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I became an addict in 2007. It started quite simply. I had heard about it from friends. Some of whom I had known for several years and some I had just recently met. I don't recall a specific conversation or a moment. It was just one of those things. A friendly but constant murmur… "You've got to try it!", "It's so amazing", "Out of this world!"
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Now when I rewind and play back the conversations in my head that I had with other parents, before vacations began, I am utterly embarrassed. I can see them sniggering, turning away from me in slow motion, catching each other's eyes, stifling their laughs, eyes wet with hilarity, as I declared my grandiose plans for the summer.
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What if we don't get trapped in hollow buzzwords like "me time" that offer respite similar to Leisure Hour for prisoners? Instead let all hours be ours, so that we get to decide how we loan them out to others -- to our family, friends, co-workers. What if we stopped the running roster of things-others-need-to-do alongside our own list of things-to-do and what if we learned to keep the lists separate?
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Parenting is the hardest thing you'll ever do, but here are a few things that can make it a tad easier. All tried and tested on a sample size of one - Me.
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When I was growing up, I vividly remember my mom once saying, "I thought I'd never get angry at my child, but look at what you just made me do?" So right then I knew that the never-getting-angry-at-kids thing does not work. Thanks mom! Mom hadn't read any parenting books. In fact, I doubt the term "parenting" had been coined yet. You didn't spend hours on the internet researching behavioural milestones and you certainly didn't spare a second thought to the "tight scolding" you just gave.
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As you enter the bedroom, you turn the big light off and turn on the night lamp -- only to be impaled by a shrill scream of protest. The kid knows what you are up to and the kid <em>won't</em> take it lying down. You use your calming voice but you can barely hear yourself. So you use your calming voice a little more loudly. Your adversary smells weakness and ups the pitch of protest. You turn to the one weapon that only you have -- superior physical strength.
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I have been meaning to write to you for some time. We cross each other everyday as you leave for work and I for my yoga class. We smile but we never have time to chat. I confess, I am a bit envious of you.
It was as if my brain had become that vast white, empty room in Bruce Almighty - the one in which God played by Morgan Freeman (who else) lives. I walked around in my brain listening to the soft echoey footsteps of my own thoughts. It was at once wonderfully quiet and a tad scary.
Previously best known for her abstracts such as "Doggy and Me" and "Doggy in a Car", Ms. N.C has embraced post-metamodernism with her most recent work titled "Doggy ka Gobar" meaning "The Dog Poop" (or if transliterated, "The Dog's Cow Dung"). "The Dog Poop" is a mesmerising work that has left many in the art circles completely confounded, and at times, dumbfounded.
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If you are queasy about bodily stuff, having a kid will cure you for life. You'll be poked, prodded and tweaked by the nurses and doctors, and often without warning. At some point you'll graduate from being outraged to looking out of the window and whistling.
There was a chink in my answer and the agent has caught on. Half an hour later as I sit down to eat breakfast, the agent is at my elbow again to cross-examine me. A set of eyes watch me very closely to see if I'd falter. I chew slowly--a delaying tactic. The agent is no little fool and repeats the question. I sense an edge to the voice. In sheer panic I attempt a different answer. Big mistake. Now there are two incorrect answers. And the day has just begun.
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I was appalled. I thought I had hacked my way out of the maze of regressive beliefs, wielding my many degrees like machetes. It took just one moment of insecurity to undo all the hours spent in Women's Studies Circles and a lifetime with my feminist tribe.
I took to motherhood like a kid to a swimming pool. Basically with a lot gasping and clinging and crying for mommy. And quite like the kid in the swimming pool the following summer, I hit my stride and began to enjoy myself, splashing around, a little incredulous at how much fun this could be.