And so it happened.

Yesterday was library day. Younger two had other important things to do, so only Yaya and I went to the Library. As usual, we decided to go for iced coffee. Evenings are still cold and it is really not a good time for iced coffee, but both Yaya and I are creatures of habit and library day is not complete without drinking iced coffee. I was feeling a bit hungry, so I thought I might as well order something to eat and since Yaya is also a vegetarian, she might share the meal with me.  ( Yaya doesn’t like changes in her routine and will not order anything else)

Yaya went to find a spot to sit and I went to order. “Can I please have a slice of vegetarian Quiche and Iced coffee with cream and ice cream” I asked.

The guy at the counter looked at me, smiled and said ” you really should have the vegetarian lasagne, It is better than Quiche and I made it”

First of all I was stunned. No one here usually tells you what to eat, unless you ask them for suggestions. ( That was one thing that bothered me in India, when the waiter tells me other things I must order when I have already ordered what I wanted to eat) Before I could decide  he said ” Bellissima, a slice of the best Lasagne for you?”

I had to laugh ! and so I ordered Lasagne. When I was paying for the meal, he asked me “Have you got our rewards card?” I have long given up on individual store rewards card, mostly because I don’t want to carry the card around and partly because I understand how hard it is for small businesses to survive and don’t think they ought to give me a free meal to encourage me to go to their restaurant.

I shook my head and said “no”

“But you must have our card” He took a card and punched two holes instead of one and winked at me and wrote his mobile number on it and gave me the card.

I went and sat down next to Yaya and told her ” I think that guy is hitting on me”

She looked at the guy and at me and said disbelievingly “right, Mom, He is hot, no doubt, but he is old enough to be your son” Obviously she didn’t believe me. I thought of showing her the rewards card, but then I would never see the end of it.

Few minutes later, the guy came with our order. In front of all the patrons in the restaurant, he did a curtsey and with a royal flair put the plate in front of me and said  “Bellissima, a slice of our beautiful lasagne for you”

The look on Yaya’s face… Priceless.

Supporting my youngest.

Yaya is a lot like my oldest sister. She has one set of rules for herself and another one for the rest.

When my youngest went to Canberra on a school trip, I bought her a scarf and touque to take with her. ( Winter is a lot more colder in Canberra than Brisbane) Yaya has been using both since baby returned from Canberra and didn’t ask Baby once if she could use it. I think she assumes some sort of “superiority” over her sister and thinks that she doesn’t need to ask her before using her stuff.

Baby was sitting in the living room and doing her home work few days ago and her pencil nib broke. Instead of walking all the way to her room to get her sharpener, she stopped by Yaya’s room ( closest to the living room) and took Yaya’s sharpener. All hell broke loose with Yaya screaming at her sister asking her “how dare you take my stuff without asking me for permission”

I remember going through the exact same thing with my oldest sister. She used to take all my things and will not let me touch any of her stuff. And going to my mother was of no use. Her standard response was ” You know chechy doesn’t like anyone taking her stuff, then why do you take it?” and every time I replied ” but she always takes my stuff without even asking me”, my darling mother would reply ” She is your oldest sister Nah? it is your duty to be nice to her, don’t fight with her. after all, how long is she going to be home? And don’t forget, once she leaves home, you will be missing her and thinking if only I had been nice to my oldest sister”

I used to feel so angry with my sister and my mother for being unfair and today I can tell you honestly, I do not miss my oldest sister one bit and don’t wish to have anything to do with her. I am not going to let Baby go through what I went through.

And this time I was ready for Yaya. I had written down each time she took Baby’s stuff without asking her permission in my diary, with the date, time etc and showed Yaya and told her,” if you take anything that belongs to your siblings without asking their permission, they can take all your stuff without asking your permission”

And the problem is solved. Yaya now asks her sister before taking her stuff. ( We haven’t won the battle completely, Yesterday baby was in the shower and I saw Yaya knocking at the door and asking her “Can I please wear your Aeropostale  t-shirt” and Baby being the kindest child you will ever meet replied “sure”. Only thing is, Yaya was already wearing the t-shirt and asking the permission was done as a second thought :)

Time.

There comes a time one is pretty happy with what one has and don’t want to change the status qou. I think I reached that point.

Few weeks ago, a friend came over to take me to watch Mrs. Brown’s boys movie. I love Mrs. Brown’s boys. I even say that’s nice when people bug me

My children absolutely hate Mrs Brown’s boys and so my friend decided to treat me to something I really love.

He also made the dessert for dinner. I have never had anyone cook for me and it was really special (even though he only spent 5 minutes to make the dessert). This is the recipe

Quick strawberry cobbler. Place a layer of frozen strawberry in a  pie dish. Add a bit of sugar on top. Make a batter from half a box of any ready made cake mix and pour that on top of the strawberry. Bake at 180 for 30 minutes.

A guy who cooks and takes you out for a movie and somehow I am happy with my current status. ( Single)

Grr

I think I confused a lot of people with the past two blog posts, 8:45 and Hmm

Let me clarify, on Wed, before Yaya left for school  she let me know that she and her friends are going to city to learn dancing and her brother picked her up from the bus stop. On Thur, she assumed I would know that she is still going for dance lessons ( the lessons are on wed and thur, but I had no idea) in the city and didn’t tell me and had to walk back home alone. On Friday, she called me on the dot of 5 to tell me that she will be home in an hour.

Yesterday, I received a call from Yaya’s Spanish.teacher.  First of all I am terrified, every time I receive a call from the school. There is never a good reason for the school to call a parent and I am very weary of phone calls from the school.  I imagined all sorts of terrible things that could have happened to my children in that split second after I said “hello”

“Is everything Ok?” I asked

“Of course” He replied. ”  I just wanted to know if you are enrolling your youngest child for Spanish lessons next year, because the admissions are closing soon”

I don’t know why I am like this. I applied for Yaya’s admission to high school in April for the next year. So was  for my son. I completely forgot about my youngest child and the school had to call me to remind me. There is no reasonable excuse for my behaviour.

I had to make a trip to the school yesterday evening to sort out Baby’s admission and the Principal tells me ( probably she saw how upset I was and felt the need to placate me) that usually there are parents who come a week before school starts to apply for their youngest child’s admission.

I am still very annoyed and angry with myself.

Hmm

Teaching Yaya, life’s lessons.

Last Thursday, she went to school in the morning and didn’t tell me she will be late that evening. She didn’t come home till 8.45 pm and not once called me to let me know of her whereabouts.

Any sensible mother would call her daughter to find out what is going on. I didn’t, rather I couldn’t. This is one of those things from the past that I can’t escape from. My mother and my oldest sister tried their level best to control every move I made by checking on everything I do. ( Including coming to my hostel room while I am at the hospital doing the rounds, going through my personal belongings, taking negatives that I had in my cupboard without corresponding photos in the album, so they could take it to the nearest photo studio to make copies to ensure that I wasn’t up to any hanky panky, how stupid they ought to have been to even think that I would leave something incriminating in my room, so I could get in to trouble.)

I used to feel really annoyed with them mostly because I was an adult, old enough to vote in India at that time and the more they tried to control me, the more ways I found to break free.

So much as I wanted to call Yaya and find out where the hell is she, I didn’t because I didn’t want her to feel like I did.

At 8:30 pm, I heard my son’s phone ringing and I told my son not to answer and explained to him that. If she is old enough to be on her own until 8;30 pm, then she is old enough to walk in the dark from the bus stop to my house.

I must say, I was terrified of the decision I made by not sending my son to fetch his sister from the bus stop. She needs to walk through a deserted park with no lights and all sorts of wild animals ( esp snakes) and I wasn’t sure how I would have lived the rest of my life if anything happened to my precious child. However, I needed her to understand that if she is going to make certain decisions in her life, then she needs to see it through to the end and not expect her family to jump to her whims and fancy.

She was gasping for air by the time she reached home. Obviously she ran all the way from the bus stop.

“Why didn’t you pick up the phone?” She screamed at her brother.

“Why didn’t you let us know you will be late?” I asked her.

“You could have called” She told me

“So could you” I replied.

She went to her room and slammed the door.

I let her cool down a bit for I knew how terrified she would have been walking in the darkness to my home. I made her a cup of hot chocolate and went to her room and told her ” you know I come from a screwed up family. I do try my level best not to be anything like my mother ever was, but there are certain things that I can’t change. I will never call you to find out where you are not because I don’t care, but because when I was growing up, I felt my family’s interest in my personal life too restrictive. I will never stop you from going out, but you need to tell me where you are going and if you are going to be late, you need to call me and let me know” I then showed her my finger nails. I hadn’t bitten them for a long time and waiting for her phone call, I bit all my nails.

She said ” sorry mom”

The next day, there was a phone call from her on the dot of 5 pm to tell me that she was at the Vietnamese restaurant and will be home in an hour.

 

5

It is 5 years since I came to Australia. The longest I ever stayed continuously in any country since leaving India in 1994. And that makes me feel miserable.

I really want to go and live in South America and learn Spanish. I was thinking of Venezuela, but then I read about Guyana, Anglo Caribbean country with 43% Indo Guyanese population, Guyana sounds a lot more interesting than Venezuela. I am still figuring out a way to get there and I know sooner or later I will blog from there :)

One thing for sure though is that I prefer to call Australia home. 5 years ago, I didn’t think I would last a year here. So far, I have survived a bush fire, flood  and drought. I have met my share of poisonous snakes, spiders and box jelly fish. However, I also wake up every morning listening to bird songs ( be it summer or winter).the sky is mostly blue most of the time and light pollution is a lot lesser than N. America and I can see a lot more stars at night.

As I grow older, living in a warm climate is a lot more appealing to my weary, arthritis prone bones. I can go for a walk at any time of the day/year without having to worry about inclement weather. Though I still hate the reverse order of season and much prefer to have Christmas in winter, my bones don’t complain when I don’t have to shovel the snow. Besides, I have long vacation during Christmas time and can travel.

 

8:45

Yaya got back home at 8:45 pm last night. Before she left for school in the morning, she informed me “mom, few of my classmates and I are going for a Latin Dance lesson near city after school and I will be late”

As you can see, she didn’t ask me for my permission to go for the dance lesson. I thought about it as this whole independence thing is an unchartered territory for me. I figured If at 16, the govt allows her to apply for drivers license without  parental consent, then perhaps I have to accept that she can make her own decisions. But I was still a bit annoyed, even though there was no reason for me to be annoyed other than the fact that I am fast becoming a Queen without a crown and sceptre.

A part of me knows that Latin dance is so much fun and if you know how to dance, then you will have a great time when you go clubbing. ( You don’t have to sit like a wet blanket when everyone else is dancing) Yaya is at an age where she should learn to dance and I think she is doing the right thing. But she is also my little baby. ( I know she is 16, but still) I know I can’t stop her from going out and I know I really shouldn’t stop her from living her life..But I am so scared of the unknown.

At about 7:30 pm, she called me to say that she is at the bus station and will catch the next bus and is expected home in about an hour. Until now, she never took public transport after 5 pm, because she felt the passengers who take the bus after work are creepy.

At 8;35, I heard my son’s phone ringing and he came and told me ” Mom, I am going to the bus stop to wait for Yaya” He took the torch and went to get his sister.

I guess in another few years, my son will also be coming home late and then it will be baby’s turn..and then they all leave home..

Little things.

As usual, I took my youngest for her basketball game last Saturday. The game usually gets over by 12.30 pm and I have to come back home and cook lunch. Weekends are there, so you can recover and recharge your batteries and in my case, that isn’t possible, for I have so much to do every weekend. ( Laundry, grocery shopping gardening, the list is endless).

Due to some unknown reason, there was a massive traffic jam on the way back home and I got home after 2 pm feeling annoyed, hungry and angry.

I kind of expected that Yaya would make something for lunch. She did. She made a sandwich for herself. My son too was home after his work and he also didn’t cook anything and I was annoyed with him as well, even though I knew he just came back home.

I went to my room to change and noticed on my bed a Calvin and Hobbes 20th anniversary book with a little note from my son that said “mom, I know you already own the same book, but yours is  badly dog-eared and I found this at the thrift shop and bought it for you”

Mothering is a really tiring job, but the fringe benefits are spectacular.