27 September, 2006

The left palm "mehendified" too !!

Mehendification of Appu's left palm was on schedule ..........

........... and this time around she did validate her theory of "applying mehendi only on one hand at a time" by going into a bout of chain sneezing !!!

Aaaaaaccchhhoooooo !!!!!!!!!!! :-)))))

26 September, 2006

To or Not To ??

There's this other thing I've been noticing about Abhay since he started school.

He seems to be striving for the "Mr.Independent" Title.

No No - I'm not complaining here, but at times this streak of his does pose a dilemma.

Come morning - he wants to brush his teeth by himself. Oh Yeah - Sure - Mommy does not mind - as long as he is willing to hand over the toothbrush to Mommy after he finishes his round of "brushing" so that Mommy can "brush" his teeth "properly".

Wants to go to the bathroom and "wee" by himself - Oh Great - thought Mommy - until she realised that the "wee" does not all go where it is intended to. Some of it ends up on the footstool too (at times). Part of Mommy says - let him go on his own if thats what he wants - he'll learn. The panicky part of Mommy says "Good Lord what if he slips and falls down in the bathroom."

Insists on taking his clothes off by himself, of course. He's mastered the "taking off the Tshirt" bit. The vest is still a slightly sticky customer. He still insists on doing it by himself. Today afternoon he was walking/stumbling/tripping all over the house with his arms up in the air and his vest caught somewhere between his shoulders/arms/head (he has a big head and that just serves to compound the situation). I lost count of the number of times he almost - just almost - ran/banged into things before he finally managed to get his vest off - all by himself, of course.

Climbing up the long stairway home from school - he behaves like Mimosa Pudica. Wants to climb up all the way - all by himself.

Climbing down the stairway to school from home - Fortunately - given the number of steps on the stairway - the Mimosa Pudica syndrome has not yet set in.

Crossing the road - Mommy puts her foot down and insists that he hold her hand. Feathers do get a little ruffled but Mommy says "nothing doing - no crossing the road on your own".

Taking shoes and socks off - the moment he gets home from school or from the park he goes "take you soos (he still cannot pronounce "sh" - he still says "sss") off, take your socks off" and immediately comes the addendum "don't want help"

Drinking milk - he insists on pouring out the milk from the big glass into his small one by himself. Again "dont want help".

Washing his hands - previously he used to stand on the footstool and wash his hands but of late, he just clambers up onto the wash basin ledge and plonks on the ledge quite precariously. Again the Mimosa Pudica Syndrome if anyone tries to help or even tries to steady him on the ledge.

Shower time - have to be extremely careful as he goes ahead and just opens up the taps in full flow and if the hot water tap gets opened into the "full flow" mode the water that gushes out of the showerhead is super duper hot !!

Eating - insists on spooning food into his own mouth - all by himself. And the pace at which food goes in, one bowl of rice would well last over three days.

We do firmly believe that children should not really hang on to their parents' coattails for ever. But some of the above situations are quite hazardous.

Question is - whether to just let him take the lead as regards this "all by myself" attitude or to let caution rule (in some situations - not all).

23 September, 2006

Abhay's Artwork from School ........

Abhay's teachers sent home, yesterday, a couple of paintings that the children had done during their art time at school.

Here are his first "paintings" ....

A Remarkable Quandary

Appu loves to "mehendify" (that's a Appuism) her palms. Since Navrathri begins today, we decided to have a mehendi session for Appu yesterday.

She was all hyped up and excited about having her hands "mehendified" (as she called it).

I was actually planning to "mehendify" both her hands yesterday evening. That had been the initial plan. Just as I was getting the mehendi cone ready, Appu comes up to me and says "Can we mehendify just one hand today ?" In fact, she was quite insistent about it.

Not that I had a problem with applying mehendi on just one hand, but the fact that I was quite curious about the reasoning behind her wanting mehendi on just one hand at a time.

When I asked her what the reason was, she said

"You see Mummy - it is like this."

"If you mehendify both my palms today then it is going to be a problem".

I was, by now, expecting the usual answer about what would happen if she needed to visit the loo. But then, I knew from past experiences that even if she had mehendi only on one hand, she would still need help in the loo. So then, there was a little question mark inside my head too.

Prompting her to go on with her explanation, I said "Yeah Appu, go on, I'm listening"

She says

"See mummy - now if I have mehendi on both my palms and suddenly if I feel like sneezing, what am I going to do ?"

"I cannot sneeze without covering my mouth and if I cover my mouth and nose with my mehendified palms then after I sneeze, there would be germs all over my palms"

"And ..... because I have mehendi on my palms, I would not be able to wash my hands"

"Now I cannot sneeze without covering my mouth cos you've always told me to cover my mouth when I sneeze"

"And you've also told me that I have to wash my hands if I use them to cover my mouth when I sneeze".

"So if you apply mehendi only on one palm today, I'll try to use the other palm only to cover my mouth while sneezing. "

"No - actually I'll try not to sneeze, but if I cannot stop it then ............"

"That's why ........"

I was plain stumped !!!!!!!!!!!!!

I had this totally insane urge to say "Thank You Appu, for the explanation" :-))

So we did go ahead and mehendify just her right palm yesterday.

Mehendification of the left palm is scheduled for today afternoon.

Come to think of it, what she said was absolutely right.

It was indeed a significant dilemma !!!

Oh........... and, By the Way .........................

No - she did not sneeze !!!!!!!

22 September, 2006

My teeth are wiggling ...........

............... claimed Appu a couple of days back. This time the teeth in question are the two central incisors on the upper jaw. Appu's trademark teeth !! When she was a lot younger, she used to grin for pictures and the two central incisors on her upper jaw used to be the most prominent ones. In fact, we used to call her Roger Rabbit out of jest :-))

And now we keep telling her that when she gets her permanent teeth on the upper jaw, we could very well start calling them chewing gum teeth - cos going by the size of the milk teeth (and permanent teeth tend to be a lot larger than their predecessors), the successors could well end up the size of chewing gum pellets.

And all this, just when we thought that "tooth felling" could take a back seat, atleast for a few days/weeks ..........................................

(** sigh**)

20 September, 2006

Enna Pannarai Ni ??? (What are you doing ???)

I had some work to do, on the upper shelves of the wardrobe yesterday.

Now, I most definitely cannot stake claim to being tall. Quite the contrary !!! I have the noteworthy distinction of being the shortest person in the entire household (among the adults I mean) - something that the "entire household" never stops reminding me of :-)

Anyways, enough of the detour and coming back to the point .....

yesterday I was busy arranging the pajamas neatly on the top shelves. Lazy that I am, I did not bother to go get the ladder from its resting place, although the ladder has been resting there for quite some time and is busy gathering dust.

So, in lieu of the ladder, I pulled out one of the dining chairs (sounds like absolutely unpardonable and unacceptable behaviour - I know) and climbed on it and was busy sorting out and arranging the pajamas, extra towels etc...

The kids were busy playing in their bedroom and after a while, their voices, their vocalizations and dialogues began to form a steady but comfortable drone, a kind of a comfy hum which was playing in my head around the periphery.

Suddenly I heard a small voice pipe "Enna pannarai ni ??? Keezhe Erangu !!!" in a voice that I can only describe as authoritative.

It was Abhay !!

I froze - absolutely froze !!!! Froze out of disbelief !!

Could that sentence have been aimed at me ?? Was it at all possible ??

When I turned around slowly (still situated atop my lookout post), I saw no one in our bedroom.
Waited around for a couple of seconds and still waited while the seconds stretched out into a couple of minutes ............ and sure enough, the impish face peeped out of the next bedroom with that now familiar cheeky smile on his face.

I could not help but burst out laughing at the sheer irony of the situation. Normally, when Abhay tries to climb on to the shoe shelf, I'm the one who says "Enna Pannarai Ni ??? Keezhe Erangu !!".

Yesterday, while I had been busy with my work, he had slowly started to climb on his small sitting stool and then he would get down from the stool, stand in front of the mirror in the kids' room, look at himself in the mirror and say "Enna Pannarai Ni ? Keezhe Erangu !".

This monologue was the culprit. It was this monologue of his which had me frozen and rooted for a few seconds.

So there - that was not aimed at me but what a coincidence it was !!!!

A shade too close for comfort actually :-))))

19 September, 2006

Treehouses, Swimming Pools, Swings ........

....................... sounds like I'm describing a park does it - the large kind of amusement park that attracts kids like flowers attract bees !!

Nope !!!

I'm describing a makeover that the playground in Appu's school might possibly undergo.

Yesterday, when she got back from school, she was bursting with excitement.

We're gonna (please note - it is not "going to" but "gonna") have swings, treehouses and a swimming pool at school. Yaaaayyy !!!! Wowieeeee !!!

And any word starting or ending with the "sss" sound is now particularly funny, coming from Appu, because there is that hiss of air "ssssss" from the gap on her lower jaw - resulting from the absence of the two central incisors.

When asked "Where are they going to fit all that in ?" she remarked

"No No - First we're going to have to write to the principal about it and then he will decide whether to put them on the playground or not to".

Looks like a lot of changes in the offing - newly designed playgrounds, new uniforms, newly introduced system of education .............

Makeover of the crayons

Abhay has gotten into a weird habit of late. He loves to go peel peel peel on the paper that covers crayons. Almost as if he likes the crayons to be proudly displaying the colours they stand for.

When he sits and starts peeling off the paper covering of the crayon - he personifies the words diligence and industriousness - and displays an enormous amount of patience - a virtue that we thought was virtually non-existent in him.

I've heard of selective perception but selective application of virtues - hmmm ............ that's a new one !!!

Today, he was at it again once he got back from school. And when he glanced up from his "difficult and time consuming task on hand", he saw Mummy paying rather rapt attention to the ongoing activity.

Before I could ask him what he was doing he says "Crayon la chee chee irukku" (there's dirt on the crayon).

And as if to drive his point home, he took two more crayons out of his pencil box and set them out on the writing table. One crayon had been stripped of its paper covering whilst the other crayon had managed to escape Abhay's dogged persistence (for how much longer I know not).

He points to the crayon without the paper covering and says "Idhu GooBoy (good boy) crayon" and then points to the crayon with the paper cover and says "Idhu BaBoy (bad boy) crayon".

Wow !! Talk about convenient perspectives !!!

A few moments of silent introspection .....

During Abhay’s first week at school, his teacher asked me “Does he speak ?” . I found this question a little weird because at home he is full of “What’s that ?” and “What’s this ?” . Full of questions !!

Also, we are almost invariably subjected to a constant barrage of “Abhay trying out his vocabulary” instances – many of them absolutely rib tickling !!

Like for instance, normally he looks at the aquarium in the living room and says “Fishy swimming in the water”. And when I would feed the fishes, I would always have a very very interested spectator besides me muttering “Fishy eating mum mum”. Used to provide me with a very convenient window of opportunity to tell him “See – do they trouble me ? They even eat their mum mum without asking for cartoons on the TV”. Now if the question is put across to him in the mornings “Abhay what are the fishes doing ?” he says “Fishy eating breakfast”.

Yesterday evening he was watching, with total and complete fascination, the fishes opening and closing their little mouths almost constantly as they bobbed along in the water or gently twirling their fins and tails, as they swam along lazily. And then he quips “Fishy drinking water ?”. I could not really figure out whether that was a question or a statement from the little guy. Basically, there is a lot of input and a lot of feedback too. A lot of curiosity which demands to be answered, a lot of questions which demand resolution.

For reasons best known to him, as of now, because none of us have any clue, he quite steadfastly refuses to be drawn into a conversation at school with his teachers. Yesterday morning, one of his teachers was repeatedly saying “Good Morning” to him and he even refused to look at her. I’m sure he has his reasons but we don’t know them as yet. And I also gathered from his teacher yesterday that he does not really communicate during the classroom time as well.

All in all, I was pretty much confused and fuming when I got back home. “Why is he behaving like this ?” was the question foremost on my mind. I worked myself up into such a state that I began to kind of get irritated with his behaviour. I began to actually wonder whether at all he would get used to actually communicating and behaving socially at school.

I was kind of thinking about it through most of the day and I felt ashamed of myself. How quick I had been to doubt his abilities !!! And not for one moment had I even stopped to consider that he might actually be having some predicament or maybe some factor in school posing some kind of quandary that is bringing about such behaviour. Possibly, he just is not able to communicate it to us effectively enough for us to try and do something about it. And here I was, feeling annoyed about the way he was behaving at school.

I felt mortified at myself for having thought that way. Especially more so, when I found myself at the receiving end of unequivocal and unconditional affection from the little guy yesterday.

We, as human beings, are so quick to cast our doubts and shadows along, while what fades into the background a little too quickly for comfort is all the positive traits in a person. And that was precisely what I did yesterday.

And I am most definitely not proud of myself for having entertained doubts about his abilities and his capacities, albeit for a short span of time.

14 September, 2006

The Second Tooth Falleth Too....

............. Today !!!

Now the Tooth Fairy better come visit !! Else there's going to be hell to pay ....

Like I said in my earlier post, that length of thread worked its magic. Loosened the second central incisor to such an extent that today morning I sincerely wondered if it was just going to go "bungee jumping" - without a bungee.

Annhh Annhhh !!

Not an adventurous tooth - from what I could see. It just stayed put till Appu got home from school.

Now we have two little pearly white teeth on display (not for the public but have to keep it for the tooth fairy :-)

What if she decides to ask for evidence ??

And as I looked at the second tooth which had left its gummy base today, I could not help but feel a sense of awe.

Mother Nature takes care of everything, does she not ???

Right from the time a baby is conceived - I mean, just imagine - putting together all the complex organs in all the right places, making them work, coordinating the whole symphony, orchestrating the entire thing in a space of a mere nine months ................. and the wonder continues ............

The milk teeth, unlike their permanent counterparts, have no roots per se. Yet, they are resilient enough to take n number of batterings from hard boiled candies, peanut brittles, lollipops and what have you. And when it is time for the milk teeth to say "Goodbye" Mother Nature starts the process by making the tooth wiggle.

This very same Mother Nature that we take for granted Day In and Day Out.

We take for granted that hands are meant to write, to pick up things, legs are meant to transport us from place to place by walking or running, ears are meant to hear, eyes are meant to see, noses are meant to smell, tongues are meant to taste .............. not once do we ever spare a thought about Mother Nature who is constantly at work, making us function, making us what we are.

Mother Nature -

Out of sheer Respect, Admiration and Marvel -

I Bow to Thee !!!!

13 September, 2006

Paper Biscuits Anyone ?????

When Abhay got home from school today, like I normally do, I asked him a lot of questions about school.

Among my usual questions is "What did your teachers give you to snack on today ?"

Today, pat came the reply "Paper Biscuit".


Another Abhay"ism" to be noted

Paper Biscuit aka Wafer Biscuit !!!!!

The First Tooth Falleth ........

Yes !!!!!!!!!!!

A much and very eagerly awaited event – the culmination of which, took place yesterday evening.

Appu’s milk tooth fell. One of the central incisors on the lower jaw.

The tooth had been wiggling for a long time now and none of us took it that seriously - not seriously enough for us to consider turning “tooth felling” into a zeal.

That is to say, not until the permanent tooth took matters into its own hands (??!!). It decided to cut through the gum anyways – milk tooth present or milk tooth absent.

That was when we got fired up too and Project Toothfall began to take shape.

The milk tooth was subjected to a lot of waggle and wiggle, twist and jiggle – but it just stayed put.

Do stubborn kids have stubborn teeth ???? Direct proportion theory at work here ????

Then a length of thread was brought into play. While this did not help the tooth in question much, it did end up loosening the tooth next to the one in question.

After a lot of complaints, grievances and gripes from Appu about how unmerited and unreasonable this seemingly obsessive behaviour of ours was - for wanting that tooth out as pronto as possible…………… the tooth in question finally let go of its gummy foundation.

Funny, is it not ??

When they are babies, we wait for our babies to cut their teeth. A mom is often heard saying “Oh – according to the developmental milestones listed in many of the baby books that I read, my baby should have cut atleast a couple of teeth by now. There’s no sign of any.”

I’ve had these thoughts myself – with the younger one who cut his milk teeth very late. While many babies his age had cut all four of their central incisors and would promptly display their pearly white teeth sticking out of their gums, our little fella would be extremely liberal with plentiful "toothless" grins :-))))))))))

And when they grow up a little, we wait anxiously and earnestly for that very same tooth to fall out.

Like Phyllis Diller once said,

We spend the first twelve months of our children's lives teaching them to walk and talk and the next twelve telling them to sit down and shut up.

Full of contradictions, are we not ??????????!!!!!!!!!

12 September, 2006

Do I look like a Toilet ?????!!!!!!!!

This happened a few days back – I just realised that I’d not penned it down as yet.

Appu came back from school on afternoon proclaiming quite loudly “I don’t like PE”.

Sometimes she says things like these when she gets back from school with bandicoots running helter skelter inside of her tummy.

But after she had her afternoon snack, there it was again – “Mummy I don’t like PE”.

Hmmm – the matter required some delving into !!

When asked why, she locked eyes with me. A fierce glare !. Hands on her hips completed the picture.

And she said

“Mummy – Do I look like a toilet ?”

Oh Boy !! What was that again ??

“Do I look like a toilet ?” – Each word spoken very precisely - actually felt like stones dropping into a pool of water.

When I asked her placatingly, in an earnest effort to calm down some apparently ruffled feathers

“Appu What Happened ?”

she said

“Today…… Today when we were waiting for the other class to finish their PE so that we could start playing, our teachers asked us to stand under a tree cos it was very sunny. And then ………….. chee – something very terrible happened”

And there I was, conjuring up all kinds of images …… when she says

"A bird dropped on me".

"Bird dropped on you ??"

"mummmmeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee" - a very exasperated screech resulted !!

“A bird pooped on me. One bird’s dropping fell on me”.

"Ohhhhh - Like That ................" I said

I asked her what she did and she went on to tell me that she’d wiped it off. I asked her whether she had washed her hands after this particular “incident” and sighed a huge sigh of relief when she answered in the affirmative.

I then told her not to go sit under trees and if at all she absolutely had to, to keep some extra tissues in her uniform pocket. And to remember to wash her hands after PE, irrespective of whether a bird chose to use her as a toilet or not.

I thought the matter would end there but it did not.

She just went on and on and on and on and on about it till matters reached a stage where I thought a little humour was definitely justified to bring this particular discussion to a close.

The next time she mentioned this to me again, I told her

“You know Appu, actually you should be thanking God”.

“Why” she asked with a quizzical expression on her face.

“Thank God, Cows don’t fly”. I said.

The penny dropped and so did her jaw. :-))

Dopey (*sigh*) Dopey ....

This happened when me and Abhay were coming back home from school on Friday (08 Sep). We had reached the flight of stairs and were just beginning to climb up the stairs.

I had already handed over his water bottle to him. So he had his backpack on – he insists on the backpack being on his shoulders and the water bottle was carefully clasped between both his little palms.

ABAIIIIII, ABAIIIII – I heard a voice calling out aloud.

Abhay, in the meantime, was more intent on quenching his thirst.

ABAAIIII – came the voice yet again, this time more insistent.

This time around, curiosity got the better of thirst or maybe his thirst had been partially quenched – enough to let his brain concentrate on other stimuli in his surroundings as well.

We turned around to find a little girl running towards us.

She came running up the steps to where we stood and ran her hands on both sides of his face. I could have simplified this sentence by saying “ran her hands on his cheeks” but then decided to be specific – else I have a strong feeling that I would be at the receiving end of a great many questions.

Then she says “I gib you candy”.

Candy – Omigosh !! The Magic Word !!

Immediately, he pushes the water bottle into my hands and says “Akkam Peeyum” (Abhayism for Akkam Porum – aka – I’ve had enough water).

He then took the candy from the little girl (whose name, BTW, I am yet to find out).

While he was looking the candy up and down, those “other pair” of little hands were running over his head and she pipes

“Abbaaii – this my jacket (tugging at her jacket). "

“Abbaaii – this my hairkip (hairclip in “What’s her name ISM)”

By then, her mom came over and we all said Bye and they went down the stairs just as we went up the stairs.

Why have I not said a word about Abhay’s reaction ??

Simply because, putting it very simply, it was a personification of what we used to simply call him during his babyhood days.


He had a Dopey look on his face with both his Dopey eyes as big as saucers with a Dopey grin to match !!

Webtagged, yet again ..........

......... this time, by Kodi's Mom.

What is your basic writing style?

I really don’t know. And more importantly, I really don’t care. As far as I’m concerned, I enjoy writing and almost always it is an instinctive thing with me. Earlier, it used to be putting pen to paper, now it is the keyboard and the PC monitor. Once I start writing, it is almost as if my fingers have a life of their own.

What do you tend to express best?

Emotions !! - I find this very therapeutic too. A lot of emotions are “let out” and a lot of energy gets channelised very constructively and creatively.

Real Life Narrations – of what actually happened during a particular time frame. Again, I just need to re-run the film reel inside of my head and the words and sentences form automatically and get recorded and documented.

What do you find hard to accomplish?

At times, when I read what I have penned down, I realise that I need to avoid using language which might require the person reading my pennings to have a dictionary on hand.

Again, use of “big” words is something that happens unconsciously – cos when I write, I just go with the flow of things rather than stop and contemplate at each and every stage of writing.

How long do you take over compiling a post?

Depends on how much of uninterrupted PC time I get. A lot of times during the day, my brain is simply buzzing with incidents/episodes which just “have to be” penned down. On an average, with no interruptions, a solid post takes me about 15-20 minutes to pen down.

Do you feel the urge to make a post every day or at least every other day, because you enjoy blogging, or do you post only when there is something definite to say?

I most definitely feel the need to post everyday.

For the most part, I started blogging to commit the innocent rejoinders that my kids come up with, to paper as it is virtually beyond the realm of possibility to commit the entire thing to memory.

As far as I’m concerned, their childhood antics, their absolutely childlike and pure ripostes are priceless keepsakes. Souvenirs that will last a lifetime.

And for this very reason, I would like to pen down as many of them as possible, as they happen.

Do you work on multiple posts at a time saved as drafts, or do you work single-mindedly from post to post?

I work from post to post. No two ways about that one.

Any particular time of day or night that you generally post during? And while at work or from home?

Like I said earlier, whenever I manage to get uninterrupted PC time. The rest of it just happens.

I blog from home. Like my profile says, I'm a "stay at home mom".

Has blogging helped you in anyway? If so, how?

Blogging is addictive. The difficult part, as is almost always the case, is getting around to starting a blog. And once I got started, I’ve turned into a blog buff.

Like I said earlier, it is very enjoyable and satisfying. Extremely rewarding and gratifying is the thought that it is all being recorded for posterity.

Then, there is the added satisfaction of knowing that our kids’ grandparents will totally and thoroughly enjoy reading every word – especially the kids blog – cos they are not able to be physically part of Appu and Abhay’s orb – their cosy bubble, their tranquil sphere.

And of course, needless to say, motivation in the form of comments left on the blog. I mean, who does not like compliments ?? And it kind of spurs you on ……

How long have you been blogging?

Since July ‘06.

I tag Boo and Has To Be Me.

08 September, 2006

The weekend cometh .........

Last day of the week today – as far as the school week goes.

But the little guy does not know that. As far as he is concerned, mornings are something he would rather not face. If he could have his way, I guess, he would make do with the day starting off in the afternoons. But then, like the saying goes, “If wishes were horses …………”

Vic got back from China yesterday and today morning, once Abhay had had his shower, he rushed to his dad. I was just walking into the kitchen to get a glass of water for Vic when I thought I heard Abhay saying something to Vic.

Turned around, found him plonked on Daddy’s lap with those spindly little arms around his Dad’s neck. I could not believe what I heard Abhay say. He was almost in tears and was telling his Dad in right earnest “Nekku Azha Varadhu” (I feel like crying). Dad was just as flabbergasted as Mum was. He said that a couple of times and then started crying.

A while later, I told him that I would put on a Magic English CD for him (Magic English CDs are quite a fave with him) while I got his breakfast ready – and he clambered onto my lap, threw his arms around my neck and wanted to be rocked.

Basically, he knew the schedule. After breakfast, would come the “lets put on your uniform” time and then he would have to face his demons – the going to school bit.

Today too, the tears started to flow quite copiously and what makes it even more difficult to bear is the fact that they are silent tears. There is no screaming, shouting, raving, ranting neither is there any tantrum – not that a tantrum would make things easier. Quite the contrary. But, I guess, to be honest, a tantrum would give a parent justification enough to get slightly mad  and that would be a distraction for the parent.

This little guy is definitely having a much tougher time adjusting, coping and coming to terms with the “separation anxiety” bit than we had thought.

Like the earlier days, once we got out of the house, he was in a hurry to get into the class and once into the classroom, he walked straight in. I had to call out to him to ask him to carry his bag in and put it in his cubby. He did come to the door, he did take the backpack from me and like I normally do I started to say “Bye ……”.

His reaction – he tried to close the door on my face. I cannot even begin to imagine the extent of anxiety, disquiet or rather angst that the little fellow is going through.

My feelings of worry were compounded by an incident which took place yesterday.

I got him back from school and once home, Abhay seemed to be in a terrible hurry to get his school clothes off. Only once he had pulled his pants down did we realise why. The kids had been, like is normally the case, taken to the toilet around 11.10 am. After he was done with his toilet stuff, he had pulled his underpants up by himself. We are teaching him to do this at home too. But more often than not, in a hurry to get going onto something else, he does not pull them up properly. Apparently, the same thing had happened at school. He had not pulled his underpants up properly and the elastic band was caught where it definitely should not have been.

And, the worst part was, no one, absolutely no grown up in the school had noticed !!

There is supposed to be a amah in the washroom with the kids for precisely such reasons – basically to help the kids out and I wonder, What in the Name of Dear God had she been doing ?

And he had been sitting with that discomfort and pain in the classroom without squirming or fidgeting until I went over to fetch him and get him back home. He felt safe enough to express his discomfort only within the safe confines of “home”.

What I felt, the emotions that crossed my mind – I cannot possibly put into words.

I felt for him – very very badly. Even as I write this, I am trying very very hard not to give in to the tumult, the turbulence which is threatening to find its way out through the corners of my eyes.

Aside of this, I remember feeling white hot rage, blinding anger at the others in the school who are supposedly higher on the chronological age ladder – the so called adults.

Am I being unreasonable ?? At this point of time, caught up in emotions that I am, I most definitely don’t think so. Maybe, just maybe, at a later stage, when I look back and think about it, it may seem a shade beyond the range of rationality or equanimity. But as of yesterday, all I felt was outrage.

Did speak to his teacher about it today morning when I went to school to drop him off and she has assured me that she will personally keep an eye on him.

When I went over to fetch him from school, he came running out of the classroom with a smile on his face. And sure enough, his underpants had been properly pulled up and even his T shirt had been neatly tucked into his shorts.

Asked him what he ate at school for snack and he said “I eat apple”. Asked him whether he ate biscuits as well and I got a crinkled up nose and a shake of the head in the negative in reply to that.

Coming back home was doubly fun today because it had been pouring cats and dogs and there were huge puddles on the way home. “Puddhles – that’s a puddhle”. And to compound the kids’ delight, when we reached the flight of stairs there was a steady stream of water flowing down the stairs.

All the kids had a nice time and for quite a while there was the steady drone of a variety of squeaks and squeals of delight all around.

07 September, 2006

This is the way we go to school, go to school, go to school .......

Yesterday was Abhay’s fourth day of school and I had thought things were on their way towards getting better - albeit still slightly askew. In the morning, when I took his uniform out of the hanger, he looked at it and started to cry. No wails or howls, but silent tears which refused to stop sliding down those little cheeks.

When we started out of the house bound schoolwards, in the elevator, he looked at me with a very plaintive look in his eyes and says "Let's go to park ?". Broke my heart, it did !! I told him gently but firmly that 9 am to 12 noon is school time and that we would take him to the park in the evening.

Once on our way to school there seemed to be a transformation of sorts. While walking down the stairs, there were three children ahead and behind us and all three of them were howling at the prospect of a three hour school agenda. He stayed quiet all along. When we reached the bottom of the stairs he seemed to actually be in a hurry to get into school.

Once into school too, he walked briskly towards his classroom and went in by himself. Met his teacher who came forward with a big “Good Morning Abhay”. No reply. I gently prompted him to say “Good Morning” but got only “the look” in response. After putting his backpack into his cubby, his teacher led him towards the toy shelf. Toys did not elicit any response either. Finally, he shook his head in the negative. She then asked him if he would like to read a book. There was an immediate shake of the head in the affirmative. They went off towards the book shelf and she gave him a board book with a teddy bear plonked on it. When I left, he was busy sitting on his chair and leafing through the teddybear book.

Today, again, the sight of the uniform had him in tears. But the moment we stepped out of the house, the tears stopped and he seemed more in a rush to reach the school. Once there, he was pulling insistently on my hand to get into the school and once in, he walked into the class by himself. I handed him his backpack which he put into his cubby by himself. And was rewarded by a big “Good Boy” from one of his teachers.

She then prompted him towards the toy shelf and he kind of stood in front of the shelf for a couple of minutes and then picked up a block puzzle to play with. No two guesses as to what blocks they were !! There was a car, a scooter, a airplane – everything to do with wheels !! Seemed much more focused today. His teacher asked him to sit down on one of the chairs – till yesterday he had to be led to one of the chairs but today there was none of that. He walked over and on the way to the chair one of the puzzle pieces fell on the floor. His teacher rushed forward to help but he would have none of it. Very patiently he set the whole board on the floor, picked up the errant block, put it on the board and turned and twirled it till it fit into the board, then picked up the whole board and set it on the table and then plonked on the chair. When I left school today, he was busy with the puzzle.

Once I drop him off at school, while on my way back home, I make real big plans about tackling some work that I had put off earlier cos it could not be done with Abhay running all over the place – what with his curiosity for new objects and things.

Yesterday and today as well, I had made big plans and plans they remained !! Nothing really moves once I get home. I really don’t know if it is due to the fact that he is still unsettled at school or whether it is due to the fact that I now find the house silent as a tomb in the mornings. No Appu around, no Abhay around ...

There is no pitter patter, plonk plonk of feet running, no BRRRRRRRRRR of cars racing by, no “A – Alligator number one squizes (squeezes) her Accordion” or “B-Bears on Bassoons Boo Boo Boo” or better still “F – Mingus (Flamingos) go a tweet tweet tweet upon a flute so chweet”.

There are none of those occasional screams that used to set my nerves on the edge and none of those yells that used to send my blood pressure shooting upwards. There are no imaginary doggies around the house or behind the doors to go “Bow Wow” with a cheeky smile.

The little squeaky voice is missing – the voice that counted and recited numbers over and over and over again so much so that I began to wonder as to why numbers were ever invented. There is no clatter, clank and jangling sounds resulting from the entire LEGO bucket being overturned at once.

There are no little arms, which, sometimes, out of the blue, wrap themselves around my feet or neck. There is no little person around who keeps pestering me by repeatedly saying “Please Tickli” (Abhayism for Tickle).

Like Erma Bombeck once said - “The silence is absolutely deafening”.

06 September, 2006

Want another book ......

..... is a request oft heard from Abhay these days. So much so that I'm used to it now. It does not seem like an incredulous thing any more. Another one of those things that one just gets used to over a period of time.

There used to be this time when I used to get so frustrated with him because nothing - absolutely nothing - could hold his attention for more than a few minutes. Not even books - or rather I should say - least of all, books !! He was akin to a bee - forever buzzing about, always "on the go".

I used to fret and fume over this many a times and at times, he used to drive me nuts to the extent of making me wonder if at all he would be able to increase his attention span and "lock in" onto something that would keep him occupied for a while.

It has happened slowly but steadily. And it has kind of crept up on me.

He is now soaking up books like a sponge soaking up water. One book after another after another. The moment he finishes one book, he looks up with that look of earnest expectancy on his face and says "want another book" or sometimes it is "i bing (bring) another book ?".

There is also this need to get to know things - what it is, what it does, how so ?? The other day, I found a worm on a bunch of long beans and before turning the worm into fish food by popping it into the aquarium, I showed the worm to Abhay - who was absolutely fascinated by the squirmy, wiggly creature. As far as he was concerned, that was the ninth wonder of the world !! Period !!

The sun, the moon, the stars - were the scope of his erstwhile knowledge about our galaxy. This has now given way to the entire solar system. He knocked the breath out of me a couple of days back when he turned to the solar system page on "MY FIRST ENCYCLOPAEDIA" which Appu had been reading and had left on the writing table. He looks at me and then points out to the illustration of the sun and the planets and launches off into "Thats Jupiter, Thats Saturn ............." - the whole cluster - without a break, without any trace of self-doubt and absolutely right on the dot. Best part - the whole thing was done in a very "matter of fact" manner.

He is a constant barrage of questions nowadays - salvo after salvo - with his now famous "what's that ?" and "What's this ?".

Sometimes it does result in an overload as well :-)

The other day, by mistake, Appu put on the wrong channel on the TV. It happened to be the traffic channel and there was a huge backlog of traffic near one of the cross harbour tunnels. And Abhay goes "What's that ?" Instead of telling him that a car, thats a van blah blah .... I ended up saying "That's traffic". Traffic, traffic - he kept repeating. Appu, deciding to do her bit, piped in, "Abhay that's a traffic jam". "Jam ??" he squeaked. He associates the word "Jam" with the one spread on bread. The incident passed off without much of ceremony.

Today he saw the bottle of jam (the bread kind of jam) on the dining table and points to that and says "That's a jam". When I responded in the affirmative he goes "Where's the traffic ?".

That's the question !!

Answers anyone ????

05 September, 2006

Onam at The Krishnans'

Onam, the principal festival of Kerala, is celebrated against a setting of lush green vegetation. This picturesque harvest festival brings ten days of colour feasting, boat races, song and dance to the state.
According to legend, the state's most colourful festival, Onam celebrates the golden age of King Mahabali, the mythical ruler of Kerala. The festival is to welcome the spirit of King Mahabali, and to assure him that his people are happy and wish him well. The myth goes like this:

The Devas or Gods were worried over the wise and good rule of Mahabali, the Asura king, thinking that he might become too powerful. They sought the help of Vishnu (the preserver in the Hindu trinity) to curb Mahabali's power. Vishnu, in the form of a dwarf called Vamana, approached him and had been offered a boon by the king. The Vamana asked for three paces of land and the king agreed to it. Soon the dwarf began to expand and with the first step, he covered the sky, blotting out the stars, and with the second, he straddled the nether world.

Realising that the Vamana's third step will destroy the earth, Mahabali offered his head as the last step. The Gods were glad, but since Mahabali was so attached to his kingdom and the subjects and was very much loved by the people, he was allowed to return once a year. Onam (Thiruonam) is considered to be the day when King Mahabali comes from exile to visit his beloved people.
The festivity begin ten days before Thiruonam, by putting floral decorations (Pookkalam) on every home. At Trichur (Thrissur), caparisoned elephants take part in a spectacular procession. A magnificent display of fireworks marks the end of the festivities here. At Cheruthuruthy, appreciative crowds gather on the green, where the dancers, resplendent in their brilliant costumes, re-enact the well-loved stories of the epic heroes and virtuous women. Pulikali, also known as Kaduvakali is a common sight during Onam season. Performers painted like tigers in bright yellow, red and black, dance to the beats of instruments like udukku and thakil. The Vallamkali (boat race) is one of the main attractions of Onam, and is best seen at Aranmulai and Kottayam. About a hundred oarsmen row huge and graceful odee (boats). Oars dip and flash to the rhythm of drums and cymbals in each boat. The songs are generally typical in character and concern people well known in Malabar. Above each boat gleam scarlet silk umbrellas: their number denotes the affluence of the family owning the boat. Gold coins and tassels hang from the umbrellas.

In the evening girls perform the Kaikottikkali (Thiruvathirakkali ) in the open, dancing around the traditional brass lamp.


School today ....

School today was better, as compared to the earlier two days. For one, I had been telling Abhay all along that today I would drop him off at school at 9 am and would be back only at 12 noon to fetch him and take him back home.

Yes - full day (i.e 3 hours) at school today.

We went over to school in the morning around 8.50 am and today there wasn't really any hesitation on his part. He went into the class by himself as I just stood on the doorstep. After going into the classroom, he seemed kind of lost. No - let me change that - once he gets to school he does get lost. Sort of yet to come to terms with school and all that comes along with it.

Both his teachers said "Good Morning Abhay" - Ah Annhhh - Abhay was still lost.

One of his teachers prompted him to put his backpack into his designated cubby. Still no response. She then had to lead him to the shelf and help him take his bag off and she helped him put it into the cubby.

Mummy said "Bye Abhay - I'll see you at twelve o clock OK sweetie". No response - Abhay even refused to look at Mummy.

She then took him over to the toyshelf and asked him whether he would like to play with any of the toys there. Still no response. I guess after about three tries, she went ahead and gave him a tub of blocks to play with.

He plonked on one of the little chairs with the tub in front of him on the table. But he was making no attempt to even touch it.

I peeped into the class (I'd been hiding outside all along and peeping very furtively into the class just to see how or what he was doing) and found him sitting on the chair with the toy tub in front of him, right royally looking lost.

When I went to school at noon to fetch him, he was sitting on the chair with his backpack on his shoulders - all set to go home. The teacher had to call out to him 4 times before it even registered that she was calling out to him. When he saw me at the door, waving out to him, he came running out of the classroom with a smile on his face. Yes - a smile on his face !! :-)

When we were coming out of the school, he tried his level best to sniffle and get some tear drops to fall but the tears seemed just as stubborn not to. He finally gave up trying to cry.

He absolutely refuses to talk about school and I believe he refuses to talk at school too. That, I guess, prompted his teacher to ask me today "Does he speak ?".
She said "He's not said a word over the past three days".

I guess he needs to settle down and that was precisely what I told her. There were not many tears today but the little guy is still pretty unsettled and the concept of school is yet to sink in.

To answer your question G - when I went to fetch him from school yesterday - he sulked !! And was sulking for quite a while after that :-))

04 September, 2006

Where did the music teacher go ???

When Appu's Primary Year Two Report came in from school, there was a remark on the report from their music teacher too. She had made a mention about Aparna being a "keen violinist" and had mentioned that she would very much like to see Aparna join the school's junior orchestra in her Primary Three year. Appu too, is very enthusiastic about doing so.

Of late, I mean over the past week or so, I've been telling her to speak to her music teacher about it. I had told her yesterday that I would very much like for her to approach her music teacher by herself.

And she told me that she would do that today.

I asked her a while back as to what happened and this is what she had to say

"Mummy - I did go looking for my music teacher. And after looking and looking and looking I did find her"

Mummy was listening very patiently .....

"And I was about to go and talk to her when I saw her going into the toilet. And you know what happened Mummy - she went into the toilet but she never came out."

Mummy has just one thing to say to that .......

That really is the Mother of all Excuses !!!!!!!!

Little Musings .........

Today was Abhay's second day at the kindergarten. He was OK when we left home. I had explained to him or rather kept explaining to him that I would drop him off at the kindergarten at 9 am and be back at 10 am to fetch him and take him back home.

The first two working days for the new kids was just an hour each - hence the 10 am "Mommy's going to be back" time.

We reached the flight of stairs we had to walk down and he put his hands up wanting to be carried. I had to redirect his attention towards the flight of stairs. He loves to climb up and down stairs. That got him !!

Off we went, down the stairs and into the kindergarten. Today we were just on time. Again on purpose - I did not want to linger around there. And there she was -the supervisor of the kindergarten standing there with a huge bell in her hands - a la Santa Claus. Only difference being that this would have made one hell of a skinny Santa.

When we reached the door of the classroom Abhay did do a double take - turned around - as in "Hey I don't want to have anything to do with this place" with that look "Hey Mom - don't you get it ?? Seriously ??".

Unfortunately for him - No - Mommy did not get it !!

He was breaking into a huge bout of sniffles with his face all awry when one of his teachers came over with a huge smile and a big "Good Morning" and took his little palm in hers and said "Let's go and get you seated shall we ?". I handed his school backpack to the other teacher in the class and left, telling her that I would be back at 10 am.

I've kind of been thinking about this -

"What hurts parents more ?" - is it the time when we see our children going through separation anxiety or is it the time when they actually want to spread their wings and soar out into the open blue sky - ON THEIR OWN - that is to say when the parents go through their share of separation anxiety.

We are getting to see both phases now.

In Abhay - it is one of dependency, of reliance - on his parents - for everything.
He is, nowadays, in the throes of confusion - brought about by the desire, the yearning of the comfort of relying on his parents for everything for a while longer and on the other hand, the present challenge of school which demands that he be self reliant to a great extent.

Each day, as I take him over to school, I would give just about anything to be able to know what goes through that mind of his.

To be honest, aside of knowing that he is not comfortable with the idea of going to school and being there by himself - I have no clue as to what crosses his mind.

With Appu - she is at a phase where she knows her individuality, her uniqueness and therein lies the root for her need for distinctiveness. She is just beginning to spread her wings. She is beginning to step into a stage wherein the school, her friends, her peers begin to take precedence.

I guess this is the cycle of life. We've been through these phases and now our kids are going through it. It just keeps getting passed generation to generation.

The only plausible difference between us as children and us as parents is the fact that the present generation of parents is a lot more permissible than was the case with the past generation of parents.

The realisation, when it does, hits hard. A child needs his/her parents support while at the same time the parents have to ensure that they do not smother their child in their attempt to support him/her.

Like Sloan Wilson once said "The hardest part of raising a child is teaching them to ride bicycles. A shaky child on a bicycle for the first time needs both support and freedom. The realization that this is what the child will always need can hit hard."

01 September, 2006

Abhay caught Red-Handed..................

.............. playing truant from school !!! Right on the first day !!!!!

Oh God !! What is this world coming to ???????

Small wonder then - that when I asked him what he did at school - his reply was

"NO-thing" !!!!!!!

Thought for the Day (01 Sep 2006)

There are two great injustices that can befall a child. One is to punish him for something he didn't do. The other is to let him get away with doing something he knows is wrong.

~ Robert Gardner

Abhay's First Day at the Kindergarten

The "Ready for School" Picture

For a person who normally wakes up around 6.15 - 6.30 am, Abhay decided to sleep in late today. Much to the consternation of Mummy who was huffing and puffing like a steam engine, the clock kept ticking towards 7 am but Abhay continued to snooze.

While Mummy was in the middle of carrots, peas and corn kernels in the kitchen (no - I had not started farming in the kitchen - I was busy making Appu's lunch box - fried rice), Abhay woke up and toddled to the living room.

Seemed to be in an unusually foul mood today. No - not my imagination - he really was. Refused to brush his teeth or have it brushed. Then wanted to brush his teeth with mummy's toothbrush. Mummy had to put her foot down and say "You have to brush your teeth with your toothbrush. Not anyone else's". That was the cue he had been waiting for - a loud howl ensued.

Finally, he came around to the bathroom and brushed his teeth (with his own toothbrush - just in case anyone's wondering). Had his milk and then settled down with his books.

By then it was time for Appu to go off to school and after she left he dilly dallied a while before coming into the bathroom for his shower.

Got Abhay ready for school by 8.45 am and we were off to school at 8.50 am. I did not want to go in too early, so as not to give him any wrong ideas about Mummy staying behind in school too. Cos parents are allowed to stay in the classroom with the kids till the bell rings signalling the start of the school day.

In the elevator of our apartment block, we met another little girl who was on her way to school too - she was perched in the arms of her grandmother and was wailing at the top of her voice. Abhay, in the meanwhile, was busy comparing notes - she was wearing the same uniform, carrying the same backpack, wearing the same white shoes ........

Once we reached school, I had originally planned on dropping him off near the classroom door but that was not to be. He turned around and started out of the classroom with a pretty alarmed look on his face. I had to step into the classroom with him and then carry him in.

The orchestra was already on in the classroom as most of the other kids were crying. One of them was clinging on to her mother for dear life. Abhay was quite quiet through all this. The bell rang at 9am and all parents had to leave. I sat him down on one of the small chairs and told him that I would be back at 10 am to fetch him and take him back home.

That was when the penny dropped !!!!

"AMMAI MENAM" screamed the little guy.

I did not wait in the classroom, neither did I look back while on my way out. That would just have made things worse. Just as I was stepping out of the class, I hazarded a half look his way only to find him pushing at one of his teachers with one hand with the other hand outstretched towards the door.

Sentimentality did kick in when I looked at the scene unfolding, through the eyes in my heart - I mean, he looked so small, so puny, so vulnerable. But then wiser counsel prevailed and I told myself that he has to get used to the idea of being in school by himself. Moreover, there were two experienced teachers in the class who knew exactly what they were doing.

This, I guess, is every parent's nightmare. The initial settling-in phase when the children have to come to terms with the fact that there does come a time in everyone's life when they have to step out into the world by themselves, and that they are no exception to this thumb rule.

Today, school was just for an hour. So around 9.45 am I went back to school to fetch Abhay. Met up with couple of other mom's there.

At around 5 minutes past 10 am we went in and found the classroom door open. I peeped in and found Abhay making faces at one of the teachers. The kids were all set to go home with their backpacks on.

When he saw my face near the door, those little lips did curl downwards. He then came out of the class and there were a few sniffles but he recovered pretty quick.

We came back home around 10.20 am.

After he had changed out of his uniform and had apple juice to drink, I asked him "Abhay - what did you do at school today ?"

The reply was quite instantaneous - "NO-thing".

The "Back Home From School" picture.