Oru Tiramisu nte Katha..

I know this is a repeat of past events.. However, I can’t stop writing about it, so please bear with me.

Yaya is now a 100% vegan.. even her Doc Marten is vegan!!  I told her that I won’t go the extra mile to make vegan food for her, because that means I have to cook meat for the other two, vegetarian for me( I like dairy products, esp cheese) and vegan for her. I don’t have enough time to make three different types of food.. So all the desserts I make at home especially Tiramisu (Yaya’s favourite) Yaya can’t have.

Last Thursday after dinner, my youngest went to her room and brought a prettily wrapped parcel to the dining table. The parcel was really tiny.. and she gave it to Yaya and said, ” I bought you something to celebrate you getting the driver’s license”

I thought it would be Jewellery..  and I waited anxiously to see what she got for Yaya..

Yaya opened the parcel.. in it was a small slice of vegan tiramisu..

My youngest earns  $10.60/hour and the Tiramisu cost her 10$. One of the reason my youngest works is that she wants to have enough spending money to take with her when she goes to Spain in September.. and still she was willing to spend a large chunk of her day’s wage for her sister..

I know all about nature and nurture…  But I can’t stop asking myself, why? Why the hell did my sisters and I not have a relationship like this.. How could one mother destroy it all? and why did we not rise above all the damages Amma inflicted on us?

Yaya got her driving license. As her mother, I have completed all I set out to do.

First, let me tell you about the road test.

As she has already completed her 100 hours on the road, she was eligible to go for the road test. But she felt she wasn’t ready. And finally got around to booking her test last week. She chose the local redneck area because she felt the testers would be used to multicultural people taking the test. She chose afternoon, during school zone time, so she would be spending most of the 30 minutes on the road test sitting in traffic jam. She didn’t want a female tester because she thought male testers are nicer(not true)

Her test was at 2;50 pm and on the day of the driving, she forced me to take her to the test center at 11 am. She then spent the next three and half hour, driving around the test center, so she is familiar with he roads as well as practicing parallel parking.. In between doing this, every few seconds she would tell me “I don’t want to do this, I am scared etc etc” and I told her “every person you see behind the wheel has gone through exactly what you are going through..it is ok to get worked up, but remember it is just a drivers test, the worst that can happen is you don’t pass.. but you can always do it again”

But I won’t have to do another test before I leave, I don’t want to do this, I want to go home…blah blah she went on.. By the time we went to the test center for her to go for the road test, I was coming down with the mother of all migraine.. It is not east trying to be positive and give your child the moral support she needs.

When the tester came out, I noticed it was a lady.. She sounded so rough and tough when she asked Yaya to turn on the car, the lights etc..

About 10 minutes later, the girl who went for the test before Yaya came back crying.. she failed the test..

I expected the worst.. But then again, I should have known this is Yaya.. the one thing that sets her apart from her friends is her absolute determination..

She passed her drivers test in the first attempt..

When I gave birth to her, I promised myself that I will do my job as her mother well and I had set goals for myself.

I wanted her to have the best possible childhood.. I gave her that.

I wanted her to learn swimming and skating. Yes to both.

I wanted her to play a group sport and a musical instrument.. Yes to both.

I wanted her to be able to shop for her own grocery and cook a meal.  Yup, she can do that.

I wanted her to dress properly.. yup

So, all in all.. here I am.. a very happy mother.. I achieved all the goal… now she is free to follow her dreams and achieve her own goals.

Doom and gloom

I usually do not read emails from my son’s school. If someone sneezed at school, they will send an email about it and I really don’t have the time to go through reading apprx three emails a day from the school. I read this particular email as it was sent to his father and me and his father forwarded it to me for added measure..

And I found this gem, including the italics and underline..

Unfortunately, your son has received a score <75% on one of the maths diagnostic tests held so far which places him at risk of not achieving at a standard of 4 or greater this term.

I have never been this pissed..

The first question that came to my mind was

So what?  My son got less that 75% marks on one of the diagnostic test, but the earth is still revolving around the sun..  The sun is still rising from the east every morning.. I wanted to tell the teacher that the world really hasn’t ended..

So what if he didn’t achieve the standard of 4? In life you win some, you lose some. But life still goes on..

My children are lucky that they have me for a mother.. But imagine, if a typical pushy parent received a mail like this from the school teacher.. imagine the grief the child would have to go through..

In the evening when my son came back home, I asked him what happened with the diagnostic test.. and he told me..

There were 5 questions, the first one with most marks was right after the information for the student part in the first page and my son didn’t see it.. and obviously that affected the score.. He let the teacher know about the mistake as soon as he realized his mistake.

I wish the teachers would stop making education all about perfect score and the highest grade.. In the grand scheme of life, no one really bothers what marks you got a for a test..

Work!

My youngest started working part-time a month ago.

On her way back from school, she noticed a vacancy ad on a shop window. She came home and asked me how to go about applying for the job. I explained to her the process and that the first thing is to get her resume sorted.

When Yaya got back from work that day, there were her favourite cupcakes in the oven, courtesy of her youngest sister.  And I heard the youngest very gently asking Yaya, if she could have a look at Yaya’s resume. Well played, I thought.

She then suggested to her brother that they could take the dog to the dog park and spend some time together.. and they did

At the end of the day, she had both her siblings resume in her email inbox!

Next evening she asked me if I would drive her to the shop where she saw the ad and I asked her “Why didn’t you go there straight after your school?”

“Madre, I need to look presentable” And I noticed that she actually did make an effort to look presentable. Black top, with a matching skirt and leggings.. (as opposed to her normal attire of leggings and a t-shirt sans the skirt!)  Her hair was neatly combed and tied in a ponytail.(as opposed the messy Boho style she prefers everyday)

I agreed to drive her to the shop.

When we were about a block away from the shop, she asked me to pull over.

“Why do I have to stop here?”

“Madre, I don’t want them to know that my mother came with me. I want them to know that I am a confident young woman”

And so she did. She went there, handed in her resume and managed to get a trial the next day and got the job.

At home,there are two chores that all three of my children refuse to do. To take the thrash to the bin and to clean the toilet. And guess what? Her new job involves her cleaning the toilet and taking the thrash to the bin.. and she does it without any complaints. When I asked her how come she is willing to do it at work , but not at home, she replied..” you don’t pay me to do your dirty work!”

I was tempted to tell her that I don’t get paid to do their dirty work either.. but being the smart woman that I am, I kept quiet.. for I know for sure that her reply would be, you chose to have kids.. you made your bed and you better lay on it!

Will

A friend of Yaya passed away recently. (medical reasons) and it has made a huge impact on all three of my kids.

We have regular  conversations about death, afterlife, funeral etc..

Yesterday evening Yaya came to me and asked how to write her will.. and I asked her why she thinks she needs a will.

“Mom, until now, I didn’t really have much to give to my siblings, but right now I have close to 20K in the bank. I want you to divide the money equally between my siblings and it can only be used to pay for their uni.. I want you to give all the things I booked for my gap year to my friend L. (L is from a very poor family and dreams about travelling, but can’t afford a trip around the world and I know that is the reason Yaya chose L. Besides my son and Baby can’t go on a solo trip right now) I want you to give all my baby books, toys etc to your first grandchild., the rest of the books has to be divided equally between my siblings”

I said fine.

When I went to bed, I thought of my siblings.. Why is that my child could think of her siblings and care for them unselfishly, yet  my sisters and I will never see eye to eye?

In a way I am glad, I walked away from my family, or all my children would ever have seen would be how my sisters and I bicker and fight.. for every little thing..

TCK

Third Culture Kid (TCK)

This particular conversation started with Yaya telling me about how it is going to be when  she joins Uni..

People are bound to ask her

“So where are you from?”

She could say “Australia” and that would surely elicit the question “Where are you really from?”

She didn’t know how to answer that question.

There is a long version.. she could say, I was born in Malaysia to a half Malaysian parent, grew up in Canada and then moved to Australia, and admitting that she doesn’t think like a Malaysian or have a Malaysian Indian identity, or a Canadian identity or an Aussie identity.

Her normal accent is Australian, but when she is annoyed with you, her accent will change to Canadian and she will swear at you in pure unadulterated Strine . I do love to bug her enough to get her angry.. just to watch her accent change..

Her second language is Spanish and third language is French….

I have often been worried about how my children would cope with lack of an identity or roots..

A friend of mine who has mixed parentage and didn’t live in either of the countries where his parents are from, told me  not to fret..  he is confident that my children will bloom wherever they are planted..

But I have often  imagined this.. a guy wanting to date Yaya because she is exotic… (it is the same idea with  most men whom I met and wanted to date me..) and find that she is a coconut.. ( brown on the outside and white inside..)

I don’t have any answers or solutions..

I chose to travel and hopefully my kids won’t end up paying a heavier price for my decisions..

 

culpable

Mallu mothers are culpable for crime against their daughters. It is time they are held accountable for the emotional and mental anguish they inflict up on their spawns.

She and I grew up together and I always envied her. She had what you would call a ‘real’ family, they had all the P’s. ( panam, pathras,..there were other P’s..but I can’t remember them now) Being the only daughter in a house full of boys, she was pampered and spoilt. I didn’t so much care about the money or prestige, but I envied the way her brothers took care of her.

When it was time, ie when she reached the grand age of  20 ..following the Suriani Kristiani guidelines, her parents found a suitable boy.. from a well to do family with the ancestral history written on palm leaves from the palm trees  St. Thomas himself brought.. or so they claimed. The fact that he held a foreign citizenship was boasted to all and sundry.

But there was one small problem… Nothing happened in the bridal chamber at night.. Her mother knew it.. and told her..it is normal..some guys can’t perform under stress and all will be well eventually.. 2 weeks of the holidays(honeymoon) went by and nothing happened. Then he went back to his country of residence.

Her mother packed her bags for her and sent her overseas to live with her husband.. and still nothing happened..

25 years went by…. and nothing happened.

From day 1, he talked to her only when necessary.. and never came back home till midnight. (Her mother told her, that too is a normal behaviour for guys who were raised outside India)

I must write a bit about my friend.. The part where I told I was envious about the way her brothers took care of her…. it also meant she had no freedom at home.. she never read a single Mills and Boon.. Her brothers walked her to school every morning and picked her up every evening.. between school and home, she went no where and met no one and knew nothing about sex.

She had no idea about intimacy between partners.. she thought this was how it was with all married couples.. and worst of all, her mother convinced her, that she was the problem.. because women have it in them to seduce a man and she failed..

Sometime ago, while checking her husband’s pant pockets before doing the laundry.. she found a packet of condom and after 25 years… It was one of those tube light moments…it dawned on to her that her husband is gay….

Now she wants a divorce.. and her mother had the audacity to ask her

“at 45, you are still thinking of sex?” Instead of telling her, I am sorry, I screwed up your life, because I was more worried about what others think.. even though I knew something was wrong the first day of marriage.. Walk away now.. at least you have the rest of your life to live..

Intimacy is every woman’s right.. but not if it affect your family’s honour and prestige. Pathetic..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walk on the wild side

My son had his school semiformal last week.

And we had a little argument..

Normally after a school event, kids would host an informal party. The best part of the semiformal is the informal party. My son decided he is not going for the informal party because there will be drugs and alcohol.

That is when the trouble started. I let Yaya go for the informal party knowing very well that there will be drugs and alcohol. She attended, had a good time..

I felt my son should attend the informal party. Because, this is how it is going to be..all the parties from now on..will have drugs, alcohol, unprotected sex etc. Instead of saying no, I am not attending, I wanted my son to say No, I am NOT  doing drugs, or drinking or having unprotected sex. Instead of hiding, he should be able to stand up and say No.

I told him, he is going to the party.. but at any moment he felt unsafe or uncomfortable, call a cab and leave the venue. (it takes me an hour to get to the venue from my place)

These are the tips I gave my son

  1. Do not take drugs..even if you are being peer pressured . Say No.
  2. If you are drinking, make sure you poured it yourself and watch your drink always.
  3. If people are behaving irrationally, or starting a fight, leave immediately
  4. Do not get in to a car with a driver who consumed alcohol.
  5. Call the cops if you feel your life is in danger.

He attended the informal party and when I picked him up at 1 AM, the first thing he told me was

“Thank you Mom for forcing me to go for the informal party, I had a good time”

It turns out, only few people drank and smoked weed.. the rest just danced and ate pizza..

 

Uni

My son got admission to study first year engineering maths at a local Uni. He is very excited. I am not so pleased and I absolutely hate his school for pushing him like this. No doubt, his school is well renowned for overall academic achievements and that is precisely the reason why son wanted to go there.. but is this necessary?

Last term they gave my son a gold medal for scoring GPA of 6.5 (of 7) And the poor kid has not had a weekend free because he wants to ensure that he gets the gold medal this term and this will go on.. till he graduates grade 12. I can see how the school is manipulating the kids.. They set the bar so high.. Apart from the GPA cut off points which is already very high, they only gave the gold medal to kids who has the word ‘excellent’ for all the activities in the report( behaviour, homework etc) And now, he is been promoted to do Uni level maths. Of course this will help him to get admission to top unis as well as give him credits for the courses already done. (Yaya got 3 credits off for her Uni based on her IB score, which my son will get anyway). But at what cost?

My son hasn’t had a friend over in months. He hasn’t gone for his weekly swimming for the past 3 months. It is as if his life is kept on hold.. and he is only in grade 11. If it is this hard now, what will they do to my child in grade 12?

Ideally I would like to go to my son’s school and tell the Principal off. At least explain to her about work life balance.. But then she would tell me off… that she is not forcing my son to study there.. he chose it.

I don’t know what to do.

Life goes on

First of all let me apologize for the missing posts. Life has been pretty hectic the past few weeks and this madness will last till Yaya leaves home.

Last Sunday, I was up early to watch the Meteor shower (Eta aquarids, associated with Hailey’s comet)). Kirra came and sat next to me. I did think of waking the kids up, but they were up late in to the night spending as much time as they can with each other before Yaya leaves home. I explained to Kirra the difference between meteor, meteorite and meteoroid and she slept off with her head on my lap.

The last time Hailey’s comet was visible, it was in 1986. I was in 10th standard. Even in my wildest dream, I never imagined I would be where I am today. ( let alone write few sentences in English!) What a journey this has been..

My youngest woke up first as she takes Kirra to the dog park at 6 AM every day. She made hot chocolate for both  of us, gave me a kiss after she gave a kiss to Kirra and wished me Happy Mother’s day.

Mom, What cake would you like me to bake today? I told her to bake Ina Garten’s lemon cake. It is a pretty straight forward cake recipe.  When the cake was ready and I tried to cut it, it fell apart. This is a cake I baked so often that I knew right away that she tweaked the recipe.

“What did you do?” I asked her?

She looked at me a bit sheepishly and replied

“Well, the recipe asked for 4 eggs, I changed it to three cause I felt 4 eggs a bit too much”

I am a perfectionist and a strong believer of if you are going to do something, do it right and do it well. There is a reason why the recipe calls for 4 eggs.. you need the eggs to hold the whole thing together. I glared at her because I didn’t want to open my mouth and say things I might regret later. I understood my mother’s need to pishukkufy when she cooked..like taking the meen puli out of the curry and using it again the next time she made fish curry.. I always have a tray of eggs in the fridge!

My son then jumped in to the fray and told me

“You can’t complain mom, you always tell us to wing it.. when it comes to cooking”

He likes to make oats for breakfast and take a measuring cup to measure 60 ml of milk and I get really annoyed when I see him do that.. He should be able to add just enough milk in to a bowl to cook oats without having to use a measuring cup..  I glared at him too.. If eyes could spew fire, both would have turned to cinders…

Finally Yaya emerged from her room holding a A4 size envelope.

“Mom, I am working today, but this is for you, Happy mother’s day” She said

I opened the envelope. .inside was a beautiful photo of the 4 of them (3 + Kirra)..

I am glad my eyes couldn’t not spew fire.. I know my children have their own way of doing things and I can’t force them to be like me and do things the way I do things..

There is nothing in this world that is more precious than the love they have for me.. and that is what I need to remember even those moments when I feel a bit murderous..