Mum Connections

Posted on
Categories Family, Feeding, Mommy Issues, Other people, Theme Week, TravelTags , , , , , , 3 Comments

A month ago, we had dinner at the Calgary Airport. What better restaurant to have our last meal in oil and beef-heaven than at a steakhouse?

The waitress greets us with a cheery smile, asks us how many we are. “Four adults, two children,” I answer, pointing out L and R. My parents are sending us off before they head to Montreal the next day.  As the waitress walks us to a booth, she asks if I prefer high-chairs or booster-seats for the children.

“What are booster-seats?” I ask, fully aware of my ignorance. “Little seats that you can move around. They add height to any other regular seat,” she replies, without a hint of condescension.

The booster-seats sound perfect. My kids hate high-chairs.

“Great! Come on over this way. I’ll get the brown paper laid out first, and then bring out the crayons.” She smiles as she walks away in her black pants, and black t-shirt; her blond pony-tail bobbing along behind her.

“Here’s the crayons, and some menus. You need anything else, give me a shout. I’ll be back for the order in a few minutes,” she assures us. How wonderful! L and R sit at the table happily, unrestricted; and they draw pictures with my parents.

When she returns, Maher asks if she can suggest any vegetarian options for my mum. She pulls her pen out of her apron and uses it as a pointer, “There’s the garden salad, the coleslaw, there’s a veggie fajita, and we can do most any of the starters’ vegetarian. You just ask me, and I’ll request it in the kitchen.”

“Fantastic!” he replies.

“One chicken fajita should be enough for the two children right?” I ask her.

“Plenty. Portion’s big here.”

We place the rest of the order, and just before she turns around to leave, she asks if we want the fries out first. Maher and I looked at each other and then up at her. She understands. “Yes please, and the guacamole, and anything that’s ready. They’re hungry.” We didn’t mention that they won’t stay put for very long.

She smiles, winks, and asks, “They twins?”
“Yes, 23 months old,” I reply.
“I have three kids. A four year-old, and two year-old twins. All boys.” She says with a gleam in her eyes.
“Really? That’s wonderful. So you know!” I sigh with a sense of relief that sweeps across me.

I don’t usually stress out about being at a restaurant with my toddlers. In China it’s easy. Children are welcome everywhere, easy-going restaurants for sure, fancy places are no exception. The hosts, even the guests happily chat and play with them. That’s not to say that I’ve had any criticism in Canada over the last 3 weeks, neither in Montreal nor in Calgary; but it’s on my mind that they have to behave a bit differently. I do my best to keep the situation as much under-control as possible, without making a big deal out of it. And with my parents there to help, at least we’ll all get to eat.  But the mess we leave is always bigger than at the other tables, and our sweet waitress is the one who’s got to take care of it.

My stress dissipates after she hangs out longer, and after she tells us about her children. I feel a connection with her just for being a Mum of Twins. It’s not rational. But she understands what it’s like to be at a restaurant with excited twin toddlers. She’s not fazed by their loud chatter, their need to switch seats as they spill the water, and their desire to reach for the knives.

Part way through the meal, L needs a change of diaper. As we walk back from the washroom, the appropriately positioned toy store – right across from the restaurant — with a large poster of a crocodile eating a monkey, sucks Leila in. Before long, Rahul and two adults in our group join her. 15 minutes into the discovery, and a number of different dynamics later, I am back at the restaurant finishing up my meal, with my mum. I pick at the colourful bell peppers and onions from the children’s fajita, after I’m done with my own dish. It’s time to go though; time to say goodbye to my parents. I ask for the bill.

While I pay, the sweet waitress and I have a little chat. She’s the kind of woman who calls you honey. Not in a patronising sense.

“Who helps you with the kids?” I ask.

“My husband. He takes care of them in the day while I’m here, and he works at night. I was just talking to my co-worker over there,” she tilts her head towards another waitress, “Was just tellin’ her it’s been a week since I saw him. ‘N’ we live in the same house.”

“Man, that’s not easy,” I sympathise. She looks up at me, shrugs her shoulders and smiles. That’s when I notice the dark circles around her eyes.

“Have a good flight!” She waves.

“Thanks, and good luck with it all,” I pat her shoulder, and push our over-packed stroller out of the restaurant.

My mum and I walk over to the crocodile and monkey toy shop to pick up the rest of the gang. We slowly make our way to the security check.

Just this morning, L and R talked about a crocodile eating a monkey.

Have you had random mum connections that you still remember?

—————————

Natasha, mum of Leila and Rahul was an Ashtanga Yoga teacher until her little yogis became the teachers. You can find more of her thoughts and stories at Our Little Yogis.

Share this...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on TumblrShare on RedditDigg thisShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone

Full Circle – with my Heart and Hands Full

Posted on
Categories Family, Mommy IssuesTags , , , , , 4 Comments

I’ve come full circle, back in Koh Samui, at Samahita Yoga Thailand (SYT) two and a half years after my last serious training here. This time I’m here with my husband M, and my 21 month old boy/girl twins Rahul and Leila.

Right after my advanced teacher training course at SYT in 2009, I spent three months in my grandfather’s home city in India. It was there, in the peak of the summer, that after a round of IVF I got pregnant. There was the usual pregnancy stuff – fatigue, dizziness, and some vomiting. Overall, ok though. I had a long nap on my yoga mat every afternoon! Before the end of the first trimester, I insisted on returning to Chengdu, my current home city.

At 16 weeks things became more complicated. I had a major bleed, and spent the next four months in bed. The first month was spent in two Chengdu hospitals. I needed help. My mum flew in and without warning was roped into spending the next 9 months with me. Yoga helped too. The breath work calmed me through many sleepless nights.

At 26 weeks, upon the advice of doctors we flew to HK. The medical facilities there are outstanding.

From the 29th week on, I was in hospital again, being pumped with medication to keep the contractions down.

Then on a Sunday, at 31 weeks exactly, L and R seriously wanted out. I was transferred to another hospital, one with an NICU. They were born in an emergency natural delivery at The Queen Mary Hospital. R spent 3 weeks in the NICU, L spent 6.

As expected, life during the NICU phase was rather stressful, filled with fear, anxiety, and isolation. Thankfully M was there for the delivery and spent the first 2 weeks after the birth. He then managed to return to HK every weekend for the next five months.

Only after both the babies were safely home, and upon M’s ceaseless insistence, did I get a yoga practice in once in a while. Mostly it meant a few minutes of feeling out my body, and then a half an hour nap on the mat. It has gradually changed as the weight dropped, and the flexibility, strength, and focus have come back. This me-time was only possible thanks to my mum and MIL who were with me.

We returned to Chengdu when L and R were 5 months old. The four of us were together for the first time. We were happy, but of course there was some anxiety as for most new mums, and a feeling of isolation.

It’s around this period of time that I began surfing the net while feeding in the middle of the night. I found this site, HDYDI and other personal blogs where MoT’s told their funny stories, their touching stories, their “How to deal with…” stories, I could finally relate. I wasn’t the only one exhausted, stressed about premature babies, their weight-gain and illnesses.

There were undertones of stress in my system for a long time. It was only when L and R were 14 months old that I consciously made the effort to ease up. I couldn’t do it all, couldn’t be perfect and shouldn’t need to be. One insight from a MoT stuck with me. With two, she quickly let go of the expectation for perfection.

I also had to let go of expectations: that I would be able to give equal amounts of attention to each child at all times, that I would always be calm and level-headed, that I would have breast – fed directly and not pumped all the milk into bottles, that I would have lost more weight by now, that I would be practicing and teaching yoga by now, that I would be going out with friends more…and on and on.

A good friend of mine often brought up the fact that I wasn’t doing anything for myself. After some reflection, I realised that I wouldn’t pressure myself, but certainly needed some outlets. Another friend of mine, mother of 4, and ex Chengdu International Women’s Club playgroup coordinator once told me, “if it’s not sleep issues, it’s going to be something else. You just got to make time for yourself somehow.”

Her words rang true. So to start with, I filled her position as playgroup coordinator when she left Chengdu, a small task, but a big step for me. It was my first connection with adults in a long time. Soon after, I started a blog. I have always been a private person, so it’s a big deal. Some nights I write in the middle of the night. But it’s my thing and I enjoy it. It’s my way of organising and expressing my thoughts; and then letting go of them.

I am signed up for an On-line Features writing course. I have always romanticised writing, and until now, didn’t have the confidence to do any of my own. I’m not planning to become a writer, but I am thoroughly enjoying the class.

In the mean time, yoga has gradually seeped back into my life. Being back in Koh Samui at SYT practicing daily, trusting my body’s abilities again, makes teaching in the near future seem realistic. M takes care of L and R while I breathe and move at my own pace from 8-10am every morning.
I have let go of many expectations of myself, but feel more motivated than ever to do the little things that make me happy and feel fulfilled. Being here with M, R and L is certainly one of them.

So as MoM’s with never enough time in a day, what do you do for YOU?  Did you have to “let go” of expectations you put on yourself?

These are some related posts and a challenge, that stuck in my mind:

Taking Control (www.goddessinprogress.blog.com)

It’s the simple things (www.seanasmith.com)

52 weeks of ME! Challenge (www.dolli-mama.blogspot.com)

Share this...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on TumblrShare on RedditDigg thisShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone