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May 25, 2011

Five lessons that Motherhood has taught me.

I think I have been tagged after eons. I have to be blamed because I mostly forget to take up tags. Apologies. So let me do Kiran's tag before I forget. Thanks K for shaking me awake from my blogger's block!

So here are the five lessons that Motherhood has taught me.

1. Patience. I never knew I had so much patience in me. And that its never enough. Like today. We came back from school, cleaned up, ate snacks and after packing every sand toy in the house left for the play area downstairs. I asked the girls to use the bathroom before we left and Antu was very sure that she did nt want to go! I even threatened her that I will not bring her back home if she said that she wanted to use the bathroom as soon as we reached the park. And what happened 10 minutes later? Madam says she has to use the bathroom NOW. This has happened before of course. I tell Ashu to play and that I ll go home and come back in 5 minutes. I walk home with Antu. When we cross the water fountain in front of our apartment, Antu says that she wants to play in the water. "Did nt you want to go to the bathroom NOW?", I ask. "No! I want to go to the water!" I give her a dirty look and drag her home. She sits in the bathroom for 10 minutes and declares that she does nt have to go after all! ARGH!

2. Motherhood has also taught me to shut up. When one does nt have a kind word to tell a mother, especially a new mom, then one has to really shut up. Especially things like "I chose not to take epidural" to a mom who is just being wheeled out after a C-Sec or "I nursed my child until so and so years" to a mom who is struggling with breast feeding are a strict no-no. Hold your tongue, woman! Just stick with "the baby looks just like you" and you will be fine!

3. I know all the Disney Princess's names. And I know who Ben10 is and what Bakugans are. I know how Tooth Fairy works. I know how to make a puppy from play-doh and hot to throw kiddie birthday parties. I know how to turn shoe boxes into storage boxes and I also have watched a caterpillar turn into a butterfly. I know all about potty and sleep training and the ups and downs of breast feeding. I learnt to appreciate Children's literature and can recognize Axel Scheffler's illustrations from a mile away! :)

4. Most importantly, it has taught me to walk out of my comfort zone and take risks. While I'm so afraid of deep frying that I don't ever make HD's favorite pooris or my favorite aamai vadai, I have no problem baking cake after cake for my kids even though many a disaster have occurred. Contrary to the popular belief, Im quite shy and suck at making new friends. I take a step if the other person takes a step but I wont initiate it. I'm too afraid that I might be stepping on their toes. But having a very reserved kid means that I'm her mouth piece. Whether its asking for a play date with Ashu's friend or targeting fellow Desi Moms and pouncing on them at the school entrance or volunteering in school or the numerous get-togethers that happen, I owe everything to motherhood. If not for the kids, I would have been very happy in my shell. But being a mother has taught me that the shell can pretty crowded for a family of four. I owe every friend I have right now to my kids. Including my very dear blog pals. :)

5. hmm.... What else? Oh yeah! I ve learnt that I can fake as a supremely patient and super mom when there are people around! When Antu refuses to leave the park and I tell her very nicely, "Lets go sweetie! We ll go home, eat dinner, read a book and go to bed. Come on now!" what I really mean is "kadankaari! Vandhu tholai! veetukku vaa, unakku irukku*!" Or whenever I write in the blog that I ve given up on Ashu's fussy eating habits and dont bother anymore, what I really mean is that meal times battles still exist but I am not going to write about it here anymore! ;)

* Come home, you brat! You will pay for this!

May 16, 2011

Real Muffins, Fake Cupcakes and Tiramisu.

Ashu's birthday celebrations seem to be extending for a long time. Since her school was closed for Spring break until the 1st of May, she had a small celebration in her class after the school reopened. The usual "going around the Sun 6 times", showing her baby pictures to her friends and teachers, eating cup cakes, etc... I baked rainbow cup cakes and they came out awesome thanks to the gel food colors Sis sent from the US. When I baked the rainbow cake last year, I did nt have gel food colors and even though the cake looked good, the colors were nt really vibrant. And I was quite apprehensive about making cupcakes because all that effort of mixing colors in four different batches for a simple muffin seemed tedious to me. But it turned out pretty easy actually. I had nt told Ashu that it was going to be rainbow muffins and when she got up in the morning and saw all the muffins, the expression on her face was priceless. Guess us moms are suckers for punishment just for that look on our kids faces! Whether its taking them to Disneyland during Spring break or baking rainbow muffins at midnight which are going to be half eaten and thrown in the trash by most of the kids!

We also had unexpected house guests the next week which Ashu thought was in her honor! We hardly have house guests and the kids were super thrilled. A very dear couple with their 2 daughters were on an Europe tour and stayed with us a night before going to Italy. Even though the friend claimed she was here to do laundry(!), we were excited to see them after ages! Ashu asked me yesterday if we can invite S and S for a playdate this week and I had to explain to her that they are in Italy now and will be going back to India and international play dates are nt the norm. Yet. :) The next day we had a small "cupcake" party at home with 2 girls who missed Ashu's birthday party. (Yes, you can say that again - Im a sucker for punishment!) Sis had sent a fake cupcake decorating kit for Ashu and the three girls went crazy making fake cupcakes while Antu and I were gobbling real banana muffins! Antu made sure to ask me "Is this real? Can I eat this?" though! Atta girl! The fake cream looked so real that whenever I got a bit of my cream in my hands while helping them, my first instinct was to lick it!!! Had to warn the girls a dozen times not to lick although Im sure a bit of it did find its way to their stomach! Well, a little bit of glue does nt harm anyone. Or does it?

The weekend was busy with back to back birthday parties for Ashu. What a busy social life these kids have! (And why does April/May have the most number of birthdays, anyway?!) And we had friends over for dinner on Sunday. And Ashu expected them to stay overnight! I made Tiramisu for the very first time and though it came out yummy, it was too much coffee for my taste especially since I dont drink coffee. Got to dilute the coffee more the next time I make it. Funny that when I was googling for Tiramisu recipe, I had to google "how to make coffee" because I did nt know the how many spoons of coffee powder to add to a cup of water to make the coffee! Yes, Im that girl who does nt even know how to make coffee that the Mothers-In-law love to complain about!! Come to think of it, I dont how to boil an egg either! I mean, I did nt! Have I told you how this one time I tried to boil an egg in a "microwave"?!!! God rest its soul! And I mean the microwave here! ;)

May 08, 2011

Atzmännig.

We had a wonderful time in Atzmannig yesterday. When our dear friend S left for India recently, I knew that I was going to miss a travel partner along with a best friend! Usually its S and her husband who pick out a place and we tag long with them! God knows how they do it but they are always finding just the perfect place to go as a family! So when S went to Atzmannig the last weekend she was in Swiss, she made sure to pass on the information to me and almost made me promise that I ll take Ashu there because she knew how much Ashu likes to climb! :)


Along with another family, we drove to Atzmannig yesterday and reached within an hour. The place is located in the most beautiful location ever. There is this leisure park on top of a hill one one side and a Rope Adventure Park on the other. The park's main attraction is a 700 m Toboggan run with 17 turns! Its really cool! Theres also something called a sliding tower with different kinds of slides where Antu had a blast! The kids went crazy on the trampoline, the play area, the coin operated cars, flying chairs, petting goats and donkeys, ...

After a picnic lunch, we went to the Rope Adventure Park which was the main reason we went there. Ashu and the other boy who are under 8 were geared up with the climbing gear, helmets and gloves and were told that they can do the two easy courses how many ever times they want! Hd and the other older kid were given a crash course for 15 minutes before they took the advanced course. Antu was napping in her stroller by then so I left her by a table near the outdoor restaurant and was happily cheering Ashu while Hd was somewhere up on the trees like a cliff hanger! It was such fun to say the least! Ashu went on the two courses again and again a dozen times! The park was closing at 6.00 and at 5.58 she was asking me, "Can I do a quick Route A and come back, Amma?" and hurried up to the tree and clamping herself to the safety rope, disappeared in the woods! Could nt believe this was the same girl who cried when she did it the first time because she was a scared of a slidy thing! It was so nice to see her so dedicated and walking on tight ropes and wobbly bridges and webs and hanging onto ropes. A mother's dream come true, I tell you.
A must-see place for the entire family near Zurich if you live or visit here. The Toboggan ride is from Age 3 onwards and the Rope Park is from Age 4 onwards. But the Leisure park has enough for under 3 too. Perfect place to do picnics and there is a restaurant too. Huge parking lot which is free. Take loads of coins for the rides though. For more information click here.

May 05, 2011

Ashu's Birthday Party & the Big Surprise.

Last week was a roller-coaster ride. Just before we left for Disneyland, my sister called up to tell me that my Bil is coming to Zurich on 26th as a birthday surprise for Ashu and asked me to keep it a secret. I, of course, immediately sent her the birthday party shopping list before going "WHAT?" Since no one in our family even goes to the bathroom without surprising someone(!), my antenna went up and I asked sis if actually she was coming! She denied of course and kept on denying the whole week and I believed her only after seeing my Bil in the train station standing alone! (Even then, I thought Sis might ve taken a taxi and gone home! One never knows when it comes to my family!) On Tuesday evening, I took the kids to the station and they thought we were going to pick up their father! When they saw Perippa, Antu royally ignored him and Ashu went absolutely speechless and we could see her heart racing! She just held his hand and stood there for a long time before hugging him. And she let him go only after a whole week when he was leaving for the airport back to the US! Plan 2 was to surprise my parents who had no idea Bil was here. The kids and I were skyping with them when cooly Bil came and sat with us on the sofa and it was incredible to see my parents face. My sis was on the phone with them at the same time and they thought she was here too! hee hee! Plan 3 was executed when Hd came home from office in the evening. Ashu planned it and asked Bil to stand behind the door. Hd entered and seeing me armed with a camera, he gave a look and then turned to see Bil and was shell-shocked! muahahaha! Missions accomplished!

Sis had sent a bunch of decorate your own fabric backpacks, fabric pens, wild animals stickers, goody bags and even paper plates, cups, napkins, etc... along with a dozen gifts for the kids! Hd was asking me why I was nt going crazy shopping for the birthday party earlier and he had his answer when Bil arrived! He scolded sis and me for using Bil like a courier service! hmph! What does he know? I wish Reva sent one of her fabulous cake through him as well! Then I would nt have had to lift a finger for the party! ;) The party was that sunday at the Wildpark nearby. Ashu and I decorated the backpacks and wrote each kids name on it and stuck some of the animal stickers. I packed the bag with a juice bottle, an apple, a chocolate cookie and a map of the park. (Inspired by my friend, S. She stitched the backpacks herself for all the kids when she threw a party at the zoo last year! Im not that creative but I ve a sister and Bil who are very useful! :) Once all the kids(15) arrived, we set out for a walk to see the animals. It was a drop off party but a couple of parents stayed back to help me out. Bil was the official photographer! The kids loved to carry their personalized backpacks and consult their own maps! We took a snack break half way through. Once we came back to the restaurant, we cut the cake and ate lunch. I had taken cake, sandwiches, cut veggies, dips, zucchini bread, chips, etc,,, and ordered pizza and fries from the restaurant. Later the kids went wild in the play area and the carousel. Everyone was satisfied after going on the carousel four times straight!

All in all, a very good birthday party. I baked a chocolate cake and glazed it and bought some sugar animals, flowers and sprinkles and decorated it! The cake was a bit dry and but looked good and thats all that matters! Added a goody bag with stickers and sweets to the backpack when the kids were leaving. All the kids cooperated so well and were in excellent behaviour much to my pleasant surprise! The three hour duration was just perfect. We saw bears, wild cats, wolves, mountain goats and loads of deers. Antu was stuck to my Bil the entire time and I did nt even hear a peep from her. Hd was mad at me for doing "so much" for a 6 year old party and was wondering how much he has to suffer at my hands when the girls are getting married! I wont let you down, dear! All my friends were in awe that Bil came all the way to be here for Ashus party and she was so proud! She had been nagging my sis and Bil to come to her party for the past few months and she was thrilled that her wish was fulfilled. Even though she missed her Perimma, she got over it as soon as she saw the Rapunzel loot that sis had sent for her! And the scooter. Bil came with a huge suitcase full of stuff for us and went back with an empty suitcase! I am so ashamed! What does one send from here? The only thing my sis would ve loved refused to climb into the suitcase!

Bil went back this Tuesday much to Ashus disappointment. She kept telling him to go one day later, poor thing! But she was glad that her school reopened after the spring break on Monday and she could take him to her class and introduce him to her teachers and show him around the class. It was so cute this time to see Ashu with her Perippa. She was so much "in love" with him! One day we went out for a walk and she plucked a flower and started picking the petals one by one chanting, "perippa loves me, perippa loves me not,....!" And she was thrilled that it ended with "perippa loves me!" When Bil asked what if it had nt, she said, "Its just a game, Perippa! I know that you love me!" She was literally glued to him, watched the IPL matches with him, made cards for him, played games with him, wanted him to read her bed time stories,... It was so heart breakingly adorable to see them together. Antu for her part charmed him and was attached to him too but I guess she can recognize "true love" when she sees it so did nt fight for his attention too much. Phew. Thanks V for doing this trip. The girls are so lucky to be loved like this. And yes, yes. I did nt forget you, Sis! You are the greatest Sister ever. Happy? :)