Monday, May 10, 2021

“Nothing Mamma, just a little drama”. Dealing with Covid-19, the Ira way.

 

                                                                    A Little Cake Cheer

Our little human being had her tryst with Covid in April, 2021. Even as I write this, I wish we didn’t have to go through this and we were not writing this blog. It was hard, it was heart wrenching and it was tough for our little one too.

Sharing what we did, what she did and how we got through these twenty days.

Symptom to Diagnosis to Quarantine Completion

17th April 2021 late evening Ira suddenly came down with fever. We met the emergency doctor at her Paediatric hospital the next morning. We were asked to give her paracetamol to keep the fever in check and observe for three days. The fever would come down a few hours later, but resurface again. In three days, we did a video consultation with her paediatric and immediately got the RTPCR done. She told Prashant that she never ever wants to get this test done again. Remember, she had gotten tested along with us in March and was negative. (http://madhurimadas.blogspot.com/2021/03/our-tryst-with-covid-19-learnings.html). The report came in the next morning and confirmed what we feared. Ira was Covid positive.

Ira had already seen us deal with Covid and home quarantine, while she stayed with Mashidida & Meshodadu and Dadu &  Dida for 17 days. However, it is a whole new thing when she had to be isolated at home by herself. Prashant and I also got ourselves tested as a precaution and were negative.

We isolated Ira the moment she showed symptoms and she completed her isolation on 5th may 2021. A total of 19 days from day of symptom and 14 days from day of result.

A few things that we followed, which helped us and we would like to share, in the hope that it may help someone in a situation like ours- The Child tests positive, but the parents test negative.

 

1.       Honest Conversation and the to-dos

Children are smart and observant. As parents in moments of crisis like this, open honest conversations help. This ofcourse is dependent on the age of the child and the discretion of the parents. Prashant told Ira the moment that she had fever that we are isolating her. He told her that the next few days till we know what is happening will be hard, we have to follow some rules so that all of us are safe. Our safety is our responsibility. Some instructions that were laid out and how it panned out:

·         You will have to stay in this room by yourself. We are a shout away.

She discovered new ways of calling us and seeking our attention. Even called Papa and said, “Entertain me”

·         You will have to take your bath by yourself.

She had been independently managing this for over a year now. So, it was quite fine.

·         You will sleep by yourself. Ira had Paata for company.

Ira has slept by herself. So, she was ok. We just had to ensure to check on her to see how she is doing.

·         You will be given all meals and you will eat by yourself.

We gave her small portions to start with, to ensure she finished what was on her plate.

·         We will all wear masks all the time, except while eating and sleeping.

·         Mamma will stay away as she is Asthamatic and is at higher risk.

·         Papa will help you with medicines, steaming and temperature check at regular intervals.

·         We will check about your tiredness level, breathing and any discomfort in chest.

·         Mamma will record the temperature when we check.

·         We will all take care of each other.

·         We also acknowledged our fears, our sadness and the lack of choice that we had in this matter. The isolation was necessary.

The above may seem common sense but with a child, it is always important to spell things out as clearly as possible, breaking it into small pieces of information. We have to ensure this does not overwhelm the child and yet we will have to reiterate it several times a day.

 

2.       The room for Isolation/Quarantine

We isolated her in the master bedroom, with an attached bath. Hand sanitiser, hand wipes , masks, her medicines, her water bottle, a glass - were all handy. We also took out some toys, some books that she likes to read and her summer camp materials for her. We also ensured that the balcony door was open and the room was well ventilated.

 

                                                             The window and Ira

3.       The little human being and her little ways

Ira is a child who is active and likes to do things constantly. The initial few days of the fever her energy levels were really low. This was the time when she just lay in bed. She wanted to attend her camp as she was enjoying it. So, we used her small table and set it up for her on the bed. She did not do any of the exercises or physically straining activities for a few days, but tried to do the rest- art and craft or even making a swiss roll. Over the next 14 days, she slowly regained her energy and was full enthu and waited for 10am for the camp to begin. The camp was a blessing for her at that time (There will be another blogpost on her summer camp soon). She told her camp mates that she was covid positive. Over the first week, once her fever had subsided and we just wanted to continue monitoring her temperature, Papa taught her how to use the thermometer. We usually have limited screen time. However, during the isolation, she had a bit more screen time.

This is what her typical quarantine day looked like:

·         Ira had her meals by herself and during the course of that, she would do her imaginative play. Sometimes Paata (her first doll) and sometimes Gecko were her conversation mates.
·         Ira attended her camp every morning. Some days, she did all the activities. Somedays, she chose to skip some. We let her make the choice.
·         Ira spent a lot of time reading and re-reading her favourite books- some Enid Blyton’s and Geronimo Stilton, her new found love.
·         Ira also listened to music. She has an old phone that she used, and even played games like monument valley and talking tom dash.
·         She played with her snap cards, and even made little books.
·         Prashant introduced her to Wendy Mac and she really enjoyed doing a bit of drawing every day.
·         She also had her calls with Joy where she told him about her quarantine and everything she was doing.
·         We also ensured she naps every afternoon.

This was not easy for her by any means. She went through phases of feeling terribly low and would want to call Joy and talk. She would call Papa and say, “entertain me”. Mamma and Ira did socially distanced craft work once she felt a bit better. One day she was finding it tough to finish her dinner. Her appetite did get affected during covid. So, I wore my mask and stood next to her and fed her. Somedays, she wanted me to un-knot her hair and tie a plait. So, we would stand the way you stand in assembly lines and tied her hair. The number of times when we wanted to just reach out and hug her, hold that face tight and squish her in our arms. It is the reality of quarantining a child. You cannot stop being a parent and yet you want to ensure that you reduce the risk for everyone at home. You try so hard, grasping to every moment of sanity and rationality.

 


                                                            Little activities every day

4.       We as parents tending to our Covid positive child

One of the mornings, Ira suddenly began saying, ‘ohh…am going to die…this is bad”. The hypertense me rushed to her door and asked her, what was happening. She looks at me, gives me that naughty smile and says, “Nothing Mamma, just a little drama.” We are thankful to the drama queen in her, helped us see through some of the bleakest moments in recent times.

She does understand the seriousness of death, the way a child her age would and so this example is not to be seen as her being insensitive or oblivious to things around her. Just some drama, that is all.

We followed all instructions as given by her Paediatric. The important thing was to be constantly observant of any new developing symptoms and monitoring her temperature and vitals.

What we felt and what we did:

·         Acceptance: One morning everything happening around just got to me and I was quite sullen. She looked at me from far and said, “Mamma, your life is hard? Look at me. Stuck in one room for sooo many days.” She would wake up every morning and count the number of days remaining!

·         Planning the day: We both planned our days in advance, so that if she needed anything at any point of time, one of us can help. Every morning, we told her what the day looked like. As we were all quarantining, Papa moved his work meetings online and my classes and session were anyways online.

·         Planning the meals: We also planned the meals for the day in advance and shared that with Ira. We do that usually but now, the effort was also to get her feel more excited about the food that she had to sit alone in a room and eat. One particular evening, she was feeling very low. It was also the day we had made some snowflake craft. I made some cloud paratha and snowflake paratha to cheer her up. It is often the little things that go a long way.

·         Being in the moment: One of those days when the quarantine was almost coming to an end, she was very restless and wanted to hug Papa and they did. She just held on to him. All the while, both of them wearing masks.

·         Coping: We both having dealt with Covid in March may have been a little better prepared this time around. But when it is your child, the emotional upheaval you feel is way stronger. I just broke down the morning we got her reports. Then, there was a time when I saw her sitting and staring out of the bedroom window, confined to that one room. It was heart wrenching to say the least. But we also realised that it made her feel good to just look outside. What broke our heart was her way to cope.

 

                                                  Cloud on your plate

Things our little human learnt in these twenty days

·         Learnt to take her temperature by herself.

·         Learnt to do her steaming by herself.

·         Learnt that she can take a quick bath. She loves playing with water but had strict instructions on avoiding that during this time.

·         Learnt to make a brush robot in the camp, along with some Japanese writing. She was mighty excited about this.

 

Ira is now out of isolation. The day she finished her quarantine, we made her favourite food all day. Fish fry and chicken soup made it to the menu. We also did a family movie evening this week. While she was in quarantine, we ordered a kitkat chocolate cake from a home-baker friend. It was delicious and brightened her day for sure. Who needs an occasion for cake? Cherish every moment and just remember that our little humans are capable of showing resilience beyond our imagination. For now, glad to see her monkeying around, chattering away and claiming how being covid negative is making her super happy!

We, the Pramadhs are happy to talk and share our experience with you. If any of you reading this want to talk or ask any question, please reach out. We all need to be there for each other. From one parent to another, filled with gratitude, love and virtual hugs.

 

                                   The Picture is far from Perfect, but the Pramadhs love to pose cheek to cheek

#Ira #Iraisms #IraAtSix #StoriesAtSix #LittleHumanBeings #Gratitude #Parenting #CovidPositive #IsolationStories #QuarantineStories #Pramadhs #LoveDrama #LoveCake  #HomeQuarantine

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Papa's birthday and Dutch Truffle Cake




Another year and another lockdown birthday for Papa. 

The excitement however remains, with our little girl making a card at 10.15pm the previous night. A lot of secret planning with mamma and choosing  a cake that fits all requirements. 

The morning begins with wishing Papa at every instance, giving him the greeting card and a menu for the day. 

Being a foodie family, we had discovered  a one pot chicken vegetable noodle soup and that made it to the birthday menu. 

The cake was Dutch truffle from one of Papa's favourite patisserie. 

And like always, Papa had surprises for Ira and mamma. I got dark chocolates and Ira got  a book :) 



Little things, little moments we are grateful for. 


And yeah, Papa celebrated his birthday in April. 


#LockdownBirthdays #PapaBirthday #IraAtSix #StoriesAtSix #Iraisms #Happiness #LoveCake #Gratitude #LoveSoup

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Just your way, for you


A piece of Art made by our little girl



The fear that can engulf us

The uncertain thoughts

The hesitant actions

The scattered dialogues


Broken windows, 

shattered glass

Could just depict

The state of mind


The overwhelming sense

Of having no control

A story being written

Words going astray


The constant looking

Over the shoulder

The endless gushes of water

Wash... Clean... Repeat


The emptiness in a filled day

The feeling of no-feeling

Anger Desperation Grief

The numbness that spreads


Clutching to moments

Finding solace in books

Redefining art in coloured paper

Venting through poetry


All of us 

In this together

Holding on tight

To our lives, our sanity, our breath


Reach out, chat

Listen, be there

Share the laughs

Break the tension


Be kind, Be empathetic

Do what works for you

There is no right way

Just your way, for you. 


#ExistentialThoughts #Covid19 #Poetry #MTrails 


Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Our tryst with Covid-19, learnings the Pramadh way

 


                                                 Our Mornings, our semblance of normalcy

Today is Saturday, the 13th of March. As I write this blog, I know this is the space for me to archive what we are feeling, experiencing, thinking and going through. I will write this in pieces over the next few days as things progress. The writing may seem erratic and it has been written in different emotional spaces, culminating today, the 31st of March, 2021.

Some Existential Thoughts

The year 2020 was a reality check for us and the lockdown taught us in many ways what we must treasure in our lives- our families and loved ones; our health and our time. Every small thing done would seem like an accomplishment that we shared with our closest friends. We were all in that ship of uncertainty, the dept of our woes and the wind in our sails may have differed (I can be imaginative too).

I am here sharing what the Pramadhs went through in dealing with the C-virus.

Day 0 of Symptoms to Day 1 of Being Diagnosed

6th of March, Prashant began feeling a bit off and had mild body pain. The week had been crazy with him dealing with a painful ankle and getting tests for the same and also long days at site. We thought it was all the heat. Sunday, he woke up with a fever and the temperature got pretty high. Monday, he went to a hospital closer home and was told this seems like a viral and given some paracetamol. If not better, then get back. The fever didn’t get any better and then we did a steam of blood tests and also tested for malaria and typhoid. The tests for malaria and typhoid were negative and the blood tests showed infection and was put on antibiotics. At that point, he was also tested for Covid-19. Yes, the C-virus that all of us currently dread.

While P was calm through it all despite having an extremely rough week, my stress was showing in lack of sleep and exhaustion. Thursday morning, we got to know that he is Covid Positive. The moment he had got fever, we had taken precautions at home, he was masked and we practiced social distancing. He was confined to a space.

Thursday morning, we headed to a hospital where we have received treatments before and then did all the covid protocol at their flu clinic. They did the CT scan for him and also some  blood tests. It took a few hours. Ira and I also took the covid test at that point of time. The nasal swab test is absolutely awful and can be terrifying for a child. Being told by her Papa to be brave, Ira held my hand and sat but ended up crying when they rotated the swab in the nose. Seeing her at that moment all I could think of was, “this bloody virus!”. I also took the test and then we sat waiting for reports for Prashant. It was a long wait. We were prepared with books, pencil to draw, music to listen to and games to play. I also bribed Ira with a lollypop that we had carried when she cried during the test. I had actually filled the admission form and kept things ready. However, once the reports came, we were told he can home quarantine as long as complete isolation is possible.

We said sure, picked the meds prescribed for him and headed home. In a few hours , Ira’s and my reports came. Ira was negative thankfully and I was tested positive. I was completely asymptomatic. Our immediate step was to talk to Ira’s Pediatrician and decide the course of action. She was to be immediately isolated.  We had visited my parents the previous Saturday and so they needed to get tested asap. Mesho and Mashi took over the responsibility to keep Ira with them and Mesho came to pick her up. Our little girl who just that morning was asking us questions on what would happen if we were positive and negative in different permutations, got busy to pack her own bag. Our little human being was being so responsible at that moment that I couldn’t help choking. She packed her clothes and toiletries, her toys, book, colours and small little things that she may need. As she stood at the door and told us not to worry and that she would find her way to the gate to meet Mesho Dadu; her Papa told her how this was not going to be easy, not for her, not for us and not for the grandparents too. She listened, made little promises and then said her bag was heavy and walked towards the stairs.

We then headed back to the hospital where they did the x-ray and all the blood work for me and prescribed some specific medicines. As we awaited my x-ray and blood test results, P and I shared a dark chocolate from our favorite brand. It was post 10.30pm when we got home, bracing ourselves for the home quarantine and uncertain days ahead.

Bhai and Parents reports were thankfully negative. If relief could be written in BIG BOLD CAPITALS, this is how it would look- RELIEF.

Some quick tips while you are at the hospital:

·         Be calm and do not panic, doctors are doing their best

·         Understand where in the symptom spectrum you are, mention all symptoms to the doctor

·         If you are asymptomatic like I was, mention that clearly

·         Trust the hospital or doctor you are seeing. One big learning for us was that whether you talk to your family physician or a hospital or a flu clinic in the ER, the protocols of how they deal with covid cases differ a bit. Do not ask around too much and do not compare. It only makes you progress towards the panic button.

·         If symptoms are manageable at home, go for home quarantine. Some of the advantages are- it is your comfort space, sleep when you want, cook for yourselves, possible to follow all instructions given by doctor and can help monitor the vitals. With me being asymptomatic and given our test results, we were suggested home quarantine.


                                            The Day we got to know we were Covid Positive

Day 1 to Day 7 of HQ

The next five days were hard for Prashant. Fluctuating temperature and extreme exhaustion. He has a huge tolerance for pain and discomfort and is quite resilient too. But this virus had knocked the wind out of him, literally. He found it difficult to get off the bed and even do his basic chores. We monitored vitals every 4-6 hours- temperature and oxygen saturation level. We made simple food at home. We were already stocked up on veggies, fruits and groceries. Took it a bit easy on other chores too.

While I was asymptomatic, the meds made me feel that I needed to sleep a lot and I also felt tired. While I continued my MCC classes online as it was semester end, the other work commitments were pushed to later dates. Some days, I felt absolutely normal for a while and then would be tired. But no symptoms at all.

Day 6 was our follow-up with chest X-rays and another round of blood tests. I was doing alright. Prashant had mild infection. We were instructed to finish the prescribed meds and if he continues to be stable, a teleconsultation after the next 5 days.

Day 8

Today is Day 8 as am writing this and in 13 days for the first time, Prashant’s fever seems under control. He has developed a cough since Sunday which exacerbates when he speaks. So, I am talking and asking him to just nod or shake his head in response. It is exactly a week since we tested positive.

Day 10

Today Prashant asked Ira what is the first thing that she will do once she gets home. She said, “I will hug you both!”. Enough to get mamma all teary eyed. Our girl has been a star and more on that soon.

Day 12

We had a teleconsultation with an Internal Medicine doctor. He checked how we are doing and then told us that we finish quarantine on Day 17. We need to do the blood work once for just our own understanding that the infection is reducing. He was honest and frank as he said that whatever treatment they are giving is primarily a response to the symptoms the patient is showing and what the medical fraternity has understood about the virus over the last year. In my head, I also realise that we have the benefit of all the research and studies today as we see the treatment protocol.

Day 15 to 17

Day 15, we did the blood tests suggested, and on Day 16, we did a teleconsultation with the same doctor. We were asked how we are doing. By now, the shortness of breath that Prashant was experiencing had reduced. The doctor said that the exhaustion will be there for a couple of weeks. Told us that we complete quarantine on Day 17 and to just be aware and monitor our health carefully next few weeks. Day 17, we got the entire home and car sanitized and disinfected by professionals and then an entire round of washing and cleaning happened. Day 17 came to a close and we couldn’t wait for the next day.

Day 18, when the Pramadhs were ‘reunited’!

Sounds filmy, but this was the first time ever that we had stayed apart for so long. Baba and Joy dropped Ira home in the morning. Our girl comes home, nose goes up and says, “That smells naice.” Yes, a foodie there. We made vegetable uppittu for breakfast, Lunch was rice, methi dal, bhindi fry and mutton curry. Ira wanted to watch a movie together that evening and we saw a movie about a warrior princess. She also helped Papa make egg fried rice for dinner. The best Sunday in a long long time. Ira also sent a box of donuts to her Dadu-Dida and Mesho-Dadu and Mashi-Dida, sharing her joy through these sweet rings.

Four days now since she is home and I randomly want to just hug her and tell her how much we missed her and how much we love her. She shirks her little shoulders and says, I know that, how many times will you tell me. In my mind, I say, “3000^infinity”.

This post will be incomplete, if we do not express our gratitude to all the people who helped us through this difficult time.


                                                                      Day 18- Happiness

Our Gratitude List

1.       We are grateful for what the medical fraternity is doing and how they are dealing with Covid. Honestly, it is one thing to read and see the reports and another to see them work in the Flu clinic. We saw patients who were in panic mode, someone who was screaming at the security person who was merely doing his duty and not allowing extra people in. I was stressed till we got the reports and then there was calm. Because then you just know you have to deal with it. We met some very empathetic doctors and there was a nurse who while taking my Oxy sat level told me how they now know to manage covid and I shouldn’t get tensed. That little human conversation goes a long way. We trusted the system at the hospital we went to and followed all protocol and range of tests and scans.

2.       We are grateful to have family nearby. It is the biggest source of strength and support. Ira and I had visited my parents the weekend prior and so they had to get tested immediately. Meanwhile, my Mesho, Ira’s Mesho dadu came home to pick her up within an hour of us knowing that she had tested negative and her pediatric asked us to isolate her immediately. Ira stayed with Mashi and Mesho for 7 days and the next 10 days with my parents. Nothing we do or say can measure up to what this support meant. Ira was pampered, fed her favorite dishes with Macher jhol and Chicken curry being on the menu, along with her favorite veggies and fruits. The occasional lollypops, gulab jamuns, kaju barfi, cake and cookies too! They ensured she did her gargling and her steaming. This part of our life was taken care of by her Dadu, Dida, Mesho Dadu and Mashi Dida. She also had her fun time with Rony and fun and learning with Joy. Joy took over the baton of teaching her a bit of Math, English and they also had philosophical discussions, one of which was on emotions and how we express it. A wheel of emotion is incomplete to express what this means. This is pure blessing. A shout out to our siblings, who had their own ways to check in on us regularly. Life is a blessing , when you have little brothers you know!

3.       We are grateful to our extended family and our friends who reached out through messages and calls. For quite some time, we also did not take calls as it was exhausting. But the fact that we had family and friends, messaging and checking in on us frequently surely helped. Some of our friends even Dunzo-ed home cooked food across town to us and that saved the day on some particularly crazy days. Food made with love and care. What more can we ask for. We also had friends who reached out to us, friends who had dealt with covid in the last few months. Talking to them was of immense help in moments of doubt and restlessness. Thank you  A and N. Glad your families have completely recovered; and thank you for those chats and messages.

4.       I am grateful for my bunch of girls who made me laugh, gave me the moral support I needed and were there to just listen to how I was feeling. A dear friend even shared a crazy pic and it was just what I needed at that very moment. To wake up to messages where they are checking in on you, who read your silences and understand what works for you, without much ever being said. My lifeline, in many many ways.

5.       We are grateful to our work partners and colleagues, whose support helped us tide through this time. Prashant sat on his laptop and did some work once the fever abated. I continued my MCC classes online. I did have to take short breaks in between the classes, but the students were very understanding. There was a point in the initial days when thanks to the medication, I ended up yawning while teaching or just couldn’t recall some common terminologies. The exhaustion and the mental fog is real and it is scary. I took a break from the corporate trainings for about 14 days; and cannot thank A&A enough for that space and time, the moral support and the check-ins.  Also, one of the most intriguing courses that am teaching with NIAS currently was rescheduled. I thank the team for the foresight and managing the circumstance so seamlessly.

6.       We are grateful that we have a house help who is not only diligent but extremely caring. ‘N’ called in frequently to check in on us, ask us if we needed anything. Thankfully, she was fine. Something that we were worried about. But I have to mention that she follows mask wearing strictly and we would also wear mask when she was at our place to work. 

7.       We are grateful to our apartment community for the support and for just being there. We have had some cases earlier in the apartment and the residents have always handled things with empathy and no panic. Things were the same this time around. A note of gratitude to our manager and the security personnel.

8.       We are grateful for all the online services that exist, services that we used since the lockdown but that being even greater help these few weeks with the door step delivery facility.

9.       We are grateful to be a couple who have always shared home chores and who love cooking. That made this quarantine a tab bit easier to manage. It was some days before Prashant had the strength to make a meal but then for us both, the cooking was a destressing element. We love food and we love cooking and that truly helped.

10.   We are grateful for the way our little human being dealt with the entire situation. We will take some credit as parents, but our girl, our piece of ‘heart and mind’ just made us feel immensely proud.

\


The Food sent by our Friends 

The Star of this Journey- Our Little Human Being

Ira showed immense grit and resilience in these trying times. The moment Prashant began showing symptoms, she was asked to stay away from him. He is her partner-in-crime and seeing him deal with the fever and just looking at him and wanting to share things with him, she stayed at a distance and chatted with him. When we both had to get the test done at the hospital, Papa told her how it is uncomfortable and will hurt a little. The nasal swab test is a terrible experience for us adults. She held my hand and at the last moment when they rotated the swab, let out a cry. Some cajoling, helping her to calm down and then a lollypop that I had carried came to the rescue. Yes, we did what we could at that point. Ira has always been a child who asks questions and imagines possibilities. While we were heading to the hospital after Prashant’s reports, she was  discussing permutations and combinations of how will we deal with things if all of us, or just Mamma Papa, or just Papa & Ira or just Papa is positive for Covid. She knew that one of it meant she would have to stay away from us. The moment we got our reports and Ira realized that I was also positive and she was negative, for a while, her face shrunk and she said she was sad because she had to then stay away. We immediately told her that she needs to pack and saw her getting into action and doing her entire packing by herself and getting ready to stay away from us for an indefinite period of time (at that moment that evening, we had no idea). As she stood at the door with her bags packed, Prashant told her how this would not be easy for any of us. How her grand-parents were going to be taking care of her for this long duration for the first time ever and how she would have to cooperate with them and make it easy for them. She would miss us and we would miss her. But we would talk to her every day and she should know that together we would get through this. Am the more talkative one, but that evening papa did all the pep talk while I just stood there amazed at these two, feeling extreme fear about the uncertainty of what lay ahead. While her Papa was confident that she would be fine, I couldn’t help but think how hard this must be for her. She did a bit of activities, had a lot of fun, made the most of her stay at her Mashi Dida-Mesho dadu and Dida-Dadu’s place. She also declared her territorial rights in both the homes. We did video calls at least twice a day and there were times, when she said she was busy and would talk later. This was a good sign, for sure. As we neared two weeks, she began counting the days when she would be home. She also negotiated what we will do the next few days. Right now, she is reading the newspaper with her Papa and doing a discussion. This semblance of normalcy is what we are immensely thankful for.

The Reality Check

One thing that I have to share here is that we were one of those paranoid families. We wore masks, maintained social distancing, washed and sanitised our hands multiple times a day, followed all common sense protocols. We even have been gargling  everyday, religiously. We hardly met friends or even family. We began going out for early morning treks (read 4am) when cases were low. We did two holidays after cross checking that both places followed all norms and it was safe at that point of time. The moments cases began increasing, we began even more careful. We have never taken safety for granted, ever. So, honestly, it was shocking that we contracted Covid.

 I asked Prashant how did he feel when he got to know that he was Covid positive and had that constant fever and extreme exhaustion. He said that it was shocking as he did not expect it at all. He always thought that he was safe and careful. While we were working within certain conditions- always maintained social distancing, wore masks and sanitised hands. Sometimes, when we couldn’t do that- for eg. While drinking coffee or eating breakfast at a place in between work.

He said that he was worried, mostly for Ira and me, given the fact that am asthmatic. “ A fluctuating fever is the most unpleasant thing to go through, it is very difficult. Difficult to process this in the head at that moment. Takes a toll on you. You feel good for 30 minutes and then as the fever peaks, it feels terrible. Not good to see your body break down in the way it did. The viral fever kicking in, you cannot function any more. Makes you incapable of doing simple stuff. Completely squeezed out of every bit of energy. All you want to do is lie down, your body is not supporting you in anything else that your mind may want to do”. Prashant is very resilient and also has a huge pain tolerance, but then these few days tested every limit.

For me, it was hard to see him that unwell. I experienced undue fears and the mind would spiral to think what if we both turned worse. I had no control on those thoughts for a few days. It was a terrible space to be in. I was asymptomatic and my exhaustion was primarily due to the medicines and having to manage large quantum of the home chores at that point. At one point. I also felt a strange anger towards all the people around who were not being careful, followed zero norms, were partying, visiting places of worship and putting the rest of us in danger. A dear friend said it is these Covidiots putting everyone at risk.  Yes, my mind couldn’t help but think in that single line where I was being extremely judgemental about the actions of many others.  The psychological impact is way more worse, the isolation, the fear that could well be irrational and unfounded, but it is there; the not knowing how this virus will behave, because no two people show similar symptoms.

Also, we were asked how did we contract it. Honestly, we have no idea. We did try to narrow down2-3 places that Prashant visited, one for breakfast/coffee and another for an MRI. But, honestly, there is no way to know.

We were also worried for the people we were in connect with just the days prior. Thankfully, everyone was fine, except one friend who also tested positive. Thankfully, she had very mild symptoms and recovered at home. There is a strange sense of fear and guilt, wondering if someone is at risk because of you. And all this, despite the amount of precautions that we have been taking.

For now, we are doing fine. We are thankful at having recovered and slowly inching back to our lives, our work. We are wearing double masks, continue to follow all norms and protocols. Because, we are responsible for each other, and will always be.

Some closing thoughts, some gyaan, some learnings:

·         Please wear your masks, please maintain social distancing.

·         DO NOT take this virus for granted, this is not just like any other flu.

·         Please respect your life and that of others.

 

 

Thank you for reading this far. The Pramadhs send love and lot of virtual hugs. If at any point of time any of you reading this want to reach out and talk; or are dealing with Covid and just need someone who will listen to you rant and vent, am there. Offering unconditional support and an empathetic safe space. Let us fight this together, be the warrior that life needs us to be.

#Ira #Iraisms #IraAtSix #StoriesAtSix #LittleHumanBeings #Parenting #Family #Pramadhs #Covid19 #Gratitude #Friends #Sibling #HomeQuarantine  #Learnings

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

The Seven Month Saga, The Pramadh way

 

                                             Drawing a Heart (Love symbol) emitting fire and more <3 


It has been seven months since we Pramadhs embarked on the home-schooling journey. It has been a lot of learning and preparation on our parts and constantly telling ourselves to retain the child-led exploratory nature of the process. In a blog piece in September, I had shared our learnings (https://madhurimadas.blogspot.com/2020/09/being-teachers-pramadh-way.html).

We have often been told, “This needs lot of patience and work” and also been asked, “How do you manage it with both of you working?”. Honestly, we have also been figuring it out at times as we go along. So, seven thoughts and learnings from these seven months. The thoughts oscillate between what we experienced and what we learnt.

1.       Learning on the Job: There is only so much we can prep for. Just like child birth, where we could read a lot, go through fanciful programs to prep to be parents, most of it is learnt on the job, literally. Homeschooling is this. There is no single formula. Some days we do activities that involve reading and writing, some days we explore concepts through nature and some days all we do is puzzles. And some days, we do nothing.

2.       The Collaboration, the search for Balance: Homeschooling is a collaborative task between the parents and the child, teamwork in its completeness. And with it comes the fact of accountability, where we as parents should not let the collaboration slip. Some days, the adulting takes over and that is where we need to be wary of what is happening. So, we need to pull up our socks, remind ourselves why we are in this as a family. And trust me, while we adults are doing that, the child is busy creating her own story with her toys.

3.       Let the child learn their way, you adapt how to teach- We need to be in the now, let the child learn and we adapt the way we teach. It is not our journey as a teacher, it is the journey of the child and we have to remember that. Also, the other thing that we have discovered is not to focus too much on visual or auditory or kinesthetic learning component. That can limit what we want to do. It is essential to not label and not fall prey to ‘wanting to label’.

4.       Stuck to Unstuck- Sometimes, it is ok to not know what to do, to feel stuck. So, getting to the ‘unstuck’ zone takes time. Sometimes, a few hours and sometimes a few days and lot of conversations. This is where unlearning what we know, relearning new things and the cycle continues. Also, there will be emotional upheavals, revelations and reactions. Embrace it all.

5.       Home-schooling is beyond letting the child stay home- There are various terminologies for the uninitiated- home-schooling, unschooling, microschooling. It all depends on what the family chooses to do and how. There are enough support groups on Facebook etc which can guide us. But one thing is important for us to know- homeschooling is not just letting the child stay at home and do worksheets. It requires immense involvement from the parents and for many becomes a life time journey. For us, we plan our week and each day often to the minutest details. We share our responsibilities and make this happen. With both of us working, this is hard but not impossible.

6.       Information is everywhere and it is overwhelming- There is an overdose of information. Use your mind as the filter and do not get lost in the jargons and terminologies. We continue to call the work and learning as activities. The experience can be overwhelming. So, take a break, breathe and think why are you all as a family in this. This needs to be done intermittently. While the process is organic and can be instinctual, we have to make rational decisions to understand how to process the information around us.

7.       The ‘Little Human Being’ is unique and a package deal- Parenting is fun and hard at the same time. A constant reminder to self that the little human being mirrors our every behavior. So, we have to tell ourselves that as they strive for independence and agency, we must be ready for the little push backs, the little melt downs and the vigorous vehement challenges to (so called) authority. They are learning to be their unique self, figuring out the myriad emotions and expressing them in ways they see and know. There is no perfect parent and no perfect child. We are ‘perfect for each other.’ Homeschooling is a package deal, so embark on it knowing that every moment is a discovery, the rocks and pebbles make the path what it is and each of us find a unique trail.

 


#Ira #Iraims #IraAtSix #StoriesAtSix #Happiness #Gratitude #HomeSchooling #Learning #Evolving #Parenting #LoveTeaching #homeschooling #homeschoolingmoms #homeschoolingrocks #homeschoolinggirls #homeschoolinglife #homeschoolingdads #homeschoolingparents #homeschoolingadventures #LittleHumanBeing #BeingParents #BeingTeachers #Pramadhs


Monday, January 11, 2021

Weekend Stories, the Pramadh way

 

Ira and her Dino bag, in her happy space

The last few months, we have made a conscious effort to get out of home atleast once a month and go for a trek or a climb. This usually happens on a weekend. 


We have two of our friends who are our partners in crime. Depending on the place of the trek, which is decided and planned by Prashant, we also decide about packing breakfast and snacks. The food could be sandwiches, methi theplas or even carrot parathas, fruits and chocolate bars and roasted groundnuts also make it to the menu at times :). Yes, we are mad like that! 


These are our 4am mornings ( many of you had asked me about the 4am reference in my Gratitude blog). We generally wake up early. 6am is our regular wake up time. Ira has her alarm set and somedays need a bit of nudge, but she is also an early riser. On trek days, the nudge is just the term 'get ready for the trek' and our little girl springs from the bed and goes about getting ready. Bags are packed the previous night. Her trek bag will have some snacks, water, nimbu pani, first aid kid, soap bottle, sanitizer, hand napkin and her whistle. The rule is we carry our own bags. 

            Black and White and Happy Hues

Over these treks, we also realised that Ira likes to take photographs. She does that using our friend's heavy camera, adjusts lights and also has been learning how to frame the picture. Sometimes, random rocks and trees capture her attention and sometimes she asks us to pose in a particular way. 


            "Dadu, move a bit to the left please! "

Our January outing was a small climb. We went to Basadi Betta, also called the Mandagiri hills. Atop the hillock is a Jain temple. And beyond that is space to walk on the surface of the hill overlooking a beautiful lake. Baba also joined us this time! Ira was thrilled to have Dadu come along and the two of them began to climb the steps before any of us. While Dadu climbed fast, Ira at a point also asked him to slow down. She has been our trail-lead on earlier treks and takes her role quite seriously. 


                   Ira ke Papa and Ira's Dadu

It was a nice climb and the view from the hillock, looking into the lake was breathtaking. Lots of pics were clicked, a small photo session by some stone columns and the happy bunch of us then headed to Pavithra, Kyathsandra for Thatte Idli, post a snack of homemade green moong gugri! 


Just the perfect way to begin a Sunday Morning! 


                       Our Partners in Crime

#Ira #Iraisms #IraAtSix #StoriesAtSix #WeekendStories #Pramadhs #Homeschooling #HomeschoolingParent #Happiness #Gratitude #Nature #Trek #IraAndDadu #Conversations 






Friday, January 1, 2021

Hope, Anticipation, Gratitude and 2021

 



2020 is a year, that all of who have survived it, will talk about for years to come. A gratitude list from the Pramadhs for the year gone by. The list is selfish, because the list is about our survival. The list is with an acknowledgement that we had some privileges to count. The list is knowing that just listing it is a mere token for the deep gratitude that we experience. 


1. Thankful for the fact that we three and our close family and friends were in decent health, despite some small hiccups. 

2. Thankful that post an initial dip, both our work, my freelance and consulting and his business stayed afloat. 

3. Thankful that we love cooking and used this long stay at home time to create some culinary storms, providing the cathartic moments. Our plates and bowls of happiness and gratitude are testimony to that. Ira does wonder why am always taking pics. 

4. Thankful that our little girl is as much a foodie and became a part of all experimental pursuits and also did her first pakoras and helped Papa to bake some goodies. 

5. Thankful that the little human being was safe, followed the stringent no play rule for weeks on end and found ways to be creative and do her play at home. She flaunts her mask and the rules to anyone who would care to listen. 

6. Thankful that we embarked on this homeschooling journey to only discover new things about us as parents and how we parent Ira. Revelation is an understatement. 

7. Thankful that Ira took to homeschooling the way we hoped for. A total roller coaster ride, filled with high emotions, and some challenges too. But we wouldn't do it any other way. 

8. Thankful that being in each other's face, all the time, we managed to still find the me-time and the we-time. The coffee that he made with freshly ground beans and our reading time ensured a fairly good start to most of the days. 

9. Thankful that we were able to have lockdown celebrations in our own way, venture out for 2 short holidays and some treks on weekends. Our 4am routine is here to stay! 

10. Thankful that we focused on self, let go of what we couldn't control and helped the ones we could. In a year of 'no touching', we had friends who touched our lives in measures that can't be quantified. 


The picture above, taken a few days ago sums up the hidden joys, the anticipations, the wholesome drama and the hope that we feel as we embark on 2021.


2021, be kind. 


Happy New Year! 




A Pic taken on our outing the last Sunday of 2020.

#Us #Ira #Iraisms #IraAtSix #StoriesAtSix #Love #Happiness #Gratitude #Health #Hope #Survival #LoveDrama #Homeschooling #HomeschoolingParents 

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Books in 2020

 

2020 has been a year like no other. In 2019, I made the resolution of reading at least one new author every month and was able to read at times, even more than one new author every month. To 2020, I added a resolution to read at least one non-fiction every month. Reading has been a great de-stressor. Some of these books have made me cry, some laugh and many of them have been thought provoking, influencing the way I think and lead my life. 

in 2019, I read about 29 books and the count is 39 this year! I read 15 non-fictions and also many of them are Debut novels. I also took to reading some books on the kindle. Reading a paperback or a hard copy still remains my favorite though. As we inch towards 2021, I want to read more this year, more new authors, more non-fiction and may be authors and stories from more diverse geographies.

 Happy Reading everyone! #LoveReading #BooksIn2020 #Fiction #NonFiction #DebutNovels #OneNewAuthorEveryMonth #SecondNewAuthorOfTheMonth #ThirdNewAuthorOfTheMonth #Happiness #Gratitude #ReadingResolutions 






Monday, November 30, 2020

Four Reflections at Forty

 



I love birthdays. I love the birthday month. I turned 40 in 2020! Some reflections and some deep learnings.

Breaking Boundaries, Exploring New Paths

The biggest leap of faith that Prashant and I as parents have taken this year is to homeschool Ira. The decision was led by various circumstances and thoughts. We are growing with this experience. It has been rewarding and also frustrating at times. Keeping pace with the little human being is a task and we are doing the best we can. I have been blogging about this and will hopefully also share not just the triumphs but some of the challenges that we face and how do we navigate them. For me, the experience of creating a curriculum for her that is customised and meets the needs for her age has been an uphill task. But a task that is now part of my life. As I write this blog today, I have already planned what Prashant and am teaching her this week. We share the activities and the explorations. I always thought that am quite patient, but there have been moments when I have lost it. The homeschooling has been the most humbling experience ever and seems like a constant conscious journey to find that merging space between being a parent, a teacher, a friend and adulting through it all.

Anyone who knows me would know that I find my comfort in reading, meeting people, cooking and board games. But as a parent, you are no more just you. So, the last year, I have tried to move out of my comfort zones and venture into a territory that my little girl loves. So, this year, I began on a new trail. Did a few treks, sometimes I find it hard to get that footing, I have slipped and stumbled, struggled to catch my breath. But He always tells me, “Maddi, one step at a time.” I have done just that. And am actually beginning to enjoy the treks. The first day of the month we went to HuthriDurga Betta, near Bengaluru. That moment when you look out and see the world from the top of the hill. Looking forward to more treks this coming year.



Doing what I love

This year I decided to not just read atleast one new author every month, but also read one work of non-fiction every month. One of the best decisions I have taken with regard to this hobby of mine. I will ofcourse write a blog on the books I read this year. For now, I have done what I love and what I set out to do.

The pandemic this year also meant there was a lot more cooking that happened. Tried simple traditional dishes and plated my food with lot of enthu most days and also took pics very religiously. Ira was at her wits end one day and said, “Now eat Mamma!”. Then, there have been days when He made exotic dishes, and I plated and took the pics. The happiness and sense of fulfilment a plate of food can give you is immense. A dear friend who loves our cooking has been nudging that we should start an insta page on food. Too much work I feel. But, like I know, Never say never. For now, I love to eat and I love to cook and did that plentiful.

There is a lot that I want to learn and do. While I teach at Mount Carmel as a Guest Professor, for both Psychology and Public Policy Masters Students; I also do trainings in Corporates. This pandemic, I focused on upskilling. Did a basic course on Coaching and have already signed up for the Practitioner’s Certification. A course that I found absolutely fascinating and that moulded some of my thoughts very strongly this year was the Science of Well-being Course from Yale University, and the rewirement exercise that was a part of it. Practicing gratitude and savoring experiences was always a priority, but now I also understand better how it really helps.

A friend asked me a few months back to be a part of a collective of Moms that works on Clean Air. While am a silent contributor most of the time and pitch in my thoughts as a lay person and an asthamatic once in a while, it is a cause that is close to me heart and my lungs. This group is called the Warrior Moms. A volunteering initiative that I hope to be more actively involved in in the coming months.

Learning to let go

There are some fears that plague everyone. For me, it is often about the inability to say no, inability to put myself first, inability to prioritise self in a friendship. This year, I have slowly and steadily done this and I shall continue to do that. This is a commitment to self. Because I matter and so does my mental health.



Love is all we have

Each of us express love differently. Differently towards our parents, siblings and friends; differently towards our partners and our children. This year, while WFH and being in a space where you only end up seeing 2 people all the time, you realise even more that Love is all we have. You fight with your little one, you disagree with your partner, you ride that wheel of emotion and find yourself swaying in insane directions. You miss seeing your parents who live but a few minutes away. You are thankful for those moments when you are together and you cherish them.

He is the quiet romantic one, whose pragmatism takes precedence, and so are his ways of expressing love. While we had crazy weeks happening, he planned a surprise holiday to mark this landmark birthday. I have been totally paranoid about stepping out and so, a quaint homestay at Sakaleshpur was the perfect choice. Love, uniquely.

My little girl has her own unique ways to express love through little chits and notes that she writes for us. Sometimes, I walk out of a session or finish a tough day to find a small note tucked in a book am reading or on the dining table. She has taught me that I can love someone so much. Didn’t I say, Love is all we have.

Ma cooks my favourite dishes and sends and Baba sends me those special veggies that I like to eat. This is love, packed in boxes. Bhai and I have long chats everyday, we annoy each other but given a moment when either of us need the other, we are right there. I can crib and bitch to him about life and he will listen. Love comes in all colours.

This year has been bearable in many ways because I have had friends who have been by my side, in thoughts and actions. Helping me get thorough a difficult day or cheering me up and having pre-birthday celebrations and extended moments of gratitude. This year has seen it all. A little message, a call that has made all the difference. Because, Love matters.

 


#Love #SelfLove #Happiness #Gratitude #HappyBirthday #Family #Us #Ira #Iraisms #IraAtSix #StoriesAtSix #LittleHumanBeings #Homeschooling #HomeschoolingParent #LoveReading #LoveBooks #ScienceOfWellbeing #Learning #Friends #Reflections #Life

“Nothing Mamma, just a little drama”. Dealing with Covid-19, the Ira way.

                                                                      A Little Cake Cheer Our little human being had her tryst with Covid in...