Monday, February 23, 2015

Siblings and all that ... Jazz

I remember when I was growing up... people would come up to my mom and  say 'Two girls'  and '3 years apart' ... 'oh they must not fight at all'. My sister and I we fought like cats and dogs! We used words a lot and we got on each others nerves all the time. My mom had to constantly yell  'If I come there both of you are going to get it.' - Reminds me of Russell Peters  'Somebody gonna get a hurt real bad'
We also were inseparable (At least till she got married and I left for the US). And that is the other side of this sibling coin. I cried when she got beaten and she fought for me (to get my parents approval) when I wanted to marry a man of my choice. Do I need say more?

When I had Isaac and Ziva with a 22 months space, I knew the nightmare would come. Someone told me 'Don't worry, they will be really close'.
Yes Maybe - but 'Payback's a *&^%$!'.
I am sure I gave plenty of grief to my mother, so it was my time now.   I watched my sister deal with my nephew and niece and I realized any age gap and the sibling jazz was bound to dazzle us all. And now its my turn

I am seriously tired of the  yells and screams coming from the basement. ‘Amma she is not sharing with me.’  ...'Amma he is looking at me!' ....Really !! Another favorite place for them to fight is in the the back seat of the car. 'Amma his leg is close to my car seat.'
I find myself frequently saying 'If I come there .. you both are going to get it'

Sometimes its minor tugs and pulls while others are more emotional and long-lasting fights and it seems like they may kill each other.
I know these sibling quarrels are a common occurrence in most households. But I have started thinking of how I can set the rules so we can have a calmer day. Especially since we homeschool - Isaac and Ziva just have to get along for more than a seconds!
Suresh keeps saying set the rules and if they dont abide its time for the rod. But what are the rules and should I read it out to them like the ten commandments!

Commandments:  As in every household the most important thing is ‘Rules’. No one likes them! But everyone must follow them! Here would be my commandments for the Joel Household for the next few years
1. No hitting,
2. No name calling
3. No hoarding
That's it ! If I can just get them to abide by these, the world would be more peaceful.
But it does seem like sharing is the toughest. Yes - especially in a household where there are over a thousand toys both will have a tug off for one toy. And of course we are almost going to the point of  'I had it first' . So what do I do. ' No share - no play'. It works! They both cry for a while and then its almost like they gang up against me and play together with a completely different toy!

Good Job: The best sprinkling of masala over the wound at this time is. Good Job guys! I am so proud of you two sharing and I have my babies back in my arms! Now Ziva has even started asking me. 'Amma are you happy with Isaac and Me'!

Wearing my boxing gloves: Sometimes, though it does seem like I have to get down in the boxing ring and separate them! And this is when we use the hug theory. Hug, are the best thing, I have realized, and use it commonly when there has been a physical fight. Its not possible for me to always use my eight eyes and watch who started the fight or who pushed whom. Conversations are not entirely clear and this seems like the perfect time to talk about forgiveness. Usually in this case no one is innocent. So we go into hug mode. 'Isaac and Ziva hug each other. Now say I am sorry.' This is irrespective of who had done IT! And I think its not the words ... but the touch that makes them both melt down and again in 5 minutes we have WORLD PEACE.

Unity in Adversity: 'Isaac you must protect Ziva. Ziva listen to Isaac he will take care of you.' I found him 20 minutes later sitting next to her quietly watching her. She too was sitting besides him and they had not pulled each others hair out. Somehow when you make the family claim, even kids seem to understand the song 'We are family'. Best way to leave them alone and hope for peace - Add a touch of responsibility!'

Who's dunn it!: And then there are those times when you just got to know who is the culprit. This may be the broken phone that they were both yanking at or the TV that just wont switch ON because both wanted to turn it ON. You just got to know. Currently we use books for various characteristics. We have a series called Bubbles  and one particular one is  'Bubbles Owns up' ... There are tons more about not fighting with other, Not being a spoil-sport. And recently we found one very good one about not teasing your sibling. It hit a home-run with Isaac and now all I have to say is 'Remember how Pipo was mean to his sister' Lot of perspective. And it works way better than me screaming 'SHARE' or 'BE NICE'. The books are nice because they are so non-judgemental

Vishesh Tippany (Translated special message): I am slowly also realizing using myself as a example may also help the kids relate to relationships and their value. So I guess Isaac and Ziva are going to here a lot of stories about Amma and 'Mona Velliamma' and of course 'Ammachi!'

At the end of the day I just got to remember that I too  have waged the sibling war and turned out fine. The key is to keep the whole sibling rivalry healthy with plenty of love and forgiveness and HUGs!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Mommy is sick

**Rant begins**
What happens when mommy falls sick?
I rarely fall sick ... at least in the past 3.5 years since moving to Bangalore ... Maybe I had a cold or tummy ache once or twice. Whenever I have a bad day with the kids ... I keep thinking ' God I wish I could call in sick to work tomorrow.'
Work is right here and falling sick makes no difference to anyone really. The chores are the same... the place is the same and the 'REST' is out of the question. Yes I do have a full time maid but the  maximum I can get is an extra half hour and that too gets taken up because I am just able to drag myself about the house to get things done before the crew is back in the house jumping on the bed ... yanking at each other guts and screaming bloody murder (actually Ziva is the only one who screams murder ... Isaac runs behind her just to hear her scream.)
Yes I am on a roll today. And I am whining. But after 4 days of headaches ... today I can actually think straight!.  And after this past week I am very grateful to God for Good health.
In the US, it is FLU season. I remember for the first 7 years wondering why people complained about getting the FLU. Then the 7th year I got it. THE FLU. I have never rolled out of bed before but those 7 days days in Feb 2008 I could do nothing but roll out! Luckily there were no kids and so lying in bed was allowed.
In 2010 about 3 months after Isaac was born, I was diagnosed with penumonia and while rest of was recommended ... mommy had a surprise waiting. Little boy Isaac was diagnosed with RSV and spent  4 days in the hospital. Sick mommy + sick baby makes a terrible combination.
 Then I had a three year break and 2011 Feb I got the FLU yet again. This time Isaac was around but I was pregnant and Ammachi and Appa took full charge of Isaac and I got to lie in bed again!
And here we are again 2015 and the FLU is back. I am trying to think whether the headaches were worse or driving to art and soccer class with the kids was worse. But I would drive any where just to have an hour of no kids and peace around me.
I think there is an unwritten rule book that says ' Mommy - thou shalt not fall sick'. Every time I pop vitamins and drink down gallons of water at the slightest sight of a cold ... Suresh says I am slowly bordering on becoming a hypochondriac. Then again I would prefer being a 'hypochondriac' Mommy than a 'sick' Mommy
Last week the FLU had hit Daddy too. Now I don't know if Daddy's just handle sickness better or they have a whole lot more strength than us. Daddy popped an antibiotic and a pain med, complained about his headache but carried on about his day as usual ... making me think that he went to work and slept it off!!!
I remember going to work with colds and headaches ... and I keep wondering whats different now. After all the bed is just a couple steps away. I think the key is psychology! At work I had the joy of going home early because of my 'ailment'. I remember the joy of filling in the form that said 'Sick' day and sending that email to the boss or calling in sick. After all we had 'SICK' days.
I think mommy's should have Sick days! Just so that we can claim it!

And guess what the next thing on my plate is bound to be?  With all my runny nose and sniffling and yet snuggling and co-sleeping, I am sure Isaac or Ziva are bound to come down with something and while Mommy gets no one to bring her hot soup/tea or tuck her into bed ... This mommy may be on nurse duty driving down medicine into a 3 and 5 year old! Lets stock up on the Vitamin C!

**Rant ends (does it really!!)**

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Blood on the road! Quotes from Isaacland

Isaac loves maps. Isaac loves mazes. He loves tracing his hand up and down and round to get from one point to the other. He loves maps like the ones you find in Winnie the pooh that shows the details of the 'Hundred Acre woods'
And then recently Isaac got his little eyes into Google maps... Aaah what excitement.
So one evening we are traveling in the car and keep getting stuck traffic. After a 1/2 hr of frustration I pulled out my phone to check how 'bad' the traffic was as our journey continued. The map came up and as usual the whole of Bangalore looked like a jam at 7 pm. Isaac peers over my shoulders and his jaw drops
Isaac: Amma there is blood on the road!

Google maps you may need to change your color code to save the innocence of my 5 year old!