Stoller Walk Evenings

Evenings of sunny days are so nice to have. It seems like we have endless list of things we can do when we don’t have to stay home. Weather is getting better here. We had few warm days in the last few. This week, it’s just been so gorgeous. We love warm days. Abhi and Achu love it more than us. Because they get to go out to their favorite Aachhi time or stroller walk time. I love the place where we live now. Its right next to a beautiful trail. It’s also close to park, grocery store, hospital and library. Also next to the theatre. Most of the times, Murali and I start from home right at the time a show begins in the theatre, we reach theatre in 2 minutes. It’s so convenient. I love having a theatre so close by. If we move out of here sometime, I will surely miss having all these things close by.

But, Abhi and Achu’s favorite part is the trail walk. They get to see ducks everyday. Staying right next to the trail means they get to go for a stroller walk after their afternoon nap. Our nanny takes them. As it got pretty warm this week, after we came home yesterday evening, Murali and I took them again for another walk. It was just a beautiful day. Plus, I am in my summer dresses already. No, it’s not too early. I waited enough 🙂 . So, I love going out for  a walk even more.

By the time I came home yesterday evening, Murali made noodles. And as we decided to step out, we packed noodles in the box to eat along the trail. Yes, when others were trying to burn calories walking, biking or jogging, we were strolling around eating food. It was such a pleasant walk.

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When Murali and I were coming home today, we thought of dining out with kids. By the time, I got down the car, my mind changed. My mind changes every 30 seconds and I can’t decide on one thing. 🙂 I thought it would be nice to take kids out for another walk. When we got to home, Murali said that we both will go out and we did that. We roamed around in the little time we had to eat out, we picked a stupid Thai restaurant. Food smelled like meat and I couldn’t eat it. We got home still feeling hungry. I wish I had the hakka noodles Murali made. Anyway, after we got home, it started to get cold, but it was still nice. We packed Abhi and Achu in light jackets and took them for another stroller walk.

In the park, right next to us, some group was practicing for a play. The group looked pretty colorful. We were told, they have a show on Saturday, at the same place where they are practicing. There is also going to some Potluck cake picnic. I can imagine the place looking prettiest with all colorful cakes on that day. The group was rehearsing for their dance performance today; Dressed in pretty clothes and wearing big cake shapes over their head.

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Then we headed to the library. One of my favorite places on earth. I love sitting in the library reading. When Murali and I were newly married and I was jobless at the moment, we had this library close to our home. In fact Murali rented that house close to the library for me to pass some time. Everyday after Murali went to work, I used to head to the library with my laptop. I used to read books, surf for a while, even eat my lunch there. Murali used to pick me up from the library on his way home. Having a library close by is the best thing.

Each time I go to the library, with Abhi and Achu, I wish they realize what they have. It’s such a beautiful thing to be in middle of so many books. It’s a great feeling. Imagine someone hasn’t seen any books for a long time and suddenly steps into the library. They would feel so awesome looking around, with wide eyes, a big smile on their face; Like Alice in Wonderland. I wish Abhi and Achu feel that way. I know I do. I wish they could read all the books in there. When we stepped into the children’s section, it broke my heart to see that the few children staying there at the hour are all sitting at the computer desk, playing games or watching animated shows. Parents were surfing on their mobiles. But, I can’t blame the parents. I understand what it feels like to get a break. I just hope I will never get there o that position.

I would love to have Abhi and Achu sit at a table and read books. Even though we have ton of books already at home (I have a long due post on that really) and Abhi, Achu already love books, I would still want them to go to library and read books. I told Murali we should make every Wednesday night, library night, sort of. I had the thought last time too, but I didn’t implement it. This time I will write down so that I will remember. I want Abhi and Achu to know there is so much more they can and should read.

For this trip, however, Abhi and Achu were only interested in staring at other kids and roaming around. I put them on this little table and they read books for few seconds. Even if it’s for few seconds, the picture looked perfect. Abhi and Achu sitting on a table, reading at the library. I can’t get enough of reading books 🙂 .

Then, Abhi told us ‘Poopy coming’ and later when he actually pooped, he told us, ‘It’s working’. I just laughed out loud. We headed home and I was wondering what was working 🙂

Bath Victory

15 days ago, I put Abhi in the bathtub for a full bath. He complained a bit, but, in no time he was in love with this new way of taking a bath. Since that day, each time we say the word B.A.T.H, he runs to the bathroom door and starts knocking on it, crying that he wants to take a bath. He is truly in love with water. On the other hand, same 15 days ago, I tried to put Achu in the bathtub. She protested heavily and we gave up. The next day, since I HAD to give her a bath, I forced her to stand in the bath tub. She cried and cried, screaming “All done”, “No bath” etc. etc.  But I got the bath done somehow. Nanna was standing next for support. Next day, I gave her the blanket when taking bath. I added new toys. Her favorite security things etc. Blanket got completely wet. All toys drenched and bath was completed with Achu sobbing unstoppable. So, I decided to take it easy on her. My decision was to give her bath when she really needs to take (once in two days, maybe) and let her get comfortable with bath at her own pace.

So, for the next few days Abhi was taking bath, we kept the bathroom door open. She could come in if she wanted to. For the first two days, she stayed away. Next, she decided to check out what all the giggling and fun in the bathroom was (Abhi was having a gala time). She saw she could throw toys in the water. She loved that. She also saw she could splash water on people around and they would jump when water fell on them. She loved that too. For days, she continued to come in and go out of the bathroom as she liked, but the answer to the question, “Achu, do you want to take bath?” was always a very clear “NO”. When we are getting Abhi ready for bath, she would run away, saying , “Achu no bath”, “Achu no bath”.

That was until two days ago. I was giving Abhi bath as usually. Achu comes, plays a bit and suddenly tells me, “Take Bath?”. While I was having a moment there trying to think if she was serious or just playing with me, she lifts her hands up, asking me to take her dress off. In the same surprised mind I was in, I quickly undressed her and put her in the tub; Before her mind changes, that is. She wanted to only stand. Fine by me. At least, she was inside the bath tub. She played for a while and I quickly gave her a bath. Abhi helped rub some soap and then tried to lick his hand. Achu screamed, as usual, “Abhiiii. Noooo”. Good. Everything was normal in our bath world. We ended the bath happily, praising and clapping for Achu. She didn’t cry. Not even for a second.

Next day, she wanted to get in again. She said no to bath at first. But, got in anyway. I tried to push my luck and give her a head bath (which usually means normal bath crying * 100 times). Guess what. She obliged. Not a single tear or protest. She stood in the bathtub, playing with the water from the tap while I kept dumping water on hear. I am telling you. In the last 19 months, there were only very few times she didn’t cry when she was bathing. She stopped crying when I was giving her bath, back in Hyderabad (after many many bath-crying sessions) and when we got her here, crying resumed as it were just a natural thing to do. So, I used my one opportunity to just dump water and bath her as much as I can. I had to call it done.

We all celebrated. Praised her like she climbed Mt. Everest or something (which I hope she really does, one day)

When it was bath time again next evening, I was so excited. Because this would be the first time Abhi and Achu would sit in the bath tub, play as long as they want and take bath. I have been waiting for that moment from a long time. Abhi was already at the door, knowing its bath time. And Achu should be coming and joining him. Only, Achu decided to change her mind. “Achu no bath”, I was told. To the shocked me, she repeated, “Achu no bath”. Okay. There she goes again. I see I got to wait few more days for that dream scene to come true. I didn’t force her, anyway. I had hoped, once Abhi was in bath tub, she would come and ask for bath, but she didn’t. I kept asking her through out the bath time, but she was very sure she didn’t want bath. Maybe, she wanted to conserve water. Maybe, she thought she was clean already. I mean, Achu, like me, is very particular about cleaning and keeping things where they should be. So, if she decided she was clean, I cant question her. So, I let her do whatever she wants.

Its been two days already and she is still on “Achu no bath” routine. Sigh. Today, would be the forced bath day if she refuses.

And, in the end, she reverted to her old-self or not, we did a score a bath victory. Even if it was only for two days. I mean, two straight days. That’s very important. 🙂

Sooooo Many

When it is time for us to blow bubbles and when one bubble is blown, it’s only one bubble. But anything more than one bubble, according to Achu is, “Soooo Many Bubbles”.

When Nanna gets balloons for Abhi and Achu, wow, there are just “Soooo many Baoons” too.

When Abhi and Achu don’t want a diaper/dress change or when they are done reading a book or singing a song, it’s  “Allllllll Done”. The only chant from Achu during bath time (which she still hates) is screaming “Allll Done”.

When Achu sees something that’s hers, it’s “Mice Jacket” or “Mice Turn”. Hey! It’s not fair to confuse a baby. I mean, when we say “Achu’s jacket”, why can’t she say “Mice Jacket (My’s jacket)” ?

When I experiment and lock Abhi in the closet for a timeout, Abhi can also leave Achu in the bedroom, close the door and say “Timeout”. Hmm!

When Abhi and Achu are standing special, like on our legs or on the edge of the couch, it is not just standing. It is “Standing About”. We don’t know where they got that from.

Abhi can throw anything and everything somewhere and say “Ayyo Amma. Tissues fell”, “Oho Amma. book fell”. Achu can deliberately attempt to fall from the bed screaming, “Oho… Achu falling down… Achu falling down” and when she is finally on the ground say, “Oho.. Achu fell down.. Achu fell down”

And then there is Abhi’s ‘Eyyyy.. Dump’. Which is actually Jump. Sitting and jumping on the bed or couch or in the bathtub. Ouch! and he still keeps doing that.

“Tika Tika Tika” is still the excitement dance when someone comes home. Although, these days, dances are danced only when nanna comes home. Pch. Pch.

“Kab Kab” is still the favorite food. Water. There is “Dirty Kab”, which should mean dirty water, but for some reason, some dances are performed along singing “Dirty kab..”

“Chi Papam..Chi Papam” is also another dance time btw. Haven’t figured out what that means yet.

Even if they are little babies, Abhi and Achu have such busy lives, you know. I mean, there is “Baath time” when one wants to run and jump into the bathtub, other wants to run as far away as she can.

There is “Pommachi time” when they stand before the God, do Namaste, half-close their eyes, but mainly want to go pull everything away from the kitchen cupboards.

There is the ever famous “Aaachiii time”. Most favorite one because that is when we go out for a stroller walk or a ride in the car seats. Riding in car is also our “Sit car” time.

Ahh. And then “Mammu time”. Hmm. Not big fans of eating. “Panda time” –  Time to watch something on phone/laptop. Yayy! Top favorite again.

“Jo-Jo time”. Top favorite for us, adults. For Abhi, only when he wants to sleep. For Achu, never.

I told you, soooo busy and sooo many things.

Good Things

Yesterday I had one long chat with Vaks. Despite the time difference between us, I talk to her multiple times in a day. In the morning and the evenings, Ihear back from her. Even during the day, I keep leaving her messages about anything under the sky. Given our busy lives, most of our chats are about getting ready to work, dinner, kids etc. Once in a while we get to sit and chat and chat and chat. Yesterday, we chatted about what’s bothering us so much in our lives. Each time I open up to her, talk to her about the things that bother me, I realize I don’t talk like this to anyone else. Not anymore. As I realized I wasn’t getting any response from the people I share any things to, I stopped telling them anything. I stopped talking to them about work, things with kids, personal etc. etc. I just deal with them on my own. Very few times, I tell V that I am in bad mood and he tells me a joke and I temporarily forget everything and laugh (I really have a hard time controlling my laugh when he is telling me jokes). This blog is another place I crib. That’s pretty much it. But, from the time I started talking to Vaks, I realized how good it is to how someone listen to you and comfort you. Even if we are not going to solve each others problems immediately, it means such relief when we tell each other we are going to get through this. We will be happy no matter what. Yesterday night, after the chat, I felt so depressed that I forced myself to sleep but when I woke up in the morning I realized what I at least have. HER.

No matter how comforting it is, I decided not to talk about my problems again with her. Even if it’s temporary, it’s kind of heart-breaking when I realize not having what I wanted is not normal. Reality bites and it’s tough. I would rather not go through that. Besides, when I think of Vaks, I just remember all the fun times. I want it to be that way.

***

This song by Mr. S.P.Balasubramaniam is one of my favorites. It’s in my top 10 list, definitely somewhere close to being No.1. It’s that song, no matter when it is on, I will take a break and just listen to his voice.

(I couldn’t find any audio link, so I had to do it this way. I can’t say anything about the video. I never watched it 🙂 )

During playtime, yesterday evening, this song was playing. Abhi, Achu and I were playing busily, but, for some reason, once this song began, Abhi and Achu fell silent. In the mood I was in, I quickly took that opportunity to take a step back and listen to the song. For some time, I was lying down, Achu lying next to me, Abhi standing but staying calm; I could tell he was listening to the song very keenly. After the song was done, we resumed normally.

Later, after bath, I was trying to dress up Abhi and the only agenda on his mind was to run around naked.  Singing to him some songs or telling him new/difficult words always catches his attention. Instead of my go-to song, I start singing, “Priyatama Na Hrudayama”. Both Abhi and Achu start listening. For some reason, I thought it wasn’t working and I changed to my usual song. Achu started objecting. “Piayatama..Piyatama”. She was asking for the song now. I was so pleasantly surprised. I started singing the song again.

“Priyatama Na Hrudayama”

Abhi sings, “Prema Ke”

Achu continues, “Patiroopama”

I get the happiest shock of my day. When did they learn to say these words? And they like the song I love the most? Yayyyy! 🙂 Great songs are just like that, I guess. Anyone will like them.

Even in the morning today, Abhi and Achu are singing these lines. Even better, the word Pratiroopama goes like Pratiroooooopama in one tune. And Abhi is trying to sing like that. A million Yayys to all this.

***

This morning, Abhi and Achu received an email from my parents. This is what it says.

Hai Abhi & Achu,
Our Bank has cancelled the facility of foreign country visits during LFC.  Hence, Europe trip is cancelled.
We are coming to US, may be, around 11th August.

Bye
Yours,
PATI & TATA

Abhi and Achu don’t know about this yet. But you can guess how excited I am. Another million Yays. And just one more Yay to my dad for finally sending me a mail without caps ON. 🙂

Funny Things

Many of Abhi and Achu’s books are funny. Kids will like them much better, but, even for adults, some are sure to bring a smile on our faces. Even a laugh. One of the latest books Abhi and Achu have is one called “What are you so grumpy about”. It’s written to make a grumpy kid laugh. Has funny things kids can laugh at and thus, grumpiness is cured.  Abhi and Achu are not yet at a stage where they can understand this, but we sure had a hearty laugh reading this book. Especially the two below. We all just laughed out loud. It’s so damn funny.

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Last week, we also went to a restaurant for dinner. A place where they hand fortune cookies at the end. I love fortune cookies.  I always pick at the end. This time, even Abhi and Achu got the cookies. They were not interested in the paper (well, Abhi was. He had plans to eat it. But we took it away from him) than the cookie. But, I saved the first fortune cookie version of fortune for Abhi and Achu.

First one is Abhis. Second Achus. And the last one mine.

So, Abhi is supposed to keep his good word this week. Going by his dictionary, he has more than 200 hundred words he needs to keep. And its been a week already and he didn’t keep any of the words he promised.  ‘No tearing, ‘No touchey’, ‘No throwing’ etc. He did everything he said he wouldn’t do a minute ago. Fortune was right btw. Nothing good came of it.

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 Ahh! And we just know Achu went inside the kitchen and picked the fortune cookie she wanted. Why would the fortune say she needs special treatment otherwise. I mean, from day 10 she has been the one getting non-stop special treatment. So, this fortune is voided. Okay. Fine. Because she was sitting next to me all the time, I will have her the benefit of doubt this time. Oh, I made muffins and she did eat something sweet like she should have.

Okay. Next mine. Read that. All puzzles in life will be understood? What the heck is understanding puzzles? They wont be solved! They wont go away. But they will be understood. What!!!! If you understand, do explain. Or even better, solve it for me.

 

Cherry Blossoms @ UW Tour

When Abhi and Achu were little, we took them to the University of Washington where Murali did his MBA. It’s a pretty big university. We landed at the business school and spent some time walking around and visiting the rose garden. Then I went home and wrote a post about it. Which still happens to be in my drafts. That was a year and half ago. And I didn’t get to finish the post. 🙂

Anyway, moving on to the current tour now, weather here is getting better. Finally! What I have been waiting for. This is time I start checking the weekend weather, even before the weekend starts and make plans to go out and do something every weekend. At least one day. So, last month, I remembered the Cherry blossom trees at the UW campus that are very famous. Quad gets so colorful with these trees and its very beautiful to watch. They were in full bloom in the last two weeks and based on weather last Sunday, we decided to visit the campus again.

L is my friend from my first job. She and I used to live in the same neighborhood and used to travel together everyday. Good times. She and her husband D relocated back to our area recently and so I dragged them to this trip too. Their son Y is days older than Abhi and Achu. We are hoping the three would be good buddies (Or Abhi can team up with Y to fight Achu).

Like any other UW tour, Sunday’s trip also began at Murali’s business school. He has to park his car there, no matter what. Interestingly, this time he didn’t tell us that the building was newly constructed. All the times we were here (when he was going to school), that’s the first thing he would tell anyone. As if, after Murali decided to go to this school, they constructed a new building for him. Sigh. Anyway, Here is the picture of the building.

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When we reached the Quad we realized the trees kind of lost color already. Maybe it was because of the weather being a bit gloomy that day. It wasn’t as beautiful as I have seen in the pictures online.

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But what we had in abundance was green grass and a lot of area to run around. So Abhi did just that. He let go of our hands and walked around, ran, ran away from us. Achu on the other hand, picked a place, stood there and didn’t move a muscle. (When we are outside, that girl is the exact opposite of what she is at home 🙂 )

Abhi running around.
Abhi running around.

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Achu not moving. That step is misleading I know. She didn’t move.

Since there were no beautiful cherry blossoms here to see, we headed to a rose garden in the same campus. We visited this rose garden during the last summer trip and flowers are so beautiful. This time I didn’t think flowers would be in bloom, but we headed there anyway.

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UW Library
Abhi being creative about where he wanted to walk

And that’s where we saw some beautiful cherry blooms. They would have looked more beautiful at the right time.

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Then the cutest thing happened. Abhi, Achu and Y sat on a little corner and posed for pictures while three cameras clicked away. Our little celebrities. If its tough to take a picture of a kid staring at the camera and smiling, think about how it will be with three kids. But, thanks to me singing silly TV ads (that too in Tamil), Abhi and Achu smiled well. Y at least stared at me like who is this mad woman singing silly chapati TV ads? We did get some great snaps.

Nanna and Achu gave me this beautiful flower. It was later eaten by Abhi.

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You can see the fountain around rose garden because there were no roses to see. On a clear sunny day, you can see Mt. Rainier from here.

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There were little ducks in here. Murali and D started feeding them some kid snacks and I am telling you; Those ducks are pros. They know how to get food from us. We had to leave the place before they could attack us for more food.

Some 10 years back, when P and I went on a day trip to a resort with all of our colleagues, our bus stopped at a place. P and I found a tree and climbed it. Since then, it’s our thing to climb trees when we see one. After a long time, this day, we got a chance to climb a tree. That too a cherry blossom tree in nice bloom. It’s always fun to do things we did years ago 🙂 . We love being monkeys. This time, we sat kids in our laps and took pictures. So officially this would be the first time Abhi and Achu climbed a tree.

Achu had a special project for the day. Since she was refusing to move, we had to get her excited about something. So, Achu’s project of the day was ‘Operation Touch Kaki’ (crow). Whenever we saw a kaki, I let her go chase the kaki so that she can touch it. That worked. She ran after all the kakis she saw. Of course, all kakis ran away. But Achu didn’t give up. She patiently pursued all the kakis. At the end, operation ‘Touch Kaki’ was a failure, but operation ‘Make Achu move’ was highly successful 🙂 .

Our first official trip of the season came to an end. I went home and started planning for the next weekend trip 🙂 . Yayy to good weather.

I Wonder…

♦ I wonder why is it so difficult to talk to me? At work, I talk and people listen. They talk back. We have a conversation. So, I know nothing is wrong with me. But, then why is it difficult for someone to talk to me?

 ♦ Why is it that I have to ask something a 10 times to get a response, I wonder. Someone says something. You respond. Seems common-sense to me. Is it that difficult to respond to someone and give them an answer? Is it a burden, I wonder.

♦ I wonder why it is that it is always me who is initiating an activity? Can we go eat-out? Can we watch a movie? Lets go to this place this weekend? Why does it always fall on me? Why cant I be surprised with something, I wonder. Why am I the one always trying to make life fun? (Or whatever fun I get to) What happens when I give up?

♦ Forget about having a fun chit-chat, forget about solving a problem I have, forget about helping me get through something, forget about being there for me, I wonder why it is so difficult to respond to me when I talk about something that’s a necessity.

♦ I wonder why am I so taken for granted? I hear conversations with strangers or friends and in that case, words are free-flowing; Jokes are part of every line. So funny and all. But when it comes to me, I wonder, why there are no words to speak. Forget fun talks or jokes.

♦ When spoken to, I wonder, why is it always about something serious or something going wrong? What makes me incapable of being someone with whom a fun conversation can be had?

♦ I wonder why all the jokes I crack go almost unnoticed, while others laugh out loud.

♦ I wonder why I am always on the asking side.

♦ Whenever something wrong happens, no matter how many times, I wonder, why the answer or solution is only ‘I will do it’ and nothing after that. I wonder when did I start saying, ‘Yeah. Okay’ just to stop the conversation and had stopped keeping hopes that ‘I will do it’ is true.

♦ How long will I keep focusing on the other minimal good things? What am I making compromises for everyday, I wonder. Seriously, for what?

♦ Everyday, I wonder, if I am changing and how.

 One day, I am going to wake up and realize kids are not the only part of life and the things that I am constantly letting go of (despite wanting them from the day I started dreaming) were too precious to let go. That day will be a terrible terrible day.