“Love you lots like jelly tots”

Dedicated to my beautiful friend Simrit Kaur Sandhu (27th November 1983- 9th February 2017).

I’ve been left heartbroken. Never have I experienced the feelings of loss until now and it hurts. My dear friend recently left this world on the 9th of February 2017 and though she fought a hard battle, her body eventually succumbed. I am left empty so I have turned to my comfort of writing and it’s a letter to her… Continue reading ““Love you lots like jelly tots””

Advertisements

The Trouble About Me…

Christmas has come and gone and now we’re in 2017. It is always at the start of the year that one reflects on the whirlwind that has become life. Time passes so damn fast. One year you’re announcing pregnancy and another you’re negotiating eating terms with a two year old, whilst the one year old happily chomps on bits off the floor. Continue reading “The Trouble About Me…”

Brave Enough To Travel?

It has been some time since my last piece of babbling, so here’s to another one, hopefully this may be more helpful to some…

I recently travelled to Mauritius and Dubai for ten nights with my little crew. The preparation for the travels took longer than the actual trip itself. Here’s my top 10 must-dos including some must-have’s that I found incredibly helpful when travelling with my squad.

  1. Make Some Important Calls

I’m not talking about calling friends to brag about going away, that can wait but at least one month before your trip, ensure that you have contacted the airline(s) and the hotel(s). I found making them aware that you are travelling with babies eases any anticipation but more importantly prepares you for the actual trip itself. I flew with Emirates and they were incredibly helpful. We were able to reserve particular seats on the plane, those with a little bit more legroom and we could also request a bassinet for Leela. As well as providing parents with extra luggage allowance, you’re able to wheel your tots in their buggy around the duty free area, right up to the plane. Some airlines also provide parents with buggies which are available at the gate. This made travelling so much easier, especially when trying to catch that connecting flight! So calling the airline, simply prepares both you and them for your travels.

By calling the hotel, I could request a carrycot for both kids. A lot of hotels assume that one may be old enough to sleep on a bed and another in a cot, so I find clarification is always better. Communication also allowed us to get an upgrade on the room!

  1. Write List(s)

To me, this is a no-brainer. Lists are simply my way of organising every aspect of my life. There is nothing quite as satisfying as ticking an item off! Planning a holiday, however, involves a number of lists. I made a list of things to purchase and pack. My kids like most, spend their life eating, playing and annoying me. Now whether you’re travelling by plane, car, bus or train, there is a point where you realise that you have an expectation for that child to sit still for a period longer than an hour. My flight was a total of 14 hours and consisted of one transit. The list I had to prepare was ‘HOW AM I GOING TO ENTERTAIN THESE LITTLE PEOPLE?’

 

  1. Order A Few Must-Haves

This follows on from number two and is essential for the journey. Even the in-flight entertainment wasn’t enough for Reeyan. Most parents have an Ipad and if I hadn’t done my reading, Reeyan would have pestered many fellow passengers with continuous episodes of ‘Bing’….. “round the corner not far away, bing has had a busy day…” It can drive even the sanest into despair. So I called on Amazon and added ‘Headphones for toddlers’ to my search bar. “How else could I entertain a two year old?” I wondered and so the following was bought:

  1. Headphones
  2. Play dough
  3. Crayons
  4. Colouring book
  5. Snacks

Despite being given some of these lovely things on the flight from the emirates staff, I found that there was nothing quite like mummy, literally, pulling these out of the bag. I could use it for rewarding good behaviour and I could put it way for correcting bad.

  1. Packing The Essentials EARLY

Packing the essentials is probably the most unhelpful subheading I could come up with for number four but it’s in my top 10. It needs to be done at least one week before your travels as anything later means that you are at risk of forgetting something! I know we live in a time where anything can be bought wherever in the world, but believe me when I say packing early makes everything easier…and yes if you noticed at number two, I had a list for this too.

  1. Get Familiar With Child Facilities From Day One

This perhaps is one (of many) mistake we made. It was during the penultimate day of the holiday when we found out the hotel had a huge, fully equipped (with both toys and staff) play area. Such a shame as the kids loved it and so did we. They were able run wild, burning all that kiddie energy and finally flaking off into dreamland reasonably early that evening.

We were lucky enough to be in an all-inclusive hotel, which offered a wide range of food at the buffet. However, I also regretted not making the very most of it! Again only towards the end of the trip did we realise that they offered take away boxes which we could have filled up and taken with us during out travels – ‘duh’.

 

  1. Don’t Be Afraid To Break The Routine

A regimental routine at home happens to be what gets me through a day with my toddlers. Since the birth of Reeyan I have stuck to the ‘R’ word like glue, until, that is, I went on holiday. By all means, I still kept their nap and bedtimes but I wasn’t as disciplined as I am at home. I realised by breaking a few moulds, the kids demonstrated that they are indeed adaptable to whatever situation I put them in.

I am quite conscious of the kids having their own cot and bedroom. In the hotel in Mauritius, the kids had to share a room (so I was worried about one waking the other up). On the first night, they slept right through and on the second, third…you get the gist. The kids were still able to stick to their routine even if it was broken during the trip and this is by far the greatest reward of a meticulous routine at home (and for those who wonder what that entails – check out my blog on ‘The R word’)

  1. Get Away

It is your goddamn trip too! And you have every right to spend at least a few hours even a day or two, away from the kids with no guilt entailed. We called on the in-house babysitters and boy did we run to the bar that evening. I found it slightly disappointing that actually nothing changes whilst you’re away. The same demands are there, so as you would usually plan a date night at home, the same applies whilst you’re away. I also found the spa a great get away!

img_9064

  1. Eat and Drink Well

 Just like home, it is so easy to get enveloped with just caring for the kids and eating their leftovers. Whilst on holiday, I found that I needed more energy to keep up with them especially in that heat! I made it a point to keep eating and drinking well (the rum cocktails were the best!) and to highlight the same point again – It is your goddamn holiday too!

  1. Plan The Dreaded

You will have to come home at some point – it is inevitable. Cramming the suitcase the morning before the flight home was a distant memory when we were ‘kid-free’. As well as packing our suitcases ‘earlyish’, I had to ensure that the hand luggage was adequately packed. That meant making sure all the ‘entertaining Reeyan’ necessities were there.

  1. Recover

There is nothing quite like home! You’ll be so exhausted you’ll be wanting to plan some deserved rest bite from your deserved rest bite!

So let’s summarise, prepare for your travels by calling the airline and hotel a good month before you travel. Write yourself a great list, this will highlight what essentials you need to buy. Pack early! To avoid any disappointment – get familiar with all child facilities early. If your child is in a great routine already, don’t be afraid to break it! Have some ‘you’ time, making the most of the facilities dedicated to relaxation. Keep your energy levels up, staying hydrated and again making the most of all the food and drink the hotel has to offer. Finally plan the inevitable, pack early and when you make it home – plan that next trip!

 

Nappies, Muslin Cloths and Literature Searches

This is my last week at home. It is the end of an era, my time as ‘full time mum’ has come to an end and I am now looking forward to being a ‘part time working mum of two’. I cannot tell you how excited I am. A lot has happened this last month, health and parenting-wise. I have realised that part of my recent anxiety lies with the simple notion that I won’t be with my children a few days a week. I am known to over-exaggerate and perhaps this sounds like just that to some, but I can’t explain how big a deal this is to me….

I have formed a huge attachment with my first, who recently turned two and not forgetting my 10 month old baby girl. All I have done since 2014 is take care of their every need. I have been their ‘constant’ and actually come to think of it, they have become mine. Even within two years, I feel age is on me, times have changed and I notice it. This leaves me quite anxious, but now I can see, it’s anxiety based on overwhelming excitement.

img_8891
Reeyan’s 2nd Birthday
Initially, the anxiety didn’t manifest as positively as it does now. My health took a hit. Stress is a known culprit of illnesses and ailments but it’s worse when you don’t actually know you’re stressed or when you take the burden of everything and try to keep on going. Last week I hit the finish line. I had enough, I couldn’t cope. It was quite bizarre to have these feeling so far after having the babies, but oh well, I crumbled. Reeyan happened to be a little sick, combined with a walking 10 month old – this was the initial test. Throw in, health problems, a sub-heading for thyroid related issues, which I have you know, can affect your mood, skin, appetite, energy levels, it can cause muscle ache and fatigue. I needed people around me and I needed them fast. They were there, without a second thought.

Last week I sat down with Roy, my mum, dad, mother and father-in-law and they understood that things happened to be a little difficult. Talking it over with them helped, it gave me some clarity. I could see that actually, all this un-wellness, un-easiness stemmed from the simple fact that I am returning to work, taking on a huge project to finish a PhD but more importantly, leaving my little lives a few days a week. By understanding the core of my anxiety, I felt like a huge weight had been lifted.

I have noticed a pattern in conversation when I’m out with the kids. Young mothers enjoy talking about age differences and developmental milestones. Older mothers simply tell me to enjoy every moment I have with them. I have had my fair share of craziness these last two years, but looking back at when these two bundles of joy were placed in my arms, I can honestly say, I have cherished every minute. I am blessed to be at a stage in life, where I can go back to what I am passionate about as well as continue to bring up my little sproggs. They are my purpose in life, my motivation to do better, be it career-wise, parenting-wise and health-wise.

Things are going to be just fine…..

Busy, Busy Bumblebee..

I haven’t forgotten about blogging, let’s just say, I’ve been tremendously busy. Leela is now 9 months old and crawling everywhere. Reeyan has had a ‘speech spurt’, he’s suddenly talking a whole lot more and the house is now an incredibly noisy place. So much has happened and there have been many parental skills and health practices that I have come to understand in these few months. I wish to share…. Continue reading “Busy, Busy Bumblebee..”

From One to Forty Thousand…..

 My journey to MPhil and possibly PhD is something I want to focus on now. I am sure there are many academic mothers out there and I would love to meet a fellow academic woman who has had to put her studies on pause whilst bringing up the next generation. It is the woman, who again puts her career on hold. There is no funding, there is no money for what we study (if there is, it is a pittance). And all this is to be able to contribute to a wealth of scientific knowledge. To join a community of academics where your research is valued. To be part of history, where people site your name – ‘Ramachandran et al’. That’s what I’ve wanted. I am nearly there, why oh why, would I want to give it up?

I turn from my computer and hear the singing and babbling in the monitors sitting on the kitchen counter. The babies are awake. It is easy to give it up. They are my life, they are my history and they are my ‘Ramachandran et al’. But surely I am more than just a mother?

I recently attended a meeting with my university to discuss where to go next. One thing for sure, is that I don’t want to sacrifice two years worth of data collection and literature searches, simply because I have had my children. Funding has never been so difficult. On a separate note, it is a damn shame that we as a country are leaving the European Union as that has simply put an end or even halted the thought of obtaining any such funding from our European neighbours. The world of science and research will never be the same.

I haven’t really proven myself in the corporate world, as I have always believed that academia was the career branch for me. How can I possibly let that go without giving it the best I’ve got? I have decided to attempt and leave the university with a minimum of a Masters of Philosophy in Psychophysiology. That means no income and looking after two babies whilst I attempt to write a thesis of 40,000 words. I will also have to defend my work to an external and internal examiner during, what I can only imagine as a gruelling viva. I aim to do this by the summer of 2018 – will you follow my journey?

 

 

 

Euston, we have no problem….

I journeyed into London recently to meet with colleagues to discuss the future of whatever career I have left. I won’t dwell on that for now, but what I do want to share is simply the experience of my trip into the city and the memories it brought back.

I dropped the kids with their grandparents and headed off to Wembley Central station. In previous years, climbing the stairs behind Iceland and now the Tesco Metro, was something that I would dread, I would be met with vile smells of urine left from the drunken squalor the night before. It isn’t as daunting anymore, don’t get me wrong, the area is still grimy but at least you can breathe through your nose whilst walking towards the station. I made my way to the ticket barriers and it’s the little things like touching in with your debit card that threw me off. I went to top it up my Oyster card and remembered I didn’t need to. I thought, ‘Where had I been during all this change? And ‘What else have I missed?’ Continue reading “Euston, we have no problem….”