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.