11-Nov-2013

Birthday parties, here we come


Bobo was invited for two birthday parties last weekend.

I was quite kicked.

If someone asked me about my plans, I could finally complain ‘you know. Need to chaperone my son from one party to the next’.

I had heard this excuse for years and years all the while gritting my teeth. Somehow parents who said it thought they were superior creatures (though of course, they were just boring). It was nice to test out the chance for being superior.

In the end, I had to cut short a lunch we were having with my friends in order for Bobo to make it the party.

I did not feel superior when I excused myself. Just boring.

The party itself was good fun though. Bobo’s new found love for other kids means he is thrilled to be amongst them even if he just ignores them. The venue was also a play area, with plenty of toys all of which Bobo proceeded to test out one by one. He pushed cars into walls. He chewed the fake ice cream cones in the mini-kichenette. He went through mini-tunnels suited for human beings of 4 feet and below. I followed him, bent over and feeling like Goliath.

Tiring but nice! There is something about watching your progeny enjoy himself that makes you feel like a million dollars

Yesterday, I accompanied Bobo to another party. This one was in a plain and simple function room without childproofing or toys. D was not with me. That left me as the sole adult responsible for Bobo and I realised that it can be quite a strain.

Bobo likes to practice his walking at every opportunity and even as I kept a hawk-like eye on him, he ran to the nearest coffee table and shook it. A plate of chips on it sprayed the floor. I rushed over, noticed the birthday boy’s mother rushing over and I apologized while bending over to pick up the chips. The bboy’s mother held onto Bobo and cooed to him ‘oh, you are allowed to eat chips is it?”

“No. He is not” I stood up immediately knocking a couple of more chips. Not that I cared any more.

There was Bobo thoughtfully masticating a chip.

Ever since Bobo started solids we have been avoiding salt in his food. Baring things like idli and bread, we have taken the effort to cook small portions for him separately without salt. This is based on a new-fangled theory about sodium not being good for below one year olds.

It was an event in Bobo's history to say the least.
We moved on and his friend A made an appearance. A is a sweet and thin 2.5 year old girl who is quite fond of Bobo. She beamed at him, proceeded to lift him and give him a hug and then unable to carry dropped him on the floor. Bobo crashed down spectacularly face forward as I watched. Luckily with A being tiny herself, it was not a worrisome height to fall from. In a while, the parties involved had been calmed and ‘hi-fi’s given.

So far I had let my kid make a mess, not stopped him from getting hurt and not had a single conversation with an adult that I did not know or lasted more than two minutes.

I wanted some food and conversation.

Tucking Bobo firmly under my arm, I hand him a piece of a cheese sandwich and loaded my plate with some chocolate cake. The host then introduced me to one of the guests, a professor. I began to chat about the relative merits of professoring in the U.S. and Singapore while chomping away.

Ah. This was more like it.

Then a tiny hand came into my range of vision, dipped its hand into the cream on the cake in my plate and disappeared. I looked towards Bobo to note his face smeared with cream.

So, the whole avoid-salt exercise mentioned earlier? Included a no-sugar subcomponent too.

We were planning to introduce both salt and sugar once he turned one.

But apparently Bobo had decided to take matters into his own hands. Literally.

I guess what is a birthday party without cake and chips? With that, I ate more cake, wiped the remaining cake from Bobo’s hands and decided it was time to make a quick exit.



03-Nov-2013

So I have been reading..


The issue with postponing a books update is that one tends to lose track of what one has been reading. Just for the record, here is what I think I covered the last few weeks.

I had picked up Bad Mothers United by Kate Long before jumping into a flight when Bobo was five months old. As a new mom, I thought I had to show my affiliation to the Mom club by picking up mommy books (not to mention by then I had already concluded that I was not going to be part of the Good Mothers United). The book however lay in my shelf for a while before I got around to reading it. The title makes it sound like a flippant, breezy read. It turned out to contain a bit more depth than that. Continuing with what must have been the original novel in the series, it examines the relationship between Charlotte, a teenage mom who has gone to University and her mom, Karen who babysits Charlotte’s son, Will. The book captures the dynamics between the duo quite well. Karen is put off by Charlotte’s high and mighty manner of whizzing in during weekends, giving her lectures on bringing up Will and ruining the routine. Charlotte meanwhile suffers from guilt at having left her son behind and feels threatened by Karen’s role in Will’s life. All this stuck a chord with me, considering I am having the mom/mom-in-law babysit this year and do quite a bit of giving lectures on bringing up Bobo!

Then came Sue Townsend’s Adrian Mole and the Prostate Years. Adrian is now middle aged and faces all the problems that come with the territory, including a rather serious one. It is difficult to find much humour in a situation like this but Townsend manages quite well. Personally though, I prefer the earlier books in the series. Or maybe I just prefer the earlier phases of life..

I picked up Lynne Truss’s Going Loco off the library shelf, given the author’s funny best seller. This was not a particularly good decision. I found the beginning quite tiresome. A fact I discovered in a hotel room in Seoul, with no other book options on hand. So I laboured through and it turned out to be OK. The book tells us about Belinda, a reasonably popular author is quite taken in by the idea of doppelgangers. Belinda is married to a Swedish scientist Stefan. When overwhelmed by her busy (and tedious?) life, she hires a cleaning lady. Things take an interesting turn as Belinda’s life begins to see doppelgangers. You can see why it was a quirky idea but like Belinda’s life things get a bit tedious. Having stuck through it, I finally did quite enjoy the last few chapters. But if I had another book on hand, I would have dropped this one quite fast.

Next was Meg Whitman’s The Interestings. The book has been well reviewed everywhere. It traces the lives of a bunch of kids who meet at camp in their teens.  The various characters fall in love, marry, face issues and do the usual things that human beings manage to do in a life span. Usually when someone deals with a bunch of characters and their lives, certain parts tend to be better written and more interesting than the other bits. In this book, everything is well written and well described. I began to live in the book, rather unwillingly since I did not particularly love all the characters. But by God, did I want to find out whatever happened to them ! Interesting.

In the middle of all this I abandoned Anuja Chauhan’s The battle for Bittora. Think it must have been a quick effort by the author, to follow up on the success of her previous novel, the delightful The Zoya Factor.  Can ignore.

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver was read on the recommendation seen on a friend’s FB page. A devout pastor lugs his family of one long-suffering wife and four girls from ages 5 to 15 to the Congo to take over a church in a really remote village. Congo gains its freedom and the tumultuous events that follow affect the family in a manner no one could have foreseen.  I read the descriptions of the family settling in and their lives before and just after the creation of a new nation, with rapt attention. The latter parts were nice too but not as good. I especially got a bit bored by the ramblings on the injustices meted out by white men on African nations. Yes, we know but it could have been said better in order not to break the narrative.  Still, a pretty good read.