here i am

Today is my husband’s birthday!  Yay!

We didn’t get to go out to a restaurant like we wanted, so dinner had to be pizza.

Deep dish, Chicago style, and meat lovers, of course.

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Since it was his special day, he got to order what he wanted.  I personally don’t like deep dish pizza very much. I’d pick New York style over it any time.

My husband and I have now been together for over eight years.  I hope we get to spend many more birthdays together. ❤️

And for nostalgic purposes, here are some photos of us from our honeymoon in Orlando, Florida.

If you look real close there’s a blurry-ish full shot of me.

Happy March everyone!  I can totally sense the allergies coming on.

To 3 or not to 3

This is a picture of me as a baby.  The person holding me is my uncle.

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I don’t know why I look so angry.  My husband says I still make that sour face.  A lot.

Here’s another.

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I’m with my mom in this one.  Apparently I didn’t move a lot as a kid.  Some things never change.

Excuse the quality of the pics.  They’re pretty old.

No, I’m not old.  Just the pics are.

My neighbor from across the street recently had her fifth child.  She gets out of the house so infrequently that I found out she had been pregnant two weeks after she brought the baby home from the hospital.

She’s a little on the religious side.  She likes to tell me that children are a blessing, birth control is a no no, and that we should have as many kids as God decides to give us.

Okay, Michelle Duggar.  You do that.  I’m going to hop on the first train back to the real world, where we have  something called a condom.

As my boys get older, the question of So are you going to have any more? becomes inevitable.  I’ve heard it quite a few times already.  Everyone seems to think that we need a daughter.

My sister once asked me Wouldn’t you love to have a girl? to which I replied Not as much as I’d love to have a life.

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If you listen closely, I’ll tell you a secret.  Ready?  Okay, here we go.

Kids.  Are.  A LOT.  Of work.

Above is the picture of my eldest at around three months old.  Isn’t he such a doll?

But behind those chubby cheeks and fat wrists lies a natural inclination to be hyper.  And naughty.

Here is Child 2 at 1.5 months of age.

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His story is the most famous post on this blog.

He’s the opposite of his brother.  He loves to eat and to sleep.  He also did this thing as a newborn where he would pull a fistful of his own hair and then scream at the top of his lungs.  That was cute but I really hoped it didn’t reflect on his level of intelligence.

When you put the two of them together, you get 4 ounces of getting along, 3 ounces of fighting, and 1 ounce of He’s so stupid and annoying and I wish he was like Mini!

Mini is my brother’s deceased pet cat.  He was also my kids’ first experience with the concepts of death and dying.  I was hoping for some maturity and understanding from them when we mentioned Mini’s passing, but all they got out of it was that he had gone away and was never coming back and hey, that’s a good idea, let’s send my annoying brother there, too.

My kids are my world.  They might drive me crazy, but they also make me laugh.

Like when my four year old comes up to me, points to my breasts, and asks Which one makes ice cream?

I’m guessing that’s some sort of reference to breast milk but I was laughing too hard to inquire.

As much as I love my kids, I’m not crazy about the idea of giving them more siblings.  My experience with raising infants hasn’t been the greatest.  It was challenging, to say the least.

While all the other new parents sailed smoothly, we hit iceberg after iceberg.

Smash.  Acid reflux.

Crash.  Inability to nurse.

Wham.  Being blessed with the one baby in the world that didn’t seem to require any sleep whatsoever.  His idea of nap time was an extra long blink.

The biggest problem of them all was my kids’ inability to put on weight.  They would gain ounces, not pounds.   Both were big babies at birth and in utero, thanks to my doing a really good job at the eating for two part, but my husband was a rail thin child and genetics eventually took over in full force.

Difficulty in gaining weight is a problem I never had.  I can look at food and gain weight.  Even embryonic me must’ve been on the heavier side.

Not my boys.  They both eat like crazy and not one bit of it turns into baby fat.  They have the metabolism of an Olympic gold medalist.

While it’s great for them as kids, as babies it was a nightmare.  Infancy is the one and only time where fat equals cute.  Kid one was diagnosed with failure to thrive and kid two with the audacity to completely fall of the charts.

I know now that children of Indian descent are naturally more petite.  But as a new parent, any minor deviation from normal was the end of the world.  And that’s what it felt like.

It’s tough to look back at their baby pictures and not remember a time when I felt like a total failure at the whole mothering thing.

An especially low point was when a cold ass bitch commented So are you feeding your kids at all or are you eating their food as well?

Apparently she meant it as a joke.  I meant it as a joke, too, when I told her her husband’s tits were bigger than hers.

I’m in no hurry to flunk the test for the third time and neither is my husband.  Sure, number 3 might be the charm, but higher powers seem to be agreeing with us on two being the magic number.  Meaning my ob-gyn and my cardiologist.  The only way I will be allowed to deliver any future child is through cesarean surgery and the pills I pop for my tachycardia are harmful to a growing fetus.

Let’s see.  Stop taking potentially life saving medicine and be carved up like a Christmas turkey, or shut down the baby making factory and be a good mom to the kids I already have?

If anything I’d say God was telling me to keep my uterus to myself.  Okay, God, I get your message.  Sheesh. Now stop sending me those nightmares where I’m giving birth to the Antichrist.

For richer or for poorer, but not during the Colts game

Prayers for the tragedy in France.  “Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it must be attained through understanding” – Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Welcome to the newly renovated The View Through The Window.  I was getting tired of that old theme and I like to switch things up now and then.  I hope you like this new blog style as much as I do.  Now back to our regularly scheduled blog post.

He’s the good cop to your bad cop.  The fun loving parent to your disciplinarian.  The one who sneaks your kids candy during time outs.  I quote, “Daddy’s awesome and you suck.”

Point noted.

Husbands.  You gotta love em.  And because we love them, let’s start with all the things they do that make them wonderful :

-He comes home after work.

Moving on.

I’m just kidding.  We all know husbands do a lot more good than just come home from work.  Let’s add to the list.

-He comes straight home from work.

Still kidding.  Don’t get your boxers in a bunch.  The real list follows :

-He comes straight home from work to a crabby wife and hyper kids, yet still manages to remain upbeat.

-Is tired as hell but tells you to take a break.

-Knows exactly what to do when you’re angry.  When I’m mad at him, my husband starts cleaning.  He strongly believes that cleanliness is next to godliness because it prevents your wife from doing that head turning thing from the Exorcist.

-Doesn’t question the logic behind why I can be as grumpy as I want but he gets in trouble for not smiling enough.

-Worked for years at a job he hated because he felt he had to.  His hard work is what made it possible for me to stay at home with our kids.  This is the reason why I call my husband the real superman.  That and because he’s survived being married to me for so long.

-Is ever supportive, whether it’s you wanting to go back to school, starting a blog or turning off all the lights and pretending no one’s home when the neighbor’s annoying kids show up uninvited.

-Is the world’s greatest dad.  My husband has more patience than a monkey has love for bananas.  He can play make believe games with my boys for hours.  I would rather clean the house. Or watch paint dry.  Or clean the house while I watch paint dry.

-He lets you blog about him.

And since nothing and no one is perfect, here are things he does that make him so very annoying :

-You send him to the supermarket for cauliflower and he returns with lettuce.  You ask for parsley and he gets spinach.

-Half your kitchen stuff ends up where it shouldn’t be when he unloads the dishwasher.

-His version of cleaning is to dump everything in the kids’ toy box and/or the closet.

-You can always count on him to not answer his phone.

-Wouldn’t know his way around the kitchen even if it came equipped with exit signs.

-Thinks it’s okay to have a conversation with you when you’re brushing your teeth.  Or through the bathroom door.  But thou shall not interrupt viewing of football game.

-Thinks we are out of <fill in the blank> if a sixty second search for it yields nothing.

-Grins and says But I picked you when you tell him his taste sucks.

-Thinks sitting down to pee is a strange and foreign concept.

-His looking for something usually ends up with you finding it for him.

-His lack of attention to detail and failure to pick up on social cues makes you wonder if he spent his adolescent years devoid of human interaction.  When I was pregnant and mine no longer fit, my husband thought it was okay to tell my family I was wearing his underwear.

-Hogs the blanket.  Tosses and turns enough to wake the dead.  My husband’s nocturnal bed shaking (no, not that kind) once even woke him up.  He turned to me, still half asleep, and asked was there an earthquake? to which I replied no, darling, your ass was just doing its sleep aerobics thing again.

-Leaves all pantry and cabinet doors wide open.  Shutting them makes you feel like Vanna White after an exceptionally large puzzle solving on an early 90’s episode of Wheel of Fortune.  You know, before it went all touch screen.

-He lets you blog about him with the condition that you will do a similar post on wives.

Needless to say, I accepted the challenge.

Motherhood. 24 hour service.

All mothers, or all parents rather, know that the time gap between one oh, shit! moment and the next is small.  There’s that golden five minutes when everything is right in your world and the rock of now freaking what?! hasn’t shattered the glass of homework is done, dinner is ready, house is habitable, and the kids are mostly clean.  Yes, when you’re a mother to two little boys, one of them prone to fits of extreme hyperactivity, that is your utopia.  It’s a step up from the game of limbo I was playing when both my boys were under the age of three and how low can you go was anyone’s guess.  That point was crossed when the washing machine crapped out at the same time as my breast pump.  Begging God to grant you just one effing onesie that’s clean, just one! while you rummage through the pile of baby clothes like a homeless bag lady with her udders full to bursting wouldn’t rank very high on anyone’s Nielsen box.

The past week has been a mad rush of trying to get all my school work done and handed in on time.  The feeling of thank everything that’s holy, the semester’s over had barely registered when I saw my first grader get off the bus and walk towards home.  He paused to fiddle with something the neighbor across the street had put up in his yard and that’s when we both heard it.  The extremely loud, nasal voice of our neighbor, demanding that my son keep his hands off whatever it was he was fiddling with for fear of it breaking and him hurting himself.  The man was shouting so obnoxiously, at the top of his lungs, that I and the other kids walking home from the bus stop could clearly hear every word.

My son stared in the direction of the voice for a minute, stunned.  Then he turned and slowly walked towards me, shock, hurt, and humiliation written all over his face.  I felt those emotions myself, along with guilt.  Not the kind of guilt you feel when you’re perusing Wikipedia articles while ignoring their please donate requests, but the kind of guilt you feel when you know you’ve failed someone.

My seven year old is a sweet little guy with an over the top zest for the funner things in life and an inability to keep his hands to himself.  He’s the typical boy, just extremely overactive.  He’s fried chicken, cooked extra spicy. If something in his vicinity is just standing there, minding its own business, he has to get his Facebook on and poke it.  Often that something is his little brother.

He’s a curly haired cutie that neither listens to nor fears anyone.  Being the first occupant of my womb entitled him to certain freebies in the minds of his grandchild starved grandparents, both maternal and paternal.  Before we knew it, he was spoiled to the point of no return.  He’s got an attention span of a full sixty seconds and a proclivity for bouncing off walls, sometimes literally, and getting himself into trouble, usually of the type that requires bandaging.  He is the road runner to my coyote in the  Sisyphus like trials that are the mothering of a child with a mind of his own.112699-15951

That’s not to say he’s mean or hurtful.  Far from it.  He’s the Macaulay Culkin of Home Alone, not the Macaulay Culkin of The Good Son.  If he knew what he was doing would bother our neighbor, he would never have done it.  He’s well aware that he’s only allowed to make his parents miserable.

While standing at our door watching him walk over to me, I remembered another shouting my son had received from the same man, earlier on in the month, for not stopping to look right and left before crossing the street.  I had let that pass at the time due to it seemingly coming from a genuine concern for my son’s well being, but in light of the most recent screamathon, I felt like the world’s biggest dumb fuck of a mom for doing so.  If I hadn’t let the man think it was okay for him to raise his voice at my son the first time, he wouldn’t have dared to do it for the second.

Along with the guilt came the confusion of what exactly to do about the situation.  My mama bear instincts were raring to go ape shit on the guy, but were held in check by the fact that on both occasions, my kid was being careless.  And even though the man was loud and vile, the end result was that my son was safer due to his actions .  It was a tough few minutes of mental and emotional wrangling, but in the end I decided that, even it was for his safety, no one could talk to my child in a way that made him feel and look the way he did when he slowly walked towards me from the driveway across the street.  No kid’s safety should have to come at the expense of his self esteem.

I dialed the number for the neighbor and spoke to his extremely polite and really mature for his age eight year old, who rides the same bus and was witness to what had happened.  He calmly explained to me that his dad was too harsh and that when his dad shouts like that, it scares him, too, which made me think the man’s fuse seemed to be only slightly longer than that of the incredible Hulk’s.  The boy said not to worry and that he would send his father over to talk to me as soon as he returned home.

I hate confrontation.  I’m a five foot zero inch shorty, but my brain forgets that little detail when it’s trying to put out the fire in my she’s pissed off as hell quadrant.  I can’t say I wasn’t scared of meeting the man.   I was actually hoping he would show up after six o’clock and then he’d be my husband’s problem.  But I remembered the way I felt earlier, when I saw my son’s reaction, and that decided it for me. I had had enough of feeling like I had failed him.  Whether I wanted to or not, I would don my warrior mom, she bear out to protect her cub, this bitch means child protective business outfit and confront that bastard.  Which I did.  I don’t remember exactly what I said, but I got the point across, with double the prize money awarded because I did it without…wait for it…raising my voice.

This whole ordeal, and some of the other dear god, what the eff scenarios I’ve been through in the seven years I’ve been a parent, have taught me that being a mom or a dad is challenging.  Very challenging.  It’s the test of your life, without the option of open book or open notes. You’re expected to have all the answers when half the time you don’t even know what the fuck the question is.  Your job comes with the requirement that mommy will make it all better, even on occasions when mommy’s ready to shit her pants.  But it’s worth it in the end, when your children go off to college and become the state’s problem.  Just kidding.  It’s really all worth it just to hear those sweet little guys call you their momma.

Fair and Lovely

I heard a story from a friend that both saddened and frustrated me.  This friend has a cousin who is in her early twenties, which in Indian Pakistani culture is considered just the right age range for courtship and marriage.  As soon as a girl nears twenty, the pings, similar to the beeps of a dying battery in a smoke alarm, start going off in her parents brain.  Apparently the dreaded age is thirty.  If you’re past that and you are a female of southeast Asian descent, shame on you for not settling!

Of course I’m exaggerating.  Not the shame and settling part but the stereotyping part.  Not all Indian Pakistani families treat their daughters like heifers competing for first prize at the state fair, the prize being a husband.  An education and a career is what is prioritized, especially here in the good old USA.  However, I don’t have to tell you what kind of treatment women receive in terms of education, marriage, and procreation in parts of India, Pakistan, and other developing countries.  You can grab a newspaper from those countries and read it for yourself.  Sometimes that stone age mentality finds its way into society here as well.

The cousin of this friend has an aunt.  This woman has been living and working in this country for the past thirty odd years, but apparently back in the old country, she was the village idiot.  This aunt raved on and on about a neighbor of hers who she thought would be perfect for her niece.  The only problem was that he was twice divorced.  What’s the problem, the aunt asked.  You know ——- won’t find anyone better.  She isn’t thin or light skinned.  Mind you, this was all said directly to the girl’s mother.  I’m sure you’re thinking the mom must have gone ape shit, right?  Unfortunately, no, and I’ll tell you why.

There are some backward ideas floating around in Indian/Pakistani culture, similar in annoyance to the common cold.  There’s no cure for them, they’re annoying as hell when you’ve been afflicted, but they usually won’t kill you.  Only a small minority thinks this way, but it’s that minority that ruins it for the rest of us.  Backward idea numero uno is the obsession with light skin. Light colored skin is prized.  Now, light skin is beautiful.  My sister is light-skinned and she’s gorgeous.  But we’re talking light skinned, as in Dracula just fed off you light.  You need to look like a fresh bulb.  The paler, the better.  Don’t ask me why.  I have no idea, especially since majority of Indians are of the darker, wheatish hue.  Some people say it’s an inferiority complex left over from British colonial rule.  I believe them.  Oprah once did a segment on her show where she talked about how India is the number one country in the use of skin bleach.  I’d have written a complaint to her on behalf of my people if I didn’t have slightly used tubes of Fair and Lovely sitting in my dresser drawer, remnants of my “I want to fit in” phase.

Another lovely gem of this thought process is that if you’re fat, you are ugly.  No ifs or buts.  An aunty once told me, “Girls only look good if they are slim”, which confused the eff out of me because she herself was fat as hell.  And slim doesn’t mean slim/curvy.  No, slim means flat chested, skeletal, and with cheekbones that would make Maleficent jealous.  So unless you’re a  fluorescent toothpick, it sucks to be you.  Don’t believe me?  Attend an Indo Pakistani party, especially one where lots of middle age ladies that are looking for brides for their sons are invited.  If you’re pale, I guarantee you’ll have a fan following within the hour.

So the mother of the cousin of the friend said nothing.  She just sighed and said her daughter would never consider a suitor who’s been divorced, twice.  She did that because she herself believed that her daughter, a lovely, round faced, wide eyed, sweet girl, isn’t attractive because she isn’t light skinned or thin.  Which makes no sense because her daughter has plenty of male attention.  Lots of guys find her exotic looking and she’s been asked out often.  She’s aware her mother has had this conversation, but she’s shrugged it off to a way of thinking that’s stupid and illogical, yet something that had been ingrained into her mother and aunt at a young age by their mother and so on.  They’d been through it and it’s hard to change someone’s way of thinking.  Besides, she told me, she’d never marry someone her mother picked out for her, anyway.

Of course, not all Indians and Pakistanis think like this.  As a matter of fact, things are actually getting better in India.  There are now lots of desi  (slang for Indo/Pak, I can use it, I am one of them) actresses and models who are refusing to bleach their skin and take pride in having a tan.  There are “dark is beautiful” campaigns all over the Indian media.  It’s a slow process, overturning centuries of backward thinking, but I’m glad there has been a start.

If you’re wondering if I’ve been through the revolving door that is Indian Pakistani style match making a few times myself, then duh!  You’re right.  Where else would I get my writing material from if not life itself?  I don’t know any desi girl who hasn’t, light or dark.  It’s just the system itself.  It’s barbaric.  But I’m happy to say it was only a few spins before I found myself a sweet guy who couldn’t care less what I weighed or whether or not he’d save on his electricity bill if my skin color wasn’t the right wattage.  My husband says the thing he liked about me the most is that I was easy to talk to.  Now if it were only that convenient for everyone.