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April 27, 2013


Dear Ashu,

Today I feel like I am writing to a young girl and I should watch what I write. To be honest, I never wrote any of your earlier birthday letters thinking that you would read them one day. It was just something I was feeling and wanted to put them in writing so that I can revisit them whenever I want. So far I have never showed you any of them and may be this year, I would! Not that theres any escaping from you since you would go to any lengths to read! That would be the word of the year - reading! You read every waking moment. You get cranky when we theres a delay to our library trips. You start rereading the books if a new book is not in sight. Although I am so happy and proud of you, sometimes I just want to grab the book and fling it away so that I can see your full face, see you smile, see your eyes and talk to you! Do you realize how frustrating it if for a mom to let go of her baby to a strange new world and not feel included? A series of 50 Boxcar children books? Seriously? How can I ever catch up with you?

School. Where do I even begin? We threw you in the deep end by switching schools and the way we you have progressed in German is amazing! Though I still have my doubts and sometimes I wonder why I rocked the boat, you have never ever made me feel guilty even though I know you miss your friends. You skip to school happily everyday, come home for lunch and then run again. You bring friends home even though I can talk to them only with the help of Google Translate!! Your teachers are very impressed with your progress in German and think of you as a Math Whiz! The only thing your teacher wants from you is to participate in class discussions more and to talk loudly! I did nt know whether to laugh or cry when he said that! I should record you at home one day and show him! Why do you reserve that loud voice of yours only for your family? Why should we suffer alone? So please do the needful.

Friends are coming and going and your circle is ever growing! I dont know why and you refused to give me a reason but you said you did nt want a birthday party this year. And when I kept nagging you, you said, "I dont know why you are forcing me, Amma"! So I gave up. Since the 8 girls from your dance group are quite thick and you girls performed thrice this year and are always doing something together, I suggested I take you all our for a movie as a treat and you suggested that that can be your birthday party. So "The Croods", it was and you girls had a blast! No cake, no balloons, no fancy snacks,...  But your face glowed when you opened the gifts! I dont know what to make of these mixed signals! Stop being me and tell me what you want!

I think this is the first time in your life that you did nt go to India for an entire year! Your entire seventh year outside India! Wow! But of course it meant that your grand parents, uncle and aunt visited us here and we spent a lot of time with them. You love house guests and hate it when they leave. Your only complaint is why we cant move to San Jose and live there with Perimma and Perippa! Or better, why cant you live with them?! Wish I had an answer for that. Well, there is. But then like Hanuman, I have to tear apart my chest and show you that there would be an Ashu shaped hole in my heart. My parents are here as I write this and I'm so thrilled that you will spend your birthday with our grand parents, but it also breaks my heart to see you a teeny weeny bit distant with them than before. Of course, your sister fills that void and sticks to them like glue but nevertheless its tough to realize that you are growing up and that its the age!

You are a very thoughtful girl, Ashu. And I wish you never ever let go of that quality. Whether its something I ask you to do or you think of yourself to do, you always do that little extra special which makes me feel so special. It can be a birthday card you are making for your sisters friend or for your own mother, you put your heart into it. Like the other day, there were some kids home for dinner and I asked you to set the table. And you kept the water glasses on the left except for one place and when I asked you to correct it, you said that thats for Antu since shes left handed! I was humbled by your answer. Hope you never stop amazing me, my little girl! Happy 8th birthday dear and its super special since we are in Venice celebrating your birthday on a Gondola! Happy Memories!

baby growth