Thursday, January 31, 2008

From 60 to 50 to 45 to 27!

That is the number of minutes to give my dear son his meal!

KB and I have gone through some kind of learning process together in the last two weeks! He has been a difficult eater - mostly because he is extremely he loves to read or talk about some story or sing some song while having food in his mouth. Two other things - he used to open his mouth just a tiny bit for each spoon and he really (even now) cannot ingest too much food at once or he tends to gag. I have a very strong gag reflex to (as commented upon by my dentist, that it is stronger than he has seen in most people) and he is the same way. So if I try to shove more food than he is comfortable with, he just pukes it out. In all, this has been a battle of sorts for both me and KB. It wasn't as much of a problem before baby girl arrived - I would grit and bear and sit through what ever time it took to feed him. Now I am less patient and also have less time. And I also have baby girl who is spoiling me with her amazing - zip, zap, done mode of eating! In all this, both B and I discovered that the main reason why baby girl finishes her food fast is just from the simple fact that she opens her mouth much wider.

B has been working late for the past two weeks. As it is, he comes home around 8.00 - 8.15pm from work. The last few weeks he has been coming anywhere from 9 - 11.00 pm. You can imagine the drain on me mentally to suddenly be alone until bedtime. He would be tired when he got home, so naturally he would just go to bed. He was just not available for me most of the time even when he was home. And I think KB too missed him a lot - the one or two hours at night when he spends time with his dear daddy.

One morning, I think on Jan 13, I gave KB his lunch. Usual dal/rice/vegetable combo.
He kept asking me for some book or the other, ones that were not in the basket under the dining table - so I had to keep getting up to go get him the ones he wanted. And he asked for some CD or the other to be played. He then asked me to warm up his food again. I just lost my patience (partly because I was really exhausted mentally from feeling like I am doing all the work for the kids) and yelled at him. Yelled is an understatement. I was sounding like a maniac, I am ashamed to say. I told him very loudly, "Open your mouth - BIGGG'aaa"! "Don't open it like a little bird, open it like a tiger...AAAAAAA...appdi open pannu, big big big" I shouted at him. He was really angry, upset and started yelling back at me and crying saying "SMALL'aaa" and he was in tears. I usually hug him right away if I even yell at him mildly - but I was so upset, tired of so many months of my hoping that he will get better at eating and nothing really changing...I just had no patience that day. I was myself hungry (I should have had some juice at least, but I didn't) and baby girl was sitting the bouncer and I had to eat, then feed her and then make the kids take their nap. I just let him cry it out.

For the first time, he sulked and looked really sad. After he ate, he just sat on the "moda" stool by the CD rack and looked outside and sat very quietly looking really sad. He just looked outside the window and kept listening to music that was playing. I wrote about this in this post. KB normally after lunch is a very happy and extra energetic and immediately hops on his chicco train and goes for a round and then pulls up near baby girl and pulls her hand or plays with see him looking so quiet and sitting in one place for so long was really scary for me. It was all too heart breaking for me.

That night, he asked me to read this book called "When Daddy goes away" - about a father who has to travel on work and comes back home. That's when I realized it was a culmination of two things - my yelling too much at him and daddy not spending any time with him for a few days all of a sudden. I was so nervous about his behavior that day that I called my sister (the pediatrician) and asked her if kids can get that upset or depressed...B got very mad at me for using the word depressed. He said I was being so paranoid and dramatic. We got into an argument over this. This wasn't helping the situation any. The next day B emailed me some links about making meal times pleasant for your child. Somehow those two days became somewhat emotionally charged at home. It is amazing how just the previous day I complained to B that KB is such a fighter and that he is just not afraid of anything I say to him and will only do what he wants...and here I was so worried that he was suddenly not fighting me back instead looking so sad and down. I just could not take it. It was too heart breaking for me. I hugged him and kissed him and that night I just made him have as little as he wanted for his meal. I even let him skip dinner the next day.

Somehow in all this drama, we both seem to have emerged the better. I am now more aware that a)he is now more grown up and he can express emotions more like an adult - not cry loudly but look sad and feel sad. He was missing his father and conveyed it by asking me specifically to read that book a few times. b)if he is not able to eat fast, it is not fair to push him to do so at any point - does not matter if I have been patient for two years, I am not allowed to push him unfairly before he is able to do it on his own willingly.

KB too seems to have gone through some learning experience in this. That he can actually open his mouth just a little wider. He sees his sister eating her meal so fast and I also tell him - just to make him feel good - to tell her "Samatha sapadnum. Big'aa vai thorandhu sapdanum" (You should be good and eat well. You should open your mouth wide and eat). After she finishes, I tell him "See, just like you told her, she opened her mouth big'aa and she ate fast"! Somehow I think this has had an impact on him. It may just be that he is more grown up now. But I have a feeling seeing his sister eat fast along with the emotional show down we had the other day is making him put more of an effort in this regard. It is heart breaking - he is such a good kid really. He is so sensitive to the fact that he has really pushed me to the limit. He now even shows his dad how big he can open his mouth even when he is not eating! And while I give him food, he starts opening his mouth like he used to - small...and then he opens it wider more consciously and says "Aaa"...

Every day now we cheer and celebrate and immediately call his dad and I tell B on the speaker phone "Innik KB evvlo fast'aa saptudhu theriyuma? Big'aa thorandhudhu" etc and B applauds and KB again talks to him and says "KB chamatha Sapturthu inniku"! (KB ate fast today). It is just sheer joy really - this break through. That he is making an effort itself feels like a prize for me! And that is actually showing results - can't tell you how good it feels! KNOCK ON WOOD! If it stays at half an hour per meal, I will be very happy! Let's see - 30 min on good days and 40 min on not so good days is how it is now. If it averages out to 30 min per meal, I will be so happy. All this may seem like a bit too much detail and drama to someone who has not had a difficult/slow eater. But I am sure that anyone who has had to put in a lot of time and effort to feed their child will totally relate to this new found joy of mine! I just feel blessed with such good children, Lavs! :)

Monday, January 28, 2008

The object of my affection - tag

Object that brings back fond memories…Tharini tagged me on this one.
When you are asked about something that brings back fond memories, your mind scans through several years of events as if you are looking through one of those flip photo books to see your past in action all over again. College, school, childhood…photos? Letters? Patti’s necklace? Appa’s pooja tumbler? Pink Salwar from 9th grade? Gosh, the list is suddenly long. So many things bring back fond memories. I only have a few tangible objects with me here. So many others that I wish I had preserved. But for the sake of this post, I decided that it was this that brought back a wistful feeling, a tug in the heart and a longing for that wonderful feeling of togetherness and family, those carefree moments in your childhood. My “Sapadu thattu”. (Eating plate).

It is a small little round “ever silver” plate with my father’s initials inscribed on it. I am not sure if this is done all over India. But in the south, especially in my mother’s times, it was customary to send a whole lot of vessels – both silver and stainless steel – as part of the bride’s “seer” (gifts). These would include all vessels needed to set up a home as well as those used for performing important rituals. The vessels usually have the initials of the bride (with her new last name) or the groom inscribed on it. I wonder when my plate was purchased. I assume my grandmother bought it for my mother during my mother’s wedding. It has soft rounded edges and a clean and heavy look to it. I have managed to take it with me through all the many places I have lived in so far.

I don’t eat in this plate anymore. My mother uses it when she stays with me. I don’t even pause to look at it too often. But now that I am pausing to do so, it brings back such fond memories. And the pain of longing for something that is now only a part of your memory. When I was a child (I think I was in second grade then), we lived in this large rented house with a verandah that spanned the entire house pretty much. It had beautiful red tiled flooring. The kitchen and the dining rooms were separated from the rest of the house at a lower level – three steps leading to those rooms. We had a large dining table with six chairs. My dad would sit at the head of the table and I would sit next to him and my siblings in the other chairs. On many days however, especially for dinner, if my dad was not around, we preferred to sit on the floor with the dining table behind us. We would all gather in this small space and sit down with our respective plates. We knew not to mix up plates or the sitting spot for each person. My mother would serve us hot delicious food and we would all eat together.

Weekends meant brunch around 10.30 a.m. On those days my father would also sit down along with us. He loved food and had a taste for good food. He loved steamed vegetables and much to my mother’s annoyance he would often quip, “Indha pavakai’ya appdiye steam panni sapta first class’aa irukkum”. (If this bitter gourd were to be steamed and eaten, it would be delicious). It was said partly to irritate her because she would unfailingly retort that he could eat that when he went out with his friends to some five star hotels and she would only serve fried vegetables at home! He never wasted any food and would completely clean up his plate. I was the slowest eater (KB clearly takes after me!) and would talk and laugh and sit at my plate of food forever. I loved telling my sisters about “school tales” and would laugh non-stop at any joke they made. My sisters used to call me “Motorbike” because I would laugh like one. Loud gurgling laughter interspersed with moments of breathlessness! Sundays were the best because my mother would invariably make “Thengai thogayal” (coconut chutney) which I loved and she would also make golden fried “urulakazhangu” (aloo). I would eat well on days she made aloo or okra – the other days, I would always look for an escape route – if my mother got a phone call, she would have to go up the three steps to the other end of the house where the phone was. In the five or ten minutes she was on the phone, I would make a tight fistful of the dreaded healthy vegetable (like beans or plantain) that I had been asked to finish and run up the slopy hill in the backyard and throw it into the other side of it where the crows would come and eat their find. My father would sometimes help me out so I wouldn’t get chided but would gently say, “Green vegetables Sapadnum…appo dhan strong’aa iruppe” (you have to eat green vegetables, only then you will be strong). There was so much chatter and laughter in those 20 – 30 minutes and it would be followed by a group clean up. Later, my dad would lie down and read the newspaper. I would lie down next to my father who invariably fell asleep reading the newspaper. There was a cloth “easy chair” in our living room and I would climb on it upside down and do a flip-flop. I would paint randomly and laboriously arrange the painted sheets in order of “favorites”. I would also note down what the favorites order for my sister was.

I could go on about the memories that this one tangible piece – the “thattu” – from my childhood days brings back to me. I wish I could relive the happiness and the absolutely carefree state it was then. My parents shouldered everything – the children only had to eat, study and have fun. It makes me wonder if we can be that way to our children. To let them experience childhood without the burden of all that it takes to give them that. Especially in today’s world where one has to be careful about every thing – where they go, what they do, who interacts with them, what they see on the Internet…. I remember those days and for a second wish I could talk to my father again. I remind myself that my mother is a phone call away and I feel extremely grateful for that suddenly.

I also feel that food is such a strong part of childhood memories and I want to make sure we have family meals together no matter how rushed we are, no matter how many piano and tennis lessons my children have to go to. I hope we are able to do this as a family. I hope there is just as much laughter, just as much “fried urulaks” (oh nothing can beat tasty fried aloo!) and silly conversation and sure hope my children don’t rush into adulthood with all the exposure they get in today’s world. It reminds me – I should get them each a good plate when they are ready to eat on their own. One that will last forever and will bring them back to their childhood when they look at it!

I tag - Aryan (please let mom talk just this once Aryan), DDmom (why are you missing for so long?!), Cantaloupe, Madmomma, Poppins, Ranjani, SS.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Thank god for little mercies...

I should in fact title this as "Thank god for big mercies". I have written a few posts (incidentally I just noticed this is my 75th post - it could well be my 100th - I would not know since I have deleted quite a few of my old posts) on how kutti boy gives me a hard time when it comes to feeding him his meals. I felt (much as I am truly scared of jinxing it!) I should also write a post on how grateful and happy I am that so far baby girl has been so good to me when it comes to feeding her solids. SO FAR! Knock on wood! Run folks, please do knock on wood for me! :))

When my mom was getting ready to leave, I had knots in my stomach. I was not afraid of the work really - I was anyway doing most of the baby care on my own. But the biggest help she gave me was watching baby girl while I fed KB his meals. Baby girl would be upstairs with my mom while my mom watched sun TV or read her books. Another huge help was just having my mom around when baby girl was sleeping - I could use that time to take KB out to the park or to the shop with me. My mother's leaving meant I would have to feed KB while also taking care of baby girl. It takes 45 minutes minimum to give him each meal and sometimes one hour - I have made that my cut off - I just stop then. I used to feel so bugged and worn out at the end of the day when I just thought of having to go through the feeding battles again the next day. And how on earth will I find the patience to feed one more child? What if she too took one hour? I was letting my imaginations run wild...that I would fling the cup of cereal having lost my temper - like one of those vile mother-in-law type characters that I caught a glimpse of on Sun TV serials. I talked to my friends over and over that week if I should hire a nanny for a few hours and go through the pain of picking her up and dropping her off. I talked to my one friend who managed on her own as to how she did it. The difference was that she had a ton of family members within a mile of where she lived. So that didn't count in my opinion. She could* get a break if need be where as I could not. Yet another friend told me that I would be reaaaally stretching myself very thin if I tried to manage both kids on my own especially considering B comes home past 8.00pm each day. Her children are 14m apart and she followed her mother to India (for 6m) when she left! I was so afraid. My mother (while she herself is quite the worry worm in my opinion) again told me what her father would have told her : don't worry, you will find a way. God will show you the way. Another close friend's mother, a very spiritual person, said the same thing to me "God will show you the way, don't worry". I jokingly asked her if God would physically come and help me out.

And really there is some merit to facing the battles only when you need to. I worried myself sick that week as to how I would do it. If I could do it. If the children will cope. And in this regard I feel so grateful to baby girl for helping me out. Well, both the children really. KB has been very patient and accommodating when I have to nurse baby girl. I heard from so many people that the first child gets jealous and pinches the second one etc. None of that so far with KB. He follows me to the room and does his own thing or plays with baby girl while I nurse her. Only very rarely if he is terribly hungry or tired has he given a hard time asking me to attend to him right then. Baby girl - oh dear - she has been an angel so far with respect to feeding her and making her nap. I just wish I could tell her and make her understand how thankful I am to her for this. If she were to take as long as KB did when he was 7m old for solids, I would be going nuts really. She opens her mouth wide, eats quickly and when she is full she just turns away and shuts her mouth tight indicating she is done. And I stop. Game over. Simple. I just cannot even believe it - that it can** be this simple. And naps - with KB - may be it's a first child thing - I used to put him on my lap, sing to him and after he went into deep sleep, gently, slowly lift him and put him in the crib. He would wake up in 15 min or so. Start over. After some 7m of this, finally I had to do a modified Ferber treatment to get him to nap in the crib during day time and to sleep through the night. This is not to put him down in any way - he has been so supportive and amazing in his own way. This is just to show how different it is with the second child. With baby girl, I just let her play downstairs until she starts scratching her eyes, ears to indicate she is sleepy. I then take her upstairs to the crib, make her snug under her comforters, pull down the shutters and turn on the music and leave the room.
Thank you God, Thank you! Thank you baby girl for being so good. Please do continue to be this way! And KB you too - please continue to love your sister the way you do now. You have adjusted so well to this new addition to our family - I am filled with pride and joy at this. I will allow you your meal time battles just a little for having been so good to us parents and to your little sister!

On that happy note, I complete my 75th post - if such numbers mean anything! :)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

How much is the doggie in the window...

KB is growing up in ways that are different from just recognizing objects,saying words etc. He is able to comprehend emotions and feelings - in ways that I cannot understand. I talk to B or my sister assuming KB won't be paying attention to me and later I find in subtle ways that he has heard and understood some of it too.

KB loves music - some days he asks me to play M.S.S Ganesh Pancharatnam, other days, he brings "Lagaan" CD and asks me to play it or does so himself. Mostly these days, he listens to children's song CDs. This CD is now one of his favorites. And the song "How much is the doggie in the window" is the top of his favorites list. He listens to it quietly and looks like he is very deep in thought.

KB and I have our meal time tussles as you all know by now. We go through smooth phases and then suddenly the drama starts again - I have to yell, threaten to go to the yard and not come back in unless he eats etc. He may cry in the process but the kind of whiny crying just to make my life difficult and then when I come back in, he would eat like it was no problem at all in the first place. But the other day things played out a little differently. He gave me a hard time to get started and as always was eating slowly. Very slowly. He would open his mouth like a little bird. I was losing my patience because baby girl was sitting in the bouncer and I didn't want her to start getting too impatient. As it is, she has to patiently wait 45 min to one hour while he eats. I keep engaging her as well while feeding KB. In my frustration over his pace of eating, I yelled at him to PLEASE open his mouth like a tiger and not a bird. "Big Big Big" I yelled at him.
"Small'aaa" he yelled back at me.

I just shook my head and continued to give him tiny bits of food in the spoon. Now obviously he was even more defiant. So I gave up and silently gave the food. After a while, when he asked for some toy or the other and kept dragging the whole thing, I just lost it and just sighed and put the food on the table. I told him he was driving me crazy (payitham pidikardhu yenakku unnode!). He was now upset. Pouted some, but somehow we battled on and he finished the food.

I brought the yogurt which he usually likes and looks forward to at every meal. He had a few spoons and casually said "no". I was tired of fighting him at this point. I got him out of his chair and helped him wash his mouth and let him go. I came back to the table and put my head on it and said "Mamma, very sad. That you didn't finish the yogurt". He looked at me silently, defiantly and just stood there. For a good two minutes. He then came running to me, tears streaming down and picked up the yogurt and gave it in my hand and made me give it to him. I felt like my heart would break at that gesture. He would eat just because I was sad?!

After he finished his yogurt, I made myself a sandwich and sat down to eat. The entire 15 minutes until I made it, ate it and cleaned up he just sat quietly, thinking and sulking. The first time ever. I had never seen him so quiet, sitting in one place with tears in his eyes. All this while listening to the song, "how much is the doggie". And suddenly he said "Doggie sad". I asked him "why?" and he just repeated "Doggie sad". I could not bear to see him sad. Those large eyes filled with tears. I have had him cry in protest but never looking really sad like this. I hugged him tight and told him that the doggie was not sad and that the doggie was very happy.

A little later, he listened to that song again. He was standing there listening to those words as if he was imagining all of it in his head. And he exclaimed to me "And the doggie will have a good home". I made it into a story and told him "Yeah, Aunty will take good care of the doggie. She will give him "Mum mum", "Mac n cheese", "Jooch" "Milk", and paatu paduvaa (sing songs), ellam pannuva, fun'aa irukkum doggie'ku"". Now he repeats this story like a song in itself. He is so moved by that line, he thinks about it and then comes to me and tells me all this all over again. He said this to my sister over the phone today. I just cannot believe that he is able to relate to this idea. I just wish I could get into his head and see what image he has conjured up of the doggie getting a good home. I wish I could really understand his feelings. It is trivial but I still want to know. He fights me hard at his meals. And later I see him standing in front of the CD player absorbed in thought about the doggie getting a good home. I just want to hug him tight and tell my little baby that all is well for him and for the doggie and that the world is a happy place. Well, I didn't say anything really, I held him close and listened to the song with him.

How much is that doggie in the window? (arf! arf!)
The one with the waggley tail
How much is that doggie in the window? (arf! arf!)
I do hope that doggie's for sale

I must take a trip to California
And leave my poor sweetheart alone
If she has a dog, she won't be lonesome
And the doggie will have a good home

How much is that doggie in the window? (arf! arf!)
The one with the waggley tail
How much is that doggie in the window? (arf! arf!)
I do hope that doggie's for sale

I read in the paper there are robbers (roof! roof!)
With flashlights that shine in the dark
My love needs a doggie to protect her
And scare them away with one bark

How much is that doggie in the window? (arf! arf!)
The one with the waggley tail
How much is that doggie in the window? (arf! arf!)
I do hope that doggie's for sale
I do hope that doggie's for sale

Monday, January 14, 2008

Is pre school at age 3 necessary?

I am on the look out for preschools for KB now (he is 29m now). The one good Montessori I like has a super long wait list. May get an afternoon slot in Sep 08 (KB turns three on Aug.3). I was thinking of getting him in some preschool when he is around 2.5yrs old. Mainly because I want him to get an opportunity to meet other kids and socialize and generally know what it means to do things at set times and the concept of "teacher" and so on.

The good schools are too expensive - anywhere from $550 to $670 per month just for three half days! I don't know what the chains charge - Mulberry kids type places - I don't think they are too much cheaper. I was told by several people to avoid these chains only because they have higher turn over of teachers and they shift students from class to class more often and kids tend to fall sick more. It seems incredible to spend that kind of money for your kid to just go and socialize (I mean this only for age 3). But I don't have too much choice - I don't have time to take KB out on play dates - the schedule just doesn't work out easily. I have to go in that tiny window of time when both kids are fed and have taken their naps and it has to be before baby girl's sleep time in the evening since she naps in the evening also. B comes home only around 8.00pm plus on most evenings. It is easier for me to drive the kids to some local shop or take them for a walk in the stroller than plan a play date with someone - just because I don't know exactly when I can make it.

My friend here says it is a waste of time to put them in preschool at age 3. In her experience, her child did not benefit at all that one year. She regrets having woken her up early in the morning to rush her to school and drag her second child for the drop off pick up. She says I would be better of waiting till KB is four - so he can have a relaxed life until then - wake up late and eat more peacefully/slowly. KB wakes up by 7.00 am anyway - so that may not be an issue. But the thought of rushing his meals and also dragging baby girl along just for the car ride is not appealing.

I cannot take KB to mommy and me classes now because I can't leave baby girl alone while I participate in the class (required). School is the only option.
All these thoughts going in a loop in my head. Is it worth it or not? Or is it best I put my effort into meeting with a couple of friends twice a week and just having KB play with his little sister rest of the time...take them to the library etc more often? Just for one more year. Money saved and less chance of falling sick most importantly. Even as I write this, I know I will be very nervous wondering if I am doing the right thing if I kept him home till he turned 4.

Just sharing my confusion with you - hopefully some of you will comment and tell me your perspective in this matter!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Hello, this is baby girl!

Hello all – You have seen my photographs, you have heard about me but mamma has never given a chance to let me talk to you all. Well, I grabbed the pen from her and decided I would write a few lines. Oh, well the keypad, let’s say.

I turned six months old on Dec 17.08 and mamma decided to wait till Dec 31.07 to give me my first taste of solid food. Hellou I hear that a lot of my pals out there got to taste solids when they were four months old. And she finally really got me started on two solid meals a day only on Jan 5.08! My brother seems to have instilled a dread of feeding solid meals in her that she postponed it until she couldn’t do it anymore without being struck by severe guilt. And she is not telling you this and let me tell you she is a paranoid believer in jinxing things even just by thinking about it. But I will tell you – pretend you didn’t hear it. She is secretly enjoying feeding me solids because this is an utterly new feeling for her. I mean, my brother took about half an hour for one tablespoon of solids when he was 6m old. Me on the other hand, I am taking pity on her and give her such joy when she turns around to see the time – only 15 min and I am done with two tablespoons of cereal! Mamma – don’t you just love me just for this?! Now, don’t take it too easy – I may suddenly decide to make your life difficult – so just keep on appreciating me for this!

I am only six months old and she has already dragged me on three different trips – that’s 6 flights to and fro in all. I sure hope she has no plans of dragging my brother and me on any more flights for a while. I have to say though – it’s nice and cozy since daddy always holds me even when I am napping when we are on the flight. I guess I should enjoy this until I turn two. Every one in the flight tells my mom that we are such good kids on the flight. People make a big deal of ear pressure but I don’t have a problem so far since I am always sucking on my thumb. I don’t feel too much of it.

I visited every one in my mom’s family during the New Year’s Eve holiday. It was great fun. I completely forgot that back home, I used to actually be let down on the floor on a blanket to play. At my mama’s place, there was so much competition to hold me that I was constantly in someone’s arms. Every one loved cuddling me. My brother on the other hand doesn’t like being cuddled by any one other than mom at most times. Not even dad. He only allows a few people that he is very fond of and knows well to carry him. He didn’t care at all that every one paid more attention to me. I don’t know why my mom worries about this and feels so bad about it. He really doesn’t care mom and it’s his own doing you know! He will play with people but not let any one touch him. Well anyone other than his mama, grandma and our cousin brother in that house full of people. Wonder if I too will become like him in a year’s time…mamma, you keep guessing. I am not going to tell you what my plans are.

My mom’s sister and my cousin (her daughter) told my mom that I am the happiest baby on earth! I did not cry and I kept smiling and was really enjoying myself amongst all that loving bunch of people – I earned my title you know! Mom doesn’t even want to hear it for fear of – yeah that same old thing! Jinx!

My brother and I interact and play with each other a lot these days. It seems like the most natural thing to do but mom and dad go nuts over this. Mom has begun to really make use of the fact that we have each other! When I am bored and whine a tiny bit asking for some entertainment, she asks my brother to ride his train in front of me. I quite enjoy this – he is so big – he can even ride trains you know! My brother is the best brother ever I think – he loves me so much. He is constantly pulling my hand and ramming his head on me when mamma is nursing me. I am so used to this now, if he is not around, I find it strange and keep looking around for him. My brother even gives “pet names” for me – he calls me “Guluvil” and just this morning he came up with this name “Lilibi” for me. Mom and dad think he has come up with perfect names for me. I too like those names.

I don’t sleep through the night – I do wake up to feed once – around 3.00 am but I go back to sleep soon after that. I wake up by 5.15 am every morning but it’s working out well because dad likes to wake up early and feels this is a good reason to do so. I am usually singing and cooing in the dark for some 10 –15 minutes before dad really gets out of bed and comes to get me. I give such a beaming smile and laugh when he takes me out of the crib – dad just delights in this, I can see. He just dotes on me mom, you better watch out – your position in the favorites list may be getting weaker! I am at my best in the morning – too bad mom misses all of this. She sleeps late and wakes up later along with my brother – around 7.00 am. She does wake up to feed me around 6.00 am but she goes back to sleep. Dad and I have our morning time – I watch him make his coffee and grab at every thing – the coffee filter, the mug, the spoon. But he is sweet; he still carries me around and does every thing with one hand. We then come upstairs and I sit on his lap while he reads the newspaper. I keep grabbing at it – so these days he gives me something to chew on – like the empty cereal bag - while he reads. It makes a lot of noise but it is too thick for me to really bite off it – so dad gives it to me while he peacefully reads.

My aunt – dad’s sister – has sent me the “Pack n play” that my cousins used when they were my age. I am not sure what to expect of this thing. Hope mom doesn’t put me in it too often – I like being free to roll around and wander and ingest all the random bits of stuff I come across on the rug. My brother often makes a mess of his “coco krispies” and some bits of it get left behind on the rug – I love discovering those and have my mom panic and run and grab it from my hand.

Mom cannot possibly leave me on the bed and go too far away from me since I roll around in a second and come to the edge of the bed. She tells my brother to keep a watch on me – he is pretty good at this – he actually goes and tells her “Mamma, kutti baby carpet’lendhu floor’ku vandhurthu” and she comes running and puts me back in the center of the rug. I now sit by supporting my hand on the floor – though mom doesn’t often let me do this. She should remember to do this more often.

Mom takes my brother and me for a walk in the double stroller. Let me tell you, I am glad Christmas is over! I now don’t have to listen to a running commentary from him as to which “Uncle” (he refers to all the neighbors as Uncle or Aunty!) has turned the Christmas lights on and whose inflatable Santa has lost air and so on. “Santa flat ayitar” he screams to mamma and she has to say, “Amam da kanna, Santa’ku air pump pannanum Aunty”. He will keep repeating this until she says that in response. Often times, it is close to my nap time when we are returning from our walk and I start to whine having to listen to all this when I would rather be sleeping cozily in the warmth of my crib! Mom then walks really fast with the stroller so she can get home soon and make me sleep in my crib. My poor mom having to please both me and my brother – me wanting to get home and my brother wanting to stay out longer!

Wow folks, I sure can talk about myself on and on! Look how long this has turned out to be already. I better stop here or you may fall asleep – if you even got this far in the first place!

Ba-bye! Take care. See you tomorrow – like my brother says!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Amazing courage

I saw this recently (also read the transcript) - it is truly inspiring.

Dr.Randy Pausch is a 47 year old computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University, who is dying of Pancreatic cancer. He gave what is called "The last lecture" on Sep.18.2007 - about achieving childhood dreams. I found this lecture to be so inspiring, so touching and heart breaking. His courage in the face of his terminal illness is just incredible - especially considering he has three very young children. I guess it's not how long you live but how you live that really matters. God knows how much longer he will live - miracles happen and he may live longer than predicted now - nevertheless he has lived such a model life for his children thus far. They would have learned so much already from his example. Many of you may already know about this lecture but I wanted to share it with you just in case you have not come across this.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Back from yet another trip!

Happy new year to you and you and you! :) And your family! Wish you good health and happiness in the coming year!

We went to my brother's place to attend a wedding reception, family get together and got back late Tuesday night (Jan.1). The travel alone was 11 hrs door to door - you can imagine how that would have been with two little kids in hand. I feel so bad for them - but they coped quite well. Thanks to the winter snow delays in Chicago etc, flights were delayed - I got our tickets re-routed, took a stand by flight (was confirmed for a later flight) - felt it was better than risking the Chicago route and having to spend the night there in case our flight got canceled!

I had this vague resolution shaping up in my head as we were flying back home - that I would be more patient and not loose my temper with B when I am tired of dealing with the kids. Resolutions are meant to be broken - in my case - even before I firmly made it into a resolution! :) B and I had a nice little fight towards the end of our journey. Baby girl who had been patient up to that point, suddenly was woke up because of all the sudden activity around her, lights, announcements etc and started crying - especially because the plane was beginning to land and the ear pressure was building up. KB in the mean while, as always chose that apt moment to stand on his seat and look around and play with the light switch etc and refused to sit down and wear his seat belt. I gave a glass of juice to B to hold and was trying to get KB to sit down in his seat. His highness Abdullah firmly said "No No seat belt. He wants to ninnun (stand)". I pulled at him strongly and he screamed. And baby girl also raised her pitch at the same time. I turned to B and snapped - can't you calm her down somehow?! And he in turn snapped back at me! I immediately relayed to him the exact count of the diaper changes and feedings I had done for the kids in all that time and how I am not being appreciated and instead being yelled at by him. All this in the midst of two kids who were being difficult. A good solid fight can't be let go at any time right?! :) All that cooled off when I had* to tell B about the Chinese woman behind me who asked me the kid's ages and told me "You have beautiful children". Our mood savior at that point! I had to share it with B. And we discussed how it must be KB's big eyes why she said that - since most Asian women who comment about him are drawn to his eyes because they are big. The kids cooperated well except for this last bit and we were glad to be home!

Now my cousins have also adopted KB's language after seeing him at my brother's place. They too say "Gojills" for "bath". Origin - we used to say "Jo kuli" to KB referring to taking a bath. And he changed that to "go gula". And later we twisted it to "Go Jilla" and now it is "Go jills". He wakes up in the morning and says, "Go Jills" time! :)

If I ask him, "Do you want to eat mam mam?", he answers me with another question in the same exact tone "Do you want to play water and spoon?" (his favorite game!).

These days, we are back to staging dramas for meal times. He had gotten out of it for a while. But the last few weeks, he decided to add a little excitement to our mundane lives. Every single meal pretty much we go through this little drama. I will ask him "Pupsi, eppo yenna time?" and he will continue what he is doing and nonchalantly say "Mam MAM time".
"Padutha poraya?" (You plan to trouble me?)

"Padutha poraya?"

I will ignore his repeating of my line and go towards him to get him. He will immediately say "Vendam"! (Dont' want it!).

"Ajoo, mum mum saapdanum". (You have to eat!)

Screaming, legs flailing, I carry him to his booster seat and buckle him up.

He will immediately make a funny Calvin face and say "Pidikave ille" (I don't even like it!) before even looking at what I have for him.

"That's OK. You have to eat it".

KB will then turn his face all the way to the back and I will drag it back to start giving him the first spoonful. He will resist fiercely. I will then say "Nee ippo saapadlenna naa yard'ku poiduven, varave matten" (If you don't eat now, I will go to the yard and never come back).

The first few days he used to protest the moment I opened the yard door. But last night he told me "Yardukku po".

I went out and stood there. I thought he would call out for me in about 20 seconds. No. I waited, took a few deep breaths. Nothing. After nearly five minutes, he said
"Mamma sapadrein". (Mamma, I will eat).

I come back calmly. He hands me his bib. I put it around his neck and he starts eating looking at his book like there was no fuss in the first place!

I am looking forward to more of such joys in 2008 - especially since I will be starting solids for baby girl this weekend. We did the token "Annaprashanam" for her at my brother's place - she seemed to like it. Hoping she will be an easy eater compared to KB!

You will hear more about it - as long as I continue blogging! :)

(Am not editing this post. Just wrote it quickly - feeling extremely sleepy since the kids are totally out of schedule and I have zero common nap time now - one kid or the other is always awake during the day)