Friday, November 30, 2007

Dhing tika tik ... :)

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Getting busy ...

Huh!! Filling in after a long time. Vansh's terrible two's get so much to me at times. I have to lie down myself when the kids sleep in the afternoon to pull myself together and go on for the rest of the day. And weather is partly to blame too. As winter strikes big time with temperatures now being sub zero on a regular basis, confining us indoors, its tough to know what to do with the physical energy of a 2 year old and to find the time and the energy to keep up with him. Well we have decided to take him to a couple of indoor gyms a couple times a week to channelize some of it. Anyways, this too shall pass.

On a brighter note, I have several things to be happy about. For the first time in the 4 years that we have been here, we went shopping on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and boy was it thrilling, one because we were shopping for the kids and two because it was so crowded and that always reminds me of India. We shopped for some kids' clothes and toys and got some pretty neat deals and that brings me to the second thing or rather discovery that I am happy about. We bought 3 board games for Vansh and he has been so interested in those for the whole of the past week. He takes them out several times in a day and plays with them all by himself. His favorite is Hi-Ho Cherry O where he puts the cute little cherries, apples, oranges and blueberries on the respective trees, spins the spinner for a number and then picks the corresponding number of fruits from the tree and puts them into his basket.

Last but not the least we have a budding photographer who is getting better with every passing day :) So now mom can get her picture with Jiya even when dad's not around or dad and mom can get their picture taken too, all they do is ask and we have a more than happy son who complies :)

As for Jiya, she is chilling out. Getting bigger and smarter by the day, she sure knows how to get everybody's attention and loads of it. The tough time between 4 and 6 months when they realise a lot of things like the fun they can have when sitting in mom or dad's lap and playing with toys or better still be carried around and look at things from a moving perspective but are independently not capable of doing those, that's what she is going through right now.

I also started a few solids in the long weekend. She did very well with the rice cereal for about 4 days before I introduced moong dal to her and now that's all she wants to have. She shuts her mouth tight and actually pushes my hand away if I try to feed her pureed carrots and bestows the same treatment to the cereal after a few spoons. I didn't even know that a 4 something month old could actually do that. And last evening when it was moong dal again, it sure was party time.

Hmm, so all this is leaving me with lesser time and more work on my hands.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

To each his own!

Huh!! I have finally concluded after several attemts and most of them failed ones at that, that Vansh has no interest in painting, coloring and the like, basically anything that would render his hands "un" spic and span is not worth the trouble and the mess. So while I excitedly made a mental note of a couple of activities involving finger painting with shaving foam and painting using straw and thread a few days back and enthusiastically set the stage for each one of those yesterday and even did them myself, ranting and raving about the amount of fun I was having all along, Vansh couldn't care less. He engrossed himself in playing with my cell phone. There was nothing a mom with her hands dirty with shaving foam could do about it, remember!!(Once he even senses an opportunity, we can rest assured he'll grab it, another example being, get a little over lovey and cuddly with him and without a single millisecond's delay, he'll make a request to watch his favorite movie 'Cars') Hmm no interest in the shaving foam, let me try the painting with the straws and the threads, I thought. Vansh immersed himself in the toy catalogs, an n number of which suddenly ram in the household with Christmas round the corner. (No cellphone this time round, mom's hands were not dirty enough!!) After listening to my constant "Wow's!! and what fun!!" here's what he decided to do: After all I was having so much fun

After a while he did decide to paint just a bit using a clothespin and sponge piece, so that the paint remains as far from his hand as possible till this happened and that was the end of it!

Well, pretty discouraged at the end of it all, I still tried to look for that silver lining by remembering this story title 'Animal School' I had read earlier in the day :

Once upon a time the animals had a school. They had to create a curriculum that would satisfy everyone, so they chose four subjects: running, climbing, flying, and swimming. All the animals, of course, studied all the subjects.
The duck was very good at swimming, better than the teacher, in fact. He received passing grades in running and flying, but was hopeless in climbing, so they made him drop swimming so that he could practice climbing. After a while he was only average at swimming, but average is still acceptable, at least in school, and nobody worried much about it except the duck.
The eagle was considered a troublemaker. In his climbing class he beat everybody to the top of the tree, but he had his own way of getting there that was against the rules. He always had to stay after school and write, "Cheating is wrong," five hundred times. This kept him from soaring, which he loved, but schoolwork comes first.
The bear flunked because they said he was lazy, especially in the winter. His best time was summer, but school wasn't open then.
The zebra played hooky a lot because the ponies made fun of his stripes, and this made him very sad.
The kangaroo started out at the top of the racing class, but became discouraged when was told to move swiftly on all four legs the way his classmates did.
The fish quit school because he was bored. To him, all four subjects were the same, but nobody understood that because they had never seen a fish.
The squirrel got an A in climbing, but his flying teacher made him start from the ground up, instead of from the treetop down. His legs got so sore practicing takeoffs that he began getting Cs in climbing and Ds in running.
The bee was the biggest problem of all, so the teacher sent him to Doctor Owl for testing. Doctor Owl said that the bee's wings were too small for flying and they were in the wrong place. The bee never saw Doctor Owl's report, so he just went ahead and flew anyway. I think I know a bee or two, how about you?

So I guess now I'll just let him be and play with cell phones and laptops all he wants, hoping that one day he'll end up as a 'product designer' for Apple or if he wants to look at all those catalogs and become a toy salesman one day, thats fine too!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Updates ...

Wow!! All the cliches about time just flying by come so true with kids around! Just a month and a half before 2008 begins. Vansh is just 4 months away from his 3rd b'day and Jiya, well, everytime I get used to saying she is these many months old, she grows some more and its time to say the next number. A few updates on what the kids are upto at this time :

- Vansh is so into giggling all the time. All day long and I mean it. And when he's not giggling, he's either listening to Miss Nadi's CD (his ECFE teacher - he listens to that as if someone's going to test him on that one) or having a meltdown. Jiya being so enthusiastic about him giggling all the time is the biggest re-inforcer I guess. He has been referred to as Mr Giggler on several occasions and not without a reason. Watch another one here.

- Playing with toys is passe. Its mom's pots and pans, well it has been for a long time, but now he likes to put them on the stove (while its off, Thank God!!), ask me to put bits of cookie and stir up to make "hot sabzi"; wants to heat something in the microwave all the time and when there's nothing to heat, just set the timer for 5-6 seconds and listen to it go 'peep, peep, peep, peep' and then giggle some more.

- As he continues to string words into sentences, guess what he says when he wants to play exclusively with dad or chat with grandparents with no interference from mom - "Mummy kitchen बनाऊं" Whether its 9 in the morning or 9 at night doesn't matter - mom's rightful place when there are others to entertain him is the kitchen :)

- Loves to ask for what each of the road signs say. Recognises STOP, NO PARKING (P with a slash), SPEED LIMIT and EXIT signs where they occur. Keeps showing us trucks and school buses as we pass them and counts correctly upto 3 or 4 if there's a fleet on the road. The latest he has learnt is we use the ''indicator" when we turn.

- Favorite book at this time - Sheep in a Jeep and My Car, favorite songs - This is Daniel Cook, Here we are, Lakdi ki kathi, Mere paas aao mere doston, favorite movie - Cars, hands down, favorite activities - photographing everything from people (friends visiting us is his field day) to his cars to soft toys; and GIGGLING.

- Some everyday coversations sound like this -

Vansh - Papa, office aa gaye?
Ash - Haan beta
Vansh - Car parking kiya?
Ash - Haanji kiya
Vansh - Ashutosh uncle saath car gaye the
Ash - Haanji, Ashutosh uncle ke saath gaya tha
Vansh(very pleased), after a moment, giggle giggle giggle

Vansh (on hearing the sound of the coming Garbage truck outside) - Arbage truck!!
Me and Vansh together - Wow!! Bye garbage truck!
Vansh - Arbage truck jaana hai (meaning - I want to go outside to see the garbage truck)
Me - nahi beta, baahar ab bahut thandi ho gayi hai. Hum baahar nahi ja sakte
Vansh - Haaaaaan (in a sing song tone)!! Bye arbage truck!
*Giggle giggle giggle*
(And this same conversation takes place each and every single day)

- Funny words/phrases used - "कलौजी आ रहा है for खुजली हो रही है।" "Calapitata" for "caterpillar"; "alacome" for "Welcome"

- I also noticed a lower right hand side molar today. Was expecting that for some time as hands had been finding their way into the mouth quite often again. That makes it a total of 17 teeth now.

As for Jiya, boy is she getting strong. At her most active best, she pulls my hair with one hand and specs with the other, leaving me surprised and laughing at how naughty can a 4 month old get.
- She now likes to stand holding on to our hands, though only for a few seconds, but she wants to do that all the time. Make her sit on your lap and she'll hold on to your fingers and just slide down so that you have to straighten her and she grabs the opportunity and upright she goes. And laugh out loud.
- When sitting in her bouncy, she now leans forward and searches for Vansh when he is out of sight.
- Discerning her cries is getting more complex because boredom and attention have been added to the previous list of hunger and sleep.
- Is mouthing everything given to her, has swollen gums and is drooling. However relatively the discomfort is less as compared to Vansh had when he was teething or perhaps she is much more occupied to realise that.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Food, sparklers and giggles this Diwali

Diwali was fun this year with a couple of friends, lots of finger licking food (and a chance to boast about all the home made mithais, gujiyas, samosas, pakoras, et al - 4 years in the US is sure to make you a certified halwai) and best of all 'patakhas'. All the kids - Vansh, Arunabh, Yuvraj and even Jiya had so much fun and so did we. We chatted (and ate) so much that there was no time left for games we had thought we would play. Among other things, we spoke about the funniest things kids say, one of the best being "I want to go to" (Huh!! Gone are the days when we told our parents "We want to go to India Gate or Children's Park). Vansh had such a great time with his friends - he went on giggling (surprisingly even after everyone left instead of his usual sureshot meltdown on such instances) till he finally slept at 1:30. He also found several live subjects for practising his photography. He is getting fairly good at it. Shall post his accomplishments in a separate post. The diwali pics for now -

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Guess what's my first food ....

गुजिया :)) ... नाचो गायो, ख़ुशी मनाओ, गुजिया खाओ, आज दिवाली है!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Festivities in the air!!

Oh I absolutely love this time of the year ..Diwali is going to be here soon. Apart from other things, to me it means eating 'kaju-kishmish' and the yummy mitahis till my tummy hurts; going to the market on the slightest opportunity to see all the crowds (Oh! I miss India so much!); new clothes of course; leaving on all the lights in the house which looks so bright and sparkly; the small little things which all add up to make the day BIG!! I am so excited even while I write this. Even though things here are so different from what they are back home, still I am enjoying hustling about to put the house in order for a change (I now shamelessly proclaim that I clean the house only when we are expecting company); finishing up the piles of laundry to make it look spic and span (again for a change); making gujiyas and matthis and singer ki mithai; squeezing in an extra 10 minutes to buy some maida and khoya before taking Vansh to school; writing "Give Vansh a haircut" in Ashwini's to do list before Diwali and then going ahead and doing it myself (we have totally lost hope of getting him a haircut from a professional, with all his howling and screaming, till the haircut we give him actually embarasses him.); planning the potluck and games for Diwali night. Oh! Another interesting thing that happened this year - till last year Vansh was too small to enjoy sparklers and firecrackers - so we didn't really care either. This year, however, he had a great time on 4th of July and on Dussehra with those. And we had no idea that they are not available year round here. As a result we blew all of ours on Dussehra because everyone was having such a nice time. Very luckily and interestingly, I thought of asking our MOMS club group via our yahoo group whether anyone had any left over firecrackers and fortunately got a bunch of those to have fun with on Diwali night :) Now I am just praying for the weather gods to be kind enough to let the kids enjoy those

A few more pics from Halloween last week. Surprisingly, Vansh was not scared of the larger than life size dressed up dogs and strange characters and actually went ahead and shook their hand and even posed for a picture. May be Miss Nadi, their ECFE teacher, dressing up like a clown in front of them and going back and forth putting on and taking off her colorful wig and red nose helped him see that its actually just normal people who dress up like some one else. Big crowds still frazzle him though leading to a troubled look on his face evident in most pictures. He also befriended a lady fire fighter to ask her all about her big flashy red car :)

Sunday, November 4, 2007

The idiosyncrasies of our quirky little toddler.

When I have had a good night's sleep, am having a peaceful day and I am smug at having the skill of PATIENCE under my control on one of those exceptionally rare days, I fascinate at how a child's mind develops. What does he think to think in that very particular way that he is thinking (!!!) (so now you know that today is not one of those good days when I think clearly!) Basically, I wonder why does Vansh always climb on his booster seat from the left side; insist that I be the one who hands him his milk and Ashwini be the one who feeds him pizza; would only and only hop to the bathroom for brushing his teeth and refuse to be carried or simply walk there howsoever tired he might be and many more such little quirks!! I know kids at this age love and take comfort in having the same routine each day. And for a cautious kid like Vansh, that holds especially true. Till some time back, he refused to taste chocolates and ice-creams because they didn't look like anything that he is used to eating. We can see his discomfort in the midst of big crowds and loud music etc. After a while of observation, it sends him searching for some little buttons in the corner that he can press and be on his own or off late find one friend whose hand he can hold and play with. But carrying it to the extreme of doing a particular thing in a set way and not budging from it at all is nothing short of intriguing. Here are a few more of his quirks

- After hopping to the bathroom for brushing, he has to first take off his pants to pee, even if he has done that 15 minutes back; press his toothbrush himself to light it on (he has that fancy little totthbrush which lights up for one minute to make sure you are brushing long enough); pick up his little toy alligator to brush his teeth and then lets us brush his own. Try to change a tiny bit and be treated to wails of life being so unfair!!

- He'll count 1,2,3, ...10, go before hopping on to his booster seat for a meal and if he realises he has gotten up from the wrong side, he'll get down and climb up again from the left side.

- Once he's done eating, he has to have the plate and food removed from in front of him.

- He has certain seating arrangements for the family and gets upset if its out of order. So much so, that he doesn't really appreciate when I or Ashwini sit on the chair at the dining table where his grandfather used to when they were here for 2 months!!

- His reaction to different songs is different. 'This is Daniel Cook' - his latest favorite CD - he'll dance on the first three songs, ignore the next two - would just go and sit for some time or play with some toys and would come back again to dance at the exact moment every time - about 3 seconds before the 6th song is about to begin. Bizarre!! While listening to his ECFE teacher's CD, he would sit absolutely still on his rocker with Winnie, his teddy bear and just listen to it like that.
- Off late he's into wanting to operate the microwave himself when it needs to be used and the time for which anything needs to be heated has to end in a 0. So it has te be 40 or 50 seconds that he'll heat say his milk for and not 45.

- The latest is that Ashwini can't pick up Jiya because mummy's 'godi' is for Jiya and papa's is for Vansh (thankfully, there's one which is understandable to a great degree).
Huh!! Perplexing indeed!
Would appreciate comments from parents in similar situations to know we are not the only ones.

At 4 months, Jiya

- is so into blowing raspberries all the time. She loves being talked to and thats what she does in response to us talking to her.
- her movements are much more controlled now and she's able to grasp a toy when its handed to her.
- holds head steady when held upright.
- now looks for a change of toys and her placement and position after some time. Gets bored, that is, doing the same thing.
- is becoming best buddies with Vansh. No one entertains her and makes her laugh like he does.
- loves listening to music now. And almost does a jig in her seat at times when it starts :)
- weighs 12 lbs 5 oz and measures 24-3/4 in.