Tuesday 24 April 2012

Another Bee-themed activity - a bumblebee costume

What? I have to come up with a homemade bee costume? What the $%!!!**&*!!!
I cribbed all the way to the stationery store, and spent the better part of last weekend designing and executing this project. As it happens, bees are easy to do and this is what I did.
Take 1 black t-shirt. Ads has an old one that I have been meaning to dump for a long time. But he loves it and wouldn't allow me to; fortunately he agreed to sacrifice the T-shirt for a greater cause :) 
I covered the pattern at the front of the t-shirt by pasting a sheet of paper (painted black) over it. Then I cut out and pasted strips of yellow chart paper all over the body.

For the wings, I took a wire hanger (one of those you get back from the drycleaners and which are very pliable) and twisted it so that it could be hooked over the top of the t-shirt, at the back. I cut 4 wings out of white chart paper and attached it with tape, to the hanger. I used markers to make the wings look more 'realistic'.

 The antennae were made using a girl's black head-band. Ads loudly protested that he would "not wear a girl's band" but came around after I explained that I could not think of any other way to have him wear the antennae.
Since he was taking the bus to school, I gave the wings and antennae to him in a bag. He would attach both to his costume just before he went up to talk.
We made the lil fella pose in the complete costume before he set off. We found the wings were a little limp. Next time I have to create wings I need to give them a cardboard backing for extra stiffness.

Next semester they are learning about tigers. Help!

In which Y proves she has my genes (Yay!)

...and she did it by sleeping...yes, she really is fast this position.

I'm the one who sleeps in such odd positions, feet bent at 90 degrees and up in the air. Yes, I am totally comfortable and I can sleep like a baby (or Y!). No, it does not hurt :) In fact I'm more likely to wake up with vague body pains if I sleep on my back or side like most other people :)
Ads is like his father, who can't bend his knees without the latter emitting an alarming creaking sound.
So, there's atleast one thing that my daughter inherits from me...even if it's something weird!

Thursday 19 April 2012

New year, same old school

The nicest thing (for me) of the first day of school for Ads this year was just how uneventful it was. No drama, no tears flowing down both our faces and no stress. The only reason being, this is the first year in his short life that he has been to the same school two years running. The sense of relief that we both have due to this happy fact was unequivocal and immense.
He was excited about starting a new year, a little bashful about making new friends, a little sad about not having the same class teacher (whom he adored), very happy that this same teacher would still be teaching him English, a little anxious about the kids who would be in his class this year (they randomly shuffle the kids around every year into different sections, which sucks, but more about that in a future post). 
He insisted I drop him at school on the first day instead of taking the school bus. As I drove to school, I kept sneaking looks at him in the rear-view mirror and saw him looking thoughtful but cheerful. As for me, there was none of that deep dread which normally settles down in the pit of my stomach every new session, making me want to throw up! We parked, walked to the school grounds and found his class lined up. The new class teacher welcomed him, I hugged Ads and whispered "Good Luck!" in his ear, he waved me a cheery goodbye and that was it.
I find it hard to put into words the comfort I gained from watching him at ease in those surroundings. I came back and told S - "Ok. That's it. No more moving around for a few more years!"
Though - that's a hastily-proclaimed resolution we might both have a hard time sticking to.

Warming the cockles of my heart

Some heartwarming moments that I managed to capture over the last week, thanks to handy cameraphones.
This scene – Y receiving Ads as he gets down from his school bus and the two of them amicably walking back home.

Big bro gamely trying to lift not-so-little sister, and managing to stagger a few paces!

Must look back on this the next time they fight like cat and dog today and everyday!

Tuesday 17 April 2012


I was sitting on the lawns, chatting with my friends, with one eye on Y, who was playing with another girl 'S', who is the same age. They were under the temporary supervision of ‘N’ didi, a cheerful 8-year old who loves to play with the younger kids – Teacher-teacher, house-house and passing the parcel are some of the names of the games that Y faithfully reports to me every evening.
Today, apparently, was a game called "Princess and Palace". Y tells me that she and the other preschooler S, have both got separate rooms in the palace. I asked her “Oh, so you and S are princesses?” Y says “ No, amma, N akka is the princess. We are servants!
I couldn’t help it. Laughter came bursting out of me. Y obviously thought servants were something like princesses. Before I could stop myself, I said “Oh, so you are N akka’s maids.”
Y stomped her foot (she hates people laughing at her) - “NOO. We are servants. Not maids!”
I tried to make amends by saying "Never mind, darling. I would love to have servants as cute as you and S."
But she is still furious with me and went off to bed without the usual goodnight hug and kiss :(
Oh, and a couple of days ago, she told me - "Amma, I want a sister. Not a boy-sister. I want a girl-sister." 

Monday 9 April 2012

BEE craft

This one was a slapdash affair. Ads was asked to make some craft related to the bee, since they are learning about bees in school now. I wanted something that involved some basic gluing and sticking since Ads would be doing most of the work and his fine motor skills go for a toss when it comes to cutting and pasting :)
So this is what I came up with. One clean and empty plastic Mother Dairy kulfi cone :)

 Cut out a circle, draw a smiley face and paste it on the open end of the plastic cone.

Envelop it with strips of yellow and black paper. I didn't have yellow paper so I gave a white sheet to Y and she happily lathered it with yellow poster paint.

Cut out wings from the yellow paper and stick to the 'back' of the bee. Add antennae and one bumblebee's ready for submission :)

Kasauli and Chandigarh

The long weekend saw us off to Kasauli and Chandigarh. We (which means I) had planned this trip some weeks ago but were not sure whether we would actually go because S has been travelling a lot these last few weeks. We barely saw him. With work being at one of those phases where I was working on 4 proposals at the same time, the heat picking up and Y being at home, the only thing that saved my sanity was my father's comforting presence as primary childcare provider. A couple of days before we started, I was regretting having made all the bookings in the first place. I knew S would be super-tired and as for me, I wanted nothing more than to stay at home, and just sleep. Such pre-travel feelings are quite a novelty to me since I am always ready to pack up and head somewhere new, so I guess it's a measure of how horribly tired I felt.
Anyhow, S landed at home just in time to go to bed before we were up bright and early for our 7.30 am Shatabdi to Chandigarh. Now that's a city worth visiting, if for nothing else than to marvel at what could have been, and isn't. Clean, green, orderly, and the shocker for me was bike paths everywhere, being used by pedestrians, cyclists and rickshaw-wallahs. Gurgaon of all Indian cities had the opportunity to be as nice as Chandigarh. The city planners (if they exist at all) started with a clean slate - how much easier can it get? I felt very depressed to think that we squandered such a fantastic opportunity - and what we have is not so much Millennium City (who coined that name? Someone with a really ironic sense of humour?) as a dirty overgrown Class B town which just happens to have a lot of MNCs, malls and international schools, not to mention a swanky golf course.

Can you see the biking trail behind the trees?

Even the main Sector 17 market in Chandigarh was lovely! I went there expecting the typical Indian market (think Pondy Bazaar in Chennai, or Lajpat Nagar in Delhi) but what I saw was a large plaza surrounded on all sides by shops, what seemed like adequate parking, just a handful of street hawkers, and garbage bins everywhere!!!

I hadn't done my research so we didn't know of any recommended places to gorge on Punjabi food. So we ended up in India Coffee House and dined off dosais and milk shakes :) I wasn't expecting the dosais to be great, but they were excellent. We toured the Rock Garden (again, a worth-see) and while Ads wasn't expecting to like it very much, both the kids really enjoyed climbing the 'rocks' and running through labyrinthine pathways.

The next morning we left for Kasauli, reaching there in a couple of hours. There's really not a whole lot to do in Kasauli - a smattering of the usual 'points' which make for good views - with names like Lovers' Leap and Sunset Point which one encounters in every single hill-station in India. I suppose the nicest thing about Kasauli is that it is relatively unspoilt unlike the commercialized hill-towns in other parts of the Himalayas. We ate a lot, slept a lot and the only mildly strenuous activity was walking uphill for 2 kms to reach the town marketplace, have a steaming cup of Elaichi chai and take a bus downhill.
Some snapshots - Ads pointing out a leopard in the hills to his gullible sister. "Really, amma, it's there...I saw it!"

The view from our resort.The husband outrageously claimed that it was as scenic as New Zealand. Kasauli is scenic all right, but sorry I draw the line at comparing it to NZ. We had a small tiff on this topic....I don't know what he'd been drinking...:))

The place where we stayed.


Sunrise over the hills.

There are no long weekends until August.....sigh....:((

Wednesday 4 April 2012

The 7 gross things - WARNING - Non-parents read at your own risk :P

This is so funny. Err...ok....maybe most people would find it gross :) But I find it funny-weird that one's ideas of what is gross/yucky undergo a complete sea change once kids enter the picture. I know a few parents personally who would still turn up their refined noses at all these, but hey, most parents I know have done many of these gross activities and lived to tell the tale!
The one I will never ever do is catching the kiddos puke with my hands. We've had several instances when we needed a handy receptacle - like NOW - mostly in airplanes when the kids (most inconveniently) decided to throw up. The husband has in those cases done the honours. He asks me, faux-innocently - But why would you not catch our babies' puke in your hands? 
Over my dead body and the hostile glares and nasty remarks of the flight attendants :)
The one instance which I am really proud of my super-fast reflexes is when I was driving with the kids in the back seat. I heard a very tiny teensy-weensy gurgle from Y which to my trained ear, meant only one thing. It meant that I had about 5 seconds, maybe less. Screeching the car to a halt, throwing off the seatbelt before stopping, while simultaneously yelling at Y to control herself for just a second longer, yanking open the back door and shoving her head out of the car and over the road, all in a matter of seconds - yessir, even 007 or Agent Vinod couldn't have responded that fast.
Nowadays, when Y is sick (which is when she invariably gets very puky), I sleep with one year cocked and open and at the slightest indication of discomfort from her, we are sprinting to the bathroom, half-asleep!
Such valuable skills - unfortunately, not one of them can be showcased on my CV :(