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January 30, 2008

Update on Ashu at 33 Months.

What a month! Ashu has grown leaps and bounds in the past one month. She talks more, plays on her own more, notices things more, breaks down more, eats more (Anti-jinx! Anti-jinx! Anti-jinx! Thanks for the anti jinx spell Moppets Mom. You should pattern it!)

Ashu keeps twirling these days and one day told her dad, "Look appa. Naan twirl panren" and did a nice twirl for him. And Hd was "Oh how nice. Turn panriyaa?" and Ashu immediately corrected him, "Turn illai pa. TWIRL". Hd was shocked to say the least and gave me an accusatory look. It was nt me this time though. School is actually teaching her something after all!

For the past couple of weeks, the little Missy has stopped eating chocolates. Not that I gave her chocolates frequently before. But these days she says, "I don't want chocolates. I ll get germs in my teeth. So I'm not going to eat any" if we offer her. I'm not complaining here, more for me actually! And she has taken to raisins like crazy. She finishes a small box in one go. Its like a miracle because Ashu usually does nt eat ANY snack! This was the conversation between Hd and Ashu 2 days back:

Hd: Ashu, want a piece of chocolate?

Ashu: No Appa. I ll get germs in my teeth. I don't want any.

Hd: You can brush your teeth after eating the chocolate, ok?

Ashu: No appa. I'm eating raisins.

Hd: You will get germs in your teeth even if you eat rais...

Me: (screaming at hd) STOP IT RIGHT NOW. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?????? WHY WOULD YOU TELL HER SOMETHING LIKE THAT? YOU CANT BE HAPPY THAT SHE EATS RAISINS INSTEAD OF CHOCOLATES? ARE YOU CRAZY?

Sometimes I don't know who the 2 1/2 year old is in this house!!!

During Xmas when we stayed in a Chalet with two other families, Ashu started talking to the two boys there in Tamil. I told Ashu that the boys did nt know Tamil and she has to speak in English. For the next 3 days, she did nt speak one word of Tamil to them. She was keeping on blabbering thinking that shes speaking in English but communicated by using the important words like "Come here, Sit, Give, No, Take, Play, etc... " It was fun to watch her speak like that. And how did she know which words are English and which are Tamil since we use so much English while talking in Tamil? One of those things about a child's brain, I guess!

And the other day while talking to my grandma on the phone, Ashu said Hello and volunteered to sing rhymes for her. Usually I have to beg her to sing rhymes on the phone for my family so I was surprised. But she always did have a soft spot for her great grand mother. Then she started to sing all the Tamil rhymes she knows, Anile Anile, Yaanai, Yaanai, Nila Nila and counted 1 to 10 in Tamil. I was really stunned. Did she really figure out that my grandma cant understand English and sang Tamil rhymes? She has never done that before for anyone else. She always starts with Baa baa black sheep, Mary had a little lamb, etc... and I have to plead her to sing a Tamil rhyme. One of those things again, huh?

Oh and the most important thing. Ashu has a "best friend". Her first ever! :) The past weeks I noticed that she is happy when B is in class with her and the days B does nt attend school, she is all sullen and sad. Then I asked her whom does she play with a lot in class and who she likes the most. "B", came the answer. And of course B comes running to greet her when I drop Ashu in the class and gives her a wide smile. At home, Ashu keeps telling B did this, B did that. I am so happy for her. And did I tell you B is the cutest looking boy?! *grin*

Books rule her world. I used to wonder why some parents complain that they are tired reading a book for the 10th time and I would be happy to read Ashu a book for the umpteenth time if it makes her happy. Boy, was I wrong! My throat is parched at the end of her bed time reading and I am begging her to spare me. But she begs back "One last book Amma. Last book, OK?" and brings the fattest book from her shelf. The problem is when I read, I "really" read it unlike Hd who mumbles, swallows half the sentence and reads without any passion. I change my voice, make animal noises, whisper, scream and do the whole nine yards. Time I switched tactics and followed Hd on this one. He sure is smarter than I think, that sneak!

Ashu seems to have taken after me in her desire to do everything perfect and gives up easily even after the first attempt if she thinks shes no good at something. That describes me to the T. But shes 2 1/2 for Gods sake and just learning everything in life. How can she get so frustrated because she cant hold a pencil properly? "I cant Amma" seems to be her mantra these days. "I cant open the box Amma. I am a baby. I am small. You are big girl. You open." "I cant color Amma. I don't know how. You do it." "I cant turn the pages in the book Amma". And she whines when she says that and the next time I ask her to do that thing, she gives up even before trying because "she cant"!! It takes immense patience from my side to keep encouraging her and prodding her gently to try again and compliment her when she does try. I truly hope its a phase and she gets over it. Because the things she can do, she never wants me to help her in those. Its always "I ll do it Amma. I ll do it"!

One morning after getting up from the bed, she took her pants down and the pull up diapers with it. Took the dirty diaper and gave it to me to throw it in the garbage and said "Amma. I did nt go susu in the diaper while sleeping. See!" When I took the diaper from her. I saw that against the usual 2 to 3 susus, she had gone only once and since the diaper was nt as heavy as it used to be, she concluded that she had nt peed in the diaper. I have never been so proud of her. She knows the difference between the weight of one susu against two. My baby girl is so clever, sigh!

January 18, 2008

I did it! I did it!

Drum roll please. I got my driving license! Yippee!!!!
*coming back after doing a tribal dance*
So yes! I got my license. I knew I was driving good what with taking Ashu to school everyday and back for the past 2 months. But would I be lucky on the day of the test? Would I forget to look left, right and left? Would I run over a pedestrian? Would I miss a stop sign? Would the investigator fail me just because? The thing is there was a lot riding on this. If I failed, then I would nt able to drop Ashu at school and that would be disastrous as it wont be possible for Hd to do it everyday. It would take more than an hour if we used the public transportation. We would have to move nearer to school but than can be done only in September because of the lease. Oh, so many dilemmas. Anyway, everyone was saying I would pass except me of course. So today at 1 pm, the investigator sat in the passenger seat and off I went following his directions. In German! Links, rechts, gerade aus, autobahn richtung Bern, ... In 120, 100, 80, 60, 50 and 30 speed zones all in 25 minutes. Back at the office, he congratulated me, shook hands and stamped my paper! I hugged my driving instructor with a huge grin on my face which remained until I came home and did the tribal dance in the safety of home for Hd and Ashu. "Good job amma?" asked Ashu. Hd was of course all teeth. I could see the huge burden sliding off his shoulders. He does nt have to worry about the drive to the school anymore! Sigh!

Of course, the most important worry was this would be my one and only attempt. If I failed, there was no retaking the test. I would have to start from scratch like beginner drivers and spend close to 6 months and thousands of Francs which was nt an option for us. According to Swiss laws, if I have a valid driving license from another country, then all I have to do is take a test and If I pass I get the license and if I don't, get a learners license first and start from the beginning. This test has to be taken before completing a year living in this country. I can drive with my Indian license for one year. Since I entered the country in Feb 2007, mine would expire in Feb 2008. Hence the hurry. Hd got his license in July and I did nt think I needed one. But in November when we put Ashu in a school across the city, it became clear that I need to get my license too. So I called up the same driving instructor from whom Hd learnt and signed up for classes. Almost Ninety dollars for a 50 mins class because she speaks English too! But since I was driving with Hd and also driving to school everyday, I did nt need as many classes as Hd did. Then I sent the application and got the test date. And today was the day! So if you are in Switzerland, get the license before a year as its comparatively easy. They assume you know driving and test only to see if you understand the rules of this country. (Little do they know how I got my driving license in India!) Some of our friends who have lived longer here are finding it tough to get the license as the other test is supposed to be rigorous since the driving license is valid for life here. So get an English speaking driving instructor and apply for the test date without any delay.
http://www.stva.zh.ch/ has all the info but in German.

The investigator gave me a key chain after I passed which says "Gute Fahrt". (Good Trip ) Indeed! ;)

And happy birthday Big Boo. See I made you proud on your special day by passing! :)

January 15, 2008

Pongal O Pongal.

Pongal was eating Sakkarai pongal and Vadai for Hd and I. It meant no school for Ashu as it took me a loooong time to finish cooking my elaborate lunch! Ashu refused to even taste my pongal but took a bite of the vadai since the "The paati, the crow and the vadai" story is her favorite. Got to invent a Pongal story fast! I saw her watching me with a puzzled look when I stepped out into the balcony in the freaking cold and prostrated before the Sun God and thanked him for showing up everyday without fail for the past million years or so! (What a thankless job!)

Today also made me realize that its really upto me to follow the traditions and culture at least to a certain extent. I got up a little earlier than usual, took a shower, washed my hair, lighted the lamp, made Pongal and Vadai for Naivedhyam, made an Mix veg sambar with double beans too just like my mom does, then a small pooja and the favorite part - eating. I did all this because Pongal is a special day for me. As for Hd, he would nt have remembered today is Pongal if I did nt tell him. He would nt have a problem getting up late even if he knew it was Pongal today. It would nt matter to him if he did nt eat pongal on Pongal. But for me, its unthinkable. I dont celebrate every festival but Pongal, Deepavali and Tamil New Years, Krishna Jayanthi, Ganesh chaturthi, Navarathri, etc.. are a little more important to me than the rest. I make sure at least to light a lamp and do a basic Naivehdyam on these days. My mom makes 19 or so Naivedhyam for Krishna Jayanthi and makes Kozhakattais if Pillayaar came in her dreams even if is to ask her to STOP making them! So its a huge step down for me even to offer cashews and raisins as Naivedhyam. But I do what I feel is important to me and leave the rest. But Hd! Nothing is important to him and he just nods to whatever I say when it comes to such stuff. It made me wonder what if the tables were turned. What if these stuff were important to him and not to me? Will he get up early and make "Pori Urundai" on Kaarthigai? Or "Kali" on Thiruvaadhirai? I don't think so. And its just not the cooking. He does nt know most of the customs or the reasons for celebrating them. (the next time my MIL says what a great job she has done with her son, Im going to punch her face for sure!) Pongal was the most important function to us when we lived in our village. Taking a huge Thaambaalam (brass plate) and hitting it with a wooden stick and screaming "Pongalo pongal", dressing up the cows and even our dog with Netti Maalai and garlands, painting their horns, doing an Aarthi for the cows and prostrating before them, offering rice, dal and clothes for all the farm helps, setting fire to all the old stuff on Bhogi, getting up early in the morning and keeping the left over food on turmeric leaf for the birds on Kanu, ... this is the stuff I grew up with. A day off from school, Bakshanams from Grand sweets, a pongal release movie,... is probably what Hd grew up with. I dont think its only because Hd is a city boy and me a village belle! But Im really glad I can meet my own expectations and dont have to rely on a clueless partner to keep alive my cherished childhood memories. Imagine Hd saying something like "My mom used to make awesome paruppu vadai and ghee dropping pongal. I want to keep that memory alive" to me. He sure wont have any more pleasant memories to keep alive!! Good luck to all the single men out there who have such expectations! Hope you meet your match. Or is it easier for men to let go? I have no clue.

Happy Pongal everyone! May all your lives overflow with abundant love and happiness!

January 13, 2008

Thoughts of the day.

1. All these end of the year best movies list and best songs list made me realize that I have nt watched any of the good movies except for one or two. So my resolution for this year is to see as many movies as possible. Luckily, I'm happy with my book list. "Kite Runner" was the last book I read in 2007 and what a book it was! And I started this year with "A thousand splendid suns". I am half way through. Has anyone done a "compare and contrast" post on these 2 books?

2. Did anyone notice that Anandha Vikatan, the online Tamil magazine, has become like Rediff after it opened comments for readers? I don't think it will be long before I stop reading the sleaze its becoming. Perhaps Im just getting old.

3. Talking about Tamil magazines, off late I hear lot of references to "chicken leg piece", "chill chicken", etc... while taking about WOMEN. I am sort of used to them being compared to "laddoo", "halwa", etc... but this is new to me. Do non vegetarians really compare beautiful women to leg piece of a chilli chicken? Are women OK with that? I just want to be informed that's all. No other intention. In case Ashu becomes a non veggie, I want to make sure I don't miss out on comparing her to Chicken 65. What an uncool mom would that make me! *shudders*

4. Is it true that everyone without any exception will do perverse things if they can get away with it? *like the Molestation in Mumbai on New Years Eve*

5. Is it me or has just about everyone of my favorite bloggers have either stopped blogging or hardly update their blogs?(Yes, you, you and you!) I did nt know I had such power to stop people from blogging just by reading them. Wish it worked on some blogs I hate to read too!

6. And lastly, will accepting that I am using my motherhood as a reason to mask my laziness and to get a real job out there end all the bitterness and hatred towards Blogging Moms or at least towards one mom? While I am at it, let me also accept that I am a fit for nothing else Stay at home mom thereby spoiling my child with all the unnecessary attention. I am guilty as charged for publishing my child's photos and inviting trouble. I am everything that you accuse me of. My only question is - so?

PS.
One of those midnight pondering where answers don't matter.

January 09, 2008

Ashu & Appa.

The other day, we were in the car and Hd was fiddling with the GPS. "What are you doing Appa", asked Ashu from the back seat. "I am entering the address of the restaurant we are going to, Ashu. This is called GPS. It will tell me how to go to the restaurant. And then Appa will follow the route. ok?", said Hd. "Its a Map Appa!" Pat came the reply from Ashu. While I was rolling on the floor laughing with tears streaming from my eyes, anyone within a mile could have noticed Hds face going red. The tone in which Ashu said it was hilarious. It was exactly the tone I would have used to say "Why waste so many words? Just say its a Map, Moron!"

****


(Another day. another time.)

Ashu: Are you going to office appa?

Yes.

Ashu: Why do you have to office?

Because I have to work.

Ashu: But why do you have to go to office?

I have to go to office to work. Only if I work, I can get money and can buy food and toys for you.

Ashu: Whatever Appa!

(walks away shaking her head...)

****

(Last week when Ashu was sick.)

Hd: So whom do you like more Ashu? Amma or Appa.

Ashu: Appa.

Don't you like Amma?

I like Amma too.

So whom do you like more? Amma or Appa?

I like both.

But whom do you like more?

I like both.

Amma or Appa?

Enakku odambu sariyaa illai. Naan thoongaren. (I am sick. I want to sleep)

****

Yesterday, Hd could nt find his mobile phone and was looking for it everywhere. We could nt even hear it ring while we called it from my mobile phone. I asked Ashu if she kept it anywhere. She opened the broom closet and inside the box of dish washing tablets, we found the phone. I thanked Ashu but Hd got mad at her. He started to give her a time out and sternly told her never to touch his phone again and not to do such a thing anymore. Personally, I thought he was over reacting and began to pacify Ashu as she had begun to cry. After a few minutes, when both of them had calmed down, Hd told Ashu "You should nt hide my phone like this Ashu" and with a furious tone Ashu replied "I did nt hide it Appa. I did nt HIDE it. I only kept it there". (Naan anga Olichu vaikalai appa, OLICHU vaikalai. Anga vachen.) I was stunned by the technicality because this is exactly how I used to argue and fight with my dad. When I was THIRTEEN!!!!!!!

****

January 04, 2008

One of those days...

Already 4 days old, this year! And all the days have gone by taking care of the sick and cranky babies. (Sick - Ashu. Cranky - Hd.) On 31st, we went to an Indian restaurant for a dinner buffet. Calling that spread a buffet is a joke actually. But we did nt have any other plans and did nt want to spend the evening cooking. So off we went at 7 pm so that we could be back early. The restaurant had a party from 10pm until midnight but we knew it would be impossible with Ashu. The food was ok. There were 2 Desi families sitting next to our table with two 5 year old girls. Here I was trying hard to make Ashu behave, not stand on the chair, not to drop cutlerys on the floor, blackmailing and bribing her to eat one spoon of rice. And the 2 girls were making a ruckus. Loud giggling, dancing, talking, ... And I made the mistake of talking to one of the girls as she was looking super cute and Ashu was asking "whats akkas name, amma" repeatedly to me. Ashu joined them and the trio started running around and shouting, playing catch. Ashu usually screams like a banshee and runs when anyone tries to catch her and I was repeatedly asking her to be quiet. Then the trio sat on the couch near the bar area and were playing quietly. Then I saw that the girl was bullying around Ashu calling her a baby and and saying "yucks, Ewww" a lot and laughing at Ashu with her friend. I did nt bother as it did nt bother Ashu. Then the girl started pushing Ashu and now my girl took offense and came to me and said "Akka vendaam Amma. Lets go". I proudly walked to our table where Ashu sat quietly the rest of the dinner not tempted to go to the girls even while they were showing off their mermaid doll and taunting her. My mom has told me lot of things which went into one ear and came out of the other. But one thing which stayed was "Madhiyaadhaar vaasal midhiyaadhe". (Do not step into the house of the person who does nt respect you) I am glad Ashu already follows it even without me drilling that into her. (But theres a fine print. Got to step into MILs house even if the street dog is more excited seeing you than her. You let me learn that on my own did nt you, Mom?)

And that bully girl coughed a lot and at Ashus face for that matter. So I blame the girl for Ashus high fever and cold which started the same night. It has been 4 days since anything solid has gone into her system. Her throat is swollen a little, the Doctor said. So the ever fussy eater has completely stopped eating. Milk and Juice is all shes having. Add to that, the school starts from Monday. Ennaala mudiyalai... Can we rewind to 31st and start again?