Monday, August 15, 2016

Time slips away

• We've had a 9 week long summer break and tomorrow it's back to the books and fun for Kid. 
• It's been full of trips, this summer has: Singapore, Taipei, London, Delhi and Kolkata. 12 flights for me and 10 each for V and Kid. 
• We've seen friends and family galore and although no amount of time would be enough we've reconnected with so many people this year. So many special people, to me, to my child. 
• As much fun as it's all been I'm ready for the routine of staying school and home. And not going to the airport. And not packing or unpacking.
• The most (un)exciting bit was a lost suitcase at Heathrow. Mine, the only time I have ever packed without spreading our things around more than one suitcase. Luckily I had spares in my hand baggage.  And thankfully it was found - it was the one with every present in it! 
• We've watched movies galore this summer. Finding Nemo, Ice Age 1/2/3/4/ Mammoth Christmas and Jungle Book on DVD and Finding Dory, Secret Life of Pets and Ice Age 5 in the theatre.
• I've read a LOT - I had a huge pile of unread and re-read books to plough through. Despite my intentions to not burden my bookshelf further I bought back a pile of 6 books from London and 4 from India. So I'm set for the next few months.
• I turned 41 while in London. It was a pretty perfect day (with mild annoyances I'm trying to forget). Breakfast at Le Pain Quotidian, lunch at Wagamama, dinner at Busaba and the worlds best martini at Duke's to top the night off. 
• My Nani (maternal grandmother) has been unwell. She has Alzheimer's and that means she often doesn't know to tell if she feeling unwell. This time she left it till she had an internal infection that showed itself by disorienting her even further. It took a weeks hospital stay and IV antibiotics to get her better. My mum and I travelled to visit her. Since I last saw her (less than a year ago) her Alzheimer's has become much worse. She is totally disoriented and recognises very few people - almost all male - he son, grandsons and son in law. She doesn't recognize my mother unless prompted and didn't recognise me when I visited. Horrid to see how Old Age robs people of their dignity. This slow degeneration makes a mockery of the fine lives they led, the colossi they once were and leaves us with the bitter taste of how frail and childlike they become. 
• It's back to school tomorrow and today we visited the new classroom, met the teacher and the class pet, admired the view (how anyone works or studies with this I do not understand), bought the new school calendar and checked that all our uniforms are still fit for purpose. One Yoda bag later my child is ready for day 1 of Grade 2 tomorrow. It's going to be a good year, Kid. 

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Japan 2

Inspired by the Bride I've decided to complete and update my own Japanese trip draft/ report. This is all history now so forgive me for any errors:
• Literally wolfed down our best ever meal at 511 in Akasaka, Tokyo before dashing to catch our Shinkasen to Osaka. That is a meal that will stay with me for a long while to come. 
• The Bullet train, smoothest ride, was a quick and efficient way to get from Tokyo to Osaka.
• Great legroom, clean and neat and such an orderly line getting into our compartment. The view whizzed by but we saw enough of the Japanese countryside. We quite enjoyed the experience.
• Originally we wanted to stay in Kyoto for the 3 nights. Of course we only booked about 4 weeks before traveling  and by that point everything was fully booked. From every hotel to fancy ryokan. The next best thing to do was stay in Osaka which is half an hour away and visit for a day. 
• Osaka, industrial and very basic and beside the (again) re-created Osaka Palace I was really not impressed by its industrial looking architecture.
• Food on the other hand. OMG! My favorite Japanese meal is Okonomiyaki - and nothing I make at home is even a patch on this, the home of Okonomiyaki. Absolutely delicious. Osaka is certainly a food lovers destination and we had wonderful meals in very simple restaurants. Teppenyaki and Okonomiyaki and all manner of Tempura were the stars....
• Amidst the crowded Osaka streets we saw these beautiful temples and met a bunch of locals who totally encouraged us to participate, folding hands and burning incense.
• Beautiful pot hole covers totally held my fascination as wandered around and feasted on tempura. Also a slew of Hello Kitty merchandise and Disney shoes! 
• Kyoto do I even describe it....magic. It was a half hour train ride from Osaka (and our hotel was very close to the main station). And once in Kyoto there is so much to choose from. 
•Temples and gardens and entire areas to wander around with ones jaw wiping the floor behind. Since we only had the one day we chose two: the Bamboo groves with Tenryuji temple and then the Botanical gardens with their beautiful shrine and lush Sakura trees. 
• A quick walk through the Gion district before our long day ended.
• Kyoto, we didn't even scratch the surface. I wish we had planned it better and had a few more days.
• I discovered the joys of Instagram on this trip. The beauty and simplicity of their architecture and the Sakura made it a visual treat. 
• I have another list of Japanese loves that will follow shortly. 

Ice age parenting

Watching Ice Age 2: The Meltdown (about the 500th time this summer; don't ask) and this dialogue cracks me up every time:

Sid: Manny, who do you like better, me or Diego?
Manny: Diego. It's not even close.
Diego: [smug] Heh, told ya.
Ellie: Manny! You can't choose between your kids!
Manny: He's not my kid. He's not even my dog. If I had a dog, and my dog had a kid, and that dog's kid had a pet, that would be Sid.
Sid: Can I have a dog, Manny?
Manny: No.
Sid: Ellie, can I have a dog?
Ellie: Of course you can, sweetie.
Manny: Ellie, we have to be consistent with them.

And herein lies the crux of our parenting battle: consistency. I seem to spend all week mixing up fun with discipline and routine and then V spends the weekend throwing all routine and most discipline out of the window in favour of fun. As many a friend will testify, before we had a kid we never fought. It was almost something weird about us, the happy harmony. And yet post child we have so many disagreements - and every single one of them is about child rearing. We won't reach a compromise on any of it, our personalities are both too strong for that (ironically the types of personalities we are is what has made us a strong couple for much more than half our lives). Sure our values are on the same page and we have the same overall aims for our child but the everyday nitty gritty, that is what I struggle to compromise on/ to let go off. With any luck our child will grow up oblivious to this tear in our relationship caused by such differing notions in child rearing. He seems happy and well adjusted for now but I think as he grows he might notice our differences in opinion, in the mood of the room rather than any overt words of conflict. I have been trying in small ways to work at being a better parent and partner but I wonder if the years of knowledge and strength in our relationship is enough to invisibly darn the rent. Parenting Dilemas abound.