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Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

S and A have had their sudden growth spurts in the last few months! S seems to have entered her Tweens and A is already a pre-schooler! S turned 8 in Dec (I had to change ‘this month’ to Dec, just shows how long this post has been in drafts!! ) and it doesnt require a special mention that she was waiting for this a long time and from the first of the month, she has been excited about her big day!! She had a deal with us that instead of a party, she would get an Ipad and after her deal was final, whenever she saw something she liked she would be like if I had a party, may be I would have got this and may be now that I dont have a party, you can remember and get this for my next birthday! She had a quiet birthday, I had a treasure hunt organized for her with my dear friend G’s help and she loved it! A was all the more excited and he thought it was his bday too! S loved her gifts and she celebrated her bday with her two close friends going to a movie and with a sleepover.

A has become one smart cookie, knows all his alphabets, he doesn’t say M for W or W for M anymore, he seems to have mastered his letters and numbers! He has even started identifying the double digit numbers , mostly just 95, 43 – the Cars 2 movie car numbers! So I dont have to feel guilty anymore about not teaching him anything, he seems to learn on his own! πŸ™‚ So at his daycare, they have moved him to the Preschool section though he is not yet three! They say he is boredΒ  to spend time with little toddlers and is ready to move up! The only thing that was stopping them from moving him last year itself, is that he isn’t potty trained yet! Like how he learnt his alphabets, I am waiting for some magic to occur so hez suddenly trained! So far it hasn’t happened but am still keeping my fingers crossed! After a particularly smelly poop, he says ‘Oh my goodness, Amma, come with me to the bathroom!’.. At least he is repulsed enough to change immediately. Also he uses potty term quite loosely when he is not ready to leave for school. He would say, I need to go potty and sit in the can leisurely singing his songs!!! I would be late for a call and would be shouting at him to be done already and he will be then say, it is not yet time and leave the bathroom!! πŸ™‚

You ask the duo to search for say a missing remote, S would just pretend to search moving from couch to couch and A would move in the room, literally calling out ‘Remote, where are you? ‘ , with his hands in his face, calling out gesture!! At times I wonder if they make fun of me in their own way. They always seem to be conspiring against me and my DH! I am just glad they get along well enough to at least team against us… πŸ™‚ S gets mad at A when she has her friends for playdates or sleepovers when they just adore A and not play with her.. They want to include A but clearly that’s not S’s idea of an ideal play date, so she complains to me that I should take him out when she is with her friends!

I went on an onsite trip for a work week and was away from the duo for 5 days; I did find out one thing, that I have been overrating my importance in the family! My DH had done an amazing job handling the kids and they dint skip school or even one extra curricular class that week and anytime I called he sounded so calm, unlike me who would be at the end of wits when he goes on business trips. A cried a little on the first day, but then he just got adjusted, I tried not to talk to him over phone. Now whenever I trouble him with food, he says Amma you go to Columbus! πŸ™‚ So now he thinks he can actually get rid of me this way!! S has her own email id now, that she uses with our supervision. She sent cute emails to me when I was away!! Love her little chat messages that she sends from her laptop (our old one that she uses). She had also left a very nice miss you and love you note in my luggage for me to find when I was there. I showed it around to everyone at work proudly!! When A met me at the airport, he was overwhelmed with emotion and kept kissing my hand all the way back home. It was such a lovely feeling to be missed and loved by him! Halfway home, he did realize suddenly and asked me for the gifts I promised before I left. πŸ™‚

It has been so long since I started this post and right now I can almost say, the potty train has left our home!! πŸ™‚ A is potty trained and wears pull-ups only for his naps and that too for our sake!! He has become a private person and the minute he enters the bathroom, he would be like, Shoo Shoo Amma, Go away, I will call you when am done! πŸ™‚ He has become one ‘Mr. Talkative’ and talks for hrs together, he launches his cars from a rocket (S’s pencil box) and shouts a countdown sequence followed by ‘Blast Off’.. S admires his talking and tells me ‘Can you believe we were worried about him not talking at 18 months?’ It feels good to know that she was concerned too and that she is such a good big sister appreciating all his milestones!

This year on A’s birthday S has two competitions and even the small party we may have it is going to be either before or after his birthday. The ever thoughtful S says she is ready to pull out of the competition for his birthday sake. When I told her it is okay, she says we would be a little harsh on A when he keeps running around in the competition area. She doesn’t think it is fair on her part to give him a hard time on his birthday! That was the sweetest thing she has ever said as a big sis so far!! I am really proud of her and I don’t know what we are doing, I think we should continue the same, so the kids remain thoughtful! πŸ™‚

S proved once again that she is a super girl by performing in the Minnesota kids nite organized by friends here in the twin cities. She hardly practiced at home but rendered a very confident performance at the show. The best part was when she actually slipped in a place, but rolled her eyes are though it was a technical difficulty of the Karaoke track! She made us proud and we were beaming!Β  Seeing her performance, her piano teacher has told she has to sing when she plays her piano from now on and she is progressing at a very fast pace in her Piano too!

S had to move schools yet again due to our home move and as always she embraced change so easily, I got to learn that from her, how she is able to see the positives of a move and get on so easily. I am still missing our old neighborhood but she has made so many new friends in her school and she is also placed in a gifted and talented classroom and her teacher thinks she is AWESOME!Β  πŸ™‚ A loves S’s new school and keeps telling he wants to go to that school though he has to wait for 2 more years! Inspite of our move, we are still sending A to his old pre school as unlike S he wouldnt appreciate a change that well and I dont want all the potty training efforts to backfire if he is not comfortable at a new place. A loves his teacher Kelsey so much that he even picks up Tshirts in the morning and says ‘Ms. Kelsey likes this shirt and I have to wear it to school’!! So unless Ms. Kelsey moves to a school in our neighborhood it is going to be difficult to pull him away!

This morning at the dining table I was feeding him lunch and had to step out to take a phone call. When I was back I saw him playing with some quarters and dimes and when I fed him the next mouth, he stops me saying, ‘Amma, I am not paying money for food’. So much for maternal love, he thinks I am running a cafeteria! πŸ™‚

Life is true unadulterated bliss with the duo around!! Love them both to the moon and back…..

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A has become an eloquent speaker in the last few months. He has something to say at every instance. The moment we park our van and we get down,Β  you can hear him say “What about me?” as though we would abandon him in the van and go away! He asks questions about everything, has started addressing every one by full name and has best buddies at school. Loves to go to school and alternates the toy he takes to school, Mater one day, and Mc Queen the other day. Another standard part of his dressing, is the floppy Thomas, the tank engine hat he just doesn’t part with. He even wears it at bedtime! Disney has taken over our household completely – only this time it is all Disney boy characters. Cars 2 Diapers, Toy story blankets and all t shirts and even night suits sporting Disney characters.

S is enjoyed her summer, reading books by dozens, watching 2-3 movies a week and occasionally at my insistence studied Tamil! I got her into blogging, to encourage her to try comprehension and improve her vocabulary. Here is her blog Summer Rocks . When I suggested to her that she can even review the books she reads, she shot right back that she does not have to do everything the way I do! I knew when to backoff, I just had one condition that she has to run everything by me before she posts anything and that seemed a bottle neck for her, she had a long post “Always Annoying A” about her brother and since I blocked her from posting it, she has stopped working on her blog as a protest, anyway summer is over and school has started. So may be theΒ Summer Rocks will return next summer! πŸ™‚

The best thing during summer was when my sister’s family visited us and it was lovely to see the cousins get together and enjoy!! It was a delight to listen to my nephew A’s British accent and S tried her hand at the accent and even now her favorite pastime is to talk in British accent in public places and make people wonder if she is visiting! She finds it very amusing!Β  S learned Ayarpadi Maaligaiyil song from her favorite uncle and after they left, she learnt the song by heart listening to SPB in Youtube!!

S made us very proud by singing the song at a light music event in local temple here, her very first attempt at Karaoke and she NAILED it!! I was really not sure if she will pull it off, that is sing on her own without cues to begin at the right spots. Being a music illiterate myself, I just offered her the smart phone with markers to be played in a video, but she refused it! The best part was when in that entire crowd, her eyes were only on me as she sung. It was as though my little girl was giving me a solo performance on stage. She sang so gracefully, tilting ever so slightly side to side, smiling and her rendition sounded so confident!! I knew she was scared of the crowd, but no one could have sensed it. I was beaming ear to ear as she looked at me and sang. Only later did I realize may be she thought this meant so much to me, so channeled all her attention on me and was expecting my approval whenever she completed a stanza.Β  I hope I am not turning out to be neurotic mom to her and she has to stretch herself to make me happy. Oh my goodness, Parenting is so difficult, the moment you stress your kid to give the best, it may seem pushy, if you try to tell the kid it is okay not to be first always, you are underestimating the kid and not believing in her! πŸ™‚

It was just a year back, I wrote aboutΒ S’s playdates just soon after she started her schooling here, and now A who is not yet 3 has started getting invitations for play dates. He has two close friends at school, C and G and the three are referred to as theΒ  3 Musketeers and are partners-in-crime!! Seems G has been asking his mom to have A over and the coming Sunday will be A’s first play date and more than him, I am psyched!!Β  My little boy is GROWINGGG…. There is a cute little girl D in his class and when I ask him if she is his friend too, he feels offended and says, “No Mama, she is a GIRL”.. πŸ™‚ I will not forget to quote this line, when he grows up and has his share of GFs!

A has trouble pronouncing ‘F’ and now that he is such a talker it is very funny to hear him say words with F. Like in the morning, he would ask me, “Are you drinking COSSEE Amma?” and later to his dad, “Are you going to OSSICE?”. He asks questions about everything and anything, on the way from his daycare, he would talk non-stop about what happened during his day and if there are any pauses in the middle, he will immediately ask if we know who is going in the car in the next lane. If we answer in negative, he would answer. “Amma, it is SOMEBODY in the car!” as though SOMEBODY is someone he knows. πŸ™‚

Ever since A noticed S taking lunch to school, he has been packing his lunch to daycare too! He has this cute Winnie Pooh bag that was a gift to him and he carries all his cars in that to school everyday. He not longer carries just one toy to school, he chooses the toys privileged enough to go with him to school and he packs them in the bag and then comes to the kitchen for his lunch! It is a staple Chapathi – Indian bread lunch for him. His teachers say he loves the fact that he has his SPECIAL lunch and finishes this before he touches the food offered by the daycare! πŸ™‚ Anything to make my little boy gain some weight. He has been maintaining his weight for so long that I wonder when he is going to cross that magic number he seems to love..Β  The breakfast of the month is now Pancakes, I love the way he asks me for pancakes, with a twirl as he says CAKESΒ  and also eats them only if it is in the shape of Mickey/Minnie Mouse. No other shape is accepted!! πŸ™‚ I tried sneaking some strawberries in it today and I was busted. He refused to even touch them saying the color was not right. Make new pancakes – was the verdict passed! It is SO difficult to fool him!

A is a very orderly person and right around 8.45, he would stop whatever he is doing and say not he is sleepy but ” I have to be sleeping now in the bed” as if everything would be affected if he isnt in bed by 9… He will start packing his again ‘chosen’ toys, pack them in the bag and take them to the bed. The stuffed mickey mouse and Goofy are no longer the pillow pets, now he takes his race track and his cars in the bagΒ  and right next to where he sleeps, he would park all his cars in an orderly fashion, set the bag next to them and then lie down to sleep! Then I need to read 2-3 books to him and he would insist I do not do anything else when I read and have to keep looking at him too! And just before he would start sleeping, he would jump on to my lap(yes, he hasn’t outgrown my lap yet) and then I have to sing the lullaby that I have made up for him. He will bid me to sing ‘HIS SONG’ and suddenly in the middle he may prompt me to sing ‘S’s song’ where her name would be substituted in the song where all i do is praise the duo.. πŸ™‚ What all you end up doing to appease your kids!!!

Here is the picture of his bed tonight, you can notice how neatly he has set the cars down in a row! πŸ™‚

S has moved to a gaming class room this year and loves to go to school everyday. Much to my disappointment, even this year she is not bringing back any homework and they have Nintendo DSs in her class! She learns multiplication with the game “Times Attack” and reads book online and her reading levels are judged in the computer! I don’t even understand how all this will work, I just hope she learns something new at the end of the school year! πŸ™‚ Needless to say, her class teacher is such a hit in the school and kids love to be in that class and S feels very happy she is part of the special class!!

She is now into Enid Blyton – Famous Five series and Nancy Drew stories and is ready to read some classics and not just American kid fiction – Dork Diaries and Diaries of the Wimpy kid series she read over and over as if to memorize every page!! She dint warm up to Tom Sawyer and H Finn though I kept telling her how much I used to love them as a kid. πŸ™‚ In her reading skills, she is several grades above her peers and reads herself to sleep everyday. She doesn’t leave the house without a book in hand and I am so much reminded of my school days!! Those days we had to fight for time to get to story books as we had so much homework from school and I even remember sneaking storybooks in my school books to read. But now, we end up downloading books in Kindle when S finishes the library books!
S’s goes to an Indian school on Saturdays to learn about India and Indian languages and I have volunteered to be the Social Studies teacher this year there and S loves that I am her teacher and shows much enthusiasm at the class. I am happy it is working well, but I end up listening to her advices at the end of the day where she points out where I can better myself. She even told me the other day that I should not encourage the kids to shout out the answers once a kid or two has already raised their hand to answer, because that would discourage the kids who were interested to answer in the first place! Sure enough, I hadn’t thought about that, so I was glad she pointed it out to me! Overall we seem to be getting along well after the rough summer where we spent most of the days together and most days ended with fights and my DH had to mediate between us!! πŸ™‚

Whatever trials and tribulations I may face daily, it is a blessing to be parenting S and A and they are such wonderful kids!! Love them so much that my heart aches…Β  Oh and as always I find it hard to stop once I start!!! I guess the rest have to wait for another post! Been typing for a long time now.. So long Amigos….

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It just seems so recently that my DH and I used to spell words so S wouldn’t understand what we were discussing, like if we want to suggest going out for dinner, we would go ‘Do you want to G-O O-U-T for D-I-N-N-E-R?”, so in case we both don’t agree, we wouldn’t have gotten S all excited!! And now S does the same thing to me all the time when she doesn’t want A to know what we are discussing!! It is amazing how time flies so fast!!

A is becoming such a naughty little boy with all DESTRUCTIVE personality!! He steps on the stepping stool, reaches for spices and throws them down the kitchen floor and also offers to clean-up messing it more! I have to be more innovative about hiding sharp and hot stuff from him. And it doesn’t help that he improvises on his plan every time, there is a continuous improvement process set in his ways! πŸ™‚

A is again mirroring S when it comes to dressing, yeah, a pretty strange thing to say about a boy, but that is the truth, may be my son will be a well-dressed handsome boy and that may be his trump card to impress girls! πŸ™‚ If he is around as I fold our washed laundry, he would end up changing T shirts as I pick a new one he likes from the lot.Β  And choosing the night suit is the toughest time, he cant decide which night suit he wants, the Thomas one or the CARS one or the Mickey mouse one! Most days his shirt will be a character and the pant would be another, if he is not able to decide on one!

S is totally into writing poems and songs and even composes tunes for her songs.. So apart from the little notes she leaves all around the house, she also surprises us with poems in every genre based on her mood! She strongly thinks her poems should rhyme, so she somehow logically ties her thoughts to rhyme! I am just so proud of her…. Here is the latest letter she gave me, when she was trying to placate me after a bad fight between us! Oh yeah, we fight a lot these days too!! It all seems like a prelude to the teenage years ahead…

Also I shared one of S’s funny posters at the blog http://www.stuffkidswrite.com and it got published. here is the link to it http://stuffkidswrite.com/2012/05/01/have-your-kids-get-better-grades/ . She had this poster at A’s birthday party so she can raise money for her Ipad. And she meant $10 and not 1 cent, she messed up with the decimal point and she regrets it so much now and believes parents would now ask her to teach their kids for 12 cents a year and not 120$ as she had planned! πŸ™‚

Whenever I start singing a nursery rhyme for A, he immediately says “STOP it Amma, put it in youtube”.. He has become a Youtube Whiz kid, knows exactly which ‘Wheels on the bus’ he likes, once we choose a link, he knows the exact link he wants to see next… I dont think I should feel proud about exposing him so much to computers, but I do need to take care of the household too!! Gone are the days when we used to tell S to not bother him, it is not always A who is after S troubling her when she is doing her homework or even studying.. So this is the sure shot way to make A busy, once we switch on the laptop. That too, he is very specific that we use only the home laptop and none of the work ones…:) He has this little quirks that make him adorable! One such quirk is that he would pick up the door we have to open when we are at any two door entrance. We can only open the door he points to, if by mistake we open the other one, he would just stand right where he is and will wait till we open the door he pointed to…

Also I don’t believe A will be a great fan of sharing either, even if I so much as try to login to my DH’s laptop he would stop me saying it is Pa’s laptop and lead me by hand to my laptop and ask me to use it. Same with the library books. it is so uncanny how he remembers who reads the book first, and in case the other one picks up the same book, it cannot be done when A is around because he would say, it is Amma’s book and take it away from my DH or the other way around.. He watches all our stuff and makes sure we don’t share! πŸ™‚ If I really annoy him or may be feed him food when he doesn’t feel like, he would point to the Kitchen and say ‘ Go to Kitchen, Amma’. It is ironic that my boy thinks Kitchen is my room and that once I am busy there, I would not bother him anymore…

This morning I was combing S’s hair and she kept complaining that I was hurting her, so I gave her a little mommy speech about how there is so much more in life and how she should be more tolerant to pain and hurt… S’s response to me verbatim is ‘Oh, I know at some point there will be hurt from romance andΒ  I know about it but is there anything else I need to be worried about?’ I was shocked but still I asked her to elaborate without showing her my shock, she was like “You know I may like a boy or someone may like me, if we don’t have the same feelings we may get hurt… I think I owe it to the various Disney Soaps she watches, that my little girl at 7 has learnt more about life than she should be knowing right now!Β  Oh then again, the very few Desi movies she has seen too apparently has taught her lots! I was watching Friend’s episode where Rachel Greene delivers her baby and I immediately switched channels, and asked S to stop looking at the TV and work on the problem I had given her, her reply was ” Amma, I have already seen it. Remember the three idiots movie.. ” I just dismissed that comment and moved on! πŸ™‚ Do I have any other choice??

A just turned 2 couple of weeks back and is ‘Officially’ now into the terrible two’s though unofficially he has been there for a few months now.. We had a Disney Cars themed party and he loved the decorations and the cake… Of course as he hates to get messy at anytime, the moment the icing got stuck in his finger, he froze during cake cutting till his finger was cleaned with a tissue. He sure is one funny boy!! It is also extremely funny how he lines up all his cars/trucks anything with wheels as in a garage and uses the toy car remote key on them and pretends the work.

S appeared in a Carnatic music festival competition here in the town and I just signed her up for experience as it is just months since we started regular lessons for her. I coached her on how she should introduce herself and the Geetham she is to sing and we worked on it the day before the competition so much. But she woke up with a strained voice and a bad cold on the day of the competition. Still we took her and she was the first to be called upon. One of the judges asked her what she was going to sing and she just answered him and straight off started the Geetham without the introductions and the Aalab that preludes it. She did do a good job but I was plenty upset with her for not listening to me and disregarding all that I taught her. We stayed back for the next 10 participants who were all good and did the introduction and everything well. On the way back home, we were doing a postmortem of all that went wrong that morning and believe me, drawing limits on parenting and being nice all the time is difficult. I was upset more because, in spite of the good job she did she was going to miss all the points for presentation.. Anyway we did not take her to the prize announcement ceremony the next day and guess what happened, she did win the third prize among the 25 participants and most of the others were much older to her as well. Now she has a Trophy that says Carnatic Star and she had a smug smile on her face all the day, but she was nice enough not to tell me “See Lady, what happened?” but “May be I would have got the first prize if I had done what you told me to”. So that is my sweet girl S!

I think I should be more regular atleast with the Antics series. I have written quite a lot and still there is so much more to share! πŸ™‚

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Fun and Frolic with A!!

A’s vocabulary has zoomed from just oohs and aahs to intelligible words in just a span of a week! I had this little toddler who was adept at using his sign language to express himself. He was such an expert at it that you will not even realize he is not using his words!!!Β  Now when I hear this sudden words from him,it is like I don’t even know who is talking!

It is funny and of course quite predictable considering these day’s need for survival for kids at daycare that his first words were

Mine,

Mo and

Go away.

The moment you try to take even his jacket off when he is back from daycare he would shout, MINE, and would refuse to part it away! Same goes for any of his belongings!! You offer him food, the standard response is a vehement Mo with a head shake to support it. As one would have guessed, Mo is No in his language! How much ever we correct him, he still says Mo to even our corrections and sticks to his ‘Mo’. I have to wait and see if he is actually going to use M for all the N words..Β  When I used to be a toddler, my mom said I used to substitute Ka for Va. May be in just this thing, hez taking after me for the mazhalai! πŸ™‚ And he says ‘Go away’ so cutely when he decides it is time to move away from that place. It is not aimed at us, it is like ‘lets go away’ kind to move from one room to another! When we are all set to call it a day and end up in the bed, he would say ‘go away’ and try to climb down the bed!

A also got this sudden enlightenment about all the Disney characters around him, especially the CARSH, BUZZZZ and POO.. I dont think he realized he had a Toy Story blanket till recently, now he cant let go of it, he goes around the house lugging it along! He points to Woody and Buzz and calls them by the same name Buzzzz… He is equally fascinated by Lightning McQueen and even more by Mater, both go by the same name CARSHH for him. We knew about his interest in Disney CARS only when we went boots shopping for him. He flatly refused to cooperate getting into a trial boots, but the moment V picked up a CARS character boots, he started meditating CARSHH and was more than happy to try them out and we were not able to take it off him even for the billing! He then decided to wear his heavy snow boots even for pleasant days, the teachers had to force the boots off him at daycare. So we went shoe shopping again to find him a Buzz Woody shoe that again had his sudden liking. Now he is happy to wear that all day and on colder days, we are planning to show him the CARSH boots.. πŸ™‚ The day after we got him the toy story shoe, he got up in the morning, went in search of the shoe first thing and was contentedly moving round with the box in his hand! How easy he gets attached to stuff!! And this reach the Disney characters have on toddlers, it is amazing. Only now S is out of all her Disney idols and has moved on to real rock stars, which again is not quite right.. I quite bear to see her in a JB or a SG night suit.. πŸ™‚ Now the Disney character promoters have A to thank for making us spend our money over the Disney stuff for few more years to come!

A’s other favorites are ‘SHTOP’, ‘SIT’ and ‘TATA’. He also says ‘SHEESE’ for Cottage cheese and wants to begin his day with cottage cheese! πŸ™‚ He starts and ends every meal with cottage cheese. He also says ‘THEETHAA’ for water and when he doesnt drink it, he uses the water he gets to keep his bath toys afloat in any container of his choice. πŸ™‚ When you are home, you can never be too careful when handling his toys! Anything can be his container and you might wet the carpet if you are not careful!

The bed time ritual has also underwent some changes; once he decides to call it a day he would not stop nudging me till I take him to the bed, all the while telling good night to V and S pointing his hand at his head. Incase he forgets that, I would ask him to go back to the living room to say good night and I would hear him shout AAAAAH in the living room to take everyone’s attention and point good night to all at the same time and he would rush back to the bed. How can I miss the most important part?? Even before he settles himself, he would tirelessly lug all his CARSH into the bed, arrange them next to his pillow, get his CARSH blankie and only then he would be ready to sleep. During weekends, we would bring his Toy Story blankie from his daycare, so weekend ritual would include getting that blankie as well. This little one will be bundled with two blankies!! πŸ™‚

A has always been fascinated by anything on wheels, but lately his excitement reaches peaks when he sees cars and he plays for hours together just with them! I guess boys will be boys and girls, girls! Somehome my kids have compartamentalized both their interests and if I draw a Venn diagram for their interests it would only be two separate circles! I remember getting S, cars when she was little and at the end V and I would end up playing with them and she just ignored them totally! Same with the Thomas train tracks we got her, may be we should have saved them all for A!

Apart from Cars and Toystory characters, Winnie the Pooh fascinate A. He shouts Poooo when he sees Pooh. He loves watching Pooh cartoons any time of the day. He also seems to prefer rock bands already! He loves Wiggles, the children band. We even haveΒ the Wiggles audios saved in CDs, to play them during our day trips to engage him. He dances so cutely and repeats any action the song would expect of the kids. I thought he was a little early for Wiggles, but apparently he doesnt think so! Just the Wiggles VCD cover excites him, he even attempts to sing the Laaas and Aaahs in few songs!

It is such a joy to watch him grow and he adds twinkle and sparkle to our lives!!! Cant wait to see what all he has in store for us!

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I read in a book recently that the worst fear of any woman in her middle age is to hear someone say that she is turning out to be JUST like her mother.. I also heard the same statement in another movie and this just set me thinking if that’s applicable to me. If someone were to say that to me, that would be the GREATEST compliment I would ever receive. I am born to this incredibly amazing individual who has touched many lives and is still doing everyday! First of all, she makes these beautiful babies (including me.. ;)) , raises them so well and in the process, inculcates common sense and compassion in the kids and even in the friends of the kids. She is as selfless a person in a familial life can get and has never taught a wrong value to the four of us, her daughters. And she did all this with no help from baby center or any books. She had had all her babies before the age I was even married! And here I was at my marriage thinking I became committed a little too early and years before at the same age, my mom had 4 daughters already! I can just not fathom how scared she would have been holding me, her first-born when she was just 20 yrs old! πŸ™‚ i mean it was quite common in those days still, the mental strength she had moving away from her village to the city and from being a single totally adored daughter to being the 5th daughter-in-law in a huge joint family. She used to recount her early days that it took her a while to know everyone’s name and relationship in the family!!

When she learnt she was expecting my twin sisters in a scan that changed her life drastically, she had tears in her eyes seeing them in the scan. The scan people thought those were the first kids of the young lady lying there, when she said she already had two daughters at home, as expected, there was this loud sad sigh from the technicians. From then on, everywhere she turned, she was only getting sad stares and how she ever could raise and provide for 4 daughters with a single income was everyone’s concern! Then my parents had consciously decided that never would they let anyone’s reaction affect them and it was their duty to raise us and it cannot be anyone’s worry. They also decided not to react to the empathy and never give in or break down, no matter what they hear from others. That said, I don’t remember a single instance in all my life, when my parents worried over us – the fact about having all daughters. Of course we did not spare them of the typical worries any teenager or head strong children would give! We gave them our share of troubles and they did have to worry about that, it was just that any function we would attend, we would attract all the attention – the young parents with four daughters and they would just march in with their heads high and were never bored to repeat to people they were really not worried about our future! πŸ™‚

I have no idea how she provided for us with none of us ever thinking we were deprived of anything. There were not many hand-me-downs for my sisters as well. She was an excellent planner and had tremendous positive energy that permeated our whole household and no problems were ever too big for us to manage. I remember the super busy mornings when she gets breakfast and lunch fixed for all the four of us going to school and also simultaneously get us all ready. When it is time for our school van to pick us up a street away, she would be the first one to march out of our home with our bags calling for us – me and my first sis. πŸ™‚ We would then follow her and would be right in time for the van always. Now looking back, I cant believe how she kept the time with no calls to the van attender’s mobile, whereas I always used to check with S’s van attender before coming out of the home to wait for her school van! πŸ™‚ After sending us off, she would take my youngest twin sisters to the local school. All four of us never missed a competition at school, especially the fancy dress competition or any other activity requiring parent-involvement, she always had time for all of us. We never felt deprived of her attention or time.

She was very particular on our extra-curricular activities as well! Both me and my first sis, were quite regular to music classes till one day a mosquito entered my mouth during an Alapanai and that stopped me from going anymore.. Even at that young age, I remember skipping music class with another friend of mind and visiting a neighboring woods. As our luck turned out, we were caught the same day when my sister reported to my mom of my absence in the class and also the music teacher’s family person met us at the woods and brought us back home. I still remember how my mad my friend’s parents were and remember her cries after the beating she received; but my mom was cool as a cucumber and just told me about all the things that could have gone wrong that day and that scared me more than anything. She made me promise I would never do that again. It is not that she was never mad with us, but she always knew at every situation what kind of her reaction would have the maximum effect on us! She also signed me up for a Hindi tuition 12 miles away from my home! After school, for two days in a week I used to take public transportation up and down from Porur to Triplicane, for 1.5 hours to attend a half hour class. She wanted what was best for us, even if it meant trouble for her and for us. She was bold and wanted nothing less than that from us; I cant imagine sending S for a class that far away, however important that could have been.

Growing up, I had no trouble sharing any of my secrets with her and she would never judge me or my friends even after knowing what we have been upto! πŸ™‚Β  And now that all our sisters are in our own families, she has turned out to be a wonderful in-law as well to our husbands and she never questions our decisions and has 0% interference in our lives. That is such a rare quality right, even if we ask her for advice, she would stop with just that and not try to influence us at all. That has made her the special MIL to our spouses! Anyway there is no way I can talk about her in just one post! This is like less than 1% of all the wonderful memories I would like to share! May be I should write a separate book!! πŸ™‚

This is the Super woman in my life who shaped my life and is still making me better, with many of her insights and I owe anything that is good in me to her. πŸ™‚

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My husband has been getting some strange calls in his mobile these days from little ones who would hang up with either “Never mind” or “Later then”. He asked me if S has been giving his numbers out to her new friends, I had confidently told him I have only writing our home number and address for her friends in labels. I did not think she would have remembered my hubby’s mobile number. But looks like she has been happily writing out his number to all her new ‘best friends’ at school and her friends have reported that her dad has a weird(?!!) voice that puts them off from asking for her. So at last yesterday she ended up telling this so he will hand over the phone to her this weekend if he receives calls from her friends. That’s when we clarified to her that she has to only give our home number and also inform us when she shares her number. Today when she returned from school, she was horrified to see her room all messed up by A and said to me, her room cannot be in that state when her friends were coming over. Even then I did not really notice what she was saying, she loves to have people over so thought like all days she imagines her friends would come over without an invitation from me to their parents. I wasΒ  just waiting for at least a month in school to pass, to see who still stays in her friend’s list and then plan some event at home. But looks like she had other plans; She had asked two of her friends to positively come over and also promised them dinner at a restaurant. She has given them the home numbers today after our advice yesterday.

I was busy watching Airtel Super Singer and skipped even the usual grocery shopping done on Fridays! At 6.00 in the evening, I get a call in our land line from one of her friends asking me to repeat our address for her mom. I was so shocked and just had to cover up for S. The mom on the phone said her daughter was creating a ruckus at home about visiting us and wanted to know our address so she can bring her kid over. She said they were already in the car, so my hubby and I had less than 10 mins to clean at least the living room to a presentable state. S coolly said, “I did tell you but you guys weren’t listening..” In few minutes another mom called me and got the address but also added that they had other plans tonight and so they could not come over for S’s party! I am sure she would have noted the relief in my voice, and said her daughter does the same thing and the second graders think they are now old enough to hang out in each others houses on their own accord and we need to get used to such surprises thrown at us. πŸ™‚

In 10 mins, the friend of S came with her mom and it was all drama for the first five mins when they hugged each other et al, as though meeting after ages! Her mom was very nice and said she has another older daughter and she is used to all this drama. I had nothing to offer her too, was feeling quite sheepish, but she made it easier saying she would leave and come back in 2 hrs to pick her daughter up. The best part was when S’ friend H asked us about the restaurant we may go for dinner, then her mom stepped in and said that can wait for another day. I came clean with her mom about how all this was a surprise to us, she said everyday her daughter also came home with plans about who would visit or not, but surely S is quite a social butterfly because her daughter insisted she had to visit S today or her relationship will be through with S! We were just laughing about all this. In fact this Monday morning, S told us that she and her friend H have decided to ditch school that day and then hangout at our place…Β  These kids sure do spend some good time planning out all this..Β  But anyway today was a TOTAL knockout to me and my hubby and we decided we better be prepared for many such surprises to come.

Thankfully there were few popcorn packets available at home and few other goodies too. First they went to a park nearby with my husband, played for a long time then came home for a cup of hot chocolate and then the duo watched Barbie’s Swan Lake munching on popcorns and cheese balls. For the theater effect, they wanted all the lights in the living room switched off and they were giggling through the movie! Somehow we pulled out an OK playdate I guess! We will be better prepared the next time as long as S gives us enough notice. We have to have a talk with her tomorrow about certain guidelines I guess!!! Today she was so elated it seemed unfair to break that elation and chide her.. So the task is off till tomorrow!!

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S started II grade last Tuesday. On her first day, I was having more butterflies in my stomach than her. I woke up at 5.30 am! Believe me it was such a challenge to wake up so early after the extended vacation I have had!! Anyway I packed rather over-packed her lunch, wasn’t sure if she would prefer Banana nut muffin or Cheezits for snacks, so packed both of them. For lunch made some Aloo Parathas – really small ones and some cut apples.. As an afterthought added a pack of Goldfish crackers and a granola bar as well in the bottom zip of the lunch bag! Needless to say except for the Parathas and some apples everything came back untouched – from S’s words I had packed snacks for the entire week on the first day! πŸ™‚

Both A and I missed her during the day, the home was EERILY silent and I seemed to have all the time in the world! We hadn’t even switched on the TV the whole time she was away at school!! I am used to spending so much time during the day asking her to switch off TV or clean up her mess; asking her to learn something rather than just read story books;Β  forcing her to have her meals faster and stop her from hogging up junk food while she watches TV. Believe me, motherhood brings unpleasant qualities in you that you never imagined you had, I mean I never thought I would be such a boring mother staying at the back of my daughter and troubling her. But that is parenting for you, we can all not be ideal mothers all the time… πŸ™‚ And kids are not super sweet all the time too.. You should see the way S rolls her eyes and says ‘REALLLLY Amma’, when I suggest something I think is cool and which is clearly not appealing to her!

Anyway on her first day to school, we found out there were quite a number of kids going to Public schools from our apartment. In fact we found that the boy who used to come around us with his dog, whenever I used to take S out for walks goes to her school. He always used to say Hi to S and try talking, but S never found a thing amiss and would just wave her hand and keep walking with me. πŸ™‚ You know the chemistry among kids do start early these days, so S though wants Justin Bieber posters in her room, doesn’t know how to spot a person interested in her! Thank God!! πŸ™‚ Anyway that boy was pretty surprised that she is only in second grade, he is a fifth grader and so I guess just ruled her out! πŸ™‚ Good for me…

The school bus was going to drop her off at 4.10 pm. A and I were out at 4.00 and it was 4.45 before her bus came.Β  I had already called the school, the bus authorities and was having a panic attack! What if she had boarded the wrong bus, What if she had gotten down at some other apartment…Β  It was so nerve-racking waiting for her bus.. Apparently the first week of school, the bus schedules will be erratic, I was told. S came running to us, I half expected her to complain about her new school or lack of friends, but she was beaming! I asked her about the day and her I am quoting her verbatim ‘It was greatΒ  at school! How else would it me Amma?’

S is the second Indian kid in her school, another Indian girl is in fourth grade and my worry was only about her fitting into the class with all the cultural differences. ButΒ  she has been doing fine, In fact last Friday she came home with a note from a friend H in her classΒ  that said “This is my number. Call me so we can hang out with each other” and it was addressed – To my best friend S! πŸ™‚ So she already has a best friend at the new school. Also she kept insisting that i have to let her call her friend and invite her over.. I was and am still a little hesistant to do that. It is quite early and I would like to first hear from that kid’s parents before initiating the call! S has shared our numbers too with her. Anyway she was so upset that I did not let her call H and kept fuming that her relationship with H is going to be THROUGH because of me!! πŸ™‚

S would still be in I grade if the school had its way, by the rules here for her age she should only be in I grade; We toured multiple schools and found a school that would take her into II grade as she has already completed I std in India.Β  They assessed her and said she seems ready for II grade but the Principal said once the school year begins, if her teacher finds her not appropriate for II grade we have to let her move to I grade. We took the chance knowing S!! Anyway yesterday evening I got a call from S’s class teacher. She said S is doing great at the school and is very mature for her age and is a great listener. She also added that all the girls in the class seem to gravitate towards her and her lunch table is always full!! The best part was when she asked me to tell S to be a little patient with the teacher and that she is working on a tougher curriculum for her as she can clearly see that S is bored with what is happening in the class right now. So the teacher promised that she would get some advanced stuff for her and give her additional assignments to do at home as well!! You know academics here is a little slow during the initial years and only in middle school it gets really on par with our Indian grades. Anyway I dont have to worry about her getting demoted to I grade.. Hurray!!!

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