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Shortcut Mein Update

I’ve been asked many times what I was up to in the last 5 months . And each time, I’d say, “Nothing…just regular routine…nothing new”.

But thats not all true, of course 😀

A LOT happened in the last few months . I’ve been meaning to do individual posts for all of them but since I’ve put them off for so long, I regret that I don’t remember the entire sequence of events. I’m quickly jotting down the remnants of those events in my collapsing memory. So here goes (In no particular order. That would be too cruel on my poor brain) –

The twins finished Kindergarten with flying colors. Well, they ought to ! After all, they spent an entire 12 months doing just KG! ( Their session started in India in the first week of July ’13 and ended here in Chicago in the last week of June ’14).

Their teachers were pleased with the English, Math and overall obedience of the two . I howled and wailed that they must have got my kids mixed up with someone else’s but they wouldn’t listen. To prove their point, they gave the kids medals for perfect attendance and slapped a certificate at me which declared me the parent of the month!

I kid you not!

Our gifts

Our gifts

I got The Egg. Though hand-painted and exquisite, it kind of epitomizes what I really deserve!!

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We finally had Summer!! Not the dusty, hot summer of India, but a quaint, dainty summer which lasted exactly 90 days. The temperature never dipped enough to make you sweat, unless you ran or did some major physical activity ( It was hot enough for the Americans to shed their clothes and their inhibitions, though!) Overall, it was the Spring of India passed off as Summer of Chicago.

The sunny weather was the perfect opportunity to make use of the swimming pool on our terrace top. The twins splashed and jumped and had the greatest time of their lives. Whenever we entered the pool area, people already in the pool would look at the twins, grin and decently come out one by one. So the kids had the pool to themselves most of the time (The people here can be really, really kind towards kids). I did my best to teach them to swim, but they were too enamored by the water to pay me any heed 😦

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Shobby and his “Zebu”

 

The other water source was the beach of Lake Michigan. Enough sand was dragged back home for me to make my own private sand castle.

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Digging sand for the castle

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The twins undertook the Summer Reading Challenge to read and record the amount of time they read each day. It was a wonderful way to spend the summer vacation and the twins loved the visits to the library which was conducting the challenge. Apart from selecting books, they had book-reading sessions, crafts, lucky draws, etc each week. The twins won books and binoculars in the lucky dip 🙂

The library also conducted workshops on puppet-making and introduction to the insect/reptile world (which was seriously good). They got to touch real live pythons and alligators and black widows !

 

With Puppets and Miss Annie

With Puppets and Miss Annie

Picking up the python

Picking up the python

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The BF’s parents came down for a visit and it was YAY! time all around 🙂

After a long time, I could take a siesta without worrying about the kids. The moment the kids spotted their grandparents at the airport, they forgot they had a Momma or an Abu. For the next two months, they only spoke to Dada and Dadi. Just as well 🙂 . Sometimes, it is good to have the kids off your hands, even if its for a little while !

Once the in-laws came, it truly felt like home once again 🙂 .  Me and the MIL would cook together, all of us would have our meals together, there would be talks and discussions, jokes and spats,  just like old times. I think I spent more time with them here than all those years back in Pune when we would all meet for hardly a couple of hours each day!

The in-laws would go for long walks around the neighborhood.  FIL made more friends around the area than people I know!

Keeping an eye on their grand-kids

Keeping an eye on their grand-kids

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We finally visited the Niagara Falls.

It was Amazing! In fact, “Amazing” doesn’t even begin to cover the experience! It was mind-blowingly magnificent!

The power of nature at its best!

The twins drove me nuts on our drive till the falls. It was a long way and they were rather fidgety, being unused to getting strapped to their car-seats. The lack of movement, couple with the long distance made them eat the brains of the only person on their row. Me!

Lui : Mumma, have we reached?

Me : No, not yet.

Shobby : When will we reach??

Me : Maybe in another hour.

2 seconds pass by.

Shobby : Mumma, have we reached?

And so the loop went on. Somewhere towards the end, I lost my head and asked the BF to pull over. “Anything wrong?” he asked. “Yeah, I just want to leap off this window and jump into that river below”, I said. The in-laws found it funny! But of course! They weren’t the ones enduring those pesky , ranting, whining kids!

Desperately waiting to reach the falls

Desperately waiting to reach the falls

The Falls

The Falls

The torture was well worth it! One look at the falls and I realized the insignificance of our existence. Tonnes of water cascading down the gorge, the terrific sounds, the multiple rainbows over it, it was too beautiful! Almost exhilarating, yet bringing us down a bit. Nature’s creations are supreme. Nothing man-made can come any closer (SubhanAllah).

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The rainbow

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Since the In-laws were with us, we made a trip to the Water-park capital of the world – Wisconsin. I thought the title was exaggerated, but you have to visit the place to believe it! I think I have never seen so many water parks (and I’m talking about really large ones here) on one road! The resort we were staying at was called Kalahari, with a jungle theme and loads of indoor/outdoor water rides and an indoor theme park. The indoor water park even had temperature controlled water, so it wasn’t cold, a little on the warm side. In the toddler’s section, there was actual warm water flowing/splashing around!

We had great fun there. Even the MIL got down into the pool to play water basket-ball 😀

The friendly gorilla :)

The friendly gorilla 🙂

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The climbing wall

The Kalahari trip was by far the most entertaining. Apart from the time we spent in the water, we all also got to do a lot of indoor fun activities like the sky-walk, go-carts, bowling, ferris-wheel, climbing walls, carousal and a dozen other arcade games.  It was nearly midnight before the twins agreed to be dragged back to our rooms!

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The in-laws visit also gave us an excuse to go sight-seeing around Chicago, something we’d been putting off for reasons unknown. We covered all the tourist sites, except the museums. The kids aren’t too fond of museums yet and they get irritable if we spend too much time on one! So we did the rounds of Millennium Park, Buckingham Fountains, Architectural Boat tour (Where they take you on the Chicago river and give a brief description/history on the landmark towers/buildings in downtown), Magnificent Mile and the likes.

Overall, it was an amazing two months, not only because the parents were with us, also because we got to spend a lot of quality time together as a family. Thats precious 🙂

On the boat tour

On the boat tour

At the Buckingham Fountain

At the Buckingham Fountain

At John Hancock

At John Hancock

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And then, the school started! The kids are in Grade 1 now, older and much wiser than before. They give me enough reason to take refuge in my blog once again 😀

New Academic year begins!

New Academic year begins!

Thats it folks. A quick summary if there ever was one 🙂

I’m a house-wife, still. I did get my work permit, but didn’t have the time or inclination to hunt for a job. InshaAllah, with the in-laws back home and the kids back in school, this might just be the right time to think about a profession again.

So wish me luck.

Adios.

 

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The twins are lucky…….that they have a household of people who are nuts about them 🙂

Seriously. The way everyone in my house fawns over them, I’m gonna have a very tough time disciplining them!! They are sure to turn out to be two rotten brats!!

But this post isn’t about them, really.

This is about the kids who are deprived of such love. The love of their own uncles and aunts. Of their own grandparents. And sometimes, their own parents.

There are many side issues here…like whether the child in question is a boy or a girl. Because I have seen too many instances of the girl child being deprived of love far more than the male child. Social stigmas like these exist in abundance, and sadly, mostly with the educated class( I personally know a couple of cases where the mother had to opt out of a joint family because she could not tolerate the discrimination against her daughter. I can understand. It would kill me inside to see everyone pampering SS and treating RS like a toe-rag).

Anyhow, first the flashback. I have a colleague in my office, a senior, who has an adorable daughter. An awfully precocious kid. Well, the colleague has to drop her daughter at her mother’s place every morning and then collect her back while going home. Reason being, her in-laws don’t want the burden of tending to a child. Even if its their very own grand-child!

A second colleague (at the client side where I work) has a similar tale to tell. She has to drop her daughter (another lovely sweetheart) to her mother’s place every morning and then pick her up while going back. Her in-laws too, refuse to take responsibility of the child.

Surprisingly, in both the cases, the in-laws live with these women in the same house!! And yet, they want nothing to do with the kid!!

In both the circumstances, I wonder, would the situation be any different if the kids in question were boys? I seriously wonder….!!

By the way, the grandparents I mention above, are not old and emancipated enough that they can’t look after their grandchildren. Its just a preference they voice. Something like not wanting to eat karela for lunch, maybe!

It also makes me ask, why the detachment?? Why cant these people connect with the child? Are children just a burden to be borne? Or are they just the responsibility of the parents? Actually, I agree with the last part. I would never impose the responsibility of my kids on anyone. The day I feel that there is no-one to look after them, I would gladly give up my job and stay at home. Its rather simple, really. Just the way a very close relative had to give up a good IT career because she did not receive the requisite support at her home. Its all about priorities.

But then, I’m as lucky at the twins. The GMIL and MIL are fully cooperative where the kids are concerned. When GMIL was out of town, the MIL took leave from school to stay at home with the twins. I didn’t have to ask her. She undertook the responsibility by herself. Just like the time the GMIL took responsibility of her grandchildren when the MIL was working. Though the GMIL may at times rant and be at differences with us, her heart is in the right place. She loves the kids dearly, and it shows. And specially close to the GMIL, is RS. She is her big-dadi’s pet, so similar to her in many ways 🙂 .

The connection here seems so strong, so vital. I know that the kids will learn a lot from her, and the GMIL will derive equal pleasure from the kids. Its a two-way street where love flows both ways. How can people expect their grandchild to love them and respect them if the child’s innocent love is not reciprocated.

Now, you might wonder, where exactly is this all leading?

Well,all this leads to the mother in question. The not-so-innocent party here. The mother,who plays a very vital role in how exactly her in-laws treat her children. If you don’t have a good rapport with your in-laws, chances are , they’ll be vary of tending to your kids. Maybe if something goes wrong, you might just go for their jugular. Its a defense mechanism, actually. Their trait to play it safe.

The GMIL has her old-fashioned ideas about bringing up kids. I have mine. But I implement my ways ONLY when I’m looking after them. When the kids are with their big-dadi, she is free to do what she wants. In the last one year, I have never called up even once to check up on her or the kids. The issue here is not my callousness, but my trust. Because, unless she is assured of my trust in her, she would not be able to give her hundred percent. I respect her judgment (which I should!) and she reciprocates by accepting my ways too (like the time I gave a flat NO for applying kajal in their eyes).

Its all about making the in-laws feel that they are also an integral part of the child’s life. Initially, I was hesitant, but then gradually, I used to ask the FIL if he could mind SS while I had dinner. Unused to handling babies, the FIL would grudgingly take SS in his arms. And now the scene is such that the FIL is a pro at making SS sleep. And SS, on his part, makes sure that he sleeps ONLY when the FIL takes him on his lap. They have forged a strong bond (mA) and it gives me a deep sense of satisfaction to see them both. SS is his grandfather’s pet 🙂

I wonder if the colleagues I mentioned above, ever took the initiative to involve their in-laws in the child’s upbringing? It just might make a dent in the wall they have built up.

It might, equally, not.

But there is no harm in trying, is there?

So, for all of you, who have differences with your respective MILs , please sit back and think. Did you really make that last effort to involve them ? Trust them? To make them feel that their influence on your child’s upbringing is vital?!

If you felt that your daughter was mistreated, did you make an effort to confront your MIL about it? Did you ask her kindly as to why your daughter doesn’t receive the same love as the boys in the family?

Everyone has love in their hearts to give. Some keep it locked tight. Its only a matter of fitting the right key into it. And once you do, there will be no joy greater than seeing the love being shared across generations.

Try it.

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