When 2 moms, 2 single friends & 2 toddlers met in Italy.

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After 10 gazillion watsapp messages, incessant laughter after each message and a lot of planning, 2 moms, 2 single friends and 2 toddlers flew approximately 6000 miles, to Italy, for an adventure that we will talk about for the rest of our lives.

An adventure that reminded us that our friendship had survived so many years, countries, weddings, babies and the demands of motherhood.

An adventure, we will laugh about till we cry, even at 65.

An adventure, I want little I to go on, when she becomes a mother.

2 moms traveling with our respective little ones, without a single minute to ourselves.
And 2 single beauties travelling with us, clueless about what was going to hit them.

But we survived.

Because though we were all at different stages of our lives, what kept us together was our insatiable appetite for travel, and food.

So, there we were, foodies, including the 19 month old, little I who is deeply in love with food and a 3 year old, little G, who is an intensely devoted pasta lover, all ready for a trip of our lifetime.

First we eat, then we do everything else, a single-minded approach to the trip.

All we needed were strollers, emergency food for the little ones, a fully charged phone, a company that paid for unlimited roaming internet data usage, a GPS and our hungry selves.

Also, when you travel with toddlers and food lovers you pretty much know what’s possible and what’s not.

A five hour tour of the Colosseum or fresh ravioli dunk in the extraordinary truffle sauce.

A trip down the history lane or a memorable walk to the famous restaurant in Florence.

An old church to please the soul or a generous helping of a creamy risotto with warm, out-of-the-oven olive bread, to satisfy the stomach.

A busy, touristy sight or a quiet lunch of delicious, home cooked Tuscan delicacies with pane tuscano. (A tuscan bread without salt.)

Long queues outside the Vatican or a leisurely meal of freshly prepared gnocchi, a platter of local soups, crisp insalata caprese with mozzarella, a glass of wine, and artichokes lovingly sautéed in garlic and chilli oil.

A long stay in one place or a road trip with bottomless knick knacks, and a playlist of favourite songs.

Just another bite of a gelato or a big, numbing bite of focaccina (gelato sandwiched in a traditional Italian bun.)

A non-stop walk or a stopover at a restaurant that served unlimited, mouth-watering bruschettas with a glass of a sparkling orange Spitzer.

It was exhausting to walk to the Spanish steps.
But exhilarating to walk to a local bakery.

Italy is beautiful, but the food there, is breathtaking.

You haven’t eaten a tomato, until you have eaten one in Italy.
You haven’t tasted mozzarella, the way it tastes in Italy.
This is where you know, what ‘fresh’ tastes like.

Of course, there were child tantrums on the way, tired mothers struggling to keep up, lost and found routes, single ladies wanting a bit of space from all the babydom, calculating long lists of expenses, neat pickpocketing that ruined our mood for a day, but all this against the backdrop of sunflower clad fields and Tuscan villas made it as picturesque, in a weird way.

And of course, what-should-we-taste-next always kept us going.

A trip with your girlfriends after you have become a mother is extremely liberating.

It’s like creating new memories with your old self, while walking your most precious creation in the stroller.

Now I have a playlist that will forever remind me of our road trip to Tuscany and Florence.

I can never eat pasta without thinking about this adventure.

I don’t think anyone of us can ever forget the taste of that spaghetti aglio olio secretly cooked late one night.

I can never forget that pure taste of olive oil.
The luscious olives, the fresh custard filled tarts, the iced espresso shots.

The sight of little I biting into the straight-from-the-tree, juicy plums and the fresh basil.

The non-stop clicks on every camera.
The excitement to dress up every morning.
The what-to-wear-tomorrow dilemma.
The fake posing for a pretty shot.
Those few, relaxing moments by the river.
The sudden shopping bursts.
The ginger spiced Indian tea that would get us started.
And the infectious, loud laughter, just like old times.

It’s a beautiful feeling to know that you can start off exactly where you left with some of your friends, after surviving motherhood.

Taking a trip with them, with little I by my side, was definitely exhausting but it made me plain happy, and happiness in simple things is all that matters in the end.

It will always remind me to teach little I the most important lesson of life, to always be herself and do things for herself even as life happens.

Mothers, stay in touch with that precious bunch, especially those who are ardent food lovers.
Because Julia Child once rightly said, that people who love food are the best people in the world.

I’m glad I did this.
For myself, for little I.

Ciao Italy, you were delicious.

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A pocketful of memories on yowoto.com

First appeared – http://www.yowoto.com/posts/5-silly-things-i-love-doing-with-my-daughter

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Five simple things that Little I & I, love to do together.

No big activities, no big planning, just memories that will last forever.

Also, very therapeutic for a mother’s wired brain.
And a life lesson, or two for little I.

LAUGH OUT LOUD.
We really do.
Sometimes it may come across real loud, but we are just having a hearty laugh. Most of the time, over nothing. Try it.

EAT A FRUIT WITH BARE HANDS.
We dig into a juicy watermelon, cut in half.
Little I loves it, because it’s really just delicious water.
All we need, is a pair of clean hands to scoop out luscious pieces.
And we are ready to get started.
Feel those big chunks burst in your mouth.
Let the juices drip down your chin.
Let it get messy.

SIP ON A DRINK TOGETHER.
We sit on the porch, in our backyard with a cup each.
Big cup for mumma, a little one for little I.
I have chai, little I thinks she’s having chai too, but it’s water.
And we have long, gibberish conversations while pointing to the birds, the trees, the sky.

STARE CLOSELY AT THE GRASS.
We look silly when we are doing this.
But, who cares!
There’s so much in there to show little I.
The pokey grass, the winter grass dew, the busy ants, the lazy snail, the new friend of the ants, the big treat being carried for dinner.
It calms us down.

WATER A PLANT.
A friend of mine got us an orchid plant the day little I was born.
So, it is as old as little I, nineteen months to be precise.
A little water everyday and a beautiful memory for life.

Do you have your favourite moments with your little Y? I would love to hear them!

Happy Gaps on yowoto.com

First appeared – http://www.yowoto.com/posts/happy-gaps

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I now live MY life in gaps.

In those empty intervals where I can do whatever I want to do and not what a mother must do.

I call them my happy gaps.

These are tiny crevices that a mother can spot in her forever ridiculously busy day.

These can last upto ten minutes or can stretch upto an hour, or sometimes two.

This is the gap where little I is either fast asleep or has discovered a new toy or is busy chasing the birds in the garden with her dad.

In this happy gap, my cup of tea is only mine.

Here, I’m back to being a human being, and not a jungle gym.

Here, the book, the computer, the remote, the phone, the cake, the plate, the spoon are ALL MINE.

I can write, not say a word, eat, read, laze on the couch, stare into space, paint my toe nails, sleep or, decide to do nothing in these gaps.

What I definitely won’t do is clean, cook, wash, collect the toys, fold the clothes, find that missing sock or even think of what to cook tonight.
Because then, you see, it’s not my happy gap.

It’s the time when I enjoy being with myself.
It’s the time when my brains get to cool down a bit.
It’s the time when I can actually listen to the lyrics of the new song by my favourite artist.
It’s the time when I am allowed to, just be.

It’s MY time, not a mother’s.

I love these gaps.
They refresh me.
They keep me sane.
They gear me up for that adventure, awaiting me in some corner.

All mothers have happy gaps.
It’s just about spotting them.

Like reading this right now, could be one of your happy gaps?

The Giddy Life on yowoto.com

Here’s to a new adventure!

First appeared – http://www.yowoto.com/posts/the-giddy-life

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‘The Giddy Life’ is a glimpse of a life that’s a little like mine. A little like your’s. And a lot like every mother’s.

It’s a little topsy-turvy.
But never too self-serious.

Sometimes it’s tic toc by the clock.
Most of the time, it’s a big orderless mash-up.

Sometimes, it requires a lot of talking.
Most of the time, I just want to shut up.

Sometimes it’s a meltdown, with hundreds of can-I-breathe-please moments.
Most of the time, I would like to disappear.

Sometimes, all I do, is wait.
But mostly, time’s just flying by.

Sometimes, it’s the last day of my last adventure.
Most of the time, it’s the first day of a new adventure.

Sometimes I ask myself, did-I-really-opt-for-this.
And most of the time, my reply is, yes-I-will-be-stupid-and-will-do-it-all-over-again.

I want to laugh at how baby poo can become the sole focus of someone’s life.

I want to laugh at how a trip to the loo, alone, requires so much planning.

Laugh at how the toy basket is sometimes the solution to most of my problems.

Laugh at how I can spend hours looking for something and find it in the most unexpected place. Little I’s bottle of milk, standing tall on the shoe rack, for instance.

Laugh at how I’m now so used to stepping on Lego.

Laugh at how I don’t know what to do when little I is fast sleep.

Laugh at my new life.

I want to take it easy, because motherhood isn’t.

So, laugh a little louder with me & our little I, and with you & your little Y, in the best season of our life.

Welcome to mine and your’s and every mother’s, giddy life.