It’s funny how the silliest things can trigger some of the most intense thoughts in your head. The whole French Loaf thing kept the words identity crisis looming in my head. I wake up everyday to a grandmom force feeding my child some milk in the Indian tumbler. There’s no sight of her sippy cup anymore. I haven’t seen her willingly sip her milk in a month now. Don’t get me wrong – my mom is single-handedly responsible for bringing my little girl back to what seems like closer to ‘normal’ now. Really. Life is getting better, the kid smiles, laughs and plays these days. She has friends. She hasn’t screamed or thrown things at my husband and I in about 2 weeks now. We’ve not seen any violent tantrums lately. I feel obligated to her in ways she’ll never know. We have a whole another issue to handle now. Weaning my little girl from her grandma. She won’t eat without her, sleep without her or anything else. But we’ll have to save that for another day once the house is full and our things have arrived and we get my baby girl some routine. Till then, we’re ok with this setup.
But that doesn’t change the fact that my daughter is being changed. By her grandma who loves to tell her stories of the scary cat or watchman to make her eat her food, who loves to cuddle her on her lap while she puts her to sleep, insists on holding a routine much much more rigorously than we did in the US with no leeway for slips anywhere. By her new friends in her apartment community who go to sleep at 11 pm, who go to every Indian movie with their parents and fall asleep in the theater, who eat spicy oily food, who go as a threesome on a small motorbike with dad in the front and mom at the back, who go out to dinner with their extended families at 9 pm and hang outside till much later.
Where did she come from, you ask? She came from a tight routine in the US with comparatively early bed times, 2 baths a day, not a slip in the food routine – breakfast, lunch or dinner! Life was almost a ritual there with her I remember! We did fun things over the weekend. She was younger but life revolved around her. We didn’t see her during the day from 9 – 5 on weekdays (she had a nanny) but our evenings and weekends were hands-on with her. Life was about her, her needs, her times, her tightly managed routines. Of course, we weren’t as perfect on this ritual like most of our American friends whose kids went to bed @ 7 or 7.30 pm, went to day care, maintained an even more ritualized routine. We tried to keep up – they all seemed like great ideas. We wanted to learn. We did – at least half way.
Now we’re here. Kids here are unbelievably adjusting, flexible .. in their routines. If they feel sleepy they fall asleep in the middle of the restaurant or movie whenever they want. They play till late with friends. Seems like parents have a ton of time to themselves. I wonder what they do?!?! I’ve seen kids nodding off on motorbikes with mom holding them at the back. I’ve seen kids eat at 7 pm one day and at 10 the other day. I don’t think I can imagine what that scene would look like if my daughter got her food 3 hours late!!
On one hand, I’m so jealous of these kids and their parents. These kids seem like they can make life happen under any condition or situation. My friends with toddlers and young children keep posting vacation pics on Facebook all the time. HOW?!?!?! SERIOUSLY HOW?!?!?! I have one kid … just one. And life’s so full, so busy. The kids just adjust and learn to live around uncertainty and changes all the time. RESILIENT!!! seriously. We’ve probably protected our little thing in this bubble of routine which probably caused a lot of the issues we had moving here. On the other hand, I can’t ever imagine doing this to my girl. Why would anyone want to go from giving them the goodness of a routine and care to abandoning all of that for the comfort of parents and a social life?! But where does that leave me? I’ve tried to hang out with 3 different families to date here .. and their timings are all different from ours. What does this mean? Am I to give up my social life and everything else here to continue to keep my routine on?! A few of my 9/9.30 pm dinners with other families have come close to mega drama showdowns by my little girl which we averted – thanks to Steve Jobs and his wonderful inventions! What does this do to our ‘fitting in’ here?
Am I to change to help us fit in here? Or do I hold onto what little I learnt from living in the US? I know everyone learns their own ways, creates their own routines that take best of both … I know we’ll figure things out eventually. But for now, I’m just wondering who I want us to be? I’m wondering if we have a choice?
My life feels like the story of French Loaf! (Refer my previous post on the French Loaf!) My life feels like this sight I saw at Barbecue Nation – my night with a cousin this past week – we were at this place Barbecue Nation which had amazing Indian Tandoori Barbecue food. A couple of coronas and barbecue style Indian food later .. I found myself staring at this scene. Corona in front, traditional South Indian yogurt Rice with more molaga (dried and fried green chillis) and some papadams on my plate.
Thachi mamam with corona! I’m clearly confused all around. There’s a META story I keep going back to everytime I see a confusion like this one … I’m not sure who I want to be, what I want for my family or for my bright and promising child. I’m experiencing some identity crisis now.