Friday, September 27, 2013

You know you are a single mom when...

  • You are ready to call it a day at 8:30am
  • You really feel like telling your kid that she can hunt for her own food at lunch
  • You are tired of hearing, “you look really tired today” 
  • But then you smile politely and say, “this IS how I look”
  • From the moment your kid wakes up, you wait eagerly for her bedtime
  • Shower times can play with your mind. You don’t want it to end (for either kid or you) but stress out thinking of the water bill next month
  • Every morning you tell yourself you will go to bed early tonight
  • But you never go to bed till midnight because that is the ONLY time you will get to yourself
    You use that very precious time very constructively, and instead of preparing lunch for the next day, you get caught up on Devious Maids and Mistresses (remember, kid can hunt for own food at school?)
  • You find yourself constantly making lists
  • You are incapable of taking naps (IF the moment ever arose) 
  • You live in constant fear of forgetting something very important
  • Your kid is the only child in school to wear the same dress to picture day as the previous year
  • The person you want MOST in your life is a live-in maid who can also do your hair every morning
  • Wine is your biggest expense
  • You don’t read books anymore - they are too taxing for your brain
  • You do not have the space for other people’s shit
  • You stop watching the news, chemical weapons don’t seem to a big problem anymore
  • Every free moment you get, you find yourself in the grocery store or scrubbing something
  • The only time you might be able to go out on a date would be Saturday brunch
  • But you would look too tired for that
  • And your date might mistake you for a bear because you have not had time to shave (just be glad I shower every day)
  • Or he might think this is the first time you’ve been to a restaurant because you are more interested in the dining experience than him
  • And then he will dump you on that first date realizing he cannot afford your wine bill
  • Did I already mention that wine is your biggest expense?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

In Love...

Lately, I received quite a few messages from my friends that they love seeing my Facebook posts, especially the photos. They want to know the secret to my glow and love my zest for life. Now, granted, everything on Facebook should be taken with a grain of salt, and I post only the "happy" moments, and I definitely do not glow without filters - I do love life. And the only reason I share it is because there is nothing like sharing a bit of happiness with friends and family. I've always shared happiness, even during the days we did not have Facebook.

What makes me happy?
Falling in love...

I fall in love almost every day. In fact I fell in love just last night with this couple at the airport. When you're traveling for business or with kids, you are always in a rush - how fast can I get out of that plane? How fast can I walk to the baggage claim? Does my child need to go potty? I better check my emails while I wait for those damned bags. Why did I check bags in the first place? Oh, I remember, it was for the shoes! I need a pair for the outfit I wanted to wear for that dinner, only to realize none of the 5 pairs I took with me matched.

So, last night, after I landed, I decided not to rush. And surprisingly, I got my bags as soon as I reached baggage claim. I strolled outside and waited for my friend to come pick me up and while I waited, I decided not to play with my phone. As I sat there inhaling fresh air and exhaling toxic airplane air, I was startled by a squeal from this lady who was so excited to see her partner. They both hugged, kissed and her partner held her tight and reminded her how much he missed her. I fell in love instantly.

I'm also in love with Sam. Our six year old neighbor who is honestly the most loving child I've ever met. I'm in love with the fact my daughter loves him as much as I do and that all three of us share the same love for Tom and Jerry.

When it comes to falling in love, I fall in love with my friends in San Diego over and over again. I'm a firm believer that God gives special kids to special parents and they are truly special. I'm in love with their strength, courage and most importantly their constantly smiling faces.

I fall in love easily with people who smile and make others smile. The greatest feeling in this whole world is putting a smile on someone's face. I'm in love with beautiful people - both from inside and out.

I am of course head over heels in love with my six year old - her morning breath, her crazy hair, her wiggling tooth, her crazy sense of fashion, our evening walks to watch the sun set, our pretend parties and dance shows.

So remember, if you are one of those people who find it hard to smile, complain about how things are not going your way, afraid others might judge you, or even worse, following your heart might throw things off balance - you need to wake up and fall in love, over and over again.

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Sparkly Shoe Fund

Lately I have not been feeling creative at all. That is kind of stressful for me, especially since my livelihood depends on being creative every single day. I think I am finally succumbing to that pressure. The last thing I want to do when I come home, is be creative. There are walls in my apartment that I want to decorate with photos, there are even photos available to put up, but the sheer thought of coordinating and buying frames, and coming up with creative ways to not make my walls look like any other walls, makes me give up on the project each and every time.

However, what I cannot get away with, is being a parent.  That is THE most creative job on the planet. So if you are a parent, and if you tell yourself you are not the creative type, you are lying to yourself. You might not be lying when you say you don’t have a sense of color or coordination – but a creative you are. How would you be raising kids or else? Imagine the answers you have to come up with, the solutions you need to invent, the endless stories you have to weave and the manipulation you have to resort to, to just get your child to brush her teeth.

Born from such creativity is “The Sparkly Shoe Fund”.

Last weekend, at a play date, my daughter saw these sparkly sneakers that were not only super colorful, but also lit up when you walked. Of course, she wanted them. She even promised to wear these shoes to school EVERY day. Now the “wearing it EVERY day” part was what caught my attention. As a parent, who is late to work every single morning due to shoe drama, this would be a blessing (we’ll talk about the clothes drama at a later post when I’ve had enough wine).

Even though it was an interesting solution, I had forgotten all about it (as usual) till it came up last night amidst a lot of whining. I was just coming out of a play/pool/dinner date with three girls and hearing my daughter whine was not at the top of my list. I had to make it stop. She did not need shoes and I didn’t want to say yes. But I couldn’t let go of my morning visions of no shoe drama. That’s when I saw the light and gave birth to the said fund.

I explained to her that she will have to create a fund for her shoes. I laid out the rules. The shoes cost $30 (I sure hope they are not $100 designer shoes). I would pick out chores for her and add dollar amounts to them based on level of difficulty. She could earn the money my completing the chores. If she needed my help in completing any of them, her earnings would be reduced for said task. Her first task last night was to vacuum a cobweb with a spider in it. Since she is really fearful of spiders, this task was a big ticket item set for $5. She could not muster up the courage to do it herself and requested my help. That brought it down to $2. Her first earnings.

A few other things she can earn money for her shoes, is by way of overcoming a few challenges we deal with on a daily basis. Staying awake in the car on her way home from school every evening, eating well at three meals and cleaning up her room will earn her $1. Sleeping in her own room will earn her a whopping $5. As of this moment she is sleeping in her bed, at her own wish, sans any drama – I feel like I’ve won already. In case of any kind of bad behavior, depending on the extent, she will have to pay me back from her fund.

As of last night, this girl is on a mission and so am I.

And of course, a girl has to have a sparkly shoe box for the cause!

I knew these jewels would one day solve a bigger purpose :)

Just doing it! Because that is what you sometimes have to do.

Only $27 to go...our drawing skills have a longer road ahead though ;)

Mommy is currently receiving contributions in the name of a Sparkly Flask Fund – oh wait, I already have that!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Random Rants of the Aging

So now my eyebrows are turning gray? WTH??? I feel like I woke up one day and turned old. I am not ready yet. But I have to face said fact – after all its not just my hair anymore – its my freakin’ eyebrows as well. I mean, seriously???

So what do you do to your eyebrows when they turn gray? I’m sure there are pins in Pinterest on eyebrow makeovers. Who can guide me to that fountain of youth again? Anyone?

Honestly, I don’t “feel” old. Okay, maybe there was just this one day when I threw my back off somehow and could barely walk all day. How did that happen? Well, I’d like you all to believe I was practicing moves from the Kama Sutra, but I think it was from tying my shoelaces. Let’s just go back to the Kama Sutra version here – shall we?

I’ve never had a problem acknowledging my age and realizing I’m getting older. But the other day when I came across someone celebrating their 26th on FB, I almost cried. I blamed it on my hormones and the time of the month of course. Some of my 40+ friends are rolling their eyes saying, “Gawd, you’re still young!” I would like to remind them again that my eyebrows are graying. As you can tell, this really has me freaked out.

I think it’s stress. I think it’s the damned stressful lives we lead. I cannot imagine what my parents would have done if they had to deal with kindergarten graduation ceremonies.

My brain doesn’t work anymore. It has been proven by my six year old who wrote me this beautiful note saying, “ I love mommy because she does not use her brains.” I think my brain has checked out and is eternally vacationing in some tropical island. But somehow even there I constantly here the words – “hungry”, “poop”, “mommy”, “dessert”, “why”, “but WHY?????”

I have to admit – my daughter has some serious skills. Some of the stuff she can do blows my mind. She can talk non-stop while brushing her teeth. She can also do a balancing act while on the potty. She can do cartwheels and hand stands right after dinner without throwing up. She can say “mommy” in EVERY sentence.

But at the end of the day, she thinks Mommy is 18. I think Mommy is 24. And there is always tweezers for those damned eyebrows and mascara for when you realize there will be no more eyebrows left for tweezing.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Sensory Child

“ You would never get way for this kind of behavior with me. Your mother is too nice.”

I have heard my daughter being told this too many times now and as a mother I’ve cringed inside every single time and wanted to explain myself that I wasn’t spoiling her a bit. In fact, I was really hard on her. But at all instances I kept silent knowing I would never be able to explain our challenges and the other person would not understand. I just distanced us from them as much as I could.

There have been too many occasions, where my friends thought I was too uptight when I wanted to return home with my daughter at a decent time from a get-together or wanted to stick to our regular week day meal times on weekends knowing the aftermath I would have to face for breaking schedule. Friends and family would walk over eggshells around my daughter not knowing what’s going to spark an outburst from her. As a result, they all somehow ended up treating her a bit differently than the other kids in the room.

I’ve also always wondered if these other parents judged me when I didn’t make too big of a deal if my daughter wouldn’t smile, say hi, thank you or goodbye knowing the result of putting her on the spot would be far worse than the current situation, if I did. She, however, was constantly reminded that she does need to say those things and be polite. But it wouldn’t happen right then and there, no matter how hard I tried.

By the time my daughter was three, I knew something was out of sync. I knew that, because I am not one of those parents who will be blind to all my child’s antics.  I had unfortunately been one of those judgmental parents myself before I had my own kid. And I had promised myself that my kid would never get away with most of the stuff I see other kids doing or saying.

So when after years and years of not giving in, being consistent with discipline, and not taking any crap, we continued to have the same problems, I realized something was off. She seemed to have been born with a switch that toggled between an extremely happy and an extremely unhappy/mad kid with no middle ground. Sometimes the reasons were not clear to us as parents, let alone other people we socialized with and our family members who just thought she was spoilt.

A few years ago, I was determined I was going wrong somewhere with this whole parenting gig. The world around me sure made me feel that way. It was time I sought help. After my counselor heard the challenges I was having, she advised I get my daughter evaluated by an Occupational Therapist. To her, it seemed like my daughter had some sensory issues. I had no idea what that meant at the time. So I started reading.

The more I read, the more I began to understand why getting dressed, brushing teeth, taking a shower, going to school, riding in the car, socializing – almost everything with her was such a challenge and a constant battle. Mostly all her senses, especially that of touch and sound, are extremely heightened and they bother her to no extent. As her therapist later had explained to me – imagine being pricked by a 1,000 needles all at once – that’s how she feels when she wears certain clothing. And she cannot explain that to you and you have no way of understanding why she is throwing such a tantrum. Not because she is spoilt – she wants to be in something that comforts her.

Comfort and security is something she seeks at all times. Kids with sensory issues are uncomfortable most of the time. Being unable to express their discomfort, these kids tend to become very insecure, irritable, frustrated, afraid and rigid. They need extreme structure and operate well within a consistent schedule.

Doctors will not recognize sensory integration as a medical problem and will not refer you for therapy. Once a pediatrician told me – your daughter does not need any occupational therapy. She’s just being a kid and you just need to stay consistent with discipline. Some have told me I am overreacting and of course there were those who will constantly harp on the fact that I spoil her and am responsible for all ill actions. Lately, of course, there is the divorce and most all her reactions are believed to be because of our “situation”.

I am done with crap people throw at me constantly. I am done with those who are not there to help but can only point fingers and be judgmental. I have a beautiful, extremely smart, creative and loving daughter and all I want, is to provide her with skills and tools to be able to grow up in to this wonderful human being in her own right. The past six years have not been an easy ride of any sort – not for any one of us – but this year is the year of hope and the year of building our futures – and build we shall.

Why do I write about this you ask? Knowing very well most people might start thinking my child has a “problem” and be judgmental anyways? I write about this because I am a changed person. I write about my experiences because I would like you to change your thoughts as well – to have more patience, to understand, recognize, be aware, love, and most importantly take an extra step whenever you get a chance, because, who I see here is a child who can sparkle up your life as much as she sparkles mine.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Beaches, Friendship and much more...

Growing up I was always surrounded by friends. Till date, some of my closest friends are the ones I made when I was very very young. I've known my best friend since fifth grade. We are more like sisters now. I think E shares my sentiments when it comes to friendship. She loves hanging out with her friends, having them over and visiting them. She also shares my love for the ocean and sprawling beaches. So nothing could have been more fun and meaningful to us both than visiting our friends in San Diego for Spring Break. Its been almost a year since our friends moved out here and we miss them a lot. 

Here are a few moments from my "Beach Series". These photos were taken with an iphone and I am not a photographer. So even though they are not technically the best photos - each of them tell me a story and are very close to my heart.

Along with my childhood friends, I have also made some incredible friends in the recent years. One of them I have the pleasure of working with at my current job. Being the native OC girl, imagine her excitement when we had to go on a business trip to Orange County recently. Brought up in Laguna Beach, she took me down memory lane with her to the house she grew up in, the school she went to and of course the beach she so terribly misses now. I could not resist taking a few shots of her reminiscing about her childhood. I'm honored she took me on this journey with her and I cherish our newly found friendship to no end.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Heart Day

You knew this post was coming - right? How can one help it when there is so much love all around, especially on the internet. Hopefully our economy did well and people did not delete all the red and pink promotions they received in their inbox like I did. My inbox was flooded with hearts in the subject lines offering some sort of sale. Sadly this time there was none for penis enlargements, for if there were I would totally go for it -LOL!  I was VERY tempted with one offer for liposuction though. I still feel some geek should come up with an app that if you slide the phone across your problem areas it will melt all the fat in those regions. Now, if and when you do come up with that app, please make sure you give me credits and half of your earnings please. After all it was my idea.

So here are a few facts I learned this Valentines day:
  • When you say “Olive Juice” your lips move exactly the way if you were to say “I Love You”. Talk about useless information to fill your brain. But now I do posses this piece of information which will never leave my brain even while I forget to pick up my daughter from school.
  • If you tell your coworker a sad enough story about yourself right before you head out to lunch together, you earn a free meal. She feels so sorry for you that she buys you lunch which you end up telling her was the highlight of your day and you might just be invited to dinner now - SCORE! (I have to admit this coworker is a dear freind of mine and I know she would have bought me that lunch anyways, it was just how the events took place that made us laugh hard about the way it turned out. I love you Ms B!)
  • Less than 3 (because using the symbol jacks up my post due to some HTML crap): According to Urban Dictionary, some people use this as a heart, but those people are wrong. It is clearly a ballsack. Don’t blame me for ruining the "heart" for you - I would have never thought of that.
Jokes apart, hope everyone had a great time with people they loved, doing the things that they love and spreading some love to folks who need them. I know I did, especially since it involved Lamb Biriyani and Kababs and NO ballsacks. :)

Monday, February 11, 2013

Party Planning Jitters

I finally won over my urge to constantly be in the know of everything that was happening in everyone's lives. Its been almost three weeks that I've not been on Facebook and I must say it feels pretty good. My head is not full of useless information anymore - well, for the most part - when I'm not trying to answer questions like "mommy, how can Mary Poppins sit on a cloud?"

The chatterbox is turning six and she wants a party. If she could, she would invite 100 kids and I'm not kidding. I'm sure she even mentioned something to that effect in one of her conversations while driving home back from school. So far she has almost 40 kids on her invite list. I'm just amazed she even knows 40 kids. Yes, I know I'm crazy to have said yes to it. But I'm happy she considers that many her friends and wants to include them in her celebrations. I, however, have starting laying rules for next year already - limiting her to 10-15 friends she can invite. She sighs, throws her arms in the air, rolls her eyes and says, "mommy, but that's not even a party!" Dear God, SAVE ME!!!

So, I was chatting with a friend today and we were talking about how we cannot remember anything these days. Apparently her mom tells her the same thing that my dad constantly tells me - "if you forget everything at this age, what will you do when you are my age?" I tell my dad it was easy for them. They weren't as forgetful when they were younger because they were not as stressed as we are these days - they did not have Google searches and most importantly they did not have Pinterest. Yes, its official - Pinterest stresses me out beyond belief. So when I did a Google search on the upcoming birthday party theme(s), I was led on several instances to Pinterest boards and one particular blog and I realized there was a whole new world out there of moms with money, lots of it, and something even more precious - TIME. Well, yes, they are creative too and with the resources available to them, their creativity knows no bounds. This knowledge stresses me out why? Because somehow it makes me look like a loser and I don't feel creative anymore and realize my party planning ideas stink - I stink. The realization dawns that however much I try, I will not be able to make my daughter's 6th birthday party look like a wedding on the beach. Beat that dad!

One idea I am taking from all my party planning research though - a bottle of Bombay Sapphire will go very well with the party theme. But a disclaimer to all parents invited - that's only for ME. :)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Keeping it Simple

Look who’s back! I know how much you’ve been missing me and my tidbits on my delightfully interesting life.

It’s that darned Facebook that doesn’t make me want to write anymore. I’d rather just hit the “like” button on other people’s shit (Oops! I meant posts. No offense please. As you keep reading you'll realize I'm using the word a lot). It is almost like the freakin’ Staples “easy button” - somehow makes life that much more simpler.

Talking about simple, that’s what I’m all about in 2013 - being simply simplistic. Who knew in my quest for simplicity I would eventually find true love. You heard that right! He’s slim, he’s sexy, he’s powerful and goes places I’ve never dreamed of before. Introducing to you, ladies & gentlemen, "Mr. D" aka Dyson Digital Slim.

If you are jumping into conclusions that this girl has NO life - you’re just jealous I have a cleaner house than you could ever imagine - I mean SERIOUSLY! This thing is so cleverly designed that I would like to drop everything and enroll myself for a design internship at Dyson - the ultimate in user experience design. I cannot remember the last time I bought a product and was this much in love with it. I vacuum almost every day now. Trashing my ten year old Hoover (which took quite the bodily strength to do) was the most liberating experience in a while. My first step to a simpler life - check.

Topping my list of new year’s resolution though is to not take shit from people, both in my personal and professional life. Just when I make the resolution, shit hits the roof from many different angles. Sometimes it’s hard to react, but I’ve been working hard. So recently when I get an email from someone of importance at work saying, “I’m disappointed in you”  -  I reply back saying “I’m MORE disappointed in YOU for not checking your facts and assuming I failed without asking me what happened first.” I still have my job and there is no stopping me now. So if you are one of those people who have potential of throwing shit my way - be very careful. That stuff will hit you right back. (Wow! I’ve not used the word “shit” so many times. This feels liberating too.)

So for many of you who know me really well, know I don’t bake. You also know that my philosophy is if you can find something that good at a store, why bother to make it? Lately though, thanks to some over-achieving moms at my daughter’s school who bring home-baked goodies for class snacks, I thought I should give it a shot. So during the winter break when my daughter had a playdate, I decided to engage the kids in some baking activity. Off to the store I went with my list of ingredients to make brownies. As I stood at the baking aisle, I had a brilliant idea. Why not start simple? So I picked up a brownie mix and a baking pan instead. The next day, in the event of baking brownies with the kids, not only did I have the gooey chocolate mix smeared on my table and carpet and extensive clean up after, my daughter would not eat rest of those brownies the next day. That says a lot considering the sweet tooth she has. I should just stick to my smart choices. I buy healthier snacks for my daughter's class anyways - score! Keeping it simple is actually simple.

Yesterday my almost six year old daughter asked me "Mommy, what does it mean when two people are dating?" Life doesn't seem simple anymore - Oy vey Oy!