Friday, June 27, 2008

The 30 questions tag


Rang de Basanti ! Yeah that old.


A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

Raising your spirited child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka


Scrabble - haven't played that for a while now.

Among kiddie board games, Candyland :)


used to be Reader's Digest; now Parents.


Cool Water - the Davidoff perfume; fresh roses; mitti after the pehli baarish; smell of a new born baby; johnsons and johnsons powder


a koel singing; ocean waves splashing


the feeling that I get when I realise that I didn't stand up for what I believed


Is it Jiya screaming or Vansh ?


Panda express


I don't think I'll have any more


Go to many many wonderful places around the world, buy clothes by trucksful




Not a stuffed animal, a pillow at times.




Dad's fiat.


Nimbu Pani , Lassi, Golgappe ka paani


Help the needy in India.


No way!!


I wouldn't - am scared of all the chemicals. I do like the henna tinge though.


New Delhi, Sacramento, now suburb of Minneapolis




Honest about her feelings and always forthcoming with ideas to help me :)


Legos, sipper cups




Usually a night owl but love it during early mornings.


Sunny side up!


Huh ..ideally A beautiful island in the middle of a lake(aquamarine color would be ideal) with lots of tropical trees, yet quite sunny, an invigorating breeze with the only sounds being the splashing of water, the rustling of leaves by the breeze and the chirping of birds. Laying down leisurely on the sand, a book in hand.

For now, the couch will do.


Get me any!!!


Nutty Buddy and Hot Chocolate Fudge at Nirula's, New Delhi and Mocha Almond Fudge here.


I am not tagging any one in particular. Take up the tag if you'd like :)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Did you know ...

We have a new climber in the house, who just by the virtue of being cute, gets away with climbing on the dishwasher :)

Thank you Preethi

for the loving award and the very kind words. Its always so nice to feel the love and warmth of friends around.

I passed this on to a few friends some time back and would like to pass it on to a few more this time as well

~nm - for always being so willing to help, for being the superwoman that you are :) (I know you don't like called being one, but I am entitled to my opinion, amen't I ;) and for being so chirpy and bubbly.

PG - thanks again for the award last time and always sharing, in the form of comments, similar experiences you have had with Rishabh. Its always such a big help to know there are others in the same boat :)

Suma - If I was to say in Hindi, I would say "Tum itne apnepan se comment karti ho". You make me feel as if I have known you for such a long time and that always feels great :)

- You do such a great job at your blog. The ups and downs of parenthood written with such honesty, links to great articles, wonderful craft ideas, your blog has it all. You are an inspiration :)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Summer camp begins and a busy week

Life moves on at different paces at different times, meandering around leisurely at times, making us wonder what else can we do, rushing past at some others making us rush along to catch our breath and then rush along some more; super cool at times where everything seems so hunky dory, the pieces seem to fall in place; rough at others with several ragged edges again leaving the livers wondering how to smooth out the creases.

Vansh started a summer playground camp this Monday where he goes to a neighborhood park a few miles away for 3 hours in the morning. They do some crafts, play some games, go the park to play on the slides and swings, have a snack and read some story or sing songs. This is his first such experience away from mom for 3 hours. The closest he had gotten was at ECFE where he was one room away from me for an hour in a surrounding he had been familiar with since he turned 18 months and the separation was gradual as we parents stayed with the kids for the first half hour and then moved to an adjoining room for the next hour. I wasn't really expecting it to be a smooth ride initially, considering his recent reaction to new surroundings and new people in India. He took his time to warm up. He held on very tightly physically and figuratively to the handful of people he felt comfortable with and only little by little did he increase that circle of trust he would let more loving aunts and uncles into. However I was fooled for the last 10 days or so looking at his enthusiasm as every morning on waking up, he asked me whether it was the day to start summer camp. A couple of his friends were enrolled in the camp as well and I thought may be just the excitement of being with them in the park was what will actually see him waving a cheery good bye at me and walking off. But that was not to be! He had a tough time letting me go on Monday morning. Though we reached about 10 minutes early to avoid too much of a rush the first day but he refused to get into the park building and looked overwhelmed looking at so many children and the several staff instructors. In an effort to get him in at least, I told him that he didn't want to be standing outside alone as some stranger might just whisk him away. I would like to know how you all feel about this but somehow I would like my children to actually have that fear of being alone away from me or my husband or from their group. Anyways so in he went holding on to my leg all along. After signing in, getting his name tag and putting his bag away he was asked to join the group of 3-5 year olds, 4-5 of which were present at that time with 2 young girls who were their teachers. On being asked by them whether he would like to come play, he responded with a loud and vehement NO! I was there for about 20 minutes with him telling him that he would have fun with other kids, they would go out in the park later in the day to play, noe of which seemed to change his mind. I also talked to the teachers telling them that I was expecting it to be hard for him the first few days. Gradually the place was filling in with more kids and parents and I spotted a couple more who were having a tough time separating. One of them was a girl, about the same age as Vansh, who was sulking and when her mother went out, she started crying, big tears rolling down her face. One of the teachers picked her up and took her for a drink of water after which I lost track. Another boy, slightly older, may be about 4-1/2 was quietly weeping in his mom's arms but after a few minutes did manage a decent good bye. Another teacher (Heather) who looked more experienced stopped by and started talking to him but he just kept saying NO to whatever she said. I told her about his anxiety and distrust of new people and that I was ready to leave him because I knew he wouldn't take a very long time to quiet down once I was gone. She said that would be good and that it was not uncommon for young children to behave that way as she had been dealing with them for the last 5 years. So she just picked him up kicking and arms flailing furiously and I just stepped out from the building. For about a minute, I could hear shrieks but I saw from the window outside that Heather had taken him outside the other side. I waited another half an hour outside, peeping in at about 10 minutes intervals and the first time, I saw him standing close to where Heather was picking up some papers and stuff, forlorn but not crying and then standing close to the group with her and the last time I saw he was sitting close to her while the others were doing soem craft. She saw me from inside and gave me a thumbs up which is when I decided to leave. When I went back to pick him up after the remaining 2 hours, he was standing there with a paper in his hand and his clothes had been changed. Oh darn! Why did I forget to make him go to the bathroom just before coming, I thought to myself. Even though the last night I had gone through the common phrases in English about wanting to go to the restroom, wanting water, wanting more snack if hungry but he had had a rough time coping up. One of his teachers told me that he had had a rough day, was mostly by himself and had had an accident while they were in the park. Dang yet again! I had written that out in his form that he needed to be reminded when playing outside in the park but hadn't mentioned it verbally to the teacher. So I just hugged him and we left with him telling me "Vansh ko accha nahin laga. Summer camp nahin aayega." I didn't want to make too much of it because it was his first day of his first such experience but I did feel a little bad. After having our lunch and settling down Jiya for a nap, I shared my experinece of my school days with him that how even I didn't like it one bit when I started school when I was as young as him, how I gradually started making friends and getting to know my teachers and knowing that they took care of me when my mom and dad were not there and ultimately how much I started loving it and insisted on going there even when I was down with a fever. Some of it I remembered, some of it cooked up (about not liking it in the first place - I have no idea how I reacted the first few days, shall have to ask my parents) but I could tell he felt a little better. Ashwini had a similar talk with him in the evening.

Tuesday was more or less the same. He was more vocal in expressing "I want not to go to teacher. I want not to go to summer camp. I want to go to papa." His cute little English sentences made me want to laugh, the feelings behind those made me want to cry. "He stayed by himself, didn't want to join in the activities or play with other kids" is what his teacher had to say that day. He hadn't wanted to use the restroom today. (I had also remembered to make him go just before leaving in the morning). Incidentally another friend of mine and her daughter Ashley, whom Vansh has met a few times before have also been going with us to the same camp. Tuesday afternoon saw him flashing a shy smile when she waved good bye to him while getting off the car.

Wednesday morning was worse because even Ashley didn't want to go to summer camp today. I couldn't even convince him to come inside with me. I asked my friend to hold Jiya for me and I picked up Vansh trying to comfort him. Heather came out after a while. And he literally yanked my hair when she took him forcefully from my lap. But I knew no other way would work with him either. At earlier occasions, I have tried talking to him gently, reassuring him but this doesn't work when its actually THE time to do something. The report at pick up time was slightly more encouraging as today after an initial rough phase, he had played in the park and had been spotted talking back and forth with Ashley in Hindi and had been playing with her at the water fountain when I went in. I had an idea that evening that might just do the trick I thought. Off late, Vansh loves to pretend that he is dad and proclaims several times "Vansh papa ban gaya" as he uses his toy keys to open the main door and come in and say "Hellliyo" , Or when he asks Jiya "Gudiya kya kar rahi hai?" or he sits on the sofa and pretends he is driving the car to downtown to his office, all typical Ashwini style. I told him that we are going to pretend that Vansh is papa and he is going to take his bag, give mom and Jiya a hug and kiss and say "Bye! Take care, have a nice day" just as papa does which he did with much enthusiasm and amidst many giggles as he saw mom making such a fuss about it. I told him we shall play the same game tomorrow morning when we drop him off for camp. And that really did the trick.

It was unbelievable when on Thursday, he actually walked in the door with me, took his name tag, put aside his backpack and then said "Bye!" with a happy smile followed by a giggle because he was shy to do the rest. But hey, who's complaining. I told him I was so happy with what he had done and kissed him as I said goodbye. The teachers confirmed he had a wonderful day today, played at the park, shouted in glee while running around. I was happy that he had adjusted so well and was back to being himself and having fun. And now both he and Ashely seem like the best of buddies as they share their snacks on the way back home, shout and wave big bye's at each other and tell us that they played with each other all along!

As we pulled out from the parking lot today, we heard another kid yell out at them from his car "I am going to be there next week too! Are you?" to which both of them yelled out together "Yeah!" and then excited Yay's and claps! I and my friend and the other boy's mom exchanged pleasant and triumphant smiles :)

As for me, I have been trying hard to fit to yet another new schedule as I drive him to summer camp everyday (the next week is going to be good I think as my friend is going to do the pick up/drop off), to his Karate class on three evenings (after exactly one month of going there and fooling around in the waiting area, driving me to the verge of giving up for the time being, he started going in and joining the other kids for the class this very week) and getting up early in the mornings to be ready by the time when we ought to leave. Its been a busy and exhausting week, rushing along, smoothing out those creases, but I am so glad to be happy and content at the end of it just looking at my son grow up some more and take those steps towards independence and forming friendships.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Working on a new look ...

... please bear with the asymmetries. Or may be you'll have to get used to them. Doesn't look like I am being able to figure out more than this.

*sheepish grin* Shy to ask for help :) Friends seem busy :) However if you are feeling altruistic today, tell me how to, if possible, stretch the picture to the entire width of the blog without distorting it :)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Vansh rode the bus today ..Yaaaayyy!!

He had been wanting to ride the bus for a long time. He had been wanting to go with papa to his office in downtown for a long time. Well actually he wants to go everyday - cut out the pre-school, school, college, he says and let me go to office straight! And every so often when we pass that huge bus station with a 5 level parking and ever since I took him on the 5th level which is open air and he got to see the sights from and the giant clock over there, he wants to go there too.

So today we took the bus from that very bus station, rode to downtown which is about a half an hour ride and visited papa in his office and had lunch together. It was a perfect dream day for Vansh. And so all throughout he had such a 'saintly' kind of happy expression on his face and such perfect mannerisms as if he was scared that even a teeny weeny mistake would end the whole dream. When I asked him to move towards Jiya's stroller for a picture, he actually moved there (without the teasing which he always does in such situations) with the same saintly smile, put his arm around her neck and posed!! He very keenly observed the driver driving the bus with much fascination and didn't speak much at all. Well thats him when he is fascinated with something. He observes very very keenly without many questions at all. He marvelled at the tall bulidings, the big fountains inside the buildings and the likes.

Jiya on the other hand, animated as always. She is such a shouter. She shouts to get to the window, she shouts to get the keys from my hand or the phone. She throws her sipper or her wash cloth or a toy once she is done with them. A very 'need to pick after' kind of baby. Keeps me on my toes.

The doting dad (and husband:) spent a good hour and a half roaming around the streets and the skyways and having Greek lunch with us. A lovely lovely day :)

Monday, June 9, 2008

Ten things ...

Swati and PG tagged me to do this one...

I am not sure I'll be able to come up with ten things on either list, which is partly the reason I had been putting it off for some time (sorry Swati :) ) - the other part of the reason was 2 young kids ..phew!! Don't even get me started on this one! These days I just keep trying to keep up with the pace life assumes with 2 little ones at home. Anyways thats besides the point for this post :)

... I miss right now

1. Being close to family.

2. Being there for the initial ceremonies as my dear brother-in-law just got engaged.

3. Being able to eat whatever I feel like eating without having to cook it myself :(

4. Being able to eat whatever I feel like eating without having to think about calories and carbs et al. (on second thoughts, does it make a difference to someone as thick skinned as me it doesn't!!)

5. College days, spending masti time with friends, not having to worry about anything; having fun at teachers' cost :D

Would have to do with this for now.

...I would like to achieve in the next decade.

Hmm ..lets see. Vansh would be 13 and Jiya 11 at the end of this decade. So it would have to be ..

1. I would like to work wit them towards them having nice well rounded personalities. Sociable, respectful of others, confident, wisdom to know right from wrong, confident of seeking guidance if they are unsure themselves.

2. Being at peace. I read a short yet truly wonderful book during my stay at my parents' place this time titled 'Mauji baatein' by Swami Anubhavanda who is a proponent of being always happy or rather equanimous at all times and has a very fun way of putting forward the same with quips and amusing remarks which fill his speech and writings. One of the best advice I read in his book was that rather than trying to change or rather improve the people one deals with, one should nurture the virtue of acceptance in oneself. 'Accepting' people for what they are
rather than always thinking of ways they could 'imrove' themselves to make us happy. And he further goes on to say that then one can use this accepting attitude to assist thmeselves in deciding ways to deal with that person. An example being, we accept it as a fact that we can get an electric shock if we are not careful with electricity. Now with the knowledge and acceptance of this fact, we act in accordance and in fact use the very same electricity for our benefit. So rather than filling our minds with negative thoughts and grudges about people and 'reacting' to what they said or did to us and not being able to 'act' properly as a result, its better to lead our lives the other way round by 'acting' and not 'reacting'. This to me was very very insightful. And I wish to imbibe this as a principle in my life.

3. On a less philosophical note, I wish to continue having a healthy and happy family :)

4. I wish to visit and experience different places around the world, particularly the still not commercialized ones with untouched natural beauty in India.

5. I wish to manage more time for pursuing other interests like reading and watching National Geographic which have taken a back seat for quite a while.

So these are mine, what are yours. I pass this on to Noon, Preethi, Dipali and Suma.

Quite a memory!

Incident 1

Vansh likes to sleep with his Winnie (the Pooh), well he likes to do everything with him - drink his meal, have his meals and now a days even takes him in the car with himself. The other night, I told him that I had put him in the washing machine for a wash and had yet to dry it in the drier. He agreed to sleep with another soft toy reluctantly and the first thing he asked as soon as he woke up in the morning was "Winnie sookh gaya?" (Is Winnie dry now?)

Incident 2

Some time back we had gone to a neighborhood to check out a second car for our family. We had gone there for the first time then. After a few weeks, it so happened, that I enrolled Vansh for karate classes and the way to his class turned out to be passing through that neighborhood. The first time I was taking him to his karate class, he amazed me by saying "Yahaan hum car dekhne aaye the!" (We had come to see the car here!)

Its amazing how much kids observe and remember! Vansh has surprised us with his directional sense more than once like knowing the roads that lead to a particular park after having gone there a couple of times and more recently identifying the 'galis' and the 'nukkads' which led to each grandparents' house in India. But this certainly took the cake!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Prayer time turned really funny!

Last night, while folding hands in front of Sai Baba before going to bed, as Vansh repeated after me what I asked him to say

Me: Bhagwan ji, mujhe accha bacha banao. (God, make me a good kid.)

Vansh repeats

Me: Mujhe acche sanskar do. (Bless me with good virtues)

Vansh : Mujhe acchi cars do !!! (Give me good cars!)


11 months of two kids in the house!

These months have just whizzed past me in a jiffy. I don't really know how to describe the feeling but its hard to now imagine the life we had before Jiya came by. Even though it just seems like yesterday but I now wonder what Vansh did around the house without her, what I did with all that time on my hands. I now realize I did have time on my hands unlike now when I keep trying to keep up with the pace life moves at with 2 young kids. It goes without saying what fun it is to have a baby in the house, more so as she's now developing a distinct personality, taking after her brother for the spiritedness. Sigh! I hoped that I would have at least one easy child. Looks like this one's going to outdo the elder one as well. Even though this one's supposed to be an update post about what Jiya is upto but it just wouldn't be complete without talking about both the siblings in the same breath.

She's a mover, fast when its the vessels clanging in her favorite dishwasher, faster when she hears the front door knob turn and she hears dad come in and fastest when she senses its time to go out and looks at Vansh putting on his shoes. She follows by picking hers out from the shoe rack and handing them over to one of us. But when it comes to following mommy around the house when she tends to chores, she's figured out that crying helplessly gets her on mom's hip thus increasing her speed to move around manyfold. She loves to unload the dishwasher though, delighting in the "Thank youuuu" I tell her as she hands me one spoon after another to be kept away at their proper place. She also loves being responded to with a "haanji" (yes) as she keeps saying "mamma, mamma, mamma" in different pitch and tones.

About a year back when Vansh's terrible two's made their ferocious tenacious presence felt and knocked me out several times in a day, sending me groping for solutions to experienced parents, asking them when things get better, I heard that magic number 'at 4 years' in several parents' conversation. So fraught with distress I was at that time, that I immediately thought after doing the easy calculation that when Vansh turns 4, Jiya would be 2 and I would still be experiencing the same things at that time. Little did I know that the terrible two's can happen as early as 11 months in the younger one. Now Vansh was a fairly easy little fella till about 14 months of age. But then he didn't have an elder sibling for showing him the shiny juicy delectable paths of what all toddlerhood can be. So when this one gets a reprimand from mom on leaving that 'masalas' drawer alone, not one but two antennae strike up, two pairs of eyes shine that mischievous smile, two little mouths don the silly grin as the bro-sis duo proceed to do exactly that. Its mighty hard to keep a straight face looking at those fun expressions.

She is one strong willed child. A NO means a NO for her. Try feeding her just that one extra morsel after she has expressed her being done with the meal and it'll come straight out of her mouth, that is if she has been distracted to open her mouth in the first place. Try offering her water when what she needs is milk and she'll throw the sipper vehemently accompanied by a strong cry. We hadn't experienced this behavior with Vansh till much later.

When both the kids are playing together, at times she's happy to be left alone and shouts when Vansh as much as tries to come close to see what she's playing with. She can spend a good fifteen minutes playing by herself in the room alone moving from one toy to another. Cars and Legos seem to have caught her fancy as well which is not surprising considering the special place they enjoy in Vansh's heart and life. Both siblings follow each other from one room to the next driving their own particular vehicles. Jiya's also been spotted moving other things like cups and scoops as if they were cars. At other times, she's the one who refuses to leave the other one alone as hard he tries. When he's in a good mood, he'll just let her have the toy he was playing with and move on to another one and she'll then want to move on too to what he picked. At times, I intervene when I hear a lot of yelling from both of them showing him to how to exchange toys with her or distract her with another toy if he doesn't want to part with what he's playing with. It works sometimes, doesn't work at others which is when both of them have to part with the problem creating toy. When it comes to absolutely touchy things like wanting that exact car that Vansh is playing with, he screams and she screams back, a louder scream, a manipulative scream in the knowledge that this heralds trouble for the elder one. Puzzles and crayons and paints are to be done on the table but I smell trouble with that too already as she'll stand up holding on to the leg of the chair or the table and keep doing 'aaa aaa aaa' in an attempt to be put on the table herself. Ideas? Ideas anyone?

And then of course there are the absolutely precious moments where both of them make each other laugh like no one else does. He literally shovels and throws her on the floor (Thank God for small mercies like it being carpeted) and starts to tickle her left, right and center all amidst peals of laughter from both of them. She throws herself over him when I ask her to say Good Night to him and does her own version of hugs and kisses; or extends her hand to his mouth so he can have a bite from the cracker that she's having after he's had his own. Blissful indeed!

For the records, she now has 4 teeth - 2 up and 2 down.

She cruises along holding onto furniture and stands for just about a second without support.

Eats everything of what we eat. Favorite foods - parathas, banana, apple and Parle G biscuits. We call her a 'ghodi' (female horse) because she does a little jig when we give her something sweet in her mouth :)

Sleeps 10 hours at night (gets up once or twice, no feeds though, goes back to sleep once patted a little) and takes 2 naps ranging from 1 to 3 hours each.

Huh!! Can't believe she'll be a year in less than a month's time!! CAnnot help but end with a cliche, when it comes to kids, time sure does fly!