Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Our new walkie talkie :)

She tries and tries, takes 3-4 steps before getting overly excited by her accomplishments and/or by the cheering we indulge her in and then topples over!

And oh she has so much to say. Its just the words that are missing, everything else the expressions, the intonation are just perfect. Here she pitches in her own bit in the song "You're my honeybunch..." as the rest of us laugh away at her funniness.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Woolly Sheep

We did a fun simple craft last evening and made a pair of woolly sheep. The best part was we didn't need any fancy supplies, we simply raided our bathroom cabinet and got ready for the fun.

We used:

  • toilet paper rolls
  • cotton buds
  • tape
  • cotton wool balls
  • glue
  • tissue paper
  • black marker
  • cheerios
We proceeded as follows :

1. We taped the cotton buds on the cardboard rolls to make legs.

2. I poured some white glue into a shallow dish. Then we dipped the cotton wool balls into the glue and stuck them all around the cardboard roll.

3. Next we scrunched up some tissue paper/kitchen towel and stuffed it into one end of the roll to make the head.

4. I had some black paper lying there, so I made small eyes out of it since Vansh was enjoying sticking with glue. You could also use a black marker like I did for the mouth.

5. Vansh smiled proudly, mighty pleased with his latest creation.

6. I wondered what to do about the horns until it struck me to use the cheerios the kids were snacking on. Now the couple of sheep, the sturdy standing one and the lazy lying down one, adorn our TV set :)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Updates after a long time - Part II - Verbal

Now for the most fun of all, the verbal updates.

- The sentences come out much more coherent now. He is a careful speaker though - doesn't speak too fast. One can see the effort put in to get out the sentence right. An inconsequential slip makes him leave the sentence mid way and start afresh or repeat the whole sentence with the mistake corrected. Having said that, he is not aware of many a slips himself and continues to amuse us immensely with those.

" Mere ka green glass hai."

" Yeh sab logons ke gharrrrs hain." (The plural of any word merits an 's' right!! :) And Oh the American twirl to the r is unmistakable!)

"Mere ko bahut accha nahin lag raha hai!" (He doesn't know the word ganda or kharab, I guess)

"I want not water. I want juice."

- He weaves stories now. And the tricky part is it doesn't begin like a story and in fact the whole of it is not really a story, there's reality in it too. So while he starts telling me something about his summer camp ... Incidentally while I am at it, allow me to digress. I never get to learn about how his day was or what he did or ate or played when I go to pick him up. Only when an incident takes place that is in some way similar to something that might have happened at summer camp as well or he is doing something that he had done there as well do I get to know about it. Bits and pieces is what I get. For instance, he begins to roar and declare "I am a MONSTER!!" and then tells me giggly as ever "Vansh and Mohit were roaring at the teacher" Which teacher I ask. He thinks for a moment and "That teacher!" comes the reply. Anyways back to weaving stories. So the other day he started telling me about an incident that apparently happened at summer camp.

Aaj Puru nahin aaya. (Puru didn't come today.) (making a sad face)

Koi baat nahin. Aapke aur friends to aaye the na. (But your other friends were there, no!)

Usko kal owie aa gayi thi. (He got hurt yesterday.)

Kahaan pe? (Where?)

Park mein. Woh park mein gir gaya tha. Phir uska tyre burst ho gaya tha. Phir bdoom bdaam boom ho gaya tha. (He fell in the park. Then his tyre burst. and then went bdoom bdaam boom!!)

Uska tyre kaise burst ho sakta hai Vanshi? (How can his tyre burst Vanshi?)

(thinks for a while) Aaj Puru nahin aaya tha. (excitedly) Vansh ne Puru ke saath masti kiya tha aaj! (Giggles) (Puru didn't come today. Vansh acted silly with Puru)

Par Puru to aaya nahin tha? (But Puru didn't come, right?)

Aaya tha! Usne Vansh ko maara tha phir Vansh ne usko maar diya tha!! (He came! He hit Vansh and then Vansh hit him)

Even though I do go on to explain to him ho to handle hitting et al but my mind is reeling as to which part is reality and which is the story apart from the tyre bursting part clearly being the story.

As I read through the last update post, I realized that the following conversation STILL takes place in our house even after 8 months!!!

Papa, office aa gaye?
Haan beta
Car park kiya?
Haanji kiya
Ashutosh uncle ke saath red/white car mein gaye the
Haanji, Ashutosh uncle ke saath gaya tha

Some things never change!!

And he is so much in awe of Ashutosh uncle that he pretends that he himself is papa and any other friend or even Jiya is pretend A uncle and they are pretending to go to office in a pretend car which can be the sofa or the dining table chairs or the car carts at the supermarket.

- Even though the fascination with cars and trucks and all moving things continue, he's taken it a step further as he now tries to fix the car when its tire bursts or when it needs an oil change. He uses his tools to also fix his fire truck bed after pronouncing that "Its not working!" He continues to surprise moms and dads of his friends by pointing out Lexus, Mitsubishis and Mazdas as they pass by. 'Contible' (read convertible) is his latest fancy. I am wondering whether he too will come up with Nantu's brilliant idea of breaking the roof to have one of his own :)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Updates after a long time - Part I - Behavioral

When I started this blog, Vansh was the only one around and had just turned 2 years old. I had more time at hand, more attention I could pay to all milestones which were more tangible that they are now. I wrote an almost monthly update on the new activities he indulged in, the new words he used, how he tried to string those into sentences and so on and so forth. Now the story is totally different. And just as I tried to look back into my archives, I realized the last one I had done was 8 months back. Huge leaps have been taken by him in these last 8 months, I realize as I read through that post. Each of the developmental aspects - behavioral, verbal, social merits a separate post. And so I decided to do a series of posts on each of these. And I start with the juiciest of all - behavioral :)

At last I see the silver lining to the dark cloud where behavior is concerned. Reason finally seems to work with him. So even though every instruction to do or not do something is met with a why, the logical answer seems to now make sense to him. He still has his moments, quite a few of them (its still just the silver lining, remember ;) ) but as long as he makes an effort to understand what we are trying to tell him, I am happy.

Ignoring and defiance are at an all time high. So even when I have a mighty stern expression on my face when I tell him to sit straight and not crouch while having his food, his first reaction is to do what he's told but then suddenly as the realization of him having his own will and a strong one at that dawns on him, he crouches back yet again, all the time keeping an eye on what my next move is going to be. Depending on my mood, I either repeat the instruction with some explanation or just try to choose my battles and decide this one's not worth picking and ignore him. Depending on his [mood], he either sits straight or decides this is one more of those issues where he can get away by defying me.

He still loves shouting when he is happy or when he is angry but on being reminded to use his indoor voice, he does that. He went through a phase where he would start yelling at me, "You stop it" and the likes, while pointing his finger. This went on for quite some time and got me worrying. I tried to ignore it, tried telling him that its not okay to speak to your mom or for that matter to anyone like that, even lost my patience and yelled back a couple of times. We stopped talking to him for a while after such an occurrence but the behavior repeated itself at least once a day if not more. It happened when he was upset about going to brush his teeth or to take a bath while he was playing with something. I tried giving him prior notice, using a timer, that it would be time soon to do a particular task. Even then he would do the same - ignore me the first time when it was actually time to do it and when I gave him the choice of coming himself or me picking him up to the bathroom or wherever, he would get very upset and start shouting. Its not easy to take it at the end of a tiring day or for that matter at any time. So I and Ashwini talked about it and came up with the idea of taking away a privilege - the daily evening walk - if he indulged in such behavior. We explained it to him the next day and he did seem to understand and in fact had a solemn expression at the consequence he might have to face. These days I also ask him to repeat after me what I expect him to do like saying "I shall put my blocks away after playing with them" one to make sure he has understood and two to make him understand he is accountable and agrees to what I am saying. I wouldn't say its foolproof but it does help as an additional tool to shape the right kind of behavior. So I made him repeat after me that he wouldn't talk to mom nastily which he did. It took one reminder when he just started to use that tone and thankfully its not happening any more. He still does point a finger and makes an unpleasant face when he's not too happy about something but I think thats his way of letting off steam there and then.

Two sure shot triggers to meltdowns are hunger and fatigue as they have always been with him. It so happens that every few weeks, especially when I see kids his age doing such a great job at feeding themselves and I or Ashwini calling after Vansh to come and have the next morsel, lest we call a monster or some big hunk to take him away, we find ourselves flustered, I decide I have had had enough and tell him and Ashwini that he's going to eat on his own from the next meal onwards and stay hungry if he chooses to not eat.

The scene next morning when I give him his breakfast.
Day 1 : Vansh, you eat your breakfast yourself.

You feed me!

Remember how so and so was eating himself/herself. For his benefit, I rant off names of as many friends I can remember saying that they all eat themselves.

Vansh starts with an expression of part disbelief at what I am saying and part reluctance in the knowledge that I, anyways seem to have made up my mind.

After a few bites, declares that he's all done.

I remind him how he turns all grumpy when he is hungry (he does understand that) and how he might feel very hungry at summer camp and not have anything to eat then. As a result, he takes one more bite and declares that he's done.

Okay its upto you if you want hunger to bother you after some time.

At lunch time, the scene repeats itself.

For snack, he devours the apple wedges, that are otherwise administered a royal ignore as they turn from white to brown.

Dinner time is slightly better but at the end of the day he's eaten half of what he normally does if I feed him.

How long can he fight hunger, I think, when he realizes that the only option now is to feed himself. After a similar second day, after the evening walk he has a MAJOR meltdown because he wants to go to his friend's house he just met. No amount of reasoning works with him. He clings to our legs if we try to ignore him, fights to break himself free if we try to hold him. The culprit for the situation assuming gigantic proportions is hunger. We struggle for almost an hour to get his remaining dinner down his throat and finally put him to bed. And its not the first time. Cos had it been I wouldn't have given up on the second day. I have tried to wait longer before this. But then that means having to put up with the fierce tantrums more often. Even then I probably would take that path if he was the only child in the house. But when its at a time when Jiya's napping or I need to get her down for bed, I am left helpless and I decide that its better to have a well fed, even if that means by one of us, and non cranky child rather than the one we have right now.

So the next day I am back to putting the bites in his mouth at breakfast while juggling cutting the salad and the fruits, heating everyone's milk, packing Ashwini's lunch while Vansh comments to no one in particular "Vansh has turned into a small baby again. Mom feeds me. I am not a big boy" Thank God Jiya eats herself during all the morning rush!

Monday, July 14, 2008

The fights!!!

Jiya is gradually turning into such a toughie. Till the time she was 8 months or so, we were thankful for having at least one easy going kid in the house. She has overtaken Vansh in the screams and the feisty mannerisms. And the problem right now is that the age that she is at, she doesn't even understand. So while I repeat myself at least a dozen times, if not more, to not throw something when she is done with that, she doesn't understand. I have tried converting it to a positive as well telling her to put the sipper cup on the table when she is done drinking but may be its just 5% better than the negative one.

She follows Vansh around wanting to play with the exact same things as he does, screams and cries loudly for those and is done with it exactly 5 seconds after he gives it to her and moves on to the next thing he has laid his hands on, and this is only if Vansh is in an altruistic mood, otherwise God save our household!

And I am nervous about handling the whole thing. If I jump in, the incidents seem to increase and Jiya screams all the more at trivial things knowing that I'll come and she'll get a chance of playing with something. And I don't know if its okay to let them be. Because Jiya has now started to snatch Vansh's hair and although Vansh knows to keep his hands to himself but retorts back when she does that. And like I said Jiya doesn't as yet understand that she's not supposed to do that. And of course hearing to those screams without doing anything about them is disturbing.

Here's a video I started shooting as I thought it was one of those occasions where they were being real nice sharing and passing that box back and forth to each other, taking turns talking in it and laughing. Ultimately it did end up in the REAL thing.

Please do drop in your suggestions. And if there aren't any, just enjoy the video. I have to admit its rather funny!!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Such is life ...

We returned from our 5 day trip to the east coast on Wednesday early morning. After waking up I called home. Nobody picked up the phone. I called dad on his cell. He said they were at an uncle's place, they came because anyways the internet was down and hence they could not log on to the yahoo chat which they do almost every single day. He asked me how our trip was, how the kids and us were doing and asked me to take care. He did sound a bit morose but I didn't suspect anything.

The next morning I logged on myself and waited. They didn't log on. The internet must still be down I thought and carried on with the chores. I saw my dad's cell number on the caller id as I picked up the phone. He didn't have to call me again to ask me just after a day how we were doing, how much he worries, I thought to myself. It was my mom. She asked us about the trip, about the kids having rested enough, about Ashwini being well rested before joining back work. I asked her about the internet being down still. Papa will tell is all she said. Some technical stuff, I thought. I spoke to dad whom I asked the same thing. There was nothing else to say, we had just spoken yesterday.

Mom is in the hospital, he said, with a light forced laugh.
What happened?
She slipped at home and fractured her arm and her leg.
Yesterday morning.
Yesterday morning? When did I talk to you?
Last night but you had just returned tired from your trip. And she (mom) had just been operated upon then and still under the effect of the anesthesia and in no position to talk which would have worried you no end.

Oh my , why are my parents like that, I thought to myself for the umpteenth time. They are in pain, sharp pain and they still think of me not getting worried. I tried hard to swallow that lump forming in my throat. I just couldn't break down and increase their worries manifold. All they would think about then is how bad I felt and my mom would almost hold herself guilty for having done something to make me cry! No, that HAD to wait!

Operated?? How seriously did she hurt herself?
She fractured her left arm and her left leg. At her age (she is 62 now), when the bones are anyways getting weak, its better to operate rather than wait with the cast for 6 weeks and find out that the recovery hasn't been too good and then go ahead with the operation. They trusted the doctor and went ahead with it.

How did she fall?
We had called some pest control guys and they had almost finished their job. We had gotten ready to leave for a couple of hours and leave the house closed for the proper effect of the pest spray. Mom went into the back room to change her footwear without realizing that there was liquid spilled on the floor. She slipped in the narrow space between the bed and the door. So while they had planned to go out together to a mall, they ended up in an ambulance to the hospital.

Don't worry, he said again. He had been repeating it in the entire conversation.

I asked to speak to mom again gently chided her for not telling me anything earlier. She was in pain yesterday, she said but was feeling much better today.

I asked her to take care and again told me not to worry.

Worrying won't help, at all, I know! I just feel sad being so far away, thinking we could have helped had we been closer. As I count with eagerness the few months that are left for us to go back and relocate, close to our families, these are situations I dread. Things happen, I know. Just let me be close to my family when they do is what I ask of God. Because that's the very reason we don't want to be here. Bith then Destiny is HUGE. This is not the first time I have bowed to her. Life doesn't unfold according to our plans is the truth, sometimes sweet, at others bitter.

Anyways I am thankful to God for the fact that my parents are fortunate to have a wonderful family and friends around to help. They had been calling and asking for ways they could help - food, staying in the hospital, being there for just moral support. I am so so lucky for not having to worry on that front. But a child is after all a child. I had spoken to them last night. In the morning my mother in law called me and told me about the progress and so I thought I'll call tomorrow morning. But my parents just felt like talking to me and they called themselves at quite an early hour for them.

The morning tea wakes me up early here, laughed my mom.

She is a brave woman with amazing portions of patience and will power. She is always on her feet with never a dull moment. She is the sort of person who'll never crib about any situation but find ways of keeping herself occupied and making the most of it. I do wish her a very very speedy recovery. She needs this rest I know. Only that this was way too harsh to get just that.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Happy Birthday little one ...

.... from all of us with all our love :) Thank you for bringing the joys, the laughs, the abundant happiness and sunshine in our home; for being the cuddly little bundle that you are; for brightening up our days with that radiant smile; for the musical blabbering that lifts up tiring spirits; for the gentle touches and the sloppy kisses. You are adorable for reasons more than one!

Today we celebrate you as you turn one! "So soon" is all I can say. So many times I told you in your ear to just stay the way you are, little enough to fit in my arms. You didn't pay any heed! Well that's just the beginning, I know :)

We thank God for a happy and healthy child, for watching over her and showering her with blessings this past year. We pray to Him to do that forever - shower you with the best of health, many many joys and much good luck throughout your life. May you give as well as receive bountiful love just the way you do today.

I did a post on updates less than a month back. There are a few fun additions though -

- Not much has changed except that the shouts have gotten louder as have the laughs. You are so eager to join in the jokes complete with claps et al. The smiles have gotten more infectious, the twinkle in the eys more pronounced and the naughty gleam even more unmistakable.

- Tantrums are coming big time now but they are more funny than anything else. The way you pound that little palm on your booster seat table and let out a loud 'aaaa' when I take away that sipper cup you have thrown to the ground at least 5 times, we can't help but smile. And who taught you to hit your head against the floor when I am unable to pick you that very instant that you demand to be picked.

- You so love to be cuddled and kissed, don't you. Every few minutes while playing around, you come to do just that, climb into each of my lap and papa's, quickly throw in your cheek and your whole body at us and just as quickly climb out to move on.
- This one's my favorite. The last few days as we have been building up the tempo for your birthday and as we ask you "Jiya kitne years ki hone wali hai", you raise your index finger and say in an incredibly peppy tone "unnnn" for 'one'. Adorelicious!!!

- Oh and do you know how you are known and in fact quite popularly among American friends? That cute little girl with those anklets referring to your 'payal' and you are making me famous too in the process as the mom of that cute little girl with those anklets :)

Happy Birthday darling Jiya!!

A few more pictures from not too long ago.