Miss Goodie Two Shoes

In an act of rare wisdom, the daughter and I bought ourselves matching boots. We squealed uncharacteristically in the store and paraded in front of the distraught husband (Don’t ask me why, but the husband always looks distraught while shopping. He has a lost, resigned look that we don’t like, two minutes into entering a store. After that, it is all downhill, unless there is a stop at the food court involved.) 

The shining boots came home and occupied positions of honor on our shoe shelf. The daughter was found peeking at her boots discreetly every few hours. The next morning, we were running late for school and the daughter in her usual manner dismissed all panic by saying it was only 8:09 a.m. and there were still two minutes in which to linger about the home. ( “We will even have time to show my friends the new boots if we leave at 8:11 a.m. Appa – relax!” After all, what is a post about the daughter without one of her quips?)

Turns out, there was a bathroom emergency involving the still-being-potty-training-toddler in the house just then. We looked at the right clock and it was 8:13 a.m. Now, we looked like ducks running around looking for their chicken feathers. The daughter screamed that she would put her shoes on in the car and charged with her boots into the car. I flung the school bag after her. The lunch box was caught mid-air, the homework bowled into open windows and the car left for school with heads hanging out the window screaming to one another to have a good day. The drama I tell you.

Leaving For School
Leaving For School in the morning

It was probably an hour later, when I was taking out my own boots, that things looked odd. The shoes looked too right. I mean two right. I mean, there were two right boots gleaming at me from the shoe shelf. Two right shoes of different sizes.

I don’t think there is any point in saying anything or trying to explain, so I moaned a low, hollow groan and picked them up to inspect. I tried to say that she deserved it for being a smart boot, but did not have the heart. How was the child supposed to manage with her right foot in a larger left shaped boot the whole day?

Cute Boots
Cute Boots

So, off I went to the School office armed with a pair of sneakers and the strangest request I’ve ever made of authority figures.

I walked into the School office and said, “I am sorry, this may sound strange, but my daughter wore two left shoes(one larger that the other) and came to school today. “ Then, I burst out laughing looking at the bewildered look the lady behind the desk gave me. She looked like she’d seen it all, that lady. So, I told her between bursts of my own laughing and blushing, that if she could call her out during recess and give her the right shoes, I’d appreciate it.

The kind lady looked at me and said, she will call her out of class then itself because it might be hampering the child, and then twinkled her eyes kindly and said, “Don’t worry dear. We’ve seen much worse haven’t we Mrs. Dee?” To which Mrs Dee replied most graciously that this was not the strangest request she’d heard in all the years she has been teaching. She assured me it was a tame one compared to some wild requests she’d seen.

Really, what goes on in Schools?

On that note, I recently read Miss Read’s “Tales from a Village School”, and had the time of my life laughing about her tales. If you haven’t read it, please give it a try. (http://www.amazon.com/TALES-FROM-A-VILLAGE-SCHOOL/dp/0718100700/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1387484159&sr=8-1&keywords=Tales+from+a+Village+School)

The Cal-Oh-Rie Boss

I remember feeling as a child waiting to grow up and see what I will do.  (I knew it was great fun being a kid, but I was curious about the future).   Naturally,  I asked the daughter what she thought about life as an adult. She said that our lives were cool. Among other things that make our lives cool, was a point mentioning that we got to boss our kids around. That was news to me. I felt like the bossee more than the boss so often.

While having this riveting conversation, we walked past a pastry shop that sported all things cream and sugar in those sparkling windows and the daughter wondered whether we may stop in for a snack. Really, all that cream and sugar could not bode well for the body. So, I used my skills of persuasion and said we want to go for something healthy and moved towards a Starbucks (I know! But it was the only one in sight that had a semblance of a trail mix pack in there) instead. 

I walked in to the coffee store in my usual state, you know? Calm and collected. The moment I walked in, I knew I was fighting a losing battle. There, gleaming from the confectionary box were those blasted cake pops looking like dynamite balloons. I was trying to convince the daughter not to go for those, but everybody knows by now that she only wanted cake pops. I was wondering whether to belt out my healthy-eating-talk or not, and decided against it. We had stepped out for a Holiday afternoon after all. I caught the billing clerk’s eye and she saw my moment of resignation and was there a smirk to her face? Or was she simply smiling at me? I wasn’t sure, and I wanted to be the mom-in-charge and the cool mom all at once to impress Lydia (I think that’s what her name tag said, but it could have been Lysha)

So, I tried again with the daughter, “This is nothing but sugar, do you want to try something a bit more healthy?”

The daughter looks at me and says, “Amma. You said to look for cal-oh-ries too right? See all the things with healthy stuff in them like this pumpkin slice or this apple slice all have more than 400 cal-oh-ries, but the cake pop is only 150 cal-oh-ries. So, it may be all sugar, but it is less sugar.”

There was no point: I gave in and slumped my shoulders a bit.

Then I remembered that I recently saw an article in which the speaker asks us to ooze confidence and fresh from the reading, I oozed. I acted like the totally-in-control-of-daughters-diet  mom and said “Hi. I would like a cake pop please.”

“Good job Amma. Maybe you should get yourself something healthy too.” said the daughter smiling in that sly fashion.

So I bought two cake-pops.

“Is that all?” Lydia (or Lysha or Lyma) asks.

“Yes.” I said meekly and then ‘Yes!”, a little stronger.

We stepped out smartly before any more judgments could be passed by Ly-dash, and picked up the threads of the conversation where we’d left off.

Cake Pops
Cake Pops Are Dynamite
Don’t Mess with Dynamite

“Like I was saying, it must be totally cool to boss your kids around and do whatever you like. Like you just walked into Starbucks now instead of that pastry shop.” said the daughter.

Having exhausted my conversational brilliance, I agreed and bit into my cake pop like an obedient mother. 

Lord Love a Glove : CIM Relay 2013

The toasting weeks of the summer are just giving way to the crisp days of autumn, when we say, “Maybe we should sign up for the California International Marathon Relay. “  (Henceforth referred to as the CIM Relay folks)

There is little (if any) resistance to the suggestion: after all, what greater joy than going for a run in the cool morning air and getting to be part of the relay?

No points given to guessing who came up with our team name: Rainbow Dashers.

The misgivings start later, much later. It is when the trees are barren, having shivered all their leaves off in the cold, when the winds are vindictively fierce and the nose feels like it has just visited a dreary corner of the freezer in the refrigerator that one begins to doubt the wisdom of undertaking a run in these conditions. A run, not only threatened by abysmally low temperatures, but also requiring the exchange of a toddler between the runners. 

When we headed out to Sacramento for the CIM Relay, I remember thinking that we must be nuts to do this. However, that feeling has never stopped us from doing things. Even so, the temperature forecast was showing a bleak 24 degree fahrenheit, and the winds whipping around us the previous evening were not friendly. The next morning, we headed out to start the car with a very sleepy toddler weighing thrice what he normally does because of the layers he was wearing and sat in the car for a good ten minutes before the defrost button could do its work and show us the path ahead.

rainbow dashers2

By the time I started my run, the sun was out. I took the chip from the husband and handed the toddler over to run. (There was a deja vu moment here when we realized we had switched the daughter as a toddler at the same point before) The deceptively bright day meant there was ice on the road and that made running slippery. Hmm.

Then something amazing happened:  There was little chance of my slowing down because if I slowed, I would freeze. So I ran, and then I felt a soaring happiness in my heart, a certain nimbleness to my being. My soul leaped and my mind took in the people, the signboards, the cop cars, the fruit trees, the beautiful houses along the way. I ran along listening to people chat to each other while running. Crowds energize me more than I realize and I increased my pace. I batted the cold away and in this elated state, senselessly took off my gloves. Within minutes, my fingers were numb and I could not use my hands to put them back on. What an idiot I must be? I worked up quite the sweat before I got feeling to creep back to my fingers, and then resolved to take in the beauty of the surroundings with the gloves on. Lord love a glove.

All too soon, I rounded a bend and saw that my turn was over and I had to hand the chip over to the last runner in the group. All I knew was that I could have just gone on. The Rainbow Dashers put up an impressive show both at the relay and the buffet afterward.

rainbow dasher1

Go Rainbow Dashers! (Not doing this -> So doing this -> What was I thinking? -> Just do it!  -> Gotta do this again: the CIM 2013 )

I am waiting to do it again. Thank you Rainbow Dashers Team (Viv, Sri, Sur & Self).

rainbow dashers

Solvitur Ambulando – It is solved by Walking

We all know that exercising has all round benefits and yet, it is good every now and then for an article to bump us into action, or merely to reinforce the importance of an active lifestyle.

This article talks about what the author wants her daughter to know about working out:

http://wellfesto.com/2013/11/19/10-things-i-want-my-daughter-to-know-about-working-out/

There have been times when I have come into the house after a stroll in the neighborhood at night, breathless with cold, a slight sweat from the swift pace I have tried to keep, only to bundle my daughter up and take her out so she can enjoy the enormous moon or listen to the leaves rustling or watch the stars on a clear night. I know the moon is a beautiful object for her, and she shares a liking with the husband for the night sky. I want her tales of imagination to leap from it and they do, often surpassing my expectations.

I love telling her stories from my childhood as we take walks. She knows it is the best time to ask me for one, because I am so willing then, not trying to do a dozen different things all at once. I am there enjoying my time with her walking and swapping stories. I grew up in a place almost magical to describe. There were heavily wooded Eucalyptus groves,  tea estates in the horizon not to mention the crisp mountain air. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that I love a good walk that can heighten the senses and sharpen one’s thinking.

The article describes a good workout, and I have mostly written about  walking because it is my favorite form of exercise. Another one of those gifts from my father who enjoys his 3-5 miles almost everyday. I find it to be a stress reliever, a soother, a pacifier, an exhilarator, an ideator and a mediator of  internal conflict.

Many greats before us have extolled the virtues of a good walk:

http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20130829191440-143695135-hemingway-thoreau-jefferson-and-the-virtues-of-a-good-long-walk

I quote: Solvitur ambulando — “it is solved by walking.”  Words by the Greek philosopher Diogenes

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solvitur_ambulando

I am extremely thankful also to have family, friends and colleagues who will take a walk with me every now and then.(You all know who you are :))

Joys of walking
Joys of walking