Bit by bit

This semester I am taking 5 subjects ( instead of the standard 4) and am bogged down with assignments. I only had 3 hours free last Wednesday and decided to celebrate Onam with my partner.

I told him, it is going to be informal and he can come after 12 pm. I thought that would give me enough time to come back home after my morning lecture, quickly cook, shower and wear a saree :)

Exactly at 12 noon, I heard the door bell ring ! I was still in my shorts. ( I hate my clothes smelling of food and will never wear my work clothes while cooking)

I opened the door to find my partner standing outside wearing a suite. His idea of informal lunch is not wearing a necktie.

He handed me a bottle of red wine and a box of chocolate chip cookies. ( He likes to have the darkest, strongest coffee and a chocolate chip cookie after lunch and it doesn’t matter that I always have chocolate cookies at home. He likes chocolate chip cookies and he brings them.)

“Have you read any of Pancol’s books?” He asked

“Nope” I said.

“Good” he replied and took off the price tag from the book he bought me. ( he kept the price tag on , just in case I read the book, he can exchange for something I haven’t read)

I cooked Avial, dhal, beans thoran, pachadi, all without chillies or garlic, because he can’t ( rather won’t) eat chillies and hate garlic.

I had already set the table before he arrived and didn’t place the flatware, hoping that he would at least attempt to eat the food with his fingers. He noticed the missing flatware, went to get it from the cutlery drawer and offered me a fork and spoon!

He switched off his phone, which I knew in exactly 1 hour he will switch it back on.

He loved the chilli and garlic less avial and lentils.

He made coffee because I cooked lunch. I had thought of making payasam, but I know he doesn’t like anything too sweet, too coconutty..too dairly..

He likes coffee and cookie..and that is what we had.

Exactly an hour later, he switched his phone on and it rang non stop.

And that was that.

I don’t think I ever imagined celebrating onam like this. Each year that goes by, I am losing a bit of myself.

Hmmm

I want Yaya to get her P license before leaving home and part of the requirement to get a P plate is 100 hours of on the road driving.

I drive a very very very expensive car and I am terrified of her wrecking it and I don’t see the point in buying a second car and pay the road tax etc when none of the kids are planning to stay back in Australia after grade 12. So we were in a stalemate with her getting her 100 hours on the road..

Finally my partner stepped in..

He asked me ” Don’t you think your car is the safest car for your child to be in if she get in to an accident?” ( It is true, My car is reputed to be one of the safest and fastest cars in the world)

I had never thought that way. Until my partner asked that question, I was more worried about the value of my car depreciating if Yaya wrecks it. But, isn’t my child’s life more important than my car’s value?

And so, I let Yaya drive my car. On the first day, we went through the roundabout ( instead of around it), second day, I saw the cracks in the crash barrier, because she was only a mm away from hitting it. She gets really angry and scream at me when I don’t give according to her ‘Clear instructions’. ( I beg to differ, however I understand that she is really stressed, so I don’t get angry with her when she yells at me :)  )

Yaya hates roundabouts and freaks out every time we are at a roundabout that is near my home and we can’t avoid it.. Again my partner stepped in and told her “roundabouts are designed to give you time to think, you can go round and round without having to worry about where you should turn, so chill” and the next day Yaya was perfectly fine. ( I had never even thought about telling her things like that)

And now, I sit with her every morning as she drives to school. She is confident and is a very good driver..

But there are plenty of bitches and bastards on the road. She needs to turn left in to the main road after leaving our street and few days ago, someone honked at her because she didn’t turn quick enough.. ( obviously there is an L plate at the back of the car and the driver behind us could see that).. Some of the women drivers are really aggressive and cut in front of the car when Yaya is driving..One even refused to give way when Yaya was trying to merge in to the highway..

I have always been mindful about L plate drivers because I remember how terrified I used to be when I learned to drive and it is really sad to see that not many people remembers their L plate days and act like bullies..

Sex: Part 4

Today, the question you need to ask yourself is this.

“If my child is in any kind of trouble, who is the first person my child will approach for help?”

If the answer is not you or that you are not sure, then you are doing something wrong.

The first person my children will go to if they are in any kind of trouble is me. They know that I will always be there and they know that I will not judge them.

I have not had the same relationship with my mother, like my children have with me. My mother will be last person on earth I would go to for help. She is condescending, take the high road all the time and has a knack of making me feel terribly guilty. When you are in trouble, you are already miserable, you don’t need your mother to make it worst for you.

Now, imagine a 17 year old girl, worried that she is pregnant and has no one to talk to. Her world is falling apart, time is running out and she really doesn’t know who to ask for help. She considered running away from home. I am glad, I was there for her.. Does your child have someone like me to lean on? Where would they find the support?

You as a parent has the responsibility to talk to your child about contraception. You can live in your perfect world and assume that your child is not going to have sex till she gets married or take action and protect them from unwanted pregnancies and STD’s. All it requires is a trip to the clinic. I prefer the combination of Mirena ( hormone releasing IUD http://www.fpnsw.org.au/751201_8.html) and Condom as the ideal contraceptive for teens.

Talk to your children.

Sex: Part 3

Ideally this should have been the first post, but I didn’t get around to doing it the right order.

Today we will talk about private body parts.

My sisters and I were taught that out private body parts were called “ichichi”, a colloquial term for something dirty. Chunjimani was the name for boy’s private parts. It was very clear from the tone my mother used that these two items were really dirty and we should never have anything to do with it.

I thought I had cancer when I attained menarche and to think that I grew up in a family of women and have an older sister and that no one bothered to tell me about periods.

Recently I read a blog post about a child asking his mother girls use diapers like baby, why?and the mother replied, I will tell you later.

The thing is, periods is a biological function, why should you be ashamed of something that every women on earth goes through for the most part of their life? we live in the 21st century, isn’t it time we accepted that periods are something normal instead of as something unclean and should be hidden from everyone? Why shouldn’t you explain to your child, women get periods every month. It is nature’s way of getting the womb ready to have the baby.( and yes, it might lead to more questions as kids are naturally curious and I am sure you as an adult can explain to them simple facts of life)

It is very important that children learn the correct name for their body parts. Girls have vulva and vagina and boys have penis and testicles. It is not something dirty. If you start talking to them openly from the time they are little, one, your children learn to trust you, two, you can talk to them about sex openly, three you protect them from getting them sexually abused. (http://www.theadvocacycenter.org/adv_abuseprevent.html)

I have taught the correct name of the body parts to my children from the time they were little. I taught them what is really private ( that other’s shouldn’t be touching) by telling them that the area that is covered by their bathing suit is really private.

It is also very important that children know what is the right touch. Trust me, there are way too many touchy feely uncles on the family front who are waiting to cop a feel. The only person who can protect your child from getting abused is you. And when you can’t have your eyes on your children 24/7, you need to empower them. You do that by being honest with your kids. teach them about their body. Teach them the right words.(http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/parenting/the-serious-education-of-teaching-kids-correct-names-for-genitals/article23313079/)

Sex.

At the age of 19, my grandmother was confined to the four walls of her house because she was a widow. She was forced  to wear Suriani Kristiani’s equivalent of widow’s weeds. No one cared if she had any needs. After all it was her fault that her husband died and left her a widow and therefor she had to atone for her sins for the rest of her life. The society didn’t think she had a right to have physical intimacy with a man after the death of her husband.

We have progressed so far the past 50 years, at least widows can remarry now, but still we carry the prejudices associated with sex.

Many believe they ought to keep themselves pure for their husband. What is the guarantee that  both of you would be physically compatible? Do you want to spend the rest of your life living with a man who is not the kind of person you thought he would be ( especially in bed)? Don’t you as a woman have a right to have a partner who is compatible with you?

Years ago, I received a mail from a lady who went against her parents wishes and married a guy whom she met online. She wanted to give herself as a gift to her husband and found out that he isn’t what she thought he would be. She mentioned, if only I had tried to have sex with him before marriage, then at least I would have known what I am getting myself in to. She doesn’t want a divorce because that would be telling her parents that they were right all along, that this guy wouldn’t suit her.

Many also get confused with sex and intimacy. Sex is nothing but fornication. Two people who wanted to copulate have sex with each other. It doesn’t normally involve intimacy. Sex and intimacy are mutually exclusive. You can have sex without any intimacy and you can have intimacy without sex. Intimacy is where you feel emotionally close to your partner, where you share your dreams, your fears etc. There is a deeper connection. I don’t think a teenager would even know what is intimacy, but telling them that they are not matured to have sex because they don’t know what intimacy is pointless, mostly because they are only interested in sex as an act..not thinking of the rest of their life with the guy with whom they are having sex with.

Am I advocating pre-marital sex? I believe each to their own. I will not be the parent who would prevent my child from having sex if any of them wanted to after the age of consent because I don’t think having sex is a crime. As a parent, it is my responsibility to teach my children about the importance of safe sex, not getting sexually abused and the power of No.

Sex

This is going to be a long post, I won’t have time to write it all in one day, so please bear with me the next few days ( I am doing 5 subjects this semester and it is a nightmare).

Few days ago, I received a frantic call from one of Yaya’s school mate. It was an unusual call mostly because I don’t really talk to this girl and she doesn’t move in Yaya’s circle of friends.

According to the girl who called me, she was told by another friend of hers who happens to be Yaya’s good friend that the best person to talk to is me and that is why she was phoning me.

Gist of the matter is she is really worried that she is pregnant and wanted to know her options. ( She wanted to know if she could still take morning after pills or where should go for getting help)

There are so many issues associated with this event.

Let us start with the first in my list.

Sex.

Age of consent in Australia is 16. At the age of 16, you are legally allowed to have sex. (https://aifs.gov.au/cfca/publications/age-consent-laws)

I understand it is very hard for Indian/Asian parents to accept that sex is nothing but a biological function. In the Indian context, every man wants to marry a virgin and every mother and father wants their daughter to be pure so every man out there will admire the hard work they put in to keep their daughter pure and what a blessed union it would bring forth. ( Have you ever wondered why the reverse is not true? That parents of boys are not really interested in protecting their son’s virginity?)

I am not sure where this classification of simple act called sex in to pre and post marital sex and making premarital sex in to a villain came about. A string of flowers around the neck or whatever you consider legal is all that is required to normalise the sexual act between a man and a woman.

Why should we stop two consenting adults from having sex? Why should the entire society take such an active interest in preventing pre-marital sex?

Interesting set of articles can be found here

https://indianhomemaker.wordpress.com/tag/premarital-sex/

Stalking !

I have set my FB privacy to ‘only friends of my friends can send me FB invite’ and few months ago this dude whom I met in 1988 during a med conference sent me an FB invite. He is from a different med college and we had no common friends and he added a classmate of mine, so he could send me an invite.

I ignored it. I didn’t decline the request, if you decline then he can send invite again and again till you block him. So I thought I would just ignore the invite.

I didn’t hear from the dude for a while and I thought all will be well and all of a sudden he started sending me messages to me( it goes to the ‘other’ folder) and I still ignored it. I contemplated many times if I should block him, but I felt if I blocked, he is only going to be more persistent.

Then he send me photos of his boobs.

I am not sure what exactly was the thought process behind someone sending me the photos of his boobs? That his boobs are god’s gift to mankind and that it should somehow turn me on? The first thought that came to my mind when I saw the boobs was ” gynecomastia” (http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gynecomastia/basics/definition/con-20028710) I showed the photos to my partner and he too agreed this was a serious case of gynecomastia and together we felt the best thing to do is to block this guy. Which I did.

Ever since I have received 7 friend requests from 7 fake accounts. I block one, he creates another one..It is pretty easy to spot fake accounts. Date they started the account, the type of photos that clearly shows it has been lifted from google images..

But what is really disheartening is the  only reason I get FB request from this guy is because one of my classmates will accept him as a friend..

Why do people accept FB requests from people whom they don’t even know?

I am pretty annoyed.

Feeling guilty

I went for a movie and dinner with a very dear friend last night. He is from Catalonia and knows more stories than I do.

He was telling me why the Catalonia flag has 4 red stripes, which led to many other stories..

I lost track of time and eventually got back home at 12:30 AM, only to find my youngest still awake.. She kept awake to make sure that I got back home safe and sound. Before leaving, I told the kids, I will be late and they don’t have to wait up for me.

Somehow, I feel terribly guilty.. Usually it is the mother who waits for her children to come home after a night out.. not the other way around.

Pecking order

Few years ago, a friend gifted me a book by D. Conley titled The pecking order: which siblings succeed and why. I love to receive any gifts except books. There are certain genre of books I don’t like to read and when I am given a book as a gift, I feel terribly guilty if I don’t read it. So I forced myself to read this book. I would recommend the book if you have more than one child and want to avoid sibling rivalry.

I am the second child in my family and I know for a fact that it is my pecking order that made me who I am. Basically I could see the mistakes my oldest sister made and knew not to do it or do it without getting caught. ( I did the latter more than the former). I got away with murder and my sister was not so lucky !

I had written about my nephew’s visit to Australia recently. Yesterday when I spoke to his mother, she mentioned that her youngest son has told her ” Mom, I too would like to travel on my own, why don’t I visit my grandfather and spend some time with him”  His mother was so pleased ! And she was looking for flight ticket for the youngest.

What the mother didn’t see was how clever the youngest son is and how well he manipulated her.

First, he acted all matured ( he is 13),

Secondly, he used the mother’s guilt to his advantage..you paid for my brother’s trip, now it is my turn to benefit from your generosity ( fairness)

Thirdly, he chose the destination well, visiting his grandfather ( mother’s father)

What the mother didn’t see was the anger the older child felt. He was never given an opportunity to travel anywhere when he was 13 and yet his younger brother was getting the things he didn’t. The trip to Australia was his moment of glory and his younger brother was taking it away from him.

I asked the mother, if she thinks she is being fair to both the children?