A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

Archive for March, 2021

Sunshine for my soul

Posted by Pepper on March 26, 2021

Yesterday was the first day of spring break for Cotton and Candy. It’s just a week off from school, but holidays are always special. I remember that feeling of excitement I felt at the start of every summer, Diwali or Christmas break. So of course, I had to do something special for my kids to mark the day and build up the excitement.

While the sole intent was to give them a dose of joy, it turned out to be as nourishing for me. I guess we all need a dose of happy sunshine. The weather was on my side. I texted my friend P and asked her if we could plan a day in the park with our kids. She jumped to it.

We carried our lunch. Spinach pesto pasta for the kids. We also picked up some subs. After a good hour of playing on the structures, we moved on to the picnic table for lunch. Unsurprisingly, the kids were very cooperative and finished their meal so quickly. Why does this not happen at home?

Then P and I sat munching on our sandwiches while we let the kids run around on the vast green lawn. The kids enjoyed the freedom of being able to run. P and I enjoyed some good conversations. We kept talking about how wonderful it was to be out in the sun, to not have to worry about chores and pending work, to just let yourself unwind and watch our beautiful kids laugh and play.

We then moved on to getting the bubble wand out. Bubbles are of my favorite things ever. Blowing and chasing bubbles in the park along with my kids was what my soul seemed to need. Did I already mention I was having fun? I still haven’t mentioned our favorite part of the day.

The park has a *giant* slide. So what do you think us adults did? We promptly jumped on to the slide. Seriously, why should kids have all the fun? The kids were partly amused to see their moms gleefully sliding down. We laughed endlessly and let our kids loose. I have no idea of the number of times they went on that slide. We left for home after *many* happy hours in the park. This day will stay etched in my memory for a long time. It really was what my soul needed.

Let’s be tree huggers
Chasing bubbles is fun!
My son watches his crazy mom slide down
Sliding down for probably the 75th time

Posted in Small joys | 12 Comments »

If we were having coffee

Posted by Pepper on March 21, 2021

  • I would start by discussing the weather. Yes, the weather is always a topic of discussion in Bay Area. It is still too cold for me and the mornings are still in the low to mid 30s. When I convert it to celcius, today morning was 1 degree. I abhor the chill. Spring is a farce. It’s nothing but an extension of winter, but a more romanticized version. Oh summer, how desperately I am waiting your arrival.
  • Now I would tell you that my BFF had her second baby a few days ago. I’ve mentioned her on this blog several times but I feel too lazy to link up those posts. Her older one is exactly the same age as Cotton and Candy and I remember much ado happening about the fact that we were pregnant at the same time back then, with almost the same due dates.
  • Her son stayed with us while they managed the new born for the first night and Cotton and Candy had their first official ‘sleep over party’. That’s what they kept calling it. The kids had a blast. Later that day we went to see the new baby and Candy was in love. She is a natural with babies and I often think of how amazing she would have been as an older sister. Here is a picture of her holding the baby.
  • I would tell you that I am trying to find the courage to buy some medium to large sized indoor plants for our living room. Since the other two small plants I bought 6 months ago are still alive, I want to go ahead and buy some big plants because I love the splash of green they add.
  • I have an appointment for a hair cut this Friday. I am over the moon excited about that.
  • Cotton woke up with a low grade fever, so both the kids have been kept home today. I am amazed by my ability to not panic this time and/or assume we have caught the dreaded virus. I was very nonchalant and just asked the kids to go play by themselves instead of fussing too much. Of course, we will isolate ourselves but I am so glad I am acting sane instead of driving myself up the wall with my thoughts, for once.
  • My energy levels seem to be at all all time low. I feel wiped out all the time. While my day involves a lot of physical activity and labor, it still isn’t any more than what other people around me are doing. So why do I tire out when others are capable of fitting in challenging work outs and packing in so much more? I know, the workouts actually help in building energy, so is that what it is for me? I basically need to kick myself in the butt and get to some exercise but I feel so tired.
  • I am so exhausted with Candy’s perpetual constipation issues. I am sorry, this is TMI, I know. But I need to rant. She has been using Miralax everyday for over a year and her pediatrician has asked us to discontinue it now and wean her off. Her water intake is abysmal and that seems to be the biggest problem. Prunes, chia seeds, soaked raisins, peaches, probiotics, extra fiber, flavoring the water, we have tried it all. She either doesn’t consume all that she needs to, or if she does, it doesn’t seem to work. Time and again, we find ourselves begging or threatening her with consequences if she doesn’t finish her *tiny* cup of water. It is so draining! When do these little humans realise they are not doing mankind any favor by drinking water?
  • I started typing this post 3 days ago and I completing it only now. I had a really good streak with blogging in the past few weeks but I am beginning to struggle to keep up. I wonder if I should slow down or push myself a little harder to write more frequently. I will think about it another day. Right now, I will just focus on enjoying my coffee.

Posted in The black hole | 38 Comments »

Letters for Cotton and Candy

Posted by Pepper on March 10, 2021

Dear Cotton,

I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for being such a fabulous child. A few months ago, your sister decided that she wants to sleep in our bed. You found yourself alone in the bedroom that you have always shared with her. I wondered how you would deal with that. To my surprise, you were very understanding. You even told us to be easy on her because “she wants mama and appa at night”

I faced several attacks of guilt. Why is it that my baby boy has to sleep by himself when my baby girl cuddles with us? Would he feel lonely in the dark without his sister? I can’t indulge in such differential treatment. For a few days, I got you to our bed, even though you didn’t ask for it. But fitting all 4 of us on a queen sized bed was a nightmare. Also, you made it clear that you were indeed okay sleeping by yourself and this would not haunt you into adulthood and make you feel abandoned or less loved. It has been a few months now and you have adapted well. All you ask for is 2 minutes of cuddle time in our bed, before you obediently walk back to your room for the night. You have won my heart, my baby. Like your nani says, you are the best boy in the world. Thank you for being such a darling.




Dear Candy,

You are a super brat who knows how to have her way. A while ago, you started coming to our bedroom in the middle of the night. You’d walk in the dark passage to reach our room with your eyes half shut. This used to scare us. Initially, we’d let you have a few snuggles and then transport you back to your bed. Only to have you return in the next 30 mins. None of us were getting much sleep.

Since you really seemed to want to be close to us at night, we decided to let you sleep in our bed for a few days. After all, how can we deny you something as fundamental as this? But few days turned into a few weeks, which turned into months. Every night you throw tantrums, cry and insist on staying in our room. Nothing we say or do helps you change your mind.

But here is a little secret, my cuddle bug. Your presence helps me too. I love your baby smell and that I get to kiss your cheeks when you sleep peacefully next to me. I also understand how you feel, because I was that child who refused to get out of her parents bed until forever. Nothing they did would make me consider stepping out. I know where you come from. You and I, we are a clingy bunch.

But baby, I request you to move back to your room with your brother soon. For one, I continue feeling guilty about him sleeping alone in your shared bedroom. And two, appa and I don’t really have a life of our own with you in our bed. We even bought a TV for our bedroom recently so that we could unwind with some late night viewing, and now that has turned into a joke. So baby, we will wait till you feel more secure and content, but I do hope you go back to your room happily, soon.



Posted in CottonCandy | 11 Comments »


Posted by Pepper on March 5, 2021

Today is my dad’s birthday. His 70th birthday! What a big milestone in our lives. Most of my friends (who are my age) have fathers younger than mine. So there is a newness in that number. I feel very privileged to be able to celebrate this milestone, even if its from continents away.

Let me be honest, I did sulk a little today because I wanted to spend the day with my parents and have our family together. But I quickly got over it and decided to focus on the blessings. We are all healthy, alive and loved.

Cotton and Candy wanted to wish their naanu after they got back from school. I reminded them that it was the middle of the night in India, so they would have to wait for it to be morning there. Since they were that insistent on wishing him right away, I told them I would film them and we could record a video message for him. I took a video of two little bouncing bunnies, clapping their hands excitedly and singing the happy birthday song. That video become the highlight of my dad’s birthday and I am told he replayed it about 400 times.

My parents and sister in India celebrated the day with pani puris. No fancy outings, gifts, agendas. Just happy mouthfuls of food and contentment. We had our usual video call with them and there was such a happy vibe in the air.

So today, I choose to be happy, because it is my papa’s birthday. And in lieu of his celebrations, I am going to eat cake. And watch a happy movie. And send out happy vibes to the universe. I hope you feel them.

Posted in Meet the family | 6 Comments »

Our crunchy battles

Posted by Pepper on March 3, 2021

I have to say that Mint and I are pretty well aligned in our thought processes. Our world views are the same. We don’t have many noteworthy differences in our outlook. So we rarely argue or fight over the big stuff. The causes of our arguments are almost always petty. And it annoys me greatly that we bicker over such inane and silly issues.

Today was one such day. We had a mini fight, if I can call it that. This is probably the 75th dispute we have had about the same damn issue. Let me just say that Mint has a big problem with the way I tear open any packet. Typically, this is some form of chips which need to retain their crunch. He insists that I mess up the opening, which keeps getting enlarged every time you put your hand in. This makes it hard to put the packs away for later use and results in the contents getting soggy.

This is the source of our latest disagreement. Firstly, I am reasonable enough to understand and agree with Mint’s point of view. I know I mess this up. And I have tried my best to open the packs in a more dignified way. I have no idea why I just can’t. I have tried different techniques, even pulling apart the layers from the center, but I always seem to mess this up. Umm, snipping open packets with surgical precision is not a part of my skill set.

So the next best option is for Mint to do it himself, since he is the one who has a problem anyway. And if he doesn’t do it, then I have asked him to shut up and not comment on my lack of skills. But this is the pattern we seem to follow. I ask Mint to open the pack. He keeps saying yes but doesn’t get to it. I lose my patience and do it myself. He sees the opening and comments on how badly the job has been done. I blow up because I don’t want to hear any comments about this. He accuses me of overreacting. Every. Time.

Okay, I know there are more earth shattering problems to deal with than our chips packet opening saga. But this persistent problem seems to be getting on both our nerves. We’ve resolved our conflict for now and have gone back to snacking on our chips in harmony. But I know the opening of the next pack will make us resume acting in the next season of our in house drama series

Posted in Splashes of Mint | 26 Comments »


Posted by Pepper on March 2, 2021

When we moved into this house in August last year, this tree on our front porch was bare. It stood on the left side of our main door. We had no idea what tree it was. A few weeks ago, it started to bloom. Gorgeous pink magnolia.

I usually enter the house through our garage but this tree has motivated me enough to actually use our front door. So often I find myself standing and staring at this beauty. CottonCandy love picking up the petals that have fallen on the lawn. The fragrance in them is very faint, but it is there. They say they love the khushkoo (refers to khushboo, which means ‘fragrance’ in Hindi). I adore these mispronounced words of theirs and hold on to them dearly.

I am grateful for these reminders to stop and smell the flowers.

Posted in Small joys | 17 Comments »

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