Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Shantha swaroopini - 3

I was initially thinking I would stop at part 2. But there are a couple of things about her that I forgot to mention that I am sure I would delight in remembering when she is much older. So I had to continue on with this thread.

KG has a way of dealing with anger - both hers and mine. It amazes me when I witness "inherent nature" right in front of me in my two kids. There is only so much nurture can do in shaping a person's personality. When we were in NJ visiting my cousin, KG was constantly climbing up and down the stairs and refusing to come down to what ever it was I was calling her for. When I yelled at her, she just screamed "I want fruit snack and joooooos". A totally irrelevant comment said in a complaining tone. She doesn't know how to respond to my adult way of yelling with a string of words said rapidly, but she deflects it with randomness. She just throws you off and makes you ask "What?". She does this so often - just say something - sometimes funny also - that you just loose that heat of your temper a little bit! KB on the other hand would take my words seriously and respond like a lawyer with an argument addressing exactly what I said in yelling at him!

How can I post about KG's personality without mentioning how she is the biggest fan and biggest "pest" her brother has?! Right from learning her ABC's to learning about dinosaurs and to "inventing" dinosaurs she has learned every bit on her own from just being around her brother. We read to her but I never had to sit with her and show her her letters or numbers. When/how she learned it without going to school I don't know but I think it is totally thanks to her brother. What ever he does, she has to do. If he drops a pencil on the floor by chance, she has to also drop something - if she doesn't have anything in her hand, she will pick one up and drop it just like her brother! If he watches "Scooby-doo" she has to also watch it. She used to watch "Star wars" with him and know all the main characters at age 2.5 when KB was totally crazy about it. She used to pretend to defeat imaginary bad guys with her light saber just like her brother KB. I had to buy her a light saber because KB insisted I do so! And now that he has moved on from "Star wars" to "Scooby-doo", she too has moved on and sings the Scooby-doo title song one that she learned on her own. She sings a big song on "Triceratops" dinosaur from just listening to a "Dinosaurs" music CD in the car because KB catches on to the words of every song and sings along. If she messes up some words, of course, her perfectionist brother argues with her saying, "KG, you know to say three, it is three sharp horns upon it's nose, NOT "gree""! We love her baby talk and if she sings the words wrong, we make no attempt to correct her. But KB doesn't allow that. He was a born thatha, always pronouncing the words correctly! So he doesn't let his sister get away with it if he thinks she is capable of saying some word the correct way. Which by the way KG pronounces as "Kerect" and so both me and husband always say "Oh, yeah, KG, you said it the "kerect" way!".

KG also gets on KB's nerves by breaking toys, tearing pages in books, ripping things apart etc! His "lift the flap" books from when he was a baby - most of the flaps would be totally intact and in good condition. Unless a few tore from over use. But KG on the other hand was not interested in what was under the flap. She was interested in the flap itself. She would try to rip it first. And for a long time, she did not want us to read any books with long sentences. KB used to read 20 page books back to us verbatim at age 2.5. No kidding. KG on the other hand at 2.5 was still absolutely not interested in long story books. Just wanted to look at the pictures and she wanted us to tell her the story in Tamil/English mixed in colloquial style. All of a sudden in the last few months she loves to listen to story books. Thanks to KB she even listens to "Dinosaur encylopedia" and "Magic tree house" books and asks us to tell her Jack & Annie stories. Like her brother she even invents dinosaurs. Though she can't tell us details of its anatomy and diet and location where the fossils were discovered etc like KB does, she still does a pretty good job of making it up. She told me yesterday, "Mamma, I invented a dinosaur. It is called Loxtasaurus. It is like a snake and it is taller than a dinosaur. It eats spiders"!

People including my husband sometimes tease me that I do have a little extra soft spot for KB. It is so hard to explain...I just love them both the same but in different ways. KB, I feel protective of even now because I feel like he needs me more and is more sensitive. KG, I am so grateful to, because she needs me less emotionally but I give my heart to her because she has helped me so much already by just being her. KB had to deal with our stumbling and learning as first time parents. KG benefited from it. With KB we had no yard sticks to compare him to for learning milestones. KG - we compared her to KB but with the ease that comes with second time around, not worrying but just noting the differences. KG enriches both KB's and our lives with her easy temperament. KB makes us feel love, joy, anxiety - all emotions - as intensely as he does. KB's intensity and perfectionist attitude is complemented by KG's carefree and daring attitude. KB is bold and confident when it comes to talking to new people. KG would be shy and take longer to warm up. KB (at age three) made it so difficult for me to leave him in a new preschool. KG is about to start preschool in September. Yet it is KB who I worry about because he is going to start Kindergarten in a Montessori environment which is new to him. They are both so different. But when B asked him yesterday, "KB, are you excited that you will have five days holidays after your summer program ends and your kindergarten starts? You will be home with Mamma?". He said immediately, "Daddy, I am excited because I can play with KG!". Even today if someone asks him what his favorite thing to do is, he would say "Playing with my sister"! On Raksha Bandan day, I pray to the powers that be, "Please, let them be as bonded as they are today and be there for each other always!" and "God hope their spouses get along really well"!

I was going to post photos - instead decided to make it per interest. So if you would like to see the photos I was going to post pertaining to this post, please mail me at wondernoon@gmail and I will send you the link. I still havent' put it up, but will do if any one mails me!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Shantha swaroopini - 2

KG was three weeks old or so when a friend (a friend's wife who became my good friend also) came to spend a week with us to help me and my mom since my mom is old and also my father had passed away just five months before KG was born. She would sing "Thaaramaiya Ragukula Ramachandiraraa" and other lovely Telugu songs KG would calmly listen...and when she fell asleep she would be left in the little cradle and she would sleep so peacefully. I am now thinking of the first day when she came from the hospital and we let her sleep in that little cradle while I attended to KB who refused to eat unless I fed him myself. He just ignored the new little baby in the cradle for a few hours. And to think of how soon they became bonded - him playing with her tender soft feet while I nursed her, being so gracious and generous in letting me spend time with her...and how she would be entertained by him and became so used to his presence around her at most times. And how far the two of them have come...playing air hockey together like two big kids, while I was cooking this morning. Just twenty two months apart, they are now like buddies. They are so different in personality but are so close to each other and just dote on each other.

We often call KG, Danica, because of her obsession with cars. KG has always loved playing with cars. Not so much the movie "Cars" but actually playing with little cars. She still does it. Every morning after I drop KB at school and come back home with her, she goes to her train, rides it to the family room (which is their play room) and opens up the trunk and pulls out some 10 hot wheels cars and lines them up to make a parking lot or puts them in some fashion that it looks like a traffic jam. She still rides on her train from room to room and does tricks with it like lifting the front of it while sitting on it. She has to park her train in some parking spot in some corner of the house when I call her for something. If I tell her to come have her lunch, she often dodges me saying, "aaahhm...after I play cars for a littu bit"!

KG has a good sense of humor - she makes funny faces or says silly things that make you laugh. For example, we had a visitor who's daughter's name was Maya. That night KG told me, "Mamma, Maya kutti ponnu is a Maiasaura" and started giggling away. While she can do that, she is so different from KB in how she shows her excitement. She will only give a muted smile with her cheeks puffing up when she gets something she likes or finds something exciting. KB on the hand would show more raw emotion be it happiness or sadness.

KG has this playful tradition of "giving me cheek". If I grind my teeth and come rushing to her and hug her and pinch her cheeks, she would say "give me my cheek back" loudly. And if I make a sad face, she will say, "Mamma, I will give you 100 cheeks, not just one OK" and pretend like she is plucking some cheek from her own and stick it on to mine a bunch of times and then tell me "I gave you 100 cheeks mamma".

It would be quite strange if she actually became a CEO some day because of the number of times people have said that about her. Funny because she is actually quite shy by nature and takes longer to warm up than KB. But she is so strong willed and decisive in the way she conducts herself that different people have said "wow, she is a CEO"!. Once we were at the swimming pool when I playing with my friend's son. I playfully asked KG, "shall I give two odhais (spanking) for A?". She immediately gave this very emphatic and clear "Yes". I then asked KG "Why KG, why do you want me to give him odhai?". Her immediate answer was "Because I said yes"! Yes, Maam!

She still has a little bit of baby language left in her. And we try hard to preserve it. For example she somehow started saying "Cindrellella" instead of "Cindrella" . So both me and my husband always only refer to that character as "Cindrellella". Poor baby - she might get teased in preschool for saying it the wrong way.

She is a tigress when it comes to defending her brother. Let some kid come and grab "Anna's" toy...if she hears a semblance of a protest from her brother, she will join in and go and tell that kid, "It is Anna's" and make sure to retrieve it for her brother. For all her ability to take care of herself she seems so giving and generous that it sometimes worries me that she can be taken for a ride by other kids. When we were waiting on the sides at KB's swim class, KG had four cookies in her little snack bag and she had just started eating the first one. A friend's daughter came that side and just gently mentioned that she too wanted those cookies. KG immediately just gave all the three remaining cookies to her in an instant. I didn't even have to ask her to share it with her friend. She sometimes fights with her brother refusing to share her favorite train or cars but even so if he really looks sad, she would immediately give it to him.

More coming...

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Shantha Swaroopini

The title doesn't sound much like the post I have been promising to write - the one about KG. Even to the people who know her casually, the title may not seem apt for a post about KG. But from the people who know her well, it will elicit an approving nod. I am not sure if I somehow imagined her to be that way and hence continue to perceive her as someone with an inner calm and strength ("shantham") ignoring the fact we very often call her "Rakshashi" since she can be that too pretty often. What ever it is, I feel that she has that inner calm and an ability to just be content with herself. I wish I could be like her sometimes. Not in the way that kids in general are able to move on but in the way that you know will be a part of her personality even as an adult.

When I was pregnant with my first child, I assumed it would be a girl. But when the nurse casually mentioned that it was a boy, I was kind of taken aback. What would I do with a boy...I only imagined myself with a girl baby. But once KB arrived, I got used to having a boy. The second time around, I actually didn't mind if it were to be another boy. This time around, I was so happy with KB that I was OK with another boy. When I found out it was going to be a girl, I took it in stride. I was happy I was going to have one of each but it was not like I was over joyed that it was going to be a girl. I would have been OK either way. But the more KG grows up, the more I feel so grateful to have a girl. And of course as her mother, I feel especially blessed to have a girl like KG. And I pray often that my perception of her is right and that she really is able to hold her own and have that quiet strength about her even as an adult.

Being the second child, KG just grew up in a blink. She turned three in June and I feel like it was only yesterday she was born. The first blessing after having struggled so much with KB's sleep issues was that she would sleep on her own from about 2m of age (until about 18m after which she needed us to pat her to sleep but would still not give us a hard time about it). Having gone through sleep issues with KB, I still feel so thankful to KG for making life easier by just being a good sleeper. The other big blessing is that she is not a picky eater like KB. But for her I would have constantly suffered this guilt that it must be me why KB is such a picky eater and is so difficult over all with eating. It felt like the Gods took pity on me when we gave her the first spoon of solids and she just opened her mouth wide (unlike KB's bird mouth habit) and ate her food so quickly. She is always open to trying new foods and when she says "enough" it is really because she is full and doesn't need more food. She was not much into milk- quite the opposite of her brother - but of late she has become more accepting of it. Because of the eating troubles I continue to have with KB, I am so grateful and appreciative of the fact that KG doesn't give me a hard time when it comes to eating. Every single meal, I feel thankful for it.

To be continued....