A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

Archive for December, 2018


Posted by Pepper on December 26, 2018

It’s been so long, this feels really strange. This is the *longest* I have been away from my blog. A record absence of a year. Or 11 months, just in case lack of numerical precision gets to you, like it does to Mint.

An update has been overdue. Let me try to break down the year that went by. I wrote my last post at the end of January. I was so utterly exhausted with the lack of sleep. And right after I wrote that post, a switch was magically turned on. Cotton and Candy started sleeping through the night. This was a turning point in our lives and made everything significantly brighter.

We spent most of February rejoicing the fact that we could now sleep for 8 hours straight. We had other troubles to deal with though. Candy would absolutely refuse her bottle of milk. At all times. We spent our days inventing ways to sneak in the bottle in her mouth and get her to latch. And although she did sleep for 8 hours straight, putting her to sleep required a lot of skill. I would rock her in my arms for a good 40 minutes. I’m sure I built a good deal of muscle in that time.

March. Cotton and Candy turned 6 months old! We celebrated by getting them shiny helium balloons and cutting a half cake for their half birthday. We actually let them do a cake smash, which turned out to be a lot of fun. This was also the month we introduced them to solid food. Feeding them has been a fairly daunting journey, but let me not get into that now.

Sadly, March turned out to be the worst month of the year for me. Or strike that, I’ll call it the worst month of my life. It was the month my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. I cannot put in words the kind of trauma I went through in this period. This definitely deserves a separate post. Anyway, although the kind of breast cancer my mom has (I would like to say ‘had’) is very aggressive, we caught it at an early stage that made her prognosis fairly good. And it is this fact that I have hung on to for dear life.

April. My birthday month. I had spent most of March and the initial days of April lying low, trying to cope with my mom’s diagnosis. I finally tried to get a hold and pick myself up. For my birthday, we drove to Monterey Bay, a pretty beach town in California. This was only a short 2 day break but it was special. This was our first vacation as a family of four. Cotton and Candy were lovely little travel companions.

I spent my birthday evening dining with a college friend and her family, who also happened to be holidaying there. Our kids were asleep in their strollers that were parked alongside our table. The cocktails were delicious. The company was fabulous. I remember telling Mint I hadn’t laughed so much in ages. I’m so glad we made this trip.

May. The BFF moved from LA to Bay Area! This was a huge deal for all of us, to live in close proximity. Her son is the same age as Cotton and Candy. Having kids of the same age makes us value each other’s presence even more. We spent May catching up with each other, lazing around in our homes.

June. We came to India! Well, I traveled to India with my FIL and the 2 kids, *without* Mint. Yes, I survived a 24 hour journey managing 2 infants on a flight. That needed to be put down here. Anyway, Cotton and Candy were 9 months old at this time and my family in India went berserk when they saw them.

We are still in India as I write this, and the brats have been smothered with love, kisses and attention in this time. I am so glad we decided to spend these 6 months in India. They have the biggest fans in nani, nanu and masi.

July. Mint joined us in India. He had saved up the 6 week paternity leave he is eligible for for his India trip. He got to see first hand the terrific life the kids had in India. We also hired a full time helper for the kids here, which means all feeding, diapering duties were outsourced. Ah, what life. This was bliss, after all the struggles we had been through in California.

August. We celebrated my mom’s and sister’s birthday. It was a happy time with all of us around. Mint and I also got to spend some quality time in Bombay and visit some of our old favourites in that month.

We also made a trip to Chennai to meet Cotton and Candy’s thatha and pati. Needless to say, a grand time was had.

September. Our jumping, squealing little monkeys turned a year old! I have barely spoken about them on this blog. Probably some day I will, without worrying about sounding overly smitten. For their birthday, we decided to keep it really low key. We chose a monkey themed cake and had a small celebration at home. It was perfect. Mint returned to California a few days after their birthday.

October. My mother completed all her treatments that had started in March. She underwent a lumpectomy, many, many rounds of chemotherapy, followed by more rounds of radiation. It all came to an end in October. Throughout her treatment, my mom was such a trooper. She went about living such a ‘normal’ life, going out, managing and having a blast with Cotton and Candy, being cheerful and active, or overactive if I have to say. All this, despite her nausea, low levels of hemoglobin, sores, blisters and more. If you’d see her, you would never know she was undergoing such aggressive treatment. Her bald head is probably the only thing that would give it away. We were so very relieved her treatment came to an end.

October also brought thatha and pati to Mumbai. They couldn’t wait to see the brats and decided to visit. Cotton and Candy had both sets of grandparents to spoil them rotten in those few days.

November. Month of Diwali. We went all out with the lights this year, knowing this is the one Diwali the kids will be in India. The rest of the month was spent waiting for Mint’s arrival.

December, the present month. Mint arrived on the 1st and shortly after that, we made another short trip to Chennai. Once back in Mumbai, we got busy with a friend’s wedding festivities. We had a chance to dress Cotton and Candy in colourful pavadais and kurtas.

We had a very merry Christmas and clicked lots of lovely pictures. We go back to California in a few days and I have never felt more unprepared in my life. I have no idea if I can survive life there, caring for the typhoons while keeping myself sane.

My parents and sister are unsure if they can live without Cotton and Candy but more than any of that, I am terribly unsure I can live without them. My mama and papa have been my biggest support. They are rock solid. They have babied Mint and me just as much as they babied Cotton and Candy. Their warmth, their generosity, their soothing touch, their goofiness, they are the kindest and most giving souls, especially when it comes to their children. I think I have the best parents in the world.

Please pray for us as we learn to live without this supporting foundation. Life is going to be different, to say the least. If you are reading this till the end, let me apologise for the multiple errors this post is likely to have. Hopefully, this space will see more of me next year. Until then, best wishes for a bright and peaceful 2019.



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