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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

How do they get so smart.. ?

These days one of the most common things I say to D is - "Enough with the smart answers!". For anything I have to say to her, especially when I am angry and trying to get a point across, her strategy is to pick at the one thing out of place in my comment, and "smartly" point it out ! For example,

Me: Careful with those pants
D: But I'm wearing jeans amma !

.. You get the idea :).

But this one I had to admire. She was looking through her textbooks(Class I) as I was covering them, and there was  an exercise to make sentences about animals (matching animals with some given phrases).. so her first sentence was "The elephant came into the house".

Me: But won't an elephant be too big - see how small our entrance is?
D: Maybe it was a baby elephant !
Me: (Speechless for some time of course) This is one smart answer I really liked ! :).

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Holiday continues - Zoo and Universal Studios

Just re-reading my previous blog post after writing most of this one - and realized it is really wordy. Apologies in advance for more of the same - I am meaning these posts to be a sort of diary to capture our holiday memories so it's difficult to limit :).

Day 4 started early with our visit to the Singapore Zoo. This is situated at quite a distance from the city, since they have tried to preserve a lot of the Rainforest like vegetation, and this is one place that is actually quite far from any Metro station, so we were really thankful to have a tour bus take us there without any hassles of figuring it our ourselves. This was one place where I was so happy with my choice of camera - the 18X zoom helped us take some wonderful close ups of the animals *clearing throat* - must share credit with hubby for some of the photos else would have shamelessly taken all of it ;).

The weather in Singapore was quite hot and this was the day we felt it the most as we were outside the whole morning. My dear D was such a trooper throughout our trip and hardly complained about all the walking that we were doing, S was in his stroller most of the time but not really walking even in the short portions that we could not take the stroller in or something like that which was a bit of a problem, and that left us wondering if it would be  easier to do such a trip with a lighter infant than with trying to carry around a 3 year old!

Day 4 afternoon was spent mostly in going around doing some shopping - we had some specific items in mind and even went to multiple places looking for one particular thing so were quite tired out by the time we reached the hotel in the evening. After an evening nap to recoup, we went out to one of the nightlife haunts - Clarke Quay - which was very close to our hotel. Had dinner at one of the restaurants close to the water and enjoyed the surroundings while keeping a comfortable distance from the actual nightlife happening around us :).

Day 5 was spent nearly completely at the Universal Studios which is also at Sentosa but easily an all dayer (heard that it's smaller than the one in LA). Different themes like Madagascar, Far far away, Sci-Fi city and so on - each with themed rides and even theme-based souvenir shops! Lots of characters like Shrek, Kung Fu Panda walking around and you can meet and take pictures with them. Also our first 4D movie experience with a short Shrek special movie - that includes effects like Donkey sneezing on the screen, and water spraying all over you, as well as spiders crawling up your legs when there are spiders on screen - which was my least favourite part. But once again, the children seemed to embrace the experience :). D had her first roller coaster experience - there was one where the min height was 122 cm so she and me went along - it was quite a scary ride, not at all a watered down version like I expected! Her immediate reaction was "I didn't like it!" - let's see if the experience grows on her :).

Day 6 which was our last day was spent mostly at our friends' home, with a visit to IKEA (which I have always been enamoured by and never seen before). Which of course meant we had to borrow a bag to complete our packing ;). The flight back was also predominantly spent seeing Toy Story and since it reached Bangalore on the same night, we didn't have much of a problem with jet lag the way back either.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Singapura Unlimited

After much planning and consideration and waiting for our younger one to reach the "magic" age of 3, we finally made it to our first overseas vacation in the 2nd week of May.
We spent the first day with friends, which was a wonderful relaxing way to start off the holiday :). Surprizingly the children didn't seem to have a big problem with jet lag which was my main concern. Of course the effects of taking a 4 hr flight in the night and spending most of it watching Toy Story were there a little, but just catching up on some sleep during the day seemed to adjust our systems to the 2.5 hr time difference quite easily.
We also spent some part of Day 1 walking around the famous Orchard Road, which we realized is more of a "window" shopping destination for us than a place where we could actually buy something :). Felt relieved that I hadn't decided on the hotel just based on proximity to this famous road, as it was not the sort of place you would go everyday to shop, which was my impression of the place based on the travel agent's aahs and oohs.
Day 2 we checked into our hotel which was near Chinatown. In any case, Chinatown, Orchard Road, Little India are all within 5-10 minutes of each other (2-3 Metro stations), so staying near any of these is a good option. We got upgraded to a deluxe room which was a nice surprize - so even with the extra bed for D we had quite a lot of moving space which was nice. After this began our whirlwind sightseeing!
Our first stop was the Night Safari. The Singapore Zoo and Night Safari are actually different areas right next to each other i.e. the animals in the zoo and in the Night Safari are exclusive! They have a tram ride that takes you around the place, with animals in their areas in low lighting. No flash photography allowed,  which in a way really forces you to look at the animals. The children had great fun especially seeing all their favourites like elephants, giraffes and hippos.

Day 3 morning we did a City Tour where we saw some highlights like the MerLion statue near the Marina, a Buddhist temple, the Orchid Gardens and Little India! Advantages and disadvantages of going on a guided organized tour - the time is always limited which for some places might feel like it's not enough. But in our case when traveling with children, we found that we wouldn't survive for too long a time at any one place anyway so the time restriction was to our favour :). It was also nice to have someone explaining about the places which in this case was a very enthusiastic lady tour conductor who succeeded in imparting a lot of the history and feel of the places we went to. The MerLion statue to me was a surprize as it looked so small compared to what I was expecting!

Realized later that the MerLion statue which appears the most in Singapore publicity is the one at Sentosa which is an island connected to Singapore by different means. This was our destination for the afternoon of Day 3. This is where the famous Underwater Aquarium is situated. I am a major reality television enthusiast so have seen this Aquarium in various shows like the Amazing Race and so on, and this was one place I was really looking forward to seeing :). It met all my expectations and the children also enjoyed it so much especially the Tunnel part of it, where we can walk through a glass tunnel and see the different fish swimming (it even looks like flying in the case of some large varieties of Ray!)
Sentosa also has a lot of other attractions like a 3D Cineblast experience - the type where your seats/cabins move along with the 3D movie - I spent a lot of time worriedly looking at the kids wondering if they were old enough for this but they were laughing through most of it. In any case most of these places have restrictions like the child has to be atleast 90 cm tall to go in - thankfully our S cleared this by about 2 cm - Phew! Another big highlight of the Sentosa experience is a program called "Songs of the Sea" which is usually the last in the itinerary for that day. They use all sorts of water and fire effects to portray a story about a sleeping princess who is awakened by a boy's singing. This is really absolutely spectacular - anybody who goes to Sentosa should not miss this amazing show!! Oh yes, and that's a photo of the larger MerLion :).

This post is getting even longer than I expected. Stopping here now, rest continued in Part 2 ! Spectacular photos coming up!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Home Sweet Home :)

Yes it felt good to be back.. but we also had a lovely time in Singapore !

The one thing that struck me the most was - I was expecting a super-clean sanitized type of city where everyone goes about their own business - and this was definitely not the case! And definitely you don't feel like someone's going to jump out at you for disturbing or dirtying the surroundings or something like that (which we didn't do in any case :)).

The weather definitely reminds one of the weather back home, in fact it is even hotter compared to Bangalore as the humidity is higher. And after a lot of straightforward and silent taxi rides, we also met the odd couple of taxi drivers(non-Indians) who were interested in talking about India, one of them actually played Bollywood songs for us and told us how he thought Bollywood actresses were very beautiful :).

The crowds in the malls and tourist areas on weekends are no different from our Brigade or Commercial Streets, and we specifically planned most of our sightseeing on weekdays to avoid this! Also lots and lots of Indians on vacation, and sadly not all of them publicising India in a good way.

We had the good fortune to spend a couple of days with friends (the day we reached, and the day we left) so the children also could relax on these days and could get over the jet lag and night flight on the way out with home atmosphere and food.

More about the sightseeing and photos in the next post! I'm still trying to organize my thoughts on that :). One thing I was most thrilled about was how well the camera that I had researched and bought especially for this trip functioned more or less as wanted (except for one day when I didn't anticipate the battery running out :( ). Especially the zoo pictures using the 18X optical zoom came out very nicely - I told hubby I might take up photography as a serious hobby, only that means we might have to go on vacations more often ;).

Saturday, May 07, 2011

I'm very stronger now !

- This is his favourite claim of the moment - could be he lifted his tub to finish up his bath water or when peeling a banana on his own for the first time :).

I'm a spiderman not a boy!
- This one totally flummoxed me because I have no idea what the parallel is :). Except that his underwear has Spiderman on it!!

Listen to me one minute!
- At the start of every conversation especially when he's trying to interrupt an ongoing one!

Don't scold Damita!
- Apparently he's the only one allowed to shout at her and beat her up!

I want Appa... and Amma also!
- The second part said after a pause .. because Amma screwed up her face and said "Amma sad!"

Happy Mothers Day everyone! :) Leaving for Singapore tonight, and I'm such a last minute packer, that I'm writing this blog instead of doing it! Next post from/about our vacation! Wish me luck :).

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Oh for that gap-toothed smile..

I cannot tell you how much I was waiting for it.. kept asking every parent I knew who had older kids about when their kids milk teeth started falling(anytime after 5 years I was told), looked it up on the internet of course and so on and on.. Was thrilled when D told me a few weeks back that her lower incisors were "shaking" :). So I waited.. and waited.. and waited.. for so long that I nearly forgot all about it.

Until last week when we were driving to Chennai and she was lying down on my lap I suddenly had this urge to ask her to open her mouth and look inside - only to find that her older teeth (or atleast one of them) was literally attached by a thread, nearly fallen but just staying in there!! And her new teeth had started growing at the back of the older ones!!! I was horrified and having visions of a grown daughter with uneven lower teeth asking "Amma how could you not realize?!"

The next two days were spent in persuading D to shake the older teeth, and hubby dear's expert extraction of the same!! She fussed a lot for the first one, but then realizing it wasn't too bad went along quite docilely for extraction no. 2 :).

How was I to know? I'm one of those people who don't have very vivid memories of my childhood especially pre-8 years or so. Some stuff here and there about friends and family and school, but nothing whatsoever related to falling teeth!! I always thought it was simple - they got loose, they fell and new ones grew!! No clue that so much assistance and drama could be involved :(. Wonder how many more of these parenting googlies are lying in wait out there for unsuspecting parents like me! Please if anyone reading knows of any, don't fail to enlighten me :).

PS: On the bright side, the teeth which looked horrendously inside are looking better positioned as they grow out completely :).

Pretty as a picture!

When is it that children stop fussing about standing still for photos and suddenly start posing for them as professionally as models? I noticed in the last few months, that my darling daughter suddenly started looking so perfectly posed in photos.. as soon as I pick up a camera, she gets a "standard" smile, and stands still till I'm done clicking.. :).. it's just so cute isn't it how they start getting all grown up when we least expect it?

My son - that's a whole different story.. most photos he's turned away from the camera.. he'll smile and wait a couple of seconds, then decide that it's time for something else already :).