Sunday, July 31, 2011

Swim tales..

I didn't get to finish my previous post.  About the swimming struggles we are going through.  I guess it is not fair on my part to call it "struggles" for KB's swimming but to me it feels that way.  I took him for swim lessons when he turned four.  He was scared but did OK.  But that year was more of an introduction to being in water.  The next summer (last year), I took him for two sessions or more I can't remember.  He got to a level 3 and could swim and back float across the width of the pool.  But around mid-July he fell sick with bronchitis and that kind of unbearable coughing really scared me.  I stopped going to the pool for a while but by then it was colder - even though it is an indoor pool where they charge an arm and a leg for swim lessons, it gets cold once he is out of the water - and I just stopped going until this July.  But the sad part is his favorite teacher had left by then.  This new teacher is supposed to be one of the best but the chemistry just did not work out between her and KB.  She took him to the deep end of the pool before he felt ready for it mentally.  He coped OK but it left him feeling stiff and nervous.  My thought is this - she may be a great teacher but I don't want him to feel terrified getting into the water when he didn't start out that way.  There are situations where there is no copping out - like say the first day of school etc - but this, he can learn swimming from a teacher who will smile a little and pat him on the back when he feels terrified.  He is not training to be in a competition, he is just here to learn swimming! So anyway, I decided to move him to a private teacher for private lessons rather than semi-private (2 kids) in a swim school.  Only problem with this is that it is an outdoor pool and he can only learn with this teacher until the end of summer when it is warm enough.  Last week I took him to class every day.  He seems to be very comfortable with the new teacher and is making good progress now.  First couple of classes, I felt like I would be in tears.  All that effort to be at the beginning stage again! I cursed myself for stopping his swim lessons for a whole year.  I am hoping that by the end of summer he will be able to swim the length of the pool.  We are going on a holiday for a week, so it leaves me with three weeks to somehow get him there.  I am going to try to take him every day so he can make as much progress as possible! Let's see!  He is also working very hard towards it and wants to go to swimming class every day.

On another note, we went to a circus today.  We had fabulous booth seats from B's work and the kids really enjoyed the show.  But I am not much of a circus fan.  Acrobats are fun to watch but I hate it when the animals perform.  I just don't see the fun in seeing ten tigers sitting on stools in a circle and responding to their name being called and finally all of them lifting their paws and sitting like puppies.  It is so unnatural and sad to see them be that way.  And the poor elephants balancing their weight on tiny little stools.  I don't find any of the animal performances in these shows entertaining.  At least I was glad to see them all look very healthy and not scrawny and malnourished.

Next post - on KB turning six this week.  Hope to write that post before he turns seven!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Hiking, tooth out, swimming etc

Let me start on a positive note.  We went for a weekend trip to the mountains about two hours away.  Rented a cabin (a two bed place with a kitchen) and stayed there on Sat night and drove back on Sunday eve.  The trip was absolutely wonderful - just being around nature all the time.  We had lunch and went to the animal park before checking into the hotel.  Saw black bears, bald eagles, bisons, mountain lions, mule deers, bob cats...all up close.  The sad part was a lot of these animals were there only because they had no way to fend for themselves.  It was an animal park where they were brought in for recovery and for enabling them to live on despite the issues they had.  The bald eagle had a cataract, the mountain lions were all cubs that were left in the den when their mother had been shot dead by a hunter and were raised by the park people and so on.   Thankfully it was not blazing hot and so we were able to walk around looking at all these animals.  Kids loved being around these birds and animals and reading about them.

Later we went to the cabin and checked in.  We turned on the TV for a short while when the kids drank their afternoon milk.  They were watching Toy story 1 when suddenly KB exclaimed with nervous excitement "Mamma, my tooth fell out!".  We were all so thrilled for him and shouted "Yayyy"!  And he just could not contain his excitement, he kept looking at the gap and at the fallen tooth.  B said he should bury it like we did as kids.  But some of his friends have saved theirs, so he was more used to that idea.  Plus he just wanted to examine it up close.  So I wrapped it in a paper towel and kept it safely.  After having tea, we went to the huge lake area and went for a walk and stood on the bobbing wooden platform on the lake.  Kids loved standing there watching all the motor boat riders.  Close to dinner time we got back to the cabin, made a quick pasta meal and ate it sitting outside surrounded by tall pine trees.

Next morning we got ready pretty early (for a holiday!) by 9.30 a.m. and checked out of the hotel.  We went to the discovery center for a nature walk with a bunch of guided volunteers some of whom were in training.  KB was totally into what they were explaining about the local trees and animals and asked them some good questions.  KG was very annoyed with me for not giving her one more strawberry wafer (this after she had two chocolate chip cookies and three wafers that morning before we got to the nature walk) right away.  I was very irritated at having to deal with that rather than listen to what they were saying.  Oh god, some times you just wish someone would take care of your child for just five minutes.  B was trying to get her to leave me alone and go to him but she wouldn't leave my side.  Later we had lunch on a picnic table very close to the water on the lake.  It was wonderful to be surrounded by huge mountains and very tall trees and be next to a huge body of water and have lunch there.  I wish I could do that every day! Later we went to a hiking trail close by.  My plan was to just step into the trail and hike up a couple of trail points and return.  But KB wanted to go deeper.  I was feeling nervous though I felt going all the way as well.  They said there is a very low probability of mountain lions coming to the trail area but the probability wasn't zero.  I never used to be scared of such things but with kids I feel very nervous.  We went on anyway and ended up doing the round and completing all the sixteen trail points.  It was awesome though - walking with our two kids and seeing them enjoy nature.  KB was thrilled to see a tall pine tree filled with holes made by the woodpecker.  Fallen logs filled with ants, squirrels nibbling on acorns, pine cones all over the place, humming birds, orioles, is just swell walking around with just bird songs to keep us company.  I wish I hadn't been so scared of a mountain lion jumping on us.  Didn't help that B and KB kept joking that there is a cheetah behind me or a rattle snake crawling close by.  After our hike, we went to a nice big coffee shop and kids had their milk and we had coffee and started on our drive home.

I was going to write about our swimming tales but it is kind of late and I need to get KB ready for his swim class.  So I shall do that in the next post.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Guilt Tag from Ro

Ro, one my favorite bloggers wrote two things she feels guilty about.  Or not.  As a mom. Mommy guilt is something that is born in our systems the moment the fetus is formed I think.  I should be eating better, but man, I am lazy to cook now, let me just eat noodles.  Oh dear, I am so terrible, giving my system Atta noodles when I have a baby growing inside of me.  Terrible terrible me.  I have not gained enough weight for it being the second trimester.  It must be because of not eating well.  Just starts there and never ends.  But of course we all do things every now and then where we go with our needs or desires ahead of the children.  And feel guilty about it.  And sometimes not even feel guilty about it.  I read Ro's interesting post on this and I really can write down her number one thing as is here because I do the same and I just don't feel guilty about it.  Kids bedtime routine has moved on to dad because enough is enough I have woken up hours on end with KB until he was about two years old and with KG when she was an infant when I woke up to nurse her.  I honestly also feel they need quiet time with daddy, so let him enjoy the bed time routine. No guilt there.  So let me write something I do feel guilty about.

I grew up seeing my parents fight with each other all the time.  They had their own connection, used to go to weddings and functions together, discuss people, friends, incidents, help people and never question each other about it - but bicker they did - what to me seemed non stop.  I hated it.  That horrible temper they would be in when they were in the thick of the fight.  I told myself I should not do that to my kids.  I don't do it to my kids that same way.  But I don't even want to do it to the extent I do now.  I fight with B in front of them.  Not just argue.  We shout and yell and spill our guts out for those thirty seconds.  Words like "ridiculous" and "Goddamn it" are used.  I slam cabinet doors as I cook when I am in the middle of a fight.  There have been times when KB has broken down crying because he always takes my side and he feels very bad that I am upset.  We play the blame game and I find it embarrassing.  Fighting like second graders.  I feel horribly guilty about it.  But I console myself that a) they need to know people fight, it happens, we move on, we are still friends b) mom is surely not a saint c) I do show to them that B and I also care for each other because I always tell them even on a day that we may have fought that their dad is an amazing dad and they are lucky to have such a wonderful dad and that it is not OK to talk back to daddy in anger.  You can argue with mom or dad but no rudeness allowed.  And I go through the guilt all over again because I am not showing it in my actions, I should not be shouting at their dad. 

2) This one is just like the one Ro wrote about.  There are days when I am running around from place to place and getting things done in the house, I just forget to eat breakfast or there is not enough time for a snack in the evening.  I used to get the multi colored fennel candy (if I happened to go to the Indian store) which I used to love as a child and still do.  If I get that, in my hunger, I used to gobble up half the packet during the drive.  This while restricting my sweet toothed daughter to eat 2 or 3 max of Bourbon cookies.  I have since stopped buying that candy.  My son, the saint of the house without ever scolding me has made me stop buying it by being such a role model for me.  How? I once told him about how he should not eat dum dum lollipops too much (he does not eat ANY candy or chocolate but he used to eat this) because it has food dyes that are not good for children.  He asked me more about it and then said "Then why do those companies make it for children?".  I said, they do, because they know kids will like it and they will also get money.  But since then he has pretty much stopped eating those lollipops.  Sometimes I am the one telling him to have one and that it is OK once in a while but he still won't eat it.  He will only eat the naturally flavored/colored with fruit juice pops from Trader Joes.  I was shamed into having half his self control when it comes to my fennel candy. 

Well, that's my guilt story. 

I tag "Neera" and "Ranjani" on this one!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Questions from KB

I have to pause and think before I answer KB's questions or pass it on to the dad when he gets home in the evening if I don't have time to google it.  I am partly writing this because it is interesting for me to read these sort of posts a couple of years later.  I plan to look up some old posts to see what KB used to be like at age four.

Anyway - some of the questions from the last two days:

1) Mamma, if I put an Apple in water and freeze it, will it get preserved for ever? (He has a piece of apple frozen in a cup of water in the freezer - he plans to keep it that way until he goes to college apparently!).

2) If gravity is such a powerful force, how am I even able to jump on my trampoline?

3) Mamma, suppose I am floating in water and gravity is everywhere, how come I am able to float?

4) What makes water turn into ice?

5) If fire comes out of the rocket when it takes off, how does the metal tube at the base of the rocket not get burnt?

6) Why do we need tissues?

7) How does the food know to go into the food pipe and not into the wind pipe all the time?

8) Will the sun also die and have a new sun be born later after billions of years?

9) Mamma, sometimes when I brush, there is a bubble on my lips, how come it doesn't burst when I touch it with the brush?

10) How is sand formed on earth?

11) Why does the earth spin around the sun?

12) Mamma, if the doctor cuts open the mom's tummy to take the baby out (I have not told him how natural delivery happens because he will then think too much about all that - I felt it can wait), then what do animals in the wild do? They don't have any vets to take their babies out right?

13) Why does old paper turn yellow?

14) Today's question when we were driving back from Target shop while listening to his favorite CD: "Mamma, how do they put the music on the CD if people are not singing in front of it?"

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The power of the individual

We went to the beach Friday night around 7.45 p.m.  The weather was balmy, warm and gorgeous.  I had the kids eat an early dinner and kept dinner ready for us.  As soon as B came home, we took off.  It was a full moon day and the waves were crashing on the big rocks behind the shore.  There were fire pits in the beach and on full moon days, the local drum group comes to play there to drum in the full moon.  It was absolutely lively to have the beat of the drums, the warm air, camp fire, embers flying through the air, jugglers doing fire tricks and people dancing around the drummers.  KB was so excited that he was dancing random crazy dances.  KG was delighted to dance along more slowly and gracefully but was very nervous when she saw a juggler throw a fire ball into her mouth.  That looked pretty scary even for me.  I have no idea how they even do that and not wince in pain.

There was a young girl with thick blond hair which was dyed a bright blue in the front.  She wore a sports bra and a pair of sports capris thus exposing her midriff.  She looked very sensual but not vulgar.  She seemed to be in her early twenties.  She was in the side lines watching one of the older men juggle with some bars with fire balls on the ends.  I never expected this young woman to come and do some fire tricks herself.  Every time I watch something of this sort, I find it very interesting.  What motivates this young girl to learn these difficult and somewhat dangerous fire tricks and do it for free?  Who are her parents? Do they encourage her or discourage her?  I just wonder about these things when I see someone like her.  It is in its own way a very nice feeling for me when I see such quirky individuals because it is telling of the power of the individual.  That fire within.  To do something that sparks your interest and do it no matter the reward.  To have a sense of self and have the discipline it takes to follow up and nurture an interest from within.

The other day I was typing something on the computer when the TV was on in the background late at night.  I saw some program on women body builders.  This young girl who was in high school was working towards becoming one.  What impressed me about her was how at that young age she had chosen something not so popular yet put in enormous amounts of effort and time and had the discipline to follow a strict diet and grueling exercise schedule from her trainer.  Similarly when I read about this man,  I feel that same fascination I feel for the power of the individual.  Though he is famous now, it must have been a lonely journey in the start of his running endeavors and also most of the running times must be a kind of lonely experience.  In this context I also have to write about this person who I have come to admire even though I only know her as the mother of my blog pal (who also is incredibly talented).  No one expects these people to accomplish these goals.  The end point is exciting and joyous but the journey is long and requires immense perseverance.  Yet that drive from within to set that goal and accomplish it is so remarkable.  Be it in small ways or big ways, it is nice to see someone have their own ways of doing things and be their own unique individual adding so much color to the world.  The beauty of creation and the uniqueness of each creation is just mind boggling.  In that sense too, parenting is such a moving journey because you see the uniqueness of the individual taking shape day by day in small and big ways.  I guess this is what makes people watching also so interesting because you can sit and marvel at variety there is out there despite us all belonging to one species.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Small gestures of kindness...

I read this post by Ranjani - a typical Ranjani style post - simple, straight from the heart kind of post.  I too often think of the people who have done small things which meant a lot or in some cases - what might have been small to them but really turned out to be a huge favor for me.  I am sure if I pause to think about it I will have a lot of people in this list.  But for starters I will write down a few.  (And Neera - see I posted!).

- When I was a graduate student, I had to stay till late night one day,  but then I had an abscess that was really hurting me by the evening.  I had no choice but to go to ER alone.  I just walked over to the medical building/hospital ER and waited for a couple of hours since there were much worse cases ahead of me.  When finally my turn came, they said an intern would come soon and take care of me.  I was in a lot of pain and there was a black woman, tall and strong who stayed with me through out the procedure and held my palms tight.  It was cold outside when I walked out but I was feeling so warm inside at the thought of this kind woman who realized that I was alone and in a lot of pain.  I don't remember her face or name but I remember what she did for me that day.

- When I was working in a research lab, I had to do a procedure on a newborn mouse.  I hated touching those tender beings and I was really scared as to how I would get through it.  But a medical student who later became a good friend of mine (with whom I have sadly lost all contact, he is now a big shot director of a neurosurgery center) came to my rescue and stood by me while I did it even though he didn't really know me well at that time.  We have shared so many light moments and I have learned so much from him.  It was truly good, simple friendship.  He was such an inspiring person, so full of life, so talented and brilliant.  I completely lost touch with him over the years but one day when I looked up his name I felt so proud to see where he was in life at this point.  I always thank him in my mind for being a good/kind friend then when he was just a student.

- When my father was in the hospital and we knew the time had come, I had to book tickets and leave immediately to take a long flight to the other coast with a 17m old KB, while being pregnant with KG.  I was so sad and was crying and miserable.  My friend happened to call and I told her the news and that I was leaving in a couple of hours to the airport.  She drove half an hour on a week day morning and brought me the essentials I would need for KB for the flight.  And just stayed with me through the next hour just being there for me.  Another friend who I had gotten to know only recently brought over long pants that would fit my pregnant belly (I only had capris that fit me since it was warm where I lived) since I was going to a cold place.  I didn't even think to ask any one to come to me for moral support but they just showed up and I late realized how good it was to have that moral support.

- When I was returning from Bangalore after KB's ayushomam, I was traveling alone.  KB fell asleep in the van as my FIL dropped me at the airport and came up to the point he could with me.  I paid a good amount to the guy in some khaki uniform - some airport staff - to help me through the check in process since I had my luggage, carry on diaper bag and sleeping child on my shoulders and I was pregnant with KG (it all happened the same year).  As soon as we entered and I was in line, the guy just took the money but did nothing to help.  He just vanished.  I had no idea where the line even began because it was a ridiculous mob of people pushing towards the ticket counter.  I was literally in tears when KB woke up and cried looking at the huge crowds.  Suddenly I came to know that I had to pick up some form upstairs and then fill it out and then come downstairs with it.  I can't remember the details but I remember it was all extremely stressful.  I spotted some uniformed person and ran to him and said "You have to help me.  The person whom I paid money to has vanished.  I don't know who to ask for help.  My child is crying and I have all this luggage.  I have no idea where the line begins or ends".  The guy told me that he was actually not an airport official but the chief person for the catering department for that flight.  But him and the person who worked for him both just stayed with me the whole time - picked up the form for me, filled it out (I handed my passport to a complete stranger!) while a crying KB would not let go of me and had to be fed at that moment! They went downstairs and handed the form and got everything sorted out and chatted with me until I went into the boarding area.  I don't know if I would have even made it on that flight if they had not helped me.  Till date, I am so grateful for their help.

Am sure there are lots more people I can write about in this list.  But I will stop here for now. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

This n that...

Saturday was a relaxing day doing stuff at home.  Usually summer weekends I have this feeling that I have to utilize it by taking the kids out some place - usually some place outdoors.  Hiking, zoo, botanical garden etc.  Last Saturday I decided I had to clean out stuff from the garage and so I stopped myself from planning some outing with the kids.  Instead they went with B to the skating arena and roller skated for a couple of hours.  I had to make a couple of calls and then got to work cleaning out at least a part of the garage.  I got rid of a ton of awesome carnatic music cassette tapes.  I had kept them with me not having the heart to throw them out.  But it didn't make sense to keep them for ever since I don't even have a cassette player anymore.  Gosh how times change.  To think that my children would never have even seen a cassette!   After the kids got back, we had lunch and tea and just lazed around doing stuff around the house.  KB wanted to buy basket ball shoes for himself since he has now joined a basket ball class.  So we went to buy him shoes and then on the way decided to eat at a local south Indian restaurant.  We usually don't eat out that often partly because most of the time my mother or my FIL are with us and they can't really eat out.  Plus KB is such a fussy eater that I am always afraid that he will go hungry.  But he agreed to eat dosa and he did OK - at least had half of the kids cone dosa.

Next morning, Sunday, we got an early start to the day and went to the zoo.  KB and KG's good friends came along and we had a great time.  By the time we got back it was close to 9.45 p.m. and the kids were exhausted and fast asleep.  Today, I decided to check out a Montessori school for KG that I had been meaning to check out.  She seemed really comfortable in the pre-K classroom.  I am not happy with the stand offishness of the teacher. There are two teachers and an assistant in the classroom.  The second teacher was friendly and showed KG around the classroom.  KG was in there for about an hour and half.  The director of the school took KB to the KG/first grade classroom and gave him this game to play on his own.  After sometime KB and I peeked through the window to see how KG was doing and she was totally fine.  The director of the school was talking to me while we waited in the playground.  KB was bored but did not want to go inside again to play on the computer.  He stood around following some cotton seeds that were flying around.  We had been talking for about fifteen minutes when suddenly KB came to me and said, "Excuse me, Mamma" and mumbled a whole bunch of numbers in my ears.  I had no idea what he was talking about and told him so.  He repeated it to me a little louder and said, "Mamma, eighteen thousand eight hundred and sixty three plus eighteen thousand eight hundred and sixty three is thirty seven thousand seven hundred and twenty six".  I was totally confused as to why he was suddenly telling me this and I had to quickly add it up mentally to see if he was right.  And he was.  I said, yes, KB, you are right.  He then asked me for a piece of paper.  The director told him to go to the KG classroom and get it from the teacher.  He ran in and wrote it down and brought it to me.  I guess boredom helps! He just randomly picked his huge number and did a mental addition while chasing cotton seeds to kill time!

Tomorrow morning KG's classmate has a birthday party, so KB will also come along.  Summer is just the best! Nearly one month since KB's school ended for the summer and it has been so relaxing.  I thought being home all day with both kids at home would probably drive me nuts.  They do drive me crazy at times with their fighting but overall it has been so awesome.  Just having the time to go places with them without much planning and knowing that we don't have to rush them to school the next morning - it has been so lovely.  Knock on wood!

Saturday, July 09, 2011


KB has always been a light sleeper.  Even as an infant I have had to deal with sleepless nights with him.  Even when he was just born he looked so alert and so deep in thought.  He continues to be that way.  But the last few months have not been just those random wake up for a few minutes, talking in his sleep or whining a little and going back to sleep. KB wakes up around 10.45 p.m. (he goes to sleep around 9.00 p.m.) crying in his sleep.  He gets up half asleep and kneels down and keeps bending down and putting his head on the pillow as if he was doing a namaz prayer and cries out "Mamma! Daddy"...and says "Help me" or just keeps calling out for us while crying "Mamma...Mamma..."  The first time he had this kind of petrified look, I traced it back to the combination of medications he took for his Bronchitis.  But the last couple of months, he did not take any medications. I made him sleep in our bed (and later move him to his bed) - that worked for about three weeks.  So I thought something about his bed made him get nightmares.  But I jinxed it.  He got nightmares on random days.

I am very sensitive to the temperature in the room.  If it gets too hot, especially on those days in winter when we turn on the heater and  if it is a little too much, I end up getting nightmares.  Even if feel sleepy and lazy I would wake up and turn down the heat.  KB seems exactly the same way.  But the temperature is not the only thing.  It is a combination of his age, the stage of development when they understand more, imagine more and hence get these nightmares.  But it is also his particular nature.  Intense, compulsive, particular about how things are done, thinks very deeply about things.  I will write more about his nature in his birthday post next month. He is totally into "Calvin and Hobbes" comics these days.  He reads them on his own but we read it to him before bedtime.  Even though it is not scary, it has some food for thought in its content.  So KB ends up thinking about things like "Why did his racoon die?" etc while going to bed (I think!).  Anyway - one thing that helps to calm him down and get him back to sleep is getting a cold towel and rubbing his back and forehead with it.  The whole process takes about fifteen minutes.  It wasn't this bad until the last couple of months.  Of late it has been about three times a week that this happens.  May be the heat of the summer also contributes to it.  But it is very stressful for me sometimes - the anticipation that he might wake up crying, then trying to calm him down and getting him back to sleep.  I just hope he gets through this phase and gets back to sleeping peacefully through the night. 

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

KG turned four...

KG turned four couple of weeks back.  It is so unbelievable for me because it sometimes feels like she grew up completely on her own.  Well, not literally.  But she just grew up before I could even imprint it in my head.  Always rushing to catch up with her brother who is twenty two months older than her.  She is a mix of daring and shy that sometimes surprises me.  She sometimes acts like she has no clue what fear means, that such an emotion even exists.  But sometimes she exhibits shyness that I just cannot understand.  I drop her in preschool for the first time when she is three years and two months old.  She waves goodbye and acts like she has been going there for ever, doesn't even turn to look for me.  Her teacher, who is also into photography sends me pictures of her every day.  I can actually see how long she took to let go of herself at the new environment.  She barely gave a smile in the initial days.  Then a suppressed smile.  A slight curve.  A couple of teeth showing.  A few more.  Then a full smile. Raging laughter chasing after her teacher in the playground by the end of the year.  She had such a good time at her preschool.  The learning part of it was too abstract that I really don't know if academically she learned much there.  But her teacher just loves children and dotes on them.  That sense of warmth made me feel so much at ease when she was away at school.

The summer before KB turned four, he started reading simple Bob books.  The first time he read a book fully to me was so exciting that I even remember that moment well now.  But with KG things just happen and we take it in stride.  I do feel happy but it is not a novel experience.  Considering how little time I spend reading to her alone, or teaching her things (since there is not much academic learning at her school), I am often surprised by how she picks up things.  When one day I found these Brain quest cards on our book shelf and sat down with her and asked her those questions, I was pleasantly surprised by the ease with which she could answer most questions.  The poor little sister, she ends up listening to us reading Magic tree house books or books about mammals meant for older kids that we read to KB.  He is such a talker and such a prankster that I often have to physically shut his mouth so he would let KG talk or answer questions.  He delights in annoying her by answering any question I ask her quickly before she can answer it.  So she does not get much individual attention where I sit down to teach her things.  KB was a very focused and attentive listener when I read books to him.  He could read books back to me verbatim from memory from the time he was two and half.  It still amazes me that we took that for granted because KG absolutely cannot do it.  She just does not pay attention to the exact words.  But on the other hand she gets the story and often surprises me with her understanding of subtle nuances in the story.

Thanks to her brother who is now totally into basketball and reads books about greatest basketball players, she too knows about players like Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Bill Russell.  She loves to sing and makes up gibberish songs and sings on and on even when she is in the bathroom.  We baby her a lot at home and she thrives and enjoys the attention.  She wakes up in the morning and always insists on "Mamma" coming to get her from the bed.  Some days if she decides to get out of her bed on her own she will come looking for me in the living room and sit next to me and say "Good morning Mamma".  She does not have the clarity of communication that KB had at her age.  KB always was verbally way ahead of his age and so we sometimes get nervous if she is on track or not for her age.  KB's teacher and now KG's teacher both remind me that KB was naturally very verbal and was ahead of his age and I should not be comparing her to him.  And that she is totally fine.  KG talks a lot but sometimes gives totally random stories or answers which I am not used to at all with KB.  She has cute ways of saying things the wrong way that we love so much and go out of our way to not correct her.  Like if I tell her "KG, I know you will break it". She would say to me, "No, I will'nt".  She still says "Sun scream" lotion for "Sun screen" lotion.  KB has always been so precise and correct and clear in the way he talked that KG's lingering mazhalai (baby language) is such a delight for us.

KG loves to play outdoors.  She has always been daring when it comes to activities at the park.  At age two and half or three, KB used to be slightly scared of going in those tall curvy slides.  KG on the other hand could do it without any fear since age two.  Even now if I am busy and the bedroom light needs to be turned on, KG is the one who rushes in and turns it on for KB just so he won't be scared!  I sent her with B and KB couple of weeks back to the park and told B to get her started on riding the bike w/out training wheels.  KB learned to ride a bike without training wheels only at age five.  But for her we decided to start earlier because I knew she was ready for it.  But I assumed it would take a few tries and that I would go with  her the next time and I would get to see her bike on her own (without training wheels).  B came back home that day and told me that within forty minutes of trying, she was happily biking on her own without any training wheels.  Even turns and slowing down for it etc.  We took the kids for roller skating lessons a few times.  KG just pushes me off to go to the side lines and not help her out.  She learned to do a pretty good job of it quite fast.  One Afghani mom who was on the sides was observing her the second class and told me "Your daughter, she is so strong willed".  Indeed she is.  Extremely so.  B and I wonder how we will cope with her strong will when she is a teenager.  She has very good grip when it comes to holding her pencil and she loves to paint.  I took her to an art class couple of weeks back.  The instructor said that he normally does not take four year olds but when he saw her paint the flowers (he drew the outlines for her), he said he would take her in once a month because she was able to hold the brush and paint really well for her age (in his words).  She has started swim lessons since last week.  Her teacher told me that she was completely comfortable in the water.  After class KB and KG and two of their friends were playing in the smaller shallow pool.  KG kept asking me if she could go to the big pool where she had the class.  I said no and that she could only play in the little pool.  The kind of "kurutu dhairyam" (blind courage) she has, she suddenly got out of the play pool and very coolly walked to the big pool and was about to jump in.  I had to make a dash and grab her before she fell in.  She scares me with her recklessness sometimes.  She is always skipping and running like a typical happy go lucky four year old.  On the day of her birthday, she banged her head on the edge of the wall and I had to rush her to the doctor and have the skin on her forehead pulled together with derma bond! The next day again she hurt herself on the other side of her forehead while fighting with KB for the basketball in the yard outside.  She gets bruises all the time but usually does not fuss like KB would for these little cuts and scrapes.  She writes her name and numbers up to 10 but still feels upset that she cannot write in cursive like KB does.  KB is her super hero!

Any child is a blessing really.  But I can't help thank God for giving me a daughter even though I did not mind either way when I was pregnant with her.  She hugs tight, laughs with joy and skips around with delight, all of which fills me with joy.  Especially her tight hugs.  Her calmness in some situations makes me wish I could be like her in some ways.  I just hope she continues that way.  She is sometimes a paradox - calm yet full of energy, daring yet shy, grasps things well but talks like a baby sometimes, is so strong willed yet melts if I so much as say "Aww" if she steps on my toes and immediately bends down to rub my toes.  I continue to say my thanks to God for all the ways in which she has helped me in raising two kids who are so close in age by being easy going in so many ways.  I thank God so often for giving me a daughter since I am enjoying her so much.  Thank you God, thank you!