All From Last Weekend

♣ Murali wanted to watch a Hollywood movie (on Netflix). P wanted to watch a Bollywood movie. I just wanted to do the dishes and clean my kitchen. Murali wins and plays SkyFall. In silent protest, P goes to her room and sleeps. Eventually, Murali falls asleep in front of TV. And I sit and watch the movie as long as I could.

♣ Like every weekend morning, Murali is in charge of Abhi and Achu. That means, he will play with them, give them breakfast, bathe and get them ready while P and I get extended sleep (Very sweet, I know. 🙂 ). This time, after they got ready, Abhi and Achu decided to rush into our bedroom and wake me up. Its one thing to get to see them running into their favourite bedroom and closet in the morning, but to see them stunningly dressed? more awesome. 🙂 Murali dressed Achu in pink shorts and black full sleeved top. Abhi was wearing a black T-shirt in his cute cute jumper suit.

♣ Last week has been the coldest of so far. It’s really like the chilling weather now-a-days. And at a time, when everyone would stop taking kids out for a stroller walk, we are taking them out for a stroller walk. Abhi and Achu are dressed for the weather, but I still worry how they would feel. But, they are always excited about going out. You should see our Achu baby highly co-operating when we put on a thick jacket on her. You know, she know we are going out and hence the co-operation. 🙂

♣ I always tell Murali that he should be cooking for Abhi and Achu. P says, what I am giving them now is right for their age, but I am not very sure. I mean, they could be eating yummy yummy Aloo Parathas daddy suddenly decided to make in the afternoon (Even though I had already finished cooking lunch for all adults too.). So, after Abhi and Achu ate something barely edible that I made, P, Murali and I ate the yummy parathas Murali made for lunch.

♣ Whats the best thing than to eat yummy yummy parathas for lunch, put kids to sleep and then take a nap yourself in the afternoon. Weather was so cloudy. We were going to head out somewhere, but we didn’t. Just took a nap. I fell asleep quickly (that’s a huge pleasant surprise as it rarely happens). And then, making and having a hot cup of tea after a good nap is also very heavenly. 🙂

♣ Apparently last Saturday was Karthika Pournami (a follow-up of Deepavali where we light diyas again). We realized it a little late, so we didn’t have anything special to do. However, our super creative Murali had the super simple and beautiful idea of lighting the diya in this lantern hanging in the patio. Why didn’t I ever think of that? I mean, that’s what it meant for, right? Anyway, I loved it so much. 🙂

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♣ It does really look like I am the strict one at home, not pampering kids too much, controlling what they do or how they react etc. Imagine my joy, when I get to let go of my little rules and pamper them. Especially, Abhi, whom I spend less time with. Saturday night, Abhi ditched P and I got to put him to bed. We both cuddled, I sang to him, rocked him and he was too happy seeing me next to him. I mean, he loves P, but I felt like, having me there next to him, meant as much to him as it meant to me. 🙂 I watched him fall asleep, put him in his crib and left the room with more sweet memories 🙂

♣ P on phone conversation with her husband, V

P: Murali made Parathas today.

V: When I come there, I will make some special type of dosas.

Me (Telling Murali): Ahh! How long has it been since we had dosas.

After few minutes, Murali disappears, no notice of going out whatsoever, drives to the far far away indian grocery store and comes back home with ready-made Dosa Batter. 🙂

And that’s also how, we had dosas for breakfast the next day (I should also mention that I seem to be good at making perfect shaped and crisp dosas. Surprising. I know. :))

♣ Sunday afternoon, we went to our friends place for lunch. It was already 2ish by the time kids finished their lunch and we left home. Murali packed my favourite little 3 Muskeeter chocolates for us to eat in the car. When we started driving, he asked me if I was hungry; Before I could answer, he took these chocolates out and gave it to us. 🙂

♣ Our friend V has become a super good cook (she used to be just like me at cooking. Looking at her now, inspires me) and made yummy food for lunch. We ate so much. She always packs us food for home, because we are busy with little kids (P and I had food ready for the next two days). Whats more, she also packed my favourite, delicious home-made boondi laddus, only for me (Aka Dil is gaining weight now but not complaining only because its laddus. I finished them by Monday evening, btw. :))

♣ Sunday evenings are the same every time. Murali wants me to say bye, I don’t want to. But it does happen, every Sunday evening.  Earlier, there was this hope of ‘Okay. It’s all going to end soon’ at least.  But now-a-days, I don’t even think about it when he will come back. It has become something I can’t hope for anytime soon.

Picture Me

(Over IM)

Murali: Can you send me a scanned copy of xyz doc?

Me: Done

Murali: I have everything for your application except for a digital picture. Do you by any chance have one handy that I can use?

Me: Let me see. I have one, I think.

Murali: Ok.

Me: Its your lucky day. Found one and sending…

And sent him this picture.

Fun For All …

Whatever Abhi and Achu do during the day, its not just fun for them. Most of the times, we have lot of fun watching them try new things, saying new words, being naughty or nice etc. Some times, few moments turn fun just for us too. So relieving it is to forget everything and have these little moments of joy, simply laughing out loud.

* There is this elephant toy that was a gift to Abhi and Achu. It comes in separate pieces and needs to be assembled. That’s the activity. Somehow, I never got to putting it together. When I tried to do it, Elephant’s trunk was behind the behind or there would be some empty space between the pieces or things like that. 🙂 I finally, gave up. Some time later, our nanny tried doing the same. She didn’t succeed either. Hers came nothing like an elephant. One evening while P, nanny and I were playing with Abhi and Achu, P took that elephant pieces out. Both nanny and I declared, its impossible to put those things together and the toy was broken. P didn’t agree, she set out to prove that she can assemble it. Nanny and I were so waiting to see her go wrong too. Each time P did a combination, we all would loud so hard looking at how the elephant looked. After some attempts, P finally cracked it. We finally had the elephant ready with all its parts where they should be. 🙂

* Abhi and Achu were playing with alphabet flash cards (as in, Abhi is scanning the cards, while Achu just throws them to her back). I said I wasn’t sure if we had all alphabet cards in the stack. Some of them should have gone missing or eaten (thanks to Abhi). P thought the same. So P and I started checking it out. We went by each alphabet, what object was in the card for that alphabet. P would ask me, ‘Okay. What was in R?’, I say ‘Rainbow’ and we would find the card. So funny, by now, I know exactly what objects are for alphabets in the set. We found all the cards, intact, btw. Many of them bitten, but none missing.

* Here and then, I would do hugs with Achu, but I never taught her that seriously. One evening when nanny was about to leave, Achu suddenly decides to shower hugs to everybody. First she goes to nanny, almost falls on her, puts her arms around and rests her head on nanny’s shoulder. While we are going awww..P asks Achu for a hug. Achu runs to P, give her a tight hug. Nanny asks her again and she runs to nanny. P and nanny kept asking for hugs and Achu kept giving them. Abhi and I hugged tight too watching Achu running between nanny and P giving them sweet hugs.

* Singing and dancing are another fun things P and I have everyday. Listening to good music, singing along songs like no one is bothered, such relieving it is. What’s more special is that I have a devoted listener to my singing. its Abhi. Each time I sing some songs (that quickly became his favorites), he stares right into my eyes, keenly listening to my singing. For one song, he even sings along with me. 🙂 Thanks to him, no one can ask me to stop singing now.:) P and I play our favorite songs every evening while we play with Abhi and Achu. Friday nights, we dance to party songs. Abhi and Achu, shake a leg sometimes, but mostly are watching us two adults, probably wondering if we have gone mad. 🙂

* Weekend evening, as soon as Murali comes home, I open the list of naughty things Achu keeps doing. This list of complaints doesn’t come out intentionally, but it just happens. Last time, Murali said he doesn’t want to listen to anymore complaints on his darling daughter. So this time, I decided to tell him differently. I thought of making a list and sticking it to the front door. I engaged nanny and P too. While nanny and I were feeding Abhi and Achu, P started writing this on paper. Honestly, we were thinking when writing these because we were not sure which ones to write. 🙂 There were just so many. P, nanny and I laughed out loud so much deciding on which ones to write. Finally, we settled on this Top 10. When I opened the door to let Murali in, I saw him smiling scanning the list. 🙂 This is all in one day, btw. 🙂

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One Girl… Many Names

I always thought I’ll have two girls. I wanted to call them Ammu and Achu. But, after we found out we were having a boy and a girl, I chose the second name, because Achu was born second. (Although we all think she did everything she could to come out first. 🙂 Somehow it didn’t happen.) So, I named her Achu.

I don’t know when, but now and then, Murali started calling her Akki. She answers to that name too. Mostly because it’s her DAD calling her. In fact, she would answer to any name her dad will pick. 🙂 I call her other names like Achamma, Thayaru and she never answers to me.

And since Dad and Daughter are very attached to each other, you know always cuddling, smiling, hugging types, we called them ‘Fevicol Jodi’. But then, we realized, when she gets a chance or based on her need, she will be the same with others. (Not as much as with her dad, though. Dad is still very special for Achu) So Nanny P said one day, Achu is Fevi-Stick. She comes with glue and gets attached to anyone. Crying time, bathing time, Ishi Ishi time, she is ready with her fevi-stick to get attached to anyone. (If Abhi lets her, she will take that too. :))

Abhi really wanted to call her ‘Achu’, but he couldn’t get to saying Chu, so, he instead said Thu. Then Achu became Athu. She is fine with this name change too, btw. Even she calls herself Attu. When Abhi learnt to say Akki, she started calling herself Akki too.

Sometimes, P calls her ‘Papa P Suseela’. (It’s one of the super funny comedy lines from a movie) and Achu thinks she is also that… Papa…pp 🙂

What do I say about Achu’s drama acts? They are just so many. She doesn’t get something, she takes out her drama queen avatar. Walks away to the couch, rests her head on it and fake cries. 🙂 Sometimes it happens on the floor. Sometimes, she will stand near the wall. Since she doesn’t get our attention when she cries like this, she mostly stops, but, never stops doing these acts. Sometimes she acts so sleepy (Take her to her crib…she will play for half an hour). Sometimes, she acts like she is super hungry. (Nothing except for water goes inside then). Even if she doesn’t do anything, sometimes, she stands next to couch, facing away from it, spreads her hands on it and bends backwards resting her head on it and relaxes. I look at her and say ‘Ey..Eye..Drama Queen…’, she smiles and does more of these heroin acts.

P also calls her ‘Veshala Papa’ for the 1000 funny acts she does every day and how she makes us laugh. Rough translation of this name is also ‘Drama Queen’. Still, she needs two names to justify all the acts she acts. She totally deserves it.

We are so lucky that some of the times, we can still divert her attention away from something she super desperately wanted 10 seconds ago. All that she couldn’t live with this 10 seconds ago is now all forgotten. For that, we also call her Ghazini.

Change

Change is coming. I can see it. Good or bad, I don’t know. Frankly speaking, when was the last time change was good. Its always tough when things change. Life changes for that period of time until everything settles down again. Until we accept what happened and get used to it or get over it. Its hard. Actually, this change, I knew of it from about a while ago. But I was not bothered. Because I didn’t bother to think about it. Call it ‘Ignorance is bliss’, but it worked. It helped me focus on kids and work. I took care of kids, home, work, all normally. Life was normal then. And this evening, suddenly an unexpected phone call brings up this topic and scares me so much. All evening, instead of happily spending time with kids, I started thinking and worrying about future. Now, I am stuck thinking about the change and everything that will come with it. It looks like I wont be able to focus on anything anymore. I was fine when I wasn’t bothered much. Because there isn’t much I could do about it. At least, there isn’t anything I want to do about it. So, I was fine. I have to say, despite all the painful things, life after I came back from my India trip, looked normal and stable to me. I liked it the way it was. Balanced. No matter what will happen in the next few weeks, I am really thankful for the time life looked normal. I really am. I hope now, it wouldn’t change for bad. And until the change really comes, I need to ignore and not worry about what may happen. If it all this change is going to rock our world, I would rather savor the next few days, at least. I need to convince myself and hope for the best.

Movie Time

Last weekend, Murali was here for two extra days. He was leaving on Tuesday night instead of Sunday. Monday afternoon I was at work when Murali pinged me and asked if I wanted to go watch a movie with him. We had planned to watch a movie on the weekend, but it didn’t happene because of other things. Saturday night, P took us and couple of other friends for dinner and I guess we were pretty tired by Sunday night. It was on my mind to remind Murali about the movie, but I didn’t. On Monday, when Murali asked me if I wanted to go, I wasn’t sure. I really don’t do things that impromptu. All things have to be well planned. I haven’t really enjoyed doing things unplanned in the past. So, I told Murali I wasn’t sure and he asked me if I wanted to go shopping instead. I still wasn’t sure and left it to him to decide.

Murali decided that we will go watch a movie. (Apparently, between watching a movie and shopping, I will better remember the experience of watching a movie. 🙂 ). The movie we wanted to watch was Enders Game. I knew it was some sci-fi futuristic movie, heard some good reviews, that’s all. We went to watch the movie at one of the coziest theatres I have ever been to. I have heard of this place from couple of friends, but we never visited it before.

Since it was a week day, the theatre was almost empty. The specialty of this place is that it has super cozy reclining seats, all set with pillows and blankets. There is more. This place actually serves food inside the theatre and we can eat while watching movie. 🙂 I was very excited about that, I have never been to a place where I could eat and watch. Its the best thing while watching movie on a big screen. After we got seated in the theatre, movie was about to begin (sound system was also awesome, we could actually hear the sound rocking through the floor) and we scanned the menu. There wasn’t many options, especially for us poor vegetarians. Murali said we should try Tater Tots, while I had my eyes on breadsticks. I loved it that when ordering, Murali asked me if fat food was okay? 🙂 I keep complaining all the time that I don’t want to eat anything fat. But, this time I really wanted to just have good experience. Murali also ordered a soft drink and popcorn was served too. Food was served when the movie began. After looking at the order, I realized, we ordered too much and there was no way both of us could finish it during movie. 🙂 We are really not that food people. But, I tried, really. Through out the first half of movie, my goal was to eat and then keep watching the movie. I really liked the thought and was so excited that together, we finished the drink, popcorn and the tots. I couldn’t really eat the breadsticks anymore, they were too cheesy than I could ever take.

Movie was okay-ish. Graphics and storyline were good, but I didn’t understand why it had to be some kid who is doing all this or why he had to be the final option when it came to saving earth from alien invasion. But, it was not bad at all. Like I said, the cozy seats, pillows and food were delightful and that itself made up for my movie experience this time. I don’t think I ever liked the movie going experience better than this. 🙂

The experience all together was awesome. It was super relaxing to watch the movie that cozily. It was the best movie time, ever. :). Murali was right. This is something I would remember better than just going shopping. :). I told Murali that I wont watch a movie anywhere else, anymore. It will only be this theatre from now on. Hunger game’s Catching Fire is releasing soon and I am sooo looking forward to it. (This time, we should remember to order less food). I really cant wait. 🙂

Entertaining Abhi and Achu

Okay. I will accept. I am running out of ideas. All the things that used to work, they don’t work all the times. Abhi and Achu still love their toys, but I can see that these can no longer keep them occupied all day. Now they are more interested around activities, so just buying new toys wont help. Because the weather here is cold, I don’t dare take them out for a stroller walk during the days. The only time they get out is during the weekends. I am mostly making it a point to take them out, at least once on the weekend. But I wish they could play and explore outside the house. Not that they are unmanageable within the house now, but it will give them a new thing to enjoy. May be I should let go of my fear and take them out everyday. I did take them out for a stroller walk yesterday afternoon. I am sure they liked it. 🙂 Some evening from last week, when Abhi looked a little cranky, it was obvious that he was bored and wanted something than usual. Seeing him, I thought of switching on TV for a while, but I resisted and found something else for us to do. We don’t allow Abhi and Achu to watch TV except for when they are eating. Anyway, back to the topic of entertaining Abhi and Achu, after I go home in the evening, there are some 3-4 hours of time I can spend with them before Abhi and Achu sleep. P and I spend most of it, playing and entertaining them, doing kitchen chores now and then.

* One evening, I suddenly remembered our age-old game, Ringa Ringa Roses. It seems like it was the only one I remember from my childhood. 🙂 P and I take turns and play this with Abhi and Achu individually. They don’t like to play this together. They wont hold each others hand. So, we do little round and round, sing the song and fall down. We included their names in the song and they loved that too. Only thing is that Achu doesn’t fall when she is supposed to, so we have make her fall down. Abhi wants to fall down even before we say ‘all fall down’. 🙂

* Abhi and Achu sit on top of us and we take them for an elephant ride around the living room singing some Telugu rhymes. They like this even now, but the problem is they are not happy with one or two turns. They just don’t want to get down and keep riding on us. And us elephants (Murali or P or I) are not fit enough for that. 🙂 Once in a while, I put them in a laundry basket and push it on the carpet. Very tiring for adults. Very entertaining for kids. 🙂

* The first time I chased Achu around in the living room, I knew it was a bad idea. Not for her, but for me. I quickly realized and stopped doing that, but she learnt faster. Now-a-days she runs away from us before we could change her dress or make her do something. We have to chase her around the room, get her back to us. She loves running away like that. 🙂 Nanny P always goes and gets her, while sometimes, I try to trick her to coming back to me. It does work sometimes. When I have to change her, I throw a clean diaper away and ask her to get it. Poor thing, she gets it to me and I catch her then. :). Even otherwise, when I chase her in the evening, just as an game, she loves just running around the room. Most of the times, she runs to her favorite secret hideout (where Abhi and Achu are supposed to be invisible. :)). Abhi is learning all this too. Soon, two kids will be running in two different directions, I wont know which way I should go. 🙂

* TV is mostly off limits for us, but P and I love playing some songs on laptop while we entertain kids. It also keeps us active and energetic. If Abhi and Achu allow us, we can just sit and hum to the tunes, once in a while. Friday evening is our dance party time. We play some party songs. P and I dance while Abhi and Achu watch. They shake their bodies a little, but don’t do the full dance yet. 🙂 Sometimes we hold them and dance. It also gives P and I a chance to dance, something we have never done in our life. 🙂

* Since we also have to cook in the same time, I try to make me being in the kitchen also entertaining for them. Last week, I sat on the other side of kitchen and demo’d them how to cut vegetables. I don’t know why , but they watched it with lot of interest. When I am making a dish, I take the ingredients to them and show them how it looks. Sometimes they can touch too. I would, gladly give them safe objects from kitchen to feel, but Abhi is still in the habit of putting everything in his mouth and who know what Achu is capable of doing with it. :). So, I have to wait for them to get over this before I can entertain them with things from kitchen. They still play with (more like fight with each other over) some safe plastic/steel bowls and cups with lids. Sometimes I sit down and let them match cup to the lid, but for now, they are more interested in drinking or eating some invisible things from these cups. 🙂 Achu walks all over the place, pretending to eat something from these bowls. 🙂

* Mixie time is another hit time entertaining Abhi and Achu. They were a lot scared of mixie sound at first too, but we now made it fun for them. Now-a-days, as soon as I say mixie time, Abhi and Achu are ready at the kitchen gate, all excited. I count down to turning the mixie on shouting…One..Two…Three….Goooo Mixie..Abhi and Achu are full of smiles. Sometimes, Abhi cant hold the excitement. 🙂 As long as the mixie is running, I sing and dance, mixie time..mixie time..mixie time. When I turn it off, we do shakey shakey a little and then mixie goes on again. This also is the reason all the foods processed in our kitchen are very finely done. Even if the chutney or powder is already done as I need it, I do extra rounds to please Abhi and Achu and the food becomes so pureed. 🙂 Once, Achu even let us cut her nails because mixie was on. That should show you the power of mixie time. 🙂

* Sometime, I put some object on my head, try to balance it while dancing a little. We call it balance dance. Idea is to dance or shake a bit, but balance the object on the head. It could be anything, a book, block, sock or my phone, anything. They like it when we lose balance and the object falls down. Abhi and Achu play this really well, btw. Because they will still hold the object with their hand, it will never fall down no matter how they shake or walk. Best game of balance dance ever. 🙂

* Who knew putting a small plastic disc on a book, spinning like a top will make Abhi laugh out loud. But, only when I say ‘zoom zoom zoom’ when the disc is spinning. Achu doesn laugh out loud much, but, Abhi does. Achu, didn’t think this was funny. But when Abhi started laughing out loud, she started doing it too. You know, because she has to copy everything he does. 🙂

* We haven’t played this many times, but, I guess water games will be a hit too. I bought their small bath tub into the living room, filled it with little water. Abhi and Achu enjoyed it a lot. Except for  that this is going to make a mess out of the carpet, I would have allowed them to play here every day. They could do so many things in a tub filled with water. 🙂 (of course there will also be so much left for me to cleanup. :))

* I recently started letting them play with their clothes. Like their socks or bibs. Because we don’t use these regularly, they are excited to hold and play with them. My main idea was to teach them colors and sorting, but all that they are interested in now is throwing them away, trying to put them on or eating them. 🙂 I guess, there is still time before I could teach them that. Here are Abhi and Achu wearing all the bibs yesterday.

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* Last week, Murali built this secret hide out house out of jumper (which is not used now) for Abhi and Achu. Both of them, now love hiding in here. They expect we will come looking for them. 🙂

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All this seems to be working fine still, but I can see, very soon, I will be needing new activities to entertain them. The creative head of our family is sitting miles away from us, so I have to resort to internet now, for answers. 🙂 But, in reality, I also want to teach them to play on their own. Because I have time now, doesn’t mean I will have time or energy tomorrow to do all this. There has been quite a few evenings in the last weeks, where I had no energy to actively play and entertain them. I do want to make it a learning exercise for them to play on their own or with each other. They do do that now, we just have to keep the habit going.