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December 26, 2008

Where Did 2008 Go?

So we landed in Madras on 12th safe and sound. The girls were awesome in the flight. Antu was happy as long as she was glued to my chest, so all was well. The only time she cried was because the pillow I kept under her head came away and she bumped her head in the arm rest. Of course I let my dad believe that she was cranky. Was afraid he would push me from the plane if he knew I hurt her. The Qatar airways has some funny baby bassinets. It was so high that you have to throw the baby like a basketball for her to land on the bassinet!! There was no gap to even stand let alone with a baby. But the service was great and the staff were good. Spent a few days in Madras and then left for my parents place. My mom had arranged for a Thottil(cradle) ceremony for Antu just like the one we had for Ashu some 3 years back. I felt so nostalgic and choked back tears looking at such a grown up Ashu now. Then of course my dad had to give Ashu a PUPPY! She went ballistic and would nt come down at all and was with the Puppy 24/7 in the terrace. Theres nothing like seeing a little girl with a puppy, I tell ya. Such sweet creatures they make together. Then her neighborhood friends landed one by one and now after a week, I don't see her most of the day. She goes to their houses to play. I have nt seen their houses or met the kids parents! And to think that I have to go back to Zurich and "arrange" play dates for Ashu. Sigh!

Antu - Well, where do I begin? Shes growing up fast. Has a ready smile for everyone. Her smile is so catchy. Feels like seeing a flower bloom when she smiles. Poor thing though. Handling all the changes, mosquito bites, etc... like a pro and feeding and sleeping... Sometimes I get the feeling that shes minding her own business! Go figure. Happy 6 Months, Darling!

Hd arrives here tomorrow and we girls are eagerly looking forward. Then a week more in Madras and off we go back to Zurich. So see you all from there. Wishing everyone a Super Duper New Year. Good bye, 2008. You were very, very special! :)

December 10, 2008

We are going to India.

So we are leaving for India tomorrow. Hd joins us 2 weeks later. TWO WEEKS. Of no kids. Of no spouse. sigh! I am so jealous. I ve never been so jealous in my life! Hereby I declare that as soon as I wean Antu, Im taking off. At least for a weekend. Im telling this here because if I don't, please come back and beat me. With a chappal.

Leaving you with a photo.

Antu - So you really think Amma will leave us and go?

Ashu - She might. But just hold onto your chappal nevertheless.

December 02, 2008

Car conversations.

Ashu and I were in the car. Coming back from school. She was sleepy and started saying incoherent stuff like "I want Appa now. Why did nt you bring Antu to school? Where is Thatha?", etc... and was on the verge of bursting into tears and going to sleep. So to save the drama, I was trying to distract her.

Me - Look Ashu. I got a cut in my finger.

Ashu - A cut? Where?

Me - In my right index finger. Look. (Stretching my fingers to the back and showing her thinking it would ve been fun if it was the middle finger instead!)

Ashu - How did you get the owie, Amma?

Me - I was grating carrots and by accident, my finger rubbed against the grater and it got cut. It hurts, you know.

Ashu - (Making a sad face) But why did you grate your finger?

Me - It was an accident, Ashu.

Ashu - If it hurts, you should nt drive the car Amma.

Me - Its OK, Ashu. Its only in my finger. If I get hurt in my palm or hands, then I won't be able to drive. But now its OK.

Ashu - So who ll pick me up from school?

Me - What?

Ashu - If you get hurt in your hand and can't drive when I am in school, who will come to pick me up?

Me - !!!!!!

I should just put the quote "that that person, their their worry" in my blog header next to a photo of Ashu.

November 27, 2008

Mumbai.

I'm shaking with rage. I'm worried about people who I have not even met and only know them through their words. I am scared. I feel helpless. Watching the news only makes me more angry. "Terror strikes cricket"! Terror strikes cricket??? For Gods sake!

Stay safe, people. I know its tough. But that's all I'm able to say because I really want everyone to be safe.

November 19, 2008

Imai Irandum thani thani...

So Hd is away again. For two weeks this time. So like any self respecting girl, I cried and went running to "daddy" and my dad caught the next flight and arrived! :) Not exactly. But his visa was still valid and there were other stuff to consider, so he decided to come. This is the man who thinks twice before traveling to Madras from his home town and poor guy had to do two trips to Zurich in a short time all because his daughter asked him to. (More like son-in-law asked him to but I am not complaining!) Anyway, this post is not about that. I remember doing a post almost 2 years back - Sappy Me on how I discover some new song whenever Hd is away and repeat it to death. I swear I was nt even looking this time. So watched Vaaranam Aayiram last weekend and one song caught my attention and at last had some time to find the song on the net and listen to it yesterday. And what a song! Oh man, totally fell in love with it. It has been on indefinite loop fot the past 48 hours.(and this time totally annoying my dad!) Its on the background while Im typing this very post. I had the song on repeat even in the car today while I went to pick up Ashu from school. Anal mela pani thuli... Sung superbly by carnatic singer Sudha Raghunathan(although I feel guilty enjoying this song without the usual Bombay Jayashree.) and mind blowing lyrics by Thamarai. The lyrics are absolutely wonderful, I tell you. A woman in love, in pain, in want,... Sigh! And such a haunting music too. Now I cant wait for Hubby to come back and hear the song with me. So glad that the romance has nt withered and died. Yet.

Listen to it here.

anal mele pani thuli alai paayum oru kili

maram thedum mazhai thuli ivai dhaane ival ini
imai irandum thani thani urakkangal urai pani
edharkaaga thadai ini

endha kaatrin alaavalil malar ithazhgal virindhidumo
endha dheva vinaadiyil mana araigal thirandhidumo
oru siru vali irundhadhuve idhayathile idhayathile
unathiru vizhi thadaviyathaal amizhndhuvitten mayakkathile
udhirattume udalin thirai adhu thaan ini nilaavin karai karai

anal mele...

sandhithome kanaakkalil sila murayaa pala murayaa
andhi vaanil ulaavinom adhu unakku ninaivillaiyaa
iru tharaigalai udaithidave perugidu vaa kadal alaye
iru iru uyir thathalikkayil vazhi sollu vaa kalangaraye
unathalaigal enai adikka karai servathum kanaavil nigazhndhida

anal mele...

Thanks to Thamarai, we get to hear gems like these where a women sings about her desires. Have you ever wondered how few and far between they are? Did it all start with Vaseegara? From the top of your head, tell me the song which comes to your mind first. Anything in Hindi?

ps.
Sorry non Tamil folks. Theres no way I can translate this precious song in English even if I try. Any volunteers?

November 16, 2008

Vaaranam Aayiram.

If I want to see just excellent acting, I ll stay home and watch my 3 year old all day long. I don't go for a movie ONLY to watch excellent acting. I expect a good movie. But Vaaranam Aayiram is nt one. I don't know how to explain it though. I mean each scene on its own was good but they did nt add anything to the movie. Take the songs and dance away. Take the action scenes away. Take one of the romance angle away. What do you have? Nothing. Agreed that in real life, nothing makes sense so what can we expect from a story about a father and son and passage of time? I think it was nt interestingly shown. That's all. It was long and boring. I read some news today that Gautham has trimmed the movie and the kidnap scenes have been totally cut off. What the hell! So people who watched the movie in the first couple of days are idiots? Guinea pigs? This ain't fair, Mr. Menon.

Now for some thoughts:

So what else is new? Surya is awesome. And he proves it again and again.

Simran is good. Sameera Reddy is OK. Ramya is bad. I never liked Jyotika before. But after watching these two new heroines, I ve new found respect for Jo.


The supporting cast is excellent.

I think the word "daddy" has been used like a million times in this movie. Annoying! And the Guinness award goes to...

I had gone for this movie along with my Dad. He did nt like the movie either. For the record, I call him Appa. Never "daddy"! And the "daddy" of my two little girls sat at home while we went for a late night show. At least he can say he got a good night sleep.

I had not listened to the songs before. They were good. Loved the choreography. Surya has come a long way in the dance department, has nt he? Nice moves.

Surya does nt need a six pack for me to drool at him. All I can do at guys who go "Look at me! Look at me! I have a six pack" is *yawn*.

Needless to say, there were kids in the theatre (for a 11.30 pm show!) and the 5 year old boy behind me kept kicking my seat, pulling my hair and what not. And during one of the graphic drug scenes, he loudly asked his parents, "andha uncle ku pei pidichiduchaa"! (Is the uncle possessed by a spirit?)

Came out of the movie and while paying at the parking meter, the machine gave me an extra 10 cents. As if to mock me. Indha padatha paathu 10 paisa prayojanam unda? (Is the movie even worth 10 cents?) Hmpf!

I hope they don't trim the movie when my sis watches it next weekend. Yaan petra inbam... And she owes me one for
Dasavatharam.

November 11, 2008

Two days at a time.

So Hd went out of the country on Sunday. For 2 days and 2 nights. Leaving me with 2 kids. I survived. The school run was the tough thing but otherwise things were pretty cool. So here's how it went.

Sunday

6.30 pm - Hd left.

Then I rock Antu to sleep. Feed Ashu dinner.

7.30 pm - Antu wakes up. I change her diaper, feed her lying on the bed. Ashu lies beside me. Antu goes to sleep and I put her in the crib.

8.15 pm - I give Ashu some laptop time and eat my dinner.

8.30 pm - I brush Ashus teeth, help her clean up her room and read her bed time stories.

9.15 pm - I lie down on the floor on a mattress while she goes to sleep on her bed.

9.30 pm - Shes asleep. I leave the room. Hubby calls. I do the dishes, clean the kitchen, brush my teeth and channel surf.

10.00 pm - The movie Transporter. I'm hooked. I watch. (I am a sucker for car chases.)

11.00 pm - Very sleepy. I record the rest of the movie and go to sleep.

Monday

1.55 am - Antu wakes up. I put her beside me and continue my sleep while she feeds.

3.50 am - Antu wakes up again. Since shes beside me already, she feeds again. I continue sleeping.

5.45 am - Ashu wakes up. Comes to our room and lies down near me. I continue sleeping.

6.30 am - Alarm goes off and I get up like a spring.

6. 30 to 8.15 am - Ashu drinks her milk, I drink my tea, I change Antus diaper, I pack lunch for Ashu, dress her up, dress Antu up, I dress up. Ashu eats cereal, I feed Antu and we are out of the door at 8.10 and in the car at 8.15.

8.45 am - I drop Ashu at school and get back home at 9.30 am. (traffic) Antu sleeps on the trip back.

9.45 am - I eat breakfast.

10 00 am - I feed antu.

10 to 11 am - I change diaper, I make lunch, talk to my parents on the phone and check mails.

11.15 am - I change diaper and feed Antu.

11.45 am - I eat my salad and get Antu ready in the car seat.

12.00 noon - We are out of the door.

12.25 pm - Reach school and pick up Ashu.

1.00 pm- Reach home. Both are sleeping. I wake Ashu up and she cries all the way to the 10th floor.

1.20 pm - Feed Antu. Feed Ashu lunch. I eat lunch.

2.30 pm - Antu goes to sleep. I clean up after lunch while Ashu lies down on the sofa licking a lollipop.

2.30 to 5.30 - Read books for Ashu. Change diaper for Antu. Feed Antu. Give snack for Ashu. Blog surf. Check mails. Run Ashu a bath. Feed. change. Make tea.

Because of the interrupted sleep all day long, Antu goes to deep sleep at 5 pm.

6.00 to 7.30 pm - Long phone call with my sis while Ashu is goofing around.(blowing raspberries and spraying every inch of the living room!) Then I prepare to make some dinner for myself. I feed Ashu her dinner. Brush her teeth and ask her to pick the books while I eat my dinner since Im starving.

8.00 pm - I'm hogging on the tortilla wraps while Ashu calls me. I ask her to wait until I finish my dinner. When I go to check on her 5 minutes later, shes snoring! Bliss.

9 00 pm - I wake Antu up, change her diaper and feed her. She goes to sleep. I catch up with Internet and doze off by 10.00 pm.

Tuesday

2.00 am - Antu wakes up...

Repeattu.

Thoughts

Its doable as long as none of us fall sick.

Ashu is in her perfect behaviour if its only me she has to deal with it.

Its enough if I talk to Ashu, tell her a story, read her a book or play with her. TV, Laptop, Chocolates, Candies and Lollipops mean NOTHING to her if she finds out that they are bribes and not treats. I learnt this lesson the hard way.

Antu is a doll. As long as her input and output are taken care of, shes one happy camper.

At 7 pm on Monday, Ashu had a meltdown and said "I want Appa NOW. I want my Appa" and 2 seconds later, Hd called. Freaked me out.

Going out for groceries or to a park would ve been a lot harder. If push comes to shove, I would do that too but its tough.

The trick is to eat BEFORE Im hungry. Feed Antu and Ashu BEFORE they get hungry. God save us if we all get hungry at the same time.

I did nt ve a minute to miss Hd.

I also have a strong suspicion that when a couple stay together in a loveless marriage for the kids' sake, it actually means "to share the burden of taking care of the kids".

5 pm to 7 pm is the craziest. If I ever kill myself, it would be precisely at 6.55 pm.

The second half of The Transporter sucked. Big time.

If you were me you would ve noticed that I did nt include taking a shower in the list. Thank God Hd was gone only for 2 days! And long live deos and perfumes.

November 06, 2008

Ashu feels alone.

Ashu has forgotten that she has a room and there are a million stuff in there for her to play with. I don't remember the last time she was in the room doing something on her own. Its rush, rush in the morning and she leaves for school. Comes back, has lunch and takes a nap on some days and skips on others. Then its snack time. Then an early dinner and goes to sleep. In between these, she is with Antu ALL the time. When I'm feeding Antu, shes lying down next to me. When I'm cooking, she lies down next to Antu in the play mat. Or sits next to the Bouncer and rocks her or talks to her or sings to her or tells her something. Talks to her in a gibberish language. Talks to me and tells me stuff Antu is doing. When I'm changing Antu, helps me by handing over a fresh diaper. And she talks. ALL the time. Questions, doubts, observations and imagination rule her life. Even when I remind her that she can do puzzles or play with her dolls or read(see) a book, she reluctantly brings them to the living room and half-heartedly does something for a few minutes and goes back to Antu. Its like her life revolves around Antu.I don't know what to make of it. I hope its just a phase because I feel sorry for the poor child. Shes absolutely aching for company. She is having a whale of a time during play dates with her class mates or when we go to a friends house who have kids too. But we are not able to do it on a regular basis. I think shes craving for kids her own age. Today she told me, "Lets call S home, Amma. I ll play with her and share all my toys with her." Broke my heart. So what do you parents do? Not many kids in this apartment of her age. Its getting too dark and too cold by 5 pm these days. Our friends don't live near us. Her school friends live too far away. I feel as if Ashu cant wait for Antu to grow up. Sigh! I should have had Antu first.

November 03, 2008

Food Allergy Awareness.

Tharini of Winkies Ways has started a Food Allergy Awareness Month. She has kick started the posts with her first post here and Sujatha of blogpourri has shared a wonderful and informative post in her blog. Theres more to come from Tharini and quite a few other bloggers as well. Also, check out Tharinis post on the difference between Food Allergy and Food Intolerance.


If you have done a post on Childhood Allergies in your blog in the past, please pass on the link in the comment space or by email. Or if you have any information to share, please do a post and leave the link here. I ll be doing a final round up of all related posts in the month end at IndianMommies, so do check it out. Lets all come together for this good cause and spread the awareness. Thanks in advance.

November 02, 2008

“If at first you don't succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried”.

When I got up today morning I got this insane idea to make Aloo Parathas for lunch. Yes, thats what I think about as soon as I wake up. Food. Actually, thats why I wake up these days. To eat. Otherwise, I will happily lay in bed all day long feeding Antu who does nt seem to have heard the famous Tamil proverb "Alavodu undu, valamodu vaazhanum" and is ALWAYS attached to my boob! Anyway, so I tell my idea aloud. Hd who is usually kicked up when I announce such things, snickers and asks, "But why?" I shush him up, finish the breakfast routine and attack the dough with vengeance. With the dough ready, I boil the potatoes and make the stuffing. I try to remember when I made Aloo paratha the last time. Circa 2001 I guess. And it was a disaster. But this time I am prepared. I ve seen the video a dozen times, read up the recipe hundred times and between then and now, I ve practiced making chapathis. About 5 times in these 8 years. So Im good, right? Like hell!

So I rolled out the dough, kept the ball of stuffing inside, closed it up on all sides and started rolling. Gently. The stuffing ran helter skelter, left the dough, bunched up at the edges, stuck to the rolling pin and on the counter. I took a long breath and rolled the second ball. But by now, the warning has been passed to the other balls about the hot frying pan situation and I swear that the stuffing stuck to the rolling pin and cried for help! And not to mention, the supposed to be round parathas looked like India map. With the stuffing bordering like Pakistan and Bangladesh. I was so upset. I screamed and shouted at Hd and startled the father daughter duo who were doing some project(play doh to mock me perhaps?) in Ashus room. "What happened Amma", asked Ashu very concerned. "These stup... I mean these silly parathas are nt coming out properly Ashu. My parathas suck!" "Its OK amma. Its OK. Don't be sad. Can I have some chapathi maavu to eat please?", she asked. Gave her some happily and asked Hd to look into the situation. "Why don't you mix up the stuffing and the dough and roll out? Its all the same, right?", asked Hd. "Why dont you eat some coffee powder and then drink the milk? Its all the same right?", I quipped. "Do whatever you want. It was nt my idea to make parathas", Hd barked and went away. Ashu swiped a little more chapathi dough and went away too. I shed some tears to make up for the less salt and finished rolling India maps with borders all the while muttering, "I'm smart. I should be able to make parathas. Why the hell cant I make some stupid parathas? I'm such a good cook and I cant even make these damn parathas. I can never start a food blog, I cant even make chapathis let alone parathas. I suck. I must be really stupid. May be theres a secret ingredient and no ones telling me. Yes, that must be it", I decided and finished frying the parathas. To leave no evidence, we ate all up. They were tasty yes but I would never serve it to anyone. They looked ghastly! I could ve taken some pictures and showed you guys. But I was afraid you all will judge me on what kind of mom I am. Who cant make parathas! And thats the reason I did nt tell you guys about the time I dropped the iPod on Antus head while feeding her. Oops!

October 26, 2008

This Diwali.

Inspired by YY, I managed to make this. Came out pretty good. Diwali Bakshanam under 10 minutes! Whowuddathunkit! Had people over for dinner tonight. In between nursing Antu and feeding Ashu and all the cooking and cleaning and making the kids sleep - hardly spoke two words with the guests. Whats the point, I ask! And Diwali on a Monday. Sigh! Ashu has a bad cold so dont know if she ll be going to school tomorrow. If only Hd can take off from work tomorrow, we all can sleep the day off! Whats Diwali without all the noise of bursting crackers anyway! Diwali used to be all about the "pudhu dress" back then. The charm is gone now since every shopping spree is about clothes these days! But the poor dad of mine bought all of us diwali clothes when he arrived last month. A pink(!) Tee shirt for Hd, some funky outfits for Ashu, a double XL(ahem!) salwar for me and some cute frocks for Antu. So gotta make do and pretend as if its a special day for Ashus sake. After all, first Diwali for Antu too. Since we were in India then, Ashus first was a blast! Poor Antu! Us second borns are always neglected. Anyway, Happy Deepavali, Folks! You have a good one.

October 22, 2008

Finally, we are now Four.

So dad left on Friday. The husband was travelling on work so I had to go to the airport to drop dad dragging the two kids along. I hate coming back to an empty house and was cursing Hd to hell and back ever since he told that he was travelling. Anyway, Friday morning - Ashu started getting upset. I had a lump in my throat and was controlling myself from bursting into tears. My dad was distracting himself doing the last minute things and Antu was blissfully smiling and cooing. Around noon, we got ready to leave. Ashu would nt wear her shoes or her jacket and started crying. "Let Thatha be here only, Ma. Don't go back to India, Thatha. Stay here and play with me ALL the time, Thatha", she kept repeating. I tried to explain to her that hes going back to his house, that his tickets are "finished", the police wont allow him to stay and all the crap but she would nt buy any of that. "What do you want to do, Ashu? Tell me. He has to go, OK?", I said very much annoyed. "I don't know what to do, Ma. But I don't want him to go", she replied equally annoyed. I just picked her shoes and jacket and went out of the house carrying Antu in her car seat. Ashu followed with tears and my dad picked her up and tried to explain. But she started sobbing again. "I understand you are upset , Ashu. I'm upset too. Its OK. You ll be OK soon. Wear your shoes now", I said. She cried even harder. "Do you want a lollipop, Ashu?" I asked. She nodded yes. "Then wear your shoes", I said and strapped her in the car. She was licking the lollipop happily and we reached the airport, checked in, left my dad at the gate, waved him goodbye, came back to the car, settled in and came back home. To an empty home. Now, wheres my lollipop? :(

October 13, 2008

Just Shoot Me.

A valuable advice for parents of single child who are planning to have a second one.

Keep talking in hushed tones,
Never raise your voice.
Even better, do NOT introduce talking to your child at all. You can do it once the second one comes along. Whats the hurry anyway?


OK, now for the reason.
I was feeding Antu in our bedroom with the door shut. After a loooooooong session, she was just about to doze off. I knew she would sleep at least for two hours and I was already planning which chore to finish first once she slept off. (Doing the dishes or folding the laundry - which is less mind numbing? Hmm... That a toughie!) Exactly then, Ashu opens the door with a bang and screams "Look Mommy!" and scares the bejeezes out of Antu. And Antu does three things at the same time - Bites me HARD, lets out an ear piercing scream and starts suckling again. All for what? To show some stupid blocks. If only I had nt given birth to this specimen! I managed a "Good job, Ashu. Now shut the door and go back to your room and play. Amma will come in a few minutes" with a fake smile while what I really really wanted to do was wring her neck and tell her, "Big deal! So you know how to build blocks! Now get out!"

On that note, is there anything more tortureous than an almost asleep baby waking up?

ps.
For others - do not have a second one. Or the first.

October 06, 2008

Just Tired.

No time to blog since my mom left. Not that I could nt squeeze some time to type but I just could nt gather my thoughts. Felt like my brain was cluttered.

So my dad arrived a week before my mom left. And hes leaving back to India in 10 days. When he came home from the airport, Ashu was thrilled. She held his hand and took him to our bedroom and showed him a sleeping Antu all excitedly. My dad told us later that he thought that Ashu was going to show him a toy or something and he had totally FORGOTTEN that Antu existed. He did nt ask about Antu to Hd from the airport till home. Since my sis was here that time, we all reminded Dad to be nice to Antu as well and not to spend every minute with just Ashu, the love of his life! And what has happened now? Hes spending every minute with ANTU!! She quietens down immediately if my dad picks her up, goes to sleep faster if he rocks her, saves her best smiles and giggles for him, ... and hes in love. Again.

Is nt it ironic that the man I feared when I was a child is now telling my child, "I cant give you candy. Your mom will scold me"! Revenge is oh so sweet! ;)

Ashus school is going well. We just drop her off at the gate from our car and she goes in with a teacher. So cool. But shes very unpredictable at home. One day, she ll skip to school and another day, she ll refuse to go to school. But thats just a regular kid for you.

Antu is 3 months old and is doing fine. She almost rolled over today. She just has to pull her hand out and she ll be there. My dad, Ashu and I stood around her and cheered, clapped and video taped and made a merry celebration when she was attempting to roll over today. I became misty eyed and all! But then, damn the hormones, Im getting misty eyed even while peeling potatoes. The poor, poor potatoes! *bawl*


The fun things apart, do you know whats the best time of the day for me? When both the kids are sleeping. Its just so exhausting spending every minute with them and for them. Hds job is not so hectic, Ashu goes to school for half a day and shes mostly good when shes home, Antu sleeps and feeds like a dream and to top it all, my dads here to give me a hand whenever I want. And still, its EXHAUSTING. After Ashu goes to school and its just Antu, I think "This is doable. I just have to feed, change and make her sleep. This is nt so bad". And when Antu is asleep or with my dad or Hd and Im reading a book with Ashu, Im like "Its fun to be with Ashu and do things. Why was I feeling so exhausted with just her before Antu?" But put the said infant and the child together and I go mad. To quote one of my favorite bloggers, "Adhi Bayangaramulu"!!

September 17, 2008

The title of this post is the same as my previous post.

Time: Yesterday.
Place: Booville.

Me - So Ashu, Paati is leaving tomorrow huh?
Ashu - *silence*
Me - So who's going to be here?
Ashu - Thatha.
Me - And when is he leaving?
Ashu - October.
Me - Yes. Perimma and Perippa came right? And then they left. Paati came and shes leaving tomorrow. Thatha came last week. And he ll be leaving soon too. And THEN?
Ashu - *in an eager voice* Then Antu will go back into your tummy?
Me - !!!!!!

As the wise Pasupathi once told, "That that person. Their their worry."(Avan avanukku avan avan kavalai!!!)

ps.
Yes, mom left today and I stepped into the kitchen to make tea for the first time in 3 months. I know. I'm spoilt rotten. But its time to stop being a pampered daughter and pick up the reins. And Im trying to do just that. Vera vazhi?

September 14, 2008

"Having a sister is like having a best friend you can't get rid of. You know whatever you do, they'll still be there."

I hate family reunions because they come to an end. Sis and Bil left early morning today back to the US. Dad, Hd, Ashu and Antu are taking a nap. Mom and I just finished three back to back games of Ticket to Ride(I won all of them, thank you for asking!) and while my mom is sulking, I looked at our living room now looking empty without the two big suitcases and all the stuff that were here for the past two weeks. When would we see each other next? Antu would nt even remember them the next time. Ashu as always never talks about people after they leave. Mother of all denials, this one has. This time Sis and Bil got her a cute toy stroller. She was over the moon. They said and did all the right things with the kids. I don't how to describe the feeling but they are just so perfect with the kids. Its even scary for me as if they understand my every move. Or may be we are tuned the same way. I know I can leave my kids with my mom without a backward glance but she would do things her way and I am not saying its wrong. But knowing that your kids will be loved as much you love them and in the same way you love them is such an overwhelming feeling. Thank you Sis and Bil for being the rock. You guys are truly phenomenal! :)

We hardly left the house. Mom was doing all the cooking and we stayed home, ate, played games, talked, caught up,... Dad arrived from India on Wednesday with sweets, savouries, new clothes for all us, gifts, etc... and we had a gala time. As if its Diwali already. Sigh! Now no time to sulk as moms leaving in 2 days. Got to save the tears.

By the way, as promised I offered Antu to Bil and he was very keen to pack her and take her with him since she saved all her cutest smiles and coos for him. But then we both forgot a small something while striking our deal. Hd. He totally refused to give up Antu. Sentimental fool that he is!

September 12, 2008

Little girls need their mommies.

Sis and Bil came back from their Italy trip on Tuesday morning. My dad arrived from India on Wednesday night. So yes, another one of our loony family reunions taking place in Zurich for the first time. Yippee! Ashu is in heaven. She resisted school on Thursday morning and she had to be unglued from my fathers arm but she was OK afterwards. She happily left for school on Friday. And something else happened too. There was a coffee morning I had to attend with some school moms. So I took Antu along with me. So far I have been walking Ashu to her class and help her take her jacket and shoes off. I asked her if I can drop her off at the car park and can she go into her class on her own with one of the teachers help. Otherwise I ve to park, take Antu in her car seat and go into the school. Ashu accepted. So I stopped the car in the school driveway and one of the teachers opened the door, helped Ashu and took her in. I was of course in tears seeing my little girl go. Sigh!

Antu was OK when we went to school and was OK on the way to the friends house. Was ok when we were there. But cried non stop when I picked up Ashu and came back home. Even the pacifier did nt work. Ashu was quite shaken by Antus crying. So far she has nt seen Antu cry like that. According to her, if the baby cries, Amma will feed her or change her or carry her or make her sleep. So she was very upset that I was nt doing anything to console Antu. Amma, shes crying Amma. Antus crying Amma, she kept repeating in a sad tone. I told her that Im driving and I am not able to help her and we will be home soon and she ll be OK. Ashu even hummed a song and tried to console Antu. My poor darlings! But this is going to be the routine once my mom leaves on Wednesday. (Sis and Bil leave on Sunday.) Even though my dad will be here for sometime, hes not my mom! Boo hoo hoo! :(

September 02, 2008

School saga continues...

Sis and Bil reached here on Friday morning from the US. I took them with me when I went to pick up Ashu from school at 12.30. The teacher told me that she was very quiet and slept for an hour. Ashu came crying to me and did nt even look at her dear Aunt and Uncle. We walked to a park nearby and slowly Ashu cooled down and started talking to them. We came back home and the weekend passed like a blur. On Sunday, we rented a van and went to Schaffhausen to see the Rhine Falls. Ashu had fun and Antu was quite a sport. All of us enjoyed the trip. Ashu as always clinged to Sis and Bil and wanted every waking minute to be spent with them. Then Monday morning dawned and she absolutely refused to go to school. She began screaming and crying and chanting non stop, "I don't want to go to school Amma". I bundled her up with everyones help and left for school with Bil entertaining her in the car with story after story. She would nt let go of me when we went into the classroom and started screaming again. Miss D was on leave and Miss M, the assistant teacher took her from me. She told me that Ashu is very quiet and does nt play with the children but by her own. Participates in activities but does nt talk or answer. She asked me what she says about school to me. I told her that she talks like school is fun and tells me every bit of detail about school, about who did what, etc... Miss M was happy to hear that. I left a screaming Ashu and came back home. I was very upset. And as always guilt was the first thing to attack, Self doubt, next. Am I doing something wrong? Does Ashu hate school? Should I be talking more in English at home? Should we move back to India? Should I home school her? Is it because of Antu? Am I not giving her enough attention? Is it because of my mom being here? Will she be ok after Mom leaves or will it be worse? Finally I shook myself and told myself, "I am NOT doing anything wrong. I am a GREAT mom. She ll be OK soon" and went back to pick her up at 12.30 albeit with a heavy heart. Miss M was holding Ashus hand and as soon as I went in she told me, "Ashu was so good today. She had so much fun" and Ashu came and hugged me with a wide smile! Whaddayaknow?????? Miss M also told me that Ashu said that Mommy loves the new baby more and it hurts her. The little rat!! Anyhoo, off we came back home with Ashu chattering about what she did in school and how much fun she had! Phew!

Sis and Bil left for their Italy trip last night and are back here on Tuesday. Ashu was mighty upset yesterday and was in a fowl mood when they left. She asked for my sis when she got up today and started saying "I don't want to go to school Amma". Oh Boy! I bundled her up as usual and dropped her in the class and ran home. She was whimpering and not screaming like yesterday. So some improvement! I am about to go and pick her up now. And I have no clue how shes going to be. Crying or smiling? Quiet ot chatty? Kids! They just exist to drive us crazy.

August 27, 2008

"Naama vera veetla porandhu irukalaam da!"

Ashu: So what do you think? Does Mom deserve us?
Antu: Its too early to say. Give me another 2 months.

On that note,
Ashu is 3 years and 4 months old today.
Antu is 2 months old today.

And my dearest Bil is ... just OLD today! Happy Birthday, Dude! Looking forward to see you and Sis on Friday. Your birthday present is all wrapped and ready to go. Let me recheck. Is that Ashu or Antu you want? Well, I'm in a generous mood today. Take them both! :)

August 25, 2008

Ashus Art Gallery.

Since we came to Zurich 18 months back, Ashu has been showing off her artistic and creative skills around the house. Her favorite place is the wooden step stool where she exhibits her art pieces. The artist shows keen interest on fruits, flower vases, coasters and other miscellaneous kitchen items. The resident photographer has managed to take photos and videos the lucky few times the said artist was ready and willing for a photo shoot. Apparently, the artist is not big on publicity. Her art is mostly meant only for herself and her creator! Here are a few unique exhibits from the artist's gallery.

1. Standing Tall.
Items used - 1 ripe banana, 2 clementines and an apple. On a step stool.
Dated November 2007 when the artist was a mere 27 month old.




2. The Banana Wall.
The artists favorite fruits appear again in this piece with the wooden floor used as canvas. Dated December 2007.


3. Plate of Steel.
An Idli plate is used here. For the filling, a broken tea strainer, cooker weight, an empty bottle and a bottle lid.
Dated circa December 07.


4.Titled "Classroom", this piece features for the first time, the artists favorite dolls. Its interesting to note that while each of the dolls get one book each, her favorite bear gets two!
Dated Late December 2007.


5. Aptly titled "The Muffin Tray", this proves the rumour true that the artists mother can bake nothing but muffins to save her life. The artist has gone one step further to prove that one need not even bake to eat apples and tomatoes. This piece also goes by the name "Appadiye Saapidalaam".
Dated around June 2008 possibly when the artist quit eating muffins.



6. Coasters and Petals.
This rare photo captures the artist at work. This unique piece is created by stuffing a flower vase tightly with coasters and then filling the top with fake rose petals. Please note the interesting usage of color.
Dated February 2008.



7.Films and Coaster.
An idea for a centre piece, perhaps? A coaster is surrounded by colorful films which were part of a book and a camera. And with this, the artist takes a bow!


All works are copyrighted. Please email if you have purchase enquiries!

ps.
Watch out for the budding artists exploits with the doodle board in the next couple of days.

August 23, 2008

Late Night Show with the Joker.

At last, after the entire world has watched and raved, we got to watch The Dark Knight. The movie got released in Swiss only on 21st Aug. Hd and I went for a late night show on Friday. So far we ve never left both the kids with my mom at home. But since the show started only at 11.45 pm and Antu has sort of got into a routine, we decided to risk it. Thankfully, both the girls slept the whole time, so relief. Cant say the same about my mom though. She was thinking we ll be back by 2.30 and started worrying when she got up around 3 am and did nt find us back. We were back at 3.15 am. Moms! When will they stop worrying? ;)

Needless to say, LOVED the movie. Bale, Ledger, Oldman, Freeman and Caine. By Nolan. How can it go wrong? The Joker was truly mesmerising. Could nt believe it was the same guy who acted in 10 things I hate about you. Heath Ledger. Sigh! Cant help but wonder what could have been...

August 21, 2008

First day to Pre-School.

So Ashu started school. Even though she started play school when she was 30 months old, we did nt take it very seriously. 2 afternoon hours in a day is nothing and we bunked school a lot. But yesterday was her first day to pre-school. Where she ll spend a solid 3 1/2 hours. Where she has to take a lunch box and eat on her own! Ashu was in tears during the orientation day on Monday even when I was with her. Oh ho, I thought. We left the house by 8 am yesterday. Hd and I took her to the classroom. She swallowed tears and asked me not to go. But I promised her that I ll be back and left her. She was okay. It helped that most of her friends from her previous class are in the same class with her. When I went to pick her up, she looked so happy. She had finished the very little spaghetti I had packed for her lunch but had left the apples uneaten. I ve no complaints! ;) Then she went on and on about her day in the car. Seemed like she had fun. She slept on the way in the car and continued her nap at home. The pattern continued today too. Her two new teachers are very friendly and I can see that Ashu likes them already.

Yesterday I came home after dropping her at school and the house was unusually quiet in spite of my mom and Antu being at home. There was a lump in my throat. This is it, I thought. My baby girl has flown the nest. Theres no going back now. My mom tried to cheer me up but what does she know how I feel! :(

August 14, 2008

Rhyme for no reason.

The other day Ashu and I went shopping and passed by the toys section. Ashu pointed at a colorful box and asked what it is. "Those are Chalk Piece, Ashu. In all colors", I replied. She thought for a moment and asked, "Can I eat them?" So I told her "No Ashu. You don't eat chalk, remember Chula and Mieja had drawn Kolams with chalk in front of their house? They are for drawing". "You don't eat Chalk Piece aa?", she asked again and I said No. Two seconds later, she asks "We should not eat Chick Peas then?"

I bent down to her level and laughed. For a whole minute.

Then yesterday my mom was telling her about my childhood and how I fed milk to the cats in a Kottankachi(coconut shell) when I was a kid. She came to me and repeated the story and how I fed the cats. She could nt pronounce kottankachi properly and I helped her. A while later, I asked her who drinks milk from a kottankachi. She thought for a moment and screamed, "ottakachiveengi"!( Giraffe in Tamil!)


Kottan"kachi" & Otta"kachi"veengi! Who wudda thunk it?

August 11, 2008

First Day Out.

We went to Lake Konstanz on Sunday. All these weekends since Antus arrival, we both stayed home while Hd, my mom and Ashu went out. (Zoos, parks,etc...) I liked it that way. But apparently my mom felt bad and wanted to come home soon, Ashu missed me though she did nt tell me and Hd felt guilty for leaving Antu and me at home. So much for my planning. So because of their pudungal(insistence), I ventured out yesterday with Antu. We left after an early lunch around noon and came back after dinner at 8. The Swiss side of the lake was very beautiful. There were water sports, pools, private lake areas for swimming, parks with huge play areas for children and there was a carnival happening as well. So we went on lots of fun rides. Ashu had a super duper time. So did my mom. Hd was busy shepherding them. I was carrying Antu in the baby sling on the front with a small backpack on the back(duh!) and finding discreet corners to breastfeed her and to change her diaper. She was OK on the one hour drive, mostly sleeping. Yes, it was a good break for me and I found out how it is to travel with the brood but it was nt worth it. It was too hot yesterday and it totally tired me out. Though Antu did nt make a sound and was sleeping all the while she was in the sling, I felt bad to drag her like that. Personally, I don't like to take babies out unless and until it is required. Always preferred to stay home than go out when Ashu was a wee baby. But of course, every thing is different with the second one. And Antu was a little trooper so alls well.
ps.
In the photos: Ashu posing with an ice cream cone and Antus proper first look at the clear blue sky!

August 05, 2008

Next Change.

Hd,

Today is a special day for you. Even for me. I ve thought of the company you worked for as my own too. So I'm all emotional that today is your last day with them. Almost eight years. That's a long time. I don't understand why men of today have to change jobs. My dad worked for the same company for thirty years and retired. Your dad is still with the same company after 30 odd years. Why cant you do the same? With all the changes in our married life so far, your job was the one constant thing and you have to go and change that too? I ve got a lot of getting used to, Mate!

I remember the day you went for the interview for this job. I remember both of us in the car that evening and you driving us to a friends wedding reception and you got a call informing that you have landed the job. I still remember the goofy smile you had in your face and how proud I was. It was only a few months into our wedding. And then I got a job too and we both moved to Bangalore and set up our first home. The first day you left for office in the bus. And you came home in the evening to tell me all about it. And here we are almost eight years later with two kids, half a globe across and I had a lump in my throat when you left for work today. I made Ashu say "bye bye laptop, bye bye phone" because I could nt bring myself to. (It just occurred to me. Does it mean you ll be hogging my laptop until you get one in your new job? Uh oh!)

Good luck dear. I ll always by your side. You know that, don't you? But you know what? I am the proudest for another reason. The other day when we went to the farewell dinner with your boss and co workers. They gave you a parting gift. It was a book - "A Parents Guide: In and around Zurich with Kids". I cannot begin to tell you how my heart swelled with pride. That your colleagues knew how important family time is for you. The fact that you have let them know that. You had to have made that kind of an impression for them to have bought this book for you, right? Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I just hope you have enough free time from your new job to do all the things that the book suggests! ;)

Here's to new beginnings.

Love you.

July 30, 2008

Its all uphill from here.

Antu is one month old and being a baby shes supposed to be. Feeding, sleeping and dirtying diapers by the dozens! If you want any more update on how shes cooing, how shes smiling, how shes following objects and how utterly butterly adorable she is, please contact "mymom at onlygrandmascandoit dot com".

Ashu is another story, of course! Do you know how you are constantly asking your child to use words and talk and speak and not just howl and cry and throw a tantrum? Let me tell you its not nice when they "actually" tell you! One day, in the middle of a tantrum over nothing, I asked her to just tell me what she wants instead of being angry. I kept on asking her and forcing her to just tell me what she wants and I ll do it! She told me in a clear tone, "Take this baby back into your tummy. I dont like this baby". If you want to know, I felt as if someone had pierced me in the middle of my heart. With a very sharp knife. Its not like I did nt have a clue. But hearing her tell it in her own words was shocking. And I realized what I was doing wrong. Since Antu arrived, Ashu has been totally with my mom. My mom plays with her, feeds her, bathes her, reads to her, takes her out on walks and does EVERYTHING. Even if I attempted to do something, Ashu insisted Paati do it for her and I relaxed. Little did I know that she was testing me. And on weekends, my mom, Hd and Ashu went out. One day to the Zoo, the other day to the park, pool, etc... And this little thing was being all cutesy cute with Antu. Kissing her and hugging her and asking me to feed her when she cried. Helping me to changer her diaper, dress her, bathe her,... She was fully involved. But apparently, she had missed me. And I did nt know.

Anyway, I hugged her and kissed her and took her to our room and talked to her. She said "You are not playing with me Amma". I reminded her that she only had to ask. Since she never asked, I relaxed. I told her to ask me if she wants anything and also promised that I ll spend more time with her and that I love her. Then slowly I asked her why she said she did nt like the baby. The star that she is, she immediately replied in a guilty tone, "I did nt mean it, Amma."(Naan chumma dhaan sonnen.) Of course, that statement broke my already bleeding heart into a million pieces.

Since then, I have been spending more time with her and for the first time in a month, all of us went out to the park on Sunday. Ashu had a super duper time with a couple of kids there and when we came back home, she announced "I had a jolly good time today, Amma". She has never said anything like that when she went out with her dad and grandma. Usually she replies with a yes when I ask her if she had fun. But I felt elated that this 3 year old needs this 30 year old only because I am her Mother. Even though her Paati is more fun to be with. Even though her dad carries her happily unlike me who makes her walk.

I ll always be there for you, Honey. I ll make sure you dont have to ASK next time. I promise.

ps.
I realized that it helps talking about Ashus school friends who have baby sisters/brothers. Ashu is close to S who has a 7 month old baby brother. Ashu has seen the baby a lot of times and played with him. So talking about S and her brother helped. Two of my friends are also expecting their second babies and Ashu is friends with their first borns, both girls. Telling her that A and S are also going to become Big Sisters soon helped. She now thinks that she belongs to a group and its cool to be a big sis! But I had done all this groundwork even before Antu arrived and I think thats the reason Ashu has let her live! Who knew she did nt need me but wanted me? I tell you, this parenting is killing me. A bit at a time. Sigh!


Updated:
Something I realized after Bhavanis comment. Antu actually is quite low maintenance for a newborn. When Im not feeding her, shes sleeping. So its not that I did nt have time to spend with Ashu. The thing is whenever my mom is around, I completely unleash Ashu to her and totally relax. When we were in the US in March, my mom was doing everything for her and I did nt lift a finger. Since my mom is the only person who can take care of Ashus every need next to her parents and my mom loves to do that, I let go. I don't get a break like that often, so don't blame me! And Ashu did nt have a problem before. But now that Antu is in the picture, its difficult for her digest the fact that though Im not spending time with her, I'm spending some time with Antu and shes jealous. Paati is just not enough now. And I get her. Oh boy, don't I get her! I do that even now with my mom. Its OK if my mom is sitting idle without talking to me. But if shes talking to my sister and not talking to me, I go ballistic. I'm just going with the flow for now. I don't have any set plans to execute but understanding the problem is half the battle won, right? Or is it not? I ll know it in a while.

July 25, 2008

Thriller Movies and Me.

Any Mommies out there who watched A Clockwork Orange, Kill Bill, Oldboy and Pans Labyrinth in a span of one year? I need to know that I'm not the only freak. In my defence, all the above movies were shown on Film Four and I did nt rent the DVDs.

A Clockwork Orange - Watched it about a year ago, so the effect has worn off. But I had nightmares for an entire week.

Kill Bill - Watched it while I was pregnant. What to do? I could nt resist. I just covered my eyes with my hands and watched it through the gap between the fingers. That did nt help.

Oldboy - Watched it last week. If you have watched it, you know what I am talking about. If you have nt watched it, do NOT watch it. Violence, gore, mentally upsetting, physically revolting,... You name it, the movie has got it. And that too in EXTREME doses. How did someone come up with such a story and screenplay is what puzzles me? Is he a genius or a mental? Am I insane that I actually liked the movie?

Pans Labyrinth - Watched it yesterday. Excellent movie though some scenes were revolting.

I cant believe a weak hearted, easily scared person like me watched these movies. Till date I have nt watched the ending of Moondram Pirai/Sadma because I could nt take it. Did nt watch the second half of the movie Kaadhal because I knew it had some disturbing scenes. Some scenes in Mahanadhi and Kurudhi Punal freaked me out. I cried buckets after one of the Kajols gets murdered in that movie with Ashutosh Rana as the bad guy. By the way, I watched all the said 4 movies alone. Hd watched only Kill Bill after I watched it. He did nt watch the rest at all. And I promptly deleted the movies from the DVR as soon as the end credits rolled. I was a little ashamed for having watched them. Anyway, Hd does nt have the time and unless and until I force him, he would nt watch them. And I did nt want to watch these movies again. I wanted to erase them from my memory as soon as possible. A repeat viewing would seriously affect my mental health!

Anyway, to cleanse myself off these movies, I watched "The Prestige". Just WOW! Officially, The Prestige has become my most favorite movie EVER. I bow to Nolan. I watched Memento five years back. I just knew that it was a great movie but did nt know anything about it before watching it. Hd and I fell off from the sofa when we watched it. And as soon as the movie ended, we watched it again. Back to back. We even thought of watching it in reverse. It was mind blowing. But The Prestige is not as confusing as Memento. I mean, it does leave loads of questions unanswered but Im so much in awe with this movie that the whole world seems more brighter and happier to me. "The Pledge, The Turn and the Prestige" - Michael Caines voice will haunt me for a long time. While I see loads of people raving about Christian Bale's performance in this movie, I just loved Hugh Jackman. I think the casting is stellar. Now Im nagging Hd to watch it with me again. I cant wait to see his reaction and discuss the movie with him. I want to watch The Dark Knight badly now. But apparently, the movie is releasing in Switzerland only in September. And Wall E too. Can you believe that? Sucks!

July 22, 2008

So whats happening at Boodom?

Im busy with Antu. Moms busy with Ashu and the kitchen. Hd is busy with work and doing groceries. Hes doing more of the latter, he complains! (And no it did nt occur to me to get the groceries door delivered. Trust me to come up with a blog story and to mention my husband actually buys the groceries, ugh! ;)

Ashu is all lovey dovey with Antu. Probably faking it because I can see she does nt like it if my mom or Hd carries Antu. And instead of telling it directly, she comes up with gems like "Paati. Carry me. I have hurt my leg", "Appa, dont carry Antu. Give her to Amma. Shes hungry and Amma wants to feed her", "Paati, finish that story you were telling me", "Appa, Im hungry. Feed me". Its really heart breaking to see her camouflaging her true feelings and trying to be nice! My poor darling! Who teaches these little things to hide their true feelings? Sigh! Probably its part of the baby package these days as they have to continue this charade all their lives with someone or the other.

Went to the Family Centre in our area last week. The children's nurse there checked Antu and the baby has put on weight and thank God for that. (Ashu as a baby was always borderline or under weight!) Right now, all she does is feed and sleep. Shes hardly awake. I remember Ashu was awake and observant a little more than Antu even though she was a good sleeper too. But this one takes the cake. We can hardly take pictures of her. And that reminds me, we had a hard time taking her photos to apply for the passport. And not to mention the thumb impression. Since we applied for Ashu when she was 3 months old, we did nt have this much trouble. Making Antu look straight at the camera itself was a big task. And the flash was hurting her eyes. And since we needed a white background, could nt put her in the car seat either. And Antu tried every expression possible to make our task tougher. (See the photo for proof.) Anyway, after clicking loads of pictures for over 10 days, we got one. Phew! For the thumb impression, tried stamp pad, ink, kohl, eye liner, marker pen, sketch pen and at last poster color. Poster color worked. But the downside was that Ashu sneaked away with the bottle to her room while my mom and I were busy with taking the thumb print and started painting the floor using her hand and feet as brush!! Thank God, she did nt touch the wall.

And we will be moving nearer to Ashus school from October. We have given the notice for this house and but no luck finding a new house so far. The ones we like, we are nt getting. The ones we are getting, we don't like it. I mean 3 bedroom and ONE bathroom? 4th floor with no lift? At this rate, we ll be "c/o platform" from Oct. And there are some changes in Hds job front as well. New house, new baby, new class and new school timings for Ashu and my mom will be gone in Sept. I think I ll go rest now when I can!

July 18, 2008

The Mystery of the Mudichu.

I got up from the bed today morning after feeding Antu and walked to the bathroom. (You can never ever guess what I am about to say in my next sentence.) I found my pyjama strings in a clump of knots.(Mudichu in Tamil.) And of course once the brain realizes you are in the bathroom, it orders the bladder to empty NOW even though you try to send a distress signal - "May Day, May Day - We ve a Moondru Mudichu situation here!" So I try to undo the knot but they are very twisted. It looks like a sabotage to me. Not the usual tight knot situation but lots of amateurish knots. (Yes, Im an expert in the Mudichu problem.) Can a 3 week old tie knots while nursing? Not if a 3 year old resident monkey is present, right? Right. So I go to Ashus room where she and my mom are reading a book.

"Did you tie knots in my pants?"
"Yes Amma", with a proud smile.
"When did you do this?"
"Tomorrow." (She means yesterday which actually means some time ago. Can be minutes ago or days ago or even weeks ago!)

Then I see my mom giving a sheepish smile and I ask in horror, "Did you have a hand in this?" And she says that Ashu came to her with a fabric belt and kept on asking her to tie it around her waist and my mom taught her how to make a knot. So Ms. Smarty Pants, knowing that she needs practice and cant do it on herself (what if SHE needed to pee in a hurry?) decides to try it on Mommy who is sleeping like a log and would nt know even if someone "uruvufies" her pyjamas let alone tie knots on the strings!! Anyway, while solving the mystery, I was still trying to undo the knot. To prove that Mr.Murphy is right, I had trimmed my finger nails the previous day and could nt undo them easily. Then Hd came to rescue and with his teeth and my short nails we managed to undo them after a while. (But it was a sight to watch. Hd going for my naadas with his teeth! ;)

And that is why, my dear ladies and gentlemen, life with kids is so interesting. Even in your wildest imagination, you cant come up with a situation like this. Can you? If not for the resident monkey, this post would have been - "I got up. I peed." And now who would want to read that? Hey, but you just did! :)

July 09, 2008

Antu's Arrival - The Birth Story.

Friday, 27th June 2008

5.00 am - I get a feeling today is the day. Yes, its our once in two weeks Laundry Day, usually a busy day for me. Then I experience the beginning of mild contractions. I time them. Lasting 15 seconds and coming every 8 minutes. "Oh no, not on laundry day", is my first reaction! There are still some baby clothes to be washed. The clothes my mom brought from India which smell of Payatham Maavu and Oorugai. Then there are the bed linens and towels, of course. So like any self respecting house wife, I start sorting out the laundry while timing the contractions.

7.00 am - The contractions are coming every 5 minutes lasting 25 seconds now but manageable. I wake Hd up and ask him to start on the laundry as we have a long day ahead. His reply - "I'm not waking up a minute before 8 am". I thrust the notebook on his face where I ve written down the timings of the contractions and ask him "Are you sure?" His reaction was priceless. Knowing his priorities right, he starts on the laundry. If not for the fact that we ve to climb two floors with a fully loaded laundry basket to get to the laundry room, I would ve done it, of course. But even a super woman like me knows her limits! So I shower, organize a few things around the house, give instructions to my mom, call my sister and father, eat light breakfast, call the hospital and get ready to go.

9.00 am - Every three minutes lasting 40 seconds and they are becoming worse. I hold a door, bend a little, breathe and try to manage the pain every time it hits me. I do a Namaskaram for God and for my Mom and get into the car with Hd. (Did you know that the Namaskaram position - Child's pose in Yoga - helps the baby descend through the birth canal?)

9.15 am - The midwife is expecting me. She does an internal examination, my water breaks and I am 3 cm dilated. "You are nt going anywhere", she tells me and I change into the hospital garb.

10.00 am - I am 7 cm dilated. The contractions are more painful and more frequent. But still manageable. "Your breathing is good", tells the midwife and gives me more ideas to handle the pain. I ask for an exercise ball and sit on it. It helps a little. Hd pressing my back with his fist every time I get a contraction helps me immensely and not to mention the breathing. I don't think I perfected the art of breathing the first time, but this time it came to me as natural as, well, breathing! Kodi's Mom come to my thoughts a lot during all these ordeal. I have nt even seen a photo of her but somehow I feel shes there. Guiding me. Don't ask me, it was just one of those surreal things that happens during labor. (Thank you for the invisible presence, A. You were my strength. Truly.)

10.45 am - I am 10 cm dilated. I want to push. I say so to the midwife. She guides me. The contractions are horrible now but I focus on pushing. The midwife tells me what I am doing wrong. I am stretching my neck, exhaling through the mouth and pushing my legs instead of bending my head downwards and focussing on pushing. So I do that. Meanwhile, the IV needle inserted on my left wrist gets ripped off and theres blood everywhere. Hd asks for a tissue to wipe his hands. I manage to give him a look in spite of my situation.

11.00 am - The baby plonks out. Hd cuts the cord and the baby is lying on my chest. Placenta is delivered, my Doctor who arrived a few minutes before the delivery does the honor of stitching me up. Second degree tear. Not as bad as the first time, thank God. Hd calls up family to share the news.

And this is where the story should end on a high note. But not in my case. The after pains which came soon after the delivery was HORRIBLE. It seems they are worse after the second delivery. I truly felt that the labor pains were much easier to handle than these God-knows-what-pains! I started crying and pleading to Hd, "Kill me, Kill me now." He was totally lost on what to do. "I thought my part was done as soon as the baby came out or did I forget something from last time", he seemed to ask. Of course, he did nt dare ask. He knew I would ve killed him first. The midwife thought that it might help me if I pee. But I could nt. So out came the catheter and my bladder was emptied. I was also losing too much blood. I tried to get up, but felt dizzy.

1.00 pm - The midwife commented that I'm looking pale. More than one doctor was checking my pulse and BP, a ECG machine was wheeled in and I was monitored. I did nt know what was going on. Meanwhile, the baby was bathed and dressed and was sleeping. The midwife asked Hd to give the baby her first bath and he looked at me as if the midwife has gone nuts! "Just wash her. I don't care if shes not clean but don't drown her ok?", I gave my 2 cents. He passed the test though.

2.00 pm - Hd and I shared a light lunch. I was drinking gallons of water. I tried to sleep but could nt. I wanted to take a shower and be taken to my room. I was getting impatient. I was bloody and battered and felt dirty. Why am I still here, I wondered. My pulse and BP were being checked regularly.

3.00 pm - The Doctor tells me that my pulse went down, BP was alarmingly low and my heart beat was erratic. I gave them a scare. She asks me if I'm feeling anything. No, I reply. "I'm having heart palpitations", I gloat to Hd.

4.00 pm - The after pains are killing me. The awesome midwife I had so far wishes me good luck and leaves while another one joins duty. I tell her I want to pee and take a shower. She helps me to the bathroom. I'm happy to be up on my feet again. I sit on the toilet and heave a sigh of relief. Then get into the shower cubicle and switch on the shower. Next thing I know, I am lying on the floor like a tonne of bricks and the midwife is asking me, "Can you hear me? Can you see me?" Hd is switching off the shower and getting me a towel. They bring a wheel chair and take me to the bed. So much for being on my feet again!

5.00 pm - Hd leaves the baby and me and goes home to bring my mom and Ashu. The baby is cosily sleeping on the counter and I'm lying on the bed hooked to the IV. I think about all those movies where the deathly ill hero/heroines yank off their IVs and tubes and run to each other either to die together or to be killed by one of their parents.(duh!) I don't think I would ve budged an inch even if some stranger came to the room, took the baby and ran away. All I could ve managed was a weak "Good Luck". Its not like I would ve recognized the kidnapper(or the baby for that matter!) in a lineup later since I was nt wearing my glasses, so whats the point?!

6.30 pm - Hd, Ashu and Mom arrive. Ashu is thrilled. Photos are taken. I am still in pain.

8.00 pm - At last! We are taken to our room. I am hooked to the IV. I'm given a mild pain killer. I need help to go to the bathroom. I am constantly monitored.The baby latches on beautifully and nurses. I eat dinner.

9.00 pm - Everyone leaves. Its just the baby and me in the room. We both sleep soundly the entire night. Nurses check both of us every 3 hours.

I felt better the next day. But very weak. Even with a third degree tear and comparatively longer labor last time, I was on my feet within a few hours of delivery and was on the phone non stop. But this time, I was on IV for two days. Could nt walk to the bathroom without help and could nt lift the baby. My right hand was swollen due to the IV and I could nt write or type. But things got better the third day. On Monday, I was sent to the Cardiologist. He did an ECG and declared that my heart is normal. Told me that my palpitations could ve been due to the labor and advised me to get it checked if it happens again. I was relieved. But that does nt stop me from using such a juicy excuse to taunt Hd. Clutching my heart and pleading "Don't argue with a heart patient" has been working like a charm these days!

And thus arrived Baby Antu making my heart skip a beat. Literally! :)

July 08, 2008

Homecoming attire ready for future grand kids!

Comparison starts right from the moment you find out you are pregnant again. Actually even before. While you are trying to conceive perhaps? And I'm no different. I know all new born babies look very similar. In fact, I saw a baby in the hospital who looked exactly like Antu and if I were nt holding her in my hands, I would ve grabbed the other baby claiming she was mine! So it should nt come as a surprise when the sisters look alike especially in the same set of clothes. I had asked my mom to bring this particular white outfit of Ashu's from India. It was what Ashu was wearing when she came home from the hospital. And that's exactly what I wanted Antu to wear too. (Utbt - Remember the dress? Yes, you sent it for Ashu 3 years back!) So here they are and thus my alpa aasai (silly wish) has been fulfilled.

July 06, 2008

Wimbledon.

Federer lost! Federer lost! Federer lost! Boo hoo hoo, Federer lost! But Nadal totally deserved to win. The best player truly won today. But what a match! Almost 7 hours of not changing the TV channel. That has got to be the first time in our household. I became so impatient at the end. Even asked Ashu to pray for "Federer Uncle". But it was too late, I guess. Why else would nt God listen to a little girls prayer, I ask! I remember watching the 2005 US Open when Ashu was a baby. Federer won against Agassi. Now with Baby Antu, the winds have changed. Sigh!

What with winning the
Euro 2008 Football Championship last weekend, Spain is surely on a roll! Here's Ashu in her Euro T shirt practicing her moves. If not a Tennis player, she has good chance to become a goalkeeper, methinks! ;)

July 02, 2008

Meet My Sister.

Hello World!

I am happy to introduce ANTU, my brand new baby sister, to all of you. She arrived on 27th June 2008 at 11 am weighing 2.950 Kg and measuring 49 Cm tall. How cute is that she was born on 27th too just like me! Or is she already competing? I ll give her some benefit of doubt for now since she did nt give Amma too much trouble while coming out and shes so tiny. I managed just fine for 4 days without Amma at home though it made me realize no one can replace Amma. (I SO did nt feel that way, but you know who is writing this post, don't you? I cant even read yet let alone write blog posts!) Amma was in such a dizzy state and in so much pain while recovering that she did nt have the time to miss me. Grandma and I welcomed Amma and Antu home yesterday and now Antu can see me in my element although all she does is drink milk and sleep. Which is supposed to be good, I am told.

Amma will give you more details later as soon as she can sit it one place long enough without hurting her behind. For now, leaving you with a photo of us two sisters. Yes, yes, you are allowed to take your eyes off me and see Antu and rave how cute she is. I wont mind. We saw my baby pictures yesterday and I can see I was cuter. Now Antu cant compete with my deadly dimples, can she? ;)

And thank you so much for all your wonderful wishes through emails and comments. It put a special smile on Ammas face and so a special thanks from me for the same. And oh, what about Appa, you ask? He survived the labor, cut the cord and is recovering fine too. Do you think he had any other role in this baby making business? Beats me!

Luv,
Ashu.

June 27, 2008

Update on Ashu at 3 Years and 2 Months.

No, she has still not become an older sister. Yet. But shes as ready as one as young as her can be. She is still sticking to the name she has chosen for the baby and since we don't have anything better, we are keeping it. Shes all "I ll do this for the baby Ma, I ll do that for baby Ma". But I can so picture her as a "Jealous Jalaja"(JJ as the syndrome is called in my family!) If shes anything like me, she ll eat the baby alive. Im counting on the baby to be more accommodating than her.

So my mom arrived on Friday night. And since then Hd and I have seen only little of Ashu. My mom is behaving like a house elf. She gets up early, does her thing, cooks for us and then Grandma and Grandchild disappear to their room. We hardly see them. Then Ashu is fed, entertained, bathed, dressed, dinner appears on the table, tea is made, clothes folded,... So Hd and I decided to make hay while the sun shines and caught two movies on big screen. We watch football matches together on TV, eat dinner together, don't snap at each other, talk without being interrupted,... You know the saying that a candle flame lights up brighter before burning out? I guess this is our chance for that bright period before the baby comes. And I strongly suspect that Ashu is going to have a problem if my mom picks up the baby. Mom and dad are dispensable, but grandma? She rules!

I can see shes upset that theres no school. Today she asked me "Is today school day, Amma?" and when I told her for the umpteenth time that the school is closed for summer, she nodded in a sad way.

She has become noticeably independent since she turned three. She plays on her own for long stretches with her blocks and dolls and toys making up stories. She does puzzles after puzzles with great interest. She keeps looking at pictures in her books taking in everything. Wears her clothes on her own with only little help from me. If only she ate all on her own and night trained herself out of her diapers! Yes, yes, I want it all!

She has become this annoying kid who has to know everything. What did you say to Appa? What did Appa say? Why did you say Stupid, Amma? What did Appa do amma? Why are you scolding the car on the front amma? Is it a bad boy car? Are you angry? Why are you angry? What are you laughing at amma? What are you reading amma? What is this? What is that? The questions are endless.

Shes painfully shy among strangers. She turns her back to people on the elevator, does not accept gifts from friends, does not say thank you or please, does not say anything, period. But house guests are different. She gets attached to people when they come home. I told her a couple of times to be nice to people and tried to talk to her. I can see that she wants to try but does nt know what to do about it. Shes tongue tied. So I have just let it go. She ll learn in her own time. Whats the hurry to socialize? Hd and I were shy kids too so no surprise there. Dot Thoughts sent an article - 8 way to help the shy child- on the same issue via email. Immensely useful if you have a shy kid. Thanks, Dottie.

By the time I write her next update, she ll be an older sis. Forever.

June 25, 2008

Dasavatharam - My Take.

We watched Dasavatharam on Saturday. I am a HUGE Kamal fan. I loved him in the movie. I was in awe. I was bowled over by his performance. But the movie sucked. BIG time. What WERE you thinking, dude? And all this incredible and brilliant performance for this script? What a waste. But hats off to him. I ll always be a fan.

(Pictures collaged from sulekha.com)
Liked Fletchers make up and performance. Brilliant. And Balram Naidu and Poovaraghan. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. Liked the Japanese dude and Nambi too. Bush was nt as bad as I expected him to be. Avtar Singh get up was good but hated that character and the Paati and Kalifulla. Total waste. And these were my honest, first impressions. I dont want to be told how its a movie on chaos theory and how these characters matter. Just because its based on chaos theory does nt mean the story has to be chaotic. I mean some story discussion did happen before making the movie right? Or did they just let 10 characters loose and asked them to be as chaotic as possible and shot them candidly? Give me a break.

And here I went for the movie 38 weeks pregnant for the 11.30 pm show leaving Ashu with my jet lagged mother. It hurt my back to sit there for 3 hours. The ticket cost 50 freaking Francs for both of us. I had read dozens of reviews, discussed the movie with my sis and parents. Did nt expect too much but still I was disappointed. Even though I had made up my mind to like it. I think theres no cheating oneself. What you feel is what you feel. Cant help it. But saying "I hated the movie" in one sentence is such a huge insult to Kamals performance. That I can say for sure. But right now, I am the black sheep in my family. My mom, dad, sis and bil have let me live because I'm carrying another life. Indha oru vaati, mannichudungapa please.

Some of the ridiculous reasons I was given defending this movie:

1. Its better than Kuruvi.

2. It does nt have romantic duet songs.

3. I did nt get the story.

4. Kamals performance is brilliant.

5. That I discussed this movie for 45 minutes on a long distance phone call to my dad.

6. I had too much expectations.

7. I ve watched far more worse movies.

8. Kamals performance is brilliant.

9. I should not compare this to Devar Magan, Anbe Sivam and Virumaandi.

10. And did I mention, Kamals performance is brilliant?

Yes, Kamal is God. Hes already up there for me, even without Dasavatharam I would worship him. So I ve nothing against Kamal but I did NOT like the movie. Came out of the theater with a bitter taste is my mouth, thats all. Im only wondering how far worse the movie could have been if it were nt for Kamal. But then Ajith did prove that in Citizen, did nt he? ;) Hd and I decided to make hay while the sun shines and went for Indiana Jones last night. Now this, me likey! What to do? I can totally imagine Kamal saying something like "Namba vera naatula porandhurukalaam da"! If only...

June 20, 2008

This week.

On Monday, we had a parents teachers meeting at Ashus school. Our first. Since shes only in play school, nothing serious - Just a "Oh we are happy", "you are happy", "good", "bye then"! The teachers gave a potted plant for Ashu. A sun flower seed she had sown and has been watering every day for the past 2 weeks. A tiny shoot with one leaf. So cute. They also gave Ashus port folio. A folder with lots of pictures taken during class, the crafts she has done, a page on how she behaves in class, about her friends, that shes a little shy, that she likes to listen to the other kids and observe, loves puzzles and books, etc... A geek in the making, alright!

On Tuesday, it was match day in Zurich. (France Vs Italy) So roads were closed, traffic diverted, traffic jams and all the works. Reached the school 10 minutes late by which time Ashu had slept. Also, I had made the mistake of telling her the previous day that she ll go to big class from August with different teachers which she did nt like. So she started crying when I left her in the class. That's a first in months! Anyway, Ms.S carried her off and I decided to do some shopping nearby rather than going home and coming back in the bad traffic. Picked her up at 3. She told me that she wants Miss.M and Miss.S as her teachers and does nt want a new teacher. Oh Boy! I said OK and left it at that!

No school on Wednesday. Cooked, cleaned and prepared Ashu for the teddy bear picnic the next day in school and asked her to choose a bear. She chose her care bear.

On Thursday, Hubby was traveling. I made some cucumber sandwiches for the picnic and left for school in the afternoon. Since it was the last day of school and the kindergarten classes were also having picnic, the car park was over flowing. I parked the car in a nearby paid parking lot and walked to the school. We were 9 kids, 5 moms and 2 teachers. Had fun sitting on the grass and chatting with everyone. It was a perfect sunny day. We moms gave the gifts we had bought for the teachers. Ashu gave them the card she made and I took loads of photos. But then, felt really bad because Ashu would nt sing any rhymes during circle time, would nt answer any of the teachers Qs, would nt play with the kids in the play yard, she was either playing on her own or sitting beside me. Only the last 30 mins, she joined the other kids and played in the slide and the swing. Miss M told me not to worry as she usually joins in all the fun and shes being shy because I was there. Strange kid, this one. I really, really like Miss.M. Shes great with the kids. Too bad she would nt be Ashus teacher in Pre K. One of the moms had brought her youngest baby along. Hes 6 months old. Ashu just fell in love with him, gave him her bear, her hat, her snack and was touching him and kissing him and talking to him. It was so nice to see her with a baby. At 3 pm, said good byes to everyone, collected Ashus things from her class and came home dead beat because of the sun and the heat. Hd came home quite late in the night.

I wanted to do something special with just the 3 of us together yesterday but did nt work out. Because technically, it was the last day with just the 3 of us. My mom arrives tonight(Yippeee!) and in less than two weeks, the baby will be here and we will no longer be a family of 3. Sigh! Planning to go out in the evening. But theres loads of shopping and cleaning to do that I don't know if we ll have the time. Well, the thought counts. Speaking of which, I don't think we are going to be a "perfect" family once the baby is here. Whats with wishing "Oh, your family is perfect now" after the second baby arrives? I think we were a pretty perfect family with just Hd and I, then with Ashu too. It was a perfect family when my sis and I were kids and for that matter, I think it was more perfect before I was born! *evil grin* I don't think this baby has to come into this world with the baggage of making my imperfect family perfect! I don't think theres any agenda attached actually. The first child was well, we wanted to see what a baby is actually like and whether we can produce one. Then I did nt want to have another one. Neither did Hd. Hes an only child and he said he did nt miss any sibling and he did nt think Ashu needed a sibling. I was nt too keen either. I thought I would be a better "mom of one" rather than a "mom of two". But once Ashu was 2 1/2, I started telling Hd, "I don't want one. But if you want one, lets just get it over with. I don't want to wait until Im 35". And he was like "I don't want one. But if you want, I am ready!" (Of course you would be dear!) Then we both said what the heck and decided to get pregnant. Because we can. That's all there is to it. So its "We wanted to see what a baby is like and how good are we as parents" if Ashu asks why she came into existence and "Because we can have unprotected sex and no one can question us" to answer baby no 2. And then, they lived happily ever after. The End.