Sunday 8 February 2015

Y - Patchy Progress (Not!)

Some milestones for Y -

  • Learning to skate/rollerblade for the last month and a half and doing pretty well so far. I used to think skating would not provide much exercise but it appears I was wrong; atleast in the initial stages it seems to be hard on the legs and thighs! From initially just lifting her feet high and walking to now smoothly coasting for short stretches, Y seems to be enjoying her weekly class so far.
  • Transitioning to Anna's scooter, a much larger and taller one since she outgrew her own scooter. It took Y no time to learn how to manage on just 2 wheels instead of 3.
  • Reading! She has been a slightly slow starter just like her brother inspite of having books and bibliophiles in her DNA and home ever since she was an infant. Fortunately I never fussed about them picking up reading. Just like Ads, she has leapfrogged into it and is now comfortable with the equivalent of the Ladybird 2 and 3 series and is asking to read the Geronimo Stilton books now!
The biggest transition has been to start wearing an eye patch for 4 consecutive hours everyday, for the last 2 months. She was diagnosed with lazy eye in November and has been so good with wearing the patch. I am super-proud of her! The patches prescribed by the ophthalmologist had adhesive on them and irritated her eyes no end. A couple of times, when we peeled it away it left bruises which later drew blood. I had to order a 100% cotton eye patch that could be fitted onto the spectacles, from the UK. They were simply not available online in India. Of course these cloth patches don't work as effectively as the adhesive ones, but we will find out when we meet the ophthalmologist again at the end of this month. We hope the lazy eye problem is corrected and she does not have to patch any more. The issue, as always, has been social. Random people exclaiming and asking OMG what happened? does not really help us. We know that when we step out inside the community, there will be atleast two people who ask us about the patch. I used to get livid with people's curiosity. I would never ask a child I do not know, why he is limping/wearing a patch/wearing braces etc etc but this is India and people are always curious :( But wiser people have advised me that explaining to others calmly makes a big difference to the way Y views herself, and it helps her articulate to others when they ask as well. So I am trying to subdue my natural reaction of annoyance and do what is best for my baby!
If she has to continue with the patch for some more time, I anticipate there is a lot of counseling and some delicate social navigation in store for us. But - as always - teaching moments aplenty, both for mommy and baby!!!

Thursday 5 February 2015

Karnataka Heritage Trail -Part 1

A long weekend came and went and how could we not have headed out of town? :) This time, because S had been going ga-ga over some pictures of Pattadakkal that some friend had posted, we decided to do Hampi-Badami-Pattadakkal-Aihole. First, a night train to Hampi, which turned out to be a dirty town which became much nicer as we headed out of the city center and towards the Jungle Lodges Sloth Bear Resort.  Airy spacious cottages well-spaced from each other, spotlessly clean, and with very friendly courteous staff. How I wish more Govt.-run establishments were like this! Though of course JLR charges an arm and a leg so that level of service is to be expected. 
Hampi was beautiful. A little underwhelming at first though; having been to Khajuraho and Orccha in Madhya Pradesh, not to mention Belur/Halebid closer to Bangalore, I did not find the architecture and carvings that spectacular. Soon, however, the sheer scale of the site, the history and the impressive natural setting (boulders and all) had me mesmerised. Hampi was crawling with foreign tourists and was hot even in January. I can imagine the scorching heat during the summertime. After doing a little sightseeing, we headed back to the resort for lunch, a short nap and then a safari into the Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary. 
This safari was unlike any safari I have ever been on. We trundled along in the bus for what seemed like miles until we reached a rocky hill up which we all huffed and puffed. On top of the hill, was a viewing platform on which all of us were asked to perch for the next 2 hours until the sloth bears made an appearance! The rest of the 'safari' was fairly typical. There were the serious wildlife-watchers with professional-looking cameras and binoculars who were highly irritated on spotting us tourists accompanied by small noisy kids. There were the small noisy kids who occupied themselves in running up and down some rickety stairs :) There were some bored adults as well who were merrily taking calls and speaking loudly into their fancy phones. 
It was windy, cool, and beautiful. I settled down and relaxed until such time as the bears made an appearance. They did not make us wait too long. It was quite fascinating to see the black furry shapes clamber down the rocks even if from a distance.
Chariot at the Vittala Temple Complex

Miniature Hampi - the prototype of every building was this

Elephant Stables

The zoom

View from the top- at the Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary
Finally, it was time to go back to our cottages for some well-earned dinner and an interesting BBC documentary on the wildlife around Hampi. Day 2/Part 2 of the heritage trail to be posted soon!

Wednesday 4 February 2015

Only about Y#2

This had been lying in my drafts for almost a year. Just discovered and posting.
On our drive home back from a road trip, Y is looking out of the window. Suddenly she exclaims - "Wow! This looks just like India!"
We tell her, this is India only baby.
She's shocked. "What! How did we get here so fast??"
I have nooooo idea what this girl is thinking about half the time! :)

"Amma, Bharath (of the Ramayana) was such a good boy. He did not want to be king. Only the chappal was the king."
"Good thing the chappal was clean. Otherwise the throne would have become dirty."
And she was offended when I laughed and laughed :)


Ads has recently started writing a diary. What has he gotten himself into? Did he not know (and why did I not anticipate) that being who he is, he would get stressed about not writing an entry every single night? Last night, he was so tired he could barely drag himself from the dining table to his bed. Yet his last words before sleeping were - "Amma, wake me up early tomorrow. I need to write in my diary."
Which of course, I did, because this kind of discipline and diligence is SO me. Some people call it borderline OCD behaviour :) 
When you see flashes of yourself in your kids, sometimes you want to steer them away from doing what you did...Sometimes, you just smile in understanding and let them go ahead, even though you know nothing good is ever going to come out of it.
I am told that both my kids need to be more outgoing, and able to make friends easily. Now I can never buy this "extroverts are better" argument. Nature dictated that my kids are both a little reserved and shy. After all, their parents are not extroverts! However, over the years, education travel and workplace opportunities have transformed S and myself into socially adroit and confident creatures. No doubt the same will happen to Ads & Y as well. I have no burning desire to have them be social butterflies or the life and soul of the party, at this age. I do coax them every now and then to go up and talk to kids they don't know, and help them strike up conversations with casual acquaintances. But I don't make a habit of pushing them. Often when I speak to someone in the elevator or in the park, Y has asked - "Why did you speak to that Uncle/Aunty? You don't know him/her." I know something clicks when I respond; there is my small learning moment! I know how long is has taken for Ads (many many years of nagging!) to voluntarily offer a greeting to someone he knows or a visitor to our home. Every time he does it, Y learns from him. Baby steps!
It's ok to have a couple of good friends, and a couple only. I never had a huge gang of friends growing up and even now the number of good friends is really small. Isn't that how it is for most of us? It was hard for me to be open and gregarious. Over the years, I conditioned myself differently and now it's become second nature. Perhaps my only role is to facilitate my children's journey. Point, coax but never ever force them to be something they aren't. 
I will have to gently break the news to Ads that his diary entries have been dated wrongly. He thinks we are still in January but it's already the 4th of February! He has to fill in 3 days worth of entries in the middle :) What fun we are going to have today!