Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Some days I really wish I had more time on my hands to jot down the bitter sweet hapenings of these early years of the kids. It is so interesting to hear them talk so much and get to know what they think, how they make sense of the world around them. Anyways let me attempt to ruffle up a quick post about tiny tidbits with one eye on the clock above me which shows they'll be up from their afternoon nap any minute and the other eye on them, one on each level of the bunk bed, a rare and a precious sight.

- We took the kids to pick out their shoes last weekend to a neighborhood market shop. Vansh picked out the most gaudy looking shiny red and black pair. I tried to (not so) gently encourage him to pick more sober ones but Ashwini told me to let him has his way rather than fighting everyday over making him wear it. Wise man, considering that just the previous night, we had spent over 45 minutes doing just that - fighting over what he wanted to wear at the birthday party and what we thought he would look 'dressed for the occasion' in. Ashwini learnt his lesson in those 45 minutes, the silly me forgot even after such episodes every other day.

- While on shoes, all Jiya wants to wear are her golden sandals wherever she goes. Even to the toilet, yeah! and the park. She doesn't mind being the only one even after I point out to her that all kids she knows there are wearing shoes. I am waiting for the 'conformity' factor to kick in. Right now she also likes to flaunt her picked 'color of the day' chunni with whatever it is she is wearing - skirt, jeans, frock! Why wouldn't she - after all she does manage to catch everybody's attention and often adulation. Churis and bindis are a regular feature too and nailpolish she brings thrice a day to me. I swear I have no idea how she got into it so thick because I am nowhere close to what she is aiming to be!

- Sibling love shines through many a times during a day these days. They still fight like cats and dogs, often making me nervous to even take that bathroom break. Friends ask me why I take them out so much even to nonsensical places at times and I tell them that's because I find it impossible to control/keep them entertained at home! Like I said it becomes hard for me to go use the bathroom, even. Anyways back to sibling love. These two have wonderful conversations when Vansh returns from school. Jiya tells him the highlight of her day and Vansh shares his. Today from a collection of goody bags he had got as it was three of his classmates' birthday, he took out a packet of Cadbury Gems and told Jiya he had got it for her because she likes it so much :) And when Jiya shows him her mehndi she has doodled on her hands with a pen or any such small thing, he responds with an "Arre wah! yeh to bahut accha hai!" I wonder how he suddenly grows up so much around her.

..... might be continued ... :)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Dear Grandchildren

I write this letter to you as a mother to your dad, who is now 4 and a half and would be 30 something when u read this, with the exact intention of letting you know all that he did to me. I already look up to you to avenge me - the drama, the tantrums, the ignoring, the whining! Your grandma writes to you to give you ideas to do all this and more as I watch from the corner finally smiling that triumphant smile and waving my fore finger and nodding my head to say "See, life does come full circle!"

- Starting morning, as I give him his bed milk (yeah that's a 4 year old's equivalent of bed tea), he wants to drink it propped against one particular pillow, with one and only one particular teddy bear in hand, all the curtains drawn and the door shut with me outside. As I rush back after 10 minutes as the time demands for him to be bathed immediately to be ready for school in time, I see the glass still half full and him sleeping peacefully and he asks for some more time to finish that half glass which ultimately he still doesn't!

- After being bathed, he takes delight in taking off that towel and running naked all around the house making sure no one misses that visual often in front of the window as well for the outside world to see, after being told a thousand times its not right.

- When I call him to wash his hands/brush his teeth/go use the bathroom, he comes up with a hundred and twenty seven things to do that he just remembered on his way to the wash basin and that need his immediate attention. Why don't I just let him be you ask, well one that too is met by him flinging himself around my legs and shouting why I treat him like this and two, well who do you think would have to deal with stomach flu's and rotten teeth ..ah the price one has to pay to be a parent!

- When I tell Jiya, your bua, that the chocolates in the fridge are finished and the market is closed to get any more, he tells me not to lie to her right there in front of her and argues endlessly when I try to explain!

- On being told that we are going somewhere on a particular day, he asks me a hundred and thirty six questions on a typical day till the time we actually go which range from which mode of transport would we be going by, why can't we use any other, why we are going, when would we come back, when does tomorrow come, when do day and night come, what is today and what is tomorrow, but why isn't today tomorrow - you get the drift, right?!

Its a struggle kids, it really is ...so go ahead now's your time and now's HIS turn! I am here to support you!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Conversations ...

...between the siblings - sweet, innocent, delightful, fill up our household with much cheer these days. Its sheer joy listening to their understanding of the complexities of the world and how it functions. One such conversation went like this

Jiya (to Vansh) - dhishkaaon, dhishkaaon (some gun sounds)

Vansh: Jiya aise nahin karo, main aapko chowkidaar ke paas le jaaonga. (Jiya, don't do that or else I'll take you to the guard) and goes on to pick her up by putting his hands under her arms.

Jiya: Nahin, nahin, nahin, nahin. Sorry bhaiya! (No, no, no, no, sorry big brother)

Vansh: Theek hai, ab nahin le jaaoonga! Mamma, Jiya ne sorry bol diya. Ab use chowkidar ke paasle jaane ki zarrorat nahin hai! (Alright, I won't take you now. Mom, I don't need to take Jiya to the guard now!)

Jiya (with a naughty twinkle in her eye) : Dhishkaaon, dhishkaaon

... and runs away with Vansh running after her, the house reverberating with their squeals. :)

And these conversations are the rays of hope and of delight in the tough times we have been facing for the last close to 2 months. Jiya has been catching one infection after another. It started with an ear infection. The ENT specialist that we went to prescribed 7 medicines for her including antibiotics. I read about it extensively on the internet and gave her only 2 - the acitamenophen and the ear drops and it went away. Some masty 9-10 boils followed all over her body. After the 4th boil, when they refused to subside and continued to pop up, she was prescribed a week of antibiotics. A week or so later when I took her to her pediatrician for a fever, which thankfully turned out to be viral and went away in a couple of days, a more serious problem was diagnosed. Her lymph nodes in the neck area were swollen, most likely because of the bacterial skin infections earlier and another week of antibiotics followed accompanied by medicines for relieving the fever. More medicines had to be added to counter the side effects of the antibiotics because she had developed blisters deep inside her mouth. I hate giving 5 ml of so many medicines when all you needed in the US was 1.6 ml of Tylenol sparingly but then I don't have a choice. A possible reason for the swollen lymph node could be that her ear infection never healed properly which is why this happened - I can never know. She cries and cries. I have to literally force her little body under my legs as I lay her down, force open her mouth and hold it open with one hand and hold her nostrils shut with the other as I put the syringe/dropper filled with the medicine and empty it there so that she can't spit it out. 3-4 meds at one time takes close to an hour which means the poor child spends close to 3 hours crying resisting the awfulness which is still forced upon her.

And then suddenly she started getting up in the middle of the night and howling like crazy. She would slither away from our hands and just cry endlessly. After trying a lot of things and watching her diet very carefully, on the third such night we just took her to the Emergency. The doctor there prescribed gas and colic drops. We called her ped the next morning and he asked us to get a urine test and culture and a stool test. Instinctively I knew it was a Urinary Tract Infection and I was right. The ped told us that it had been detected early and it could have led to much worse symptoms. So she is on another week of unavoidable antibiotics. Always a petite baby, she now looks more lean than ever and as a result everyone notices and comments - advices on what to feed her and how, what and what not to do follow - well meaning but it gets a lot at times. Unfortunately its become a vicious cycle I think - infections, antibiotics, low body resistance, more infections - yikes!!

I just pray to God to break the cycle soon. Very very thanfully she's a chirpy child throughout the day. And I am getting better at shortening the medicine administering and hence the crying time.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Meal Times

...just got a tad bit easier these days. I keep my fingers and toes tightly crossed as I type this. Handing Vansh a worksheet he picks himself to work on - ranging from coloring to pre-reading, pre-math, mazes, basic crosswords has him busy working on those as I put in one morsel after another in his mouth.

The plus - he stays put and works.

The thrill - he is READING and doing a good job at it.

The bonus - Jiya wants to do the same and stays put for her meal too.

Sometimes you seem to have hit the JACKPOT while parenting!!! Amen to more such times!

Watch the video to get jealous if you have kids who run away when you try to feed them and just for fun if you are in the other minority category.

And tell me what are your tricks?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Four years and counting

These are some of Vansh's thoughts on 'growing big', something he is currently obsessed with and talks about a lot -

- Mamma, you know I am going to be 5 years soon (7 months is soon enough, no), then I'll be 6, then 7, then 8, then 9, then 10, then 11, then 40, then 80, then 90 to 100 to 40 to 69 to 500. For once I thank God he doesn't know his counting well enough to say all the numbers till 100 in the correct order.

- When I grow bigger than you, then I will scold you.

- When will I become bigger than you? Then will I be bigger than papa also? And goes on to ask the same question about all the other members of the family including Jiya. And I'll be bigger than Jiya also?When I ask him 'But aren't you already bigger than Jiya?' , he has that part amused and part embarassed expression on his face at having asked a silly question which he voices with an "Oh!" :)

- Mamma, jab aap aur bade ho jaaoge na, tab aap doctor banoge, pata hai! (Mamma, when you grow up even more, you'll become a doctor, you know!)

Ok?! But I was a teacher you know and that's what I'll be when I return to work.

Nahin jab aap aur bade ho jaoge, tab bol raha hoon! (No when you grow up even more, then you will be a doctor).

As for hiw own career plans, they oscillate between a Metro Train Construction Engineer to a doctor depending on where he went that particular day.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Heard yesterday ...

... as I entered the room after brushing my teeth and changing into my night dress, both the siblings lying down on the same pillow face to face with a smile and deep in conversation

Vansh - Jiya kaunsi kahaani sunaoon? (Jiya which story should I tell you?)

Jiya - aaannnn ..Giaff wali (aannn ..the Giaff one)

Vansh - Giraffe waali nahin aati (I don't know the Giraffe one)

Jiya - aaaannnn ...Monkey waali (annn ..the monkey one)

Vansh - monkey waali bhi nahin aati (I don't know that either)

Jiya - phir kaunsi aati hai (which one do you know then?) (this is where my jaw started to drop, she actually has the logic and the righht words to express that??!! when? where? how?)

Vansh - accha main monkey or metro train waali sunata hoon (Ok I'll tell you the monkey and metro train one) (oh yeah, you just have to meet Vansh for 5 minutes to realize thathe's obsessed with metro trains.)

And he then goes on to narrate a 2 line story where the monkey first boards the train to Ambience mall and then after having fun there boards it again to City Square mall. And is met with generous doses of boisterous emphatic laughter from the captive audience who can never awe her brother enough.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The winds of change ...

... have been blowing through the Sukhwani household for some time now. And bringing about changes in ways more than one. Changing a largely self centred toddler/pre-schooler into a child who thinks about others, feels for them and at times even puts himself in their shoes and empathises. Changing a shy child who shut himself off just watching from a distance as relatives and friends tried to talk to him, grew violent if someone pushed too hard, into a child who's learnt pleasant talk and a pretty cute one at that :), someone who doesn't hesitate to wave hello to a boy accross the road whom he has been seeing board his school bus at the same time as himself in the morning or to an elderly gentleman whom he sees in the park in the evening and who is becoming increasingly competent at striking a conversation himself.

It makes me wonder as to how these amazing changes take place. There must be a variety of reasons I can attribute these changes to. I remember noticing some of them and date them to as much as 9-10 months back. I remember talking to Ashwini about it when on a pretty crowded Dandiya night, he had asked me to accompany him to watch some of the older kids play. He had joined in, albeit for a few minutes, after a long time of watching and it was a big leap for him to take because not very long back he had preferred sitting in the car alone in the parking lot in front of the small lawn in which we practised for the same dandiya night because the crowd intimidated him. Even after coming back to India, he had been shy at most occasions and preferred to stay by the people he was close to. At the park in the evening, he called out to me or Jiya to play with him when other children played among themselves. He reasoned to me and to himself in the process that shouting, being somewhat rough with each other, negotiating their turns for batting/bowling/swinging all of which is a part and parcel of playing among a coterie of friends, made them bad children and so he didn't want to play with them. Now I see him as a part of the same coterie, still not as steady, not as sure of the small to-be-made decisions he is faced with everyday. I see it on his face when someone asks him for a ride on his bicycle and he contemplates because this one is a good friend but yesterday he has had an unpleasant experience with another child who refused to return it to him even after a good amount of time, the uncertainty in his voice when he too wants to bat and makes an attempt to fight for what he wants to do. I see him slowly getting there as he tries to make sense of the dynamics driving various relationships. He makes quite a few assumptions like he'll be called a silly boy just because he is new wanting to join an already formed group of friends or he'll be left out and not played with because he decides to not share his cycle. His actions thus look like the wobbly first steps of a baby as he walks the fine line between being accepted and being rejected. I see the effects of peer acceptance and peer influence shaping his personality.

As a parent, it makes me sit up and take note. I myself wonder about what my reaction should be, what should I tell him to do and how, which battles should I let him brave himself and which are the ones I should get into myself. I walk the fine line with him where I want my child to be accepted and liked by his peers and at the same time not be walked over. To be honest, I wonder when other mothers remark that he is very sweet to be so forthcoming about sharing his things whether he is being a tad too sweet. For though I wouldn't dwell upon it too much here but I do see the society including the children becoming a bit too intolerant and self centered at least to my comfort. So even though morals and ethics ask me to tell him to be loving and sharing, practicality asks me to also make him skilled to fight his battles when the need be. And so at times, I do tell him in a humored way, making it sound funny, to threaten the child who teases him and doesn't stop even after Vansh asking him to do so, that he's going to complain to his mom. At this point it has been working. I do walk up to the boy who rides his bicycle as if its his own totally ignoring the fact that its actually another child's who's been sweet enough to share it with him and ask him in sweet but firm tone to let him have it back. Children today have become mighty good with their arguments, I must say and so I don't expect them to always listen to a 4 year old and so I intervene.

Peer influence also means that we have to deal with rough behavior, unpleasant sounding words and tones which he clearly picks up from children at school/summer camp. While his teachers are all praises about him being a good and polite child at school, at home he does try out whatever he observes/hears other kids do. We are still at a very very primitive stage in dealing with this behavior because its just now that we have realised the reason behind it. Earlier we addressed the behavior as his own but now we realise the focus would have to shift a bit to make him understand and realise where its coming from and its effects. I would so appreciate help from readers/parents who have experienced this on ways to deal with it.

I see that this post has already become a long one. And so I'll sign off here - the thinking about others and feeling for them part I'll leave for part 2 of the same post :)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Happy jai jai jai jai :)

Dear Jiya

As I sit down to write your second birthday letter, the first thought as always is two years? Already? And the mind races back to the day and time it happened. At Michaels' right across our apartment building on July 1, 7:00 in the evening a sales associate asked me " When are you due?" and I told here " I am in labor right now!" and it was funny to see her reaction :)The ride to the hospital, who all I spotted on the way, the contractions, the joy on being told I was already 5 cms dilated all come back as clearly as they happened that day.

So to relive the joy of the day and the life ever since, let me pen dpwn the lovely and the not so lovely things you are upto these days :)

You talk in paragraphs now. "Jiya bhookha nahin laga, pyasi laga hai. Chana nahin do, pani de do." (Jiya is not hungry, she is thirsty. Don't give me chana, give me water) You like to assume the role of the entire family's caretaker when you ask whether everyone's taken a bath ,combed their hair and whether everybody's water been taken when we go out.

You sing turning even the simplest of sentences into loud laugh inducing pieces. So hard as we try to pretend to be fast asleep so that you also decide to do the same, a little voice falls in our ears singing" Elephant pillow pe soyega Jiyaaaaa", "Jiya ne dudhu pi liyaaaaa" and we burst out laughing joined in by delighted squeals from you as well. Even the classic 2 year old "nahin's" to every question we ask come as songs :)

Its amazing to see the various shades of your personality, sharing delightedly one moment, willing to give away everything you have and fighting fiercely the next for that one single block even if you have the whole box. The tantrums are fierce, lying down on the floor and screaming ones and nothing seems to work when they happen.

You refuse to walk more than five steps when we step out and ask to be picked up in mamma's godi. Except if we are in a quiet, cool, sparsely populated with people and densely populated with flora and fauna place like Kasauli and closer to home India Gate where you walk with a charming jig and humming a tune often. You also like to be held very close when we go to the park and I a stop to talk to friends even if there are other children you see on a daily basis playing around. But I am sure you'll realize soon that most of the fun happens away from mom rather than in her lap.

You used the end of your washcloth as a pacifier when you slept or in general when you felt the need to pacify yourself. thsi ahppened for the longest time, so much so, that its even recorded in your chacha's wedding video and pictures. I finally gathered the courage last week to do what it takes to take take away an addiction. Expectedly you have been dispalying withdrawal symptoms. So if I don't, for some reason, take you inside for sleeping while you are still in a good mood (which is when the above mentioned songs flow out), I have had it. Last afternoon, I spent over an hour and a half pacing the floor with you because you wanted to sleep in my lap being carried and the moment Ilaid you down seeing that you were fast asleep, you bawled and woke up. This happened thrice. And at times like these, its impossible to calm you down. Last week the game on my phone worked. Yesterday it didn't. Fianlly it was 'lakki lakki' (lakdi ki kathi) and 'bum bum bum' (bum bum bole) with earplugs in your ears that did the trick. I wonder who was more exhausted at the end of it when both of us slept like logs for two hours.

You are such an entertainer. The songs, the dances - whether its imitating steps while watching the latest Bollywood chart toppers on TV or singing "Saas gali dewe, te samjha samjha dewe" or singing "jai jai sai, jai jai sai" yourself and clapping and dancing to the the same, no one can help but smile at this charming little two year old, that's you. You make Vansh too laugh out so loud when you we ask you "papa kahaan gaye" and you reply "dance karne" or when I ask you "Jiya ko itna badmaash kisne banaya" and you say "Chacha ne" or when you sing "Happy jai jai jai jai" instead of "Happy Birthday to you." And all of this you do with much elaan as if you know so well that all that you are doing is being appreciated by the captivated audience.

You follow your big brother like an idol. So wanting water, not wanting water, wanting to eat chau (rice), not wanting to eat chau, wanting to drink froma sipper/cup/bottle, wanting to go potty, wanting the same red block - all happen in pairs. The result is hilarious at times and hair pullingly frustrating at others. But I have to tell you something. While I would like to be absolutely fair to both you and Vansh, many a times in order to maintain oeace when VAnsh is in a good mood, I do tell him to let you have your way. Most of the times he is pretty good about it. At others he does so grudgingly shotuing "Jiya gandi ladki hai." but he loves you to bits. Yesterday in part frustartion and part inquisitiveness as to how he would react, I offered to him to take you back and leave you in the hospital. In his way with clenched teeth and a voice which came out with a lot of force, which in my style would translate to an extremely teary eyed response, he said "Jiya acchhi lagti hai. USe mat chhod ke aao" (I like Jiya a lot, don't leave her in the hospital).

Whatever catches your fancy, you decide to do it innumerable times in day. So a while back it was playing with the magnetic letters which you demanded to be taken out the first thing in the morning and the last thing at night., then it was Vansh's transport puzzle and now the latest obsession is Leap Frogs' Letter Factory and Word Factory DVD's. You watch them at least 3 times in a day if not more.

And now the most special to me - I love the way you love me. I love the way you get me whatever it is that you are eating when I am in the kitchen and insist that I eat it from your hand, the way you ask for me first thing in the morning when yiu wake uo and walk out the door, the way you keep showering me with sloppy kisses and hugs and singing "I like mamma" as you do that, the way you look at me when I am feeling low as if you understand everything and then come close to me and cuddle and put your little face in the hollow of my neck. I love you sweetheart for all that and more. And I wish for you the very best always. I look forward to mothering you for yet another fun filled and eventful year for I know that it sure is going to be a big one. I wish for it to be filled with wonderful moments, loads and loads of love and happiness and joys.

Much love today and always

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Forgiveness ...

.. is what I ask of you dear daughter for the last proper update I did for you was at 14 months and now you stand just 2 weeks short of your 2nd birthday!! *gulp* Before you shout "Sacrilege", let me just tell you that I have been making notes of the giant leaps which have been the last 10 months for you and I'll publish them here, just like that, in bits and pieces for your birthday :) I know you'll forgive me because finally there's one person for whom I know I am the world and that's you :) As for now, life's really cool for you.
You drink juice straight from the box and get away with it with just an impish smile and your signature coy expression of putting your hands on top of your face and giggling. You get to play the patient to a doting doctor you have for a brother.

And you get to watch your favorite videos with breakfast served right there.
Must feel like heaven, eh?!
And forgiveness is what I ask of you dear readers and friends for still not posting the promised Kasauli pics. Let's just assume that I have been keeping quite busy and I'll post them soon. So "Friends, I have been keeping quite busy and I'll post them soon! Till next time Chao!"

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A weekend getaway to Kasauli

Am yet to upload pictures of the tranquil serene destination that we went to on a 3 day trip. We stayed at Gharkal from where Kasauli is another 3 kms. We also drove to Chail, another beautiful city in the same state that's Himachal Pradesh. There was nothing much to do and so all we did was relax, took walks in the small markets with the old city charm and the lovely trails which offered bountiful treats to the senses.

The view from the hotel room was very very soothing - vast expanses of mountains with trees all over, old rustic houses with their residents tending to their everyday chores beginning early morning. I set the alarm for 6' o clock in the morning because I absolutely love the early morning sights and sounds at such places but woke up even before the alarm rang. I went to the terrace first alone and then with Vansh who also woke up soon after and marveled at the scenery as he followed the rumbling buses going up and down the hilly roads and declared that we too ask his school bus to pick him up from this hotel where he was loving it (yeah thats his words not mine) and also told me not to worry as he would be late coming back from school because "Hotel door hai na!" (the hotel is far, no!)

I loved being able to wake up the next morning and read a book in bed, not having to worry about breakfast and packing lunches and sending Vansh off to school and then the kids snuggling close to me and laughing out loud on being tickled and poked and then waking up Ashwini by doing the same. The happy family picture portrayed in advertisement jingles was now my own and I thanked God through and through for that.

Vansh learnt the difference between the yellow number plate of a taxi and the white one of a private vehicle and spent the next two days pointing out one from the other.

He acted like such a darling big brother asking Jiya to take a nap as there was still some time to go before we reached, holding her hand to ensure her safety if the path became steep. In another instance, he called our room phone from his grandparents' room (it was a superhit pastime activity for him - calling up across rooms on the hotel intercom), realised that Jiya was asleep on the bed in our room and immediately cut the phone so as not to disturb her and came back to tell me the same.

The kids loved taking walks on the trails. While Jiya refuses to get down from my lap even if there are very few people around anyplace we go but she literally walked with a jig on the quiet and beautiful trails, the kids threw stones in the deep valleys beneath, picked up sticks and just beat around with them as I took pleasure in watching one of the sights I enjoy the most - kids revelling in the most simple pleasures Mother nature endows on us. They themselves quitened down to listen when the breeze blew causing the leaves to rustle, asking what it was or when they heard a koel cooing its sweet 'coo' and then imitated the same sound themselves.

I wanted to pen down these heart warming memories I returned with even though the pictures are missing. I'll most likely update the post with the pictures in a day or two.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Updates and the motherhood tag

God really is omnipresent. All you have to do is call him in your life and ask and he is there giving you hints, showing you signs in things you see, you read, people you meet and there joining the pieces together, you see they fit giving you your answers. And so as I struggled with the 'phase', I prayed to Him to show me the correct path, to give me more patience and strength and he started showing me the signs, one after the other in the form of friends writing to me - once again thanks so much Kodi's mom for the detailed mail with the empathy and the tips and then the wonderfully thought out post. You have sorted out your feelings and thoughts and in the process mine so coherently. The biggest lesson learnt is and I quote "Who cares a rat ass about what some random stranger thinks about my child?" Bang on right, you go girl! What comes to mind is the famous shloka from the Bhagwad Gita

Karmanyeva dhikaaraste ma faleshu kadachan

I pray to God to help me do the correct thing and I leave the rest to him.

Thank you Subha for this post of yours on letting some things be, taking joy in others and just learning along the way as you enjoy.

Thank you Tharini for always inspiring with your posts. Just this passage from one of your posts made me see things from a child's perspective and made me re-think my disciplining strategies.

"....Its not easy being them either. Its not easy being a child, who has no authority. Its not easy being told what to do all day long. Instruction after instruction belted out, in very impatient tones, hardly aware of the effect of such a thing. Words spoken in haste, actions stemming from harshness, a cold withering look, impatience to listen, overruling in a second.....how easily and how much all this becomes a habit."

Thank you each one of you who took the time out to empathise and comment and tell me that this too shall pass. Just knowing that other moms you appreciate and exchange notes with have been there at some point of time gives you a degree of comfort that its not something that I am doing thats making all this happen.

And thank you dearest mom for being my pillar of strength. You, who is a stickler for perfection and good behavior, told me that its okay. Its a phase that I have to display utter patience in, shower my love on him, win his trust and confidence so much that he actually looks forward to being good for me. The more I think about what you said, the more the statement unfolds itself for me making sense all along.

So we are getting there slowly and steadily. I am looking for more and more ways to say yes, trying to listen myself and teach him to listen when we speak, helping him cool down when he begins to lose it, tell myself that at least 1 in 10 times he'll remember what I told him and that'll be a start and cherish the moments when he tells Jiya "You are small Jiya but I am the elder one and so you can have a turn first, I'll wait for mine" or "Mamma I am going to look at the trees and the birds outside because I need to cool down." and I smile and tell myself that this indeed is a start. I know I am working hard as a parent and I have faith in God to not let that go waste.

And now the tag. Gauri and Sole tagged me to pen down five things that I like about motherhood.

- I love knowing a person so well - understanding how they are feeling just by catching those vibes; what they want even before they say it (its not tough at all you know, milk at 7:30, 4 and 9; toffees whenver they see the door to the shelf opening; my phone whenver they see it in my hand). Jokes apart, the pride in understanding what it is they are saying, even if something trivial - the baby words or our own words we invent for certain things and then explaining them to others as they wonder - oh did she again call that monkey a compey? Oh the wet tables that he claims makes him strong are actually the vegetables :). And the bigger feelings - knowing exactly what'll make them giggle, squeal with delight, frown with dismay and shout with anger.

- I love that feeling of being indispensable at least for now. I don't want it to stay that way but am enjoying it while it lasts.

- I love the amount and kind of self introspection one has to constantly do, the looking within to find the answers, analysing our own behavior, the constant evolving as a parent.

- Needless to say the hugs, the kisses, the cuddles, the sight of neatly combed wet hair, droplets of water on those tiny little legs, the variety of expressions on my son's face as he gets off from his school bus each day followed by the story explaining them, the pride on their face as they beam "dekho dekho" after a job well done even if my daughter chants the same phrase after successfully pooping in her potty. Taking joy in absolutely ridiculous yet adorably cute phrases that kids come up with - "Mom, I finished all the candies in the box - I am going to be so strong now!" or "I'll brush my teeth so the ants can't come inside my mouth and bite them." - you have to be a mom to cherish and then actually blog about them.

- The feeling that God has actually chosen me as an instrument to actually shape the lives of these two human lives who are my children, that I am so hugely responsible for catering to their needs, for giving them the right kind of values. If a feeling can be both proud and humbling at the same time, its this one.

Here are the rules

Just write a post of your own (5 things that you love about being a mom/dad) and find someone to link to and tag - someone from your own country, if you like, but definitely someone from another country (Google is a good resource if you don't know any; google any country name and 'mom/dad' in their blog search function) (be sure to let them know that you've tagged them!) - and link back here and HBM and leave a comment.

Now this post has been lying in my drafts for a while, so I am publishing it here without tagging anyone else. I'll do the tagging bit in a while.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

My child would never do that ...

Ten years back as I sat on my bed, among a pile of books and notes, concentrating hard for my exam the next day, a loud scream disturbed my chain of thoughts and literally gave me a jolt. I wondered what it was when another one followed and then the next till the ear deafening shouts became constant accompanied by loud guffaws. That was the child of my next door neighbor standing in the balcony, screaming on top of his voice for no apparent reason other than the supposed pleasure listening to his own loud voice and looking at others' extreme reactions brought him. I shut the door of my room, cursing under my breath and said to myself "My child will never do that."

NOW HE DOES. As I visited my parents this Saturday, Vansh did exactly that. He stood in the balcony and shouted at the top of his lungs without any reason whatsoever.

Flashback, once again. I and my parents were visiting some distant relatives after a long time. As is customary, they set some plates with biscuits, chips, savories, etc on the table for us to have. The 4 something year old boy entered the scene. My mom tried to strike a conversation by saying "Hello, what's your name?" only to be given a royal ignore. He proceeded to the plates on the table and started devouring the chips with his not so clean fingers and the natural lack of finger dexterity spilling as much as he was eating. His mom tried in vain to take him away by offering the same chips in a separate bowl. He insisted that he wanted to eat from that very plate at that very spot. As the mother raised her voice, the child declared loudly, "You are bad. I'll hit you!" Once again I found saying to myself, "Oh my gosh! My child would never do that."

Today I am the harried mom and that child is my own son.

I find myself worrying sick these days as to how to handle the misbehavior, the back talk, the constant pushing of buttons. Its as if I have to be with him every single waking minute to keep him occupied, which is a major task in itself, to keep him from indulging in behavior he knows he isn't supposed to be doing. Loud no's, whines, screams, I'll hit you seem to be the order of the day.

Everything is an issue these days from getting up in the morning, drinking his milk, taking a bath, you name it and we are struggling with it. And here I am not talking of some days when he is more tired than usual because of a hectic or sleep deprived weekend. Lets just decide not to talk about them at all for now. Till some time back, counting till 10 worked very well for us. So it was his choice whether he wanted to come to brush his teeth himself till I counted till 10 or else I would carry him. I was fine both ways as long as the teeth got brushed. Now many a times, he doesn't budge till 10 and then I have to carry a 4 year old with an uptight body and flailing arms and legs who runs back to the position I picked him up from and insists on coming himself, all the while screaming "You are bad, I am going to hit you." The scene repeats on being asked to take a bath, to come to the table for his meals, to go the restroom before he sleeps and innumerable other times during the day.

Now I have always tried to feed both the kids at the same time so that I can be done with the feeding in one go. The entire family eating together just doesn't work out for us because the kids decide to act super animated. Even me eating with them hasn't been working out for the past few weeks because I have to work really hard acting out rhymes with exaggerated expressions or playing silly games to keep them from running away from the table, the basic minimum requirement to feed them. Letting them be if they don't want to eat doesn't work for me at all because I have come to the conclusion, after much experience, that I am just not wired to handle a hungry cranky kid. So I am prepared to work very hard to feed them at the right time rather than having hungry unmanageable kids at my hands. In spite of that, there are times, he just refuses to come to the table. May be he is not hungry, you say. That's ruled out because he has not had anything unusually filling today. I can read the signs that he is hungry. May be the food is not to his liking - well, he hasn't even looked at it. I try to entice him by singing his favorite rhymes with Jiya, reading his favorite books with her and telling him he can join in when he is ready to eat. He whines and cries because he wants to join in without having to eat the food accompanied by the chanting of his favorite words "You are bad, I am going to hit you."

I have been trying very hard - reading books (Raising a spirited child) with just the right explanation for his behavior, finding ways to say yes minimising the no's myself, trying to make him feel in control of certain things, spending time with him on activities he likes which earlier worked like a charm. I scour the Internet for worksheets he loves doing - connecting dots, anything with cars, trucks, airplanes in it, matching objects. I sit down with him to make airports and parking lots out of Lego blocks. We paint using water colors together. We go the park every single day where he does physically tiring activities like cycling or running. I let him watch pictures and videos, which he so loves, almost everyday for half an hour. And yet the minute I have to attend to something else, he snatches something from Jiya to make her scream and cry; he fills water in whatever he can lay his hands on and spills it every damn where; he moves around furniture making that irritating squeaking sound. And boy at the risk of sounding mighty proud, I can say so myself the amount of patience I have been displaying is not funny. All in an attempt to tell him the right way of dealing with things when he is angry himself. The consequences at times don't bother him at all. For instance, he would be very happy to spill water and equally happy to then mop it up. If only he could do a good job of it. In the last two days, he has himself slipped once and Jiya twice in the mess that he has created. And this after I let them play in the bathroom for at least 15-20 minutes everyday.

Things become worse when we have guests in the house. He decides to scream, tells them random things (like the other day, on being asked what his name was, he actually said "Raghav?!" and that he studies in some school he doesn't actually study in), if at all he decides to talk to them. Eating from plates on the table, screaming, you name it, he does it. So one of us literally has to be with him inside doing something. Its as if we are constantly looking at ways to please him and I feel like such a helpless parent who is playing a losing battle and failing miserably at it.

After he has cooled down, I try to go through with him with what just happened. Many a times he opens up and tells me what caused the anger or why he behaved in a particular way. I tell him constantly that while its okay to be angry but its not okay to yell and shout at others or hurt others either physically or by saying hurtful things. What worries me further is that when I try to put him in the same position and ask him how would he feel if say his friend Ayush were to speak to him like that, he says "I will hit him so that he doesn't speak to me like that." I tell him stories about the two goats who fought on a narrow bridge and as a result, both of them fell in the water and drowned where as on the other hand the two goats who solved the problem peacefully. Somewhere I feel something registering till the next time he gets angry and says the same hurtful things making me wonder whether i just imagined that. I tell him how he has to be kind to make friends, I read him books about the same and then at times at the end of it, he just starts saying "I am a bad boy. Nobody likes me. I don't want any friends. I'll just play myself." It breaks my heart.

I find it so hard to enjoy the happy moments which follow. As he giggles and shows me something he has seen or made, I find it hard to play along and laugh with him when just moments ago he was a different person altogether. I never seem to be sure of the approach that I am taking - am I being too lenient for him to be behaving like this or too strict to make him think and say things he does. I wonder ... Go on, please please tell me I am not alone.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

5 months after the move

I like...
... Being just a few miles away from my parents place, being able to meet them more often and just a mental satisfaction that I'll be there to share their ups and downs, help and support them whenever the need be.

... Looking at the children being loved and cared for by grandparents and uncles and aunts and them basking in all the love and attention they get, watching the circle of love grow as I am able to watch from a distance

... being at a place where the temperatures allow us to go to a neighborhood park every single day uptil now unlike Minnesota where we were pndoors for a large part of the year.

... Fancying to eat any Indian delight - aloo chaat, golgappas, tikki, samosas, jalebi and not having to make it myself - ah HEAVEN!!

... The fact that a mop, a bucket of water and a bottle of phenyl is all it takes to take care of that upturned palatte of watercolors or worse still poop on the floor as opposed to fancy carpet cleaners and scrubbing and the innumerable carpet steam cleaning sessions we never seemed to have enough of because of the largely carpetted area we had in our apartment.

I miss ...

... Sorely the public library which was a 3 minute drive from our apartment, allowed us to check out a 100 books at a time out of which we had a changing supply of 50 at any given time and I could search and request books at the click of a button as soon as anything caught the kids fancy from cars and trucks and planes to squirrels and kangaroos to statue of liberty or niagara falls, firefighters to garbage truck drivers, volcanoes, doodlebops, caillou,woody, buzz lightyear, anything under the sun.This was apart from the regular visits where Vansh picked up books he liked there. The standards are so high that its impossible for anything to even come close. I am finding it hard to come to terms with reality. BOOHOO!!

... The independence of driving alone anywhere with the both the kids securely strapped in their car seats at the back. Right now the little one cannot be trusted to stay put even with the seat belt on as intermittently she just refuses to sit herself anywhere else other than my lap. I am taking baby steps of giving her books to read at the back, trying explaining to her, doling out her favorite rhymes one after the other and keeping fingers crossed for the strategies to work.

...The ease of riding a bus with both the kids which they absolutely lurved to do. For that matter the ease of going any damn where alone with both the kids, one in stroller and the other just holding it.

...The variety of activities we could indulge in when the weather was good - carrying cycles to a beautiful trail closeby or at a good distance and enjoying the beauty, spending almost every weekend at the beach which the kids loved, several of which were within a 5 mile radius, the garage sales, storytimes at the library, splash pads and the likes.

... The "me" time for a couple of hours after the kids went to bed by 9:30. Here they refuse to sleep until each and every light is turned off and each and every person is sound asleep or at least pretending to do so.

... Having Ashwini back home by 6:00 and then spending at least 3 hours as a family until the dreaded off shore calls began again. The working hours are just too long. BOOHOO yet again!!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The FIRST day of BIG School

Even as several other posts lie unfinished in my drafts from Vansh's birthay celebrations (with pictures for those who are looking forward to those :) ), Jiya's 21st month update (which incidentally started as her 16th month update back in the US), this one certainly takes precedence over all the rest. For undoubtedly its a huge step. To come to think of it as one of the most important journeys a human being undertakes would be perfectly apt; the journey to knowledge, to empowerment, the journey to learn which plays a major role in shaping one's thoughts, the person one is.
I am glad Vansh was looking forward to it with much enthusiasm, one because he would have to get up at 7:00, exactly 10 minutes before dad leaves for office and would thus be able to bid him goodbye, somethig which he missed doing here but needed a school to go to to wake him up at that hour. And two because, smitten as he is by everyone scurrying about in the morning picking up their bags, lunch boxes, THEIR ID CARDS, he was way too excited to do that himself and to be taken to school in a yellow school bus. He had been talking about this day for a long time. And even though he shouted that he wanted to sleep some more when I first woke him up, it took him the shortest unit of time to get up and about as I reminded him that this was indeed the day. HE was quick with finishing his milk, getting ready for his bath, wearing his brand new school uniform (which he would have liked to be in a different color), followed by breakfast. I made 'bhori' for him today, one of his favorite breakfasts, which is basically a chapati crushed and mixed with some melted butter and sugar.

I, Jiya and papa (Vansh's dada) dropped him off in the car today and I would go to pick him up in the afternoon and then board the school bus to let the driver know where his bus stop would be. So another couple of days before his dream of going alone in a school bus comes true :) On our way, my mind raced to exactly 4 years back when Vansh turned 2 weeks on this day. What was I doing at that time - getting him ready for his two week check up or coochie cooing to him as he lay awake at night? Scenes from these past years flashed by - the gurgles, the first wobbly baby steps, the toothless smiles, the tears as we first separated during his summer camp, the giggles that followed after a few days. And now this little baby from not very long back was a bright young boy with a twinkle in his eyes whom I was going to drop to his very first day at school. Yet again, it really has been 4 years?!
He smiled on his way to the classroom obliging me with some good smiley shots. He looked just a tad bit apprehensive as we entered the classroom full of about 25 or so kids but nothing too bothersome.
After meeting his classteacher, I settled him down on a semi circular table with about 5-6 chairs. He was immediately called on to the adjoining chair by another little boy sitting there and in a matter of minutes, as I returned after keeping Vansh's books on the front table, I saw both of them tapping the table with their hands and giggling. I was glad we had had several opportunities which had taken care of the tears earlier.
As we watched for a few minutes from outside the window, we just stood there and took in the scene as it unfolded before us - some kids were crying, a little girl was just sitting with her head on the table, some parents were talking to the teachers present in the room, a teacher was blowing bubbles to distract some children, Vansh sat on his chair watching everyone too. I thanked God for blessing us with such small everyday joys, of being a party to such little yet momentous occasions, of watching the fortunate kids and their families who can afford a good education in their element.
Well I, the fond mother of my sonny little boy, do wish him a wonderful journey ahead. I wish he has many many moments from these early years which he cherishes forever and which help him form a positive outlook towards schooling and more importantly towards learning. I pray to God to take care of him, to bless him and be there for him at every step to guide him in the right direction. And I also request you, my dear readers and well wishers, to just say a little prayer for him as you wish him well :)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

As the temperatures soar ...

... the siblings have a ball splashing water at each other in the bathroom and getting drenched. Another favorite that follows is running around the house in towels as mom happily clicks away. Ah the simple pleasures of life!!

Edited to add: After 3 harsh winters in Minnesota, March doesn't quite seem like it :) No one's complaining!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

4 year old, already ?!

Dear Vansh
I know how cliched it sounds to say I can't believe you are 4 years old already. But hard as I try to think of something else to begin your 4 year old birthday letter with, I fail. Because it really is incredible to think that actually 4 years have passed since you set foot in this world taking your own sweet time even at that time (some things never change ??), especially for me at this stage when we have just returned to India and I am filled with nostalgia as I look at things and people and places which seem to be just the same as I left them making me feel as if it was just yesterday that we left to the US. But then I look at you and I know its been a while, quite a long while in fact. A while which turned the small little baby into this wanting to be 18 (thats the official driving age in case you are wondering why 18) but thankfully still 4 year old boy! Thank God for not granting every wish kids have!
Yeah driving, thats your passion already and what constitutes 70% if not more of your conversations. From the US car brands to now the Indian ones as well, to which of your friends has which car, to who drives at what speed complete with sound effects, you even say that you run at 100 ki speed when practising for sports day. You dream and talk about buying race cars, orange and purple cars for yourself and for everyone in the family. You even pretend that a simple cardboard box is a car with an imaginary steering wheel. The next thing that has caught your fancy is the metro train and you say that you'll do the construction for that when you grow up. This is till the rumbling roaring garbage truck passes by and catches your attention and you decide to be the garbage truck driver instead :) Our car then stops at the doctor's office where you very reluctantly let the doctor give you the shot that you need, crying all the while as I hold you and then decide to be a doctor and administer the first shot to me. In fact that's what you have asked for your 4th birthday - a doctor set, adding for my benefit "Phir main aapko shot lagaoonga!" I smile and wish your innocence lasts for as long as possible and the ability to dream lasts forever. Big or small, dreams are a major factor in driving us right?!

There has been a drastic change in you from the last time we visited India when you were 3. While you preferred staying by yourself or a couple of people whom you trusted and grew mighty upset when someone tried to come close to you, this time you have become pretty good at carrying out conversations with almost everyone. Physical closeness still annoys you but you do talk about your school and how you shave every morning before leaving for your office in Gurgaon in a cab and how you get things/toys for Jiya when you return making everyone you talk with smile at how you talk like in such a grown up fashion. Yeah you love acting like a grown up and being treated like one. So as you pick up the fruit basket and pretend that its your laptop bag and juggle some 3-4 books in one hand and a toy mobile in the other as you wave good bye, take care, have a nice day; after a few minutes you ask me to call you at office, address me by name and tell me about the lunch that you've had and the meetings that you are scheduled to have. And oh you don't forget to ask what I need you to pick up from Rainbow foods on your way back :) Save for your voice, I wouldn't know whether its you I am talking to or your dad. Its no wonder cos I know he's your hero. What a lovely age indeed.!. I honestly wouldn't tire of playing such games with you ever.

A bag of questions, a huge one at that, not surprisingly every comment or piece of information or an instruction to do something is met by the big question Why! Why do I need to wash my hands, brush my teeth, take a bath, drink milk, eat food again and again (your idea of Utopia is needing food once in like a month - yeah), go to school, get shots, the list is endless. Though now I have come up with an idea of bouncing off the same question which I have answered before umpteen times back at you and you do come up with the precise answer, I wonder why you ask the same questions often. At times you come up with silly answers to your own questions because well you just love being silly and then giggling away. Things that make you laugh the hardest include letting you put soap on my face when I am giving you your bath, messing up the words to make them rhyme for instance you love to say car, lar, zar rhyme, motor cycle, potor pykle, dotor dydle rhyme, making the most ridiculous facial expressions (you love doing the same for the camera), pretending to suddenly fall while walking or doing something and of course the slightest of tickle. Its hard to have you narrate anything for us because your need to act all loony is sure to surface up at such times.

Your strengths include your fabulous memory where you remember small little things we said or did from a very long time back, how you refer to them when something similar happens and you are reminded of those often leaving us open mouthed; your direction sense where in you can remember where all a particular way takes us, identify places that you have visited a couple of times from the road leading to them; and love looking at maps from time to time to see how you flew from the US to India, where in India are Bombay where you have been insisting us to take you to ever since one of your friends from school went there and Kerala where your newly wed chacha chachi went for their honeymoon and you are wanting to go to too for your own :), where is Australia where your favorite animals, the kangaroos are found hopping with their babies in their pouches. For the same reason one of your favorite pastimes is looking at old pictures which you can spend hours doing. In fact if I realize that at the end of 15 minutes there has still not been a sound from you I can actually bet that you are sitting with an old album. You then talk about the pictures, how we had gone where and eaten what and played with what and so on and so forth. The things that fascinate you like planes and airports and bus stations, we can't even imagine what all is being registered as you eye things with keen detail. A few days back you picked up the letter E and the number 8 from the magnetic letters Jiya was playing with, out them together to form E8 and said that you had seen that combination at the airport. It had me thinking for a moment before the realization that it was the boarding gates you were talking about dawned on me.

Persistent, head strong and slow to adapt, a deadly combination which causes us the most worries when it comes to discipline issues. I would have termed them your weaknesses had I not read and agreed that once out of this sometimes terrible and seemingly unending phase of terrible two's and three's and ..., it can actually be an advantage. Right now its wanting your milk at just the right temperature - a degree cooler sends it back to the microwave, a degree warm to the freezer, refusal to try anything new - foods, foot wear, pillow, soft toy (what a nightmare it is to look for your lost teddy which religiously follows Murphy's law of getting lost when you need it most), playing with the remotes and the microwave buttons and all fan and lights switches and cell phones again and again and again. Chowkidars and doctors and electricians have to be pretended to be called to get you off those. Your spirited reactions to things which are not to your liking alarm me. Off late I have been the targets of several versions of "I hate you"! Honestly I hadn't expected them to begin at all, definitely not so soon. I cried the first time until I thought about it and I realized that its me you call first to share anything new with - whether its a triumph at a well turned out coloring page, any small discovery you make, any small pretend play you do, an alphabet you were able to write right or a distress at the legos tumbling from the structure you were making or not getting a puzzle piece to fit. And even though I don't like it one bit and do try to talk you out of it and even though I don't think either of us realizes it because we have practically spent each and every waking moment with each other but we do share a very very deep bond and are very perceptive of each others emotions. No wonder you shout "Talk to me!! Nicely!" or "Don't be sad" at the slightest twitch of my mouth or tell me not to cry when all you hear is just the sniffing. I also love to be the one to realize immediately from the slightest whimper or at times even before that what it is you are asking for, to be party to our own share of tidbits we share about small everyday things where just a 'yeh' or a 'woh' (this or a that) suffices instead of taking the actual name.
Huh! Its amazing as I scroll back to see how much I have written and how much more I feel I still have to say. It can't be tough for a mother to talk about her son right! But I guess I'll stop here or may be just for posterity let me try to enlist a few of your favorite things as you turn 4 today.
Favorite foods - Butter chicken, fish, home made veggie pizza, pineapple, orange and off late Gulab Jamun

Favorite color - Orange hands down (has been for the longest time)
Favorite rhyme - Auto wallah aaya, jaldi jaldi aaya, horn bajaake aaya, pom pom pom :)

Favorite people - Nana, dada, chachi and Chinki mama.
Favorite activities - acting silly, puzzles, pretending to be a grown up, going out for day outings to parks, boating, zoo, etc.
So here's wishing you son with utmost love an absolutely wonderful year ahead filled with love filled moments for you to cherish always, much luck as you soon set foot into your new school and begin a new chapter in your life, happiness and joy to fill your days and good wishes for you today and always.
With all the love in my heart, Mom.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Everyday moments ...

... from the kids' initial few days in India
- Vansh would come home from outside and take off his footwear at the doorstep. It took him a certain degree of getting used to keep his chappals on even when at home. We got to see some funny sights when after being told to have them on at all times, he would sit with them on the bed munching away on something or going through a book. After being told to take them off when he sits somewhere, he took them off even when he sat on the chair at the dining table to have his meals. I, once in a moment of impatience, chided him on again taking off his chappals when we had told him to have them on at all times to which he said out of part impatience and part tearfully "Phir woh chair ganda ho jayega". I couldn't help but smile at his innocent confusion.
- We once went for a daytime birthday party at Deer Park. We were an hour into the party when Vansh said he wanted to pee. Not wanting to search for the restroom which are usually hard to find at such places and more often than not unclean, I took him to the corner of the park we were in and asked him to pee there. He refused saying that it was dirty and he would wait until we reached home. Jiya, who now follows the elder sibling like her greatest hero, followed us there as well and started taking off her pants and repeatedly saying choo choo, choo choo (for susu) and demanded her diaper be taken off as well. She refused to be taken away and had to be distracted with great effort to leave the corner alone. Vansh actually waited for almost 2-3 hours more and went only after reaching home.
- Now, after almost a month of the previous incident, things have taken a 180 degrees turn. In the afternoon, while playing in the neighborhood park, his dadi took him to the corner when he wanted to pee which he agreed to after initial reluctance and then when I took him to the park in the evening, he wanted to go pee again. I told him to wait for about 15-20 minutes till we reached home but he insisted that he wanted to pee in the grass in the corner. There were two wires fencing off some area where I took him and he aimed at several positions - above the higher one, below the lower one and in between both as he peed giggling away :)
- While we were somewhat used to Vansh humming away some favorite nursery rhyme sometimes, I can't help smiling when I hear him humming "Oye oye lucky lucky" ..the power of desi FM :)
And now for a pictorial update of some funny and some warm moments I managed to capture on film
Jiya finds some new playthings
and learns some lessons from the Indian fashion industry
Snuggles up with dada to one of her favorite activities

as Vansh continues his efforts of being treated like like an adult by acting like one - here diligently reading the newspaper and concentrates with glasses et al to see who's trying to reach him.
Jiya concentartes hard on building a tower
Vansh beams proudly when after much effort, he succeeds in writing 6 correctly :) "Writre a C and make a circle at the end of it" is what worked for us.
Jiya feeds and is fed by dada.
Vansh dresses up for Republic Day celebrations in his preschool but is not very happy wearing this new attire.
Vansh snuggles up with chacha aka Vansh's bumpy bed.
The dining table continues to be Jiya's favorite spot and she insists on putting anything that can serve as a headband to be used as just that - here with the nylon covering that comes with some fruits.
Vansh snuggles up with dada at India Gate lawns
He gives us some rare moments of peace in the house when he sits down with his Legos and actually does a good job creating things with them - a ship here.
Jiya uses her new potty seat as a means of transporting every possible thing in the house from one spot to another and as a result creating a mad house in the morning with people getting ready for office scurrying around the house trying to find their comb and cream and the likes.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Wherever you go, whatever you do

I'll be there behind you

You don't have to call, you don't have to say

Just think about me and I'll be on my way

The above holds just apt for the phase Jiya and Vansh are going through right now. Jiya follows her big brother around like a shadow and imitates each and every action he does or every word he says. So the 'no's' and the loud nahin's and the angry roars all come in twos now. As do the running around giggling away and talking on the phone with hmm, hmmm, accha accha for the real effect. Its tantrums multiplied by two as are the laughs and the cheer.

Playing hide and seek, but oops ...who hides?!
Sitting on the sofa sipping milk/water
The climbers Hello? Who's this?

Looking out ...
A rare moment of both the siblings sitting so close and not fighting
Another one ...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Our School Story by far

The other day I was chatting online with a friend who is also going through the nursery admissions in Delhi for her son and is currently at her parents' place down south. Their family also moved back from the US at the same time as ours because of the same reason of having their son start his schooling here which is why we had some long conversations over the phone and shared notes and experiences and got close over a very short period of time without even having met each other. As we discussed about the schools and our interactions there and about our children, she said that her son would only do good in a school where there isn't too much pressure or more precisely too much strictness on doing things a certain way. I felt she was writing about my own son and more importantly realized that I hadn't paid attention to this aspect while applying in schools or while waiting for their results. I did enquire about almost every school from one of my Education professors, whom I hold in very high esteem and whose opinion I value and trust, and who goes to various schools taking students pursuing education as part of their teacher training programme and thus has a very good first hand experience of the way things function in a school. Having studied in Delhi myself, I myself too have a fair idea about various schools and also got in touch with several parents on a website dedicated solely to this purpose of fellow parents helping each other in whatever way they can to make the process as smooth as possible. I do wish and hope that Vansh gets through a good school where the teachers know how to strike a balance, know the difference between encouraging and pushing and most importantly of all are able to make him feel happy and secure about the whole school experience but at the same time, all the knowledge about the schools and about my own child didn't stop me for applying in schools that I actually wouldn't be very happy sending him to. Unfortunately like many other well educated, well settled and well balanced parents, I too don't have a choice. What if he doesn't make it in any of the schools of my choice. Waiting another year would make the problem worse because admissions become even more difficult as with every passing grade, the number of seats dwindle. This year itself we were rejected by four schools by far because Vansh would be 4 years 14 days old on the deadline of Mar 31, 2009 when actually a child should be 3+ on that date. I am in a way glad about the rejection because those schools don't value our decision about not having sent our 3 years 14 days old son last year as we felt he was just not ready for the indeed huge step in every child's life. But the state of affairs does sadden me not just for myself but for many other parents who wait anxiously for each date when a school is supposed to come out with their first or second or third list, who add their points and pray and wait with crossed fingers, who have worked very hard themselves in their
education as well as work career and even then are not guaranteed a good education for their child and even more for those who for some unavoidable circumstances were not able to do too well for themselves but dream and hope for making it happen for their child. And unfortunately I have no remedial measures to suggest for the way things are happening. Most schools are following a very fair point system where they allocate points to distance, siblings, alumni, parents education and profession and may be a couple more criteria varying from school to school. Something radical needs to be done. The public school system needs a complete facelift so that the common man doesn't feel the need to send his child to only private schools and shell out exorbitant amounts as one fee or the other in the process. With a request by private schools to the Delhi High Court impending approval, the annual fee in any decent private school would be close to a whopping one lakh rupees per annum (+/- 15%). Its a crazy amount and I would be very happy to put it away for my children's future if only I have a choice today of sending them to a government school and being sure about the way they will be educated. Unfortunately I can't even be sure of the kind of toilets they'll be using. Without going into statistics, from first hand experience of my own mother and mother in law being teachers in government schools, I can say that the student teacher ratio to begin with is dismal. The teachers are getting increasingly over worked and in general there is so much displeasure and unhappiness in the air.

While we have been fortunate to get through a fairly decent school in our neighborhood and another couple of so-so ones, we wait with bated breath, literally, for our topmost choice ones. As
I write this, I realize what it must look like to the reader as if its a topmost university admissions and not just nursery admissions I talk about but thats the way it is. We shall remember this time in our lives for a long time to come.