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December 31, 2007

Happy 2008.

We had a great time during the Christmas break. Ashu had great fun with the two boys. She is one hell of a tom boy, I tell ya. Hanging upside down from the bunk bed like a monkey, playing with one of the boys red car non stop and racing it forgetting her doll, hitting the boys right back and pushing them, ... The girl can sure take care of herself. As predicted, Ashu was nt too comfortable in the snow. Just like her lazy mom, she wanted to sit in the warm house and look at the snow outside through a window! :) Had quite an adventure too. We rented the wooden sledges and sledged a 2 1/2 km slope. It was dangerous, lots of curves and one wrong move and you will fall right out of the edge. But the real adventure was that I did nt make it. Hd did a trial run and came back 45 mins later telling me and our friends that it was great. He discouraged me from trying but me being me decided to just do it.

Ashu and Hd were on a double sledge and I was on a single sledge. 3 of our friends joined and we started sliding down the slope. 10 minutes down, Hd and I stopped so that our friends can join us. Ashu was fussing about something and Hd took her out of the sledge and was talking to her when his sledge just whirred off and fell off the cliff! I ran to catch it but could nt. Just 2 seconds, but there was no sign of the sledge at all! I was in shock! Since all the other friends were in single sledges or with kids, we could nt double up. So Hd had this brilliant idea. He suggested I walk back up while he and Ashu sledge down. Since I did nt know the slope, I did nt want to risk it, with Ashu that too. But I suggested walking down than walking up. But Hd said its a long walk but the walk up is comparatively shorter in spite of my protests that I just CANT walk uphill. But being me again, decided to trust his judgement. Felt like final good bye when I waved to Ashu and started walking up. Since it was around 4 pm and dusk was setting, there was no one coming down anymore. The ski slope which was parallel to the sledge slope was also deserted. 2 minutes of walking uphill in knee deep snow in the bitter cold and I already had a dozen ideas to murder Hd in all the most painful ways possible! What kind of an idiot does nt hold onto his sledge, what if Ashu had been sitting on it, what kind of stupid parents are we to take such risks, what kind of a husband lets his wife walk uphill while he sits on his bum and slides down, why, why, why,... After one hour and fifteen minutes of excruciating effort, I reached the top. Five minutes later, Hd and Ashu get down from the ski lift happily and the guy asks me "Are you ok?" I ll leave the rest to your imagination. But yes, hes still alive!

On that cheerful(!) note, Wishing you all a wonderful New year! Come on 2008 I am ready for the ride, so to speak! ;)

December 24, 2007

Kling, Glöckchen, klinge-linge-ling...

We are leaving tomorrow for the mountains for some skiing (for Hd) and sledging (for Ashu and me). Three days in a Chalet with 2 other families. This will be the first time in snow for Ashu. Knowing her, she would refuse to walk on snow as it ll be uneven and refuse to touch the snow as it will be "so chill amma"! But I cant wait to see the look on her face. And to think that the first time I saw snow was in the ripe old age of 23 in this very same Switzerland. Although I quite behaved like a 3 year old! ;)

Happy Holidays everyone! Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and all that jazz...

December 21, 2007

The Very Observant Ashu.

The other day I was reading "The very busy spider" to Ashu. I had got the book from the school library. So there is this spider busy spinning the web in every page not answering any of the animals and at last catching the fly and going to sleep. Alls well that ends well, except for the fly of course! So on page 7, Ashu asks me "Amma, wheres the spiders face? Its gone". So I tell her, "the spider is facing the other way and spinning the web, Ashu. So you are seeing the back of its head". For your information, the picture of the spider is relatively smaller. The pictures of the animals are big, bright and colorful. So I was surprised she was asking something about the spider which is in every page and not the different animals in each page. And then I had a doubt. So I took a look from the first page again. Well, what do you know? The first 6 pages have 2 small dots for eyes on the spiders head and they missing in the 7th page. And this little one had noticed THAT. And the thing is I was reading this book for the FIRST time to her. I could sort of understand if it was the 20th time. How freaky is that! I immediately said, "Oh God! You are so much like your Grandma Ashu". And not as a compliment since the grandma I'm referring to is my MIL!

If my mil was in a gathering, she would sit in a corner and scan every moving and non moving object with her laser eyes. If a person crosses her, she would say things like "Ava kaadhula pottundu irundha jimikki gold aa enna?" (Do you think the Jhumkas in her ears were gold?) And I'm the sort of girl who after talking to a person for an hour would nt notice even if the persons ears were missing. So I would be like "What ear rings?" And if you tilt your head suspiciously towards the Hd, let me assure you he has nt inherited this gene from my mil. Hes a man after all. So mostly he ll be like "What person?" So I cant believe together we have made this specimen which notices 2 tiny black dots missing from a small spiders head. Karma, huh?

December 10, 2007

Doo!

Ashu is becoming a handful these days. Out of the blue, she has got this habit of saying "Doo!" and getting cross at me or her dad. "Doo" (Katti in Hindi I guess) means "Im cross at you and am not going to talk to you" among kids. I accept I made the mistake of saying Doo to her whenever she was behaving badly. But little did I know that this will come back to haunt me. Its Doo for every little thing these days. She gets up in the morning and says Doo to me. "Doo Amma, Po(Go) Amma" are the first words coming out out of her mouth everyday. How much ever I want to ignore her, its getting really annoying. And one cant reason with her when shes in this Doo mode. "Why do you say Doo to Amma, Ashu? What did Amma do?" is asnwered with "Doo amma. Dont talk Amma" with an additional "Bad boy Amma!" (Yes! People are either bad boys or good girls in her dictionary. No good boys or bad girls. Atta girl!) And she always sides up with Hd when shes in doo with me and comes to me when shes in doo with him.

After a while, she ll forget about the whole thing. Only to start all over again. If shes playing with the blocks and the blocks keep falling down, its Doo amma. If shes feeding her doll and the doll is nt opening its mouth(!), its Doo amma. If shes hungry, its Doo amma. After a meal, its Doo amma. Im going crazy with all the Doos. Shes so unpredictable and theres no pacifying her. When shes in this mood, she might transfer her Doo but wont quit. For example, she ll be in doo with me and playing with her dad happily. Then if I say, "Bath time Ashu. Come on now!", she ll immediately say "Doo Appa. Nee bad boy. I dont want Appa" and come running to me. But if I had said "Lunch time", it ll be "Doo Amma. Dont talk amma." What in the name of DOO is happening to this child?


I swear Im not exaggerating and this stuff happens around 25 times every single day. Shes at the peak when she gets up from her afternoon nap. Shes in an absolute fowl mood and it takes me an hour to bring her back from this Exorcist mode. Its exasperating to say the least. I tried to ignore her but she does nt like that either. TV works but I don't switch it on unless its TV time. Same goes for the meal. She wont agree to eat if its not her meal time. Reading a book works occasionally. Playing with her works like a charm but then I don't always have the free time to drop everything and go play with her. During such times, she does nt want me to do anything in the kitchen or read a book or watch TV or talk on the phone or with the laptop. She snatches the book, closes the laptop, switches off the TV, grabs the phone or rolls on the kitchen floor generally getting in my way. I am *this* close to tearing my hair out trying to find out why she is behaving this way. Someone help me please. At least tell me something remotely weird like this happen with your toddler too. Otherwise, I'm going to say "Doo" to you all and go Sanyasam.

And please tell me this. Do you want to mess with this face?

December 02, 2007

All about Swimming, Driving, Partying, Cleaning and Sulking.

Ashu has joined a Swimming class and goes once a week. Its for kids under 4 and its basically to get the children get used to the water and lose their inhibition. Ashu has always loved to splash in pools. So shes having fun. A parent has to be present with the kid in the pool so I get to splash around too! The teacher is very sweet and comes up with very cute stuff to keep the children interested. A 4 year old boy there is bullying Ashu while his mom is watching helplessly and I rolled my eyes at him and threatened him when his mom was nt looking. He backed away after that.
One day I go to Ashus room to find that she has emptied all the draws from the chest and all her socks, caps, tights, vests, hair bands, clips, stickers, boxes and other miscellaneous stuff are strewn all over the floor. I got the shock of my life as this is a first. She usually hates mess and likes things to be in order. In the order she likes, that is! Then I found out that she has been looking for one of the missing shoes of her doll and could nt find it and hence the search! I told her never to do such a thing again and to ask Amma if she needs to find something. Of course the next day, the draws were emptied again to look for something else. I miss the Godrej steel bureau which was her wardrobe in Bangalore.

My driving skills are improving as I am driving everyday to drop Ashu at school and then back. Im also picking up Hd in the evening from office. I was reluctant at first to drive after dark. "Pahal laye pasu maadu theriyaadhu. Raathri la eppadi erumai maadu theriyum" (I cant see a cow clearly in the day. How can I spot a buffalo in the dark?) The logic did nt work with Hd. Kazhudhai vayasu aachu, come and pick me up to save 6 Francs, he said! Being the Paththini that I am, I agreed. Oh, I also got clicked by the speed camera one day. I was going in 52 in a 50 zone. Hd says I ll only get a warning letter and no fine! I am both proud and ashamed at the same time!

Ashu has almost a month off from school in December and I want to go to India. I cant believe its only 2 months since I came back from my India trip. Seems like an eternity. Hd gave me a look and suggested I go to the US instead. Nice pair we are, are nt we? Anyway, Im sure I wont be going anywhere. Sit in this freezing cold place and sulk all the time is what I will end up doing. *sulk*

On to some cheerful news, it was Hd's birthday on Friday. 2 days before that, Ashu and I were making a card for him. We were drawing and painting and cutting and pasting and then hid the evidence. I told her we ll give the card to Appa on his birthday and its a surprise. As soon as Hd came home, Ashu ran to him and told "Appa, we made happy birthday appa card. Amma give the card. Wheres the card? Amma card thaaaa!!!!" Thankfully, I did nt tell her anything about the surprise party! Yes, there was a surprise party. My first one as a hostess. I have never thrown a party, let alone a surprise party, for Hds birthday before. It was always the two of us eating out that night. This time, I decided to throw a party for him as he was all depressed that hes getting old! Took his colleague S to my side and she managed to convey the message to the rest of the colleagues. She said she ll bring the cake. One less work for me. I was talking to her and the other wives everyday for the past one week and keeping my mouth shut to Hd was the most difficult part. Then the marathon cooking started on Friday as soon as he left for office in the morning. He suggested we meet up for lunch but I declined. I told him I have some special restaurant in mind for dinner and its going to be a surprise for him. He bought it. At least I think he did!

He came home at 6 pm and I am sure he had his first suspicion as soon as he saw the house spic and span. (What does that tell you about my house keeping skills?) Then I had put balloons all over the living room with some of the party decorations from Ashus birthday party. I had hid all the dishes I cooked in various kitchen cup boards. Hd said, "I can smell puffs and cookies. Did you make them?" I was shocked to say the least! He cant notice my new hair cut but sure can smell puffs and cookies that are hidden inside the cupboards! Duh! Then at 7 pm, the door bell rang and the gang entered with the most amazing looking cake! SURPRISE! Few people turned up later and so the surprise factor was continuing until the last guests arrived!

Out came the food from their hiding places. The menu was Veg puffs, Jam cookies, Jalapeno and Pineapple Pizza, Tortillas chips, Pineapple salsa, Mexican rice, Mexican chili, tortillas, Salad, Spaghetti with Garlic and Pepporoncini and Ice cream. (Yes, I made them all for 15 people except the tortilla, chips and ice cream) Since I dont believe in being humble, let me accept that I outdid myself and the food was a huge hit. The puffs, cookies, pizza and spaghetti were the hit items and people stuffed themselves with all that that I ll be ending up eating the chili and rice for this whole week! Theres enough of that awesome orange cake left for dessert too! Lets just say that Hd is mine for the rest of the year and my wish will be his command! Like I would have thrown a party for him and cooked for an army without any ulterior motive! Duh! How little you know me. ;)

November 30, 2007

A special wish.

Its your birthday, Honey --

So for 24 hours I ll let you be right!

Happy Birthday! :)

November 27, 2007

I am doing OK. OK?

To whomsoever it may concern.

Please stop asking me how I spend the two LONG hours when Ashu is at school and I have nowhere to go. I park the car at school, walk to this little place near by and read a book with my ipod on. That's what I do and I quite enjoy it. Its the only time I get for myself and I'm with what I like the most - books and music. 2 hours just fly by and before I can finish the short story or my favorite song ends, its time to go pick up Ashu. And some days, Hd drops her while I go to pick her up. Once in 2 weeks, theres a mommies lunch thing and its fun to talk to moms from different countries and get to know them.

I like it that its bitterly cold outside and I'm sitting inside a heated room with a book. I was reading Love and Longing in Mumbai by Vikram Chandra and though I have nt understood one story so far, I love reading it. I would have given up on the book if not for this "me" time. I also realized that Karthik has sung the Nenthukitten song from Star amazingly well and Im in love with his voice. Once this song ends, I stop my ipod for a minute and hear Karthiks voice still lingering in my ears! Ah!

And friends have been "Oh! Poor you!" ing me when I tell them what I do and I hate it. Save the "poor you" when Im in my death bed , will you? I mean what more can I ask for? If the school was nearer and I came home after dropping her, I would be washing dishes, for Gods sake! How is that any better? And its still uncertain how long our stay in Swiss will be. So got to take one day at a time and cant think of moving nearer to the school for now. (A "poor you" now is welcome! I hate these uncertainties!)

I don't take the car and paint the town red because I am saving that for later after I get my Swiss driving license and get a little more confident. I am not going for long walks (for God knows I need the exercise) because its freezing out here. I have plans to do some volunteer work at school but only from the next term. Any other questions?

November 22, 2007

What (they think) we want!

Thanks to Dot Mom, I got fodder for my blog today. Here's my take on the What Women Want tag.

1.How do you feel after a one night stand?
It depends on whether it was with George Clooney or not.

2. Do you ever get used to wearing a thong?
If it will lead to a one night stand with Clooney then I can get used to it!

3. Does it hurt?
Will let you know after the one night stand with the said person.

4. Do you know when you are acting crazy?
I have never been on a one night stand.

5. Does size really matter?
On women, No. On men, Yes!

6. When the bill comes are you still a feminist?
I am never a feminist. Now go and cook me dinner! Scoot!

7. Why do you take so long to get ready?
In the remote chance that tonight might be the night with Clooney!

8. Do you watch porn, too?
No if you are my dad!

9. Will something from Tiffany's solve everything?
If you even have to ask this question, then you need many more list of questions before you understand us.

10. Are guys as big of a mystery to you as you are to us?
Not since I saw that episode on Sloths in Animal Planet.

11. Why do you sometimes think you look fat?
Its a trick question to find out if you think I'm fat.

12. Why are you always late?
Trying to give you a hint. Not working, apparently!


13. Does it bother you when we scratch?
Forget the scratching! Your very existence bothers us, OK? And if you really want to know more about women, hire a WOMAN to ask the right Q's! Jeez!

14. Do you wish you could pee standing up?
Yes. Every time I see the toilet seat up!

15. Why do so many women cut their hair short as soon as they get married?
Its symbolic to let you know that we are going to lose our hair anyway answering your stupid Q's.

16. How often do you think about sex?

As often as you do. But only to come up with good excuses other than "I ve got a headache".

17. What do you think of women who sleep with guys on the first date?
Forgivable if it was Clooney.


18. Would you?
Clooney seems to be the answer to all your Q's, mate!

19. Do you realize every guy wants a girl just like his mom?
I ll try to gently remind you of that fact the next time you are begging for some action!


20. Why does every woman think she can change him?
Because you would do anything to get some action and we like to use our power on something constructive.


21. Does it matter what car I drive?
Yes it does if it matters to you how I drive!


22. Do you ever fart?
Not since I became a mother. Its always the kid!

There. All clear? Do you understand us better now? I thought not!

Now to the tagging part. Utbt, DDMom and Manchus, if you guys want to.

November 13, 2007

Diwali Bakshanams, Weekend Party and a Movie.

Whats Diwali if you are not in India? Hence no posts from me. Especially since Ashu had celebrated her first 2 Diwalis in India, this year was all the more disappointing. Hd had bought few dresses for her from London and that was it. And oh, my lame attempt to make Diwali Bakshanams. Since I was planning to make Gulab Jamuns for the party in the weekend, I decided to make Thirati Paal. That came out OK actually. Then my mom had to ask me what savoury Im making and insisted that I have to deep fry something in oil for Diwali. I should have stuck to Papads. But no, I thought Maida biscuits and Banana biscuits would be the easiest. So saw recipes, made the dough and just before rolling out, remembered that I do NOT have a rolling pin. I forgot to bring it from India and never got around to buying here. What self respecting house wife would nt have a chapathi kuzhavi, you ask? Say Hello to your friendly neighborhood blogger - Me! I could nt believe I could be this stupid! Then wondered what to do and started rummaging the kitchen draws and shelves to look gor a rolling pin look alike. Nothing! Then stumbled on a pair of wooden chop sticks that Hd had flicked from a Chinese restaurant. and yes, ladies and gentlemen, I used a chopstick to roll out the dough and though the banana biscuits were so-so, the maida biscuits turned out to be yummy! My wrist is still hurting though, with all the chop stick rolling! (Have you finished laughing yet?) My mom would be proud of me, so laugh all you want!

The office party on Saturday was fun though. Loads of food, my jamun, pasta and curd rice was appreciated. A friend did a small puppet show for the kids, another friend brought sparklers which was lit in the balcony. It was close to -5* C with terrible wind chill and it was quite an experience. The four kids all below the age of 4, were nt intimidated though. Between them, they emptied half a dozen packets of sparklers! By 9.30, the kids went to sleep one by one and we 12 adults played 3 card poker and gambled. I play cards but do not gamble except with close family and that too a meagre Rs.1 or Rs.2 bets, that's all. So this 1 Franc and 2 Franc bets put me off. I decided to team up with Hd instead and blame him if he lost any money. But luck was on "our" side and "we" won loads of money in the first few rounds and then "Hd" lost most of the money as "we" did nt want our friends money anyway! ;) But we played for hours until 1.00 am and I had so much fun after a long, long time!

Could nt sleep long on Sunday as we had a 11 am show to catch. Om Shanthi Om! Hd and Ashu stayed home while I joined 3 of my friends to watch the movie. The movie was nt great but then with us 4 gals, any movie would have been fun. We were just goofing around and laughing aloud sharing our own private jokes! I had read Nehas review of the movie before I watched it and was wondering how badly they would have spoofed the Tamil movie shot. But got to be honest, I laughed the hardest for that scene and every time SRK said, "Rascal aa! Mind it!", I was rolling on the floor and I had tears in my eyes. I dont know why that silly scene cracked me up so much. It was hilarious! I liked Main Hoon Na except the dragging climax. OSO was as good as MHN or as bad as MHN, if you did nt like it.

November 06, 2007

The school saga begins again...

After the previous fiasco, I was glad we were going to India and taking a break from the school heart break. Ashu of course had a fabulous time in India and whenever the word school was mentioned, she said NO. My dad promised her she never has to set foot in a school if she does nt want to. (To his credit, he said the same to me when I was a kid!) When we came back to Zurich in mid September, I started looking for a School. The day care she went to earlier is nt much for 2 1/2 year olds and both my friends have taken their children out of there and put them in English schools. So Ashu wont even have a familiar friend there. And the peer pressure got me as well. After looking high and low for an English school which was nt in the other end of the city from where we live, we did nt have much choice. And the English schools are ridiculously expensive too. So it took a month for us to visit the schools, get the info and decide on one. This pre school has a special programme for kids between the age of 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 in the afternoon. 1pm to 3 pm is an odd time for school and its Ashus nap time as well. But I wanted to stop her afternoon naps and liked the fact that I dont have to get up early in the morning to hurry her up to school! (Always the selfish me!) This school is a bit far too, 20 mins drive. And I don't know what Im going to do the 2 hours she is gone. But anyway, what has to be done has to be done, right?

Ashu first day was on Nov 1st. Hd and I were with her for 10 minutes and left the room. She started screaming and crying "Amma, Come! Amma come!" We both sat in the car in the parking lot and wondered why it has to be so tough for us. Then we saw the class coming out to the garden and playing in the slide and swing. One of the teachers was carrying Ashu and whenever the teacher attempted to put Ashu down, she started crying. She did nt want to go in the slide or the swing. Hd and I left after spying for 10 more mins. At 3 pm, we went in and I was all ready for an ear piercing scream and the whole world going deaf! But, yes there is a BUT, she saw me, said Hi Amma and bye to her teacher and walked with me to the car! Thank You God! The teacher said she slept for a while, got up and started playing. Ok! Thats Day 1.

Day 2 was predictable. She said No school and started crying while I was getting her dressed at home. "I will stay at home Amma, I will stay with you Amma", she was repeating. I packed her and plonked her in the car and she slept before we got to the school. Hd and I woke her up, gave her to the teacher and ran away. She was crying but the parent who went to drop off her kid after 5 minutes told us that Ashu has stopped crying and is playing. Relief. 2 hours later, she said bye to the teacher and gave me a hug and came home without a whimper. Thats Day 2.

Day 3 was yesterday after the weekend. Hd left for London for a couple of days. So for the first time, I had to drive without him in the passenger seat and it was scary. I remembered most of the Kandha Shashti Kavasam even though it has been decades since I recited the Shloka! I reached the school safely. Though Ashu was crying, she readily went to her teacher and said a teary bye to me. I decided to visit my friend who lives in the same area. Took a bus to her place. 2 hours later, came to pick up Ashu and she was all smiles and proudly showed the library book she had checked out by herself. Came back safe and sound. (I worry more about the what do I do if I get lost more than what if I hit another car. So some experience should take care of that fear.)

Day 4 was today. With Hd being out of town, Ashu and I had a relaxing morning and after lunch, I dressed her up and when I asked her to go and wear her shoes, she did nt protest. She happily climbed into the car. I drove the car with crossed fingers! Thankfully, she did nt fall asleep today so she was all bright when we got to the school. She went in and said a big hai to Miss M and then she said "BYE AMMA"! Not a whimper! Yippee! When I went to pick her up, the class was just coming in from the play area. Ashu gave me the warm Hi Amma and showed her dirty boots to me as it has been slightly raining outside! (While driving back home, got stuck in a tunnel in a slow moving traffic for 45 minutes and then saw the accident scene which was the cause of the traffic jam. One of the cars involved was crashed heavily. Do I need this when I am driving alone with Ashu for the first time? I ll take back what I said before. Getting lost is better than getting hit!)

I was really worried the first day and thought that it will be weeks before she settled down. I was telling Hd how Brat, Ayaan, Anushka, Ddidi, Chula and now Kodi have all settled down in school like THAT and how this is only happening to me because of the grave things I did in my past life! Hd gave me a dirty look and asked me to shut up. I agree now that I deserved it.

Some of the things that have helped the smooth transition -

Ashu is old enough to understand bribes and blackmails!

This school is better than the previous day care. She has activities to look forward to.

Theres a big play area and they take the kids out come rain or shine, snow or wind. Ashu likes that.

Theres a nice library and thats Ashus idea of heaven. Yesterday, she came home with a book which she had selected and checked out herself. ("The Best Party of them all" by Hiawyn Oram and Lucy Su)

Miss M is ultra nice. I think Ashu is in love with her and thats the reason she settled in pretty quick.

1 to 3 pm is an odd time but since she goes after a proper lunch with full stomach, shes less cranky.

Inspired by Utbt, Im copying her style of update. This was how Ashus first day was.

What was playing in the car?

The Pre K nursery rhymes CD. Usually, its the Sivaji songs which blast from the speakers. But I decided to make it special for Ashu!

What was Ashu wearing?

Blue jeans from my Sis, Dora t shirt specially bought for the first day, white sneakers and a pink plastic band on her curls. Oh and a backpack. She took her ABC book, a pencil, a wind up toy butterfly and her broken sun glass in the backpack. Needless to say, she packed the bag herself!

What was she most excited about?

The big play area in the school and her backpack with the said contents.

What did she eat for lunch?

Rasam Rice with carrot and a cup of Yogurt. Possibly, the she will eat the same before her first day to college as well. I ll bet my last penny on that!

What was in her snack box?

Biscuits and a carton of Apple Juice. (She finished one biscuit and the apple juice and told me that Sam had eaten a banana and she wanted a banana to take to school too. Idhukku onnum kurachal illai!)

Where is she schooling? Why this school?

We live in Zurich. We have no other option! (Ok, not many!)

How is Ashu taking to School?

Go to the beginning of the post please.

The day before first day of school.

She was very excited about the "Park school"! She said she ll go to school happily, she ll have fun, she wont cry, etc... I totally believed her.

The one thing that was more difficult than picking out the school itself.

The school supplies. We were given a long list of items like Rain boots, rain gear, snow boots, snow pants, cap, scarf, some over all jacket thingy,... I have nt bought anything other than the rain boots yet. (Dora boots! It was either this or Princess, ok? So don't judge me, Utbt!)

What I found most disturbing?

That people have a problem with Dumbledore being gay. Oh you mean with the school? Nothing! ;)

Today just before climbing out of the car Ashu said, "You wait in the car. Ok Amma?"
I promise, my little darling. I will. Always.

October 31, 2007

Halloween, Horror and an empty kitchen shelf.

How do kids know what to be afraid of? This evening, I answer the door to see 2 Witches, a Monster, an older girl who's escorting the kids and another 3 year old in plain clothes. (May be her mom thought she is scary enough just being herself! I can use the idea next year and save money on a costume!) Anyway, Ashu gave a wild scream and ran away and hid in the bathroom. My scream died in my throat because, horror of horrors, I had totally forgotten to stock chocolates. So I asked the kids to wait and ran to the kitchen to look for some. Found some Easter Chocolates, a gift from a friend, which was on the top shelf and I had totally forgotten to eat after stashing away to hide them from Hd! After checking the expiry date(which was 11/07, I hope the kids eat the chocolates by midnight today!), gave 2 eggs per kid and still had a big bunny shaped one which the Monster snatched from me. Then he took the mask off and smiled at Ashu who was standing in a corner and peeking. She screamed more and ran back to the bathroom. I shut the door, told Ashu all about Halloween and dressing up and told her not to be scared. Since I have nt seen more than half a dozen kids in this apartment, I thought I was good. But the door bell rang again after 10 minutes and there they were. An angel with her two handsome escorts all around 4 years looking so cute. Ashu liked the trio and asked them to wait while Mommy was back again on the step stool looking for chocolates in the top shelf. God was on my side today as I found 3 more bars of chocolates.(Probably I was stocking for my hibernation!) Another team successfully sent off. Than I called Hd and gave him an earful. Why should I do everything in this house? Why could nt you have reminded me of Halloween and stocked up some chocos? He pleaded guilty so I had to shut up. Hes wisening up, this one! Afraid of more Trick or treating, I collected the lollipops from each one of my handbag, backpack, purse etc... and had a stock of 5 lollipops. (The orange flavored sour lollipops I keep in my bags in case of motion sickness!) A ghost and a pirate came by a little later and went off with the lollipops. Half an hour later, the doorbell rang yet again and gave me jitters. Ashu who had warmed up to ghosts and monsters by now, ran to the door to see her Dad coming in. She has never been so disappointed in her life seeing her dad come back from office. She gave him the remaining three lollipops and asked him "Nee vesham pottukaliyaa?" (You did nt dress up?) Is nt he scary enough, Kid?

Speaking of dressing up, this is Ashu all dolled up for Krishna Jayanthi last month.
Last years Krishna has become Radha this time! :)

ps.

October 27, 2007

Update on Ashu at 30 months.

"Amma, this is a cow."
"Yes dear."
"Amma this is cows udder."
"Yes. Right."
"Ashus milk comes from the cows udder. Cow udder gives milk and I drink slurp slurp."
Good job Ashu. Thats right.
(Bending down to look between her legs) "Amma, Where is Ashus udder?"

By now, I have run away from the room and locked myself in the bathroom just about when she started to bend down, expecting the Question. This of course does nt stop her. She pounded on the bathroom door and asked, "Amma do you have an udder? Does Appa have an udder?" Amma is of course busy cursing the illustrator of the book who has to go and draw such protruding udder to a silly cow prompting young kids to ask what it is!

****


Watching me rinsing the rice and switching on the pressure cooker, "Amma does rice come from Cow?" There we go again with the Cows!

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I tighten her ear rings once a day and in India I used to tell her that if I did nt, the ear rings will fall off and the lizards will take them away. So the other day she would nt let me tighten her hair band and I told her to let me do it or else the lizard will take it away. So she says, "No Amma the lizards wont take it away" and I ask Why? And she says "There are no lizards in Zurich"! She has got a logic, does nt she?

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Questions like Cant you hear me, Don't you see I'm busy, Are nt you a good girl, Are you going to drink/eat it or not, etc... are answered with a stern NO!

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If I say something like "Open your eyes and see Ashu, the red puzzle is just there", she will widen her eyes more with her fingers and then look and say "No Amma. I cant find it".

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She had an imaginary cat for a while after we returned from India. I knew she was missing her grand parents and all the dogs and cats she befriended there but I did nt know whether to encourage it or not. Sometimes she ll say "Amma, the cat went susu here" or "Amma look the cat is running" and I did nt know whether to go along or not. When I started saying "Yes Ashu, the cat is running", she sort of gave a shocked expression. "Has Mom finally lost her marbles? I was only kidding" kind of a look. Then when my cousin had come, she gave me a perfume bottle which purrs like cat whenever you lift it. So Ashu adopted it as her pet and now has a "real" cat.

****


She has to know everything thats going on around the house. Whom did you talk to on the phone, what did they say, why are you shouting at dad, what did he do, Are you angry at him, Are you going to give him time out, What are you cooking, Is it Sambar, what are you cutting, Is it onion, are you going to cry while cutting it, Whats in the microwave, is it for Ashu, Are you going susu or potty, are you finished, Shall I give you some toilet paper,...

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She has to switch on the light on her own when she enters a room and will promptly switch it off when she leaves. Even when I am still in the room reading a book! The kitchen has an extended dining area. I walk between the table and the counter to take and keep stuff. She ll stand near the switch board and switch OFF the dining area light when Im in the kitchen and will switch OFF the kitchen light when Im standing in the dining area. "One light Enough Amma", she ll say loudly! Hd and I have never taught her this. This she must have inherited straight from my DAD!

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She recites about a dozen nursery rhymes with ease. Its a pleasure listening to her. Her current favorite is Mary had a little lamb, Itsy bitsy Spider and Jack & Jill. And to think that she learnt to sing all of them in a span of a month.

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The other day I called my in laws and Ashu was speaking to my FIL and singing rhymes to him and showing off and enquiring about the dogs, cats and cows there. Then my MIL came on the phone but Ashu would nt talk to her. I cajoled her to talk and my MIL talked about the cats and dogs to keep her interest. Though Ashu talked to her a little, she would nt recite rhymes to her. Since they were on speaker phone and while my MIL interrupted her to correct(!) her while she sang the rhymes, Ashu screamed "NO! DON'T SING!". After the call ended, I asked Ashu why she was nt talking to P Paati. She said, "P Paati is BAD BOY. I wont talk to her". I was dumbfounded. When I asked why she said Chumma. Then of course, I had to go on a lecture on how she can never say that about elders and how there are no bad boys anywhere(yeah right!) and she has to like everyone especially family and talk to them. (Am I a hypocrite or what!)

****


One day she saw a strand of hair on the floor and asked me if its Ashus. I said yes. So she tried to stick it back on her head. I told her that the hair wont stick again and it will fall off. So she held one hand to her head to hold that hair and was walking around for quite some time. What did I tell you about her logic?

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Please tell me all kids do this. Off late, Ashu mutters under her breath repeating whatever it is that I am saying to her. Anything that comes out of my mouth is being repeated in a hush hush voice and practised for future use. Its downright scary, I tell ya. All that information shes storing in that little brain of hers! Oh My God, she can actually have me arrested if she repeats certain things in public!

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In one of the Dora episodes, Dora is seen with a camera and taking pictures of animals. So Ashu tells me, "Amma, Dora has a camera. She is taking photos like you"! Whoa! You know how much that means to me, Kiddo? Comparing me to the THE Dora? I'm honored!

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These days, when she wants to go No 1, she goes to the bathroom, switches on the light, puts her potty seat on top of the pot, pulls the step stool closer, climbs on it, takes off her pants, sits and does her job, gets up, wears her pant, gets down from the stool, flushes the toilet, moves the stool near the sink, climbs on, opens the tap, controls it so that water flow is slow, washes her hands, squeezes soap, rinses, closes the tap, gets down, dries her hands with a towel, moves the step stool back under the sink, switches off the bathroom light and comes out. All the while I'm hiding behind the door and watching her with a proud smile and all teary eyed! My baby girl does nt need me anymore when she wants to pee. Ah! The travails of motherhood!

****

October 21, 2007

I have found it. I have...

I noticed this tag going around the blogs about "our song" and was wondering what our song was. Sadly we did nt include it in the prenup! ;) I thought back to our Post Engagement days. The movie Kandukonden kandukonden had just released and Hd and I decided to wait until we got married to watch the movie as we wanted that movie to be our first. The wedding date was set, for your information and there was a month or two to go. We both were listening to the songs from this movie all the time. The music was and still is amazing what with A R Rehman composing the music, Rajeev Menon directing and a heavy duty cast with Aishwarya Rai, Tabu, Mammooty, Ajith and Abbas. (Its inspired from Sense and Sensibility) I listened to the title song all the time and was always imagining myself and Hd together. Hds favorite song in this movie was also the same. So its one of our favorite songs still and that song came to me as soon as I read some blogs. Then Sahithi's Mom tagged me and it became official. The customary question of "whats our song, R" was asked today to the better half fully expecting him to blink and stare at me without a clue of what I'm talking about. So imagine my surprise when he takes 2 seconds and asks me "kandukonden,kandukonen?" And I was blown away! I was the one blinking and doing the staring. So even if this was nt our song before, it is now!

Heres the song beautifully rendered by Hariharan and Mahalakshmi Iyer - Kandukonden Kandukonden.

And here are the Lyrics. I have tried a line by line literal translation in English with my funny take (in italics) about it now. How naive I must have been! Ewwwww...

Here I go...

(Male)
I have found it. I have found the face to fall in love
I have found the Milky Moon (Yeah right!) near my finger tips

I ll be happy if the moonlight falls on the cup, fills it and overflows (Now dont ask me what the cup represents!)
But if it breaks the cup instead, it will break my heart too (Is it an expensive cup, dear?)
(Female)
Will the one I have set my eyes on ever reach my hands?(His check book perhaps?)

(Male)
Will she go away and give me tears instead?(But now shes staying and giving him tears instead!)

I have found it. I have...

(Male)
Bed of roses and begging eyes but my heart is beating fast (Will she fake a headache again?)

(Female)
With only my soul left, I am all yours (I am tired basically!)

(Male)
Can I open the door to your solitude? (Little did he know it was the door to the pandoras box)

I have found it. I have...

(Female)
I see your face in the parting clouds (Clouds? What clouds?)
I hear your voice in the blooming flowers (No wonder you are silent all the time!)

(Male)
I dream of you with my eyes open (And its Aishwarya Rai when he closes them!)
Loves touch will even upturn a stone (Why dont you try turning a Dosa first?)

(Female)
Is my journey in search of you? (Apparently NO! Lesson learnt a hard way!)
Will my road lead me to your house? (It did and it was a dead end!)

(Male)O my dream woman, will both of our hearts ever meet? (Dont hold your breath!)

I have found it. I have...

(Male)
The search of a river is to see the Sea (Oh really? Who told you that? And by the way what happened to that search of yours for the car key this morning?)
The search of my life is to see you (Let me guess! You are still searching, are nt you?)

(Female)
The river loses itself after reaching the Sea (Here it goes! Its the damn river again!)
But I ll find myself when I reach you (I found out I am an Idiot!)

(Male)
I will make a garland out of the Stars (Corner shop Flowers will do nicely, thank you very much!)
I might knock on your door any time now (Make sure you give me a call to find out if Im home first)

(Female)O Lord of Love! When I blink, its your eyes which close (Lord of WHAT? And by the way, when I blink it means I dont want to see your face for a while!)

I have found it. I have... (Sigh!)

Now the Tamil lyrics just as it is without me screwing it up!

(Male)
Kandukonden Kandukonden kaadhal mugam Kandukonden
Viral thodum dhooraththile vennilavu Kandukonden
vennilaa velichcham kinnaththil vizhundhu niraindhaal vazhindhaal magizhchchi
vennilaa velichcham kinnaththai udaiththaal uyirai udaippaal oruththi

(Female)en kann paarththadhu en kai serumo
(Male)kai saeraamalae kanneer serumo

Kandukonden Kandukonden kaadhal mugam Kandukonden ...

(Male)malarmanjam vizhi kenjum manam anjumallavaa
(Female)uyir minjum ival nenjam un thanjamallavaa
(Male)un thanimaik kadhavin thaazh neekkavaa

Kandukonden Kandukonden kaadhal mugam Kandukonden...

(Female)megam thirandhaal adharkul un mugam paarkkiren
pookkal thirandhaal adharkul un kural ketkiren

(Male)kangalaith thirandhun kanavugal valarkkum
kaadhalin viralgal kallaiyum thirakkum

(Female)unnaith thediye ini enadhu payanamo
endhan saalaigal un veettil mudiyumo

(Male)E kanavu mangaiyae unadhu manadhu enadhu manadhil inaiyumo

Kandukonden Kandukonden...

(Male)nadhiyin thedal kadaisiyil kadal kaanbadhu
uyirin thedal kadaisiyil unaikkaanbadhu

(Female)kadal konda nadhiyo mugam thanai izhakkum
naan unnil kalandhaal pudhu mugam kidaikkum

(Male)natchaththirangalai oru naaril kattuven
endha neramum un kadhavu thattuvaen

(Female)E kaadhal dhevane enadhu imaiyil unadhu vizhigaL mooduven

Kandukonden Kandukonden kaadhal mugam Kandukonden...

It sure is romantic in Tamil! ;)

October 16, 2007

A place to call Home.

There was sudden change of plans while we were in Madras(after Hd joined us) and we made a short trip to my home town again. Originally my parents were supposed to stay in Madras until we left for Zurich. But Hd has a weird sense of logic. What with all the pampering I got from my in-laws, he became very jealous and declared that he needs some in-laws love as well. Though my parents were in Madras too, it was nt enough. So we all went to Kmu and were there for 5 days. It was a win win situation for me so I readily nodded for the plan. As soon as we reached my parents house, Ashu declared "Ashus house has come"! Her play pals arrived within no time and I did nt see her after that until it was time to leave again.

I of course took Hd to the Darasuram Temple and that made it my third visit in one month. That's a first for me. Then one day we went to our village. Where my paternal grandpa was born, my dad lived until college and I almost lived and visited until I was 8 years old. Since its hardly an hour from my hometown, I used to go there to stay with my grand parents every weekend, school holidays and such. Its a very,very small village with hardly a dozen houses in our street and we had acres of agricultural land which my grandpa managed with the help of my dad and my uncle. I cant separate my grandpa from the village and I love them both equally. The childhood memories I have made in this village is precious. My sis and I have had fabulous times here. The leisurely baths in the motor sheds, eating raw mangoes and raw mango leaves straight from the trees daring the angry red ants, playing catch under the hot sun with friends and cousins, running helter-skelter at the sight of a water snake, splashing in the temple pond, sitting on top of the Vaikol Por(hay stack) and eating Gems after sorting them by colors, coming home with ant bites and getting a good scolding form Grandma, helping Grandpa count coins and stacking them and rolling then in newspapers, the countless number of dosas that go in listening to old tales, the pampering from the farm help who showed us the sights and allowed us to enter the forbidden dark forest, the imaginary expedition we had in the dark parts of the mango groves, the 7 pm Dheebaaradhanai at the Perumal Temple,.... Oh... I could just go on and on and on... The kittens, the dogs, the kingfisher bird which laid eggs in a hole in our wall,... I can never forget these things until my last breath.

Today our house is dilapidated, it is nt ours anymore, we have sold all our lands, all our neighbors are gone, there are hardly a few familiar faces, the Ilandhai tree is no more, the motor shed is gone.. but still going there with Ashu was an experience on its own. It was Hds first trip there as well and I could nt stop talking. I was going on and on about my childhood to him. How much ever long we are married and how ever long we talk about our childhood with each other, theres always more stuff to tell, is nt there? At least from my side, there always will be. Thanks to my dear village and my beloved city bred Hubby who has never hidden behind the barn door at the ripe old age of 7 and peeked through a hole to see a cow giving birth to a calf! Aww... those days...

October 11, 2007

Did some one say nicknames?

I dont know if I was tagged or not. If I was, I dont know by whom. So sorry about that. But this nick name tag has so much potential that I had to take it. Thanks to those who started this and whoever tagged me or did nt.

Ashu was called Bujju when she was in my tummy. I think my mom started addressing my tummy by this name and Hd followed and soon I did too. So officially this is her first nick.

Hd calls her "Ashu" and thats why I kept the nick for her in this blog. But I never call her Ashu. Mostly I call her by her whole name but there are also many, many more names I use. Like Pattu, Pattaani, Kuttu, Kuttani, Kutti, Chellam, ... the usual.

Then there are some special and peculiar names too. Like

Pillathoor Chellathamma - My grandma mentioned this name to me last month when I was in India and it stuck. Usually when Ashu is throwing a tantrum I say, "you are behaving like Pillathoor Chellathamma" and call her that jokingly when she is being adamant. Apparently, there was this woman Chellathamma who lived in a village called Pillathoor aka Pilloor some 100 years ago and ruled the village with a tight fist and everyone feared her. My grandmas mother used to take her name when her children were being adamant. See how deep the source is? I intend to pass this name on to my grand kids as well!

Parattai engira Azhagu Sundaram - My sister calls Ashu this. Parattai means unruly hair. There was a recent movie with the title "Parattai engira azhagu sundaram" and so my sister started using this name for Ashu. See what I had to live with for 20 years?

Mr.Monk - Do I even have to explain? Ashu has several OCDs and some very similar to
Monk's. Hence the name. But I always use this name in an exasperated tone.

I also change her nick so as to rhyme. Like "Do you want Paal(milk), Pattoos?", Do you want Banana, Battoos?, Kulikiriyaa(bath?), Kuttoos, Juice venumaa, Jittoos? But only when Im alone with Ashu. For obvious reasons!

Another special name is Chinnaalu. There was this woman called Chinnaalu in my fathers village. She was almost my moms age. She was mentally unstable and lived with her parents. She was normal most of the time but went crazy sometimes and as kids we used to be terrified of her. Her parents used to lock her up in a room but she used to remove the ceiling bricks and escape and come to our house to chat with my mom and grandma. She is no more. I dont know how I started calling Ashu by this name but sometimes I do. My dad hates it when I call Ashu as Chinnaalu. All the more reason for me to do so!

I call her as Curly Shu after the movie Curly Sue and also as Noodles Thalayaa(Noodle head) like Koundamani calls Senthil!(Tamil Film Comedians.)

Some movie/TV influenced names include Nemo, Boo, Mowgli, Boots, Martha Monkey, Simba, Cinderalla, ...

Some sweet names like Laddoo, Rasogolla, Gulab Jamoon, Jaangiri, Rasamalai, Strawberry, ...

Some Tamil names like Pattu Kunjalam(silk hair ornament), Azhagu Sundari (beautiful girl), Thangame, Vairame, Patte, Maniye, Muthe, Maragadhame, ... (names of the precious gems), Kannamma,...

The most often used is Kuzhandhai (child), Kutti (small) and Samathu (Good).

My dad calls her Chinna Kutti. (small girl)

My mom calls her all sort of gibberish like puttaanu, gundaanu, pattaanu,...

My FIL calls her "Pichu" and my MIL calls her "Kannu".

There are also some temporary names which make rounds. Ashu calls Mickey Mouse as Picky Pous. So we call her Picky Pous. We also call her Kuvvi(Bird), Punky(Monkey),...

I call her as "OY" when shes showing attitude and Rowdy Raakkamma when shes being a brat.


I got to be honest and confess that theres one more name I use. "Kadankaari" - which means a female who is in debt. The meaning is silly of course but this is the name my mom used the most to scold my sis and I. And its the only thing I use to scold Ashu too. For now! Of course Kadankaari is followed by another word which I am trying hard not to use. And failing. Cant say it here. I dont know if any other Tamil uses it. I have nt heard anyone even mentioning it other than my mom from whom I got it of course! Mail me if you know. We can start a club or something! ;) Utbt and Yaada Yaada - Mind your own business!

I also call her "Amma Thaaye Mahalakshmi" when Im in the verge of blowing up. It means "My mother Goddess Mahalakshmi". But I actually mean "Enough of that. shut up and sit down". Of course Ashu does nt know that. Yet.

October 09, 2007

New Car.

How did I forget to write about this? We have bought a CAR! An used car! Our new car! A silver color, compact Citroën. Our first car, actually! That's right, our first car. Well, its a long story but that's what the blog is for so here I go.

When Hd and I got married, we lived in Chennai for 6 months with my In laws. Their car was as good as ours, so there! Then we both moved to Bangalore and since I took my Kinetic Honda with me there, we managed with it. Then after a while, FILs car came to Bangalore with us and stayed. Soon we moved to the UK and the car went to back to FIL. The next time we moved to Bangalore again, we managed with the Kinetic Honda. My uncle who lives in Bangalore gave his scooter as well, so we had two 2 wheelers! Then the last time we moved back to Bangalore again from Swiss along with Ashu, my dad came to the rescue by giving his car as he was hardly using it in our hometown. So for a year, we had his car. Yes, Hd and I are both shameless that way! We have absolutely no qualms squandering stuff from both our parents! For that matter, I have nt bought a single thing for our kitchen in all these years. Every stainless utensil is either my mom's or mil's, the gas stove is mil's, the mixie is my mom's, the microwave is mil's, the rice cooker is mom's, ...

All the time we lived abroad whether it was in the UK or in Swiss, the public transport has been excellent and we never needed a car. But this time with Ashu, things were getting difficult and especially once the winter arrives, its very tough to get out of the house and walk to take a tram or a bus. So we thought it was a good idea to buy a car. We had finalised on one before I left for India but Hd brought the car home when I was in India. So the excitement set in only after I came here. Oh, life is so easy after a car! It would be great if I get a license and start driving too. But generally I am very scared to drive and have zero confidence. I hated driving in Bangalore. Hope I get over it soon.

Ashu has started enjoying the car rides and we have been taking her to theme parks, lakes and play areas every weekend and shes on cloud nine. She can spot our car in a parking lot too which is more than what I can say about Hd! ;)

By the way, Hd thinks I'm overacting when I got a "little" upset that his colleague got to ride in our car and sit in the front seat before I got a chance to. A female colleague, for your kind information! He says that it would nt have bothered me this much if it were a guy. Of course it would nt have! Jeez, whats with these men? Don't they ever get the point?

October 08, 2007

Jungle book.

Last week my cousin and her husband had come to Zurich from the US and stayed with us for 3 days. Oh, what fun! This is the first time someone younger than me in the family was visiting as I am one of the youngest grandkid myself. And technically, the Maapillai(son-in-law) was coming home so I was all geared up to welcome them and cook my way to glory! I don't know how Ashu spots family but she just stuck to my cousin and the couple were ready to cancel their sight seeing plans and stay at home all day long to be with Ashu. And they did do that on the last day. Dora shoes as a gift did play a small role, to be honest! As if that were nt enough, the evening they were leaving, they bought 2 DVDs - Cinderella and Jungle Book and gave them to Ashu. We all watched Jungle Book together for a while and were having fun. Ashu showed some interest.

The next day after they had left, I played the movie again since I have nt watched it a long, long time and Ashu was absolutely hooked! She has watched movies like Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc, Ice age, etc... before but she has never sat still for the entire movie. She usually loses interest in a few minutes. But this movie is really something. Its a treat to watch her watching Mowgli. She howls with laughter when Baloo Bear says something funny, gets mighty scared when Sher Khan appears for the first time, giggles when Kaa the snake tries to put Mowgli to sleep, ... Oh its just so heartwarming to see this movie with her. It has become a night time ritual now for the past 3 days. She watches it from beginning to end, and tells me whats going to happen in the next scene. Thankfully its only an hour long movie. But what a movie! The bare necessities....

October 04, 2007

Confused!

I am really, really confused! I don't know how I'm going to catch up with all the blogs I read regularly. A little break and the amount of posts I have to catch up with is just overwhelming. Add to that, my laptops charger has died and it has been a month since we ordered one but no sight of it yet! So I'm using Hds laptop in the mornings and evenings hence the less frequent posts and absolutely no comments anywhere! Though I'm dying to upload Ashus photos, I don't want to clutter his office laptop with lots of photos. Its so frustrating. And the little blog hopping I did, I realized I have missed two of my favorite blog babies Birthdays. Belated Birthday wishes Poppin and Kodi. I identify so much with their moms since I feel we have very similar parenting styles and Poppin and Kodi are also very similar to Ashu in their temperaments and attitudes. Though Ashu is 5 months older than them, in a year or two that will not be a difference at all and I cant wait to see what these trio are up to then! If we moms are still blogging, that is! Even otherwise, we will be in touch, won't we Gals?

I don't know where to start reading, whom to start with, where to leave comments. Reading
JLT, I realized Dotmoms husband had a heart attack and went to her site. What a relief to know hes better now. Then went to Rohins post on Maid from Dotmom. Then to Rbdans from Kodis mom, Mnamma from UTBT, Poppins from Moppet, Noon from a comment she left somewhere, generally I'm hopping here, there and everywhere. I need strategy. Before that, I need my laptop back. NOW!

September 28, 2007

While we were in Madras...

My FIL is an ADORABLE man! Hes every girls dream FIL. Of course, the fil-mil combo does nt work as beautifully as the individual FIL but one cant ask for too much, so no complaints. He has always treated me like a princess and now treats Ashu like a Queen. Ashu being the manipulative kid, adores him and sticks to him like glue and says all the right things to him. What can I say, shes but a natural! His entire desire in life is to show me that he can take care of her without my help. So at 6 am when Ashu gets up and runs out of our room to him, the day starts for him while I go back to sleep. He gives her milk, takes her to the bathroom, tries to give her breakfast while I slowly get up and continue where he left and finish feeding her. Then he takes her out, to the terrace, to the garden and comes back during lunch time. Sings her to sleep sitting on the swing. After the nap, we go out to the beach and visit a temple where he completely takes charge of her while she has loads of fun. Bliss! On the day I landed in Madras from Zurich, I left Ashu home and went to the Dentist. She was seeing my in laws after 8 months. She said bye to me and stayed with my FIL. Atta girl!

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She ll happily go to the driver, the maid, the gardener, the little girl next door but not to my MIL. I swear I have no part in this! Its totally her choice. Who am I to interfere? ;)

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We were taking Ashu to the beach everyday. Though she did nt like to walk on the sand or get her feet wet in the water, she liked to look at the sea, the crows and the stray dogs. She had taken to our driver very well and he was carrying her around mostly. (Driver, maid, car, beach, shopping,.. I did nt have to lift my finger for anything, so what am doing here in Zurich?)

****
My fil and I took Ashu to the Besant Nagar beach one evening. There was a big horse and Ashu was excited and said she ll ride on it. But she would nt sit alone or with the horse guy. So our Driver came to the rescue and they both went horse riding on the beach. She sat with a smile on her face as if shes the Maharani doing the rounds! Then the merry go round, the kids giant wheel, a balloon, a kaathaadi, a ball, half an idli in Murugan Idli kadai, happily holding one of the waiters hand and walking away while Amma gulped down a whole Onion Oothappam, visit to the temples,... So tell me again, what am I doing in Zurich?

****
Hd arrived minus a baggage(it came the next day, thankfully) on Sept 7th and Ashu went bonkers seeing him. She screamed and started running in circles around me and it was hilarious to see her. Then when Hd carried her, she was swallowing tears and was choked and did nt talk for a long time. It was all so emotional and I felt so bad for her. The poor thing, how much she had missed him even though she did nt ask for him even once in those 5 weeks.

****
Officially, Ashu has "gone" on the beach, on the roadside, public toilets in the restaurants, department stores, wedding hall, train, plane, airport, temple,... She even stood in line and waited for her turn! Diaper less life is a bliss, I tell ya!

****
When my parents were also in Madras, Ashu was ecstatic. One thatha is bad enough, but with two - I started pretending she was nt mine! But got to tell you that she was to her good old self when we came to Madras. My dads definitely the culprit and his presence is what makes her a monster. My FIL is very similar to my dad too but the man is a bit afraid of me so he does nt interfere with my parenting style and listens to me.

****
Watched Sivaji again with Hd this time. Was nt bad even the second time. Had fun. Probably because we realized we would nt be watching a movie in the theater in a long, long time to come.

****
I have never really liked Madras before. But this trip has made me realize that I would nt mind settling down there. Some day. And only I know what a big deal that is for me. Children do change our lives upside down, dont they?

September 26, 2007

Kids do say the darndest things!

Amma, whats this?
Don't ask me anything, Ashu.
Amma, is this your Brestus?
*sigh* Yes, its my breast.
Amma, wheres Ashus brestus? (touching her chest)
*oh God! Why this soon?*

****

Amma who's going in the motorbike?
I don't know Ashu. How would I know?
Tell me, Amma.
I don't know. You tell me.
Uncle, Amma. Uncle is going on the motorbike.

!!!!

So one time, Im making paper boats from the tissue paper in a restaurant to keep her busy. I make a boat and ask her what it is and she says "Boat, Amma!" Then she takes over and generally makes a mess with the tissues. Then she crumpled a tissue, folded it one side and asked me, "What is this? Tell me, Amma". It looked like nothing to me and I told her I did nt know. "Tell me Amma. What is this?" So I say, I don't know Ashu, you tell me! "Its a tissue, Amma", she says with a grin!

????

While we were going to Madras by car, I had put on a diaper for Ashu as she might go to sleep or there would nt be toilets when she wanted to go. When we stopped in a restaurant for breakfast, she did nt want to to use the bathroom. She slept for a while. Later, the AC in the car broke down and we stopped at a garage in the highway to repair it. And Ashu wanted to go Susu. Since there was no toilet there, I asked her to go in the diaper. But she would nt. "Susu, Amma. Susu ponum, Amma", she was saying. I told her there was no toilet and she showed the road side and said, "I ll go here Amma". WHAT? Is it in her blood or something? To be ready to go susu by the roadside? So of course off went the diaper(which was sparkling clean!) and she squatted like a pro and did her job! You passed the test, Kiddo!

September 24, 2007

Back.

I am back. *sulk* The only good thing is that I can blog more now. Checked my blog as soon as I came back to find that my template is gone so even before unpacking the umpteen suitcases and before keeping the Kothamalli chutney(coriander chutney) in the freezer in spite of my mom reminding me a hundred times to do so, I surfed the dozen free template sites to find a suitable one. This is only temporary, working on the header. (Will take your offer if I cant find my way, Tharini!)

Missed you all.

ps.
Oh yes, about Ashu. Shes thrilled to be home and to see her room. But at 5 am today, she asked for my FIL and said she wants to go to his house. Then said she wants to go to "kammonam" to see my parents. Is asking why there are no mosquitoes, lizards, flies, worms, etc... in the house. Why indeed?

August 30, 2007

B-r-e-a-k

I ll be off the Internet from tomorrow. See you all, 3 weeks from now. Already I have truck loads of blog posts to catch up. At this rate, I think I ll be glued to my laptop for weeks after I reach Zurich.

Mad Momma - Please restrict yourself and do not post more than once a day! ;)

Poppins - Have a great time in Europe!

Tharini - Please don't change your beautiful headers before I get a chance to see it! :)

UTBT - Good luck with the Potty Training. May the force be with you.

Moppet - Mail me how Moppet settled down after the India trip. I would badly need some advice after reaching Zurich!

Art, Itchy, Kowsalya and other Madrasis - Hoping to chance upon you folks in Madras if I ever get out of the house!

Kiran aka Party girl - Go rock and tell us more!

Kodis Mom - Since no one has, I bid for the Monster. Provided you take Ashu. We do have more patience when it comes to other peoples children, don't we? ;)

Gauri - A little belated Onam wishes. And counting on you for more craft projects.

Ceekay, Noon and Rbdans - Hows it going the 2nd time around? Cant wait to catch up with your posts and find out.

Collection of Stars - Good luck with the beautiful beginning of terrible twos, threes, fours, fives,... and welcome to the club!

Just like that - Onam wishes to you!

SM - You moved without telling? WHERE? Please mail me. *Nobody tells me anything these days. sulk*

Dotmom & Mnamma - I'm hooked to your blogs. I cant wait to catch up with all your posts.

Orchid - Hope alls well and we get to read you soon.

Something to Say - So any luck on the Veggies? I ll even pay you for a surefire tip!

Rohini - I'm sure you would have written just one post, if at all, when I check your blog again. And no, that's no good! Write more!

Premalatha - I cant wait to know either! You would mail me, would nt you?

And all you Mommies - Will miss you and hope to hog your comment boxes soon. (If I have left out some mommies, it is nt intentional. I just could nt come up with a clever one liner, that's all!)

And all my favorite bloggers - Will miss you all too and please email me if theres a dirty debate going on. Would nt want to miss it for the world! (Any reason to get out of the house and find a browsing center!)

ps.
Sorry folks for not linking. Crunch time as I have still not finished packing. Check out Indianmommies.blogspot.com for the links, if you want them.

pps.
Today is Boo's 2nd Birthday. Sorry Boo, no time to throw you a party. But you have been the best thing that has happened to me since Ashu and is nt that saying something? And all you readers give me the energy I need to write. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

August 28, 2007

Update on Ashu at 28 Months.

I don't know if its the age or being in India, but Ashu is a different child these days. I would nt know where to begin to describe her. She seems so grown up at times.

She talks. A lot. She uses sentences like Poonai Ottamaa Odi pochu (The cat ran as if in a race), Paati kindal pandraa(Grandma is pulling my leg), Thatha engayo poita (Thatha has gone somewhere), Biscuit mattum porum (I want only biscuit), Enakku onnum vendaam (I dont want anything)... Its a sweet shock every time she says something new and I make her say it again and again until she gets tired of it. I literally rolled on the floor laughing when she said Paati kindal pandraa. It was totally unexpected.

She is just like the annoying son of my friend who would say, "Amma lets go home", whenever they visited my house. As soon as Ashu scans the hosts house and finds no one of her height, she starts telling "Amma lets go home" and goes to wear her shoes. I am seriously thinking of buying a new book or a new toy before we visit someones house to keep her occupied. Anything to avoid the embarrassment.

She of course is fully potty trained except for the nights when she uses the diaper. She takes off her pant by herself, goes to the toilet and sits on the potty seat and does the job. She even volunteered to clean the potty seat, but I declined.

She has become so adamant and so stubborn that Im really hoping that its only a temporary thing thanks to my dad and she ll be okay once we go back to Zurich. If not, Im planning to send her right back to India on a plane. Alone.

Everything is a struggle these days. As soon as I say "Ashu come here", she ll run to the farthest corner away from me and stare at me from there as if daring me to come and get her. I stare right back at her and its all a downhill from there. Loads of tears, lots of shouting,... all for a simple "come here". So imagine the bathing, dressing, eating, drinking and the other dozen things.

Shes unpredictable with kids. She loves their company but when it comes to sharing the toys, she shares with some and fights with others. Hugs some and pushes others. Snatches things from some and gives away to others. Very confusing.

"Sorry" used to be dime a dozen. Now she rations it. If she hits me or others and I ask her to apologize, she stares at me and zips her mouth. 9 out of ten times, she wins!


Yes, my baby girl who I was very proud that shes non violent has started hitting. I don't know if its the school she picked it from or just another milestone, but she is hitting. Unnecessarily, that too. I have pleaded with her, begged her, scolded her, shouted at her, gave her time outs, hit her right back, advised her, blackmailed her, bribed her,... but nothing seems to work. Its not frequent but its there. Enough to bother me.

She goes from this high energy, laughing and playing kid to a crying mess in less than two seconds when shes sleepy. One minute shes playing peekaboo with me and the next, shes crying her lungs out. I don't even have the time to change her into her pyjamas. She cries as if someone tried to strangle her. This is one thing I don't understand at all about her. WHY?

She has clearly started voicing her needs. And no one in the world can changer her mind. If she wants me to accompany her to the terrace, she wont stop nagging until I go with her. I have no choice. If my dad takes her to the bathroom, then only he should help her wear her pants. Not I. If my mom fed her lunch, then only she should clean her mouth. Not I. She will wear her shoes herself. She will pluck flowers from the garden herself, she will close the door herself,... She has clear ideas of whom should do what. And she ll throw a fit otherwise.

She wont talk or sing rhymes or even say her name to strangers. Most of the times, the strangers just happen to be my uncle, aunt, cousins and friends. They already know her name anyway and just have to take my word for it when I say that she knows her ABC's and can sing "Twinkle, twinkle little star".

For the past 16 months, her diet has been almost the same. She has not added anything new. Im not bothered anymore. One can only try so much. But thanks to this trip, at least my dad now knows what a stubborn kid she is when it comes to food. I don't have to hear him lecture me on the phone on what to give her anymore. I hope!

Sometimes, she says things like "I don't want you", "go away", "I don't like you" and breaks my heart. She did nt go to my dad or talk to him for a while when he came back after a 5 day trip. My dad felt horrible. Forget the teens, Im more scared of her turning three!

She would nt walk two steps. She ll say "Thookiko" (Pick me up) after walking for 2 seconds. I hated walking and whined "Thookiko" until I was 5 or 6 years old, I think. So no use complaining. Fate has a cruel sense of humor.

Last night while taking to Hd on the phone and narrating Ashus antics, he told me that Im complaining a lot about Ashu these days and I have nt told him one good thing about her since I left Zurich. I hope you did nt read this post, dear!

August 27, 2007

The Amazing Chola Temple.


Today I went to the 12th century Airavateswarar temple in Darasuram built by the Cholas. Just a few miles away from home. Since it has been declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, work is progressing to renovate the temple and since so much money is flowing in, it is being maintained superbly. But the temple itself is just amazing. No words can describe its beauty. The sculptures are out of this world. I visited the place twice within 2 weeks and I was just speechless both the times. The amount of details that has gone into it, the amount of work and labor, oh my God! And to think that even with so much technically advanced world, we have problems to move a rock from one place to the other and here 3000 years before, this temple has been built as if someone just flicked their finger and by magic, it appeared. Every nook and corner has been sculpted. Theres not a plain surface. The pillars are carved, the steps are carved, the gopuram is amazing, the windows have intricate designs, ... Theres the mythical animal Yaazhi, elephants, bulls, horses, snakes, folk dances, yoga postures, radha krishna, ganesha, muruga, ... There was this carving of lord Ganesha in one of the pillars. The ganesha was only an inch tall but the details were just amazing. Then there is this big statue of Goddess Annapurni with a vessel in her hand. If you flick on the vessel, you get a different sound even though the statue is made of one stone. Then theres Saraswati with a wisdom eye in her forehead, theres a huge Nandi, ... I was spell bound. A sculptor would have spent his entire life time just on one pillar, I guess. Awe inspiring, really.

I could nt help but remember this chocolate shop in Zurich which was opening shortly and for 6 months I saw the men with drills carving the shops name on stone at the entrance. And they had just about got the shape of S on it. And then to see such a temple built 3000 years ago with just uli and suthiyal (chisel and hammer), its unbelievable. And to think that I spent thousands of Euros seeing the roofs of Sistine Chapel and the statue of David and went gaga over them but never had the inclination to visit this landmark temple in my own backyard. I am glad I did it now. I am super glad.

My home town is a temple town. The name itself means that you will see a Temple tower from any angle of the town because of the number of temples crammed in this small town. If you have the habit of touching both your cheeks when you cross a temple like I do, then your hand will be permanently on your cheeks if you are in this town!


This is the famous Kumbeswarar temple where Ashu gave a banana to the temple elephant and took blessing from the elephant bravely while I stood a good 5 feet away!













This is the Sarangapani temple, the tallest in town.









And these are some of the Darasuram photos.

The rest are here. Check them out.