Monday 30 November 2009

2 trips in 7 days

S went off to Mexico 2 weekends ago, leaving me to have my first brush with the single-parenting gig. I was feeling quite resentful I tell you, visualizing all the uninterrupted meal-eating, shower-taking, newspaper-reading and computer time S was going to have while I would be walking around unwashed exhausted and hungry for 4 days. My imagination was overheated thinking of how difficult it would be to have no backup. However, thankfully my kids like to prove me wrong and they were ANGELS for the 4 days that S was away. In fact, I got more rest/sleep than when S is around which led me to believe that he is the principal work-creator in our household.
In fact, the only really difficult thing to do without another adult in the house is to take a bath. S had suggested that I strap Y in her high-chair and keep her in the bathroom while I showered but I knew she would scream her head off if I did that. I left the bathroom door open and she was pottering around in there, pulling aside the shower curtain every now and then. I kept pulling it closed and she thought I was playing peekaboo with her. We did this for a couple of minutes and then she started chucking things into the bathtub - a plastic pail (which, with deadly accuracy, landed on my little toe), a few toys, a board book, and some baby wash (of course the bottle had to be partially open; in a few seconds the assorted items and I were standing in soapy slippery water). That was when I decided to stop my feeble attempt to take a decent shower.
S got back on Wednesday and on Thursday morning we were off as scheduled for our annual Thanksgiving weekend trip; this time to California's central coast, a couple of hours north of Los Angeles. We were supposed to spend a day cruising the Channel Islands, something I was looking forward to very very much; unfortunately due to large swells and high winds our trip to the islands got cancelled not once, but twice. That was a disappointment. But the rest of the holiday, to Santa Barbara and Solvang, was just wonderful.
Is there any part of California that is not gorgeous? Nature has definitely blessed this state with remarkable beauty. In the last 3 years, we have covered all the must-see regions of this state, all except two that is; we have not been to the far north of the state, where the redwood forests are; and we have not been to Death Valley, which is desert. As our R2I plans get crystallized, it seems unlikely that we will manage to see these places before we leave, so they shall be added to my MUST-SEE list which is getting longer by the day!

Monday 23 November 2009

Ads' update (1 of ?)

We had a parent-teacher conference at school some days ago. Teacher H started off by saying "When I think of Advaith, colouring and drawing are what come to mind." I had posted earlier about their concern that he spent too much time on artwork, at the expense of learning new stuff in school. He had stopped drawing after I had my little chat with him, but only for a few days; apparently he now does his other work/lessons quite half-heartedly and it is obvious that he is in a tearing hurry to get back to his drawing. Teacher H even mentioned that he is very "far away" from starting to read because he simply has no interest in it. Any other school would pretty much force him to start reading whether he liked it or not, but not a Montessori school. As much as I love the overall concept, I have to admit that probably Ads is not the best candidate for it. A child who is naturally self-directed and self-motivated will flourish and learn beyond measure in this system. A child like Ads, at the age of 4, will know that crabs walk sideways and snakes are invertebrates and that a circle has an infinite number of sides, but cannot (because he will not) read even the simplest of words.
Coming back to the conference with his teachers, overall they are happy with him. He gets along well with kids and adults alike and is polite and considerate. We still have to work on getting him to display more interest in subjects other than art.
And the Buzz Lightyear obsession continues. I saw an ad for a Buzz costume on craigslist for $3 and promptly snapped it up. He has been thrilled with it and parades around in the costume every afternoon. I haven't been able to upload a photo of him as Buzz since Blogger has been acting funny. Maybe I will have better luck tomorrow.

Thursday 5 November 2009

Happy birthday Yukta

Our little pumpkin is 1 today. It has been a year of family, travel and learning the ropes as the mother of two children. My learning curve has never been this steep. We largely ignored Y in the initial months, preoccupied as we were in tending to Ads’ issues and tantrums, supposedly common for a 3-year old. I might have given her more attention if my parents and in-laws weren’t around; as it was, she thrived without me doing much more than nursing her every couple of hours. As she grew older and more demanding, she began getting her share of attention, and well-deserved it was too.
My beautiful, feisty, vibrant and adventurous baby. What a pleasure she is, every moment of every day. We call her “little princess” and indeed it’s almost impossible to imagine that our family was complete without her. She seems to have overcome her stranger anxiety and is much more comfortable with people she doesn’t know, unabashedly staring at them (I love how un-self-conscious kids are!) and waving her little hands at them. She is unafraid – we frequently find her sitting on the floor in a room with the lights off, quite happily playing with a toy in the dark. She is incredibly affectionate – when S or I enter the house, she drops whatever she is doing and runs, nay hurtles, towards us on her little chubby legs, a large toothy grin fixed on her face. At that moment, the heart turns over. Always up for a game, a big laugh or some giggles, some dancing or some rough-housing, she is going to be a confident, gregarious girl. I can already tell that she shows every sign of maturing into a typical Scorpio; and it’s a foregone conclusion that she will be able to wrap her father and me easily around her little finger, something her much-too-innocent brother has never figured out!
When I was pregnant with Y, I used to (naively) wonder whether I would love my second child just as much as I loved Ads. Could anything match the fierce protectiveness and heart-stopping love I felt for Ads? How could it be possible that I feel the exact same thing for another child? I knew it would happen; after all, don’t our parents love us and our siblings equally? Maybe in different ways, but equally nonetheless.
The strange thing was, I fell in love with Y immediately. There was none of that waiting period which I experienced with Ads. It was unadulterated, unconditional love at first sight. As intense a feeling as I felt for my first-born. I think I enjoy my time with her a lot more than I did with Ads. Perhaps that is the magic of the second child. You are less paranoid and less focused on being the perfect parent, and more on just being there and savouring every moment.
And yes, we take as many pictures of her as we did of her brother!
Happy birthday, munchkin. It makes my heart break just a little bit to know that you are entering the strange new world of toddlerhood. Soon you will not be a baby any more. That heavenly baby smell, that velvet baby hair and that sweet baby taste will vanish much too soon. When will science allow us to bottle touch? 
I hate letting you go (don’t all mothers?) but the coming year will be filled with new joys and adventures. Here’s to a long healthy and happy life, Yukta.

Sunday 1 November 2009

Y loves her milk

Y started drinking regular milk 2 days ago. I picked up a half-gallon of whole vitamin-D supplemented organic milk from Trader Joe's and she has been having a quarter glass twice a day, which she enjoys.
Here is a picture of her reading. She is developing an interest in books and has a couple of favourite books already. Incidentally this book is a very well-thumbed one which was also Advaith's favourite!