Monday 22 June 2009

Good luck, girlie

A friend remarked to me recently that "Baby sisters have to be tough". She speaks from experience because, like me, her first-born is a boy and her second is a girl. Every day, I pray for Y's well-being as she spares space with her rambunctious and hyper older brother. She crawls underfoot as he dashes from one corner of the house to another with no regard for any tiny hands and feet that he might encounter. If he finds her examining any of his toys, he lets out a high-pitched shriek, catches her around the tummy and bodily flings her into another corner of the room. This happens atleast twice a day. For that one terrible instant when she is up in the air and I am transfixed and powerless to save her, I find myself holding my breath and praying for a relatively smooth landing. She falls with a thud, a mildly puzzled expression on her face -- and I exhale.
At that moment, what I would really like to do is shake Ads really hard and give him a good spanking. It takes every ounce of control not to do so and I vent by yelling at him. We have explained to him that hitting or shoving his sister is not warranted under any circumstances but he does it anyway. So we don't leave the two of them alone without one of us being close at hand to supervise.
It's easy to forget that Y is only 7 months old, given how enthusiastically she wants to join in with any horseplay that's happening around her. Last night, S and I and the 2 kids were in bed. Ads was in ice-cream-induced high spirits, jumping and kicking. S and I ducked every few seconds, trying to avoid major organ damage and shielding Y from the worst of the blows. She was unfazed, laughing, standing up and raring to be a part of the crazy game her brother was playing.
Yes indeed, baby sisters have to be very very tough.

Sunday 21 June 2009


A few months ago, we were approached by a 'talent scout' at the mall who asked us whether we would be prepared for Ads to model. This was actually the second time that someone had asked us (the first time, Ads was only 2 and I promptly declined). This time, the lady first approached S who, as is his wont, promptly passed the baton to me. Thus ambushed, I didn't have a readymade reason to say No; and I thought, why not go and see what all the fuss is about? mother can resist the tiniest chance that her cherub could appear on TV or in a billboard.
So anyway, Ads was asked to appear for an audition in San Jose yesterday afternoon at a well-known and reputed modeling agency. There were more than 30 people auditioning - mostly kids of various age-groups but also teenagers and grown-ups. We were asked to watch a short video touting the benefits of this agency and the stellar representation they could offer a wannabe model/actor, followed by an "interview" where we (the parents) were asked a few questions. Ads was plonked in front of the camera where he had to say his name, age and sing a song (the cameraman requested that he sing the ABC song which he did in a barely audible voice, while tightly holding onto my hand). We were pleasantly surprised at how quickly they shepherded everyone through the whole process and Ads' performance was in line with our expectations. He is a shy child and freezes in front of strange and new people. As we were going out of the building, we heard an Indian man say to his wife in Hindi: "Abhi iski awaaz nikal rahi hai" (Obviously he was sorely disappointed by his son's on-camera persona :))
During the interview, Y was sitting on S's lap. The lady asked us whether we had applied for both our kids and when I said we had applied just for Ads, she looked surprised and disappointed. She told me I had two beautiful kids (I bet she says that to everyone!) and that Y had a lot of "personality" and would we be interested in getting her to audition as well? Y had cooed, laughed and gurgled all through the video session and the interview and basically upstaged her brother while hogging all the attention :)
We got back home and they called us an hour later asking us to come back. Apparently Ads has a "lot of potential" and they would like to represent him. When I said that the financial commitment was too much for us (which was just a different way of saying that we had just attended the audition for a lark and were not serious about Ads modeling or acting), they offered us a scholarship which would cover two-thirds of the cost. It's nice to know my child is considered handsome enough to be a model but sorry Y and Ads - your modeling careers are stillborn!

Thursday 18 June 2009

Ads changes his name

Ads now goes by the name of Dindigul Sarathy Rumplestiltskin. It's his own concoction. It had to happen sometime - he asked me recently why I named him Advaith - apparently he doesn't like the name, instead preferring Jimmy or DSR as above.
And to think we took all that trouble trying to select the perfect name for our first-born.

Thursday 11 June 2009

Ads' brings home a gift for Dad

An inverted wooden flower-pot becomes a bell, and an aluminum bolt becomes the gong. A very clever idea and so cute. Ad's Father's Day offering has pride of place on top of our television set.

Jumping off into the deep end

I've started studying again. A distance learning course in Development Studies from the London School of Economics and Political Science. The diploma is supposed to be completed in 1 year as long as I manage to put in a minimum of 6 hours of study per week per unit. I have to take 4 units which translates into atleast 24 hours of study per week. Obviously, this is not do-able as long as my kids don't go to daycare, so I estimated that it would take 2 years for me to earn my credentials (a timeline that began to look wildly laughably optimistic as I started reading the subject guides and looked at the examination questions). And some masochistic streak in me also prompted me to write to a social venture fund called Benetech, volunteering my time with them. I've had a couple of initial meetings with them and they want me to act as a consultant, working on developing a CSR and volunteer engagement strategy.
I enjoy having a finger in several pies at once (even though this particular pie-and-finger scenario is guaranteed to raise my stress-levels big-time), so the next few months promise to be interesting as I try to balance the demands of being a mother and household-in-charge with studying and working.

Thursday 4 June 2009


Ads has been requesting us for stories every afternoon, night, at mealtimes and milk-times. That's nothing new. He loves books and listening to stories. But now he demands a "new" and "dangerous" (don't ask me what that means - something with chills and thrills I suppose!) story at every sitting, it's much more difficult to come up with something that satisfies him. He has said a firm no to "Ummachi" (God- and lord- related) stories. I have exhausted my repertoire of Arabian nights, Panchatantra and Jataka tales (he wasn't very taken with those), fairy tales and stories from my own childhood - some real and some contrived. I read up on stories from the Ramayana and Mahabharata but apparently they come under the head of Ummachi stories and were summarily rejected.
So a few nights ago, in complete desperation, I started on Harry Potter, quite sure that he would not understand even my highly simplified version and would quickly lose interest. But as he listened, clearly mesmerised and wanting the narrative to continue long after his bedtime, I started spinning out the story, adding the details that I thought he could digest. We have been at it for 4 days now and I glossed over all the scary bits and ended it this afternoon.
Clearly a ringing endorsement of the gripping nature of JK Rowling's tale. This evening he wants to see the movie on Youtube!

Wednesday 3 June 2009

Bereft of my beloved

Bereft of my beloved brand-new HP laptop for the past few days!
It was the lone casualty of a heated argument and scuffle involving me, Ads and a cup of Ovaltine. You get the picture.
S was livid. Especially since he had repeatedly warned me against this exact scenario, knowing my penchant of dawdling over the computer with a cup of tea on the table in front of me, surfacing now and then to brawl with my son. (Yeah Ads and I fight a LOT!)
The poor milk-soaked laptop has gone to be patched up and I should get it back in a few days. The $$$ damage is something like a third of the cost of the laptop.
1. Liquids and costly electronic equipment don't mix (well I should have known that already)
2. Kids and liquids should stay together (away from aforesaid equipment) and in an enclosed area covered in easy-to-wipe-down plastic.
3. Maturity and a cool temper are critical attributes for 30-something mom. Work on it.

Tuesday 2 June 2009

An early birthday celebration

Ads' class held a joint birthday celebration for all the kids whose birthdays fell in the summer months (July and August). There are 13 kids all born in July/August of 2003/4/5/6. Parents could volunteer to prepare a dish and bring it to class to be served as part of the birthday celebration. I brought a fruit salad. M-i-l and Y and I landed up to observe the proceedings. Ads didn't seem too thrilled to see us, as I had suspected. Everytime I smiled at him, he would put a finger to his lips and mouth "Stop". After a few instances of this, I got thoroughly irritated with him and stopped looking in his direction. Notably, he was asked to "do the calendar" - read out the date, day, month and year and before he went up to do this, he looked at me and said "You don't look".
Our resident bully was quiet as a mouse in the classroom. I barely heard his voice. What a transformation!