Friday, January 31, 2014

M's growing vocabulary...

So, if you have been on this blog long enough, you know M is quite the talker (or rather, at this stage the blabber-er)! From the beginning, she has not shown much interest in picking up individual words - she guns for the complicated sentence and stanza right-away. It is hilarious because you can have an entire conversation with her (with her doing most of the talking) and not a single word will be recognizable - though I must admit the blabbering is very emotive :D. Because of this very reason, I am sure she will start talking in a full-fledged manner much later than what everybody around has been predicting, including her doctor, who goes gaga over her highness's vocalization!

However, there are a few marked identifiable words that are forming her growing vocabulary. The way she pronounces them cracks us up million times a day. Here's an indicative list:
  • bei bei (always accompanied by the wave of the hand and is her version of bye-bye - pretty close to the intended)
  • haiiiiiiiiiiiiiii (her hi's are always always in hyperbole - it's never just a hi it is a haiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii)
  • baby (this one's absolutely clear - but who is a baby - any child upto the age of say 13 or 14, and any person in a poster! She called a smiling lady in the ice cream joint poster a baby!)
  • daw (that one's for dog)
  • duuh (not duuh but duck)
  • bitch (yes, you can do a rotfl on this one. We were shocked the first time she said it - but she means bus!)
  • bishh (that's the fish)
  • bow bow (that's for the dog again)
  • beetee (the Beatles poster near the stair way - sometimes she gets confused and calls other posters/photographs with lots of people in it as also beetee)
  • no no (that's is No - it is always accompanied by her finger movement and is always said in sets of two - no-no.)
  • yaa (yes, but I don't think she always uses it in context. In the middle of nowhere, she'll start saying ya ya!)
  • more (she says more for milk and water and then promptly changes her mind)
  • otter (that's water)
  • daayddy (daddy!)
  • mimmi, amma (that's for me, and I dont like how she says amma - it's like a-mmmaaaaaaa. I have told her I am mummy or mommy - nothing else.)
  • dappuh (not dapper really, but her diaper!)
  • Kaaoh (That's car! beats me why she brings in the o syllable when she can stop at kaah!)
  • Tuhh (Truck)
  • tahtuh (Tractor)
  • aaahhppppill (apple)
  • aaahhppy (Happy)
  • muhmuh (cow)
  • ba-ba (sheep, lamb)
  • haawt (hot)
  • nana, mama, anna, thatha - she says them all but we are yet to ascertain if it is to the right people!
  • appuh (that's not appa or apu (sorry, Aps) - it is hippo!)
  • cheeeee (cheese, ofcourse!)
I think that's just about all that I can think of. Me says, toddler hood is looking to be very very amusing. What say you?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Revisiting Nursery Rhymes

Most of us have grown up on nursery rhymes (we, in India grew up on those from Britain - quite obviously owing to the cultural influx that the rule had brought in) or the Mother Goose rhymes (a more popular term in the US). 
These traditional poems and songs are meant to introduce babies and children to language through easy rhymes - not just language alone, these introduce them to the world of literary imagination, numbers, social behavior - in a very light and fun way. 

However, as I revisit these rhymes for Manya, I cannot but shrug my shoulders and roll my eyes on the inappropriateness of so many of these. I didn't even know them very well, up until now, because my mom had apparently censored them off, which I think I will repeat for M too.
Many argue that these rhymes are not to be taken seriously and are not really educational tools. I feel even if not taken seriously, they do send subtle messages to impressionable minds and even if you want to continue singing these to your little ones, be prepared for explanations! Other experts argue that these rhymes offer a means of catharsis by way of imaginative violence and exploration, preventing real life extreme behavior. :o :O 

Now, I am not here to debate any of these studies, however, would like to share with you what I found objectionable in some of these rhymes! By the way, before I start, I just want to tell you that if you have the time, try researching on the historic origins of the nursery rhymes you know - you will be fascinated by all the historical contexts!

So let's start:

Goosey Goosey Gander
Goosey goosey gander,
Whither shall I wander?
Upstairs and downstairs
And in my lady's chamber.
There I met an old man
Who wouldn't say his prayers,
So I took him by his left leg
And threw him down the stairs.

Re-read the italicized portion. Even if we discount the rumors that this poem is reminiscent of the propaganda against the Catholic Church during King Henry VIII's reign, isn't there something very wrongly self-righteous about the verse? Why should anybody's religious beliefs be anybody else's business?

Rock-a-bye Baby

Rock-a-bye baby
On the tree top,
When the wind blows
The cradle will rock.
When the bough breaks,
The cradle will fall,
And down will fall baby
Cradle and all.

A mommy friend also echoed my sentiments when she posted on FB that the seeming violence in the poem may just be the reason her daughter refuses to sleep :).

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.
She had so many children, she didn't know what to do;
She gave them some broth without any bread;
Then whipped them all soundly and put them to bed.

Go figure out what's wrong with this poem on your own :P.

Three blind mice

Three blind mice. Three blind mice.
See how they run. See how they run.
They all ran after the farmer's wife,
Who cut off their tails with a carving knife,
Did you ever see such a sight in your life,
As three blind mice?

This verse apparently refers to the execution of three protestant Bishops by Queen Mary I of England. Obviously, when you read this poem all that you can think of is a knife dripping with blood, no?

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe
Eeny, meeny, miny, moe,
Catch a tiger by the toe.
If he hollers, let him go,
Eeny, meeny, miny, moe.

I am surprised that all the animal activists with all those save the tiger campaigns, haven't got this one banished from the Rhyme Book!

Peter, Peter pumpkin eater

Peter, Peter pumpkin eater,
Had a wife but couldn't keep her;
He put her in a pumpkin shell
And there he kept her very well.
Peter, Peter pumpkin eater,
Had another and didn't love her;
Peter learned to read and spell,
And then he loved her very well.

Not only does Peter practice polygamy, he has no clue how to behave with the wives either!

What are little boys made of?

What are little boys made of?
What are little boys made of?
Slugs and snails
And puppy-dogs' tails,
That's what little boys are made of.
What are little girls made of?
What are little girls made of?
Sugar and spice
And everything nice,
That's what little girls are made of.

Don't even get me started on this one. I can cry myself hoarse pointing our the gender bias and the limitations that it puts on children even at that young age. What if a boy is scared of dogs and a girls despises sugar?

Little Polly Flinders 

Little Polly Flinders 
Sat among the cinders, 
Warming her pretty little toes. 
Mother came and caught her, 
And whipped her pretty daughter 
For spoiling her nice new clothes

Now, now, who wants whipping mothers?

Sing a song of sixpence

Sing a song of sixpence,
A pocket full of rye.
Four and twenty blackbirds,
Baked in a pie.

Apart from the sheer insensitive violent imagery, who really bakes birds for desserts?

Georgie Porgie

Georgie Porgie pudding and pie
Kissed the girls and made them cry.
When the boys came out to play,
Georgie Porgie ran away.

So, what are we saying that kissing girls makes them cry? Or is this an early induction for our girls, boys are jerks and make you cry by kissing you? Whatever happened to the innocent abandonment of childhood?

Ring-a-Round a Rosie

Ring-a-round a rosie,
A pocket full of posies,
Ashes! Ashes! We all fall down.

The verse itself is not very telling but ever since I read about its reference to the Great Plague that killed millions, and also to refer to child killings in Nazi camps, I find it a little morbid to recite it to M.

Sorry for killing the fun of these particularly verses. I swear there are so many more that do not give me the creeps and I gladly sing them (in my completely out of tune voice) to M so many times in a day.
So, which are your favorite ones and which do you abhor?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The first sniffles...

We had managed to scrape through the first year without any sickness bouts but looks like we are running out of our luck fast. Childhood is a time for all the illnesses and the aches so that Ms. Immunity gets stronger but that also translates into endless worry and sleepless nights! 
(On another note, P.S. every milestone, every illness, every tooth, every thing is associated with sleepless night.)

From the last couple of days M has been fighting a cold. Poor thing is cheery faced about it most of the times expect when it starts interfering with her sleep times. I need not mention the obvious - but the appetite has gone to the dogs - yet again (and not that it is any great otherwise)! 

We are on the humidifier with medicinal inhalant, vaporub, and saline nasal spray routine. No medication for a viral, apparently. Really? Why can't they concoct some magical potions for these sniffles and all the associated discomfort. We also tried the baby aspirator but M was so terrified that I didn't have the heart to try it again. Even more so because she is usually cooperative with most medication and if she really resists, she really means it. (Now that I have said it, she better not become fussy for everything else!)  The other soother - honey - has also not gone down well with her highness - she simply hates the taste. I could take the blame for that since she is not used to any sweeteners whatsoever in her regular diet. Hmmm.

On a lighter (and chillier) note, the freezing winds are making their way stronger and wilder. Manya loves watching the snowfall and since she is under house arrest, that is some distraction!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The first pearly white!

Now, now, we have waited an eternity for M's first tooth to sprout. She has been showing teething symptoms right from 4 months of age, and when at the 14th month mark she was still all gummy, I was beginning to get a little worried, even though the doc had assured us all was well (infact she had remarked, have you ever seen a person without teeth!), and my mom had said I got my first tooth very late too (late teething, apparently, is genetic).

So, her highness's right maxillary central incisor (my physician friends, please give me a pat on the back for this jargon - lesser mortals know it as the top front tooth) is finally out - it is not completely out, but most of it has cut through the gums. I think the left one is coming up next. I believe the lower middle teeth come out first for most babies, but then our tiger has decided to follow an alternate timeline - well, as long as all do come out - who cares, huh?

And now for some emotional crap - I thought I'd be overjoyed to see her first teeth - I was happy but instantly I began to miss her gummy grins - why are babyhoods so fleeting? Another aww moment was when she refused to rub her gums on my jaw line after the tooth cut through. She'd always do that when that biting sensation was strong - and I'd complain but only lovingly. I loved the feel of her gums - I don't know why she has stopped it - she's still chewing everything off but whenever I offer her my jaw line - she nods her head in denial and points to her new tooth. Does she think it will hurt me now? I don't know so I assume she does it out of concern and not for lack of need (:D). I wish she'd still do it. Or the tooth could have just waited for another couple of months! (Why are mums so hard to please - this way or that?)

But, am also looking at the brighter side of this development. We'll now have a brush set, toothpaste in a couple of months, and toothy smiles will make for a whole new set of great pictures too - lots of exciting times ahead, huh?!?!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Everything's a Chase Game!

That Manya is the epitome of naughtiness would be an understatement. The mischievous twinkle in her eyes 24/7 and the squeals of delight when she has accomplished what she is not supposed to give her away. 
I have so many updates to make that one post wouldn't just be enough. So, will stick to her chase games in this one.

Everything, I repeat, everything is a chase game. There is not a single activity that I can do without having to chase her around the house. It starts the minute she wakes up. The moment her highness opens her eyes (which is usually at about 5:30/6 AM), she wants me to be up and about - asap. No snooze time at all - she is ruthless. Any resistance from me is met with a high decibel scream, followed by her exit from the bed and out of the bedroom door. I have to run after her, bring her back to bed, place her with daddy - bring her some toys and then finish my morning routine first. 

After that, at the first and every diaper change, the same game follows. I plonk her on her changing pad, put the straps on - she wiggles, and wriggles, and in the nano second that I turn around to either pull out a new diaper, wipe or her cream, she is off!!! Her joyful screams are met with Vish's paranoid ones as he is scared about what if she does something on the carpet!

We go to the kitchen and dining area for the morning milk. She will snuggle and cuddle till I fix the lid of her sipper. That's her clue - she knows I am ready - so she takes off. After a chase around the living room, we settle down for milk. This is again repeated religiously at all meal times.

Cut to nap times. "Manya, let's go to sleep." And there she goes running to the other end. I am telling you if I do not shed all my extra weight because of this, it would only be due to the fact that I am a certified glutton!

Wondering if the game is never reversed? If M doesn't chase us. She does. When Vish and I are changing our clothes, or if we are just out of a bath, or if she spots some bare parts when we are sleeping or lazying on the couch - she rushes to us to pinch all the bare skin she can lay her hands on - she claws at it and giggles till no end. Oh how it hurts. We have tried to say no in a hundred ways but somehow she doesn't get it. (And please, don't you dare say children do what they see because I swear Vish and I don't go around pinching each other!!!) 

Oh god, the games these children play :(!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Say Cheeeeee!

Cheeeeeeeeeeeeee (with the longest eeee ever) is M's version of 'cheese' ofcourse. I don't know if she likes eating it as much as she likes saying it but the passionate rendition cracks us up each time. I have to just trigger her with a simple question, "Manya will you have cheese?" And for the next 10 minutes we are assured that we will get to hear cheeeeeeee at regular intervals! 

The best part was that I was doing laundry in the afternoon when I heard the excited cheeee, only to find her highness in front of the window sill, pointing at the falling snow flakes, calling all of them cheese! I had to grant it to her, since they did look like the shredded cheese and the cut string cheese pieces I offer her. I did try to correct her though, but she didn't care much. So, we do have cheese topped trees and plants and the ground!