I Named My Daughter After a Barbie Movie

If you have girl children you are probably aware of the World of Barbie Movies.

Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper

Barbie: Fairytopia

Barbie Fairytopia: Mermaidia

Barbie as the Island Princess

Barbie in ‘A Christmas Carol’

The list goes on and on. The premise is the same, Barbie, an actress, is playing these various rolls and therefore she is not known as “Barbie” but by some other name in the movie.

12 bIn 2006 a movie, “Barbie in the 12 Dancing Princesses” arrived in India as a Christmas gift from my mother to my two (at that time) daughters. Barbie is playing the third oldest of the twelve sisters who falls in love with her cobbler (the guy who makes her shoes). Spoiler: They get married. It could totally happen.

For two months Barbie and her eleven sisters danced across our TV screen until February when we packed up the little girls and traveled to the US to give birth to Baby #3.

     Indian culture demands a boy child and, after two female children, hopes were high that Baby #3 would be a BOY. It is illegal in India for an ultrasound technician or Doctor to reveal the sex of a baby to the parents (- too many female children aborted. Sad, true story.) Later, by the time I had an ultrasound in the US I was past 36 weeks and it was difficult for the American technician to determine the sex of Baby #3.
    Up until this point, my husband had forbidden me to discuss or even think of girl names for Baby #3, I suppose he thought we would jinx it. Therefore, as my due date loomed near, we had not a single name for a girl child.
     Although the technician could not definitively determine baby #3’s sex, she did say that she was 75% sure the baby was a girl. This was enough for me to push for a girl name discussion on the drive home. The husband was amiable and never really minded having girls and he immediately suggested “Jennifer.”
    Ack! I am a child of the 80s! Jennifer is a great name but sadly OVER used in the era of my youth and I could not help but recoil from the name (my sincerest apologies to any Jennifers or Jennifer mothers reading this – I’m just keeping it real.)  However, being the compromising sort I immediately offered the name, “Genevieve” for consideration.
     Genevieve had never been on my Baby Name List before that moment but it just popped out and it was still “Jen” and I liked it. A lot.
      So did he. A few weeks later we held a precious 8lb Genevieve in our arms.Gen
  Three months later we packed up our growing family and returned to our Indian home. It wasn’t long until Barbie was once again dancing across our TV screen.
     I distinctly remember standing in the kitchen of our little house one evening and overhearing the sounds of the TV in the other room.
     “Genevieve…” one of the movie characters said. Huh? What? I rushed into the living room.
      It was true.
    I had named my child after Barbie’s character in Barbie in the Twelve Dancing Princesses. And I didn’t even know it. Subliminally the name must have been circulating in my head for months, waiting to for its chance. Sigh. As humiliating as this confession is, I do LOVE the name Genevieve and I wouldn’t change it if I could. I suppose I should thank Barbie, not just for delivering such a great name, but also for saving me from a Jennifer.
     Thank you Barbie.
  In a side note of more weirdness, my oldest daughter’s name is “Eve.” It took me a whole year before I realized the connection. Genevieve and Eve. Sigh. Duh. Sigh again. Yes, it’s weird. Yes, it gets confusing around the house – which one am I calling…  I have no excuse. 
     For more of the weirdness that is my life, follow me on bloglovin’! 
    (I apologize for the horrid formatting and lack of paragraph spacing – WordPress is freaking out on me. 😦  )
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Orphan, Widow, Single Mother – Still Alive

Forty years ago in South India there was a girl who was born the second of three sisters. When she was very young her father became ill and died. The mother could not bear the thought of raising three girls alone and since she had a history of mental illness, the girl’s mother also took her life. That day the girl became an orphan.

The girl and her older sister were sent to live with an Aunt in Mumbai and there they were treated slightly better than household servants. When they were old enough, they traveled to Rajasthan to attend Bible College. The middle sister was sickly and worry-prone from childhood so she was soon married to a relative of her older sister’s husband to relieve her family of the burden of caring for her. Unbeknownst to her, her new husband was also sickly and on top of that, terribly unkind to the girl. Nevertheless, she soon became pregnant and bore a daughter of her own. Not long after, her terrible husband died. That day the girl, who was now a woman, became a widow.

While I lived in India the woman and her child came to live near her older sister who was married to a member of my staff. The woman, who was a true orphan and a true widow and a true single mother was also one of the most annoying people I have ever met. That sounds mean, doesn’t it? But it’s true. The crazy part is, I loved her. I loved her in spite of her annoying and pushy ways. I loved her through all her (many) physical ailments and doctor’s appointments when the doctor would scold her for not taking her medicine or doing what she was told to get well. For some reason, God had given me an abundance of grace and love toward her, it surely was not from myself.

Over three years ago I left India and have not returned. I have not seen or heard from the woman, my friend, since then. She has no access to computers and would not be able to type even if she did.

Last night I saw I had a Facebook message from an old staff member in India – the brother-in-law of my friend. When I opened Messenger there were five words: Hi from Princy and Justy.”

My first thought was, Wow, she’s still alive.

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5minutefridayThis post was written for Five Minute Fridays where many many lovely people link up to write for just five minutes inspired by a single word. Today’s word: Messenger. Find link here.

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New Delhi/ New Deli & My Inner Snob

On Saturday I asked my girls to think about where they wanted to go for lunch after church on Sunday. I suggested a few places and decided to let them choose. On the drive to church and my oldest daughter was advocating for one of the Indian restaurants in town.

We love Indian food, but the Indian restaurants around here are fancy schmancy and it is way too stressful to eat there with my 5 and 7 year olds. When I explained this to my daughter she insisted that I had suggested the restaurant as a choice for lunch the day before. She even got the eleven year old on her side.

They were so insistent that I started to believe that I must have suggested it in a moment of insanity even though I KNEW I never would have. I let it go, as I always do. Arguing with children is futile.

I kept thinking about it and as we walked into church it hit me – I had suggested the “new deli” in town and to my daughter’s brain that translated to “New Delhi” = Indian food. Everything became clear.

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All four of my children are native Hindi speakers and English is their second language. For  the oldest, especially, this can cause confusion. Heck – kids are confused and confusing most of the time even when they share your mother tongue.

With their diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds my girls also tend to be sponges. This can be great! This can be not so great.

1284For the last few days, my seven year old (who has always been my language powerhouse) has soaked up the expression, “no more” from somewhere. I’m entirely used to my children speaking with accents, mispronouncing things and misusing words, but for some reason, every time G says, “no more” instead of “anymore” I feel a fire start to burn at the back of my neck and I have to hold myself back from biting her head off. I am consumed with a need to track down where she picked up this horrid expression and then squash the culprit. This is very unlike me.

My inner snob.

My inner snob.

At moments like these I realize that my inner snob is popping out. She’s pretty laid back most of the time and seems content just keeping me in check. True to her nature as a snob, she tends to ignore the children with their malaprops and mispronunciations. Most of the time she shrugs her shoulders and goes back to doing whatever it is that she does.

I suppose “no more” must be her hot button.

Things could be worse: Bad Words

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Motherhood, Magnolias and Missionaries

I rarely struggle for inspiration. Actually, I don’t struggle at all – sometimes I just don’t have it. We’re halfway through the A to Z Challenge and on most days I know well in advance what I will be posting for each letter. But not today. Not “M.”

M! Motherhood, Magnolias, Madness. So many Ms! But I wasn’t feeling it. Was. Not. Inspired. At. All.

stockvault-magnolia-tree121131I care about you, dear readers. I do. I never want to post – just to post. When I read A Living Flame’s post this morning I realized instantly why I was not inspired – she had already written the post meant for today. Voila! Missionary. (PS – I loved this post. PPS – She also wrote the recipe for Chai in my post The Art of Chai.)

A Living Flame

Some days life on the field is easy. Then there are days when it is hard. There are days when I climb to the rooftop and singing praise songs over my neighbourhood and then there are days when I feel like hiding in a quiet corner of my house and listening to the voices that tell me I am not good enough and will never accomplish anything. When I want a close friend to take me out to coffee and pray with me I am reminded that I am alone.

But there is encouragement. There is a way that I bring myself back to reality and realise that my obstacles are small, my friends many and my situation hopeful.

In the past few years I have found great joy (and sorrow) in reading of the lives that have gone before me. When I read about Amy Carmicheal and that she…

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Identity – Who Am I?

“I miss India a lot today. The foggy weather outside reminds me of it. I miss the smell of spices and riding with the wind in my hair on the back of a motorcycle. I miss the old mommas in the streets selling their goods. I miss the high pitched singing ladies that were on the radio in every car. I miss the colors. I never thought I would say that I miss India. But today, I really miss India.”

My niece, who lived with me for a time in India, wrote me this a few days ago.

For a long time I found my identity in being an Indian wife or a Dweller in the land of India.

India 3Then one day these things were Gone. Over. Done. That part of my life was Finished.

And I suddenly had to figure out, Who am I.

The answer didn’t come in a moment, or a day, or a month. It came as I journeyed forward. I’ve written about this search for my Identity here.

 

* I write for the online publication, Moms of Faith, every Wednesday & Saturday. (You DON’T have to be a mom – or even female – to visit. Stop on by.)

Decisions…Decisions. I Need Advice.

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This is so me.

I need advice:

On a rack of movies this morning at Walmart I noticed that one of my favorite books had been made into a movie – and I didn’t even know it! I confess, I missed a lot of things while living in India from 1999 to 2011, things like: The Bizarre Rise of the Kardashians, entire series of TV shows with cult followings like Lost, Alias and 24, as well as pretty much everything in the video game and cell phone arena.

However, according to Netflix, this movie came out in 2013. Obviously a straight to DVD situation.

 

 

So here is my dilemma – when you love a book and it has subsequently been movie-ized (esp. when you are pretty sure it’s been made into a made for DVD/B movie) do you risk tainting the memory of your beloved character to watch it, or do you pretend the whole thing never happened and move on with your life?

Inquiring minds want to know. I.e. me.

I Gave Birth in India (Part 2 of 4)

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Her due date was February 15th, but she hung in there an extra two weeks just for kicks. Finally, the contractions began and by this point I. Was. Ready. I’d had my previous two children naturally without drugs and with a midwife, my preferred method, but it HURT. And I’m gonna be real honest here – I HATED the actual birthing process. Still do. SO THANKFUL I never have to do that again. P. coming late was a blessing, I was past the point of fearing the pain and at the This Needs To Happen stage.

So, whoopdeedo, February 28th rolled around and I was ready to go at last. I called my doctor to let her know I was coming in and, you guessed it, here comes the wrench in the plan, the hospital lady who sleeps next to the phone at night informed me that my doctor was in Mumbai for the weekend. And just like that, I was doctor-less and had nowhere to go.

By eleven o’clock at night my husband had driven to six maternity hospitals in the city, one by one. No one would take me. I wasn’t their patient, why should they? I get it. I can now relate to Mary in Bethlehem. No doctor in the hospital? Won’t take new patients? No room in the Inn? Been there. All I really wanted was to find a place to squeeze this baby out and a person to catch her at the other end. A stable makes perfect sense.

After several phone calls from my husband on the road informing me there was nowhere to go, I finally said, (I honestly said this) “Go to the slums, find a midwife and bring her to the house. We’ll do it here.” I was totally serious.

In the end, a family friend, who was a nurse and used to work for an OB/GYN interceded for us. My husband caught the doctor in his parking lot leaving his hospital at midnight and convinced him to admit me. This is where the fun began.

This is Part 2 of 4. Find links here for Part 1, Part 3 and Part 4.

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I Gave Birth in India (Part 3 of 4)

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I was admitted at midnight on a Saturday/Sunday morning. This is important because the doctor and his wife were opening a BEAUTIFUL, MAGNIFICENT, MILLION DOLLAR Maternity Hospital at noon on Sunday. I was 12 hours too early.  Sigh.

Yes. It mattered.

The new hospital was not inaugurated, read – Not open until Sunday afternoon. I had to deliver in the old hospital. Now, when I say old, think India old. Think: they knew they were moving to a new facility and had allowed the old one to go to crap old. I didn’t even have a room, which was fine since I was happy to roam the crumbling halls til she came out. They did, however, place a cot in their file closet for me. So, that was nice.

Boom, when she came, she came fast. By my fourth child I knew when we were in the homestretch. I was beyond the point of words so I grabbed a passing teenage girl. Seriously, she might have been eighteen. I hoisted myself up onto the delivery table and man I REALLY wish I had some pictures. Words cannot adequately describe the filthy state of the table I delivered on.

Rusty metal table.

Thick, green plastic cover on top in use since forever.

It was ancient and stained with unimaginable things. And when I say unimaginable things I mean blood, gore, amniotic fluid, fecal matter, etc. Of course.

Let’s just say, it was crusty and I didn’t care. 

This is Part 3 of 4. Find links here for Part 1, Part 2 and Part 4.

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I Gave Birth in India (Part 4 of 4) The End

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I’m a bad pusher. I know this to be true. I’ve witnessed many a birth in my life and I’ve even delivered a baby myself – that’s a WHOLE ‘nother story. The point is, I KNOW that I am a bad pusher. I do, however, try. I shout at the top of my lungs. I say things like, I can’t. I can’t. I can’t… And then… I do. Finally.

P. was born in India at 1:24AM with an old Gujarati floor washer pushing on my tummy, a teenager playing catcher between my legs and a sweet friend by my side.

That would be a really nice ending to this story but dang it, that’s when the doctor decided to show up. Oh, Hello doctor. Thanks for not being here. Oh, now you want to come do some doctor stuff? I’m going to get graphic here and if you can’t handle it skip on down to the next paragraph. Minutes after giving birth and simultaneously tearing open my episiotomy scar (that’s a word you don’t want to Google – ew), the doctor reached his entire hand through my ravaged vagina and into my recently emptied uterus. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? He used his ARM to clear out my uterus. It. Hurt. Worse. Than. The. Actual. Birthing. Of. My. Child.

The good news is, I obviously survived to tell the tale.

In the end, I shuffled back to my file room, pale and sore but oh so happy. She was out, and in my arms. And she was perfect.

Will Smith ears and all.

The End. Or, should I say, The Beginning.

This is Part 4 of 4. Find links here: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

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How to Prepare Chai at Home (In the Western World)

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Earlier in the week I posted a recipe for Chai written by a dear friend of mine overseas. It was a traditional Indian version of how to make this yummy milk tea. However, what works in an Indian kitchen, doesn’t always translate to an American one.

Since being back in the US I’ve developed my own version of Chai preparation in a Western kitchen. Unless you have a tea strainer and loose tea on hand…DSC05327…you might want to try this easy version.

All you need is: Milk (2% works best), sugar and a teabag (black tea.) That’s it!

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If you want to go fancy and yummy – add one or a combo of the following: cardamom, cloves, cinnamon stick or slice of fresh ginger (not pictured).

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However, let’s not get ahead of ourselves, before we dive in we need to address the issue of American-sized mugs compared to Indian-sized teacups. 

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Two Indian tea cups full of Chai fit into One American sized mug. The following instructions will be for making ONE American sized mug of Chai. Double the recipe according to how many mugs of delicious Chai you are making. 

Recipe

  • 1 mug of 2% milk
  • 1 teabag (black tea)
  • 3 tsp sugar
  • spices (optional)

Add all ingredients to a small saucepan and place on Medium High heat.

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Allow ingredients to come to a boil (milk WILL boil over, you must watch it. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.) Once milk comes to a full boil adjust the heat to keep milk at a low boil for about 3 minutes. Color should turn light brown. I suggest swirling the pan occasionally to mix the ingredients, using a spoon to stir often tears open the tea bag and then you’re gonna need that strainer anyway. 

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Isn’t that pretty?

I suggest that you do not rush Chai – it’s better when you allow it to take its time. The entire process takes about 5 minutes. Once done, turn off the heat, remove teabag and any spices and throw them away (unless you lived during the Depression, then you can wash them off and reuse. As you wish.)

Drink! Enjoy! Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions.

I recommend experimenting with spices til you find your favorite. One cardamom pod is perfect for me.

If you are interested in learning how to make authentic Chai you can visit my earlier post, The Art of Chai or visit the original post by A Living Flame.

FYI: Your homemade Chai will most likely form a milk skin on top as it cools. Don’t be afraid! It’s just milk. You can either: A. slurp it down. B. slurp it into your mouth and chew it up C. blow it over to the side of your cup and let it stick there D. use your finger or spoon to lift it off and discard.

Which do you think I prefer?

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Milk skin. Nothing to fear.