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December 19, 2010

Zurich to Chennai to Kumbakonam to Coimbatore to Kumarakom.

And we still have two more weeks to go. Wonderful time is being had, needless to say. Though we had no plans for an India trip this December, it so happened that an official trip came up for Hd and we decided to tag along at the last minute. Convinced myself its only Kindergarten and made Ashu skip school from 1st of December. Though she was most reluctant to miss the school xmas party, the winter concert and Sami Claus visit, everything flew out of the window once she landed here and now she says she wants to go to school here and never wants to go back to Zurich! *gulp*

We were off to Kerala with my parents for 5 days. The resort in Kumarakom was wonderful and staying a day and night in the house boat was the highlight of the trip though keeping Antu alive in that most child-unfriendly house boat was another issue! Ashu saw uniform clad kids using the boat to go to school and was super thrilled. We visited the Guruvayoor temple on the last day on our way back to Coimbatore. It was quite an experience too what with standing in line for 2 1/2 hours to see Lord Krishna for 2 seconds! We saw a short Kathakali performance in Cochin and Ashu loved it. She was enthralled by the whole experience.

Good time is being had at porandha veedu right now what with my mother trying to potty train Antu, Ashus friends taking time in spite of half yearly exams to play with her, Hd happily munching on home made murukku and sipping filter coffee while I surf tv channels from 1 to 80 again and again and again not watching one program for more than 5 mins! Hd is not amused when I tell him that I don't want to come back to Zurich ever again either. He can be such a party pooper sometimes. :)

November 30, 2010

The Girl with the Purple Glasses.

I dont know if its a milestone or not but the big news is that Ashu is wearing glasses. So a little more than a month ago, I took her to the eye doctor. Somewhere around June, Hd and I felt that her eyes need to be checked. We both are short sighted and thought that the sooner she gets checked the better. She did nt show any signs though. Nothing we noticed, that is. We got an appointment only in October. One part of me was cool about it and another part of course was a little apprehensive. The retinal dilation drops were given three times and the test was in the evening, Ashu was too tired. And it was a horrible experience for me trying to make Ashu cooperate and get it over with rather than come another day and go through the same thing once again. The doctor and the nurse were extremely patient with her. She was tested and the doc confirmed that she needs glasses. I remember I was 12 when I was tested and I was over the moon that I can wear glasses because they were cool. My parents and sister are nt short sighted so I felt really special. Thankfully, kids are still the same and Ashu was thrilled that she can wear glasses. One of her friends from school wears glasses and two more boys we know wear them too. And of course she sees me and her dad with glasses almost all the time. So thankfully she was ok with the idea.

A week later, we were off to this big Optical shop in Bahnhofstrasse. A kind saleslady guided us and Ashu was treated like a princess. She showed us the frames and after trying a dozen of them, Ashu selected a purple one. It looked nice on her, I thought. We ordered the glasses and walked out with a balloon! And a week later, ta-da! Ashus first pair of glasses arrived! I spoke to her class teacher about it and she told me that she will have a talk with the class about it. Ashu skipped to school that day and came back even more happier! Phew. It has been a month now and she wears them regularly. She is very careful with them too. She takes it off carefully and puts it on top of the drawer before falling on the bed face first! Even when she's upset about something! Thats more than what can be said of her mother! It helps that she is like her father in some things, huh? :) Here she is happily drawing with the window glass crayons! Best thing I ever bought, I tell you! Madam was upset that I would nt hang a Happy Birthday banner for her fathers birthday so she took it upon herself to decorate. :) On that note, Happy Birthday Husband Dear!

ps.
I ll be on a short blog break. See you on the other side.

November 25, 2010

Movie going experience indeed!

Last Friday, BFF and I decided to go out for a movie. She, very wisely, took the train while I drove from home since the bus connection to my place is nt great after 11 pm. Big mistake. I was near the theatre at 8.00 pm for the 8.30 pm show but absolutely no parking spot. I circled that area a dozen times. No luck. (Im sure my Paati would be saying, "pillayaara pradhakshnam panninaa punyamaavadhu kidaikum. ippadi cinema theatre a suthi irukkiye*?")There were so many cars parked illegally and the nearby indoor parking garage which I had counted as my backup plan (because its uber expensive) was FULL. 700 parking spots and it was full! At 8 pm when none of the shops are open. Only restaurants, bars and cinemas. Guess every one decided to go out on the one day I decide to go watch a movie! And do you think its easy to out for a movie for us poor folks? The same time the previous week the husband and his friend decided to go for the very same movie (The Social Network. I ll come to it eventually.) They decided in the evening and vamoosed within an hour and even found a parking spot 2 mins from the theatre! But us? Me and some other friends talked, talked and talked about going out for a month. One or the other was always busy. Or the kids were sick. Or the baby sitter was nt available. Or the husband was traveling,... yaada yaada yaada. And at last, S and I decided enough is enough and that we both will go whether the other friends could come or not. Once the day was decided, then theres the whole planning for the day, of course. Make dinner, eat dinner, pray all Gods that the husband comes back from office in time to hold the fort, go online and find nearby parking garage from the theatre, say bye to the crying kids who are hanging by your feet,.. Ok the last bit is not true. Ashu actually said bye and slammed the door on me! But you get my point, right?

And after all this, I cant find a parking spot! Grr.... Anyway, parked at another Parkhaus and literally ran from there to the theatre in the freaking cold for 15 mins to reach the theatre in the nick of time! S was waiting for me with our tickets while I walked in panting like a dog. Once inside, more surprise awaited! First row seats!!! oh Goody! Thankfully the two corner seats next to us were free and we moved there and turned our heads in a 75* angle to the right so that we don't have to stretch our neck upwards! But then it was all worth it! What a movie! I loved it. What fantastic dialogues! And the casting was pitch perfect. Did anyone think of Sheldon when watching Zuckerberg on screen? I did. (May be the dialogue delivery?) Though I have watched The Fight Club, Seven, Panic room and liked them all, David Fincher was never in my favorite directors list. I dont know why. But with this movie, hes up there in my list. (slightly below Nolan, mind you!) And I read that Rooney Mara who played Erika, Zuckerberg's ex girl friend, is playing Lisbeth Salander in Fincher's next movie, The Girl With The Dragan Tattoo. I cant W.A.I.T! I read the Stieg Larson books only recently and loved them. Yet to read the third book though. S, the above mentioned friend, pulled a fast one on me by lending me only the first 2 books! Since I tried to beg, borrow or steal "The Girl who Kicked the Hornets Nest" and did nt succeed, Im going to buy it. Soon.

"Pay them. In the scheme of things, its just a speeding ticket" is so going to be my new motto for 2011. Its one of my favorite lines from the movie. But Hd is a bit wary. He thinks I mean, Pay "for" them, them being shoes, clothes and bags. Cant blame him, can I? ;)

* "You should walk around a temple instead of a theatre". (It sounds better in Tamil what with the rhyming words and all, trust me!)

November 17, 2010

What is Antu upto?

Antu is growing up so fast that it hurts me unbearably. I don't know if its with the second borns but with Ashu I was always looking forward to the next stage. May be now that I know whats coming, it pains me whenever Antu reaches a new milestone. Crazy, I know! A month ago, Hd was short listing play schools for Antu and I glared at him. "She so ready, ok?", he said. "But what about me? Im not ready to send her. Ever", I replied. "The thought of sending her to school feels like someone is stabbing at my heart with a knife and then twisting it!", I added. He sighed, shook his head and gave up. Shes almost 2 1/2 now and I know its a good idea to send her from Jan. But it breaks my heart. However weird that might sound, it truly does. Yesterday I took her to a new play school for a tour and she just went in, took her shoes and jacket off and went straight to the play room and started playing. As if she has been coming here every day all her life! She even found a friend. The boy is a friends son and she has seen him a few times before. And an hour later, when I was ready to leave after talking to the caregivers, I had to go and find her and she refused to come! So my brain tells me that shes so ready but my stupid heart is in denial. Hoping 2011 will knock some sense into me!

I was watching TV one day and there was this commercial for some charity. A picture of a starving, sick African baby. All skins and bones and lying on the ground. Looking straight into the camera with painful eyes. Since I had seen this ad many times before, I quickly turned my eyes away from the TV with a bit of a guilt. And I heard Antu say so cheerfully and loudly, "Look Amma. A baby!" And she had such genuine happiness in her face and was thrilled to see a fellow baby on screen. I was captivated by the childish innocence. When do we start losing it?

When we ask the dreaded question, "Whom do you like more? Amma or Appa?", she does nt waste a moment before answering "Appa!" The ungrateful brat! 5 years and counting and Ashu has never ever said anything but "both" to this question. Karma, surely! I remember I used to say "only Appa" when I was a kid. Actually, I think I still do! :)

And another day she brought a drawing to me and said "Lookit amma!" I think she was tired of always seeing her sister bring me drawings to show and get all the compliments. So I oohed and aahed at the drawing and asked her, "Who did this, Antu?" and she immediately answered, "Ashu did it." My poor little kid! Im sure she ll get there one day!

Antu is such a happy child with a smile pasted in her face all the time. She has to reach out and touch babies when she sees them. She has to go sit near kids in parks. She comes to us for random hugs. Shes delighted to see Ashu after school. Its just impossible to be mad at her for more than 2 seconds because she ll totally charm your pants off with the most sweetest "sorry"!

Needless to say, she has her dad neatly wrapped around her little finger. The other day I had a talk with Hd on how hes letting her get away with anything and that he has to be more stern. And his reply, "But she's a baby. She's not even three!" This is the same guy who gave time outs to Ashu when she was 2 years old, mind you!

Talking about time outs, Ashu hates this word even now and takes it as a huge insult if I say the T word. But Antu? Gives herself time out happily and goes and sits in a corner for 2 mins, apologizes, gives me a hug and walks away content as if she has taught me a lesson!! What the hell!

She uses her left hand most of the times and Im eagerly waiting to see if she's going to be left handed. Im a secret admirer of lefties. :)

Antu started eating chocolates very recently and is not a big fan yet. I know things might change rapidly but Im proud nevertheless.

Shes a total party girl. She loves to drop Ashu at school and then pick her up. Loves when Ashu has friends over. Loves when we go to a friends place. Loves to accompany us to the swimming pool for Ashu's class. Can name every one of Ashu's friends and their siblings to boot!

She has a special bond with men. Her dad, her uncle, her grandpa, friends son, a friends husband,... are a "leetle" more special than the boring women in her life!

Both Ashu and Antu have always been good sleepers. They give me grey hairs in the food department but if theres one thing I totally escaped from, its sleep deprivation. And thank God for that. Because to be honest I am quite murderous even after 8 hours of sleep! But while Ashu was always rocked to sleep as a baby or by telling a story after story for an hour in the dark until she went to sleep after she turned two, Antu learnt to sleep on her own ever since she turned 7 months old. She even tosses and turns for an hour sometimes before going to sleep and is quite content just lying on the bed. Just like her mom, I guess! ;) The other day at party in a friends place with house full of adults and kids, Antu was nowhere to be seen. I went to their kids bedroom to see Antu on their bed blissfully asleep hugging a stuffed bear while kids were making a ruckus just outside the room. My heart just swelled. Theres something about sleeping kids, I tell you. Especially when they are out like that in a party leaving you to eat the Kuzhi Paniyarams in peace! :)

November 11, 2010

What do you do all day long?

Thankfully I don't get the above question a lot. People are generally wary around me, I guess. But to answer that question, some days are so relaxing. The Sun is shining, the birds are chirping, Antu takes 3 hours naps and Ashu gets picked up by a friend after school and I have a relaxing, long day reading a book or surfing the net or watching TV. Amidst the housework, of course. And then there are other days. Like the day when I had to drop Ashu at 8.30 am, come back home, get myself and Antu ready, leave for the school again at 10 am for the assembly where Ashu and co were dancing, then come back home, get lunch for us both, clean up, then go back to school at 3 pm to pick up Ashu and her friend. Drive to a birthday party with them. Drop the kids off and get some groceries done. Go back and pick them up. Drop the other girl at her place. Come home and its already 7 pm. Get dinner ready, feed the kids, bed time routine, clean the house and then get something to eat for myself. And before I know its almost midnight and I'm still scrubbing the kitchen counter! I realize I ve spent most of the day driving! Its time I get a drivers uniform and call Ashu, "Madam", I guess!

And some other day when Antu has gymboree, Ashu has school, I have a lunch to go to, Hd is traveling, Ashu is bringing her friend to our house after school,... and its crazy fitting everything in one day and dragging Antu everywhere. But yesterday was the pits. Murphy would ve been really proud! So the morning went well. Ashu in school and Antu and I at home. Wednesdays are early finish for Ashu and usually Antu cant nap those days because I have to leave the house just before 2 pm. Even if she's asleep, I pick her up and by the time I get to the car, shes awake. Yesterday was the same. She had a late lunch and was in full form and not a little bit sleepy. Around 2 pm, we go to the school to pick up Ashu and her friend A who was coming home with us. So far so good. Around 3 pm, things start going downhill.

* Ashu is extremely tantrummy. Shes behaving very badly.
* Antu is a like a wrecking ball creating havoc where ever shes going and whatever shes touching.
* Poor A is clueless whats happening in this crazy household.
* I ask Antu to nap. She refuses.
* I ask Ashu to be nice to her friend and play with her. She refuses.
* I get snacks ready for the girls.
* Around 4.30 pm, I lose my patience and take Ashu to a room and yell at her so badly that shes howling.
* Antu meanwhile has made such a mess in one of the rooms that I take her aside and yell at her as well. Now shes howling too.
* Around 5 pm, I say enough is enough and get Ashu ready for the swim class which is at 5.30 pm. Pack up Antu and with A, get into the car. The idea is to drop A and then go the pool since the pool is very near A's house.
* The GPS does nt get started and I'm worried. I go in the general direction of the pool hoping the GPS will come alive in a while and lead us to A's house.
* Meanwhile Antu has fallen asleep! uh ho.
* We are almost near the pool and the GPS is still silent. I park the car on the curb and pray to all Gods. Thankfully, it comes alive. Phew.
*I drop A and rush to the pool. Its already 5.30 pm.
* Park the car, put the sleeping child in my shoulder, carry the bag and run inside with Ashu. 2 sets of stairs and 2 doors later, we are inside the dressing area. Ashu cooperates fully, changes and one more flight of stairs later, we are in the shower area. Ashu again showers by herself and I leave her with the teacher. Usually I hang around by the side while Antu plays in the kiddie pool since the class is only for 30 mins. But today I tell the teacher I ll be back and go back to the dressing rooms. The bench is not too comfy so I sit on the bottom most stair with Antu on my shoulder. Lets say I was only missing a disposable cup in front of me. Would ve made quite a bit of money if I had a cup since everyone who crossed gave a me a pity smile!!
* One of the class moms arrived in a while and said she ll bring Ashu to me after shes done. Long live her!
* I was playing carrot harvest in my phone. Could nt even call Hd since there was no network. and then the phone dies on me!!!! (Good move, Murphy!) And Im thinking to myself, "Ashu better give Michael Phelps a run for his money or else..."
* Ashu finishes her class, takes a shower and comes to me. We go to the dressing room and by this time Antu has opened her eyes but is cranky and crying. By this time, I cant feel my right hand because it has fallen off somewhere! I plonk her on the bench and help Ashu dry her hair and change her. Then I see that theres a door right next to the dressing area which directly goes to the car park. Hallelujah! Don't ve to struggle two flights of stairs. So we go out only to realize that I ve left the entry ticket card in the locker door itself! And these doors cannot be opened from outside. ARGH!
* 2 more flights of stairs again with a crying Antu and a whiny Ashu. I ask the receptionist if she can bring my card but she tells me I ve to go myself and gives me a temp card. At least I found the card. And I go back to give the temp card, thank her and walk out. Its already 6.30 pm and I have a farewell party to go to at 7.00 pm!
* You want me to stop now, don't you? Well I wanted it to stop too. But it did nt. So hear me out.
* As soon as I start the car, I see the tank is almost empty. I panic. Pray to all Gods and somehow reach the gas station near our house. I fill the tank, ask Ashu to wait in the car and that I ll be back in 2 minutes, lock the car and go inside to pay. Ashu can see me through the glass door. So can I. Of course, there have to be 4 people in front of me all buying their entire weeks groceries at a GAS STATION! I keep an eye out at the car and signal to Ashu. Then my turn comes and I pay. I come out to see that the car door is wide open and Ashu standing outside and she's crying! Right by the side of a busy road! I was so shocked that I go speechless for a second. There are a few people staring at the scene. I quickly bundle Ashu inside and ask what the heck does she think shes doing? She could nt see me when I was paying, got worried (because I was out of her sight for TWO SECONDS!), took off her seat belt, climbed to the drivers seat, unlocked the doors, opened the door, climbed outside, did nt know whether to leave Antu and come and get me so she started crying. Because she was scared! I banged my head against the wheel, told her how dangerous her move was which made her cry more, of course. Then hugged her and drove home.
* Hd was home. Murphy took pity on me, I guess. About time, I say! I quickly changed, gave the shorter version of my day to Hd and left the house to attend a school mom's farewell party. It was at a friends place and a dance party at that. "Munni badnaam hui" many times and for the first time in my life, I wished I drank!

So come on all you SAHMs. Tell me the worst day of your mommy life.(Leave a link or write in the comment section.) Parul had the By the Water Cooler contest for the working types. Let us have some fun too. May be I ll consider the working moms stories too if its really, really bad! ;) No prizes vrizes because I'm no celebrity author. But I got two shoulders you can cry on!

Whoever said that "Giving birth is the easiest part of Motherhood", show me your feet please. *does saashtaanga namaskaram*

November 05, 2010

Deepavali.

Every year, I get the blues on this day if I am out of India. This year is no exception. I try to make this day as exciting as possible for the kids but if theres no prospect of going out of the house bright and bushy tailed even before the sunrise and burst crackers, whats the point of getting up early and dressing up, pray tell? Nevertheless, I took Ashu and Antu out shopping yesterday and let them choose their new dresses. Ashu loved the experience and felt all grown up. I made Double ka Meetha sweet which Ashu and Antu refused to even try and Diamond biscuits which did nt even live to see daylight because Antu thought that that was dinner! Getting up early has never been a problem in this household. For the kids, I mean. So they got up around 5.30 am and came to our bed. And instead of swatting them away and curling up in my duvet like I always do, I yelled "Happy Deepavali" and got up much to their collective shock! But it was just the beginning. When I heated up some oil and massaged their hair with it, they crinkled their nose because of the strong smell and Antu who on regular days hates water in her hair, glared a "dont you dare at this time of the day!" look at me. Ashu was all whiny too. For a minute, I wondered what the whole point is! Ashu has school. Hd has office. As usual. What am I going to achieve by doing all this? Then I let out a deep sigh and decided I am not letting go of this tradition. Never. Its one of the strongest memories for me and if I close my eyes I can smell the arappu, nallennai and all the smoke form the burst crackers and sparklers. I did what any self respecting mother would do. "Do you guys know you can eat as many sweets as you want today? You can even eat your gummy vites first and then drink your milk, Ashu!" Bribe. Nothing works like bribe. Ashu could nt believe her ears. "Really, Amma? Wow!" And Antu who has never eaten a piece of chocolate until today and thinks that chocolates are "dirty" decided to change her mind and try one. Welcome to the big bad world of chocolates, my dear girl! If not on Deepavali, then when? Bathing, dressing up, etc.. were all done on fast forward with minimum crying by Antu. I decided to make Hd feel special too by making Pongal and Chutney and the man does nt know what hit him! Hes off to drop Ashu in school now. (Did nt I tell nothing works like bribe? ;) Parents, Sis, Bil and a special friend called to wish and now at 9 am, it does feel a little like Deepavali with my damp hair, the fragrance of incense sticks and candles lingering in the air, our new dresses with a touch of kungumam in them and a very tempting dabba of double ka meetha.

Wishing you all a wonderful, wonderful Deepavali!

November 04, 2010

Well! Well! Well!

YY has indeed arrived in the blog world.

Check out her recent post for some entertainment. I am so amazed by all the coincidence that Im quite speechless.
Let me try to decipher what happened.


2. SG decides to write a Golu post this year and searches for a golu photo in google images.

3. Of the millions of pictures, the one in Page 19 strikes his fancy and he uses it. (Im guessing here!)

So far so good.

4. When the commenters compliment on the Golu, hes quite non committal in the beginning. (Thats the conscience, I guess and one should always, always listen to it!)

5. But when commenter, Anu Bharat praises the Golu, he gracefully accepts the compliments!

Except that they are MY GRANDMOTHER and MOTHERs bommais!! (ok, ok. I got a little carried away too. "Our". Not "My". And now my sister's.)

6. A few days later, he participates in Paruls By the Watercooler contest.

7. A week later, Parul announces the winners and SG is one of the five winners. Parul links his blog.

8. YY reads that post and follows the link to SG's blog. (What are the odds, huh?)

9. And she randomly checks the archives only to see her own Golu photo staring back at her. (Again, what are the odds?)

Im shocked at all these coincidences. A Bay area resident writes about Bay area Navarathri complaining mostly about the food (on how theres no "originality"!) only to copy and use another Bay area residents Navarathri Golu photo (unknowingly, I hope!) and then not clarifying that its neither his picture nor his Golu.

Im so fascinated by this Butterfly Effect that Im neither angry nor upset about this theft. Just intrigued. :)

November 02, 2010

By the Water Cooler - Parul's second Book.

A very dear blogpal, Parul is out with her second book, By the Water Cooler. She has a fun contest in her blog. But Im late in announcing the contest so the last date for entries has passed by. But that should nt stop you from going there and reading all the entries. Such fun. I was going to twist the title a little and write my own entry "By the Microwave" and how my boss (Ashu) and a coworker (Hd) harrassed me while my super boss (Antu) watched and did nothing while I was heating milk for them in the microwave but I guess now the world will never know that story! ;)

Good luck, Parul. Wishing you loads of luck. Cant wait to get my hands on your book.

ps.
My review of the first book, Bringing up Vasu, here.

October 25, 2010

O Re Kaanchi...


Ashu danced on stage for the first time on Saturday. It was a group dance with 5 other girls. I had never thought that Ashu will ever climb a stage, least of all dance in the near future. Shes extremely self conscious. So when a month back, an Indian school mom suggested a group dance by the kids, I reluctantly signed up Ashus name and was ready to accept Ashus decision if she wanted to quit. On the first day of practice, I wanted to beg her to quit because she was err.... not graceful. (And Im being kind here.) Another mom and I were the choreographers and I was cursing Hd for passing on the two left feet gene to our daughter! (of course, hes to be blamed!) She was also the youngest in the group. Us two moms were exhausted after every practice what with making 6 precocious kids dance to our tunes and not to mention all their younger siblings wandering around and distracting everybody at every turn! But we did it somehow. Ashu slowly progressed from not-dancing to exercising to partial-dancing. Grace is a long time away but Im not complaining. ( Cute little girls in cute little outfits! Whats there to complain about? ) I am so proud that she did nt quit. That she cooperated so nicely during practice. That though she was the youngest, she acted mature. That she remembered all the steps. That she made friends. But most of all, that she had fun and enjoyed herself.

Since the successful performance,the choreographers decided to milk the situation and make the group perform the same dance in two more events next month. As long as its not a dance competition, we have nothing to worry. ;)

October 19, 2010

Googly.

Ashu and Antu were sitting on the kitchen counter while I was going about making our evening hot chocolate/milk/tea.

Antu - Amma, where is Appa?

Me: He is in Germany, Antu. Actually hes on a plane now. He ll be home tonight.

Ashu: On a plane? *does a plane sound*

Me: Yes. Hes in Germany and hes flying from there *pointing to Antus nose* and coming to Zurich. *pointing to Ashus nose*

(The girls giggle.)

Ashu - Amma! Is Germany bigger than Switzerland or smaller?

Me -
*thinking to myself how geographically inclined my daughter is* Germany is bigger, Ashu.

Ashu - Then why did you point to Ashu's nose as Germany? I am Germany and she's Switzerland.

Me - You are right. My mistake. Im sorry. *rolls eyes*

(pause.)

Ashu - And you know what Amma?

Me - *uh ho* What?

Ashu - You are U.S.A. because you are so beeg!

Me - *sigh*

I should have listened to the warning bells and changed the subject. I never see what's coming.

October 16, 2010

Locarno.

Since Ashus school is closed for autumn break, Hd took two days off and we went to Locarno last weekend for four days. The weather was warmer than here though it was a bit cloudy the first 2 days. We were so scared that it will turn like our Como trip since we were going in the same direction. But the next 2 days were fabulous. We stayed in a fully furnished flat. I think its someones holiday home. I fell in love with the place. It was so tastefully decorated. Simple but classy. Futons and single beds in the living room where the kids slept. A beautiful bedroom with a blue theme going. A spacious balcony where we had our breakfast everyday with a fantastic view of the Lake Maggiore. A dream kitchen with everything I needed. TV, Music system, books, tourist info, board games, ... I was blown away by how thoughtfully the place was done. Sigh.


We had a perfect vacation by getting up late, eating breakfast and getting out of the house in time for lunch. Eating yummy food at the Italian joints, sight seeing, idly walking by the lake, window shopping, gobbling gelatos,... and getting back to our place for dinner. Dinner was some ready to eat stuff out of the packets. We went on the mini train ride around the city. It has become a must in every place we go, thanks to Ashu. Another day we took a funicular and went up to Orselina and a cable car from there to Cardada. The views were amazing and the place also had a nice park in the woods. We also drove to Valle(y) Maggia. In the lakeside park in Locarno, there was a trampoline and Ashu jumped with harness and all and also learnt to flip. It was fun to watch her.


On Tuesday morning, we checked out and drove to Valle(y) Verzasca which is a 25 kms drive from Locarno. It was AMAZING. One of the best drives ever. So scenic and so beautiful. I could nt believe that we have been in Swiss for so long and never came here before. We stopped at Lavertazzo, crossed the double arched stone bridge and hiked amidst rocks to go near the river. Its a crystal clear blue river. The photos don't do justice. We could nt get enough of the beauty of the river. We drove on to the end of the valley to a village called Sonogno. A tiny place with stone houses. So picturesque. We had lunch there. Then retraced our route back to Locarno. Stopped on the way to see the Verzasca dam where James Bond did the bungee jumping stunt in Golden Eye. Was scary to even look! Hd wanted to bungee jump but after seeing the 220 metres high dam, he said, "no way!" (paithyam dhaan ingendhu kudhikkum* were his exact words!) LOL! Then we hit the road back home.


One morning, Hd and I woke up to the voices of the kids. They both were sitting in the living room and the conversation we heard went like this.

Ashu: Do you want to kill me, Antu?
Antu - No.
Ashu - Not really kill, ok? Just pretend. And not me. My horse.
Antu - OK.
Ashu - Move something. Do you want to move this?
Antu - No. This one.
Ashu - No Antu. You CANT move my dead bishop. Move something else.
Antu - (silence)
Ashu - (storms in to our bedroom) Amma! Its not fun. This Antu is not listening to me at all. She does nt know how to play chess!
Me - !!!!

ps.
Ashu does nt know how to play chess either. She just uses Antu as a pawn in all her games! ;)

*only a crazy person would jump from here.

October 14, 2010

Phone Booth.

(Wife calls the Husband at work around 6 pm.)

Wife: Still in office? What are you doing?

Husband: Its not even 6 yet.

W: So?

H: Did I tell you I will be leaving at 6?

W: Did you tell me you will be leaving later?

H: No.

W: Then whats wrong in me asking?

H: Its only 6. Thats why. *sighs*

W: *yells* Dude! You should be happy that you have someone in your life who loves you, misses you and is waiting for you at home with your kids! So stop this sighing business, ok? You so don't deserve me. Heres a person who actually cares about you and you don't even appreciate...

H: *hurriedly* I am sorry. I am sorry.

W: *smiles* Lets try this one more time. When are you coming home?

H: I will leave in another half an hour.

W: Good. See you then. Bye.

H: Bye.

Im sure he sighed again after he hung up.

October 05, 2010

Little Miss. Smarty-Pants.


Ashu strongly believes that one day Antu will catch up with her and they both can be twins and go to the same class, look alike, do the same things, etc... etc... And I totally understand where shes coming from because when I was a kid all I ever wanted to be was a twin. "Twins" was such a magical word. Ashu has a twin in her class this year and its a fascinating experience for her. Even though the other twin is in a different class, they all meet during recess and Ashu is always proudly declaring how she always know the difference but the boys always get confused. (they wear different dresses everyday, duh!)

I burst Ashus bubble and told her that Antu will always be younger than her. They can never be the same age. But she threw a googly at me and asked, "Amma! When I become big and you are dead, can Antu be my baby?" Sigh! I should learn to keep my mouth shut.

The other day she was being very difficult and I yelled at her. She got very upset and marched off to her room. I took some time to cool off too and then went to talk to her. But its like talking to a wall when shes upset. Nothing works. So I tell her, "Listen Ashu. You have a choice. Lets just hug each other, move on and make this day happy. Or you can keep on sulking and make this day sad. What are you going to do?" She looks at me and says, "I don't like both the choices." "OK. So what do you want to do?", I ask her. "I want to play some game with you", she says. Sigh. I wish my demands were so simple too.

Last week, she came home from school and told me, "Today we had to pick a non-fiction book from the library, Amma." And I was all, "What?" So she explains, "Non fiction books are not stories. You learn something. Like about animals or birds or people." Oh, OK. And how do you know if a book is fiction or non fiction, I asked. "I just look at the spine label, Amma, Its marked!" But of course!

Ashu also educated me on what is symmetry. "If we slice our body in two halves from top to bottom, everything on the right matches the left, Amma. So we are symmetrical" and also folded a paper in two halves, opened, sprayed some paint, closed and opened. and showed me the symmetry on both the sides. "Even this baby is symmetrical, Amma. Look at her eyebrows", she said pointing at Antu. Poor Antu. Reduced to a lab experiment by her older sis!

Today we had the parents teachers meeting at school and as always I was tearing up hearing the teachers sing her praises.( For the money we pay, they better! ) Ashus class has this class stuffed toy which is given to one child each day to take home and then write a report on what the child did with the toy at home. Its fun. The kids think that they get it only if they are very well behaved in class and make good choices. Ashu got it the first time in the third week of school and patiently waited until then. She asked me once when she will get it and I told her that she has to make good choices. And she replied, "But I always make good choices, Amma!" Since its coming from Ashu and not Antu, I believed it too!! And today her teacher told me, "If I could, I will send her home with that toy everyday. Shes such a good kid!" Now what more does a mom need, you tell me!

September 30, 2010

First Day First Show.

Let the records show that today while Ashu was really unwell and running a high temperature and taking a long nap in the evening, the father of the said sick girl sneaked out of the house to watch the first day first show of Enthiran and hes not even a Rajini fanboy!

You thought I would let this one go, Hd? *insert evil laughter* My sis and I have never ever let my dad forget the fact that he was watching a cricket match in a different city while our mom was in labor. This is Ashus trump card. Use it well, my dear.

ps.
Hd's records might show that we tossed a coin to decide who goes and who stays but lets focus on whats important, shall we? I was home. He was NOT. ;)

September 21, 2010

At the Breakfast Table - 3.

Hey Ashu! How would you like it if I become your class mom this year?

What does a class mom do?

You remember last year when A's mom was the class mom? She came with you on trips, came and helped out whenever the teacher asked? That way.

Oh cool! You can be a class mom! Yay!

But Im just thinking about it, Ashu. I don't know if I will be able to do it with Antu. So lets see. I just wanted to ask you if its ok with you.

Ok.

(a short pause)

Amma?

Yes.

You be a class mom if you WANT to. I don't NEED you to be a class mom, ok? Only if you WANT to.

Needless to say, I had fainted at this point and Hd had to come and sprinkle water in my face to wake me up. Need and Want, indeed! I don't think I knew the difference until I got married and WANTED a red volkswagen beetle very badly and Hd lectured me about wants and needs! :)

August 31, 2010

Chalk & Cheese.

Ro's recent post reminded me of this incident which happened a couple of weeks back. I was organizing the kids toys and while doing so, I found the Dora puzzle box which has been in storage for the past 18 months. I remembered that it was Ashus favorite puzzle to do when she was 2+ and decided that now is a good time as any to introduce the same to Antu. *you can call me an idiot right about now* Ashu was thrilled to see the box after ages and opened the box to see the seven different puzzles neatly arranged in different ziploc bags. Immediately, she started working on the puzzle while the resident 2 year old was happy playing with the box and excitedly talking to the picture of Dora and Boots on the box. In no time, Ashu finished all the puzzles all on her own and neatly arranged them on the floor. Like this. (She even spun a story with the finished pictures.)


Soon afterwards, the dad and daughter duo decided to go watch the Zurich Street Parade and marched off. Ashu asked me to guard the puzzles and not to clean them up since she wanted to make up more stories once she came back. I foolishly agreed and asked her to move them under the TV stand so that they are safe from "predators"! An hour later, Im busy making dinner in the kitchen while Antu is playing as usual in the hall. Or so I thought. I switch off the stove and come out to see THIS.


My heart stopped for a second. So now I got to pick 200+ puzzle pieces from the floor, sort it out, bag them and pack them off? And hope Ashu does nt remember? (yeah right!) Or do I actually sit and do the puzzles as fast as I could before Ashu comes home? (yeah right!) While I was clicking pictures, yelling at Antu and contemplating what to do, in walk in Ashu and her father. Oh ho! Ashu was mighty upset at the mess but the poor thing consoled herself quickly. And to Antus credit, she apologized to her sis even without me prompting her. (She would do anything to get out of a situation) And much to my relief, Hd offered to clean up. And thats what I call a happy ending. For me, that is. ;)

ps.
oh! Forgot the whole point of the post - Good luck, Ro! :D

August 30, 2010

Five years.

Who would have thought? I love you my dear blog. Happy Birthday!

That reminds me, when Ashu was a baby all I wanted to know was how will Ashu look like when she is 5. How will her voice be? What will her interests be? Who will her friends be? It was such a giddy feeling. Sigh! Good times. All I want to know now is when will the girls go to sleep! Ha ha ha! (Just kidding, Dad!)

Did I tell you Ashu is riding her bicycle without the training wheels? The big milestone happened last Sunday when Hd removed the training wheels and took Ashu down to teach her to ride. I gave him all sort of gyaan and told him that it will be great if Ashu can learn to ride by end of this year. Ha! 15 minutes later, he calls me and asks me to look out of the balcony. And whaddayaknow? Ashu is riding the bike on her own! This man does nt have to sweat for anything in his life, I tell you! Anyway, yay! I was so proud at the moment. Lets just say that I could totally relate to how Neil Armstrong's parents would have felt when he landed on the moon. (Or at the photo studio if thats what you believe! ;)

August 25, 2010

Super School.

In spite of all the reservations I have about Ashu's school, I like it because Ashu loves to go to school. But with the email the school sent today to everyone about the drop off and pick up guidelines, Im in love too.

Please remain in the car when you pick up your children as this makes the traffic flow function smoothly. Teachers on duty are happy to assist your child. If the school traffic line is full please immediately use the other line. If you have a sleeping child in the back and need to return to the main line when you reach the top of the road, the parking attendant will help to guide you back into that traffic line. Thank you for helping us out.

In my opinion, anyone who is thoughtful enough to think about my younger kid who is mostly sleeping while I go to pick up the older one should be the best in what they do. So what if Ashu will never know her ABCs? I don't have to park the car a mile away and walk with a sleeping child and that is what matters! :)

August 19, 2010

Kindergarten Girl.

It was Ashu's first day of Kindergarten yesterday and it was all so overwhelming. For me, that is! When we went for the orientation the day before, Ashu refused to stay in the class and started crying when we left her and went to attend the orientation. And I was surprised at her behaviour. I mean she has just began her 4th year in this school and she's crying? But then, its a new campus. Big school. New teachers. So settled her down calmly and ran away. When we went back after an hour, madam was happily playing with her best friend. Phew. This campus is not that near to our place which means we have to leave the house at 8 am. So yesterday, we managed to get up early and pack snack, lunch for her, eat breakfast and leave on time. Ashu got down and skipped to her classroom with the help of a teacher. I parked the car and walked to her class to leave the rain boots, jackets, indoor shoes, etc... I said bye to her and she waved and went inside. She had loads of things to tell in the afternoon when I went to pick her up. Today I did the run with Antu since Hd is out of town. And in spite of an emergency diaper change situation for Antu in the car and a bit of traffic due to road work, we were able to reach school on time and I dropped her off at the entrance and drove off. Sigh! My little girl is growing up. So am I. (I got up at 6.00 am two days in a row, alright?)

Antu is missing her Akka terribly. Yesterday when I came back home after dropping Ashu, she stood at the door and asked in a horrified tone, "Akka enga?" (Wheres Akka?) After two months of being inseparable, she does nt know what to do now. But that was only yesterday. Today madam has realized that she can play with all the stuff thats forbidden to her when Ashu is around! I told Hd about my sister and me when we were young. How this one year my sis used to leave for her school before me and come back after me. So I used to raid her cupboard and take her pens, pencils, rulers, erasers,... take them to school and then come back and put them where there were. (sorry, sis!) After all those years, Im still putting back things. Only now I work for someone else!

Heres to all the kids who are starting their first day of school or going back to school. Loads of love, learning and laughter. And good luck to the younger one raiding their cupboards! :)

August 14, 2010

A Twist in the Tale.

During story time, usually before bedtime, Ashu and I have quite an interesting thing going. So I give her some choice and she chooses the story she wants. Like "I want two animals in the story, Amma. You choose any animal. And I want a happy story. Not a scary one". So I spin a story on the characters given to me often involving her to move the story forward. Whenever Im stuck, all I have to do is ask her, "What do you think happened, Ashu?" and voila! you can move on with the story! :) Poor thing does nt know that the tale just formed in my head and is so thrilled that she "guessed" correctly! muahaha!

One day, I was completely blank. Story tellers block, I guess. So I decided to tell her some well known tales. "The Midas Touch" came to mind and I told her that story. Once Midas got the "golden touch", I described to her how whatever he touched turned into gold and told her that that might be a problem for certain things and asked her to guess what the problems might be. While I was imagining myself with uneatable golden Idlis and a golden river of Sambar and worrying, pat came the reply from her. "Midas can never draw a rainbow, Amma. Whatever color he touches will turn into gold. So he can only paint a golden rainbow. Never a colorful rainbow"! Now, is that cute or is that cute?


Another day, another story. This time the story of The Cap Seller. ("I want a story with an animal and a person, Amma. You can choose if its a boy or a girl. And I want a silly story!" *giggles*) So I tell her how the monkeys were wearing the caps and the cap seller was trying to get the caps back and how the monkeys were copying whatever the man did. Interaction time, I thought and asked Ashu to guess what the man did next to get the caps back. Pat came the reply, "Did he climb the tree and then swing upside down? Then the monkeys would do the same and all their caps would fall down from their heads." Well, theres an idea! Thats exactly how the story would have ended if the cap seller was nt wearing his hat now, would nt it?

Talking about copying monkeys, I call Antu Copy Cat all the time because she has to do everything her big sister does. Once Ashu asked me why I call Antu a copy cat and I told her the reason. "But why a copy CAT, amma? Do cats copy?" errr... Then thankfully the story of the cat and the tiger came to me. Its a popular phrase in Tamil, "puliya paathu soodu pottunda poonai" meaning "the cat who burnt himself wanting to be a tiger". So I told her the story about how a cat wanted to be like a tiger and decided to get some stripes. So he used the firewood to mark his body and ended up getting burnt. "But why did nt he just use some paints, Amma?", came the question. "Oh thats the moral of the story, Ashu. Use paint!", I replied and escaped! Phew. Kids today! I so get my grandma now!

August 04, 2010

Home Sweet Home.

Yeah right! Who am I kidding? All the unpacking and organizing! I really am an idiot. Every time I go to the US, I tell myself not to go crazy while shopping. But I cant help myself but scream "but thats so cheap, thats so cheap" and buy everything under the sun. And do I have enough storage to keep all of that in my house here? The answer would be a big NO. The edible marker pens I bought at Michaels to decorate my future cupcakes - do I really need that? The fancy ribbons which were on sale? *bangs head* The dozen summer outfits for the kids which they cant wear more than a month here? *bangs head again* The nth pair of shoes, the bhel puri mix and the Tetley elaichi tea bags at the Indian store? *bang bang bang* Anyway, long story short - junk junk junk. (sorry sis!) As if all this is nt enough, I find instant Tomato rasam and Pepper rasam bottles in the suitcase. Courtesy - the master packer, my Mom. Next time they ask me at the airport if I packed the bags and if someone gave me something to keep, Im going to confess, "My mom packed. And she must have sneaked in Oorugaais for her Son-in-law or badham halwa for her grand kids. I honestly don't know!"

That apart, the jet lag is killing us and the kids are missing the US and the US folks like crazy. They don't say it as many words but it pains me to watch Antu see her doll after a month and getting all excited to show it to everyone. Only everyone is not here. Only plain old me! :( And Ashu asking after the caterpillars on the phone to my sis. The teeny weeny caterpillars Utbt gave Ashu. They grew fat and big (just like the book described they would!) and were in their cocoons when we left. We miss seeing the butterflies by a few days. Ashu is hoping that it will skype-casted live from there though! ;)

Hd has worked hard around the house last month and it shows. New upholstery for the arm chair, new cooking pots, new storage unit for his office desk, ... Ashu even commented, "Amma! Appa has changed the toilet paper also. Its blue in color!" He also managed to dispose Antus crib(sob! sob!) and moved Ashus toddler cot in her room. So Ashu and Antu would be sleeping in the same room from now on. Ashu was totally cool with the idea and Antu marked her territory by plonking Jamadu on the bed and climbing in even before I could prepare my big girl speech. Sigh! Whats her hurry? Hd also had a fully stocked fridge with idli batter, sambar, chutney and eggplant curry all of which he had made during the weekend and store bought chapathis. I felt only guilt(and very hungry!) since all I left for him when I went was the dirty laundry!! *gulp*

And oh! If you thought I forgot about the travel part, I did nt. It was so uneventful that I was surprised myself. The kids and I slept for 5 hours during the SFO-LON flight. So that was cool. And slept the entire LON-ZRH stretch too. I think BA read my blog or something because I got the stroller both in LON and ZRH as soon as I left the aircraft so that was a life saver. And I wizened up about the LON airport security and packed only idlis for the kids. Take that, you saddos! And I was so disappointed that they did nt ask me to taste the food because I was starving after standing in the line for such a long time! ;)

July 27, 2010

The vacation is still going strong.

We are so busy having so much fun here that I dont have a minute to sit and think about anything. And I realize there are only 5 more days before we leave back for Zurich. Sigh! Last weekend was fantastic. It was the first time I went camping. Ashu has been wanting to go camping for the past 2 years and she was excited about the whole idea of sleeping in a tent in the middle of nowhere. We carried a truck load of stuff for an one night koothu. Utbt and Co also joined us with another truck load of stuff and we cooked, we ate, we played, we chatted, we slept looking at the stars. It was awesome. The campsite was quite rough and thorny. While Ashu would gingerly put one foot out of the tent, wear her shoe and then the other one, Antu would just run around barefoot taking a break to pluck out thorns from her feet. Chalk and cheese, I tell ya!

As if all the shopping and eating out and the camping was nt fun enough, we decided to sneak in a girls only trip to Las Vegas. Sis, a friend and I left for Vegas on Saturday morning. A very dear friend (who just happens to be my sisters SIL) from the Mid West joined us there and we four had a blast à la Sex and the City. Only replace sex with food and gambling! :D It was so liberating to do a trip sans kids. No diaper bags and strollers. No kids menu and high chairs. No tantrums and whining. Ah! Bliss! Giggling like crazy for every thing under the sun. Checking out dudes and dudettes in the poolside. Margaritas and Wine. (water in my case.) Coming back to the hotel room way past midnight and getting up in time for lunch! It was a dream come true. We also watched the show Kà by Cirque du Soleil at MGM Grand and it was brilliant. I loved the sets, the moving platforms and the special effects. Especially the one scene where one of the twins is drowning in the ocean. It was just amazing. Worth the money for just that one scene.

Got back on Monday morning and it seemed Ashu had grown taller in 2 days! Antu blessed me with a smile and then yelled, "Perimmaaa" and ran to my sister and hugged her. The little imp! At least I have one child who missed me. Hmph! While my mom is thrilled that her little girls had a blast, my dad is all "ellam all kali kaalam!" I agree that the statement "leaving your kids/husband and going for a weekend away to drink/gamble" would nt sound like a good idea to most of the previous generation especially when translated in Tamil (kuzhandhaigala vittuttu kudi, koothu, soodhaatam!) but they better get used to it! Hd went "You went for a break and now you are taking a break from the break?" Well, what can I say? I swear by the quote - "Live life to the fullest... think of all the people on the Titanic who passed up chocolate dessert." :)

July 17, 2010

Appappa!

Hd called this morning and Ashu yelled, "I want to talk to Appa, I want to talk to Appa" and snatched the phone from me.

Ashu: Hello!
Hd: Hello Baby!
Ashu: Hi Appa! We can't talk to you right now because we are all going camping. Chula and Mieja are also coming. We are packing now and we are busy. Bye!

I could hear Hd's heart breaking into hundred pieces all the way here. Sorry, dear. She does miss you. In her own way! ;)

July 06, 2010

30 Days of Summer.

Since I'm a sucker for punishment and also to retain my "Ulagam sutrum Boo" title, I decided to travel to the US with the kids. The husband wisely talked himself out of the trip sighting work and stayed back in Zurich. Ever since my parents reached my sister's place in May, my sis has been nagging to me to come to her place for the summer. But I said no way. 1. I did nt want to travel ALONE with the kids. 2. I did nt want to travel alone WITH the kids. 3. I did nt want to travel alone with the KIDS. OK. OK. You get my point. But I think my sis talked to Ashu behind my back and coached her or something because Ashu insisted that she wanted to go see everyone and "its not fair Amma, if we don't go". So I gave in. Told myself that since Antu turns two and will get a seat of her own, things might be a bit easier. And whaddayaknow? Things actually were easier. Easier to go the bathroom whenever I wanted to. Easier to eat the food when it was served. Easier to walk with both the kids when I did nt get the stroller in London as promised. Of course things were tougher when the security in London threw away all the baby food because I refused to taste 50% of every yogurt cup/fruit puree.

Ashu: Amma! I want my bag back.
Me: You have to wait, Ashu. They are checking it.
Ashu: But why?
Me: To see if theres anything dangerous in it.
Ashu: But theres nothing dangerous in it, Amma.
Me: I know that. But they don't trust you.
Ashu: *shakes head*

Anyway, we all landed safely without blowing the plane up. No bombs in Antus diaper or knives in Ashus coloring book. Phew. You never know what the kids were up to when you were nt looking, right? ;)

It has been a week but feels like a month. We went to Yosemite for the long weekend and had a blast. Saw a bear just five feet from us crossing the road. And I was standing with Ashu in my hip on the road. She was so thrilled. "Why is there no fence? No cage?", she wanted to know. After that incident, she started saving Honey sachets in her pant pockets so that she can give them to the bears when she sees them again! Antu is still in a daze about the change of place and so many people who cater to her every whim. Thatha and Perippa have replaced Appa and she does nt even give the time of the day to us women folks.


We also watched The Amazing Bubble Lady in the library, went to the beach, watched fireworks on 4th of July (Antu's first and she was gobsmacked) and have loads of plans for the rest of the trip. 3 more weeks to go and I don't know how Im going to deal with the good byes. The NOs and tears and tantrums and all the emotional drama. My parents, Sis are Bil are too much to take when they are a slobbering mess all at the same time. :)

June 28, 2010

Five year old girls and their weird questions.

Ashu: Amma, what is "pussy"?
Me: EXCUSE ME?
Ashu: Why is a cat called pussycat, Amma? What is "pussy"?
Me: phew!
Ashu: What? Tell me.
Me: Its just pussycat, OK?
Ashu: So what is pussy?
Me: I don't know.
Ashu: look in the laptop and tell me then.
Me: sigh ok. *googles* Ah ok. A pussycat is a female cat, Ashu. A girl. Puss is a girl in Dutch, it seems. And do you know what a male cat is?
Ashu: I don't know.
Me: I can tell that without looking in the laptop. Its called a Tomcat.
Ashu: *giggles* like in Tom and Jerry?
Me: Yup.
Ashu: And if Jerry was a girl cat, then we can call it Tom and Pussy! *giggles*
Me: sigh!

June 27, 2010

27.06.2010

Dear Antu,

Happy Birthday, Darling! You are way too cool for my mushy birthday letters. So I ll tell you how you spent your day today. We were at our friends place last night and got back late. You charmed the pants off everyone there. Today I packed a picnic and went to Park im Grüene. Three families joined us there and all you kids had fun in the water area, the train rides, the play area, etc... You did nt want to leave the water area and cried a bit when I carried you and walked away. You loved it when all of us sang the Happy Birthday Song (in English and Deutsch). I had made an Almond flavored cake with cream cheese frosting. Ashu suggested a Mickey Mouse theme since you love him. Ashu and I played around with marzipan and did an outline of the mickey mouse face and put it on top of the cake. Not my best work, but you recognized it to be Mickey and thats all I wanted! :)

This year flew away so fast. Today I told your Appa, "I cant believe last year this time I was in the hospital" and he gave me a look and told, "You mean the year before?" Yikes! You are TWO?! You are already wearing your sisters Age 3 clothes. You don't care if your dad or I leave you and go somewhere. You are not bothered when we three hug each other. You just keep doing your own thing most of the time. You are raring to go to school. You adore your sister and would rather listen to her than me. You both go and shut yourselves in a room and 15 or 20 minutes later come out dressed as princesses. You patiently let your sister dress you up when you would nt even cooperate with me to put a diaper on you. While your sister still dresses up in the clothes I select for her, you already have a mind of your own. "Kai want, kai want,..." is your favorite phrase. (I want, I want,...) Kai want, kai want butterfly dress amma. Kai want, kai want bikki amma. Kai want, kai want Dora Amma,... are some oft repeated requests!

I love you to bits, my adorable Antu. Hope this year has been as fantastic for you as it has been for us. And here's to many, many more fantastic ones.

Love,
Amma