Not a Perfect Mom? Join the Club

Today’s post is linked up with Confessions from an Impulsive Addict‘s weekly meme, Talk to Us Tuesday and

Honest-Voices-linkup-at-HonestMom.com_-300x284

 

the Honest Voices linkup at Honest Mom.

 

Before my kids were born, I dreamed about how I would be the perfect mom. I had it all planned out. I would always comfort and hold them, talk calmly, never get upset. I would snuggle whenever they wanted and storytime at night would be fun. In my imagination, my kids would be good all the time, would always listen – actually, I think I never planned on them growing up.

Learning to be a mom has been tough, I’ll admit. There is always something new around the corner that I have to figure out how to handle. Sometimes I have an “ahh” moment and I am proud of how I handled a stiuation; at other times I wish I could go back and redo it cause I know I messed up miserably.

PMS time is the hardest time of the month for me to interact with my kids. I lose my temper easily, shout more than necessary, punish needlessly, and just make life miserable for all of us. Those damn hormones! It usually takes a few days before I figure out why I am feeling so irritable; once I do, I can more easily catch myself and control it, but until then, I am a walking timebomb.

Every little fight, mess, cry – it all gets on my nerves and I let loose. I wish I could always be calm and collected, but I guess that is wishful thinking on my part. What mother is always calm no matter what is happening around her?

Once “that time of the month” is over, I return to my normal self. But I continue to wonder if I will ever be able to make it through a day without getting upset once. Logan and Lila seem to be at war all the time. They keep fighting, biting, pinching, taking things from each other, and generally doing whatever they can to upset the other one. Do they know it gets on my nerves and is that why they do it all day long?

I think I just need a vacation – without them.

They only look innocent …

What do you do when being with your kids begins to take a toll on you? How do you de-stress?

 

P.S. I wrote this post almost a year ago when my youngest was still nursing, plus I had a troublesome toddler and always-on-the-go preschooler. Not much has changed, except they are all a year older. 🙂

Why I Hate Power Cuts

One of the things you have to get used to living in India is the power cuts. Power cuts are as common as autos, dhal and dosas – just another part of life here. Chennai, where we live, is having power problems right now, and the entire city has mandated 2 hour power cuts daily. Due to some glitch in the system, our power goes off at the set time but then comes right back on. But I’m thankful for that as summer is here and the temperatures are 35C and climbing, and May will be hotter, over 40C daily.

Why do they cut the power every day? It is called load shedding. The demand for power is higher than what they can produce, so during the hottest time of the year, when an air conditioner becomes a need, everyone has to endure power cuts. Some people have generators and inverters so they can at least run fans at that time. Not us. So on with my story.

It begins last Sunday evening at 10:45 p.m. Logan and Lila had just gone to bed and were still awake; Scarlett was already asleep. I was getting ready to do the dishes when the power goes off everywhere. I took my phone into the kids’ bedroom and used it for light, thinking it would be back in a few minutes. After about 10 minutes, I figured candles would be a better option for light, plus the room was already warming up without the fan and AC on.

11:00 With a candle outside the door for the kids to have light, I leave them to take a shower.

11:10 Finish shower. Come out to find Glad and kids on the balcony. It’s much cooler out there. Kids play and we wait expectantly for the power to come back.

11:30 Scarlett wakes up ’cause she is too hot. Bring her outside, and Glad suggests we put a mattresses outside. Kids lie down and count stars with daddy, then sing “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”.

12:00 Neighbors’ power is back, ours is flickering. There is more singing and star counting.

12:30 We are still awake. My attempts to get Scarlett to sleep again have been unsuccessful. Kids have no desire to sleep. Glad calls electric company numerous times to find out why our house has no power yet. No help from them. He and kids are now passing the time by burning all the leaves that are on the balcony, one at a time, with the candles.  I am so tired but there is no hope of sleeping. While it is cooler outside, it is still hot and there are mosquitoes.

12:45 I get a snack for everyone since dinner was a long way back. Kids and I pig out while daddy keeps calling electric company. I realize that this is a blogable experience so I get my phone and begin taking notes. (That is why all the times are here. I wouldn’t have remembered it otherwise.)

1:10 Tiredness is taking over, replacing the earlier excitement of being up late and playing outside way after bedtime. Kids are lying down on purpose. I still can’t sleep.

1:15 Resign ourselves to a long, hot night outside, while listening to the hum of the neighbors’ AC’s. Glad decides to walk down to the local power station’ which is literally down the street from us, to see if they can help.

1:25 Lila asleep; Logan fussing; Scarlett restless.

1:40 Scarlett still fussing every time someone touches her. Logan asleep. I’m so tired but Scarlett wakes me every time I doze.

1:50 Glad gets back. He found out a cable for our house is damaged and will take a day to repair. Of course work will only begin in the morning. We decide to pack up the kids and a mattress and go sleep at the school Glad works at. (It is a cute house converted into a preschool.) Call a taxi. I pack up sheets and blankets.

2:15 Taxi arrives. I move kids to couch and put their shoes on. Lila wakes up. Glad puts mattress and bag of stuff in taxi, then we take the kids down. Logan and Scarlett are now awake. With Glad leading the way on his scooter, we head off. The ride is a literal 5 minutes as the roads are deserted.

2:20 Arrive at the school. Set up mattress in one classroom. Convince the kids they have to go back to sleep and that they can play there tomorrow (summer camps were starting).

2:30 All in bed. 3 kids and I squish on single mattress. Glad sleeps on quilt on floor.

3:00 Kids finally asleep again. I wake through the night as I am not comfortable.

7:00 Glad wakes me as we have to leave before the staff show up. Drag myself up, try to look presentable.

7:15 Go with girls and mattress and bag in auto. Glad and Logan go on the scooter.

7:20 Scarlett fell asleep again during the ride home. I put her on the mattress that is still on the balcony. Lila lays on couch and refuses to come outside. I make Logan lie down with me and doze while he stays awake. Lila finally joins daddy in the bedroom and sleeps again.

8:15 Glad comes to balcony. Realize I won’t get any more sleep so I make us coffee and give Logan some granola.

8:30 Scarlett wakes up and shares Logan’s granola until I get her some. They sit on the balcony to eat it. Until repairs are done, we have no power so I want the kids to go for their summer camp activities even if they are a little tired. At least they will be cool in the air conditioned classrooms.

8:45 Wake Lila, feed her, dress kids, pack their backpacks with snacks, water and other needs for morning out. Glad heads out and says he’ll be back soon.

9:15 Kids are ready to go, but daddy is still out. He went to get his clothes ironed and I wonder what is taking so long.

9:45 Glad calls to tell me he is getting a hair cut and will be another 10 minutes. Kids are already 15 minutes late. I get Scarlett dressed and shower and dress myself.

10:15 Glad still not back, so I decide to take kids myself, since I also plan to stay out. Glad shows up just as we are out the door. Wants kids to wait while he showers but I said nothing doing and we left. (Activities had started at 9:30).

10:25 Arrive at school and drop kids. This is Lila’s first time being with a group of kids for activities and being away from me in a school-type setting. I hope she will be okay.

10:30 Scarlett and I head to the park next to the school for a few minutes but it is already so hot outside that I take her instead into the large gift shop next to it. We spend the next hour there browsing, getting gift ideas for Lila’s birthday.

11:30 Glad calls to tell me that Lila has had enough, and can I come get her? We walk back.

11:40 Get Lila. She decides she now wants the snack she hadn’t eaten earlier and she and Scarlett share it.

12:00 Head home. Find same auto we went in in the morning (pure chance). Scarlett falls asleep on the way.

12:10 Home. Power still off. Men are digging out front of the house. Looks like a big job. Put Scarlett in bed and make lunch as best I can.

12:35 Glad and Logan come home. Logan said he did a planting activity and he used “dirt, mud, and soil” to plant the seeds. Ha. So cute. We eat, then I convince kids to nap on balcony.

1:00 Logan asleep. Lila still perky since she slept longer in morning. I try to sleep but Lila keeps me awake.

1:30 Scarlett wakes up, nurses, but doesn’t go back to sleep as usual. I give her a snack to try and buy some sleep time.

1:45 Lila asleep. I slept for maybe 10 minutes. I’m so tired but no chance of sleep. Get coffee, sit outside with Scarlett and do puzzles in newspaper.

2:45 Glad calls from work to ask if power is back. Not yet.

3:00 Glad comes home because he is tired. Tries to nap on balcony as I wake kids and prepare to take them to the mall. My head is beginning to hurt from being too hot and tired. Pop a pain killer and get ready to go. Shower again. Glad can’t sleep and heads to the gym instead.

4:00 Leave for mall with kids.

4:15 Arrive and spend the next 2 1/2 hours looking around, eating ice cream, checking out toys and books and taking our time while we cool down. I find some Golden Books for the kids and a book for myself. Go on lots of escalators. (Kids call them excavators. Ha.)

6:00 Decide to go down from 3rd floor by elevator and Logan freaks out like I have never seen. He was screaming, trying to run and bite me all at the same time. Took a good 10 minutes to calm him down and he finally tells me he is scared of the elevator and won’t go on it. Amazingly, Lila was able to hold Scarlett’s hand the whole time and keep her from running off. Finally take the stairs all the way down.

6:30 Leave after picking up a snack and buying a few groceries.

6:45 Home, power is on. Yes! Scarlett falls asleep again.

7:15 Make a quick dinner of egg-in-a-hole while kids watch a video. Scarlett wakes up.

8:15 Showers, get ready for bed, read new books.

9:00 Kids in bed, sleep quickly. Scarlett stays up because of her earlier nap.

10:00 Glad home; Scarlett shares his dinner and some snacks.

11:30 Scarlett finally asleep. I shower for the third time and crash into bed. I sleep so soundly that when I wake in the morning and find Scarlett next to me, I can’t recall taking her out of her crib or nursing her, though I know I did both.

I hope this doesn’t repeat any time soon!!

Linking up today for Confessions from an Impulsive Addict‘s meme Talk To Us Tuesday.

New Stuff About the Kids

So I promised some new things about the children, to give you a break from having to listen to my rants about my weight. 🙂 There is so much to say, how do I condense it?

Her first ponytail.

Playtime.

Let’s see: Scarlett is almost 15 months now. She is acting less and less like a baby and more and more like a toddler. She tries so hard to talk, not just words but phrases and sentences. Sometimes I sware I just heard her say such-and-such, but she doesn’t repeat it so I’m not sure. She does like animals, so it is no wonder that she is saying animal names first – cow, gekko, birdie. She has said, very clearly, “Deo da boodie” (There’s the birdie) and “dat da datdo” (that’s the gekko). Sometimes she babbles on and on, then a clear phrase will errupt. And I thought Lila started talking early!
She loves to play with her dolls, cuddling and rocking them like I have done with her. She loves to sit at the kids play table and have a snack with Lila in the morning. And she cries when I don’t let her follow daddy out the door in the morning. Going outside is a favorite activity. She often walks around with an animal or two in hand and makes a noise that is supposed to be an animal sound. And to top it off, while she likes any animal she sees, her favorite is the cow, just like Logan. She will point them out in pictures, pick them to play with, and try to moo. It’s adorable.

She told me this was a Christmas tree.

One of her favorite places to climb.

They only look cute and innocent … but I know better. 🙂

Lila has yet to outgrow the getting-into-trouble phase. She still does things that make me go “arrg”, but now Scarlett has become her partner in crime, so I am facing double trouble. I can’t leave anything unattended or she will get into it. Just the other day, she dumped baby powder all over daddy’s desk and was drawing in it. I  have to lock the kitchen door or she will be in there getting into something. Oh, yes, she mixed the tea and sugar together, climbed on a stool to reach the top of the microwave (where I stick things to keep them out of her reach, hmm…), and once poured her own drink of juice, amazingly, without spilling. She loves to get jugs out of the fridge. And she dropped a bar of soap in the toilet! I didn’t bother to fish it out (it was small enough to flush). Hopefully it cleaned the pipes a little. 🙂
She still sometimes pees on the floor and balcony, but will then sit and play in it and Scarlett will join her. Yuck!
She is getting more into make-believe and will play tea party with her dolls or pretend to put them to sleep. She will carry her dolls and cuddle toys around, and the other day I heard her put one down and say, “You getting too heavy.” Exactly what I say to Scarlett when I need to put her down.
She fights with Logan a lot. I spend most of each day getting them off each others backs. It is rare when they play nicely together.
She has also gotten more stubborn and resistant to discipline. She tries to get me back whenever I correct her. Hmm…gonna need a new game plan for this one.

He knows how to lead – he sits, she pushes, pulls, etc.

Every month he has a color day at school. This was white day. I love their matching look.

Logan – what can I say? He seems to be wilder each day. He is naughtier and more rascally, and gets into trouble more than he used to. He seems to think going around spitting and fake burping is fun, and he can fart on purpose.
At school he acts up when he knows daddy isn’t there. I think it is good that he will be going to a different school this year, where he won’t be familiar with the teachers and hopefully he will settle down. He is also very demanding of what he wants to do, expecting to do things right away and hating to get a no. While I do explain any nos, it is hard cause he screams before hearing my explanation, and then goes on to ask again, just after I explained why I said no. It is tiring to say the least.
When he does sometimes get along with Lila and they are playing nicely, he takes charge and demands that she do this or that, and she is quite willing to do so. He will even insist that she wash his hands and face and she will do it. He is also getting good at deligating responsibility, ie. I ask him to do something and he says, “Lila will do it.” Stinker! But on the flip side, if I ask him to do something and she runs to do it, he will cry and get mad and hit her. It’s a wonder I still have my hair and my sanity.
This month he has sports day at school. Despite much practice, he isn’t very good at some of the activities. His teachers were telling me at the recent PTV that he doesn’t know how to wait his turn in a relay race, and that when they had him go first, the rest of the kids followed him. Ha. He doesn’t want to participate in sports day, so I have been trying to talk him into it. I was telling him it is important to listen to his teacher and do what she says, and that he needs to try to do whatever it is she wants him to do. Instead, he wants to do his own sport.
And the sport he requested to do? Skydiving. Yep, they do lots of that in preschool sports days.
That reminds me: he is obsessed with flying. He keeps telling me that he wants to fly in the sky, go on a plane, etc. Last night he told me that he and daddy were going on a helicopter, as if it was really about to happen. And he has seen skydiving on t.v. and it must look like fun to him, so that is what he wants to do. The reality though, is that he would probably freak out. If at 18 he still wants to skydive, I’ll tell him to go for it. At least then he will know what he is getting into … and he can sign his own waiver. 🙂

My Thanksgiving Post

Everywhere I look in the blog world people are preparing for Thanksgiving, ok, US Thanksgiving. If I was in Canada we would have celebrated it back in October, and since I am in India we don’t celebrate it at all. Ha.
Logan’s school started in the US, so, in addition to all the local holidays, they celebrate several of the major US holidays. On Halloween they had a little celebration, and today for Thanksgiving, the children learned about it. The school also collected used clothes, toys, and food items to give to a local orphanage, so that the children can learn about being thankful for what they have by giving to those in need.
So even though I can’t remember the last time I actually celebrated Thanksgiving, I figured there is no harm in listing what I am thankful for right now. There isn’t any particular order and this is all random, except for the first two.

1. These stinkers. They keep me so busy I don’t have time to complain about anything except about how busy and tired they make me.

Early morning, in their pj’s. I think kids in pj’s look so cute.

2. The love of my life, the one who slaves at work 7 days a week to keep us all going. XXX I love you, Sweetie.

Discussing dental hygine with the children; Logan is standing with the teacher. (This actually isn’t his class, and apparently he doesn’t sit like the rest of the kids do. But he does love that particular teacher and talks about her all the time and will do anything for her. )

3. The fact that I have internet and that it works, even though it did take 10 minutes to upload that last pic.

4. Candy canes, and Christmas. Mostly candy canes. 🙂

5. Fruitcake.


Yummy!!

 6. My blog friends. I spend so much time at home with the kids that here is where I most get to interact with people over 3 feet tall and discuss things more meaningful than whether the inflatable whale is a daddy or a mommy, listen to debates on the difference between a burp and a belch (my kids say a burp is a burp and a belch is a belch, laugh about it, and start again), and repeatedly confirm to Logan that only boys have penies. (Honestly, why are boys so into that part of their body and why is it so important to them from the moment they discover it? It is just another appendage.)

7. Rain. I love it. It is raining right now and I feel so relaxed. I think it calms me down.

8. Vodka. Need I say more?

9. My new giant purse that holds all I need for the kids without looking like a diaper bag.

You’d be surprised what I have in there. A mommy can never be overprepared.

10. The fact that all 3 kids were asleep before 11 p.m. tonight = peace and quiet.

And while I could go on, I think 10 is a good number for now. Now I’m going to hop over to my other blog and get a post up there. You can read it too. Just click on the link for my other blog on the sidebar over there and you’ll get it.

See you next time. And since most of my readers are in NA and will be just waking up for Thanksgiving, I wish you a fun, thankful day.

Yes, I’m Still Alive

I can’t believe it has been so long since my last post, but I have a good excuse, honest I do. The kids all got colds, one at a time, then I got it, and just now are we starting to get over them. I’ve spent the better part of ten days covered in coughs, snot, pee, and sneezes, plus holding feverish kids, putting on countless videos or t.v. shows, blowing noses, and more.
I think I really lost it when I was going to blow Lila’s nose, but instead ended up at Scarlett and told her to blow. She can’t do that yet and I wondered what was wrong with Lila before I realized I was holding the hankey by the wrong nose.
To top it off, the rain has continued, relentlessly. Every day, all day it’s rain, rain, rain. Don’t get me wrong, I like rain. But it’s almost been two weeks and shows no signs of stopping yet. I can’t take the kids anywhere, so fights have escalated since no one can go outside to run and play. Logan was finally well enough on thursday to go back to school, so he got out for a short while, but the rest of us are beginning to feel like caged chickens.
Yesterday I took the girls out for a short walk and we got hit with a sudden downpour. You don’t know heavy rain until you have been in monsoon rain. Fortunately it wasn’t cold and we were close to home, but wow, wading through streets-turned-rivers while carrying both girls and trying to keep us semi-dry with the umbrella is not my idea of fun.
So today when mom’s parcel arrived, two wild chidren sat quietly on the couch looking at the new books she sent. They hadn’t been that quiet all morning. Thanks, mom. The books were a success.

Nov 02
Nov 03
Nov 01

And you haven’t heard about the laundry yet. (Maybe you don’t want to. It’s ok.) Because it is normally so hot, no one here owns a dryer. It would be an unnecessary expense since it would sit idle for most of the year, only to be used during the rains. If I had one now it would be getting me my money’s worth, cause with all this rain, nothing is drying. I have the rack under a fan 24/7 and it still takes up to 48 hours for things to dry through.
With little kids though, daily laundry is a must, just to keep up. So that fan is going to keep spinning until the end of the year if it has to, or at least until the end of monsoon. At least we no longer need the air conditioners. 

The Story of My Life

Can you relate to this?

It is evening, 6 p.m. Kids are watching a video, hubby is home for the evening. That darn PMS has you tired and grumpy, and you desperately want to relax, but dinner needs to be made. At a loss for ideas, you ask hubby for some. He offers to cook … if you do prep.
So while he watches some t.v. and then runs to the store for some last-minute items for the butter chicken he wants to make, you (finally) get the dishes done. Then you divide the chicken, put the rice on and chop onions. Hubby is back and starts to cook.
By the time dinner is ready it is almost 8 p.m. The baby is tired cause she only had one nap. You don’t want her to sleep now as you know it will only be a nap and she will be up half the night if she does. She nurses and instantly falls asleep. You put her in bed, leaving the door open so the noise will wake her soon.

You serve the kids their food, then serve yourself and plop on the couch to eat and watch a little t.v. Soon, though, you look back to see kid #1, who skipped nap that day, sleeping soundly on the table. Kid #2 has left her dinner and is playing. About this time baby wakes up. Hubby takes her out of bed and leaves the two girls to play.

You finish eating, then realize that hubby has disappeared to the shower. He comes out, gets his dinner, then again disappears into the bedroom with his food and the laptop. He tells you to take kid #1 to the toilet before you put him into bed. Gee. You were hoping he would do that. But no, it is now your job. Take kid to toilet. Sleeping kid doesn’t do anything and is falling all over. You don’t care if he wets his bed and tuck him in.

You give the baby a bath while kid #2 desides it is time to finish eating. Go to dress the baby, and snap at hubby for watching the movie you just downloaded that you had hoped to watch together. Leave the baby in the room with him so that he can “help” you. Give kid #2 a bath and get her ready for bed. She wants a story before sleep. Get a book and read to her. Finish her bedtime routine and tuck her in.
By now it is 9:30 p.m. Baby is tired and fussy, but you need a shower.  Leave her with hubby and take a quick one. Sit in bed to nurse baby and ask hubby what happened so far. He turns the laptop over to you and rolls over to sleep.
You start the movie from the beginning. About 20 minutes in, baby is sleeping so you get up to put her into bed. At that moment, kid #1 walks in looking for you. Take him back to bed and tell him to sleep. Baby is up again. Sit to watch the movie and pat baby back to sleep. Put her in bed.
Just when you are ready to relax, don’t. Kid #1 keeps coming back. You keep putting him back into bed. Around 11 p.m. you still haven’t finished the movie – too many interruptions. Kid #1 isn’t going back to sleep. You shower him and get him ready for bed. He wants a story. Despite your better judgement, you give in. He wants to read a book but you convince him that telling him a story will be better so that you won’t have to go to the trouble of getting a book and going somewhere to read it.
You tell him to lie down, lie next to him and ask him what story he wants. He wants the one of the people and the naughty snake. Some quick thinking brings to mind the story of Adam and Eve, and you procede to tell it. After that he wants the one about the donkey. No, you don’t know that one. The one about the goat? No, never heard of it. It’s the last story, pick one I know. So he finally wants the one about the lost sheep. Storytime over, you tell him it is now time to sleep.
It’s late. You’ve lost track of time yet you want to finish that movie. You bring the laptop to the table and finish it there. Then you decide to read some blogs. All this time, kid #1 keeps getting out of bed. Finally he asks for a snack. Since he didn’t finish dinner, you give him one. Get him back in bed.
Somewhere around then (post-midnight), fireworks go off. Kid #1 hates the noise and keeps getting up to tell you (at least he isn’t freaking out like he used to). You tell him someone is having a party and that is why they are bursting them and he conjures up the menu – cake, ice cream and chocolate. Right, ok. Go to sleep now.
You try to continue reading, thinking that he will fall asleep at any moment. Instead, kid #2 wakes up. Give her water and get them both back in bed. Fireworks seem louder than ever. Decide to stay up a while longer so that all kids will be asleep when you go to bed.
One a.m. arrives and you can’t last any longer. Kid #1 is still awake!! Tell him you are going to bed and that he will just have to go to sleep on his own. Lie down and count to 10. The door opens but it is kid #2, not #1 like you were expecting. Fireworks are still going off, though more sporadically, so you take her into bed. You are too tired to care if you are crowded or not.

Baby wakes several times in the night. Kid #1 eventually shows up. Baby wakes you around 6:30 a.m., nurses then plays, threating to wake the others. You take her to the kids’ room so she can play and you lie down and try for some more sleep. She won’t let you. She cries cause you won’t get up with her. She is still tired but has nursed all she can, so you pat her to sleep. You don’t care how long it takes or how much she fusses. She has to go back to sleep.

Finally, the magic moment arrives. She is asleep. You have to move her to her bed since the tiny kids’ room bed is not safe for her. Give up your plan to sleep in your bed when you see there is no space. Lie down in the kids’ room. You can’t sleep cause you are too awake and hungry. Check the time. It is now 8 a.m. Get up, get some coffee, and blog about your exhausting night.

When I wrote this, my kids were 3 yrs. 10 mo., 2 yrs. 5 mo, and 10 mo. It wasn’t funny at the time but now I can laugh about the insanity of it all.

Things I Do (That You Never Have to Think About)

I often sit and wonder what to write about. During the day so many ideas pass through my head. Sometimes I note them down, but more often than not I forget about them and then when I do sit to write, my mind goes blank, usually due to tiredness. That is my current state – fuzzy mommy brain.

Well, I can blame a large part of that tiredness on my rascals who all still wake up in the night for one reason or another. Lila and Scarlett literally alternated the other night and I was up every 1 – 1 1/2 hours with one of them. And the rest of the blame goes to PMS. Ok.

I have such grand plans and ideas to write more about India, since most people who read my blog have never been here and have no idea what it is like. I also have more recipe ideas to share, stuff about the kids, etc.

Ok, enough intro. What can I share with you in the next 10 minutes before I have to get Logan up and breakfast ready?

 

There are some things I do on a regular basis that you probably never have to do or even think about doing. For example:

Boil milk daily. We get our milk delivered to the door each morning, just like most everyone else here does. It is convenient to not have to buy fresh milk all the time. The downside? It has to be boiled to clean it. It comes already pasteurized  but it is common knowledge that the places that package the milk are far from sterile. Everyone boils their milk daily. It is a fact of life.

Make my own yogurt. While I can buy yogurt, it comes out much cheaper to make it myself. Just to give you an idea: I pay Rs. 28 per liter (roughly $0.60 Can.) for milk. We get 2 liters a day, and I freeze 1/2 a ltr. at a time, easy cause it comes in 1/2 ltr. packages. Every 2 or 3 days I make 1 ltr. of yogurt at a time. Now, if I were to buy that amount, the cost would almost triple. 400 mls. of yogurt is Rs. 32 (roughly $0.70 Can.) That is less than 1/2 a ltr. I’d have to buy 3 of those, costing me Rs. 96 every 2 or 3 days. Over time, making yogurt is much cheaper, and it is one thing I don’t mind doing as it only takes minutes to do.

Update: (These were the 2011 prices; now in 2013 I am paying about 10 rupees more per liter of milk, and packaged yogurt costs about that much more too.)

Curious about how to make it? Put the milk you are using in a pot. I find whole milk makes thick creamy yogurt, while partly-skimmed milk makes thinner, runnier yogurt, so choose according to how you like your yogurt. You can use fresh or powdered milk.

Put the pot on the stove and stay close. You want to heat it to a temperature where you can stick your finger in and it’s too hot to keep it there but not so hot that it gets burned. Once it gets to this temperature, stir in a tablespoonful of yogurt. You can either leave it in the pot or pour it into another container to set. Make sure the container you use has a lid so it stays clean.

In a cold climate you will want to wrap the container or pot in blankets and place it in your oven (ensure it is off). In hot weather it can set right on the counter. My prefered method is to wrap my container in a towel and place it in the oven overnight. By morning it is set and it just needs time to chill.

Visit the butcher. While it is possible to buy frozen meat in some places, the cost is almost prohibitive, so we buy it fresh. Chicken can be delivered to the door, but for beef, Glad has to go to the tiny shop, get squished by the crowed all waiting for their meat, see the entire cow hanging there, make sure it is cleaned and cut the way we want it, etc. Because of the ordeal it is, we buy beef for the month. When he brings it home, I have to divide it up into portions, package and freeze it.

One plus of this is that we get a good cut each time. You have to be early or the best cuts are gone quickly. In case you are wondering, yes, beef is sold here. The Hindus don’t eat it, only Christians and Muslims. Most of the beef shops are owned by Muslims since they are some of the biggest meat eaters.

These are only a few things. If more come to mind, well, you will get another post about them.

Trouble Be Thy Middle Name

Lila seems to be practicing for a life of trouble…or maybe she is just being a normal 2-year-old. She keeps me busier than the other two combined! She has to do at least one thing daily that makes me wish I had a playpen her size that I could lock her in (it would have to be escape and sound proof), though she usually does more than that.

Today for instance: I was getting a head start on dinner so that when Scarlett gets fussy I can see to her and not worry about dinner being late like it usually is. Lila came to me with something white and runny on her hands – she had dumped a (thankfully small) bottle of baby lotion on my bed, rubbing it into the sheets.

When I went to look at it, she said, “Oh God, Lila”, imitating what I say to her whenever she creates a disaster of epic proportions and I am pressed for time but have to clean it. I had no idea I said it so much that she knew it. Actually, I only say it when I’m really upset – I’ve had a long day, listened to too many hours of screaming and crying, when I’m on edge and need a break.

It is never-ending with her – I swear! Yesterday she dumped a bottle of laundry bleach all over the balcony and herself; she regularly dumps water on the floor in varying quantities; she has flooded both the living and dining rooms; she sticks her hands in the flour and licks them when I’m rolling chapattis; she will systematically drop her dinner on the floor if she doesn’t want to finish (usually I’m nursing the baby and can’t go to her); she loves to play with soap, and will take the bar to her room, or my bed, dig into it and rub it all over herself. She rips things, breaks things, opens most anything, eats anything, and then runs when I catch her. She has learned how to run around the furniture so I can’t catch her easily but will then usually get herself stuck in a corner.

Ironically, she rarely gets hurt. At the most she will get a scratch or a bump, nothing serious. The turpentine incident has been, by far, the worst trouble she has gotten into since her trouble-making days began. I just hope she won’t have anything worse happen.

Of Coughs and Sleepless Nights

It’s Saturday morning. Glad is gone to work already and I’m still trying to wake myself up. Last night was so busy. I know I was awake more than I slept. It’s hard to sleep when you are cramped in bed.
Because of the weather heating up, we now have to use the air conditioner at night. Since we only own one and it is in our bedroom, at night I put Logan’s mattress on the floor for him and Lila to sleep on. Do they sleep there all night? Of course not. Lila makes her way to my side at some point. She won’t sleep in the middle but on the edge and has fallen numerous times because of that. She snuggles real close and if I move to get some space, she moves too, even when asleep. Then Logan eventually climbs up next to Glad and the crowding begins. I have nothing against snuggling with my husband but I’d prefer the kids not be there.
The reason they are getting away with this right now is that all 3 kids are sick with coughs – Logan and Lila with a croupy-type dry cough and Scarlett with a regular cough and cold. All 3 are cranky, wanting all my attention, crying if I don’t immediately say yes to their smallest request. Logan especially will burst into tears if I say any word but yes.
Glad took Logan to see our landlord who is also a pediatrician. He is an older man in his 80’s, slow-moving, but he knows his business. He gave Logan a basic checkup and then recommended antibiotics for his cough. I think Lila will need them now too, though her cough is nowhere near as bad as Logan’s.

I mostly feel bad for Scarlett. Imagine all of a sudden feeling sick, coughing, and not being able to do anything about it. It’s never happened to you before so you don’t know what it is. She wants to be carried all the time, and cries the most pitiful angry cry if I put her down. Sometimes she is happy down but after only a few minutes at most, she cries again. Needless to say, I’m not getting much done. In an effort to keep them occupied and happy, they are watching too many videos.

Last night even Scarlett, who usually sleeps through the whole night, was up, but at least she nursed and went back to sleep. I had to move Lila back to her bed so I could have space to lie with the baby, but in literally 30 seconds she was back.
I keep telling myself it’s not the end, that soon the day will come when they will not only sleep in their own beds, but they won’t want me in their rooms or even their lives (like I’m gonna let that happen without a fight). Anyway, that helps me endure when I can’t sleep cause I’m too crowded. The other night all 5 of us were there in bed. Scarlett was wide awake at 12:30 a.m., unusual for her. The other 2 had rested all day and napped so were also awake. Glad and I just kind of laughed and I waited until I dropped from exhaustion. Later I woke up and moved the girls and was able to get a good sleep.
Now I’m on my second cup of coffee. It’s after 10 a.m. and the kids are all still sleeping, worn out from a night of coughing and fussing. I just have to make sure I don’t get sick so I’m sleeping until I wake up instead of getting up early. Exercise will just have to wait.

Some Days I Feel Like An Octopus…

…or maybe a rubber band, stretched in all directions. Everyone wants or needs something from me. Some of them are more demading about it than others but all are needy. Time for me? That’s why I get up early and is how I now have time to sit here.
Yesterday I decided I’d try making a cake. Sure, I’ve done it lots of times, but never without an oven. So, with all 3 kids awake and busy, I tried it. I mixed up the batter and cooked it like pancakes on a cast-iron pan. To make sure it cooked well, I made 3 small cakes, covered it with a lid, kept the flame low, and watched it like a hawk. At the same time Logan and Lila asked for a snack, and I was roasting peanuts in the wok (we buy them raw and roast them ourselves, cheaper). My family loves peanuts for snacking so I had to get them done.
To flip the rather large pancakes, I used 2 spatualas and did it fast to avoid breakage. The cake recepie I used makes a very soft, moist cake, generally not the best for pancakes … but it worked.
It was while I was stirring peanuts, cooking pancakes, chasing Logan and Lila out of the kitchen, all the while nursing the baby, that I began to get the octopus feeling. I needed more arms to do everything I do in a day, especially when I am trying to complete so many things at once. As a mother I often feel overworked, stretched beyond capacity, in need of a break. I try to sneak in little breaks here and there but they never last long.
Do I have a point with all of this? I’ve just realised that I am talking aimlessly with no point in sight. I guess the point is that I do end up managing better than I thought I could. I survive the stress, the fights over toys, the crying, the need to be carried around, the “I’m-most-important-and-you-have-to-do-what-I-want-NOW” feeling that each of the children exhibits in their own way. The important this is that I do survive.
And I don’t need 8 arms to do it.

The ones responsible for it all.

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