Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!!

... to all little trick-or-treater's out there. Even though we do not know the actual significance of the festival but are taking it as an opportunity to have some fun :) Vansh is a pirate and Jiya a little pumpkin this year. We had a halloween party last week. Vansh was happy running around in his costume with a few more of his dressed up friends. Yesterday a few of the kids' friends were over for a playdate and we decorated paper pumpkins. At ECFE too, its dress up day today. In the evening, we shall also go to the closeby mall for some music and celebrations and some trick-or-treating. We also have a Happy Halloween picture outside our apartment door which we got from the apartment management yesterday to put up if we want to give out treats to the other kids. Vansh thought putting up his creation alongside would be a good idea. I still have to explain how to trick or treat around but am pretty sure he'll catch it immediately, what with all that fascination for 'lollipops' these days. He'll do everything in his might to get so many of those. More pictures follow...

Monday, October 29, 2007

Fun at the MOA

Jiya is all into blowing raspberries with that naughty twinkle in her eye when she is excited. She loves being talked to and refuses to lie down on her back for more than 5 minutes. She loves being propped up and catch on all thats happening around her. She was way too excited when we visited Mall of America this Saturday, squealing with delight on seeing all the action. She couldn't stop doing that even after coming back. Here's a link to a video.

Vansh had the time of his life in all those trucks and airplanes and cars rides!! He just couldn't get enough of them.

Friday, October 26, 2007

I am a busy boy!!

My day begins with beating eggs and toasting the bread for breakfast.

Unloading the dishwasher and stacking the dishes comes next!

I sweep the floors and make sure to leave no corners unbroomed!

Laundry comes next on my list of tasks. Sorting whites and colors is what I have to pay special attention to.

Chopping onions and tomatoes for the meals! Heating up the dishes before serving is one of the easy ones!!

I know you are exhausted just by looking at me work so hard. But that's just half the day!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Happy Dusshera!!

Happy Dussehra to family and friends!! Time to celebrate the goodness in the world, the victory of good over evil. To explain to Vansh what the festival means, I showed him a video clipping of Lord Ram killing the demon Ravan. As a result he spent the whole day reciting to everyone who cared to listen "भगवान जी मार दिया।" In the evening, we lit some sparkles and got nostalgic about the childhood days back home.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The magnificient fall colors at the Arboretum

A refreshing trip to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, the vibrant hues of orange, rust, yellow and red never failing to wow us!! A surprisingly splendid day with lovely sunshine and the temperature just perfect at about 19 degrees celsius, for probably the last time this year, demanded a trip to a beautiful place! The arboretum fit the bill to the tee. Fall is undoubtedly a breathtaking season here, you only hope for it to last a bit longer. Last year we had driven along the enchanting North Shore up to Lutsen just about an hour away from the Canadian border and had been truly mesmerised by the utterly beautiful Lake Superior amid all the fabulous shades of fall. This year, with 2 kids in tow, we enjoyed them and beyond our expectations at that, at the 8 miles away Arboretum. Here are a few lovely pics.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The games begin!!

Suddenly the angel of the house dons a naughty smile
is all set with antics to beguile,
Has a teasing twinkle in her eyes
charms us with her gurgles and sighs
In being perked up high she takes delight
and flails her arms like a bird in flight
A tummy rub, a nice warm tub
are a few favorites of our beloved cherub!!
Blows out rasberries, laughs out loud
To now leave her in the room alone, we are just not allowed.
Brings her feet together and grabs them tight
Oh that toothless grin makes the whole house bright!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A few illnesses and then ...

Vansh came down with a bout of illnesses the past week. First it was the stomach flu accompanied by fever and then a short (thankfully) stint with a cough and a cold. While reading about the stomach flu on, I realised that the American Academy of Pediatrics has done away with the BRAT (Bananas, Rice, Apples and Toast) diet for kids who catch the flu because because "it lacks protein and other vital nutrients. Studies show that reintroducing a standard diet soon after acute symptoms ease can actually shorten a child's bout of gastroenteritis by half a day because it restores nutrients to the system that are necessary to fight infection. On the other hand, if the bug kills your child's appetite and she misses a few days of good nutrition, don't worry. As long as she's hydrated, she'll be fine." So basically it was lots of water and lots of rest which helped Vansh recover. Milk and chapati were making him throw up immediately. And he totally lost his appetite which resulted in once again switching on the idiot box in an attempt to feed him something.

Salt and pepper paranthi with soup, Maggi noodles with vegetables for lunch and a mommy made vegetable pizza (with whole grain bread serving as the pizza base) for dinner on Sunday helped refresh his sluggish taste buds. Ginger juice mixed with honey and given a quick boil, as always, did the trick for the cough and cold. Vaporiser switched on at night with a quick rub with Vicks on the chest took care of the slight congestion. Bundling up for a short trip to the park lifted the crabby spirits.

Pampered with all the attention and having the control a 2 year old so craves for (read switching on a favorite movie when he wanted us to); this week is being spent on getting him back to his usual routine without the TV. Never before have I found the idiot box so idiotic. One day of over exposure (and that too just about 2 hours) totally knocks off Vansh's attention span and willingness to play independently. Every 10 minutes or so he'll come and ask me to switch on the TV for him. The outings are also limited now owing to pretty cold and mucky weather outside. So we are trying to do lots of activities together to keep us happy and playful. There are no short cuts I have learnt when you want our strong headed little guy to behave right. He needs quality one-on-one time and loads of it to keep him from wandering into rough terrain!! His latest favorite - making every possible thing in sight - rattles, washcloths, soft toys, cars, pass the basketball hoop test :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Double Movie Mania!!

Guess how we now watch Hindi movies we so crave for after days of just watching 'Curious George', 'Barney' and worse still 'Teletubbies'!! We switch on Vansh's latest passion "Moo Car" short for 'Movie Cars' (God knows where he picks up these short forms from - another one is puli car for Police Car) on the laptop and watch ours on the TV. Even though it means straining our auditory nerves to hear our own movie over and above the Vrooom vroom of the racing cars, its still worth it. Oh the many innovative ideas being a parent of a toddler demands, a few of them for our own selfish reasons ;) !!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Hello ..OK Bye!!

Its so funny the way Vansh pretends to talk on the phone to someone, more often than not its Arnav, his best buddy by far whom he misses and remembers every single day ever since he left for India 2 months back. He'll first convince us with all his might to hand him the real phone and a working one at that, saying "Arnav phone hai" as if thats one important phonecall we wouldn't ever want him to miss. Then he would start his conversation with the usual "Hello". Whatever he is doing at that particular time would make up the body of his commentary which would sound like "Garbage truck देख रिया हूँ." or "Book पढ़ रिया हूँ।" (Don't know where he picked up the 'Surma bhopali' accent from) followed by "Oh अच्छा अच्छा।" and finally "OK bye!" and if he is in a particular hurry, its just "Hello Arnav, OK Bye!!" :)

And yeah he's been at it ever since he was 6 months old.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Time to thank God ...

... for the innumerable blessings He is so kind to shower us with!

I think back about the times I was so keen to get back to teaching, a profession I pursued for about a year and was and still is extremely close to my heart. We had looked at a couple of daycares for Vansh who would have been 6 months had I started then. I was very bitter and heart broken when I couldn't because of visa issues in the US. Now I can not thank God enough for putting those obstacles in front of me. I wouldn't even have known what all I would have missed. I now know I am not going back to work at least till Jiya starts school. The irresistible physical milestones in the first year, the facinating mental leaps in the second, adding emotional dimensions in the third and there's no looking back after that - the words as they come out of your little one's mouth, the thought process that goes on behind that, God I could think about it the whole day and marvel at the little wonders you so lovingly create!

I think about the times when I was pregnant with Jiya and Vansh was becoming increasingly close to us and we too were getting very attached to him with his increasing displays of love and affection, the hugs, the random kisses; there was a time I worried about not being fair to the second child, not loving him/her enough. Ashwini made me look at it in a very beautiful way and said that there would now be 4 people instead of 3 to love and care for each other. So true indeed!

As I find Vansh and Jiya just looking at each other for minutes on end, I wonder what goes in each's mind - love ? bonding ? affection? awe? Having not had any siblings myself, what I know about the relationshiop they share is from my dad always being extremely caring for all his younger brothers and sisters, even if he is stern on the outside; my mom being very thoughtful towards hers and Ashwini being amazingly affectionate, in a fatherly way towards his younger brother. And one of my foremost dreams for my kids is for them to share a very loving relationship with each other. Even though the first couple of months with Jiya were very tough for all of us , especially for Vansh to adjust to the huge change in his life (and inspite of everyone telling us that everything gets okay with time, it made me very very nervous, probably because I was home with the kids 24 x 7); I now am filled with gratitude for God that the siblings have made a lovely beginning.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

At 3 months, Jiya ...

... has had a pretty eventful last month. I love the first year, one because they are so cute and cuddly, just the right size for your arms, two you can pamper them without having to worry about spoiling them and three such monumental physical changes happen right in front of your eyes - the exciting wait for each milestone and the pride and joy when it happens :) Half of the times when I talk to Jiya, I tell her not to get any bigger, stay just as she is forever and ever - our little princess, bright and smiley, meaning the world to all of us.

- Is able to raise her chest when lying on tummy and tolerates it (tummy time) much better than earlier. I believe she now enjoys Vansh's antics from the correct perspective, the right side up that is :)

- Speaking of Vansh, he continues to be her superstar. His sight is enough to light her little face up. We use it to our advantage when we want to take her pictures :) She now looks at him in total awe, especially when he is at his giggly, jumpy or dancing best, as if to say "Wow!! My bhaiya can sure do a lot!"

- Gets very excited and moves her hands and feet very fast on seeing us and coos back when we talk to her.

- Is able to roll over one way - from tummy to back.

- Holds her feet and marvels at them when lying on her back.
- Is able to catch hold of toys pretty well when playing in her gym.
- Seems so interested in food. Loves to sit in my lap when we are eating our meals and even opens her mouth when I bring a spoon close to it (Guess she learnt that, once again, by looking at Vansh)

The hard working men at the Sukhwani household :)

take a break for a pose :)

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Monday, October 1, 2007

Vansh's verbal strides ..

... have been happening in leaps and bounds with every passing week in his 3rd year

- Its so cute to hear Vansh say, as he goes to his room to bring a toy "आ रहा हूँ. Wait a minute!" He says the same sentence when we ask him to come and brush his teeth or to take a bath. its fascinating to think how they pick up words, phrases, understand what they mean and then use it in the right context.

- At every little knock he hears or when the phone rings, he asks us "कौन है?" And he does that with a typical look on his face - he'll scrunch his eyes, bring a very concerned expression on his little face and ask "कौन है?" I tried making him do that for the camera once but the expression immediately changed into smiles and laughs on seeing the camera :) Now many a times when we call, say our mobile provider for an enquiry or some such phonecall we make which we know is beyond his comprehension and we still try to explain it to him in the simplest possible terms and he still does not understand ( :) ), as of now he is content that we at least offered an explanation and goes "hmmm" at the end of it. I am waiting for more questions to follow once his vocabulary increases.

- Is also asking a lot of other questions like "Mummy vacuum कर रहे हो?", "Papa office जा रहे हो?" (and this is whenever he sees him picking up the car keys even if it happens to be at 8'o clock at night :)

- We literally laughed out loud the first time he said "पापा ध्यान से" to Ashwini when the car went bump over a little speed breaker. He keeps repeating it at the right instance when at a blind turn or when there's a pedestrian that we need to brake for.

- Off late he has been repeating everything he hears when I and Ashwini talk to each other. He'll pick up the last 2-3 words from each sentence and repeat them. I have also seen him repeating words from the newsreaders report on TV.

- He's also picking up English now. Every Wednesday morning, before leaving for ECFE, I practise with him to say 'Restroom' instead of 'सुसू' or 'I want water' instead of 'पानी चाहिए' so that he can get his basic needs met in case he needs to in the 1 hour he's by himself in the kids' classroom. He uses words like 'want, like, wait for turn :), share, happy, sad' in the correct context. There are times when he'll just say "yeah, yeah" when we ask him something in English and when he hears words like "brush, sleep, eat" in our questions, its obviously "NO!"

- The passion for Cars, especially race cars continues. As a result, this is how his rhymes sound when he is not paying particular attention "Twinkle twinkle race car ;)"