Yoga and coconuts in Samui

Our week in Samui is zooming, blue skies, sunshine, and swims in the sea. Lots of yoga and coconuts.

Maher drives us to Yoga Thailand every morning. I practice while he plays with the children in the “Kids club.” Sean and Dylan’s out-grown toys and mini playground are more than enough to keep L and R occupied for the two hours I get to breathe and move at my pace.

It’s been two and half years since I did six days in a row of mysore (self -practice). Half-way there now. It’s wonderful that I have this opportunity and I am grateful to Maher for it.  I’m beginning to trust my body and its ability again. The softness is slowly seeping in from the energy in the shala (room), the sincere practitioners, and experienced teachers around us. The practice is becoming natural. I’ve almost regained my all of it, posture-wise. I am still doing half the jump-back, jump-through vinyasa’s and not planning to add them back in yet. Even the drop-backs are back. Assisted of course.
Slowly, slowly… The practice reminds me of this if I slip.

This morning I was running out of steam. Three days in a row after a month of every other day at best, is quite a jump. No matter how hard I tried today, all the jumps back and through were steps, Chataranga (Plank pose) vinyasa’s to Up-dog were with knees down, and the focus was wavering. It’s really no use pushing too hard.
Again, pole pole as Nanu would say.

Since we got to Samui, the children have woken up at least four times each, every night. Tonight they are sleeping well and I am up surfing the web, Facebook, YouTube, blogging. Not exactly prudent. Back to the sleep story though. We were down to one or two wakings a night. Recently they’ve gone through some crazy separation anxiety for both “mama” and “papa”. It can hit around eighteen months I read. They are twenty months now. Close enough. Travel, new beds, a different routine and probably dehydration from playing in the sun all day add up. They wake up to drink, and then to pee!

I wake up to a cold coconut every morning. Maher bought three bags from the Tesco in Lamai the other day. He drinks one in the morning, one at YT, and one after his run or practice. Me? Don’t ask. I claim sustenance on them. I have no case studies to back this up. Well, a Canadian friend Steve, also of some Indian heritage was doing just that when we met in Mysore. I’m not sure how long he went, but he was on a self-imposed satvic (balanced and pure) diet. Yogi’s are meant to eat healthily, neither too much nor too little, not only one kind of food either. So I’m not sure where he got it from. I wonder if it works as a detox though, if done for a short period?

Coconuts are certainly perfect thirst quenchers, and the one’s in Koh Samui are particularly good. Coconut juice is abundant in minerals. It is Maher’s natural sports drink. A lot of the food here is also coconut based. The research as to the health benefits of eating and drinking coconuts is on.

If you’ve got any thoughts and ideas on this please share!

Related articles: Health benefits of coconut oil, water, and more

Advertisements

On jet-lag and time zones

We’ve been back three days from our trip to Paris and London.
The trip back was relatively easier because we had the short flight to Amsterdam first, then the long one when the children normally sleep. They woke up as we landed at two pm.

Probably due to fatigue L fell right into her Chinese time schedule. R stayed at GMT. He slept around three am.
Yesterday L’s excitement kept her going when she woke up at six am, what would be the middle of the night. R also woke up around that time, had some milk and slept again until noon. Last night L went to bed at eight pm, and R at two am.

Intriguing yet not surprising that it happened. Two very separate schedules. Not ideal twin parenting technique. Lots of one-on-one time though. Necessary after such travel – a packed schedule and many new people to hang out with everyday.
Maher and I slept in shifts, neither here nor there.

Today R,L, and M are on a similar schedule – in between the two time-zones. I am back in Europe.

The Old Macdonald story has a part two

A few minutes after I published the last post R woke up from the night’s sleep. He had high fever. 39C. He took some medication and drank 200ml of oral rehydration salts, bit by bit. That should help for a while.

The sequence went like this: a week ago R got a cold. L caught it from him. Maher had some intestinal illness. A few days ago L started vomiting and had high fever. It seems to be gastroenteritis. She is almost done with the crazy diarrhea part of it. Today R started vomiting.

Anyway back to the point of this story, a little while ago, not really delirious from such high fever, R asked for his papa. I explained that he was asleep. We went into our room to have a look. Then for “Lala.” She is asleep too I said. Just as he was falling asleep he asked for “ayi”. I told him that she was at her house and asleep. He broke into song, “Ayi Ayi O”!

As he drifted off to sleep, L woke up.

——————————-

The Old Macdonald Story part three
The Old Macdonald Storyc

My not so controlled, not so scientific experiment.

Our sleeping arrangement is as consistent as everything else is with me lately. L and R share a room and have a crib each. For the beginning of every night they are in their room. Some parts of some nights we have one of them in our bed, and sometimes much more rarely both. Having them sleep in our bed is a recent phenomenon. When we went to Koh Samui in February, the two cribs and our big bed all in one room rendered much better sleep than in the past.

A few weeks ago I was trying to see what the nights would be like in the different cases mentioned above. In general the child who is between us sleeps better than when in his [I use his in this post to mean either child] own bed alone, at least for longer periods of time, and a hug or gentle tap on the belly usually gets him back to sleep in minimal time. When I was experimenting with this, I switched the child in our bed each night for about a week to ten days. That one was sleeping better than the other. The one who stayed in his own bed pulled the other one’s hair many times the next morning.

When I had them both in our bed, if either woke up before morning he would cry, fuss, push and even roll over the other one to make sure I took care of him. This happened only when he noticed his sibling was also in the bed. So both ended up awake. That meant that Maher and I were up too. This segment of the experiment lasted two days. I was ready to have them back in their own beds unless necessary, and Maher had a talk with me about this too!

In order to maintain a few hours of sleep and some sanity for myself, especially in the case of simultaneous wakings our nights are a combination of the above situations. We spend a part of the night alone, part with one and sometimes the rest of the night with the other.

The last two nights R and L had a fever and runny noses. They both vomited. L on the first day, R the second. It seems to be a flu. Of course if one has it, the other one is likely to follow. Usually there is a lag of a day or two, but this time, it was simultaneous and intense. Neither accepted to be alone in their own bed. This meant when one woke up and saw the other in our bed, there was the crying, fussing, pushing, and rolling over. All four of us were up, and both children were burning with fever, crying and asking for “mama, mama.” One would climb onto me and push the other out of the way, then a minute later it was the other way around. Maher and I looked at each other, stuck. I laughed awkwardly as we tried to react to the situation.

The guilt that comes with having to choose one child over the other at the spur of a moment eased up a lot as my confidence developed, as our bond grew, since they became more independent (as in could walk and climb up and mainly down from places on their own, eat and drink on their own, etc), and now that their favorite word is “baba” and they tail him all day long. But it comes back, and I guess it always will. Now that they can express what and who they want, it is more painful.

Tonight is better. L is in her own bed and hasn’t had any fever all night. Rahul is getting there slowly,

Me…start a blog?

Over the last two years my world has revolved around taking care of Leila and Rahul, my almost year-and-a-half twins. So to start a blog now, seems a bit strange. What could I possibly have to say? I don’t know which regimes are being toppled over, I haven’t seen photos of the effects of the recent earthquake in Japan, I don’t know what yoga workshops are on in the region, don’t know if Federer is still kicking ass, or who presented at the Chengdu Bookworm literary festival; or anything for that matter. Outrageous, I know.
Only a few years earlier I didn’t even know what a blog was until friends in Chengdu complained that they couldn’t access blogspot. Facebook, YouTube, and a number of blogging sites can’t be accessed in China.
After some complications in my pregnancy while in China, I ended up spending 4 months in bed including 7 weeks in hospital, split into 4 different hospital stays.
A number of foreign doctors here, in Shanghai, and Beijing recommended that we leave for the birth, due to the high risk of going into preterm labour and possible lack of high level care for premature babies.
So went to Hong Kong at 26 weeks gestation. L and R came at 31 weeks, and were cared for at the Queen Mary NICU.
The bed-rest, high-speed internet and open access to all sites meant lots of time on the internet, and my initiation to blogs. But it was only when L and R were five-months-old, after my mum who had spent 9 months with me left, and both of those things coincided with our return to Chengdu that I really got into it.
I came upon some blogs that MoT’s wrote. For the first time in a long time I felt like I could relate. They wrote how exhausted they were, how they only bathed their babies a couple of times a week, rarely dressed them in anything other than pyjamas. I didn’t feel as guilty anymore that L and R didn’t go out everyday. They weren’t the only ones. To have them both ready to go out meant nappies changed, both well fed, not too tired, and a big diaper bag full of provisions.
I remember a post by a father of twins about how his two-year-old girls were finally sleeping through the night, most of the time, anyways. So my two waking up a few times each and every night means I can still be considered in the norm.
One mum wrote about her birth story; similar to mine – it included flights, hospital stays for both mum and babies, pumping pumping pumping, stress, fear, pain, relief.
Then there was one couple that blogged about their micro preemie twins birth, NICU stay including all the medical details, the obsession with weight gain, the monitors, breathing, digestion, good days, bad days. It wasn’t the most fun blog I ever read. They were born much earlier than L and R, but I could relate to much of it and realised that I would have to deal with this part of R and L, and in fact all of four of our lives one day, and to be at peace with it somehow.
Reading these stories was like holding a mirror out in front of me. a way to see what we had been through, a way to realize we were not alone – and importantly to let go of it.
There were honest, touching posts as well like the one HDYDI MoT, rebecca, who wrote One Baby Envy ( http://hdydi.com/2008/03/02/one-baby-envy/ ). Others complained about the silly questions (  http://multiples.about.com/od/familyissues/tp/aatpquestions.htm) they got when they took their twins out. If I get started on the questions and comments I got in Chengdu it would never end.
Sometimes the comments were funny – MoM’s bitching about how J Lo (on the cover of People Magazine March 2008) could possibly look as perfect so soon after she had her twins.
I related to these parents and it helped with the isolation I sometimes felt being in China without my family and with no experience with babies whatsoever. Neither of my brothers or brothers-in-law have children. One of my childhood friends has a son in Zambia who I haven’t yet met. I had held one of my friend’s tiny babies in Lebanon a couple of times last year feeling clumsy and incapable all the time. So yes, I had that experience.
I had a few parenting books. They only briefly covered twins if at all.
But, we were together again, the four of us in Chengdu. That was our main source of strength. I had help from people here. L and R ‘s nanny or “ayi” meaning aunty as she is called endearingly is a superwoman, a great source of real support and help.
A friend as close as I imagine a sister to be was strong and present when I needed her most.
Another friend lent me lifesaving books at every stage along the way. And there were many others who made up my “village”, both in real life and in my blog life. The crazy thing now is that sometimes my kids both sleep for a few hours at the same time, but silly me stays up to blog.
In addition to relating to other mums and dads on blogs, I found tips, such as this post ( http://hdydi.com/2008/04/05/product-review-double-strollers/) that gives advice about choosing a double stroller that works for you depending on it’s use, tips like store big quantities of diapers, wet -wipes, food etc. so you don’t need to go out to the stores until really necessary. Obvious, but hey at least I don’t feel crazy when I walk into my pantry and see the hoarding.
There were videos of calm mums simultaneously feeding their babies. R and L were rarely on the same schedule, so it didn’t apply, but still nice to see how others do it.
So even though I live in this tiny world of eating, playing, bathing, trying to schedule, exploring and sleepless nights, I feel like I am above water, some of time at least.
So now I have the occasion to share my own stories and maybe get some interaction going. Perhaps a new mum, even a MoT will come across it and feel she can relate, find some useful information, or just have a laugh. I would be glad to contribute to that somehow.
These are stories for R and L to read one day if they want to. And if nothing else a way for friends and family to keep up with our lives in China, or wherever.
The other day I read a blog about the therapeutic effects of blogging. That did it for me, a few minutes later I signed up! Not really, but it made me realise that every time I put down my thoughts they rarely came out negative or depressive, but rather I manage to find the “funny” in things, now that I am not sinking all the time, of course.
It reminded me of a phrase from a song my dad often used to say to his not so smiley teenage daughter, “When you smile the whole world smiles with you. When you cry, you cry alone.”