Pending Settlement

Dear Murali, You couldn’t come be with us and help me out last weekend. I understand. Don’t feel guilty. You were asking if there was anything you can do for me. Yes, there is something. Here it is. PAY UP. You OWE ME some 200 bucks. And its been 2 full months since 2013 ended, already. Seriously, pay up, please.

♦♦♦

And to give the rest of you a little background, here is my proof. Right after we came back from India trip, I was breaking glasses/plates as expected and  P soon joined the bandwagon. I don’t know if Murali was panic-struck looking at the emptying cupboards, but he stuck a paper to the door and started making a list. Little did he know he will end up with the heavy dues to pay. Hahaha.

This is for the last few months of 2013, btw. I have also decided to show off my awesome editing skills via this. If you think I could have done a better job, read this 🙂 .

(Notice dad writes Achu’s name first?)

U1

When it comes to broken things,

1. If you broke the object, it’s added to your account

2. If you find the object broken, it’s added to your account. (As in the ‘1 bowl’ assigned to P in her account. She found it broken. Don’t know who broke it )

Initial idea, I think, was also to write what all Abhi and Achu were responsible for. But when, mother nature found out about this list, she was afraid we will be out of paper and there by trees on the planet if we start recording what kids are responsible for. So, for her sake, we dropped the idea.

Almost all the money we lost/gained here is because of bets. Mostly, stupid bets. But hey, why would I complain? I am the one winning here. +120 to Dil was a double or nothing win. Hahahaha. Murali actually owes me more than what’s listed here, I can be very generous, sometimes.

And coming to the what P and I owe to one another, at the end  of the year, P bought a box of 4 glasses. So that settles what we were supposed to give back.

Here is what we have (so far) for 2014.

U2

Looking at his track record, I decided to give Murali the maximum space 🙂 . Murali owing me one is for taking care of car during the new years. One weekend evening, P made perfect tea and put 4 spoons of salt instead of sugar. I haven’t still decided what’s the penalty for that. P and I lost some bets to Murali recently in a cricket game bet. He said score was going to be 292. P said 280, I said 310. Guess what, the score was 292. Hmm. I should have checked if it was a live match. What if we were watching a recording and didn’t know? Huh! Okay. Now, that +10 to Murali is tentative and pending investigation.

Baby awake tests are simple. We do it all the time and I win it all the time. Basically, we leave after kids sleep and before we go home we bet which baby will be awake/still asleep. 10 for each baby we predict correctly.

See. I haven’t broken anything yet in 2014? 🙂 I cant believe it. (Even if I do, I will just hide it and let P or Murali find it 😛 )

So, Please hope Murali and P lose lots of bets, I don’t break anything when someone is around and Murali, I don’t accept checks. Cash or Jewelry only.

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First Dance

I will write in detail about our ACTUAL twin troubles later, how Abhi and Achu fight etc. etc, but for the purpose of this post, let me sum up how it is for now. As of now, Abhi and Achu don’t get along that well. They want the same toy all the time. Abhi grabs something first, Achu wants to takes it away from him. Achu has something else, Abhi quickly grabs it and runs away. Few weeks ago, Achu was the crazy baby hitting Abhi when she was frustrated. Thankfully, I was able to deal with it fine and she has now forgotten about the hitting (or is taking a break).  But, now its Abhi’s turn to hit Achu. In addition, he seems to be also reminding his sister about hitting. Sigh! Sigh! (One for Abhi, One for Achu). Oh! There is more. When I am around and when its sleeping time, they both are super possessive about me. Achu insists only she can sit or sleep in my lap, for the rest of eternity. Abhi hates when Achu wants to read with us. So on and on goes the list.

(But, it’s all okay. I don’t think they need to start getting along, right now. They have different personalities, they are growing up at a different pace, so its okay. We resolve every conflict individually, but I am not making any big conscious effort to make them best friends, right now. Besides, they wont get the big picture except for the little things we teach then. It will take time.)

And, in a situation like this, imagine my joy when the following happens.

Yesterday evening, after our regular round of entertainment time (that included cleaning floor with baby wipes, Achu wiping her toy travel suit case, tiger chasing babies, stacking and crashing blocks, eating dumping cereal everywhere etc. etc.), I played songs on my laptop. I have a usual playlist on raaga I play for kids. Few selected movie songs. Abhi and Achu were listening and playing while I asked Achu to dance with me. Murali and Achu danced a bit on the last weekend he was here, so I held Achu’s hands in mine, did a little baby dance moving hands, taking few steps etc. Next, it was Abhi’s turn. Kids seemed to enjoy it. After a while another song began. Abhi comes to me and asks me to hold his hands and dance. I was so amused he was asking me to dance, but, since our copy cat Achu has started to ask me the same, I asked them to hold each other hands, instead of mine. Now, I was expecting that to result in utter chaos. Like, Achu falling on the carpet, kicking her legs and complaining while Abhi would start his real-fake cry routine. But, to my utter disbelief, they held each other hands and starting moving a little like what I did with them. I was literally stunned as I expected the exact opposite. I quickly grabbed my phone and started shooting. I asked them to move a bit and they did. Abhi looked just happy to oblige my word and hold Achu’s hand, but, Achu was thoroughly enjoying it. She was the one moving the hands, actually. It was so beautiful. Few seconds into it, Abhi decides to examine the flowers on Achu’s dress and give her a hug while all Achu wanted was hold his hands and dance. She kept asking, but Abhi moved onto do his zombie acting and ran into the tent, while Achu ran behind him giving him her hands 🙂 . She liked it really. And of course, me the most 🙂 . And I got it all on video. Yayy! The only problem is that the over-happy-me was sounding so excited on the video that I had to watch it on mute 🙂 .

Few minutes later, they danced again. Achu was little disappointed when Abhi left again. They haven’t forgotten what they did. This morning, I stopped them from a small fight over blocks, dragged them out of the tent and made them dance. They enjoyed it again. Me, still the most 🙂 .

This is what made me feel a lot good yesterday night. Finally, there might be, after all, a chance that they will be best friends. We just need to find more moments like this 🙂 .

Thier Own Ways

Achu’s favorite food is Sambhar. When feeding, if I say, ‘Achu, Sambhar mammu’, she will open her mouth wide and quickly gulp the food down. But, but, if that food didn’t taste like sambhar (Well, we of course use this trick to get her to open mouth), she will not stop until she spits out the last piece of whatever she ate. Plus, she will also give us a really dirty look.

Abhi’s favorite food is ‘Last spoon’. Say, ‘Abhi, last spoon’ and show him an empty bowl, he will open his mouth. He is kind enough to finish the feeding headache process by considering the last spoon of food at least. I am not saying he will let us put the food inside his mouth or swallows it. But, what to do! That’s as good as it can get.

However, If I ask them, ‘what are you eating?’ or ‘what do you want to you?’, answer from both of them is always, ‘Rasam mammu’.

♥♥♥

Abhi’s way of reading books is like – Get one book from the basket (“Ocean Wonders”. Its almost always Ocean Wonders), sit in our lap and follow what we read or show him. Every word we say. Every thing we show him. Sometimes he goes back a page, if he wants us to read it again to him.

Achu, being Baby No. 2 has two ways of reading books…

             – She gets a book (has some preferences, but, in general, is okay with most of the books), sits in my lap or on bear/haathi/booster seat/potty seat, opens the book. I turn to page no. 1, she says ‘All done’ and puts the book back in the box.

             – Gets a book. Opens it. Points to Object number 1, say, a pumpkin. I say, ‘Its a pumpkin’. Next points to an orange. I say, ‘Orange’. Points back to pumpkin. I say Pumpkin. Next Orange. Next Pumpkin. She just keeps pointing to the same one or two objects and we just keep repeating their names until we get tired (she never does). Either she is trying to be very thorough or is teaching us those things.

♥♥♥

“Abhi, This is Porcupine”

Abhi (After one or two practices) says, ‘Porcupine’.

“Kookaburra”. Perfectly repeats, “Kookaburra”

“Achu, Say porcupine”.

Achu says  “Taka Taka”

“Hmm. Say, Kookaburra”

Again says  “Taka Taka” and laughs

Once again, I remind myself to not ask her anything. I go back to Abhi.

“Abhi, say Macaw”

Abhi responds, ‘Taka Taka’ and laughs too

Last Week

Phew! Another tiring week, last week. Both Abhi and Achu were sick. Starting last Sunday night, I have been pretty much sleepless at nights. Sunday night, Abhi first fell sick. He was sick for about two days. He was recovering when Achu caught the cold and cough from him and fell sick (Yep, always Double Dhamaka for me right!). Then, they both were sick and now, not better completely yet, but recovering. Nights had been the same as before. Me, shuttling between the two rooms putting each of them back to bed. I also ended up taking the first three days off hoping I could sleep at least in the morning, but that didn’t work either. I had to put them to bed in the same room for few days (they are not used to it, yet) and both of them ended up complaining a lot, going to sleep crying (and waking multiple times crying). Sigh! I could just keep writing on how hard it was.

Friday night, I was putting them to bed again in the same place and I figured out a better way. It didn’t work completely, but it was much better. That’s what makes me feel better after these days happen. End of the week, I gain some confidence that I learnt something and that I survived it. Enduring all this is hard, but it gets better (touch wood 😦 ).  It all has to get over at some point, right! Friday night, I did better, at least in the aspect of putting kids in the same place. I have been thinking of doing this for a while, but I keep postponing it since I don’t see the immediate need.  But, I need to do it now, at least.

When kids get sick, what I hate most is that they get so crazy that they forget all that I have taught them. Even after they get better. Abhi doesn’t want to sleep in the crib. Wants to be rocked to sleep while I hold him and walk in the room. Achu doesn’t want to be put down. After they get better, they forget how they used to sleep or behave before. It took us two days to keep telling Achu we don’t have to hold her because she is better. One night, just one night, Achu sees me rocking Abhi to sleep and now she wants me to do the same to her 😦 . I worked so hard (months really) to get rid of that habit and now, she is back to square one. Crying to sleep etc.etc. She used to even sleep on her own without any of us in the room for couple of weeks, a while ago. She caught cold then, and after that she wont sleep on her own again. She fights so much, which is what makes teaching her something she doesn’t like, SO tough and worse. I some what negotiated with her again today, gave her a little of what she wants and yet didn’t give in completely and she slept. God knows how its going to go for the next few days. I really wish I had better help and a backup. I need a clone. Clone of me, really.

Thursday, I had to go to work for meetings. In the morning, I cooked for kids and thought I would sleep for few minutes and I just dozed off. I woke up an hour later and rushed to work. I didn’t wash the dishes as I would normally.  I came home in the evening and realized our nanny had washed all the dishes. She usually washes one or two I leave in the sink, once in a while (even though I asked her not to do it). But, this time, it was full load of dirty dishes, not just kids. Ours too. I thanked her in the evening and she said, ‘you looked very tired and I wanted to help you’. I felt very thankful.

Last week was also tough on work front. I had to do something I don’t like doing. I took someone else’s advice and did something and ended up screwing it. I still don’t know if what happened was for my good or bad, but I couldn’t do anything to fix it. I will just have to wait and see. (I really want my mentor back 😦 )

Murali couldn’t come be with us this weekend. Timing couldn’t have been worse. I could have really used some help this week. Abhi and Achu are getting crazier by day and being sick makes it more worse. Hopefully they wont fall sick again this season.

Little Things About Achu

♦ Achu doesn’t like Sun. When we are in car and little sunshine (whenever we get blessed and that happens) falls on her face, she squints, twists her face, covers her face with blanket, will pull the canopy seat over her face; anything to keep that light away. She also tells us ‘Turn’ to turn the car so that light wont fall on her (Just by fluke?). Last time nanny was trying to change Achu’s diaper next to patio where sun was out again, Achu started squinting and covering her face again. She would have literally hid her face behind the yucky diaper, if she had to. Luckily, nanny moved her over, so she was okay. (Worried about you complexion already, Achu?). But, no worries. She will fit perfectly in Seattle weather since there is not much sun here, anyway.

♦ Achu has sort of baseline. If she is used to drinking milk on a pillow on the carpet (this was before we had Bear and Haathi), she wants that every time. No change accepted. One time I gave her a bottle of water, she goes looking for her pillow for drinking even that. Now-a-days every drink needs to be had either on Bear or Haathi. No where else.

♦ When Achu has to signal that she wants to go sleep, she will pick up her blanket and go bang on the bedroom door, where her crib is. After she got used to sleeping on her pillow, she takes blanket in one hand, pillow in another and walks to her room. (And we think its easy being a baby)

♦ Achu loves her blanket. Period. Anytime she is cranky, if she is given her blanket, she will be better (i.e. makes less drama). Since blanket is made unavailable not available most of the time, she loves to hold some object in her hand. Not anything. She has few things she approved. Most of them are round. For many days, she carried a plastic CD toy disc in her hand. Some other days, it’s the Vicks baby rub bottle. When we visited kids first nanny R’s house few days ago, R gave her a real orange. Achu carried that orange for two days, calling it tomato.

♦ Sometimes she is a mystery. When I started to let them play in one of the bedrooms, after I opened the door, Achu runs into bedroom, comes back into living room trying to find something. She looks and looks, finds the Vicks baby rub bottle and takes it into bedroom. For few days, she didn’t go to bedroom without the baby rub bottle. Last time I caught her licking her hands in her crib. She bangs her head on wall once, she complains of pain (of course), but goes back and bangs her head again. I still don’t know why she is sometimes scratching her back on the wall.

♦ Talking about Achu’s talents, her recent once is doing magic when we play along. She first shows you an orange, makes some funny faces, hides the orange, pretends like its gone and takes it out from where she hid it and says ‘Mazzic’. Also, she has improved her yoga position. Now she lets her hands go and is trying to do a somersault.

♦ Yesterday, I was pointing to her some baby in a book and she immediately tilts her head, rests it on her shoulder saying ‘Awwww’ and falls on the carpet. So, now she thinks she is grownup already, that she is going awww over another baby? 🙂

If Only I Had A Penny

       ….. For every sleepless night and for every morning I woke up tired,

       ….. For every day I felt useless at everything despite all I do in a day,

       ….. For every moment that I felt so lonely and wished I had someone who would understand me,

       ….. For every time someone said, ‘Oh, you are a strong person. You are managing home, work and kids and that too without your husband’ and I wanted to yell back, ‘No.  I am not’ and wanted to bang my head at the nearest wall,

       ….. For every drive back from office or dinner time that I had to listen to office politics and things about others that I definitely don’t care about,

       ….. For every time someone from India says something stupid about how I raise my kids or what we do here and each time I wanted to give them a straight response but shut up,

       ….. For every time I wished I made different choices in life,

       ….. For every time Abhi and Achu fell sick, suffered and I felt worse,

       ….. For every day I stayed back home from work because I don’t have a backup for kids and felt guilty and punished for doing so,

       ….. For every time I wished my dream world was real and that’s were I lived,

….. I would be so damn rich!!

Conversations

Even though Abhi and Achu have been saying lot of words for quite some weeks now, I still can’t believe we are getting to the point of having conversations now. Some of the words they say or responses they give us are making some sense now. They use few words quite often correctly. Some of the conversations are so funny for me.

♦♦♦

I am in kitchen, cooking. Abhi is standing at the kitchen gate following what I am doing.

“Abhi, look… Okra. I am making okra curry for you both today.”

Abhi stays busy observing other things. Few minutes later, P walks in and asks me,

‘Hey, What are you making for lunch today?’

Abhi responds, “Okra”.

♦♦♦

One of the words Abhi and Achu grasped very well is ‘Done’. They let us know when they are done doing something. Like they say ‘Mammu Done’ in a minute after we start feeding them. Achu doesn’t like taking bath, these days. She keeps screaming ‘All done..All done’ during her bath time. They are done reading a book, they put it away and say ‘All done’. Same goes for diaper/dress changes too. Recently, I was laying down on the carpet for a minute resting. Achu walks to me. I tell her I am resting. She responds, ‘All done’ and tries to pull me up.

♦♦♦

“Abhi, look at the time. Its 8:40. Tell me, what is the time?”

“One Chapathi”

I have no idea where that came from.

♦♦♦

Each time I am busy with something and Abhi, Achu walk to me, I say ‘Hi, Abhi’ or ‘Hi, Achu’ to acknowledge them and continue doing what I do. Abhi realized this after few days. Now, whenever he comes to me in the middle of the play, he says ‘Hi amma’. I respond, ‘Hi nanna’ or ‘Hi Abhi’. He likes this so much, now-a-days he comes to me to only say this, listens to my response and goes away to do his things. Achu, of course picked this up watching Abhi 🙂 . She says the same ‘Hi amma’ waving her hands at me. Its one of my favorite moments in the day when they say this. And they say it so many times, everyday.

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Abhi and Achu think we do everything as family. Like Abhi says, ‘Amma bajjundi, Nanna bajjundi, Abhi bajjundi, Achu bajjundi (bajjundi=Sleeping)’. Achu says, ‘Wakeup amma, Wakeup nanna, Wakeup Abhi, Wakeup Achu’. If it was just things like this it would have been fine. Unfortunately, there is also, ‘Amma Poopy, Nanna poopy, Abhi poopy, Achu poopy’.

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In an attempt to teaching ownership and taking turns, we introduced words like ‘Abhis’, ‘Achus’ to their dictionary. They grasped it pretty fast and really well. Achu looks at all the clothes in our closet and says, ‘Nannas’. Oho. Poor Achu. I tell her those are all ‘Ammas’ 🙂 . Yesterday, while I was cleaning up Abhi in the kitchen, Abhi looks at the ton load of dishes in the sink to be washed and says , ‘Ammas’. Sigh!

♦♦♦

One of the movies Abhi and Achu watched a bit is Polar Express. I used to repeat one of the dialogues from the movie, ‘We need more altitude’. Abhi and Achu love it. They repeat with this as ‘We need more….Attitude’. That’s right. We need that too.

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Coming, Going are probably the words Abhi and Achu use the most. That too correctly. They take the walker or are going to leave the room, Abhi says ‘Abhi going’.  He is trying to get behind the barrier, keeps screaming ‘Going, going, going’. Achu wants me to come out of the kitchen, she yells, ‘Amma coming. Amma coming’. My surprise moment came, few weeks ago, when we were watching something on Netflix and the video was still being streamed, Abhi says, ‘Coming.’

♦♦♦

Abhi and Achu are lying down on bear and haathi and drinking milk.

Abhi looks at his milk bottle and asks, ‘Amma, Nanna, Abhi, Achu –  What is this’ (See, he has to ask the whole family)

I answer, ‘This? This is your Sippy cup’.

Achu asks, ‘Is it?’

Abhi responds, ‘It is.’

I am just staring at each of them and having a hearty laugh at the conversation I heard.  I still can’t believe we had this conversation.