but I knew what it was – the candle had melted the stepstool, something I didn’t think was possible.

I dropped to the floor and blew it out before I was even fully awake and thinking straight. Thankfully there was nothing around it that could have caught fire but it did scare me. Because I couldn’t see it clearly, I thought it was stuck to the floor, but in the morning after it cooled, I found it wasn’t. See? This is all that is left of what was our stepstool, the one that all our kids have used to reach the sink, the one I sat on to shower when I was so pregnant that standing in the shower was uncomfortable, the multi-purpose, most useful item we had.

It used to be a very sturdy stool. The power of a small flame at the end of a candle.
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