Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Out of the blue!

I just googled my full name on google (oh boy! Look at the things I am writing!!) and guess what I am in for! This!!

Oh boy!! I had just submitted this picture for the I SPY Little India contest and absolutely forgotten about it. And it just so happened that our subscription to Little India expired in December and I thought I'll renew it after our vacation to India (to happen soon). So we didn't get the January issue and hese guys didn't even notify me. I have written to them telling them how hurt I am (no one told me :( :( ) and I want that $50.

But happy at the same time! Ok now let me send this to all family and friends!

A screen shot for posterity after the link expires :

I SPY Little India: Jan 2008

I SPY Little India: Jan 2008


Guess who I have for babysitting when mom's busy ... my grandpa in India. Neera Hemrajani. Eden Prairie, Minn., is this month's iSpy winner.

Send us your photos capturing an interesting or intriguing aspect of Indian life in America and win $30
Contest Has Expired. Please Go To Current Contest From Home Page Of Little India.



Monday, February 25, 2008

A fun morning at Edinborough park





An indoor park in Edina, about 7-8 miles from our place, Edinborough is a very popular hot spot for kids especially in the harsh winters here. We had to meet a few more friends here this morning for a playdate. Both Jiya and Vansh had loads of fun. The first word Vansh said as we reached inside was "Mummy, trees!!" Yeah its been ages, or so it seems, ever since we saw one outside. Vansh wanted me to accompany him through all those tunnels and stairs leading to the slides and of course down the slides as well, thus ensuring all three of us got a pretty good workout.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Our daily grind

Dear friend Deepali has been reminding me for the last few weeks to do a post about our routine. Me thinks its great to have a written record for posterity, as also a good way to write about our usual day and activities.

Everything is +/- 30 minutes, more often than not its +

Anywhere between 4:30-6:30 Jiya wakes up for a feed.

7:00 am -7:15 am - I and Ashwini wake up. Prepare tea for Ash, make roti/chawal, cut salad and pack lunch; (sabzi has been made the previous evening); warm milk; prepare breakfast for kids (I and Ashwini usually have a banana and milk)

7:30 am - Kids wake up. Vansh has his milk and throws in a few giggles and/or shouts a few No's at being hugged and kissed. Jiya scoots around in the kitchen after playing with her toys for a bit. I continue with the above.

(this is on days we are home till about 11:00)

8:00 - 9:00 am - massage Jiya, brush teeth, give both kids a bath - for the last few days they have been taking a bath together and love it. While Vansh used to run away when I called him for a bath, now he enthusiastically takes off his clothes on his own and jumps right in. Jiya too squeals away in delight.

9:00 am - Feed both kids breakfast and have my own.

9:30 am - Sneak in a few moments to check e-mail/news/new blog posts if the house is in not a HUGE mess. Smaller messes I am adept at handling now by ignoring them. Once Vansh starts climbing on to me is signal for shutting it down for later.

10:00 am - Take Jiya for a snooze. Then I start cleaning the house and try to fit in a bath before Jiya wakes up. If not in a mood right away, then chat a bit with my parents. Vansh, in the meantime, helps me around the house, chits and chats - the who's and the what's float around (he still hasn't gotten to the why's)

11:00 am - Usually Jiya wakes up at this time.

Once or twice a week depending on how many days I have the car with me, we go out for ECFE and some other activity in the library or a playdate at this time.

When we are home and under the rare circumstances that house work is already complete, its my and kids time for about an hour. Otherwise, NOW the kids play with each other. Yay!! On good days, Vansh is such a darling and is quick to make sure that Jiya has a ball and she in turn keeps encouraging him with squeals and giggles. On others, Vansh wants to do his own thing and wouldn't let her come within a foot of any of the toys. And Jiya, so used to having him around on those good days, is not good at all playing by herself and whines for attention. So then she has to be propped in that swing for some time till I get my hands free from what I am doing at that time. On good days, a bath fits in right here if I haven't had it before and on normal days it has to wait a bit longer. Somewhere in between, the kids have a snack.

(On Monday, when we have to get out of the house by latest 9:30 to meet friends for playgroup, one of us - either me or the kids have to skip the bath and of course the cleaning has to wait for later.)

12:15 pm - I start getting ready for lunch.

12:30 pm - We eat lunch, I and Jiya, that is. Vansh is threatened to eat lest the fire truck uncle/police uncle/maintenance uncle grab him away and/or asked to tell stories about his friends/Caillou/ Curious George to distract him enough to feed him. He eats some and he leaves some pronouncing "You save it! I'll eat after waking up."

1:00 pm - We clean up all the toys and the kids go to sleep. Now is the time for about and hour and a half of solitude where I catch up on e-mails/blogging and the like. Once again, unless the house is in a HUGE mess, I like to have this time for myself.

3:00 pm - Kids start waking up. I change and feed Jiya. If Vansh wakes up before Jiya, then we enjoy some time together by looking at some old pictures/videos together on the laptop. This is a BIG hit with him. If Jiya is already up, we usually go out for a stroll in the apartment building itself having our own little workout by climbing up and down 3 floors and walking in the corridors, playing hide and seek inside the house itself or dancing to some music.

4:00 pm - Vansh has his milk after he finishes the left over lunch. I start cleaning up the kitchen and preparing for dinner and lunch the next day. Earlier I used to be done by about 5:30-6:00, it takes longer than the normal time because I have to keep entertaining the kids in between. These days, at times Jiya is being quite clingy starting about 5'0 clock. Earlier she used to take a nap at about 5:30. From last week she doesn't. So at times, I just be with the kids till Ashwini returns by about 5:30-6:00 and then proceed to finish off cooking the remaining meals. He has tea if the dinner is still some time away. Otherwise all of us have dinner together. Its gotten easier this month because now Jiya also has a lot of what we eat. She's able to have small pieces of chapati with yogurt or rice with yogurt and small pieces of whatever sabzi I have made. If I feel the sabzi is still not suitable for her then I cut up small pieces of peach or apple or carrot, steam them and give it to her with the chapati/rice and yogurt. On days when we have pizza/burger/tacos (home made) I take out a couple cubes of previously cooked and frozen sweet potato/carrot-peas and give those to her.

7:00 pm - Now is fun time because most of the day is done. On good days I have been able to clean the kitchen also by now. Otherwise I leave it for later after the kids sleep. We play games, read books, watch TV. Jiya loves to roll and scoot around the room and devour magazines, in the literal sense :) She pulls out a few from under the table and loves to tear and hear the sound of crumpling paper. At times, we go out, if we hadn't earlier for that walk and climbing stairs. This is also the time we go out for groceries if we were not able to do that on the weekend.

8:00 pm - Vansh finishes his dinner if he had me save it for later. Otherwise he has a snack - I try to make it a fruit but its not easy. Depending on his hunger level, he decides whether he can get away without having to eat anything. If not, he proceeds to eat it. Off late, he has started enjoying oranges though. Grapes used to be the favorites once but now no more.

8:30 pm - I take Jiya in to feed and change her and to put her to sleep for the night.

9:00 pm - Vansh has his milk and starts getting ready for bed.

9:30 pm - After another game of Cherry-O/Candyland or a couple of books, saying our prayers, he goes to sleep.

By 10:00 I finish cleaning the kitchen and then read a book/spend some time surfing the internet and have dessert/fruit.

11:00 - 11:30 - We go off to sleep ourselves.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Ok! Now ...


... how does he manage to drink by holding the glass with just one hand!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

He has come a long way

It had been going on in my mind the past week to ask Vansh's teachers at ECFE about his behavior in class. I was pleasantly surprised when Miss Cheral looked at Vansh attending to his teddy bear cut out and remarked

"Vansh is such a polite little gentleman!"

The thoughts that went on in my mind were

" Are you sure you're talking about him/I hope you are not confusing him with someone else"

I managed to ask

"He is? Really?"

"Oh yes! He is prompt with his sorry's and thank you's and handles conflicts very well. Doesn't yell when some one wants to have what he is playing with. He's doing very well."

I told her I was about to ask her myself as to how has been doing in class because he's way too different in front of mommy.

"And that's going to remain that way for many years to come," she joked.

Glad as I was, this little conversation set me thinking.

At the beginning of the school year in September, after a couple of classes, I had asked Miss Nadi (she is the teacher and Miss Cheral is the early childhood assistant) about Vansh's behavior in class. I was quite concerned at that time because he was being extremely self centered and loud when with other children. He would shout a loud NO and/or MY as soon as he noticed another child coming towards him and push him/her when he/she got too close. I felt bad, of course, for the other child, especially when his/her intentions were to just watch Vansh playing with whatever it was that he was playing with or at couple of times even to hug him. At the same time I felt bad for Vansh as well. He was struggling hard with the huge changes in his life - arrival of a new sibling (Jiya was barely 2 months old at that time); going away of his grandparents after having stayed with us for 2 months, during which time he had grown very attached to them; immediately followed in a week by going away of his best friend Arnav to India with whom he spent the better part of his evenings playing every single day (he still takes the whole family's name in the same breath as he takes our own's - he was that attached).

All of us went through a pretty rough phase and it took plenty of patience, spending a lot of time with him reading books, playing games, dancing, being silly, explaining to him during jovial moods, how its hurtful to others when he shouts and generous doses of hugs and kisses to make him get over the insecurity he very naturally felt and which manifested itself in ways described above. In a way, I am glad that we couldn't know what exactly went on in his little mind because I shudder when I think - Could it be

"Don't be friendly with anyone because then he/she is going to go away or going to vie for my parents' attention!"

And its relatively easy for me to write about it now that the phase has passed but at that time we felt terrible emotions that are hard to put down in words. Even though everyone told us that its a phase, but it crossed my mind several times, when Vansh continually turned away one prospective friend after another by his loud gestures,

"Is he ever going to be able to make friends?"

Things got better as time passed. With increased opportunities of socializing with kids the same age as Jiya grew up a bit and we resumed meeting friends for playgroup, started inviting more friends on weekends, he started to become less wary of other kids and even made an effort to be-friend them. The first time I saw him doing that with one girl, he had met a few times before, in the park - speaking something to her and then holding her hand and telling her to "Come on, let's go!", my eyes moistened at the hearty development. Even now, he has his moments, good and bad. There are times when he screams at the slightest provocation but there are others when he's a truly charming little guy, being the entertainer for the entire group - laughing out his silly infectious giggle and making everyone catch on. I sometimes wonder whether Arnav going away actually helped him in the long run to become more open and friendly as he was palpably longing for company.

With all these thoughts going on in my mind, when we were getting ready to get out of the school building, I met a friend in the corridor whose 4 year old daughter and Vansh have met each other briefly a couple of times and stopped for a brief chat. The kids immediately started running after each other and laughing heartily doing that.

And I knew that he has indeed come a long way!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Siblings

When mom and dad don't understand, a siblling always will.

Friday, February 15, 2008

YES!!

Just when I feel that I have climbed up one rung of that tall ladder called patience and mustered up just that extra something to remain calm in situations in which I would have yesterday blown my head off, this is what happens:

Vansh: Mummy, candies khaani hai. (Mom, I want to have candies!)

Mummy: Candies to Sunday ko khaate hain. (We eat candies on Sunday)

(Rather than picking up that battle everyday of when and how many candies, I planned to set aside one day for it.)

Now repeat the above conversation 5 times in the exact same words. Like I said, yesterday I would have given him a lecture, in a good mood, that we eat candies only on Sundays (a longer lecture doesn't work, you see) and a yell, in a bad one, that we eat candies only on Sundays.

6th time now

Vansh: Mummy, candies khaani hai.

Mummy(losing it a bit): Beta mamma ne bola na aapko candies Sunday ko khaate hain. (Mom told you that we eat candies on Sunday)

Vansh (getting there): Mummy, candies khaani hai.

Mummy: VANSHI, BAAR BAAR NAHIN BOL! MAIN GUSSA KAROONGI! (VANSHI, DON"T REPEAT THAT AGAIN AND AGAIN! I'LL SCOLD YOU!)

Vansh walks away with a smile of achievement on his face and an expression equivalent of that action he would have done had he been in his pre-teens, where you make a fist in front of your face ..basically this one ...

Whats all that nonsense about kids being emotionally immature and incapable of controlling their emotions! I felt like a total idiot here. My dear (well not so dear this time) little son scored high on EQ.

Time to climb up another rung!

An afternote : Since yesterday, Jiya too seems to have caught on the 'getting angry' thing. She looks at you with eyes squinted and lets out a shrill 'MMMMM' if picked up after a short delay. So now I have 2 kids, saying "Got ya!" in their own wee and not so wee ways, demanding me to get my act straight!!

A to Z of me.

I have been tagged by Cee kAy to do this one. Here I go:

A -Available?


2 young kids under 3! Communication skills - shouting, yelling, screaming! Self care - the aim is to manage a bath every alternate day! Interested?

B-Best friend:

Many good friends

C-Cake or Pie?

Both!! Bring them on!

D-Drink of choice:

Water. Nimbu Pani, Lassi

E-Essential thing used everyday:

Lots of love, hugs and kisses

F-Favourite colour:

Would have to be pastels - peach, pink, soft blue, green

G-Gummi bears or worms:

None.

H-Hometown:

Saddi Dilli (Our Delhi)

I-Indulgence:

Would have to be 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep at this point of time.

J-January or February:

In India, February, In Minnesota, neither - both are terrible!!

K-Kids and names:

Son - Vansh; Daughter - Jiya

L-Life:

And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.

M-Marriage date:

January 31, 2004

N-Number of siblings:

None
O-Oranges or apples:

Both

P-Phobias:

Spiders, Lizards

Q-Quote:

When the going gets tough, the tough get going - came across it on my college t-shirt and have loved it ever since.

Another one I live by - A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes.

R-Reason to smile:
Family and friends

S-Season:

Spring

T-Tag three people:

Preethi, Noon, Dipali, Deepali


U-Unknown fact about me:

Still thinking!

V-Vegetable you do not like:

Broccoli

W-Worst habit:

Would have to be procrastination.

X-x-rays you have had:

Dental

Y-Your favorite food:

Go read this

Z-Zodiac:

Virgo

Monday, February 11, 2008

Tongue tied!

I had written, a few months back, about how Vansh was experimenting with his newly learnt concepts of hot, cold and warm here. He has now taken it a step further cognitively and mentally! This is what one of our conversations sounds like these days -

Vansh: Mummy, paani saath khelna hai. (I want to play with water)

Mummy (considering that he recently recovered from a nasty cough and cold): Its pretty cold right now. You might catch a cold again playing with water. Play with it once the weather fairs out a bit.

Vansh: C says Cold ho jayega. Vansh H says Hot paani se khelga. (I'll catch a C says Cold, Vansh will play with H says Hot water)

Mummy (obviously laughing hard and hence extremely vulnerable to being defied): H says Hot to hot lagega na Vansh ko. (Won't H says Hot water hurt you!)

Vansh: W says Warm se khelga Vansh? (Should I play with W says Warm water?)


Answers anyone??

What Vansh means!

Its funny, to say the least, the results which emerge when kids who are expanding their communication skills experiment with new words and phrases, in a hit and trial kind of way, using them in what they think might be appropriate situations. These are a few hilarious phrases doing the rounds in the Sukhwani household these days.

We have just recovered, still not completely, from a spate of illnesses and an oft repeated phrase has been "I am feeling better."

Me (looking at a few left over morsels on Vansh's plate): Beta, finish your food!

Vansh : No mummy! I am not hungry. I am feeling better!

***********************************************************************************

I just turned on the shower inside the bathroom when I heard Vansh talk to me from outside.

Vansh: Mummy, shower on kiya? (Did you turn on the shower?)

Me: Haan beta. (Yes son)

Vansh : Little bit shower?

(I have no idea what he was thinking when he used this one.)

***********************************************************************************

Many a times, Vansh pretends to be talking on the phone with his dad and asking him, like I do at times, to get a few groceries on his way back.

Vansh: Hello Nona (thats what I call Ashwini). Will you go to Rainbow?
(pauses to wait for an answer)

OK! Get carrots, milk, apple, banana, pizza (now starts pausing between things), peanut butter-jelly (pause), chips (pause)
(eyes me for a moment to see if I have any objection with his list by far. No objection! Great!!)

Continues in one single breath - Get candies, skittles, lollipops, apple juice, orange juice!

************************************************************************************

When Vansh tries to sneak in 4 cherries instead of the 'pointed at' 3 while playing Hi-Ho Cherry O just to finish the game and proudly chirp "Vansh jeet gaya!" (Vansh won!), we tell him "Vansh, no cheating!"

A couple of days back, Jiya was trying to get her hands at one of Vansh's books to which what Vansh had to say was "Jiya, no cheating!"

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Here I am ...

..on a Wednesday afternoon tending to a tag by noon, Dipali and boo. I am excited... for several reasons. For starters, its my first tag. I am glad to be making friends, forming a small little community of pals in similar situations, sharing everything from bad days to good ones, joys, concerns, ideas, 'no hope' situations, getting different perspectives. Its been a fun journey. For another, I like the idea of getting to know each one better by having all the good links in one particular post - their love, their family, their likings. I think its a great idea. So here I go with mine. I have a feeling that I wouldn't be able to dig out posts pertaining to each one of them, one, because, its not been very long since I started and two, because I mostly tend to write about the kids. Anyway, let me try!

Rules For The Tag

Post 5 links to 5 of your previously written posts. The posts have to relate to the 5key words given : family, friend, yourself, your love, anything you like. Tag 5 other friends to do this meme. Try to tag at least 2 new acquaintances (if not, your current blog buddies will do) so that you get to know them each a little bit better.

Family - Happy times and sad. Sometimes we feel silly or just plain mad. We have had our share of ups and downs and I wrote about them here and here. A picture of the extended family now is here. Family is just not complete without a tribute to mom and dad.

Friend - Well I have not written about any of mine. But for sure about one of Vansh's bum chum Arnav.

Yourself - Well haven't done too much of writing about myself but some snippets from the childhood I had and the values I value can be found here. I also did a post about the ups and downs of motherhood here.

Love - He he he! Bhartiya nari - unke baare mein publicly baat karne mein laaj aati hai ;) Little ways of showing appreciation are here and a post on how we are figuring out life after 2 kids is here. After all, going through life together with these ordinary everyday things, good and bad, the smiles and the frowns, isn't that what love is all about.
I would like to add these beautiful words from the anniversary card Ashwini gave me a few days back.

Someday, Many years from now,
We'll look back on this crazy time
in our life together
And wonder how we did it all ...
And then, those ordinary everyday moments
That we often take for granted
will shimmer like stars
as we recount them...
I'll sit close beside you,
take my hand in yours.
We'll look at each other and say:
"I'd do it all again...
And I wouldn't change a thing."

There's no one I'd rather go through life with than YOU.

Anything I like - Yay!! Finally! Food figures somewhere ..I am a hopeless foodie!! Pregnancy was just an excuse for cravings that go on and on during the normal course of life for me. Unfortunately, here in the US, that translates to cooking what you feel like eating yourself. But I did a complete post on Delhi street food and how I miss it here.

Also, one of my favorites are the kids' photo posts where, as the name suggests, the pics do the talking rather than the words. A few of my absolute favorites are this, this, this, this, this, this, and this. Sorry for posting so many, but I thought, since its just pictures, it would take may be 10 seconds to see each one :)

Well friends, enjoy!!

And I tag

Deepali - She doesn't write much, but she's my first blogging buddy ever. Thanks to her, I knew someone out there was reading about my everyday adventures. So Deeplai, here's reason for you to get back to the blog :) No excuses !!

Leonny - An Indonesian friend with 2 lovely kids and my inspiration to start a blog of my own.

And ~nm, PG.

Everyone else around seems to have done the tag already. I want to read all those too !! If you aven't you are most welcome to pick up the tag and chatter on :)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

One of Vansh's favorite pastime ...

... looking at old pictures and recalling the incidents with a smile and lots of giggles;

one of mom's - Looking at that smiley lit up face, listening to those giggles and counting our blessings :)

Friday, February 1, 2008

Happy 4th Anniversary

We celebrated the completion of 4 years of wedded bliss yesterday. Ashwini gifted me a smart black vest jacket I had been deliberately oohing and aahing in front of him for quite some time :) and his present was a little fish bowl with 2 little gold fish complete with the quote "Your love is a net that catches my heart like 'fish' "

We had strawberry short cake (Vansh kept calling it pie cake for some reason), egg rolls, shrimp fritters and 'Ragda patties'. Trying to go out was not worth it, we thought, with the ultra cold wave outside (read -30 temp on an everyday basis) and the cough and cold wave running through the household inside.

We tried to utilize the services of our new enthusiastic photographer Mr Vansh to finally get a picture of the couple cutting the cake on their fourth anniversary but apparently he was more enthusiastic about devouring the 'pie cake' and this is what we got as a result.