Friday, August 24, 2007


While the blog hasn't had much activity, things aren't so quiet at home. Summy and I spent a week looking at preschools, and we agreed on one that we both liked (and Kiran approved after visiting). It has large classrooms, many windows, a nice playground, good teachers, a flexible structure, and they were willing to accommodate Summy's vegetarianism (without insisting that I bring in fake chicken if the rest of the kids are having chicken). Most important of all, the kids were friendly and looked happy.

It's called "Tutor Time", but Summy is under the impression that it's "Cuter Time". "Cuter Time" is actually a much better-suited name to the school.

After that, due to my car needing repairs, Summy's attendance at preschool has been only sporadic. But she has adjusted well there.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Life of an "SAHM"

While I was working, I thought that it was a much easier job to be at a full-time job than it was to be a stay-at-home parent. A worker gets a break from work at home, and a break from home at work (a work-at-home parent gets neither). Ofcourse the worker also carries the stress from home to work and vice versa.

Now that I'm temporarily an SAHM, I'm amazed that I used to do most of what I do now, and go to the office. I guess the grass always appears greener on my side of the fence to me. But I can still see why SAHMhood is harder - I'm guessing that we get a lot less appreciation for what we do at home.

Most people realize that you are working hard if you are doing something "important" (meaning it pays real money). Well, taking care of a home and a child is hard work. There is no evidence of the results of the work at the end of the day - the meals are eaten and gone, the cleaned dirty dishes are dirty again, the cleaned up living room is sprinkled with crayons and crumbs and scraps of paper again. All the moments that had been spent making a child happy - the visits to park, the coloring done together, the dressing of the dolls - are gone (hopefully deposited into a happy memories piggy bank somewhere), and all that is left is a cranky sleepy child.

There are no reviews on paper to tell you what a good job you've done. Everybody needs appreciation and acknowledgement of what they do, even if they already know that they are working hard. If you are a stay-at-home mom or dad and are reading this, here is my review. You are doing great at an amazing, demanding, challenging job, and the adorable evidence to this is growing in front of your eyes.

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Apartment

We were lucky enough to have a temporary furnished apartment waiting for us, so we didn't have to unpack anything except clothes so far. It is a nice little place, close to everywhere, and as different as could be from our old house.

What I don't miss:

The space - From 2100 sq ft to 1000 sq ft. And we still don't even step into the second bedroom unless guests are here, and we haven't stored anything there. So effectively, we are in about 700 sq ft and I can't tell the difference.

Wait, I can. Now, I can cook and still watch what Summy is doing on the computer, and talk to her. I can laugh with her while she watches cartoons on TV, and she can draw at the dining table right next to me. I thought I'd miss the huge kitchen we had, but I don't.

It is a very positive difference to not have so many rooms and so much distance between things and people.

How do we manage? It makes it very easy that we don't have all our stuff yet. Once we move to another apartment, receive our things and unpack them, I wouldn't know where to put all of them.

I use as few things as possible, just one set of dishes for each person. Now that I think about it, why would anyone need any more for every day use? To fill up the dishwasher with? Because that's exactly why I used more dishes - to fill up the dishwasher and start a wash cycle. Now I don't even use the dishwasher.

Summy's toys and books - We brought some dolls with us, and here I got her some construction paper, a pair of scissors, crayons, and glue. She has been making projects and that's been keeping her very busy. We got a local library card, and Summy hasn't even opened any of the books that I brought from home. We just read the library books. Now she watches a lot more TV than she used to, but I'm fine with that. This is a holiday for her, after all, and she'll soon be back to a school routine.

What I do miss:

People - Family, friends, all the people we knew we had around even if we didn't see them every day or week.

New England - the trees, the landscape, the hills. There were woods everywhere, shade everywhere. Here, there is no shade, no escaping from the sun (even though it doesn't get very hot). Most of the trees are palms, fashionably tall and slim with carefully arranged leaves on their tops (come to think of it, many of the people here are like that too). This open landscape makes me feel vulnerable, me being allergic to sunlight.

Things - And materialistically, I miss some of our things - I don't miss the house much, but I miss our sheets, towels, my own kitchen knives, things like that. I didn't bring anything personal along except for a few of Summy's toys and books, to make the transition easier for her. Now I think familiar things would have made the transition easier for me, too.

All in all:

Still, we are getting on fine. I don't have a toaster, or a blender, and I just have the basics to cook with, and fresh vegetables and fruit from a wonderful farmer's market a block away. And I cook lunches and dinners, though simple ones, almost every day. Before, I had a large kitchen full of choppers, blenders, toasters, woks, pantry full of groceries and fancy pastes and masalas, and we ate out all the time. Ofcourse then I also had a full-time job!

Yesterday, I asked Summy if she wanted to eat lunch at home or outside, and she picked pasta with broccoli and cheese sauce made by me. I quote her - "Nobody else knows how to make it, not restaurants, not anybody else. Just Mommy makes it." Home is where home-cooked meals are made - so yes, this apartment has become home.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

How are we holding up?

Okay, as you can see.

Nothing much has changed in the last two weeks. It's just the opposite coast, a new home, strange weather, a different culture, and an altered lifestyle. That's all :-)

The beach is half a mile away. It's a nice sandy colorful beach with surfers, swimmers, and kites. We've done several things on the beach including building sand structures, getting wet, flying a kite, exploring the pier, walking on the quaint old main street eating ice cream and watching people. Summy, ofcourse, loves the beach.

Everything we do here has been turning into an adventure. For example, yesterday I chose to drive by the coastline instead of driving straight back home from Torrance. The result was that we ended up driving by cliffs on the edge of the ocean. We even found a park on the edge of a cliff, which included breathtaking views of the ocean, a playground for kids, and a small icecream cart pushed along by a man who spoke nothing but Spanish (at which I blanked out on any Spanish I know). Summy looked from the top of the cliffs at the water for a long long time.

Then further on the way back home, guided by a car GPS (without which we would have been completely lost), we passed right through Long Beach harbor without expecting it. I mean on a bridge right through the middle of the harbor, cranes, ships, ocean, and all. Out of blue, into the blue, you could say.

And ofcourse, I don't have pictures of any of this, because I thought it was going to be a long boring drive on the freeway, and didn't bring the camera along.

It's like a new country. When we got here, I didn't even know how to operate the gas pumps, or use my credit cards. Now I'm much better. Kiran, he has the way to the office and back down pat. He has been working non-stop since we got here and hasn't had mucht time to look around.

And Summy? She has adjusted well now, to the time change, to the weather, to being with me all the time in a (relatively) small space, to the idea of going to a new school even.

In the beginning, she did have trouble adjusting to the idea of moving away from "home". She constantly thought of her friends back in Massachusetts. Once, two days into the move, I was driving and she was talking to me. I could hear something that sounded like babble ("boodle boodle"), and kept up a steady "uh huh, uh huh" while concentrating on the traffic. She got my attention only when she wistfully said, "Andrea (her best friend at school) always laughs when I say that."

Now I realize that she has passed the stage where she can be entertained by a grown-up all day. This is why she is always craving the company of kids her age. I don't play her games, I don't get her jokes. Well, some of the time I do both. But other times, I have more "grown-up", "important" stuff to do.

But soon, she'll have a new school (pre-K), and new friends, and I can already see her looking forward to it, even though she is being a little uncharacteristically shy when we go around looking at new schools.

What can we complain of? I am getting time off from work, precious time to spend with Summy, lovely weather all the time, beaches, great restaurants (Indian and otherwise). There is always something to complain of! Lately, I've been complaining to Kiran that my days are too busy :-)

Thursday, August 09, 2007