Love That Spilleth Over

Laddu peeks in the study and noticing I am on a work call, closes the door gently behind her as she runs upstairs in search of akkas. Her pigtails bounce up and down as she scampers away and my heart swells with a feeling that feels too big for me.  I am disoriented by the … Continue reading Love That Spilleth Over

Slice Of Life: Watching Children Grow

Laddu stands in front of me, her body leaner, taller than I thought. I liberally apply a moisturizer to her skin that drinks it in. Her long hair is in braids, one on either side of her face. The baby fat is melting away leaving in place a little girl who is growing way too … Continue reading Slice Of Life: Watching Children Grow

Like A Yo-yo

She rolls to and from me like a yo-yo, the weight of her body propelling her first one way and then another. I clutch at her something fierce and let go with just the same vigor. We are on the bed, Laddu and I. It has been a month since she has given up her … Continue reading Like A Yo-yo

When I am Gone

She flicks a tear from her cheek, her nervous laugh a cover for unexpected emotion. Pattu reaches out, her fingers lacing themselves through mine. Ammu is on my lap, her neck nestled in the crook of my neck and shoulder. She nuzzles, her cheeks wet with tears. I am overwhelmed. By the tears. By the … Continue reading When I am Gone

10 Reason Why Kids Will Change Your Life

You get to enjoy watching the sun rise on a Sunday morning in the predawn hours even if you only went to bed at 2:00 AM You went to bed at 2:00 AM because you *finally* got four uninterrupted hours to read that book that has been lying on your bedside table for a few … Continue reading 10 Reason Why Kids Will Change Your Life

Holding Back Tears

My calf muscle aches as I bend over yet another trash bag that is over half full of gently used children’s clothing. All through the morning I picked through, sifted and made piles of clothes. In excellent condition, good condition and definitely well-used ones. They went into different bags. Some on FB marketplace to find … Continue reading Holding Back Tears

Letters To My Daughters: Move On

Dear Ammu, Pattu, and Laddu, Tonight, Ammu dissolved into tears and I stood by powerless, rudderless. What happened today is not the first. It will not be the last either. It happens to all of us. People we want to be friends with don’t feel that way about us. As you stood sobbing, your eyes … Continue reading Letters To My Daughters: Move On

Crushes and Blushes

Pattu says, "Amma, Ammu has a crush on M." Ammu blushes a deep red. Then I ask Pattu "Do you still crush on L?" Pattu blushes deep red. Ammu tells Pattu "M is just a friend. Not a crush!" Pattu persists until Ammu relents "His name starts with C" We all take turns guessing until … Continue reading Crushes and Blushes

Of Summers And The Slowing Of Time

She stands on the wooden floor, her eyes large and brimming with tears. I scoop her up and place her on the island. “I don’t want you to come down after I sleep,” her voice quavers as she voices her fears. I press her close to me wondering how to reassure her that it does … Continue reading Of Summers And The Slowing Of Time

Dinner Table Discoveries

  “I will do it myself!” Laddu’s voice is strident, ringing across the dining table where the five of us are sitting. Steam escapes her plate where a serving of rice topped with ghee and kootu looks tantalizing. My offer to mix it results in her declaration. On my left is Ammu staring at her … Continue reading Dinner Table Discoveries

This Little Girl Of Mine

“You are making sad choice!” “Because it is very cold outside?” “I enjoyed The Nutcracker.” She speaks in sentences. Her eyes sparkle as they meet her sisters coming down the stairs. Her hair cascading in waves frame her tiny face. She holds a rag doll and is ready for school. On our drive she remarks … Continue reading This Little Girl Of Mine

Sibling Relationships

I sweep up the crumbs from breakfast, noting an oily patch on the island. I run a rag through it, squint and figure that will have to do until Saathi decides it is not. Tiny lego pieces are littered at my feet. I mutter under my breath as I pick them up and toss them … Continue reading Sibling Relationships

Empathy, Not Discipline

It was the week before the 2016-17 school year began. The Friday before first day of school, I sat on a folding chair at the elementary school, a pink paisley purse by my side, watching the office manager answer the phone, jest around with the teachers and smile at me. I could hear the deep … Continue reading Empathy, Not Discipline

The Charades I Play

It is drizzling, water spraying on me from trees bent with rain water. I skip over one puddle to land right in the middle of another. Rivulets of water snake past my feet as I move towards my car. I am in no particular hurry. My bag dangles from one arm, my phone on the … Continue reading The Charades I Play

Tantrums

I open the door to the cool, semi dark room that houses over 7 toddlers today. Soothing music is piped overhead and I see small forms gently rising and falling as they breathe, as if in sync. I spy Laddu in a corner and stand over her, towering and wondering if she will sense my … Continue reading Tantrums

Little Teachers

“What is the book about?” “How many characters are there?” “What are their names?” “Where is the book set?” “What is the story about?” “Is it a book for big people?” The questions came thick and fast at the end of a 40 minute presentation to first graders at the school my children go to. … Continue reading Little Teachers

Anatomy Of a Birthday

  “Happy Birthday to me! Happy Birthday to me!!” The sounds trickle up from the basement where the twins are humming along as they train their newly opened toys to repeat what they say. I look at Saathi who is sitting beside me agonizing over taxes and smile. We are behind a desk scattered with … Continue reading Anatomy Of a Birthday

Sassy, Smart and Sweet

I wearily trudge up the stairs, my knee joints groaning in pain. Annoyance is writ large on my face as I open the door to Ammu’s bedroom. Ammu and Pattu are lying together, arms encircling each other. Ammu is holding on to Pattu’s earlobe in a gesture that is strangely comforting. I split them up … Continue reading Sassy, Smart and Sweet

Gift Of Freedom

I am on the phone with my mother in India. The handset is wedged between my neck and ear as I wash the suds off the griddle. I set it to dry, wipe my hands and perch on one of the island chairs to eat my breakfast in peace. The kids are sitting with a … Continue reading Gift Of Freedom

Countering Biases

I watch Laddu toddle onto the driveway. The breeze lifts the hair off her neck. The exhilaration on her face is a treat to watch. Her sisters run around her feeling the wind and enjoying the sun. I feel irrationally happy. We stand, the four of us in the afternoon sun, minutes before we would … Continue reading Countering Biases

Teaching Love

“Kiss!” I demand pointing to my cheek. Laddu jabs my cheek with her index finger and repeats after me. “Kiss” she says her eyes twinkling, shaking her head as she runs away. I scoop her in my arms, twirl and rain kisses on her face. She refuses to succumb to my exhortation. I let her … Continue reading Teaching Love