Here I am.

I am sure you must be wondering where I disappeared to.

I had a hysterectomy !

I normally avoid going to the clinic/hospital because the Dr’s always find something wrong with you and true enough after the scan to rule out CA of the Ovaries, they found that my non pregnant uterus is growing in size ( Adenomyosis).  I could have happily survived a few more years without any problems not knowing that. Once I knew what was going on, every little thing became a reason “because of Adenomyosis”

My Dr advised me to get a Hystrectomy and I ignored her advice.

There were three reasons I refused surgery

1. Invasive procedure

2. I won’t get to carry another baby ever !

3. This is the stupidest reason of all..just in case my girls can’t carry a child, I would have liked to be a surrogate mom for their baby.

When I was told by my Gynae in 1996 that I would never be able to carry a baby to full term ( the lovely NHS doctors in UK did more damage than good with the D& C and gave me Asherman’s syndrome) I wished one of my sisters would offer to be a surrogate mother for me. All I ever wanted was to be a mom and the knowledge that I could never be one was devastating. Not once my sisters asked me if I needed help which was even more devastating.

My children and I were talking about medical ethics and the topic of surrogacy came up sometime ago and my youngest said ” we wouldn’t have to depend on strangers, the three of us can work it out among ourselves, if we ever need to find a surrogate”

Yup, I thought she meant, me, her and Yaya and was grinning when her brother blurted out “Three of us? I ain’t got any female parts” and she replied while rolling her beautiful eyes  ” Not you Monkey, Yaya, me and your girl, duh”

It was a lesson learned.. that I worry too much. So reason number 3  was out.

At the age of 32, I refused to have any more children because of Down’s syndrome risk and at the age of 44,I really ought to be shot for thinking about having more babies. So reason number 2 was out too.

I hate the thought of going for an invasive procedure and all the things that can possibly go wrong. However, each month periods became more heavy, I became more crabby and my ever recurring dream of having washboard abs became distant as my tummy became floppy.

It reached a stage last month where I found myself literally on the floor, holding my tummy and crying out in pain and I had no choice but to make an apnt with my Gynae.

I wanted the surgery after my exams, at the same time use the most of my spring semester break, so I won’t miss out on my Uni. She only had the 25th free and reluctantly I agreed for the surgery. The key word here is reluctantly….

Rest of the drama tomorrow..

 

Handbook for me

I am now a mother of three teenagers. When I became a mom, this is the period I was worried about the most. I was a horrible/reckless teenager and it is nothing but a miracle that I am still alive and as any other mother, I didn’t want my children to go through what I went through. After all it is my duty to protect my children ( from making the same mistakes I did)

Oddly, the time I dreaded the most has now turned to be the time I am having the best time. It is peaceful, filled with laughter and joy.

My solution to a hassle free  time with teenagers is very simple. More respect and less restrictions.

If I have got away with every restrictions my mother placed on me, then there is nothing that stops my children from doing exactly the same ( may be better).

Digressing a bit. My son tells me that another Mallu student in his school has to show his laptop to his mother everyday for her inspection. She likes to know what he is doing. The kid has installed BossKey ( My son tried to explain to me what it is and shook his head eventually and called me a Noob), created multiple desktop ( not sure why) and also fragmented his hard drive. By now, you my readers know I am clueless when it comes to computers and have no idea what all this things are meant to do. From what I understand from my son is, even though the mother checks the laptop everyday, her son only shows her what he wants her to see.

I just don’t want my children  to go through all these hassles. I don’t check their laptops/phones etc. I respect their right to privacy.

I respect that they are mini adults and can make a decision on their own. They are in the process of learning about causes and reaction. Some of their decisions might not be the right ones, but hey, I screwed up more times than I can count. So much as I want to correct them, I don’t. Life is a good teacher.

I also have very few restrictions. They are allowed to go out with their friends, go for parties, concerts, movies etc. They tell me who they are going out with and when will get back home. Lately, Yaya goes out with her friends for parties on Friday nights and spend the night at one of her friend’s place. ( it was the best way we could come to a mutual agreement..she having to come back home before 10 pm rule) She then goes to work on Saturday morning from her friend’s place and I only see her in the evening. That means when she leaves for school on Friday morning, I don’t see her till Saturday evening. Initially it was really hard for me to accept that, but then I told myself..next year, I won’t see her at all, might as well get used to it.

I look forward to Saturday and Sunday night dinner that all three kids never miss. After dinner, we sit around a talk for a long time. They tell me about their dreams, their fears and I tell them the same thing “It is ok to be fearful, but do your best and all will be well”

I found this article in the paper and agree with it

Sorry the hypertext icon doesn’t work.

http://www.couriermail.com.au/lifestyle/parenting/how-not-to-raise-a-narcissist/story-fnihp1i6-1227259736060

Finances..

Maths is not my strong subject and I am attempting to do sums..

Bear with me.

There are three reasons why I don’t wish to support my children through Uni.

1. It will be a financial suicide for me, which will eventually force  me to depend on my children for financial support in my old age. With the advances in Medicine, I could live a very long time, which means my children will have to financially support me a quarter ( at least) of their life time, at a time when they should be settling down and  having their own families. If they support me financially, I will be depriving them from saving up for their own old age.

2. I believe my responsibilities as a parent ends when my children attain the age of majority, which is 18 here. By then, my child is considered as an adult, can vote, buy a house taking a mortgage, buy alcohol etc. I gave my children the best childhood they could ever get, but their adulthood is their own.

3. I want financial freedom in my old age. I want to be able to afford quality care if and when I need it. I want to be able to do the things I want to do without feeling obligated to anyone.

Why I said supporting my children is a financial suicide.

Assume I earn 200K/annum

30%  will be deducted straight away for tax.

10% will be deducted for Super.

Professional license fees, CPD course fees, Medicare levy etc will take another 10%

Mortgage will be 20%

I am left with 60K/annum. When Yaya leaves for Uni, I still have my other two children at home. Even if I paid only 20 K for her/year, that will only leave me with 40K a year for the 3 of us.

On the flip side, if I paid 20K for yaya for 4 years, and the same for her siblings that is a whopping 240K I would have spend. That is the money that I should be putting in to my mortgage or put away for my old age.

So no, I don’t think I will want to pay for my children’s Uni..

That being said, I did take education insurance plans for each of my kids. So they will get that.

If I can do three jobs a day and put myself through Uni, then I am sure my children can do it too.

Indianess

Link

I saw this post about an Indian father living in a western country playing Indian classical music on car stereo every evening as he drives home from the day care with his young son. Father claims he himself hates classical music and never enjoyed it even in his childhood  and so does the child who cries every evening and begs the father to change the channel. I assume this torture session is to make the child be a ‘proper’ Indian.

I grew up in Kerala and although I am an unusual species and my music interests are Reggae and techno, I can assure you no one I knew listened to classical music every day. We did have classical music competitions at school and very few students participated. Lalitha ganam had lots more participant, clearly film songs were popular even in those days. ( Even yours truly participated every year, singing the same song onnanam kunnil mel koodu koottum thatthamme)

Music is a personal choice. Music soothes your soul and you don’t have to force someone to listen to a particular genre of music for fear of them turning out to be bad..

I strongly believe children have their own free spirit and as a parent, we should let them enjoy their journey to whatever music that takes their fancy. If you walk near my house on a Sunday morning and if all of my kids are home, you will hear three different types of music being played.. and for me that is perfectly fine..

The questions is, would your child be any less Indian if he likes Stromae? ( My current favourite singer http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stromae)

Why are we so obsessed with enriching our children with Indianess? ( there is no such word.. I know)

 

Spoiling

My friend’s oldest son started Uni two weeks ago. He went to a very expensive private school till grade 12 and his parents paid all his fees. He was told from the beginning that he would be in his own after grade 12 and being a typical Asian mother, I waited to see how this would pan out. Can parents really kick ( for want of suitable words) their children out just like that?

He finished his exams in Nov and his parents had a talk with him and told him the options.

1. He can move out, find his own share house, pay the rent etc

2. He can stay home, but must go to Uni and pay 200$ rent /month to his parents ( half the amount of what he would have paid if he takes up share accommodation) and all his Uni expenses are his own, but he gets all the meals, can use the laundry etc at home. He must also do the chores assigned to him and must follow a decent curfew hours.

He took option 2. He got admission to do law at the Uni, applied for the student loan which only covers his tuition fees. He worked full time all of December and most of January, so he could save enough money to pay rent to his own parents the first few months.. He is now in full time class and can only work part time and he is desperately looking for a job.He is thinking of getting a graveyard shift in a cleaning company. ( His parents have two Lexus and a Range rover and live in an expensive neighbourhood)

I was in their house few days ago and saw the drama that enfolded.

Younger sibling wanted to check something on google and used the older brother’s laptop. All hell broke loose because the older brother spent his own money to buy the laptop for uni and wouldn’t allow anyone else to touch it. Last year, he was tossing the laptop ( expensive one) his parents bought for him around as if it was a toy and when he bought a laptop with his own money, he suddenly learned to take good care of it.

Yaya has been on a buying spree since the beginning of the year. She is buying more clothes, shoes etc and I know she is trying to make me spend as much as possible so when she leaves home end of this year, she will have to buy less. A part of me wants to tell her, I will not stop buying things for her, just because she is 18. But then again, she needs to learn to stand on her own feet. But then I think of all my cousins’ children in US, every single one of them who are in Uni are still supported financially by their parents..

I hate being in this cultural dilemma..

Deep end

It feels like I have been thrown in to the deep end of the pool..

I kind of thought that full time studies would be a walk in the park. I didn’t realize how intense this would turn out to be. Part time study was very easy. If I didn’t have time to attend classes, I just read the books or listened to the audio and did my assignments slowly often asking for extensions which were easily given. Full time study means 2 hours long lectures and group projects and seminars all day..

To add more grief to my already suffering self, I also find that I am extremely competitive. Until now, I only competed with myself, but now all of a sudden I find that I want to be the best in a class of 200 students. ( Not just my degree programs, students from other programs too study some of my subjects, so the cohort is very large) Most of my classmates have the advantage of being single and all the time in the world to do their assignments, while I on the other hand have to rush back home, take kids for their sports activities, cook dinner and then do my assignments.

I do not regret joining the course, it is so much fun to learn new things. I love the vibrancy of the campus life, meeting new people etc. But I am also exhausted.. both physically and mentally.

Yessss

I am obsessed with food and cooking. I can’t imagine not cooking at least one meal a day and part of the reason for the obsession is that my mother was a lousy cook. I grew up eating kanji & payaru every night for dinner, because Amma didn’t see the need to cook anything fancy. My oldest sister finds it challenging to boiling a cup of water and relies on other people for her daily meal. I always believed that good food makes everyone happy and insist that my children learn to cook. All three of them can cook without any problems, however if you give Yaya a choice, she would rather starve than cook.

I procrastinated a bit thinking that Uni classes will start not on the first day and found that I have classes until 4.30 PM on Monday. I had to take Baby for her Basketball training at 5.30 and obviously didn’t have time to even think what to cook for dinner.

As I was leaving, I heard this little voice that asked me ” Mom, do you want me to cook dinner?”

I had to take a second look to make sure that I wasn’t hallucinating and there was Yaya, sitting on the floor in the living room, doing her home work and offering to cook dinner.

It felt so good.

She made couscous, salad and lemon chicken. My son is not fond of couscous, but the rule has always been the same, “you eat what is served or fix your own meal” and since he didn’t want to make his own dinner, he ate the couscous.

As a mom, these are the greatest moments.. to see your children taking responsibility when you least expect them to.

Full time

Today I started studying full time at University of Queensland.

Part time study was really frustrating and I felt I wasn’t able to give my studies the attention it deserves.

Financially this is one of the biggest gamble I have ever taken and I hope I wont end up regretting it.

I am one of the oldest students in my class and it does feel very odd. It is even more odd showing the bus driver my student ID to get concession fare. Talking about bus fare, I am now forced to take public transport as I can’t find any car park at the Uni. The good thing about taking public transport is that I can read during the commute.

Yesterday as I was sorting my Uni papers, my son came to me and told me ” I am proud of you Mom, proud of the fact that you never quit striving for your dreams”

I guess, we will see this time next year, if my gamble was worth it.

Fear?

Last week ( two weeks after school reopened), my youngest lost her pencil case which held all the new pencils, pens etc I bought for the new school year as well as her mobile phone and gocard. She had bought a fashionable, albeit small school bag and it wasn’t big enough to carry her new laptop, her Bible ( aka Spanish dictionary ) etc. I told her to carry the laptop in her hand, the advice she ignored and as she walked back from school, her pencil case fell out. She borrowed money from her friend for the bus fare and when I came back home, she mentioned very casually ” mom, I lost my pencil case, you will need to get me a new gocard and a phone”

I was really annoyed and angry with her, because if she had listened to me and carried her laptop in her hand, her pencil case wouldn’t have fallen out. But more than anything what bothered me was the fact that, she wasn’t afraid to tell me that she lost her phone, her gocard etc. When I was growing up, if I had lost something, then I would have been so worked up to tell my mother.. I can still feel the fear and trepidations of facing my mother’s wrath.

I scolded my youngest, she apologized and told me, “I didn’t set out deliberately to lose my stuff Mom, but I am sorry. I also went to the school office and reported to the lost and found” and off she went to watch the cartoon on telly.

I was so annoyed because all those things cost a lot of money and the fact that she didn’t get worked up like I used to.. As I made my tea, I wondered if I am really  being a hopeless mom because I felt I was much more careful with my things for I really didn’t want to face my mother’s wrath.

The very next day, my son came to me to tell me that ” I am sorry mom, but I lost my lunch box  and I don’t know where and how I lost it” ( Brand new thermos lunch box)

How can you not know where you kept your lunch box?

I scolded him for being irresponsible.

I want my children to learn to be responsible, but I don’t know if I should use fear tactics to make them learn responsibilities…