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The Sweet Life

You're Going for How Long????!!!!

We're all ridden with guilt...that mom guilt: you know exactly what I'm talking about, right? But sometimes the opportunity to be selfish arises and you just have to take it. My sister recently proposed a two-week trip to India while between jobs. She came up with a plan that I simply HAD to consider; the two of us visiting India and doing whatever we pleased on the trip.

ameeta-planeAyurvedic massages, shopping, visiting family, more shopping, eating the amazing cuisine and of course, my sister's favorite past-time, stalking Bollywood stars. India is not a place I would want to take my children at their young ages. I'm sure it would be fine but if we could go anywhere with them, it would most likely not be India.

However, two women on their own traveling on a whim to a place where relatives are plentiful, loving and helpful...well now that is worth consideration. Throw in the fact that my husband is not working until the New Year and it's almost a no-brainer. "Just two weeks," that's what I told him. I know he didn't take me seriously at first. I am a very hands-on mom after all. He thought I would never be able to leave my children for that long.

But with my parents just down the road, my husband Ashoka home, my mom happy to cook the meals, the kids in school (preschool and kindergarten), it all seems to point to the fact that it's an opportunity I should not overlook. So I did it. I'm sitting here in the business class lounge (that's how my sister travels, add that to my benefits list!) writing this blog, feeling guilty and telling myself all the reasons I should not feel guilty. I mean I nursed both kids for over a year, can this count against that?!

Well I am packed and committed. Getting ready was a process but not as bad as I imagined. My main goal was obviously making sure my husband would not be more annoyed than necessary in my absence! I stocked the pantry and refrigerator, and cleaned it out in the process, made sure that he would only need bread and milk and not run out of any other essentials in my absence.
Of course, as I sit writing this he just texted to ask for something that I forgot to stock up on ...and the plane has yet to take off! Where was I? Oh yes, I wrote checks to some of our home maintenance workers, informed my kids' teachers of my two-week absence and passed along his contact information. I wrote a list of dates for Ashoka regarding school activities, and copied him on emails I sent regarding appointments for the next couple of weeks and I made sure I made him a batch of his favorite chocolate chip cookies. I went to have lunch with my son today before leaving. He looked unwell so I brought him home. Here I sit in the lounge, feeling guilty that my tired, slightly sick son is home and I'm about to get on a plane...oh the guilt...but at the same time, oh the excitement.

Two weeks of freedom, here I come!!!!

 

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Fall is Full of Fun

There is so much to say this time that I don’t quite know where start. So let’s go for a bullet format to summarize October in my household!

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PUMPKIN PATCHES:
I’d never been to a pumpkin patch until I had children.  Isn't that crazy? Not growing up in this country and only moving here in high school probably had a lot to do with it.  How things have changed!  I've been to three already and the season is not yet over. After the sticker shock from the last couple of years, I jumped when I saw a one-day special for Belvedere farms, $61 for a family of four...what a deal!  Of course we've only been once but once is all we needed to feel like it was worth buying.  In addition, both of my children visited pumpkin patches with their respective classes.  My husband fredparentfallaccompanied my son to Cows 'N' (that just irritates me, you know, the 'N' Corn, how hard is it to add two letters and just spell it correctly? I don't even like writing it that way!) and I took my daughter to Clark's Farm.

RISHI AND KINDERGARTEN: I've been volunteering in my son's class every week to get a sense of his progress.   On my first day of volunteering, there was a tornado warning so the kids had to assume positions in the hallway.  It was brutal watching them in a face down fetal position for 25 minutes.  If you get on the ground in that position, you'll see what I mean.  I took the picture to show my tornadowarning copyhusband but since you cannot see any of the kids, I'll share it with you too. The tornado messed up the schedule for the entire day so lunch was rushed and it was my first time eating in the cafeteria with my son.  They ended up with only 15 minutes, forcing themselves to eat fast.

I kissed him good-bye and left the cafeteria only to get a call ten minutes later saying he threw up at school.  Eating a grilled cheese in five minutes will do that to you.  I went back to pick him and thought maybe volunteering is not such a great idea.  Fortunately, I've been again since that crazy day and it's been better. 
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The day is still long for Rishi. Really long, (bus leaves at 8:15 and returns at 4:30) so we usually pick him from school but he likes to ride the bus in the morning even though it means he gets there 30 minutes before school begins. The results are mixed at best but overall he is doing much better than before (http://bit.ly/184ah4r).  He has mentioned a best friend, usually a different one every couple of weeks.  Unfortunately those best friends have no idea that they hold that standing in Rishi's esteem (I realized that when I started spending time in the classroom and at lunch). Hence he moves on to the next best friend...they exist but they are imaginary if you know what I mean?  

BACK ON THE HOMEFRONT: My kids love fall and they have been busy painting pumpkins, helping me bake cookies and cakes, playing outside and riding bikes.  We visit a neighbor to toast s'mores on his fire pit and harvest vegetables from our garden.  They are planning their Halloween costume: she wants to be a bumblebee, he an entomologist (they study bugs in case you didn't know ;) Fall is in the air and we are enjoying every minute of it…I hope you are too!

 

 

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Preschool...So Much Easier Than Real School!

My daughter started preschool last Monday.  People..okay I tend to dwell on the negative reeyaschoolfd(kindergarten sturm and drang anyone? Oh you missed that? Well here you go: http://bit.ly/16wWAIQ) and gloss over the positive happy things in my life; like my daughter's transition to preschool. She left ambivalent, a little more excited about her new zebra shirt than school,but she returned ebullient. I suppose I knew that would be the case.

My son attended that very preschool with the same teacher; there wasreeyaschoolfred nothing "not to like." The short day (9-12), the car line (quick, easy pick-up/drop off), the small classes (15 or less), the structured curriculum and the PHENOMENAL teachers whom I got to know during the course of my son's two years there make for an absolutely perfect preschool experience.  Okay so maybe it could be just a little longer than 9-12 so mommy could run a few errands, AND decorate a cake...but hey, it's about as perfect as you'll get.

Socially, Reeya is easy breezy.   But there are the quirks...always the quirks. She won't wear most of what's in her closet and instead prefers wearing the same five outfits over and over and over again, the pinker the better!  She loves to go out in 'daytime clothes.' But the minute she's home, she dons her pajamas. I've tired of going up and down to get them so I actually keep a pair by the door every day now so it's easy when she comes home from preschool. It's not unusual to see her playing outside with the neighbors in pajamas. She goes through two or three pairs a day.  Good thing she has so many hand-me down pj's from her brother.

In addition to the pajamas quirk, she is impossible when it comes to wearing shoes.  Every shoe feels too tight and her favorite, a pair of worn in old tennis shoes previously worn by her brother, is now too tight so she will only wear sandals since they are soft and loose.  Crocs will work for short trips but preschool recommends tennis shoes, I've just purchased the sixth pair to try and see if they will work.  Yes, I've taken her with me to pick them out; we went to Nordstrom, Target, Stride Rite and the Nike store.  I've purchased shoes that she picked out and tried on, only to come home and have her refuse to wear them to school the next day.  I won't even get into the socks with seams issue; it's just embarrassing.  Okay so now I've mentioned it so I'll tell you, she cannot stand the seams on socks, any socks.  She turns them inside out sometimes but fitted clothes, tags (we cut them all off on everything she wears), seams and anything tight just won't work.

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Fortunately, the quirks pale in comparison to her joyful nature.  She loves to bake with me and it's a pleasure having her work on her own projects while I work on mine.  This week I've been asked to replicate a cake for a 77-year old man who wants to eat a cake 'just like his mother used to make.  It's a tall task but I look forward to trying to make his birthday memorable with this cake (I did make the cake since I wrote this post, and I'm happy to report it was a complete success, see www.facebook.com/ameetabakes).  Early in the week, I made a birthday cake for a friend who requested a Sacher-Torte, a European dessert that she's been talking about since her trip to Austria a year ago.  I made one, which got a little burned on the edges.  It tasted delicious but was not good enough to sell.  Another friend stopped by and loved the burnt version so she asked for one for her birthday as well.  I consequently ended up making three Sacher-Tortes within the course of a few days...all were big hits, especially with my clean- up crew: Reeya and my husband!


sacherReeya loves to work close to wherever I'm baking.  I put her doll- house and her little kitchen next to the area where I decorate cakes.  We both keep very busy!  She wants to wear her apron just like me and she loves to mix things, make things, decorate things...do anything together.  And she's sweet and loving, I mean really, really sweet.  I picked her up from preschool yesterday and told her I missed her.  She asked me to walk around to her side of the car where she was strapped into her car seat.  She took my hand, kissed my palm and said, "Always when I'm gone you'll have my kiss. Hello - I thought my heart would burst out of my body, it was one of those parenting moments you know you'll never forget.  I'm sure she learned it from the book, The Kissing Hand, which they read in preschool that week.  She reminded me the next morning not to miss her becauseI have her kiss.  Her loving nature makes all those frustrating shoe returns so irrelevant!

 

 

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Kindergarten: A Work in Progress

If you’ve been following my blog lately, you’ll know that life has been less than sweet because my son Rishi has been having a rough time as a fledgling kindergartener. His first week in fact was nothing short of terrible, horrible and miserable.

Week two was a better, no question. Still not where we want to be but better is good for now.  The week started out with tears; I knew Monday would be a little hard.  Over the weekend, my husband and I bickered over the school bus. I was in favor of driving my little man but my husband thought Rishi needed to tough it out on the bus. Deep down I agreed with him but frankly driving a mile to school just does not seem like a big deal to me.  

It turns out that Rishi is fine with the bus ride to school; we have yet to drop him off in the morning.  It helps that we are one of the last stops, but coming home, we always pick him up.  It's well worth the almost extra hour he gets to spend at home with us.  I love the time between pick-up and the ride home where he tells me all about his day or before his bedtime story when he does the same.  Sometimes it's not what I want to hear but it's nice to know what he thinks about right when he sees us or when he's mulling over the events of the day.  

We have learned that he loves the computer lab and the library.  The playground is rough. Boys are wrestling one another and apparently one boy lashed out physically at a couple of the others so Rishi responded by biting him on the ear...no teeth, just gums.  Not acceptable either way, I told him that.  But my innocent boy responded by saying he has to work on his snake and dinosaur powers because the playground gets very rough and tumble.  I had a glimpse of that at the ice-cream social on Friday evening where we watched kids running all over the place in the cafeteria. If this is what happens at an elementary school referred to as a “country club” elementary school, I don’t even want to think about what must go on elsewhere.

For the first week, my husband has advised me against having lunch with Rishi because thought the lunchtime chaos in the cafeteria would completely freak me out.  Apparently I've instilled some kind of confidence in him now because he finally said I should try it this week so tomorrow is Mommy’s big lunch date in the elementary school cafeteria.  

And while I may not be there in person on the other days, I try to 'sweeten' his lunch box. This week it was a cupcake with "I love you" and another day a cupcake with a heart on it.  Of course, I was making cupcakes for a customer who was debating between edible arrangements or flower arrangements and bouquetfredparenthe decided to go with cupcake bouquets.  It worked out great for the kids, my husband and the customer!

We still have not had a tear-free day so that's a goal we are working towards.  He asks every day if tomorrow is a school day and he dreads going. I spent many nights this week researching private schools and looking up alternative options. I learned a lot about hybrid models, large privates, small privates, individual instruction, Montessori education, varying tuitions, different instructional models, the list is endless. As an educator in my pre-kids life, you might think homeschooling would hold some appeal for me but I’m not cut out for that and more importantly, I want my son to have the social connections afforded by going to school.

We have communicated via email and in person with his teacher, the principal, friends, anyone and everyone I can...to the point where I know I'm getting annoying and I'm trying to stop myself before I start asking about everyone's experience in elementary school.  

I know he wants to have a "friend" in class and I wish I had known how important that was before the school year started so that I could have made a request of the school.  All of his other 'Frog' friends from preschool last year are in class with at least one familiar 'Frog' friend except Rishi. The boy who wanted to break out of school (http://bit.ly/184ah4r) will no longer speak to him because Rishi shared his plan with other students not knowing it was supposed to be a secret.  

So week two was one of those weeks...not horrible enough to worry about but not happy enough to go about business as usual without some concern.  We really would love to see this boy happy about school.  He loved preschool so much, I know it's possible.  I guess it's just a longer road to trek....

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First Week of Kindergarten...NOT Facebook Worthy!

I don't get moved to tears very easily.  My husband mentioned how strong I am whilst giving a speech at our wedding.  He was tearing up and he felt it necessary to call attention to the fact that I did not shed a tear.  HELLO...I just married the man of my dreams, what was there to cry about?! WeddingMencia

ANYWAY, this week has been tearful for me and I'm dreading Monday morning. We got off to a great start on the bus for the first day of school.  I shed many tears like any mom would, sending off her baby on the bus for the first time.  However, my son Rishi left excited and his sister and I went about our day until the bus came back that afternoon, an hour late I might add.  IMG 6996

He disembarked exhausted and teary-eyed.  He did not like school. He hated it. It was too loud, there were too many people, he could not hear himself think, "even the playground was not fun"...his description reminded me of prison movies...loud, crowd, crazy, chaos.  I was concerned and immediately wrote an email to the teacher and called a neighbor, who works at the school and stopped by the school. In my haste, I didn’t realize that I wore the same dress (freshly laundered!) that I had just worn a few days earlier to orientation. I realized it when I was sitting in the front office. Embarrassing but not important in the great scheme of things!  

The second day was awful, my husband and I practically had to hold Rishi down to get him dressed, the only reason we managed to get him out the door was because he had forgotten his lunchbox on the bus the day prior and he wanted to retrieve it. We walked to the bus and as it pulled up he turned to run home.  

My husband had to chase him down the sidewalk while the bus waited; Rishi was crying as he was carried on to the bus, I was crying...it was awful.  The teacher emailed me back to say that he was having a rough time and keeping to himself mostly.  She said he had asked to go home at 9:30 am on the first day of school, my poor baby.  

My kind neighbor Betsi emailed me to tell me that she would check up on him.  I had another neighbor who mentioned having lunch with her kids and I asked her to go and say hi to him...all came back to report he was having a hard time.  It was brutal to hear.  

I busied myself with a Costco trip to shop for ingredients for two huge orders for the weekend, a wedding cake and a cake for a little girl having a party at a farm. The baking would keep me busy and sane, I knew that when I accepted the orders. I got another order mid-way through the week which I turned down, I was going for sane not overwhelmed.  I ignored most other phone calls not wanting to repeat the story of our awful week. It certainly did not resemble the Facebook photos I posted on his first day heading off to school.Rishifirstday

The third day we sent him off with the promise that Daddy would join him for lunch.  It was another struggle getting him out the door but as promised, his dad brought him lunch and brightened up his day.  The teachers, now fully aware of our concerns, spent more time talking with him and agreed to get him some books on subjects he likes.  He made a friend, Ian who said he would help him break out of school, they could run out and tell the bus driver to take them home.  He came back happy that day knowing he had a breakout plan.  

On the final day of this interminable week, Rishi told me that he was only going to school because it's library day and next week he wants to find a new school that is "not so long."  He came home and told me that he'll cry all day if I make him go back.  I finished up the farm cake and delivered it on Friday.  It was a welcome distraction and my favorite kind of cake to make...happy and fun.  IMG 7060

On Saturday morning, we headed down for breakfast; Rishi again said he would cry all day if I made him go to school.  I told him it's the weekend so we'll talk about school later.  The wedding cake took up most of the morning and today (Sunday) is an at-home day with family, my son's favorite way to spend time.  

Rishi has asked to go back to preschool, he wants to learn from home, he wants to have a short school day...I now remember hearing rumblings when I was pregnant about half-day Kindergarten, I didn't pay much attention but those conversations I tuned out then, are coming back clearly now!  I'm dreading Monday morning, I hope it won't be another tearful one.

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About Ameeta

Moms of the world...we're in the kitchen all the time so why not make it fun...RIGHT?! After working in the field of higher education for over a decade, I decided to stay home. Being here is wonderful (sometimes!). BUT, I love the invaluable (read crazy but good) moments with my children. One thing I miss about work is having a creative outlet. Decorating cakes and cookies gives me that focus for my creativity. It's therapeutic to work on cakes, cookies and the like. As you will understand, with two young children, lots of therapy is necessary! Hence I've been baking more and more....and in my blog I'll be sharing my culinary adventures with you with a side serving of raising my two kids! For pictures and information about my confections, please visit my site at www.ameetabakes.com

 

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Pouches' Community Corner

Bikers Against Child Abuse, Inc. (BACA) exists to create a safer environment for abused children by empowering children to not feel afraid of their world. Imagine how an abused child feels when a group of large bikers rides up to their house, inducts them into their club and then escorts them to court to testify against their abuser.

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