31 Dec 2013

20 Resolves to Change Your Life

It's that time of year again. Time to say goodbye to a year gone by, to welcome a brand new year. A time to look back, reflect and resolve.  A time to hope that all the resolutions will last longer this time round. Perhaps for the whole new year. And then we could just call them a lifestyle change instead.


I hereby do solemnly resolve to -
  • Eat less (of the trashy variety)
  • Eat more (of the healthy, vitamin-infused variety)
  • Drink less (of the alcoholic, caffeinated and fizzy kinds)
  • Drink more (of all other kinds, read water)
  • Exercise more (running circles around a toddler does not count)
  • Lose weight (fat, not muscle. Cellulite, not grey matter) 
  • Tackle housework before it piles up (not rugby-tackle the hoover in a fit of frustration)
  • Read more (browsing the internet does not count)
  • Write more (than just shopping lists)
  • Blog more (less of what I find humorous, more of what actually is)
  • More gentle parenting (less temper tantrums for all involved)
  • More interactive parenting (less reliance on CBeebies)
  • Take more photographs (selfies do not count)
  • Count more blessings (any reason not to really cry counts as a blessing. Maybe write them all down, just to jog memory when want to cry without good reason)
  • Limit screen time (includes smartphone screens)
  • Limit time on social media (actual phone calls are exempt)
  • Less whinging (see 'Count more blessings')
  • Less whining (see 'Less whinging') 
  • Stay cool, calm, collected (unhassled, unfrazzled, unbothered by anything)
  • Transform into La Goddess Domestique (not a Stepford Wife)

Ambitious? Yes. This time next year, I will be a new me. Reinvented, refreshed, nearing the big 4-0, and hopefully past this mid-life crisis thing!



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ClarinasContemplations

26 Dec 2013

12 Things that Make Our Christmas

Christmas! A magical, most wonderful time of the year. When strangers smile at you, shop assistants chat with you and there is a mad rush to squeeze into that last parking space at the supermarket. A time when there is guilt-free binge eating. Not to mention drinking. When neighbours pop round with cards and Santa pops up in his grotto in most every town centre.

We love Christmas in the C household. We really do. More so since little J was born and it has taken on a whole new feel. It is less about cosy nights on the sofa snuggling up with warm mulled wine. It is more about shiny baubles, presents, twinkling fairy lights and chocolate reindeer with or without red noses. All about stirring the Christmas pudding and Santa getting stuck up the chimney going, "Achoo, achoo, achoo!" 

The last couple of years since having J, the focus has been on a family Christmas, our family Christmas. We are hoping to have our own traditions and build some beautiful, happy memories for J to cherish when he is no longer a little boy running circles around me as we gear up for a jolly festive season.

Here are 12 things that I hope will herald the advent of Christmas in our home year after year.

1) Santa 
Everything to do with good old Papa Noel gets us all excited in the C house.  J wanders around the house, hands on hips, humming Santa songs and going, "Ho, ho, ho." He has a little Santa doll that comes out of storage at the beginning of December and keeps him company all through the festive season. Most of all, we love putting on our bright red Santa hats everywhere we go.
J will outgrow the legend of Father Christmas, but our hats will always get us in the spirit of things every Christmas.



19 Dec 2013

Angelic Toddlers

We have all seen and heard of angelic little babies. Anyone ever heard of an angelic little toddler? 

A little angel of two years and a bit who does not

- have a hissy fit when they do not get their way

- wake up each morning screaming for something that they remembered they were not given the night before



- insist on having their own way all the time, defying their parents' authority, challenging it, every step of the way

- have this independent streak and sense of individuality that makes them want to do everything on their own, without seeking help, however impossible or impractical the task at hand may be for a two year old

- drop to the floor in a flood of tears, bawling, for no apparent reason whatsoever

- get into fisty-fights over a plaything/play space

- chatter incessantly all day long

- follow Mother around, insisting on helping with all the housework, ending up creating more work for her

- scratch/bite/hit out not only when they are irritable but also when they are super excited, almost like little puppies

- carry on till things are just so, because they like them just so 

- constantly test boundaries, push limits, try to see what they can get away with

- need reminders to stop screaming, to talk softly and use magic words

- use bargaining tactics with their parents to try and get their way

Ever wonder what happens to all those angelic little babies the moment they turn two? I did. Just this morning, as I was cajoling my screaming, sometimes angelic, sometimes not-so-much toddler to come up the stairs for a change of clothes. It is after all the season of angels and miracles.

Merry Christmas, everybody.



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18 Dec 2013

Coping with Grief

It is 3 weeks since my father, my Baba, passed away. I am still finding it extremely difficult to believe that he is no longer with us. I keep thinking he is still but a phone call away, as he had always been these last few years.

The emotions tend to range from overwhelming to subdued. There is frustration, helplessness, anger, disbelief, sadness. The 'what if's' and 'if only's' keep coming endlessly. 


I have normal moments. And then reality bites. It hits home all over again, that Baba is no more.


My little son, my J, is only 2 years old. I hate to think he is going to grow up not knowing his granddad, his Bandu Aba, at all. The only memories will be a few photographs and hearsay. 


I am trying to find closure. I have to. J at 2 years needs me more than I need to cling on to my grief. He is a remarkably sensitive child with an understanding far beyond his years. 


He had mentioned his Bandu Aba a good few times over the last days and weeks. Especially when we flew over to see my mother, my Aai, and the family. He was bewildered to see everyone there. Everyone except his Bandu Aba. 

Baba loved burning incense sticks. There was a particularly poignant moment when J and I walked into his room and caught a lingering whiff of incense - incense that had ceased to burn since the day Baba passed away. J stopped mid-step, turned to me with a questioning look, "Bandu Aba?" The last time we were in that room was over a year ago.

How do you explain death to a toddler to whom the concept is alien, non-existent? I started by saying that Bandu Aba had gone far away to do 'night night'. That he had gone in an aeroplane to a faraway place. J was not convinced. He kept asking for Bandu Aba. It did not help that I had a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes every time I told him this.

In the end I decided to put a happy face on it for J's sake. I told him that Bandu Aba had gone in a spaceship to live with his Aai and Baba, that he was now living with them among the stars. J wanted to know when he would go in a spaceship. Not for a very, very, very long time. He was already living here with his Aai and Baba. We got out Baba's photo and asked J if he wanted to say 'bye 'bye to Bandu Aba. He did, even blew him a kiss. We did not say "See you soon," though.

I got through this conversation with a calm face and no tears. J seemed to have found his closure.

He has not asked about Bandu Aba since. We were looking at some old family photos yesterday. I managed to do so without tears. J was happy to identify everyone in the photos. Even his Bandu Aba.

The time has come for me to let go. Life has to go on as normal. For J. Baba would not have liked it any other way.

12 Dec 2013

Goodbye, Baba

Farewell to a Beloved Father

We didn't always get along
We had our differences, squabbled,
But you were always there for me
When you were needed the most.

There for troubled times
And happy ones
On my wedding day
The birth of my son.

You did your best for me,
Though I might not have agreed
With all your parenting style
And old school fathering.

They say you shed a tear
when I was born.
Not that you coveted another son,
but were thinking of the day
You would be giving me away to
Another man.

I did not get to see you
As often as I would have liked,
But there was the surety
You would always be there
At the end of the phone line.

If I had known the last time we spoke
Was to be the last time ever,
I would never have hung up,
Would have talked on forever.

I write this with tears in my eyes
Wish I could have seen you
One last time
To say Goodbye, Baba,
I am missing you so much.


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