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February 27, 2010

Ashu and Antu - The almost five year old girl and the 20 months old baby.

It has been 3 months since the last update on the girls and Im shocked at how much they ve grown up in such a short period. I also went through my archives to read about Ashu when she was 20 months and got all teary. We came to Zurich when Ashu was 21 months old. So in another month, Antu will be that old and I feel a lump in my throat. Until now I ve always been picturing Ashu in our Bangalore house whenever comparing Antu to Ashus toddler days. I cant believe Antu is a big girl now. Just like the big girl who I brought with me to Zurich from Bangalore. And that in turn is making me realize how even more bigger Ashu is. Sigh! But the good news is that I ve every piece of Ashus clothes from that age in my basement. So you can kiss goodbye to new clothes, Antu! Nothing new for you anymore! :)
(Thats Ashu on the left aged 20 months.)

Ashu has gone through a remarkable change in a short time. I'm proud to say shes not a time bomb anymore. (hurray!) Shes very independent, matured and more responsible now. If anyone had told me that I ll live to see this day 3 months back, I would ve punched their face for kidding me!

Antu is already following her big sister. She wears her jacket, shoes, cap,... all on her own and waits near the door for me when we are going out. So what if the jacket buttons are not done and shes wearing the shoes in the wrong feet? Shes trying, is nt she?

Ashu is also slowly exploring the world of vegetables. I don't want to make a big deal about it because I don't want to jinx it. But I ll let you know that I'm wriggling my behind and doing a war dance and typing these lines with my toes! Right now its only raw carrots, corn and boiled and salted beans, cauli flower, broccoli, peas, etc... but Im not a fool to complain!

Antu is in the middle stage where she eats mashed food for meals and anything and everything during the snack time. I ve to slowly phase the mashed food out. But the good news is that at last, shes willingly drinking 2 glasses of a milk everyday. Im doing the war dance again here.

Ashu is having a busy life with school, skiing, skating, birthday parties, play dates,... She loves her school to bits. And that's the only reason she agreed to come back from our US trip. She also finally wished "good morning" to the teacher who receives her from the car every morning. Yes, after seeing the same teacher every day for the past 2 years - she finally said a word to her! She also has nt spoken a word to the skating teacher after seeing her every day for a week and to the skiing instructor after 6 weekends! I ll update again after 2 years on that front!

Antu is the total opposite here. Wishes everyone and happily goes to anyone. Loves outdoor. I take her to Kids Care in my gym at least twice a week and to a Mommy & Me music class once a week. She loves both. Theres this absolute joy in her face during the music class that I'm feeling bad for not taking her early on. Looks like music or dance will be her calling. And I'm not saying this only because she shakes her tiny butt to "Excuse me Mister Kandasami!" :)

Ashu went through this phase for a week where she ll come back from school, see what Antu is wearing and then go to her wardrobe and select clothes in the same colour. Drove me crazy when she could nt find the exact match and one time, I had to dress Antu in the same orange pjs for three days straight! Its never a dull day, I tell you. These kids come up with weird stuff just to keep us in our toes.

Whenever I yell at Antu, she screams "Akkaaaaaaa" and Ashu comes running to her. Once I had to hear a long lecture from Ashu on how Antu is just a baby and I should just give her what she wants and should nt be yelling at her. She even issued a stern warning - "Don't do this ever again, Amma. OK?" Of course, all this lecture is conveniently forgotten when Antu is grabbing something from her.

Though Ashu is protective and possessive about her sister, its Antu who has this unwavering adoration for her Akka and I can say with absolute certainity that Amma and Appa rank very lowly in her list. Especially Amma!! *rolls eyes* One can clearly see the divide that Ashu is a mommy's girl and Antu is a daddy's girl.

Ashu is very into reading and writing these days and even practises on her own a lot. So I ve to sit with her to help her out. Wonder why I'm paying so much for the school if I ve to do all the work! She also draws like theres no tomorrow. Her life ambition is to make a drawing for everyone she knows in this world. The other day she wrapped birthday gifts for her classmates using scissors and cellotape. Also wrote a happy birthday note and stuck it on the present. Without zero supervision from me. Though my hands were itching to rewrap the gifts, I resisted because Im a good girl. (OK. I was afraid to face the consequences if Ashu found out. Happy?)

Antu can sing loads of rhymes. Can point things and say what they are in her books. Can even recognize a few alphabets. She has none of the mazhalai(babbling) like Ashu had when she was this age. She speaks clearly. The only babble she says is busserbee which is butterfly. That's only because all of us at home keep referring it as busserbee and not butterfly because we are afraid she ll stop saying busserbee! I mean, wheres the fun then?

Antu is into Noddy, Dora, Diego, Mickey Mouse and Barney. She loves Good night Moon, Brown Bear Brown Bear, Polar bear Polar bear and the first words books. Oh and the nursery rhymes books. She can say what nursery rhyme it is in every page. And to think that we don't even read to her that much.

Ashu is still going strong with Dora, Diego,etc... and in books, she loves Curious George, Charlie and Lola, DW(from the Arthur books) and generally anything and everything if someone is ready to read it to her. I ve got her lots of Usborne early reading books and they are super.

The almost five and almost two age group is good. Its like seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Only time will tell if its the light from an oncoming train. Till then, the going is good.

February 24, 2010

At the breakfast table today - 2.

So there I was making tea and singing loudly "Govinda, Govinda Feel The Fire Govinda" while Ashu was drinking her milk.

Ashu - Amma? Did you say feel the fire? But fire is dangerous amma. You said I should nt play with fire!

Me - !!!!

What now? A woman cant sing(in my case yell!) peacefully in her own house?!! The little brat sings about cows jumping over the moon, black birds baked in a pie, boughs breaking and cradles falling without batting an eyelid but has problems with "feel the fire"? Is she kidding me? What kodumai, I say!

No Appa & Amma. I usually don't go about singing random Kollywood songs first thing in the morning. You both did nt bring me up that way. But today was an exception and its sort of a Saami Paattu anyway, no? :) And dont worry. I ll never ever sing "Kalyanam dhaan kattikittu odi polaamaa" in front of your beloved grand daughters ever. At least not this early in the morning! ;)

February 21, 2010

Ashus Time Pass Idea - 309.

Things needed:
. A baby bath tub that the baby has outgrown and which is used as a laundry basket now.
. A very, very unwilling toddler who can be bribed with a biscuit to participate in the project.

. A pair of wooden salad spoons .
. An Ashu, of course.

Merrily sing "Row row row your boat" and then seeing Amma clicking with a camera, SCREAM LOUDLY and scare the bejeezus out of your baby sister because duh! Amma is the alligator!

Approximate Time passed - 20 minutes.

Seriously. Ashu said "biscuit venumaa? indha" to Antu and dropped the biscuit in the tub and when Antu went to pick it, she pushed her into the "boat" and took off!! It was like seeing the kidnapping scene in "Babys day out"! ;) I think its time to lecture Antu about strangers and biscuits. Or in her case, her very own sister!

February 17, 2010

Whats the opposite of writers block?

Loads of things I wanted to write about and forgot promptly. So be warned! Here comes the bullet points post.

. Firstly, thanks to the kind soul who sat next to my mom in the flight to Dubai from Zurich 2 weeks back. As if sitting quietly next to my mom was nt a punishment by itself, you confessed to her that you read my blog as well. I understand how much my mom would ve talked if you asked her if she was "boosbabytalks mother" in less than two minutes! My sympathies. And thank you for letting her use your phone to call me from Dubai. Now I can tell Hd confidently that my bog is at least worth an international phone call! :) And please email me when you can. I don't think I can trust my moms memory and write to the email id she gave me because the last time I did something like that, some stranger got to read about my churidar kurta measurements!!!

. Ashu is leading a busy life with weekend ski lessons, play dates, parties, etc... and school of course! ;) Its her ski break this week and her father promptly signed her up for ice skating classes almost every day of this week. At this rate, he might also put her in a bicycle class to learn cycling! (No! That was nt a suggestion, Hd!) She is in the one hour group ski classes for kids on weekends. Go 15 minutes before the ski class, pay and learn! (kootathoda govinda dhaan!) Shes having fun and after 4 weekends, shes able to walk with her skis on! We sledge for a while after her ski class is over and thats my kinda fun. Though Antu is her grumpiest best in snow! (Thats Ashu with her friend in the picture.)

. Antu did nt look for my mom after she left like I thought she would. When asked where paati is, she answered that shes gone. ("paati oorukku!") Who asked her to grow up? We went to a friends place for dinner a few days back. Their 5 year old son, as a rule, does nt like babies. Though he played well with Ashu, he was nt nice at all to Antu. Within an hour of being in their house, Antu came and told me, "anna naanaa. vaasalla ponum" (the boy no-no. wanna go out) and was all set to go wear her shoes and leave! Hd and I could nt believe our ears! That a nineteen month old could understand that she was nt wanted and could vocalize her feelings so well. Sigh! Wish I could too.

. Out of the blue, I decided to do the
C25K thingummy inspired by a friend. Did nt want to announce here and jinx it. But now that I am in my 5th week of the programme, I can safely say that I ll stick to it. Though my fitness level has been average, my running has always been pathetic. I could nt run for 2 mins straight. C25K seemed to be the right beginning to rectify that and I'm also enjoying it. Now I ve a plan when I hit the gym. Hope it improves my fitness because running down a slope trying to catch a wayward sledge in the snow is no joke, I tell ya. Especially when the resident 4 year old is sitting on the said sledge!

. I cant get over the song
"Dil to bacha hai ji". I just cant. This song has been in repeat for the past one week in this household and its driving Hd crazy. I go to sleep listening to this song, I run on the treadmill to this song on repeat, I cook, play with the kids, read,... with this song in the background. Its playing right now too. Is nt it a fantastic song?

. Ashu and I have been doing lots of finger painting stuff thanks to
Shruti of mindfull meanderings and her artsy craftsy contest. Since I dont ve a creative bone in my body, I show that page to Ashu and we do whatever work she chooses! So far, the caterpillar, the hand tree, the flowers and the thumb print cards are the most repeated projects.

. Watched Three Idiots. It was on okay movie. Did nt understand all the hype though. Aamir Khan annoyed me for the first time.

. Read The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga. Was a good read. I dont know why but when a best seller(especially Indian writing in English) is about the poor people, it bothers me in so many levels. I ll leave it at that.

. Reading Thillana Mohanambal. Finished the thalahaani size part 1 and onto attack part 2 now. Amazing read. Too bad that I cant wipe out Sivaji and Padminis faces while reading though. Though no movie ever justifies the book and this one especially is such a long novel that no way they could squeeze everything in the movie, the book is a must read even if you ve watched the movie. Just for the Vaithi character. Its hilariously written and Nageshs Vaithi character in the movie is not even 10% of the book character.

February 14, 2010

Love is...

It was Dec 2001. Hd and I were married for 18 months then and we were in Amsterdam during the Xmas holidays. Hds college friend who lived there was taking us around the city and we were walking through a flower market. Bunches and bunches of colorful tulips were peeping out of the shelves everywhere and I was blown away by the beauties. I think it was the first time I set my eyes on tulips. Had never seen them before. We walked and walked and I waited and waited and I oohed and aahed but saw no sign of Hd even going near the tulips let alone buying them for me. Since the friend was also walking with us, I could nt even say some choice words to the man. But after spending a good half hour in the market and were about to leave, I took Hd aside and asked him, "does nt it occur to you to buy a big bunch when im not looking and surprise me with them? I would ve totally done something like that if your friend was nt here, you know?" And then just shook my head, rolled my eyes and walked away to another shop to look at some souvenirs. Two minutes passed and whaddayaknow! A dozen blood red Tulips were blocking my vision and the hand holding them was Hds. I let out a shriek and hugged him. The friend went, "awww. how romantic" and I did nt care to correct him! To this day, whenever I see Tulips, it brings a smile to my lips. I'm so glad I asked. And I'm very, very glad that he listened.

So Love is... telling your partner what you want even though you will sound pathetic. And the partner doing it for you even though it will be even more pathetic! And then they live pathetically ever after. The End.

Happy Valentines Day! Spread the Love.

February 10, 2010

Ashus Art Gallery - The Doodles.

Ashu is becoming such a young lady now that I thought I ll display all her doodles before shes embarrassed by them. ( Remember her art gallery? )

Yesterday she was doing some finger painting. Basically she was using her index finger as a brush and painted a flower. So I asked her, "why don't you use a brush, ashu?" Pat came the reply, "Because i want to feel the paint, Amma!" I rest my case.

I don't have her doodles pre 2007. Below is circa July 2007 when the artist was just over two years old and was still pronouncing boat as boot. One of the artists first doodle after the artist moved to live in Switzerland. Those were the periods where the artist doodled first and then based on the outcome, named the art.

Without further ado, presenting the first exhibit.

1. Das Boot.

The below two are early 2008. 2. Octopus and 3. Snake respectively as is obvious.

The next ones are late 2008. A very struggling period for the artist since she became a big sister and was forced to draw stick figures in pairs.

4. The Unhappy Stick Figures.

5. My Sister's Balloon Keeper.

Now we move onto 2009. Where the artist accepted the fact that the sister is here to stay.

6. Resigned To Her Fate.

In mid 2009, at the age of 4, the artist was becoming very fond of writing and started labelling her own doodles.

7. The Bunk Bed.

8. The Astro Nut.

"Thats the moon and thats the flag on the moon. Its the US flag. And thats the astronaut." - the artist was overhead describing thus to her mother.

9. The Queen.

10. The Flower.

11. Now I know my ABCs.

In a daring attempt, the artist tries her hand in self portrait and labels herself.

12. The Brat.

Later part of 2009 brought a sudden difference in the artists strokes and she comfortably settled in these patterns. So much so that the artists mother can now recognize her daughters crap doodle from the 20 other pieces of crap doodles the school insists on displaying!

13. We are a Happy Family.

Currently the artist has almost abandonded her doodle board medium and moved on to paper. Her mother is running out of storage space. So please contact her by email for trade enquiries and save the rain forest!

February 04, 2010

At the breakfast table today.

Ashu - Amma! How did peoples come to the Earth?

Me - Well, there are two theories. One is the theory of evolution. That the humans came from monkeys.

Ashu - From monkeys? ha ha ha! That's silly!

Me - Another theory is that God made us all at the same time. What do you think?

Ashu - I also think God made us, Amma. Swami drew people on a paper and by magic, all the people became real.

Me - Oh, that's nice. But I believe in the evolution though. I think we came from monkeys.

Ashu - Me too, amma!

Me - Huh? So what happened to the whole "Swami drew pictures"?

Ashu - Actually, Swami drew only babies not peoples.

Me - So who take care of the babies?

Ashu - The monkeys! (duh!)

Me - OK. (silently wondering how to tackle this)

Ashu - Amma! If we came from monkeys, then does that mean Dora came from Boots?


baby growth