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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Parents Day - Dec 18th 2010

Last Saturday was Parent's Day at the montessori school D & S study in. D is one of the "Captains" - the senior most batch of about 12 children and she was involved in a whole lot of things - singing the prayer along with the other captains, doing some of the compering, narrator of the play, and a dance at the end. Whew - I thought - how was she going to manage all that, but she did a really good job. Talking/narrating especially seems to be her "thing" atleast right now and it was really nice for us to see something she was really comfortable at :). She was wearing a maroon full length dress (they actually wanted burgundy but a nice one in that colour was too tough to find - and believe me I looked !).

S was wearing a white shirt and blue jeans. He was supposed to be in one dance and one action song/rhyme in Kannada both of which he had been performing vigorously at home so we were really looking forward to seeing him on stage, but he absolutely refused to do anything but just stand there ! I tried going and kneeling in front of the stage (my knees didn't like that at all!) so he could see me, but though that stopped his crying, he absolutely refused to do anything more :(. I know I know - It's all right, that's how it is etc etc.. - but he's only going to be this cute age on stage once - when it's next year he'll be already a lil bit grown up, and even if he gives a star performance I'll always miss this one - he knew all the steps to Waka waka but I'll have to take a home video to remind myself about it when he's grown up!

Ode to an Auto driver

Among all the articles about impolite auto drivers, and all the road rage they usually seem to set off, it was a refreshing change to come across a really nice one. I was coming out of Woodlands Hotel, and was having visions of needing to ask atleast 4 autos before one accepted coming to my area (which is the usual way of things!).

But this elderly person came up and asked me so politely "Yelli hogbekkamma?"(Where do you need to go, ma?) that I actually looked at him a bit suspiciously - Not being used to so much politeness you see :). I looked around to see if he actually had an auto parked there before answering "BTM Layout" sure that he would say no, but he immediately accepted and waited for me to get in.

His licence mentioned his name as Narayanappa. Not that he was talkative, but the little he spoke he seemed to say so gently and politely that I had to discount the slightly large sum of money that he asked for ;). I missed a turn while directing him, and he actually offered to turn back and get me to my destination rather than letting me get down and walk! And when I mentioned to him while getting down about how politely he spoke, he was so humble about it saying " At my age, don't I have to speak like that?" :)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Carols..

D & S sang for a Christmas Carol service by the St. Marks Children's Choir last Saturday (Dec 11th). Was so proud of the difference in way Damita was singing compared to the first time she performed. She knew all the words by heart, and sang with all her heart - it was so nice to see. Achievement by Shehan - to have stood on stage for all 14 songs :). Don't know how much he actually sang - waiting for the video to come out to see that!

No photos unfortunately as I didn't have hubby around to help (he was out of town) and was too overwhelmed with doing it all on my own to think of taking the camera :(. But as there were lots of photographers and videographers around, I hope to get to see some good shots soon.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Emotional outpourings..

Most times when I sit to write something in this blog, I feel guilty that I'm probably writing more about my son (2 yrs 9 months) than about my daughter (5.5 yrs). When she was a toddler I hadn't yet discovered blogging as a regular experience and so it feels like many of those wonderful memories have become hazy :(. So it was a refreshing experience to sit down and write nearly entirely about her, for a short speech at her school's Parent's day on the 18th (That speech in my next post with the school's permission).

Everytime I try to practise actually speaking the words I have written, I feel so choked up with all the memories and to see where my baby of 2 yrs 5 mths when she entered the school has reached now! And this will be her final year at this Montessori school. Next year will be a whole different ball game starting with getting up really early, probably being out of home around 7 (now she goes to school at 9 :)) - not just for her but for me too of course! New environment, new teachers, new friends (hopefully lots of them!) - I can't believe I'm getting ready to send my baby off in a school bus all on her own maybe to a school that's 15 kms away, after ferrying her personally for the last three years to a school that's 5 minutes away from home.

I wish her all the best and hope her years at the "big" school will be as happy as the last three have been. May she conform just enough (because that's necessary too :)), but still retain the wonderful independent character she has developed :).

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Article online

Thanks to Nishant who runs who kept telling me I could even when I wasn't too sure about it :)

Anybody else interested in sharing articles please get back to me and I will pass on his contact details.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Weekends !!

In the last couple of months, our weekends have just been so filled with activity that sometimes it feels like I don't have time to breathe ! Have been promising friends or relatives that we'll meet in the next couple of weekends and then a couple of months have passed before i know it !!

Last weekend among other things we had a birthday party to attend. This was held at a place called Martin's Farm - which was off Sarjapur road. As expected, most of the activity was outdoors which was so brilliant for children - the only time spent under a roof was when the cake was cut and lunch was served :).

The highlight of the day was feeding the animals - with a lot of green beans in hand, the children trooped from rabbit to goat to donkey trying diligently to get the beans into their mouths. Most of the goats and donkeys were not too hungry, but a certain mountain goat just made up for all the rest with his enthusiasm to eat all the beans put near his mouth - the children were really thrilled. It amazed me to see the fearlessness with which most children approached the animals even though for some (like mine for example) this would have been the first time they got so close to a goat or a donkey !! Even my dear daughter who's usually so hesitant with new experiences, was quite game to go hold a turtle :O !!! My son had no qualms to bend under a donkey's head to retrieve beans which had fallen from his hand - I of course was holding my breath till he got up again :).

There was a scavenger hunt planned for later, but unfortunately we had to leave before then so never found out what that was like :(. This experience came at a time when I had just been reading about people's experiences in places like petting zoos which are not yet a big deal in India (heard later of one in Whitefield though - must find out more about it!). I had thought that it would be very difficult for us to recreate such experiences for our children but I was delighted at such a gentle and enjoyable beginning. Here's to more of the same :) !

Friday, December 03, 2010

Vroom Vroom ..!!!

Hyundai Verna... SX4... Alto.... Chevrolet Tavera... I20.. Maindra Xylo... All this said in a loud voice with hardly a second between names..

Yes we are on the road and S is reeling off the names.. Apparently this is a "thing" with boys and cars.. I hate to label my kids with gender-activities but this was definitely a big difference between my darling girl and dear boy!!! I have to identify a car for him all of twice for him to know it the next time.. the latest on his list is the Maruti Eeco..

It was after this that I actually learnt to identify the Hyundai I10 and I20 from the front.. :).. when it's so easy to read the name at the back anyway I never used to bother about what the cars actually looked like.. but I wondered at my two year old who cannot read and can maybe just about identify a logo or two figuring out so much and I felt great to see the world (or rather atleast cars) through his eyes :).

The wonderful experience of being surprized by what a child can do :)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Front seater Yayyy !

Story begins 5 years ago - we discover our dear daughter is terribly prone to being car-sick. I "graduate" to the back seat to be able to give her and myself more space to deal with it.

Fast-forward 3 years - my son enters the picture. Thankfully not much car-sick but my daughter still is, so the back seat becomes a place for children and me.

Fast-forward another 2 years - Damita is 5 and a half, getting better at handling car-sickness and Shehan is quite comfortable standing in the back of the car, but now both children want to ride in front with Appa! So it's usually me in the back with one of them, and the other in the front seat. I begin to wonder when I'll ever get out of this arrangement.

Till at last a couple of weeks ago, Amma said - both of you in the back seat, I want to sit with Appa :). And surprizingly it worked !! So Yayyy :).

Passport here at last :)

Here's a happy ending to my previous posts on the passport saga - I received my son's passport at last today. The road leading here was a bit bumpy now and again, but restored my faith that atleast in some cases, the process works out!

My last post ended with a visit to the police station, where I was assured that they would also address the error in date of birth that had come up due to their data entry - that was in September. When I didn't hear anything even after the stipulated 75 days I tried lazy methods of finding out the status online - like sending emails to the ids provided - here's how that went:
  1. The id given as that of the RPO bangalore does not work. Their mailbox seems to be full and you get an automated reply saying "Over quota".
  2. I found another id which was a little more promising because I atleast got some replies, but I soon realized that this was a call centre type of very generalized response which said "Under processing". And they also recommended to wait for the passport to arrive and THEN correct the DoB !!

Following are the steps that actually worked:

  1. There is an elaborate grievance redressal mechanism at the Passport Office itself. They give out token numbers starting 9:30 am, and listen to about 300 people every day! (I didn't know the timings and had just gone hoping to meet "somebody" so got a token number of 295 at bout 10:30 am. There are only 2 counters but very efficient personnel who got through 275 token numbers until they broke for lunch at 1:30 pm! I rushed home, left the car for my parents to pick up my daughter from school, ate lunch and got back by auto at 2:15 !! )
  2. I was directed to go to some data entry room to correct the DoB - it was as simple as that.
  3. Finally found that it was the supposedly helpful police personnel who had not completed the police verification process. I was directed to meet the Assistant Passport Officer (or his deputy it seemed like), who would address this. The only hitch was this took the rest of the day and I could finally meet her only at 5:45, but thankfully since it was a minor, she overrode the verification and told me "It is done!".

This was last Thursday, and after spending the entire day at the Passport office, I was really keeping my fingers crossed, and thankfully that's all it took - Taking the process in our hands, and going right to the source of the problem instead of sitting at home fuming and talking about RTI (which also I did a lot of ;)).

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Baby talk

1. Literal translations like : "Mookku odaradu illaiya" (Nose is running!) this came out of S a few days back and I just had to laugh for the next 5 minutes! He's still reasonably bi-lingual and speaks both tamil and english though the tamil is getting quite a bit less since he's started school. Thank God for gems like this one - said in a sing-song tone like the way adults usually speak to children in :).

2. Conversation while watching TV and I was switching channels.
                  S: Don't change! I want "Running Running"!
                  Me: What is that Shehan?
                  S: Running Running uncles and aunties - this was referring to the new Docomo ad which is his favourite right now.
Running a close second is the Listerine/Colgate mouthwash ads - he tries to imitate the action of the guy's mouth with mouthwash in it.

3. D is very much into reading her TimeLife books. Suddenly she'll come up to me and say things like "Do you know Preying Mantises eat other insects?" Or "The Cheetah is the fastest animal" and I am just left in awe of the interests children have and the information they retain. I know in a few years when she has to actually "study" this stuff she might not be so interested any more :).

4. One of my earlier posts is about S first started saying "I lie you!". Now he's graduated to "I love you sooo much!" - this is also accompanied by a wonderfully plaintive tone of voice which can get him out of most tough situations :). I was so touched the first few times he said it to me only to be brought down to earth when he addressed a roadside dog when we were driving in the car and said "I love you soo much doggie!".

5. D telling me stuff like "Amma you look sooo nice" even at times when I know it's not very true and I just have to smile. I've lately been very upset by my hair falling, so she comes up with stuff like "Your hair is so long and nice ma, why do you feel bad about it!" :).

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Dussehra Vacation at Ooty

I am not a vacation planner by nature - we decided to take a Club Mahindra membership a few years back - and this forces us to use up those vacation days once or twice a year or else they could just lapse - always better to have "I have paid money for this!" looming over your head to make good use of something :).

So this time our Dussehra vacation was to Ooty which is a popular hill station in Tamilnadu. Coming from a "non-vacation" family myself (We visited relatives during vacations as my dad was in the Railways and usually living away from the south), I was one of not so many South Indians who have never been to Ooty so I was really looking forward to this. I called ahead to check about the rooms, the weather (yes I have got better at this stuff with every vacation ;) ) and was told it was cold and raining most evenings. "Sounds like Bangalore" I said nonchalantly and took jackets and woollens for the children but decided just shawls would do for myself.

But Brrrrr - the first night caught me by surprize, the chill that the rain brought with it just completely floored me. To go to my parent's room which was 10 ft away I became a shivering mess! Maybe it was the tiredness of the journey combined with the weather, but I am definitely wiser about underestimating the weather anywhere now! And of course a learning for all parents - don't forget yourselves by just focussing on the children - you have to be in the best of health first in order to look after them well !

Okay this post is getting longer and longer so let me just give a recap of each day:

29th Oct (Friday) - We drove down from Bangalore. Left home in the morning by 7:30am and reached Derby Green, Ooty at 4 pm. Relaxed for a while and children played in the park right next to our rooms. Before we knew it, the rain came (refer above!) and just going to the restaurant which was 100 m away from the rooms for dinner was quite an ordeal.

30th Oct (Saturday) - This was designated the main sightseeing day. The resort arranged a car for us and we went to
  • the Ooty lake where we were rowed on the lake by a very nice boatman who'd been doing his job for the last 35 years! He was of course an expert at taking the "Family picture".
  • Doddabetta which is the highest peak - felt like we were in the clouds at some parts of the drive!
  • the Botanical Garden which had so many flowers and plants in all their glory - this part was unfortunately cut short as it started raining :(.
  • We also managed to fit in some shopping - where a sweater was one of my necesary purchases :).
31st Oct (Sunday) - We wanted to take the train (popularly called the Toy Train) to Connoor which left Ooty by 9:15am. Unfortunately we didn't anticipate the crowd as well as some last minute holdups with getting into the station and so didn't make it. Instead took the car to Connoor where we visited some family friends. They live in a quaint and wonderful house surrounded by plants and plonk in the middle of a tea estate. For the first time I saw and touched and smelt plants like Lavender and Elderberries and so on which I earlier had only virtual exposure to on Farmville!! I know it's a joke to compare the virtual game of growing these crops in a few hours to tending them in reality - the friends we visited had been working on this land for the last 7 years and boy it showed!! Once again by the time we left here it was raining so we suspended any sightseeing plans in Connoor and got back to Ooty and the resort to our heater warmed rooms!

Okay there's no hope of keeping this short so no more apologies on this! We spent both evenings in the warmth of our rooms or playing with the children in the Activity room of the resort as we didn't want to expose the kids or my parents who spent the vacation with us to the chill of the evening weather. Left early on Monday (1st Nov) and got back to Bangalore by 3 pm or so after extended stops for breakfast, lunch as well as shopping at our standard handicrafts shop in Channapatna (near Indradhanush restaurant).

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Peaceful Forest

Where a tiger and a rabbit stay in harmony.. or as much harmony as siblings can stay anyway :).

That is S's idea of a smile for the camera, not a growl because of the tiger costume ;). This was for a fancy dress "party" at their school. They have one every year at this time - and are very particular that it is a party and not a competition - so no pressure on the kids to perform and they can just have fun!

The tiger costume is what I made for D last year - had kept it because it was my first fancy dress effort :) and it came in useful. After last year's party, while D tried to start a discussion of what she would be next year:
D: Hmm so what animal can I be next year?
Me: You don't need to be an animal darling, you can be anything you want to be!
D: Ok, so let me see..
Me: (Quickly realizing the options this could throw up) No no let's do animals !! And please make it an animal without any stripes or dots or designs!
D: Cat, Dog, and so on and so forth
Me: Rabbit - that's one easy to make and you can have some pink (pink was/is her favourite color).
D: Yes ok - Rabbit!

And the memories of children (For things they want to hold on to of course ;)) are so amazing that every few weeks she would think about the fancy dress, ask me when the next one was and remember that she was going to be a rabbit. So last week, I finally made the rabbit costume. The ears were a bit tricky because of the size, but with a hairband, a couple of twigs pasted on the back to hold it up stiffly, we managed to make them stand up decently.

After this years fancy dress, conversation as follows:
D: S can be a rabbit next year, you can use this same dress!
Me: Well, maybe the poor guy deserves his own costume next year.
D: What shall I be?
Me: You won't be at this school baby. You'll be at a big school next year and won't have a fancy dress party like this one.
D: I don't want to go to big school!!

She's in a montessori school and will be finishing this year, so will have to go to a bigger place for her 1st standard. Keeping fingers crossed that school admission works out like we're hoping it to.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Siblings - lessons on love and rivalry

I am an only child and I learn something new about siblings everyday :). Just some random thoughts and memories -
  • Leave D & S in the same room for more than 2 minutes and you will hear loud incessant giggling and nearly immediately afterwards crying or shouting from one of them with a follow-up complaint of "He did .." or "She did.. ".
  • S loves to go and fall all over D wherever she's sitting. Sometimes she's also in a tumbly mood and this leads to a lot of gymnastics all over our living room. Other times she's not so co-operative as she's more interested in what's on TV, and then the fireworks begin!
Though it seems like they're fighting nearly all the time, they remind me of the bond they share at times like
  • when I scold D for something and S pipes up with : "Why you tell Damita that?" or
  • when S falls and starts crying and D reaches him even before I do!

Passport saga - contd.

Much has transpired in this story since I last posted about this here - Passport for minor - quite a Major affair? so I thought it was time I shared a little more about this process.

I applied for my son's passport on 19th Aug 2010 so was not really expecting to hear much about it very soon. They also told me at the Bangalore One centre that it could take a maximum of 75 days and I wasn't in any particular hurry, so put it out of my mind for a while. Much to my surprize sometime around mid-September I got a call from the local police station that they wanted to do police verification for his passport. Now it says over and over again wherever I checked online as well as in the passport application, that "No police verification will be done for minors if both parents have valid passports" and of course these details must be entered in the application which I had dutifully done.

I was asked to bring two passport size photos of S, copies of the parents passports and of course S himself and land up at the police station. All through the process I kept asking why this was being done in the first place but they could only answer "If we get the form, we have to do it madam!". On meeting the police, I found to my irritation that S's year of birth had been amended from 2008 to 2000 according to their data!! (No wonder they wanted police verification for this 10 yr old who submitted a 2 yr old's photo?!) Apparently the person who did the data entry at the RPO or PSK (Passport Seva Kendra) made a mistake in that last digit. I showed the police the receipt I had got from B-One which showed that I had entered it correctly in the application - the policeman assured me that he would write a note and get it corrected before the passport is issued, but i'm prepared for the worst :(.

All formalities completed (which involved getting 4 more thumbprints from S!), documents submitted, and I walked away from the PS without paying anything "extra". To their credit they did not ask either, maybe because they realized my state of mind, and I was determined not to offer anyway. Now keeping fingers crossed and waiting to receive the passport before I get to know if the date of birth is correct or if I have to run around in any more circles for this.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Crazy Homework Day :(

Today's one of THOSE days. When I don't understand if
  1. I am terribly short on patience,
  2. D is just being difficult,
  3. Or if the homework consists of something she hasn't done or hasn't understood at school !
We kept erasing, and I kept explaining and she once again came back with a quizzical face and so many mistakes - and this was in maths - addition - which she usually does in no time! At the end of it, of course I totally lost my cool and told her to ask Aunty (her teacher) to explain it to her once more.

Thankfully there are days when without my telling her to even do her homework she sits down and does it and brings beautifully written work to show me after it's done !! The memory of those keeps me sane on days like this :).

I think to myself - "OMG if this is the way it is at UKG level, how will it be as she gets older!!"

Monday, September 20, 2010

For the love of reading..

Time for a cheerful post atlast ! I am pleased to report that S is much better as of last weekend and I am feeling so much better too as a result :).

Reading this post Books! Books! Books! from Aps' blog through Parentee really opened my eyes to the books by Indian publishers that I wasn't aware of! It also made me realize that I had not written about D's interest in reading on this blog. It started when she was around 4.5 which was before I started writing this stuff down.

During one of the Parent Teacher interactions at D's school I remember wondering about when children usually start reading in the actual sense of the word. Especially with the phonetic approach to things I was concerned as to when they would start putting letters together as there were so many rules and small quirks to this! Do any of us remember how we started reading as children? I definitely didn't - only that I was told by family that I started reading quite early and used to love all the Tinkles and Amar Chitra Kathas which were popular reading of the time.

Very soon after this, without my actually saying anything to her, it was as though she read my mind and started trying to put together words she was seeing on Magazine covers and newspaper headlines and so on! I was delighted of course and started explaining to her the best I could using phonetics as a guide and also throwing in a few rules of my own where I needed to :). Within about a month or so of this, she was stringing words together and reading sentences which was such a quick transformation that I was completely delighted and astounded. And of course determined to do as much as I could to help the process along further.

She was gifted the Ladybird Level 2 books by relatives, and waded through it really easily. By the time she was 5 even the Level 3 book was quite accessible and enjoyed by her thoroughly! I introduced the bedtime stories as a ritual around this time - one or more stories every night - no excuses especially from me being busy with something or to be used as a punishment for bad behaviour - only sickness or extenuating circumstances break this ritual. We read a variety of books like fairy tales, from the TimeLife values and other series and Bible stories which I wouldn't expect her to read on her own completely.

Now it amuses me so much that she wakes up in the morning and sometimes the first thing she does is pick up a book and browses through it. Sometimes when I'm reading her a book at night, I find she already knows what's coming as she's read it herself !! Am so thrilled with the way it is going and I hope so much that she sustains this interest all through her life.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Birthday? Not for me!!

And no it's not because of the cliched reason of becoming an year older and all that.. but because the last couple of my birthdays have had such a terrible track record! In 2009 the entire family was down with varying degrees of some stomach infection. And this year S has been so sick that my birthday passed by on a miserable note and I wished I could have said like earlier years when someone asked me what I was doing -"Nothing special. Just like any other day!"

It's like the powers above decided that since I never make a big deal of birthdays anyway, they would pour on the negative vibes so that I end up remembering it atleast for that reason :(. And that's why I am so not looking forward to my next!

It's contagious even when it's not!!

What is it with children and sickness.. you start feeling sick more because of seeing them sick than by actually picking up the infection from them.. I've been in such a terrible frame of mind all day today.. all food tasted bad, all music seemed loud and irritating - in general I felt nauseous and on the brink of a migraine (which I don't get much of!).

S has been having  ups and downs the entire week - the first couple of days he seemed to be bouncing back and I was congratulating myself on having avoided any strong medication, but before I could get too complacent, he just went totally down as of yesterday. He's really tired, has no appetite because of a bad cough and just wants to be carried "by amma" or "by appa" everywhere. Now Appa was not available so Amma was the default choice all day and I am not generally a carrying type person so my arms are not feeling good at the moment!

Keeping fingers crossed for some miraculous recovery by tomorrow or else I will be doing the usual rounds of paediatrician/pharmacy yet again by tomorrow morning:(. Not a good idea to wait until the weekend which is when the doctors waiting rooms are the most crowded!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Spoon Vs. Hand

D now goes to school upto 3 o'clock and has a half hour lunchtime. I try to give her stuff that's simple to eat, but once in a while also something like curd rice and vegetables, which she manages to polish off pretty well using a spoon within half an hour. But mealtimes at home - that's another story altogether!!

I was always very particular that she should learn to start eating with her hands as soon as possible, and she actually does a very good job of this - but only when she's in the mood :). If she's just feeling like playing around she can literally eat grain by grain and make one meal last upto 3 hrs !! It's beginning to make me think that maybe using a spoon might not be a bad option after all because you've atleast got to take some amount of food in each spoonful or atleast I hope she will not find a way around this too ;).

Monday, September 13, 2010

Phew.. The weekend's over!!

Our weekend was jam-packed with activity. My parents-in-law and brother-in-law with family had come down from Chennai and as they arrived on Friday night the weekend was off to a great start. Both D and S thoroughly enjoy the company of their cousins - girls who are 8 and 11 and lovely playmates as well as baby-sitters to my children. They play with them, take care of them and keep them so involved with stuff to do that I hardly have to look around to see what D and S are doing when their cousins are around :).

Saturday evening we had a wedding to attend. The groom arrived at church on a motorbike driven by his brother and four of their friends on bikes forming the front and rear guards :) ! The bride and groom were very punctual to their reception (which isn't always the case as we all know) which started exactly at 6:30 as planned. And so we were back home quite early even before 9 o'clock at night! So this gave the children more time to play and have fun of course!!

Only (but Big) downside to the weekend was that S fell sick on Saturday night. He fidgeted a lot through most of the night, and by the time he woke up, had quite a high fever. Now S is one of these allergic children who keeps having bouts of wheezing and cough/fever kind of episodes. These invariably end up in (a) his having to get nebulized and (b) his going on a course of antibiotics :(. I was completely disgusted with the repeat of the above sequence and have been trying homeopathy mainly for a building immunity kind of effect. But everytime he had a fever I would bounce back to allopathy as I was too scared to stick to the usually slower working homeopathy. This time, even though it was a sunday, my homeo doc was available as well as a pharmacy to get the meds from and I stuck to my guns and decided I have to avoid the antibiotics SOMEHOW! Started giving him homeo meds Saturday afternoon and have continued since then. Questioned myself a million times especially last night when the fever still seemed pretty high and the poor guy had a partly rough night. But as of this morning he was soooo much better !! :) Could make out just by his temperament and his sounding more like his sunny self compared to yesterday when he was just completely clinging to me or his dad. Keeping fingers crossed that he is completely on the mend and we can stay reasonably antibiotic-free in the future too :).

Let me also make it clear after the above ramblings that I am not a homeopathy fanatic or an allopathy critic for all ailments. I have always had great faith in homeo for myself, but I believe that faith has a big part in any cure. So where the children were concerned I was a bit apprehensive about putting them through the waiting involved in such a method. But over the last few months this belief has been growing in me that for a chronic and repetitive problem like S has, I had to explore an alternative option compared to repeated courses of antibiotics as that would affect  his natural resistance as well as make him immune to the antibiotic itself.

I will end this loooong diatribe with saying that D's natural resistance has improved a lot in the last year or so and it's wonderful to see her fighting off those small colds and coughs in a couple of days without it developing into something much worse (touchwood touchwood touchwood!). Waiting eagerly for S to get to that stage :).

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Pangs of separation..

How do our babies get all grown up with us noticing it?!! My darling baby girl is now an independent little person :). She just went for a full day picnic and though we were apprehensive about how she would handle it (this is the longest she's been away without any family around), she had quite a ball. Made new friends, came back full of stories and even a large golden cup !!

Just as I had expected I was the one feeling the separation the most - the feeling was somewhat similar to when they start going to school. You hope that they'll settle down soon, then feel like they don't need you as much as they used to :O !!

My dear D, like many other children out there I'm sure, doesn't take to new experiences very easily. We had to build up this day quite a bit, not the least starting from how she can go for the picnic as she's a "grown up" 5 years, whereas her brother can't yet go (the minimum age was 5 years). This was a church organized picnic, and thankfully her Sunday school teacher who she's very fond of was also there all along which really helped ease the way for her. Other than that I think many of the older children also do a great job of befriending the younger ones and making it a fun time for the younger ones. My heartfelt thanks to all who helped make it an enjoyable experience for D, as the first picnic should always be a memorable one :).

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Rushing here, there, everywhere!

Scene at home this morning:

7 AM: Both children are awake earlier than usual. I think "Aha! We'll be ready for school wonderfully in time!"

8 AM: D is eating breakfast after finishing her milk half an hour back. S still drinking (or refusing to drink) his milk

8:15 AM: D is done with breakfast. I think "Great! Atleast one of them will be done in time"

8:40 AM: S starts breakfast (he has to be in school by 9:45)

9 AM: Time for D to go to school. She's not yet ready. The last 45 minutes have just flown by with doing everything else except what is needed to get ready (e.g. dancing in front of the mirror instead of going for her bath when the water's kept ready)

9:10 AM: Go to drop D at school. S still eating breakfast. (Their school is 5 minutes away from home so I go drop D, come back and get S ready and take him to school)

9:20 AM: No sign of S having finished eating. Finally rush to get him finished and reach school by 9:50 AM.

Thankfully they go to a school nearby and I am able to do the running up and down (or driving up and down) without too much trouble but on a day like today I'm just ready to tear my hair out (isn't it doing the job of falling out just fine on its own!).

Add to this that I go to pick up S at 12pm which is when I also deliver D's lunch, and then go to pick up D at 3pm and I feel like "It may be nearby, but this is just too much commuting!". Waiting for S to settle down better so he can leave at the same time as D, but that'll take a little while more apparently :(. I know that'll make it more of a rush in the morning to get him ready earlier, but I'm hoping that'll be better and i'll atleast have more of the morning to get other things done instead of this running up and down.

When D starts going to a "big" school next year for her 1st std, this schedule will change drastically as I'm guessing she'll be leaving sometime between 7 to 8 depending on where she's going.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Socks !

I bought these very interesting socks for D which have pictures of animals like a cow or a pig at the heel.. but she's not very convinced about their cuteness as she feels they are a bit big for her - she's one of those children who feel every seam in the sock and can't bear it if her "little toe doesn't feel right!" :). Took a photo to prove to her how they look:

Goes to show how different children's perceptions can be from ours ! The simplest thing like giving her a new soap since her old one was nearly over sends her into raptures and she showers me with thank yous!! But something that was "Oh so cute!" to my mind hardly had an impact :).

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A weekend of festivals and performances...

Thursday was festival celebration at D & S 's school - they celebrated Varamahalakshmi puja and Onam at one go as they had holidays on Friday and Monday. Both of them went to school in traditional clothing. They had asked for the children to bring flowers in specific flowers which left me wondering why I needed to run around for orange marigolds and purple asters, but then they made the most beautiful rangolis with them :).

D & S took part in the Glorious Festival of Harmony at Ambedkar Bhawan on Sunday. They sang (or stood in S's case :) ) in the St. Mark's Children's Choir. S's first stage performance and he did quite a good job of standing more or less still - he was the youngest member at not yet 2.5! D is a veteran from her school performances and she had practised the songs so she enjoyed herself and was quite a vocal part of the choir.

Monday, August 16, 2010

I lie you!

Trying to get S to sleep for his nap. It's much past his usual naptime and I'm trying the usual reasons:
Me: "Sleep fast baby. அப்பதான் பார்க் போலாம். (Only then we can go to the park)".
S: His usual sing songs of "Mann ka radio. Bajne de zara" "Tsamina mina eh eh" and then when I started looking annoyed "I lie you" - this repeated in various tones - very plaintively.
For a while trying to figure this out and asking "என்னடா? புரியலே?" (What is it, I don't understand) and in my mind going through all the things I say to him which he of course picks up and repeats at appropriate times I realize my son is saying "I love you!". He's delighted of course that I have given up on putting him to sleep and am giggling uncontrollably and keeps on with "Because i lie you Amma!"

The Theme is Rainbows....

For our refrigerator decoration at the moment :). D is into drawing in a big way and as of now she has decided Rainbows are her "favourite". So there are rainbows with her family standing under them, rainbows with tigers, rainbows with fishes, rainbows with D and some flowers... you get the idea!

We had to convince her that we have quite enough rainbows and the fridge looks beautiful enough for now.. so here's until the next theme strikes.

P.S: The couple of National Flags forming part of the collage are ones made by S and D at school for Independence Day celebrations(of course that means D made hers and S got one made by his teacher :) ).

Friday, August 13, 2010

Passport for minor - quite a Major affair?

Beware - looong one - read only if you are atleast faintly interested in passport application procedures!

Had been wanting to get a passport for S for quite a while now - just been lazy in the last few weeks and didn't get around to it. Finally last week I swung into action. I thought I had done my research well on the internet - lots of information all over the place on sites like and

When I did this 4 years back for D it was a reasonably simple procedure - I took an online appointment at the Regional Passport Office which I got with about a week or 10 days delay and only had to work out the documents and so on, and the deed was done. This time I had already found to my surprize that they no longer have appointments at the RPO (that was the excuse for my laziness to find out alternatives!). Next option - there's something called a Passport Seva Kendra where you could get an appointment and go and submit your form. Appointments seemed to be filled up atleast for the next month and more! (Didn't bother to look further than that as it didn't make sense to wait longer than that to submit a form I thought !!@@#!*)

Final option - I could submit the form at a Customer Service Centre like BangaloreOne which I felt was a good option and I was ok with there being a few days of delay for the form to get to the RPO from them since hopefully a minor passport should be issued without much fuss - police verification is not needed if both parents passport numbers are on the form. Downloaded and filled form, then got S's thumbprint in multiple places (This was the part I hated most, since the stamppad leaves a purple stain which has to be scrubbed out :( - was just thankful he doesn't put his finger/thumb in his mouth any more!)

So after much ado, went to BangaloreOne at Jayanagar prepared for some small hiccups like I had not got some document copy and so on... to be told that the downloaded forms are not accepted any more !!( I would call myself internet savvy but there was no place this was obvious on any of the passport related sites that they give you a form for download but they don't accept it anymore !!!!) Even better, they didn't have forms "available" and I would have to go to the PSK anyway to get them. Did that, obviously fuming at this point and came back home.

Checked all the sites again, got more info in obscure places now that I knew what to look for - for e.g. - Copies of documents submitted have to be notarized if submitting at BangaloreOne which is not needed at PSK, RPO (Just self attestation is enough for those). Filled the new form, got thumbprints again (Sigh!) and went to BangaloreOne again. This time - completely my mistake - had made mistakes filling the form (obviously shouldn't do these things when you are in a bad mood :(). Also didn't realize I would have to take S along ! (This wasn't the case when I did it for D - I took her thumbprint and just took the forms on my own to the RPO.)

So here's my summary of learnings from the last couple of weeks:
  1. Passport applications for those other than diplomatic no longer taken at the RPO Bangalore.
  2. Only forms to be used are those you can get at PSK (maybe available at RPO also - didn't try that).
  3. First option for submitting forms is to try PSK for which you have to download a PDF form, fill and save. Then upload the generated file, and finally try to get an appointment.
  4. Else forms can be submitted at Customer Service Centres like BangaloreOne. Some additional things (relevant only for minor passports):
  • Take the minor along - they will take the thumbprint themselves
  • Get all attachments notarized - only specific notaries are accepted for passport attachments. Self attestation is not enough to submit at BangaloreOne centres!
  • Only DDs can be given for the fee (Rs 600 for minor passports) at BangaloreOne centres

Thanks for reading this far :). Was good for me to vent and hope it helps some other parent sometime.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Diaper Freeeeee !!!

S is finally out of his night diapers :). He has been having dry diapers for a long time now, but all the horror stories I have heard of boys and bedwetting had stopped me from leaving them out. I finally decided it's about time to see how he handles it and Yippeee.. no incidents as of the first night atleast !! Hope the trend continues and I can keep the remaining diapers just for emergencies and travel situations. I know that may be a bit too much to ask for but one can dream can't one ?

D was very early at getting toilet trained but took a while to stop with the night diapers. And then there came one fine day when she woke me up in the early hours of the morning to take her to the toilet instead of just wetting the bed - I am so not a morning person but my euphoria totally overcame my sleepiness :) !!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

On Productivity..

I was reading an article in the newspaper a couple of days back that set me thinking - according to the census stay-at-home moms or housewives come under a generic "unproductive" category. My first reaction was "What!? Me unproductive?! - do the people who came up with the categories have moms/wives - wonder what those ladies feel about this labelling.. and so on and so forth...

Then after some cooling down time.. I realized that when financial output or contribution is the easiest way to categorize, there is no choice but to include people like me in such a category. The article by Santosh Desai was about how he felt it was unfair for moms/housewives to share the same category as prostitutes and beggars, but honestly - I didn't feel any indignity in that. After all it seems like we all come under the same umbrella of not making a "viable" contribution to society!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

On Tamil and Spiders and ...

S still talks a lot in Tamil which I hope will continue even after a few more weeks/months of school. D used to speak in the most wonderful மழலைதமிழ்(Tamil in babytalk) but after going to to school for a few months nothing but English would come out of her ! So much so that when she was around 4 years she used to tell people "I don't know tamil!". She is now learning Hindi and Kannada in addition to English - can't imagine my baby learning 3 languages - Now we insist on speaking in Tamil to her a lot, so her mother tongue doesn't get missed out among the rest:).

K, my cousin's son who is a day younger to D had come home the other day. Seeing his shoes which were clogs with a spiderman motif:
I tell S: What nice Spiderman shoes! Unakku Vaangalama? (Shall we buy for you?)
S: Enakku Irukkey (I already have!) - his clogs were also the same orange colour.
Me: Very happy that son is not yet at stage of asking for things, and infact refusing things "Very good Shehan!

A few moments pause while he digests this and we are also walking down the stairs outside our house. Then he says (pointing to a corner near the stairs):
S: Annikku spiderman paathome!
Realized that I had shown him a spider over there the other day - LOL Children and their amazing connections !!!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Fresh attempt at blogging

Trying to resume this blog after more than 4 years - hope this attempt will stick :).

Damita is now 5 years old, and I have a son Shehan who is nearly 2 and a half. I found that when I tried to look back to when Damita was the same age, I can hardly remember any details!! So this blog is an attempt to capture some of life's moments - funny or filled with amazement, sad or maybe even mundane sometimes. But I am hoping to not look back in 10 years and feel bad to not remember my children's childhood memories.

D studies in a Montessori school in M3 - that's equal to UKG. Phonetics is the way to go nowadays and she's no exception. Her latest observations regarding number names:
D: Amma, Why is "1" spelt "o-n-e"?
Me: I don't know baby. That's what the people who named it decided it to be.
D(looking perplexed): And "2" is "t-w-0"! These are not correct - then they should be "one"(pronouncing without the starting "w" sound) and "two"(rhyming with 'so').
Says the rest of the number names quickly and pronounces "Rest are ok".
Me: ROFL :)

S has also started going to the same school starting July 12th. We had the usual adjustment period, when he used to cry and scream his head off. Was inconsolable for a couple of days and then slowly got to the stage when he cried when I left him but settled down later. In the last couple of days:
22nd July: Teacher holds out hand and says "Come Shehan". He says "I can" and without taking her hand goes in on his own!
23rd July: The school has a compound gate and a wicket gate further inside. In earlier days I took him upto the wicket gate and his teacher carried him inside. Older children are received at the outer gate as he's seen with Damita on many days. Today I take him inside the outer gate, and before I can go further he looks at me and says "போரும். இப்ப நீ கிளம்பு" (That's enough. You leave now). My heart breaking but swelling with pride !!
Poor guy has missed school this week as he was down with a bad attack of wheezing/cough/fever. Hopefully should be back tomorrow.