Tuesday 29 June 2010

Encouraging words

My girl-destined-for-Bollywood-or-Kollywood has been obsessed with the Raavan song - Beera Beera. She likes the Hindi version more than the Tamil version for some reason. Can't deny that the foot-thumping number is one of my current favourites too, and we have been playing it on youtube several times a day, whenever Y comes upto me and says (pointing to the laptop) - Beeya beeya! Peese?
One of her new words are Commocayyot. Take a wild guess as to what it could possibly mean. It's pomegranate! Her other new words are Thallu (Move in Tamil), Peese (please) and Wait. Ever so often, she will admire Anna's drawing and encouragingly say "Anna - nice!"

Sunday 27 June 2010

Angels and demons

"Amma, you are NOT the queen of this house. You are too hyper. You have to be calm like Appa."
I deserve this little homily from my son. Yes, I am too hyper, too impatient, too quick to find fault with myself and with my little cherubs. 
Sometimes, especially on days when they have been good, I don't feel like I deserve them. I don't deserve their constant and overt affection, their touching ability to believe that Amma is perfect, their delightful smiles and laughs, their little arms encircling my neck and their warm faces nestled under my chin. I wonder at this state of grace and feel grateful for it.
And yet it cuts both ways.
Every single morning, Y wakes up crying when I am in the bathroom brushing my teeth. Every day. There are NO exceptions. There's some sensor in her body that goes off when I leave the bed. And 95% of the time when I am taking a shower, Ads bangs on the bathroom door, howling for something or the other which cannot wait for the 2.5 minutes that it takes me to have a bath. A relaxed cup of tea? You must be joking. It happened last on 22nd December 2009.
As they say - you win some, you lose some.
As I type this, early on a Sunday morning, Ads is already up. I just convinced him to lie in bed for a little while longer until I finished gulping my tea. Gotta go now!

Friday 25 June 2010

Holiday "homework"

When school broke for the summer, all the kids in Ads' class got their holiday homework. Nothing too scary, just a slim booklet containing some colouring pages and activities to do over the summer - drawing the family tree and growing a plant were two sample activities. The booklet was faithfully transported to Chennai in the faint hope that one of the grandmas would sit down with Ads and help him with his "homework"; in the whirlwind of socializing that was our summer break, this went on the backburner. 
Back home, I am confronted with a bigger task - sprucing up Ads' handwriting (something that I have blogged about here). It has been frustrating for me, not because Ads' brain as regards the alphabet seems to have been wiped clean over the summer, but because teaching him brings out the worst in me and exposes the biggest faults in my personality. My irritability and impatience viciously feed on each other to create a mommy monster who is scary and detestable. I hate myself when I let myself go like this, and especially when the object of my rage is a hapless four-year old, and when the whole exercise is so patently pointless.
Even more scary was the thought that I may just be evolving into one of those hyper moms who moan and groan about their kid getting *only* 90% and not getting into IIT. If I can traumatize my son about his ABCs, surely I am not far from being that parent?
Enough. Deep breathing should do the trick. I think!

Setting up and decorating house

We got back to Delhi, to be greeted by 25 cartons of stuff that had arrived from the US. The shipment was almost 2 months late (we were supposed to get it by April-end). My first reaction on seeing the boxes filling up precious floor space was one of irritation, because my unpacking enthusiasm had waned was I to find the energy to unpack all these boxes?
As I started on the task, my irritation grew, supplemented by a sense of wonder at my own foolishness, near-sightedness and acquisitiveness. Why on earth did I have so much STUFF? Specifically, why do I have so many clothes? My clothes spilled out of every box. I had used them to pad our curios, kids' toys, my kitchen stuff; and there were enough left over to ship to every woman in Somalia. Oh well, I exaggerate, but I am so mad at myself. I have imposed a moratorium on any more clothes purchases for myself for the next one year. I'm confident I'll stick to it. 
I lovingly unpacked many of the curios I had purchased on our travels to Mexico and Canada. It was a delightful exercise to think about where to place them (some place Yukta-inaccessible, of course), and move things around until everything looked just right. I leave you with some snaps of the apartment. Still a few wall-hangings to be put up (some need to be re-framed), and I need to get some balcony furniture too. But the latter can wait since it's still too hot and dusty to think about sitting outside.

This display in my study has the boomerang (Australia), a Chinese tea set (Chinatown - Vancouver), and sand painting (Arizona Indians). The stand next to the couch has two cute drums (Hawaii).

The kids room - lots of Ads' artwork and I still have to put some more up.

Living room - 2 paintings depicting the Ramayana (Bangkok), my beloved Mysore painting (a housewarming gift from S's aunt) and a random bright yellow vase picked up at a thrift shop in the Bay Area!

My beloved Warli shares space with a piece of pottery depicting the Aztec calendar (Mexico) and a mask from South Africa (which I have never visited; it was a gift from a friend who holidayed there).

Some thrift-shop finds with green tequila shot set (Mexico).

One of my favourite paintings - the San Francisco skyline. My brother bought this for me.

Monday 14 June 2010

Indian Summer

What a summer it has been. 4 weeks down South, in Chennai and Bangalore. The highlight for me was the sheer and very satisfyingly large number of people I managed to catch up with - friends, relatives and cousins. The highlight for Ads was no doubt the wonderful day he spent ogling all kinds of wild creatures at the Vandalur Zoo, in company with his beloved Chennai Thatha (my father). The highlight for Y - well, who knows what it was? - but she got spoilt rotten by everyone, and that must have been it!
Ads was the cynosure of many eyes at the family wedding that we spent three whole days in, not only because he was one of the youngest kids there, but because of the ease with which he would launch into a conversation with just about anyone. His natural shyness put aside temporarily, he won many hearts (especially those of the older crowd) by expressing his interest in the Ramayana and Indian mythology. He was a source of much amusement when he swaggered into the venue one day, swinging his toy gadai (mace) above his head! It warmed my heart to see him running around the hall with third cousins, sitting in a great-aunt's lap listening to the story of Vaali and Sugreeva, and perhaps glimly understanding that his "family" is a lot larger than he thought it was.
Caveat: All this hob-nobbing with extended family is all very well when you get to do it once or twice a year.I have the liberty to gush about it on this blog. But it would drive me mad if I lived in Chennai and had a family function to attend every couple of weeks. Have been there, done that, you know :)
Anyway, even Y has lost a LOT of her stranger anxiety and is much friendlier to people now.
What else did we do?
The three of us spent 5 days of "quality time" with S's parents at Ooty. Grandparents and grand kids had their fill of each other and enjoyed the sightseeing and the tons of activities that the resort laid on for guests every night.
I caught up with many dear friends, and the children got to know new uncles and aunties who showered them with affection and gifts! 
My dad and I took Ads to his first ever movie in a theatre. The movie was "How to train your dragon" (3D). Hard to say which one of us enjoyed it more, but it led to a fresh resolve on my part to take Ads to age-appropriate movies on a regular basis from now on. My dad also took Ads to the zoo in Chennai, an experience he talks about all the time.
I shopped. We all ate too much. Kids ate way too many sweets. Ads watched too much TV.
We all missed S, stuck in the Delhi heat and missing out on all the fun, particularly as his birthday and our 10th wedding anniversary fell during this period.
As we count down to the last few days of the summer break, and wait to be reunited with daddy dear, I am busy soaking in the terrific Bangalore weather and hope that Ads enjoyed his holidays as much as I did!

Monday 7 June 2010

Not my post

My kids' maami, blogged about her discussions with Ads, here and here. It makes for an interesting read; and, as always, I gain a fresh perspective on how my child thinks (or indeed, how many kids may think, but of course I retain the right of believing my child is absolutely unique!).
Thanks, Yuvika!