Weekend Post

Okay. This was supposed to be the weekend post from last to last weekend. And then, you know, time waits for no one. So it flew by and another weekend came. So, I get to write about two weekends now. It’s almost mid-week now, so I have to hurry.

♠ Friday night, the time when I come home is when I allow myself to indulge in some shopping…for home décor, of course. I bought two very nice night lamps for our future end tables for our bedroom. Night lamps are still sitting in the storage because the future end tables are not ready yet. (They are a work in progress for the last 3 months, at the least).

♠ When I reached home, what did I see? Murali and Achu getting ready to go pick up the pizza. Apparently Murali ordered pizza for dinner and Dad-Daughter duo was going to go pick it up. It was a very interesting scene to me because we have never travelled alone with kids or with just one of them. It’s definitely two kids and two adults whenever we go out. I know Murali was a little hesitant to actually take her, but I really liked the idea of doing these mini trips. It means kids are finally old enough for us to do that. Anyway, the said solo trip didn’t happen, and all four of us went to pickup the pizza. I also managed to do little grocery shopping while kids and Murali waited in the car.

♠ Saturday, it was raining so bad and we didn’t even realize that until we stepped out to do some much needed Ikea shopping. I finally bought some goods to help ME transition the kids into their own bedroom. More on that later, but know that kids may be ready, but I am not ready to do the transition yet. Anyway, I rearranged things, added new stuff to kids bedroom. Most importantly, Murali and I worked so late at night, trying to figure out how to put together a bed rail without any manual. We succeeded, only to find out the railing doesn’t suit the beds we have. Sigh, but gave me another reason to postpone the transition. So, Yayy.

♠ As if the rainy day long trip to Ikea wasn’t enough, I sent off Murali to pickup a new couch for the play room. It was initially supposed to be the perfect piece of couch in our loft/reading nook. But, funny thing was that when the guys moved our super heavy and awesome white leather couch to our new home, they forgot the bars that hold the couch together in the rental van. Eventually they were lost (well, we didn’t even try to get them back), so the heavy leather couch was just three pieces of seats. An accident waiting to happen when you see the two active toddlers pulling, pushing and jumping on everything. It’s a miracle that Abhi and Achu didn’t have one of the seats fall on them. So, I decided to be the good mom I have to be and moved the new safer couch to playroom and the white leather couch to the loft. Although Murali did most of the work moving the couch upstairs, I helped too and was more exhausted than he was. Couch looks super good in my loft too.

♠ I also finally finished my wall canvas hangings for the loft. I cant wait to share it here, but will do after the room is all ready. Currently I am actively furniture shopping for the room. Damn, window curtains are SO expensive.

♠ Coming to the last weekend, Saturday we went out to some friend’s place for dinner. And there are two things I want to say about the visit. Firstly, this was the first family we met in a long long long time that didn’t say anything about how difficult it is to raise twins. They just didn’t. I don’t know why. But I was so relieved to not have to answer that question. Even if it was just once.  Secondly, I realized (again) that having two kids few years apart is no easy job compared to having twins (which is why I hate when people ask me that question about raising twins).

♠ And Sunday was just a gorgeous day for us here. Temperate touched 60s for us. Plus it was sunny. Having seen 30s and 40s, 60s feel sooooo good. Like it was summer already. We planned ahead to make use of the sunshine and head out. So, we did, to a Seward park near Seattle, by the bay. It was truly so beautiful. Park was so crowded. We had clear views of the Mighty Mt. Rainier from the park; The serene lake and a long trail by the bay. I realized this weekend, that we need to teach kids how to behave in public. By that I mean, when we are at home, kids do what is okay with us; they know where to go, where not to. But when we are outside, Abhi needs to know that he can’t just run around everywhere and touch everything. Achu needs to know that its okay to get down and walk. So, you know what they did in our trip. But we still enjoyed a lot. Took some great pics. For few minutes, it looked like, Abhi and Achu’s only goal in life is to throw all the stones into the water. They refused to come back and sit in the stroller. It makes me so much happy to see the kids walk and enjoy outside home. We deny them that so much because of the cold weather. But, good news is, weather will only get better now. 🙂

And here are some awesome clicks from our designated photographer Mr.Murali. 🙂

No Sense Talk

In my opinion, I think Abhi and Achu talk pretty well for their age (Of course, I am their mom. What else would I say, right?). There are some really pleasant surprises for us, once atleast a day. Like the time when Achu said, ‘Oh my goodness’ or what Abhi responds with these days, “I guess so”. And then there are these times, when the sentences or responses don’t make any sense at all. They are still very humorous though.

***

“Amma. Give me a paper. I have to clean the skeleton”. Achu takes the tissue paper from me. Cleans some pretend skeleton on the carpet. “There. Clean”.

***

Achu with a stethoscope. “Abhi, I am going to check your checks”.

“Athu, I am scared of dentist Athu”.

“Its okay Abhi”. Convinces him somehow to put the steth on his body.

“Abhi you have twenty points Abhi”

“Oh. I have twenty points”

***

Achu tells our nanny. “I am going for a check with my mommmy” (That’s mommy in pure American style. They call me amma at home).

Saying that, she left the playroom. I thought she was coming to me to do that whatever check thing was.

Achu sees me in the living room. Says. “Bye bye..ammma” and keeps walking. So if I am not the mommmy, who is?

***

Abhi starts crying suddenly. I look at him. He tells me, still crying. “I am trying to bite my finger Amma”.

Why??? I wonder.

***

I was working on my laptop and Achu asks, “Amma, Are you typing coriander?”

***

I made a carrot with play dough. Abhi tells me, “This is too strong for a carrot, amma”.

What’s that supposed to mean??

Also, the time he complained about “Sprain pain in my mandible”. What?

***

Then, Achu tried to grasp something totally new and acted like she understood everything.

Achu looks at the package and asks. “Who got that package?”

“Fedex guy just dropped it off”.

“What is fedex”

Trying my best to answer the question so that she understands. I knew she wont anyway.

“Its a courier service”

“What’s a korean service?”

I laughed bad. “Its someone who delivers whatever you ordered online to you”

And she goes, “Oh I seeeeee”.

***

And then there are these totally extreme and disturbing asks from Abhi.

“Can I eat poopy?”

“Can I eat pommachi (God)?”

“Here amma, eat this…” Hands me some pretend thing. “What is it Abhi?”, I ask. “Its a slug”

“Can I eat a bug cake?”

“Amma. I am eating macaroni. There is spider inside my macaroni” and then quickly swallows it.

“Do you know what is inside my macaroni now?”. “What?”, I ask, already scared of the answer.

“A skunk is in my macaroni”.

***

All this, and yesterday lunch time, Achu and Abhi were pretending to be “Captain Caillou and Fantastic Leo”. It’s funny, both of them thought they were the captain and the other one was Fantastic Leo. I, of course, used the occasion to get them to eat by themselves. I told Abhi, “Captain Caillou, Finish the fruit”. Abhi responds, “Okay. Captain Amma”.

I laughed so much and that’s it. All the extreme ‘Can I eat crappy thing?’ questions were pardoned.

***

That’s the no sense talk for now. Signing off……

Captain Amma

Little Moments

Abhi, Achu and I were playing in the second bedroom (what we call Thata Pati’s bedroom always). I recently moved their play tent and blocks set there. I was on the bed while the little people assembled a spider, biggest tower ever, etc, etc. We read a book about how ‘Jillian Jigs’ didn’t cleanup her room and we faked fainting, just like mom fainted in the book (after seeing the messy room).

More of kids things…after this and that, Achu suddenly lifts the comforter and wraps it around me. Abhi asks me to lie down. He points one little finger at me and says, ‘Amma, Coze your eyes’. I do as I am told. Achu talks in hush-hush tone, “Common Abhi, Amma is sheeping. Lets go out”. Abhi tells me, “Dont let the bed bugs bite you amma”. I laugh and I immediately get told, ‘Sushh.Amma; Sushhhhhhh. It is your bed time’. Abhi and Achu head out of the room, turning light off. Murali comes upstairs that time and asks them what was happening in normal tone. He gets told very seriously, “NANNAA..Shh…Amma is sheeping”. Few minutes later, the little heads come into the room to check on me. I wasn’t sleeping any, was having only a happy moment.

***

It is usually the time when I am leaving for work, that Abhi and Achu get suddenly all cutesy. They do the cutest things, shower hugs on me; suddenly display some talent or skill that I didn’t see yet. It’s that moment I think, ‘damn, why I am leaving all this and going to work?’. But, anyways, I guess the guilt is all in my head, so I leave anyway. So, for today, Abhi and Achu were siting on the couch. Suddenly, Abhi was Pom-Pom. Pom-Pom is a pig in one of our books. She wants to be a dog, cat or fox, instead of pig; Until she realizes being a pig is fun too. Abhi pretends like he is pom-pom and he wants to be a dog. He crawls on the couch, trying to dig in the mud, saying, ‘Pom-pom doggy’. Digging, so cutely, full of laughs, that is. Now, Achu comes to him, hugging him from behind, laughing, tells him, ‘No pom-pom. You are a pig. You can’t be a dog’. Pom-pom Abhi continues to dig; Achu continues to convince him that he is not a dog and a pig instead. I continue my laughing, looking at each of them falling and hugging each other.

***

And when I came home in the evening, I opened the door slowly, almost hiding myself. Because I came home yesterday and Achu was plain disappointed that it was me and not nanna. Tell me. Is that fair? I do so much work for them and all that they want is nanna. Anyway, today when I came home, no one was disappointed, but, Achu had something serious. A series of non-stop fake sneezes. “Amma, looks like I caught cold”, she told me. and continued her fake sneezes. Aaaaah-choooo; Ahhhhh-choooo

Abhi comes to update me on the condition. “Amma, Achu is afraid of dentists’s office”. Why Achu needed to go to dentist when she can’t stop her fake sneezes is something I didn’t understand, but it was ruled out that Achu cannot go to dentist’s office now. Then, we asked Dr.Abhi what we needed to do. Pat came the reply. “Amma. Get Achu karpooram medicine”. Our medicine for cold season. So, fake medicine was made and applied to the fake sneezes and then the girl finally got relief from all the fake hard work she was doing.

Nostalgic

My dad retired and my parents moved to our home town six months ago (Yes, I was supposed to write out about the retirement, moving to the hometown, six months ago. I was also supposed to write about their stay with us, four months ago. Hopefully, I will get to it sometime). Since then, they have been keep quite busy, upgrading their beloved home, reconnecting with our old neighbors, relatives. And this week, being Sankranthi for us, my sister and her family went to my parents place to celebrate. To our home-town and the home where we grow up together. It’s been about 15 years, we left the place. We only went their twice after that. Once for my sister’s wedding and then for mine. Its been a while but I am still so nostalgic about the place and the house.

Anyway, I am trying to get regular about Skype-ing with my parents, instead of phone call. This evening, was just so much special because there was my sister and her family. And what a precious memory it was to see all of them like that.

As soon as the session was on, my sisters’ son was sitting in front of the laptop. He was born when I was working in Hyderabad, some 10 years ago. He has grown so much taller; He is a big boy now and I just can’t believe it. I still remember rocking him to sleep, singing to him, watching him dance. I have so many good memories with him. When I look at this face, he is still the same cute face and I can’t think of him as a 10 year old boy. 🙂 I guess I can never see him any other way. He will always be our little Pandu. 🙂

My home town is pretty famous for food. Especially, sweets made are quite authentic and of good quality (trust me about the quality. If my mom approved it, anyone will like it 🙂 ). So, the session was on and I see this little champ eating a Mysore Pak (made at my favorite sweets-shop) instead of breakfast 🙂 . Seeing him like that, I got totally nostalgic. I was about to cry and covered my face making some fake crying noises like I wanted to eat that sweet too.

My dad was there, soon my mom joined, my sister’s youngest, 3 year old Chinnu was there too, freshly bathed 🙂 . Then my BIL came in to say hi. For some 30 minutes, my TV looked beautiful with the sight of my beautiful family. Everyone smiling; trying to talk to us; Pandu telling me about his day plans; Murali teasing my mom about the food she was making; about the trips my dad was supposed to take the kids on; So many things.

My sister had a bad sore throat it seems, so she was only listening and I missed listening to her voice. She was just staring at the screen, at all of us. I was talking to all, but mostly I stared at my sister. She being in that home, has somehow made me so nostalgic. I just wanted to go there, hug my sister, hug them all and spend the day with them. I wanted to be part of their plans for these two days; How I wished I could do that. Now and then, my eyes were getting wet, I was like on borderline meltdown crying session, but thankfully it didn’t happen (It happened later over the chapathi making session, but it wasn’t major).

My sister showed me here new dress she was going to wear today. It was a bit black dress. My mom, usually wouldn’t approve wearing black on festivals, but I guess its okay now 🙂 . Her dress was beautiful. So was Chinnu’s.

Yesterday, they all visited the temple where my dad grew up and was a priest while he was waiting for a job. The temple is so personal to us; My grandfather found the precious moorthis (of ramudu, seetha, laskshamanudu and anjaneya swamy) in the canal behind our house. My dad used to tell me these stories and they are just so amazing stories.

I wish I was there with them yesterday. Today, the plan is to go to the nearby beach. I wish I could be with them today. I know our home would be so full of laughter, talking, kids running around and I can’t believe I am not there to see all that. My mom said we should be there for the next Pongal, and I was thinking I wish it really happens (other times, I wouldn’t have been in favor of it).

All identity risks aside, here is my precious memory from today. See, how happy they all look? It’s exactly how it was when we were chatting. My sister has the most beautiful smile. I wish she was able to talk. There is my big little boy and his darling sister. My dad looking handsome as always. My BIL, always like a family member we grew up with. Look, even my mom who always freezes for pictures is smiling big. 🙂

I guess, this picture got added to my favorite pictures of all time. 🙂

Little Big Stories

You know what they say? That we better tell the kids truth than tell them big fat lies. For example, if the kid doesn’t agree to go daycare, you don’t say that if he doesn’t go to daycare, a big monster will come and bite him. You tell him that going to school is his activity just like mom has her activities, etc, etc, etc. I don’t disagree with this. Kids will soon figure out these lies and it will come bite us back straight. It’s truly better to be honest from the beginning. No matter how young they are. They understand soon enough.

Okay, that parenting lesson was free…free….free. Now, getting to the point of this post; You know, as much as it is not good to tell these fake stories, let me tell you, they are so amusing. SO amusing. They capture kid’s attention so well. It’s unfortunate to turn a fascinating story to scare kids to doing stuff for us. So, I was never going to tell my stories to kids that way.

I came across reading this parenting tip accidently somewhere, but I really learnt my lesson only after we created a fake character. The first fake character we introduced to kids was tickle monster. I think it was our nanny’s kids idea. He was the one randomly tickling kids and making them laugh. All is well, because he was only a happy monster. Then came my mistake. Suddenly, I called out one day someone named “Diddu” is in the closet and will come out if Abhi or Achu don’t eat food/not sleep etc. Soon, nanny was talking about Diddu. It was a bit scary for kids; They ate silently in the fear of something happening. But soon they were over it. Back to square one. That’s when it occurred to me, it was not something they were scared of that made them eat, it was just that we grabbed their attention. So, I switched gears, pretty fast. (You know, for a while there, even I was scared of Diddu. Each time I mentioned the name, I used to think of that devil character from Paranormal Activity3 movie. So, when I was telling Achu that if she didn’t sleep, Diddu will come out, I used to be scared about something really coming out of the closet too 🙂 ).

Anyhoo, I started telling them the story of how Diddu will be hungry if kids didn’t eat. How Diddu is tired and needs to sleep etc.  And other animals too. That worked just as good. And most importantly, Abhi and Achu were also learning to care for others. Ha! Win-Win situation for us. Of course, the point to note is we need new stories every day. Which wasn’t a problem at all since we have tons of stories to tell them.

I started out with stories of how Rapunzel was stuck in the tower; How Aladdin found Genie; How naughty Abu was; I told them few bits of stories of Ramayana; Most of the stories, we altered to make a moral out of it. Whatever lesson we were trying to teach them. Like, when I wanted Abhi and Achu to ask for things nicely and say thanks, I told them that Ramudu went to asramam and told raskshas to not to disturb the yagam, nicely and raskshas obliged. In our version of Ramayanam, Ramudu and Ravana talk nicely. Even soorphanaka goes away without hurting because she was asked nicely. 🙂 Every story ends with question, “What is the moral of story” and we add something like, “We should always ask nicely” or “We should always help others”. If we miss concluding with the moral of the story, Abhi and Achu do. “You should always ask nicely”. 🙂

All that they really needed was a story that could capture their attention and get the job done. At some point, Abhi was so fascinated with hearing new and complicated words that I used to change his diaper uttering words like, “Irresponsibility”, “Aggravation”,”Implication” to keep him still. 🙂 Worked super for few days. Although, not with Achu.

We kept on inventing tons of stories, with everyday objects, cups, toys, that raccoon we never really saw, mushrooms in the dark forest, many of harry potter characters, etc, etc. Abhi was afraid of Hagrid and we told him stories of how Hagrid helped lost kids at Hogwarts station by taking them to the castle safely. And that Abhi doesn’t have to be scared of him just because he is big. I also told them the story of how Anjaneya Swamy (Hanuman) ate the sun thinking it was mango. That was one of Abhi and Achu’s favorites. This Christmas, we also told how Grinch stole all Christmas ornaments at the mall. (Of course, we all asked him to give the ornaments back nicely and Grinch did 🙂 ).

Then, Halloween came and from then on, spiders, skeletons, bugs, animals, dragons have been the biggest part of our stories. While I was making dinner tonight, Murali told kids story of how he and I got up in the middle of the night to some sounds, only to find cricket in dishwasher, spider on humidifier, crab in fridge etc. Abhi and Achu listened with such curiosity  while nanna told all the animals and creatures nicely, that they had to go home. In the middle of the story, Achu turns to me very seriously and tells me, “Amma, Don’t open the refrigerator. There is a crab in it” 🙂

If we wrote down all the stories, I could be blogging so much. Don’t worry, I wont even try that. This is just a fun part of our days. For diaper changes, for feeding (now that we cut down TV to only dinner time, we need more stories), for calming them down, for diverting their attention. My friend was saying the other day that she wished she could tell stories like us. Lucky that Murali, nanny and I can cook up any kinds of these stories involving anything. 🙂 The wonderful thing is watching Abhi and Achu’s faces while we are telling these stories. They are so curious, so immersed in the whole story like its really happening. They love it even more when they are featured in the story. 🙂

Here is one story session in progress. On a side note, house was really clean yesterday. You missed it. :)
Here is one story session in progress. On a side note, house was really clean yesterday. You missed it. 🙂

Of course, now our little people tell stories too. Wait, that should be just another post or even a blog. 🙂

Time For Shopping

Isn’t it fun? An afternoon reserved just for shopping; Driving to a far away outlet mall between the mountains on a cloudy day, covered in little snow; delicious delicious Italian food for lunch, complete with a soup that was hoped would be on the menu. Yummm. And then hopping from store to store, picking where we wanted to go; Trying clothes on; Walking around the outlet with all those bags; Yeah. Fun.

Hmm. Just a little thing. Shopping was not for me. It was for Murali. Yep. We reserved an whole afternoon for his shopping. The ever so busy person comes home early (like 11 in the morning early) and tells me lets go out. Of course, I knew he had shopping on his mind, so I said shopping too. He has been talking so long about throwing all his existing shirts away and buying new ones. Well, not literally throwing away, I had hoped. But he looked serious. So we finally took some time to buy those new shirts, before he throws away something without me noticing or worse…burning or digging holes in it. 🙂

We headed out even without having lunch, hoping we can eat something on the way. Lucky us, we took the deserted route which had nothing except scenic mountains, farms and gorgeous flowing river. We reached the destination and were almost settling for lunch at McD (yuck!) or starbucks, when we found this Italian restaurant. Mmmm.. Delicious Eggplant Parmesan, Veggie Lasagna and the soup Murali was hoping to have. No pictures which also should tell you that food was eaten as soon as it arrived. 🙂

And then after the plates were almost emptied, we headed to the mall. It was Murali’s day out shopping. So, he picked where to go, what to buy. I did give me expert opinion on every shirt he tried; That he looked good in it, of course 🙂 . I did my best to convince him to buy something new style, but he woudn’t. Sigh. Some ten stores; Looking at this and that; Trying on couple of things, we had few bags full of six shirts. So, that’s how much the outlet mall has benefited after some 4 hours of shopping. Six shirts (I know! Just six?). While his shopping was going on, I used the time to shop to buy wonderful set of shoes for Abhi and Achu. I call them wonderful because they were later certified by Abhi and Achu as ‘these shoes fit me amma’ and we don’t want to take these off ever and we will walk around the house wearing them , even have our diapers changes with the shoes on. Wonderful, right? 🙂 I also bought two night pants for me. Sadly, not so wonderful buy.

So, we headed home all done with shopping, en route, Murali gives me a little shock that we took the wrong exit and are headed towards the snow mountains and not home. I got a bit scared. Because we had to go home on time; getting stuck in snow is not what I wanted to happen etc. Turns out, he was only joking. And this incident and scaring me deserves a special mention in this post because Murali never manages to scare or surprise me. This is the second incident when he truly surprised me. Anyway, I was relieved to find out he was only joking and we headed to the Costco (of course right, that’s what you do after an afternoon of shopping), and then went home.

At home, while Abhi and Achu were marching all over the house in the new shoes, saying, ‘they fit’, ‘they fit’ (what, was it cinderalla’s shoe?), Murali settled over to show-off his new clothes. Then our nanny points out and asks Murali,’ Don’t you have the same shirt already?’. See, when I said I was trying to make him try new stuff, I also meant that I was asking him to buy shirts in different colors and same squared checks as what he already has.  After a closet full of blue-ish shade shirts, this time we were adding couple of red-ish color shirts. One of them was exactly the same as what he already has. So, checkout Murali’s classic answer to why he bought the same shirt again. Apparently, the last one was worn out, so he was buying a new one and replacing the old one. Really. 🙂 I knew about some of this already. So, instead of questioning this again, I had a hearty laugh along with nanny and moved on.

There was a time when I bought anything new, the first thing I would do after coming home would be try it on. Not anymore. Now-a-days I even forget I bought things new. So, I was happy to see Murali be so excited about what he got and even try it on. I think he looked best in that grey-green shirt, the one with no red-touch on it. 🙂

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For 2015

Alright. I accept. I am a resolutions making person now. I didn’t think I would be one, but given how busy life is, it certainly doesn’t hurt to take a moment and think about what I want to do and what I really don’t want to.

But, first…some retrospection. For 2014, I had such plans. Looking back at my 2014 resolutions post, I have accomplished 0 out of 12. Seriously, yes. I think 3 or 4 things, a little bit, mainly because it concerns Abhi and Achu and that’s a necessity. But the rest, nothing. I did learn to do few things on my own (Shopping to begin with), but I didn’t get to reading books or swimming. I did forgive few people for the pain they caused me, but not completely. I am a total failure on trying to forget few things that happened (Total failure is defined as still thinking about it EVERY SINGLE DAY). I didn’t go hiking. Didn’t care enough about weight gain or exercising. At least I tried to do better at maintaining relationships. And I think home is little bit clean, but you know there is always that chocolate milk stain to clean or trims to wipe or backyard to clean. Sigh.

So, new plan. Here it goes.

1. Abhi and Achu: Teach them, love them, care for them no matter what. Make good memories for/with them. Spend time with them without being somewhere else.

2. Work: Be better. Do more than my best. Be clear.

3. Read: Read a book, one for a month (that’s what I should set the goal as to end up with reading one book in a year 🙂 ). No matter what. That loft is not going to be perfect and ready for me to start reading in my cozy dream space any time soon. So start reading. (Anyone want to join a book pact with me? Just to motivate one another. 🙂 )

4. Hike: Go hiking and make sure Abhi and Achu go on their first hike this year.

5. Enjoy the summer: Last summer simply passed away wondering what to do. This summer MUST be better.

6. Forget and ignore: I CANNOT let the incident that happened an year and half ago bother me still. I CANNOT keep feeling bad about something someone said six months ago. I simply cannot. I think its time I write about it in the open and be done with it.

7. Me-time: Absolutely. I learnt to shop on my own. It seemed like a big deal before. Now that I do it frequently, it doesn’t seem like a big deal at all. I still need to do other things on my own. Like, learning to go swimming. Learning to swim is not the problem, going there first, all by myself is. Sigh.

8. Take good care of home;  Continue with DIY projects no matter what others say or rather, don’t say.

9. Get things done: Don’t procrastinate.

Well, looks very realistic. Doesn’t it? Only time will tell.