The white flag

Today I had to do something that I never do willingly. I gave up, threw in the towel, surrendered, waved the white flag… It wasn’t the end of two long weeks with the lils at home that did me in, because they have actually been pretty great. It wasn’t the weather, though it has been pretty hot, even for Bangalore. It wasn’t even the fact that neither our oven nor our water purifier have been fixed, despite daily calls and promises of the imminent arrival of a technician or two. We aren’t doing much baking, but that safe, clean water thing? It’s pretty important to me. The thing that did me in was a cold. A really bad, miserable cold.

I rarely used to get sick, and when I did it was not that bad. This has changed since we had the lils, I get sick more often, but I generally don’t wallow. I am usually chasing after the lils, so I play the martyr and push through. This has made be become somewhat unsympathetic when those around me are feeling ill. By somewhat unsympathetic I mean to say that the phrase “suck it up, buttercup” is often uttered when Willy is sick. He was sick this week, and I was my typical supportive and loving self. I am sure he appreciated it. Now I feel that I should have been a little more concerned, and maybe cut him some slack.

This morning basically saw me moping around the house, doing the bare minimum required to keep the lils safe and watered. Willy basically dropped everything and came home when I made vague references to my inability to care for our children in an email I sent. He blew off work, sent me to bed, took care of the lils, fed me when I whined and never once complained or pointed out what a wuss I was. As a result I am feeling much better, and a wee bit guilty. I hope that I will remember this guilt the next time that he is sick with a mancold, but the reality is I’m just as likely to blame him for making me sick, and hold that against him!



Wordless wednesday – Fly like an eagle

Fly Away

Building a nest


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You teach them to read…

I didn’t quite think through some of the ramifications of teaching Woo to read when we started out. Actually we didn’t exactly teach him, we supported as he pretty much taught himself how to read.  We did help him, as did N at day care, but he lead the process and progressed at a much faster rate than we anticipated.  He amazed us by reading his first words by his third birthday, and chapter books by his fifth.  He is rather advanced in his reading as a result, and we try to keep up with him.

He doesn’t just read books, he devours them. There aren’t really libraries like we have at home, so we have developed a pattern of visiting the closest bookstore about once a week.  He sits and methodically goes through the books, selecting all that strike his fancy, and letting us filter down until there is a pile of three to five new books.  Thankfully books here are reasonable, or we would be broke!

We had a dry spell recently, when we didn’t get to the bookstore for a few weeks.  During this time he read and re-read many of his books, but also turned to the kitchen, and started to read my cookbooks.  They now sport many a bookmark on recipes that he would like for us to make together, which actually helps with meal planning.  A couple are still missing, but I am sure they are tucked away in his room.  This also led to some fun experimenting in the kitchen, with only one real failure, the apple milkshake, and one jar of oddly matched spices that he mixed up for me to use in recipes that call for curry powder*.

My sister and brother-in-law gifted him with the entire Roald Dahl collection for Christmas this year, a completely awesome gift.  He was intimidated at first, and decided that he didn’t want them.  We quickly realized that he was a little lot overwhelmed by the size of the collection and the sheer number of words, so we tucked them away in our room.  He still knew where they were, and would come to flip through them most mornings, so I offered to read one to him in early January.  I chose The Giraffe and the Pelly and me because it was the thinnest, and looked silly enough. He was hooked right away, and read ahead in the book after I left him, then finished it on his own a day or so later.  He now comes to our room every week or so to select a new Dahl treasure to read. He asks us to read parts of them, some of the time, but he tends to burn through them quickly on his own.

The book that he chose most recently was George’s Marvellous Medicine.  He read it with much glee, and then asked that I read several chapters with him one night at bed time. We started with George’s creation of this magical medicine, the chapter where he basically throw everything, the good, the bad, and the poisonous, into a pot to serve as medicine for his evil grandma.  He is enjoying this a little too much, and warning bells go off in my head. We spend a long time discussing why that would be a dangerous thing to do, and how Woo should never consider touching half of that stuff, let alone feeding it to anyone, before moving on to the moment when Grandma gets the meds. He seems to understand that the book is silly fun, and should not translate to real life.

This morning I woke to an eerie silence in the house.  I knew that the lils were up, as I had already been shown the marker manicures that they gave each other.  When my queries as to what they were doing were met with silence, I headed down stairs to the kitchen.  There were spices everywhere, a pile of wet tea towels, a bottle filled with murky liquid, and two lils, looking both guilty and pleased with themselves.  I looked at the bottle closely, and it appeared to be mostly water and chillies, with dashes of oregano, nutmeg, and rosemary for good measure. As we cleaned and talked this through, Woo repeatedly assured me that this was not a medicine like George had made, it was merely a potion. I shudder to think how close Goose was to getting a dose of that spicy potion!

He has now moved on to The Twits, where Mr. and Mrs. Twit play horrible practical jokes on each other.  Tonight Willy discovered that in chapter four, she serves him worm spaghetti for dinner. I can see where this is going… Maybe there is something to be said about selecting age appropriate reading for your lils.  It’s not about the difficulty of the words or that the content is too mature for them, it’s so that parents can be prepared for all the naughty things that they learn!

*Curry powder seems to be a pretty North American thing, so I have a mixture of spices that includes coriander, cumin, turmeric, chillies, cinnamon, sugar, ground ginger…. That I use in some recipes.  Guess he thought my mixture was lacking!



I thought we’d made up our minds

When we first moved here, we hired a few helpers in the hopes that they would, well, help with the transitions.  Our driver, gardener, and maid have all proven to be just what we needed – and then some!  We were incredibly lucky that all three just fell into our laps as they did and are very thankful.  We had tried a cook as well and were really disappointed when she didn’t work out.  I had been especially excited to work with her, but the brief experience left us firmly convinced that having me cook for the family was the perfect choice for us.

Fast forward to this past weekend when, over dinner, some friends asked if we wanted to hire their cook on while they were away in Thailand for the week.  Two factors made me say yes without hesitating; the fact that they have spoken highly of her on more than one occasion, and that the lils are off school this week.  Not preparing meals in the afternoon gives me an hour or three where I can hang out with them.  As much as I love to cook, I prefer to hang with them.

Over the weekend, but without actually meeting up with their cook, we worked out a tentative start for Tuesday.  We planned meals accordingly, and talked it up to the lils.  They were a little gun shy, but progressed from outright resistance to excitement when we explained that they would be able to talk to her and let her know what they liked and didn’t.  Woo made a special request for Palak paneer, and I made sure I’d have the fixings for it for our first meal. He, in particular, was over the moon.

The past twenty-four hours have been pretty much a train wreck for me.  I was up until about three AM for no apparent reason, then awakened twice by each lil in the next two hours.  I woke up cranky and tired, Willy let me sleep until the last possible second, but that was only a little after seven.  The lils were cranky and tired, I was cranky and tired, and we needed to go to the grocery store.  I’d promised paneer for supper, and that was a time consuming promise, on what was likely to be a tough  day. It was a recipe for disaster.  As we were running out the door, I made a quick call to our cook to confirm a start time, and she let me know that she wanted to start today, as her plans had been cancelled.

In an instant, our moods all lightened.  The trip to the grocery was a breeze, we laughed and fooled around, there were no demands on our time other than lunch.  When our cook arrived, the lils were SO excited.  They hugged her on first meeting her, and insisted on showing her the house before letting her even see the kitchen.  Once they settled down a bit, they were allowed to join and “help” in the kitchen before we took off for a leisurely swim.  We arrived home AT dinner time and sat down to an excellent meal, that had just a hint of spice, but was completely tolerable for the lils (they get killed by chillies here).  I didn’t think that we wanted a cook, but one day in to this fun diversion, I am reconsidering…


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