Lilypie - Kids Birthday

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Manya befriends Siri

The little one has discovered a new way to entertain herself. She activates the voice enabled help on our iphone/ipad, and then has a conversation with Siri...

"Siri, call daddy right now!"

"Siri, where's my doctor app?"

"Siri, what should I do with mommy?"

"Siri, I love you, do you love me?"

#TechnologyIsScary

Monday, December 7, 2015

Finding Nemo!

Continuous rains have put all of us under house arrest and inspite of all genuine efforts to not become a couch potato, I sadly have to concede that screen time privileges for Manya have exponentially increased.

Having never seen a full length movie before, we were not sure how M's attention would pan out but wow, did she amaze us. She followed the storyline attentively and was very emotionally engaged till the end. It has become a sort of obsession for her  fishes, the story, it doesn't help that her aunt has already gifted her a FInsing Nemo playset that is her favorite toy these days.

We also introduced her to Kungfu Panda and inspite of an unsure start, she has grown to like it as well. I really hope Summers are here soon and we can resist these temptations. Am hoping, she waits a bit longer for the big screen cinema debut :P.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

What is God?

Vish and I are not religious people - however we are not atheists ether. We believe in God, in the miracle of life, in the superpower that holds everything together. With religion, come murky waters - while we enjoy the traditions that our religious roots bring,  the festivities, the feasting, the celebrations - I am wary of preaching of religious exclusivity and deriving your personal identity from the religion you are born into.

If you have begun to wonder why this post features in my mommy blog and not my personal blog - no, I have not forgotten my much neglected blog. This post is here because God has started appearing in our conversations with the daughter more often now, and while every aspect of parenting unfolds a better (or a more confused) understanding of your own stance and beliefs, I though it would be interesting to pen down here how we are educating our 3 year old in this context.

How God features in our everyday lives: We have hindu God idols in our house. (What is that, mommy?) Manya has seen her nana offer morning and evening prayers in the puja room to the gods. (Why does nana pray?) We talk about going to a temple. (Does God stay only in temples?). We cross a fancy church during our drives (What is a church?). Oh my god, Manya, what are you doing? (Why did you say my god mommy?) For god's sake, Manya stop screaming. (What will God do if I don't stop?)

And this is what mommy explains...
... God is the positive energy, the joy, the happiness, the love that you feel all around you. 
So, is Ganesha not god, she asks me. No, I say. These are idols of god, images of god that different people create. She nods her head in understanding. He is just like a drawing, she says.
Encouraged, I continue, it is easier to pray to something that you can see, focus on rather than something you can only feel. Her attention begins to waiver - but she tries. Like I pray for play dough, she quips.
Never mind, some other day, I sigh.

Before she loses interest completely, we talk about temples and churches and how people can choose where to go worship based on the idols they believe in. She understands. She wants to go visit both. We say okay. I make a conscious effort to leave out the vocabulary of religion, Hinduism, Christianity, Islam from our discussion. I don't see the need for that. 
Religion has not been the defining aspect of my personality or who I am as an individual - I don't think it does for her, nor should it for anyone. Religion is a matter of personal faith; it should not be up for display or debate. Whether I am a hindu, or a muslim, or a christian, should not dictate how I conduct myself or interact with people or judge situations.

As the years go by, I want my daughter to know about the religions that exist, the massive literary works (all those mythological stories are so fascinating) that come from them, the rich cultural traditions that find their roots in the various religions - As she lights diyas and makes rangoli on Diwali, she knows that it is in a way to ask God to visit us and bless us (She asked me the next morning, if I am feeling happy because god is happiness and god should have visited yesterday :D.). She celebrated Holi earlier this year, and Easter and Halloween too. She is waiting for Thanksgiving to get over so that we can put up the Christmas tree and write letters to Santa - I can't imagine telling her that on diwali, happiness comes to only hindus or that Santa is a christian. 

I am not against religion - I am against teaching small children that they belong to a certain a religion and owe allegiance to it. Teach them slokas, and carols, and verses from the Quran, and gurbani too. Teach them how to love, help and differentiate good from evil but don't teach them to divide themselves - teach them the joy of togetherness.  

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The festival of lights...

Even though Manya is 3, I realise that it is only now that she is at an age where we can actively celebrate our festivals etc. Therefore, this year has been special in the sense that we have been really enthusiastic about celebrating major festivals and holiday traditions and hope to continue doing so in the years to come.

Diwali was all about lights - this is the first time we set up light in the US. Manya and mommy also did a simple rangoli inspite of it being a rainy day. Indian goodies were made in the kitchen - we kept it simple with all of us down with cold!


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The third year milestone!

Manya is three, and here are some highlights:
  • She talks, and she talks, and she talks :D. You get the drift. With quite an extensive vocabulary, M manages to impress most people with her conversation skills (not sure where that comes from? umm, think again...:p)
  • Manya loves drawing, painting - her weekly art classes help her channel that enthusiasm. Almost every day, you can see her engaged with her crayons, markers and even pencils. I have been particular about encouraging free hand - I don't give her drawing books to draw within lines or trace patterns or connect dots. And am glad with this approach, she draws and paints a lot of abstract - dark stormy nights, spooky voices, sunsets. She draws monster faces, dinosaurs (stegosaurus is her favorite), and all by herself she has started drawing rectangles, circles, ovals and triangles and the letters - A, m, N, Z, b, O, P, Q, q, T, I, U, V, X, and the numbers 0, 1, 2, 3, 7.  She loves doing little projects like wrapping boxes, making cards, cutting (which she has still not mastered) and gluing stuff etc.
  • Eating is a dicey topic still - she loves her standard breakfast of milk, egg, and fruit on most days. Red sauce pasta, spaghetti, peas and rice, tofu, bread butter, yogurt smoothies, blue berries, apples, bananas, strawberries, spinach and yellow daal are her favorites. White lindt chocolate truffles and gold wrapped chocolate coins along with orange ice bars are her favorite junk!
  • Manya loves books, and we are a regular feature at the library - she likes all kinds - stories, non fiction - especially if they are about animals, reptiles, sea creatures etc.
  • She has eclectic (;)) taste in clothes (we are thankfully still not in the princess phase - and am so not looking forward to it!) and toys - she loves her stuffed toys, dollies, legos, puzzles, fire engine etc all equally.
  • She loves the swing, slide, monkey climber at the park. She also mastered cycling her tricycle towards the latter half of this year.
  • We are fully potty trained (finger crossed) and are hoping no relapses happen.
  • We still have only 16 pearly whites - 4 more baby teeth are eagerly awaited (but show no sign of arrival). That's exactly where we were on her second birthday, by the way!
  • Tall and thin seems to be the mantra still - Mommy is just learning to fret less about the thin aspect.
  • Emerging personality traits: Cheerful, social, happy to be around people, smart enough to manipulate people and their reactions (;)); can and will use emotions to alter situations in her favor, total drama queen (I love you, M); tantrums are usually because of lack of sleep or hunger or too much boring stuff going around - they don't last long if attended to efficiently; chirpy with almost everyone, displays love and affection openly and very often; can hold her own in an argument/discussion, very very observant and inquisitive.
So, we herald the tiring threes :D.

Friday, November 6, 2015

One...Two...Three

Oh goodness gracious, SHE is THREE!

Our spunky bundle of sunshine turns three and we are so overwhelmed! 

Dear Love,

You are three and you are so excited - I think this is your first birthday that you are really conscious and aware of what the day means - you have demanded a party, presents, trips, decorations and what not and you are so happy to tell everyone that you are three. You have told us to look for a school now - Yes Ma'am!

Mommy and daddy wish you a lifetime of happiness and joy - may the sunshine that you bring into our lives bring warmth to yours too - every single day.
I don't recall many days wherein you have not amazed us with your fantastic vocabulary and that toddler-teenage attitude that is not all that cute all the time :D. You are smart and spunky, and we know you are going to go places (Never mind that you didn't think much of Dr. Seuss' book :P on the subject.)

There's lots to look forward int his year - you'll join a preschool, you'll be more independent, you'll have more thought and opinions that are truly yours and will give us an insight into your personality, you'll learn more skills - motor, gross,and what not. Going by most dictionaries on babies, you are not even a toddler anymore but a preschooler - change of status - promotion of sorts!

As you turn three, so does the mommy me. I feel like a pro sometimes and sometimes I feel like I have still not figured out the mommy thing - You know, I am not the most patient mom, and that is the major reason for almost all the unrest that we have between the two of us - you are learning to work around it though - a quick summon in the sweetest of voices reminding mommy that talking nicely helps more in the middle of a shouting match is sure to drown mommy in guilt for the rest of the day atleast - oh aren't you cute (and very very bratty)!

As we celebrate your day and you, we honestly believe that you are really the best thing that happened to us. We love you - to the moon and back. 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

First time trick o' treating!

I had already blogged about M's Halloween obsession here. Well, yesterday was her first time ever trick o' treating and she did have a blast!

Dressed up as bat girl, our very own caped crusader had not one but two parties to attend. 

I was a little apprehensive about her going door-to-door for the trick o' treat, but was shocked at her independence and unabashedness as her cries for candy became louder as did the amount she was grabbing with each passing house. I would like to assume it was because she was with a known group and knew mommy is close behind - but I must also mention, at one point she asked me to go back home and wait for her. The gall of the girl!  


Monday, October 19, 2015

I want a baby!

...Says Manya and not mommy!

I will go on record to say this that if we have a second kid, it will be only because of so much pressure from our first born. (P.S. I am not expecting). Manya these days is obsessed with babies - every single doll and soft toy she has (and she has too many of those) are babies, which she delicately wraps in blankets and gently sways them and lovingly tucks them in bed.

She says she wants a baby sister and we have had meltdowns and tantrums because she wanted one "right now". I patiently sit and talk to her, "explain" to her but all I get is "Why don't yo try having a baby - you are not doing anything at all, not even trying. Start looking for hospitals atleast", she says!

Haven't I consistently maintained she is a nutcase. We asked her if she would do with a baby brother - she vehemently vetoed the idea and said, "it has to be a baby sister, the baby brother can go back into mommy;s tummy."

We also have days when she puts a soft toy under her t shirt and then brings out and says - "tadaa we have a baby!"

She wants a baby. I want mommy!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Sweet nothings

Some random statements Manya has been making the last couple of months...

"Mommy I have got hurt in the palm of my foot"

"Mommy I want a baby right now"

"I am not adorable. I am Manya" (This when her art teacher told her she was adorable!)

"I am hungry, I must be illuminated."

"I am not cute. Puppies are cute."

"How old is the week today?"


Monday, September 21, 2015

The Gothic phase!

Manya is going through a real interesting phase - I call it the "Gothic" phase. We happened to chance upon a book about monsters a couple of months back and there has been no looking back after that.

She wants monster stories all the time, she wants to watch "scary" ghost stories - it is not that she is not scare d she is scared but thrilled at the same time. She imagines tree shadows into our bedroom to be monster arms and then screams in fear or mock, I don't really know which! She runs from one room to another saying she saw a zombie and then is highly disappointed when she realizes there is no space under the bed for monsters to hide.

Oh, and I must talk about creative expressions on these lines - she paints dark, stormy nights in her art class using black, green and purple colors. She paints everything black and brown and dabs some silver strokes here and there and apparently those are spooky voices in the dark forest!

That Halloween is round the corner and all stores are already stocking on decorations and jack-o-lanterns and costumes and what not - hasn't helped our cause. This obsession of hers couldn't be more ill  perfectly timed. The following is her well researched (thank you Library) wish list for Halloween:
- She wants to scare people.
- She wants to go trick or treating (and has already bought her pumpkin basket to carry all that candy).
- She wants to go to a pumpkin field, pick her own one, and carve her own jack-o-lantern.
- She wants to become a bat girl (costume already obtained) - no she is not aware of the comic series or the character but the black cape and the mask excite her! She wanted to become a witch but apparently according to her the costumer was "not black enough".
- She wants to decorate the house with pumpkins, spiders and cobwebs - she also wanted skeletons but has scratched that off her list because then the house "will become too scary".

Here are some hilarious conversation tid-bits in this context...

Me: Manya what do you want to be for Halloween?
Manya: Bat girl
Me: Oh but I thought you wanted to be a witch or something - you didn't like that costume?
Manya: No, for Halloween I want to be a bat girl but when I grow up I want to be a witch.
Me: But you said you'd be an astronaut or a pilot or a firefighter?
Manya: No, I just want to be a witch and cast spell on people.
Me: That maybe a very good career choice (bleh)

-------

Me: Manya you have been extra cranky since morning. Can you please not behave so badly.
Manya: I am not behaving badly. I think a witch has cast a spell.
Me: You'll really have to come up with a better excuse next time.

------

Manya: I think there's a monster in our room.
Me: There's no monster. Monsters are not even real. They are just in your imagination.
Manya (very disappointed): I wish monsters were real.

-----

Manya: Tell me a scary monster story.
So, I make some rubbish up.
Manya: But that is not scary at all - please make it more scary so that I am scared!

-----

This fall is going to be very interesting. Signing off with a picture of Manya's dining plate these days...

P.S. As I was updating the labels for this post, I kid you not a spider jumped onto my screen from nowhere - BOO. It is getting spooky out here!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

One of our many "arguments"...

Manya: Is summer over?
Me: Looks like it. It's quite chilly today.
Manya (looking out of the window): It's so cold, even the trees are shivering.
Me: Umm, they are shaking because of the wind. They can't feel cold to shiver.
Manya: Ofcourse they can feel cold.
Me: they cannot really "feel" anything - they don't have a nervous system or brains to understand feelings.
Manya stares at me as if I was talking Latin.
So, I continue - trees can't feel.
Manya: I think they can.
Me: They can't.
Manya: Let us not argue about everything!
Me: 😱😱😱
I cannot say anything to her without her punching it back in my face eventually!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Of cops and jails!

My almost 3 year old is running around the house joyously clapping and singing at the top of her voice, "bhujiya monster has broken her phone and now the police will come and take her to jail"...
...
While I sit quietly in the kitchen munching on aloo bhujiya (translated on the packaging as spicy potato noodles -wtf) and grimacing over my smashed iPhone screen.
It's a cruel, cruel world.
(p.s. my daughter is fascinated by the idea of cops and prison - I regret introducing her to the concept of laws and their enforcement (primarily to get her to stay buckled in her car seat) - now her only motive in life is to know for breaking what laws can I be imprisoned. She does not know of 911 yet. thank god.)

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Wheels on the trike go...

It has been a little more than a year that we got M her trike and even though she had taken an instant liking to it, she had not really been able to pedal on her own all these months. 
Today, she took us by surprise by pedaling all by herself! I was so thrilled - she was too - a new found independence, I think, she feels. She has to lean to steer properly and pedal at the same time - just now the focus is all over the place - also I realized she still does not have the strength to pedal uphill - since almost all roads and streets we take our sloping, she will have to learn to go uphill to do downhill - oh well, all in her own time!

She is quite the cheeky brat thought, as she asked me "how are we celebrating my cycling?'

 Oh, and she also feels that since she "can cycle now, she needs a bike, a skateboard, and a scooter". 

And she also remarked that I should get my own cycle and then we can go on adventures together. 

Like seriously, keep the handle straight lady!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

#LifeisTough

An exceptionally entertaining day...

..a very exasperated M struggling with some Lego blocks...finally gave up, and hugged me and said:
"Mommy, life is so tough - I just want to be a baby Manya and go back inside your tummy"

Oh those rare moments when her sentiments echo mine ;P.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Protecting eyes from screen time!

As I was prepping for dinner,
Me: Manya I think you have had enough screen time for the day please keep my phone away.
Manya: But mommy I want too much screen time.
Me: Too much screen time is bad for you
Manya: Why
Me: Because it doesn't let your mind and body grow.
Manya: But I am growing so well
Me (to myself - WTF, what a narcissist am I bringing up): Alright, but it's bad for the eyes too. You will stop seeing after a while.
[Yes, I am a cruel mom - SILENCE there was]
I thought I had won this battle only to turn around and see Manya with my phone and with her sunglasses on!
Me:Why do you have your sunglasses on?
Manya (with the cheekiest grin ever): Just like the sunglasses protect my eyes from sun, they will protect me from screen time.
I don't know what I have done to deserve this! Seriously!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Why M won't nap!

Our day time naps have become an every day battle, nay, war now, as I mentioned in an earlier post. Read on the complete list of arguments put forth by her highness:
  • "I am not sleepy."
  • "I am not sleepy AT ALL."
  • "I am so hungry."
  • "I am so thirsty."
  • "I am too tired to sleep."
  • "I have some important work to do."
  • "I cannot see properly with my eyes closed."
  • "I cannot breathe when I close my eyes."
  • "I need to go potty."
  • "I want the fan to go away from the room."
  • "I cannot close my eyes because there are tears in my eyes."
  • "If I sleep, I will cry."
  • "I am missing daddy."
  • "I am so very hungry."
  • "I don't like sleeping"
I already spotted my first grey hair and boy, don't I know what has caused it.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

#ToughLove

Today...an exceptionally hectic day and M doing her best to get on my nerves...
Me (in a rather loud voice): Manya enough. No more troubling me. I have had enough from you. No whining.
Manya (whining): Mommy I don't want you to get angry at me.
Me (seeing red): I don't want you to tell me what you want or don't want.
Manya (at her whining best now): I don't want you to scream at me.
Me: Manya enough!
Manya: I just want you to be happy and I want you to love me.
[Trust her to throw in a game changer]
Me (obviously mellowed and feeling guilty and all of that): Manya, mommy always loves you - even when she scolds she loves - i love you all the time. Just like you love me, don't you? Even when you behave badly, you love me, right?
Manya: Yes, I love you even when I am cranky but I don't love you when you are angry.
[Realizing this conversation is not going where I'd like it to...]
Me: Manya, it is out of love that I scold you - I want you to be safe and well behaved and happy and for that I have to get angry or stop you from doing wrong things, okay?
Manya: But I don't want the scolding, angry love. I only want the hugging and kissing love.
[Needless to say I could not find the right words after that and like most other times she ended up having the last say!]

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Sunny days!

(A very agitated) Manya: Oh no! The sun is out again!
Me: That maybe a good thing - we can go out in the morning and evening.
Manya: No, the sun is so strong it hurts me. I dont want to go anywhere. I want the sun to get lost.
Me: Umm. It is not so bad. I mean it can get uncomfortable but the sun is very important for us.
Manya: No, it is not. 
Me: Manya you are just like mommy. I don't like the sun too.
Manya: Then can you please shout at the sun and ask it to go back.
Me: I have tried. It doesn't work.
Manya: Nobody listens to mommy. Only Manya listens to mommy.
Me (with a sigh): That maybe true.
P.S. So many complaints about the sun when we are in a place that gets barely 150 days of sunshine in a year out of which half are just partly sunny days. Oh, and if you are wondering what the temp is: 70F/21C currently!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mothering the terrible twos!

What better way to celebrate Mother's Day than reminisce brood ponder over my how my days are spent. (I seem to be doing that consistently :P, and you can read my previous Mother's Day special posts here and here.) 

So every once in a while I do get to hear how it must be "much easier" to be at home with a two year old who can communicate her needs well and can even be independent as much as a toddler can be. My first reaction is usually WTF. And then based on who it is, I decide whether to voice it or not :D. Putting it very simply, NO, IT IS NOT. And if I am saying it, it gotta be true. I have not forgotten all the cribbing I have done and continue to do, but every stage gets progressively crazier (and I put that very mildly). 

You want to know what is worse than an infant treating you as a 24-hr open milk bar, changing 10+ diapers a day - through the night, sleep regressions, pattern changes, frequent spits, feeding worries, panic attacks when the first sniffles, shivers, infections come along - what is worse is that infant growing up and reaching the terrible twos. 

Not convinced? Humour me. Read on all the wacky things my two-and-a-half-year-old subjects me to.
  • "Mommy, today I want to drink milk from the bowl - no cups please." Seriously, first thing in the morning?
  • "Daddy, What's the plan today, Can we go to the zoo/ aquarium/ water park/ beach/ mountains etc ?" It's like we are her personal assistants, we should have her day chalked out because she always inquires what's lined up for the day - weekend or not - oh and also "Staying at home is oh so boring." I am telling you this one's onto teenage already!
  • While sitting on the pot, great musings are mused. "Mommy, I want to go to space in a rocket. Do they have Dora potties or red and yellow ladder potties or boring grown up white potties in space."
  • "Mommy, will my breakfast egg hatch and a chicken come out?"
  • "Mommy, when can I go to school?" When you are potty trained hun. "I need to use the potty now." But I am eating now - hang on. "I cannot mommy, it's all going to fall down." So, the only time my daughter really needs to go use the potty is either when I am eating, at the computer, talking to someone on the phone, or cooking. The other times I beg her to use the pot, by the way.
  • What's for lunch mommy? Daal (lentils) and rice. "Okay, I will have spaghetti." Alright hun, I can do that. "Oh no, I want to have pasta." Sure. And pasta is served. "Mommy can I have some daal rice." I swear to god.... 
  • I can't nap mommy. Why (the hell) can you not? Because I cannot see properly with my eyes closed. I mean seriously, give me another reason. "I can't breathe when I nap." WTF. I am not convinced. "I want the fan to go away from the room when I am napping." That's it. And then my husband wonders why am I so crazed out at the end of the day. (Note to self: I need to do a post on this - I think I have a list of 50 more reasons she comes up with on why she can't nap)
  • Post nap is usually peak tantrum time. Copious tears will be shed because the moon has not come out. Or because the sun is too bright, Or because she needs to visit the stars RIGHT NOW. Or we need to go to London in an airplane and she wants to sit on the wings. (I wonder if they have a diagnostic test on children gone bonkers). Or she wants a real dog that walks, and barks and poops.  
  • Between Madame's "I want" (s) and I don't want" (s) , there are three other words/phrases that totally piss me off - Ofcourse yes/no, Not quite, Yaa yaa. Will you eat something? Ofcourse not. Do you want to go out? Ofcourse yes! Are you ready for bedtime "Not quite". Can you please give me a simple yes or no? "Yaa yaa". And I pull my hair, I just want to hear a YES or a NO - how hard can that be?
  • At the park: worms are dug out, grass is rolled on, dogs are hugged, flowers are smelt, leaves are plucked, and clothes are washed in mud!
  • "Mommy I need to brush my teeth." Very responsible? Now make that 10 times a day.
  • "Mommy I want to fly. Mommy, when will our house catch fire, I want to see a fire engine. Mommy, can we please go for an venture (adventure). Mommy when can we celebrate Halloween. Mommy, can you please draw spooky voices for me?" Cute? Now make each of that 50 times a day.
  • And if all this is not enough, I also get to hear VERY occasionally. "Mommy you are so lucky, you get to play at home all day while poor daddy works." OR "Mommy, why don't you go to work tomorrow and daddy can stay at home with me."
  • God forbid if her highness is in  a "helping mood" - with the dishes, laundry, sweeping, cooking - that's the end - rest assured nothing will be gotten done. 
  • I must concede though it gets achingly cute too. Mommy can I go back into your tummy? I so wish - you were most controllable then :D. It gets scandalous too, "Daddy, I have a secret, there's a baby in my tummy!"
And then every time I am on the brink of losing sanity, two soft arms envelope me in a warm hug and a cute small mouth lavishes kisses and that imp of a tongue lashes out: Mommy don't be angry. I don't want you to shout. I want you to only love me! The cheek! This brat gets away with all this impudence and more, so I must have a mother's heart after all, no? :P

Happy Mother's Day!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

First (successful) shot at the pot!

Only a parent could do a post on this. I am so uncool yes - I was overjoyed to see M peeing in the pot. There I said it. Now the details :P...
In Jan this year, we bought Manya a booster seat for the main pot at HER insistence (yes, every once in a while I like to believe that I am not a parent that forces but takes lead from her bub) - anyways - a nice Dora seat with a matching step tool (which was a little too low) - My daughter was overjoyed - she'd sit on it for hours without doing a damn thing! Like never ever! You have to hear some of her very own comments:
  • The pot will get dirty.
  • It (it = the act of peeing or pooping in the pot) is disgusting.
  • I can sit but I can't do anything.
  • It is all getting stuck inside.
  • Nothing's coming.
  • I am a baby and need to use diapers.
  • Everybody should use diapers.
  • Diapers are clean - pot is dirty.
My own excitement gave way to frustration and we just parked the whole potty training schedule for May (my logic being she'd be 2.5 yrs old and an arbit date for me to giddy up!)

Well May is here - I ordered a brand new booster for her one which lets her leg rest on the step and fits very well into the adult pot. I made a resolve to start potty training in earnest and spoke to M about it quite a lot - she'd even tell her grandparent that potty training starts in May :D.

So I made her sit and told her in no uncertain terms - she was not going to leave till she did something! And lo behold, the sound of music of pee falling into the pot. Boy, I was thrilled. I hi-fived her and Vish, and both of them managed some half-hearted smiles a if to say what the fuss was about! But, what the hell, she did it! And you know like a pro, she grabbed some toilet paper, wiped herself and flushed it all! All grown up, huh?

Anyways, it is day 2 and we have managed to successfully use the pot only about 5 times till now. I have to remind her to go - she tells me only when the act is in play or has been done! Exasperated, I asked her today a little rudely - don't you come to know when you are about to pee. She calmly replied, "I don't - I come to know only when it is all wet." :(

Clearly, we are eons away from a diaper free tush but a teeny weeny step in that direction has been made. Amen.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Damn Bubbles!

[PS: Have been so lazy about posting these days - hoping to write a few entries and back date them to maintain some sort of chronology! I really seem to run out of time - every single day!]

M has been fond of bubbles ever since I happened to introduce them when she was about 6-7 months old. At her play gym, bubble time continues to be the favorite part of the class. Recently, madame has mastered the art of blowing bubbles "on her own" and that means a whole lot of more fun than just popping them.

I end up making about 16 ozs of bubble mix solution atleast twice a week (standard formula = water + dishwashing liquid + sugar), if not more! 

The other day I posted this conversation on Facebook, and had to journal it here too:

Manya: I am done with blowing bubbles, Mommy now you have a go.
Me: No, Manya, thank you. I don't want to blow bubbles first thing in the morning.
Manya: Mommy I WANT you to blow bubbles NOW.
Me: Please?
Manya: Please.
Me: okay...
Manya: Hold the mix carefully mommy, don't spill it. Hold the wand and blow gently. Don't blow them on the couch - you know how daddy gets upset.
Me: Miss Smart Pants, I taught you how to blow bubbles and everything else. (And I blow some bubbles)
Manya: But you are doing it all wrong mommy. Blow bigger bubbles and higher.
Me (after 15 minutes of this wretched thankless activity): Manya am done blowing bubbles too - my mouth is aching - my cheeks will burst now.
Manya: That's alright mommy, nothing will happen. keep blowing. If something happens, I will take you to the hospital and the doctor will fix you.
Me: I have no energy. I need breakfast. I am falling.
Manya: Eat your cereal quickly and come back for bubbles.
(and after every 30 seconds, "are you done eating mommy")

Quite the dictator, no?

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Canine Love!

[OMG, it is April already - It couldn't have taken me all this while to get over the holi hangover - my life seems to have been consumed with Manya, cooking, and eating - thankfully in that very order ;). I swear I need to get out of these cobwebs I have woven around myself and write more often - especially, when there is so much to write about! Okay, after that self appraisal, to the post now...]

In many of my previous posts I have mentioned how Manya absolutely love dogs - ever since she really started exploring outdoors - these four-legged creatures have fascinated her. I still remember the first time how she hugged and kissed a dog when she was only about 14 months old - it almost looked like they were long lost twins (yes, very reminiscent of the bollywood kumbh mela, karan arjun et al.) ... And boy, the love seems to be growing with every passing day. I joke that there's not a single dog in the vicinity who has not hugged and kissed Manya and vice-versa (yuck but true!). The best part is she's not scared of the big growling ones too - the bigger the better infact! 

Thanks to all this and her growing "intelligence" and communication skills we have already had quite a few showdowns between the daughter and her dad because she demanded "a real dog that barks, licks, can go out for walks, and does potty." [P.S. "has to do her real potty"]. Vish is ofcourse adamant on his no dog policy - he cannot stand dog hair, his past brush with asthma keeps him over the edge around dogs . 

As for me, I am not a great fan but don't mind them and now I am slowly warming up to petting and cuddling (yes, me too!) - I am sure M's canophilic genes come from my dad and brother who absolutely adore dogs! BUT, I am AGAINST have dogs or any pets for that matter for two simple reasons: 1. Too much work - I crib enough about one toddler ; 2. I am sure I'd get emotionally attached to my pet so much so that the idea of leaving him/her in a pet care facility for our holidays, long trips to homeland etc would kill me with guilt or I would stop making trips altogether - and I don't want to give up the luxury of packing my bags and leaving for vacation or even a short road trip considering M's disposition - don't want to add more liabilities to the list.  

So there you go, recorded for posterity - no dogs for us. M will have to make do only with these...one of them actually barks pretty realistically ;)

[I also think the minute she can, she will leave us for a dog ;p]


Friday, March 13, 2015

Nonsense!

So I was reading this handout from our doctor's visit, and as always Ms BusyBody M comes in:
Manya: mommy what are you reading?
Me: some stuff from the doctor's.
Manya: I also want to read.
Me: okay! 
(so I start reading aloud word for word, and we go through the first bullet)
Manya: what does that mean?
Me: they are saying children like Manya can throw tantrums because they don't understand some things because they are babies.
Manya (very agitated): this is nonsense. I am not a baby. I understand everything.
(I promptly tossed the handout away - there exists no literature yet on how to deal with Ms. Feisty.)
(P.s. Use of nonsense - most things these days are just "nonsense")

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Happy Holi!

All these years after our wedding, I have been whining and cribbing, and whining how I have not been able to indulge in my favorite festival - Holi , BUT things have changed - I have found my partner in crime...


It was so simple:
Me: Manya it's holi today! Happy holi!
Manya: What is holi, mommy?
Me: Holi is a festival of colors. You put color on each other.
Manya: Hurray, Let's do holi! Happy Holi!

So I whipped up some homemade color (using gram flour, corn flour, sandalwood powder, turmeric, icing flavors). We waited for it to get nice and sunny outside and then played with colors for a long time - I am sure the neighbors thought we had gone crazy - We colored each other's faces, clothes, slippers, legs, and what not. Manya was thrilled - she wants to "do holi" everyday now!

We "wore holi" (some nice colorful Indian clothes) after a "holi bath", which had mommy and dotty splashing in the tub together. We also "ate holi" - potatoes, puri, gol gappas, and suji halwa with puris being M's favorite!

I am hoping we'll get rowdier as the years progress ;).

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Pierced!

My stand on ear piercing for M had been that I would not get it done till she really wanted it. My reason was simple - why go through the unnecessary pricking and poking, as if babies don't cry enough already. 

I know people say that ears are much more tender in the earlier years (earlier months is more most insist) and all that but c'mon, they don't become thick bricks ever - I remember having my ears pierced when I was 10 years old, and I didn't go through any carnage exactly! I wanted them, was prepared for the pain, and it worked out well - this is exactly how I had it planned out for M - Except that I keep forgetting, no plans work with M!

For the past many months now M had been asking about getting earrings. I had been telling her very matter-of-factly that it would hurt just as it does when she goes for her shots, and some after care would be required, and if she was prepared for that, we could get it done anytime! If I remember correctly, starting at 18 months itself, she had begun the insistence, she'd say,"I want earring - it will hurt a little - just like shots, and then all pretty". All this while, I was dilly dallying - I thought she was too young and should be left carefree really (or rather I shouldn't have an extra thing to care for :p); then was the India trip - I didn't want to do anything drastic on a holiday; then I also thought how much does she really understand and blah blah - finally it all came to a point that it seemed like my excuses were just that - and she "really" wanted earrings. 

So while strolling on the strip mall nearby, I saw Claire's, and very casually remarked to M that this is where we would come if she wanted earrings, and she suddenly jumped up and said, "I want earrings now." I asked her atleast 10 times before entering the store and atleast a 20 after - but she seemed to know what she wanted. And before we knew what was happening, her highness was perched on daddy's lap and earrings shot into her ears. She cried for all but 2 mins, and I had little sympathy to offer - She asked for it, didn't she! 

Anyways, she was happy with all the attention, and her shiny white gold studs, and she got a toy too! Off and on, she has been saying, can I remove it, it is paining a little, does it look pretty - I think she is just getting used to the newness of it - so hopefully nothing that really bothers her.

As for me, I am just left sighing to myself - she is growing a little each day, which is adding upto a lot - she is all but 2 and can convince me to get her ears pierced - something for which I was ready to wait atleast a couple of years more (hell, no way had I thought she'd want earrings before 5 or 6, atleast) - but looks like she has a mind and a plan of her own - we'll have to just tag along!


Friday, February 27, 2015

Art Classes!

First, I think I have not talked about this before but here it is - we have finally decided to skip enrolling M in a playschool/preschool for the time being. So, most probably we are looking at her start a preschool at 3.5y+, which according to me seems "more right" :) - many reasons - she is eligible only for the toddler programs as of now, and I don't find them interesting or exciting in any way - she does a lot more at home with me - preschool programs looked like something she would enjoy but the criteria is 3y+ and potty trained - both of which are still milestones to be reached for us; and most importantly I think I am not ready, so anyways I am shielding her from one year of institutionalized learning :D.

However, her days are long (and tend to get boring), so we have got her enrolled into a weekly art class. (Mostly because she loves spending her time getting messy with colors, play dough and stuff like that at home too, and nothing seems enough!) We did the preview class today and were thrilled. Exactly what I was looking for - one hour of unlimited paints, colors, unrestricted mess, a story time, song and snack included. I have to accompany her ofcourse (I love it too :p). We will also be doing a kiddie gym class (unstructured), for about an hour everyday. 

I think this along with her park trips (that include lot of sidewalk doodling with chalk), library trips, long hours of storytime with mommy, toys, puzzles, crayons, and stuff at home, and the joy (!) of helping mommy in her household chores like cooking, laundry, her day should be covered - oh and I must also add watching Peppa Pig to that list - this is our latest addiction and more about it in another post!

I must add we get to take all the art work home, so now we'll have more interesting garage walls, if nothing else.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

First visit to the dentist.

This visit was slightly overdue given the recommendation that a child should visit the dentist 6 months after the eruption of the first tooth. (Yes, I do try to go b the book, as much as I can :)). Anyways, the dentist said the visit was timed perfectly (haa!).

I had prepared M for the visit well - she knew that a lady doctor for teeth, the dentist, would be seeing her, asking her basic questions on brushing and finally checking her teeth and gums. The little anxiety that she did have about her mouth being invaded disappeared at the waiting room - stocked with iPads, bright board books, building blocks, an elf kitchen with pretend utensils and dishes and food, wooden puzzles (M's favorite these days!), a bead maze, a cheerfully painted table and chair set, M had stumbled upon an unexpected treasure!

Unfortunately for M, and fortunately for us, we didn't have to wait all that long - the assistant called us and as she briefed M got more soft toys (what a bonanza) to play with. She got to pick her toothbrush (Dora - Bingo!) and the dentist was a beautiful (daddy will agree), charming, cheerful, and pleasant young lady - who sang to Manya and played with her toy teddy and the cleaning and the mouth invasion (it did include some bt of prodding but M didn't flinch a bit) was a breeze! She told us her teeth were great and we were doing a great job with the brushing (can you see my collar high up :p).

M cheerfully bade a bye and thank you and then she hit a jackpot - she was asked to pick a toy to take home - a bright yellow ball made its way home with such a shiny set of pearls. 

You know some days where everything just falls into place - M was rewarded with an out of turn trip to the park - it was sunny and very springtime like - and we also spotted the first blossoms!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Love, Hugs, and Kisses

At present, M's world is divided into two clear categories: people, animals, insects, plants, things, places etc. that love her and those that don't. Or that she loves and doesn't.

 Ever had conversations with a pint sized know-it-all? This is how they go:

"Mommy bubbles love me." 
"I love spiders, spiders love me?"
"Birds love Manya"
"Does the man (some random guy on the road) love Manya?"
"Waters love Manya"
"Manya loves ducks"
"I love airplanes"
"Dogs love me"

...You get the drift.

What a loving, lovable child, you say. Wait till you see how this love translates to the physical:

"Mommy, I want to hug the bubbles - I don't want the bubbles to get popped" (Often succeeded by loud whining from M, and exasperated sighs from me. WTF.)
"There's a spider in the garage, I am going to kiss it" (Succeeded by panic stricken - yuck, don't do it outburts from me)
"I want to hug the bird when it is flying" (Succeeded by frustrated attempts from me at explaining that human beings cannot fly)
"I want to hug the man" (really, WTF!)
"Water hugged and kissed Manya" (followed by a screaming session on why it is not okay to pour water on yourself at whatever pretext!)
"I want to hug the duck" (Succeeded by desperate running behind a maniac rushing into the pond)
"I want to kiss the whole airplane" (whatever f*&^ that means)
"Mommy, I just hugged and kissed the dog. It kissed me on my mouth and nose and face. (Followed by a cardiac arrest seeing M's wet face and lips and just hoping that the wetness of the lips is not because of ummn "kissing")

The list just goes on. There's too much love and PDA going around. 
(More about obsession with the canines in another post!)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Gems from the past...

This is going to be the last of my India trip posts, I guess.

Some things M came up with on her own during the India trip:

----
This is at the time of the Diwali festivities in Delhi - all the lights and diyas did catch M's fancy as she proclaimed, "M loves the dark. Dark is happy". Yes, that does sound morbid and "dark".

----
M took a fascination for robots - some rhyme or some cartoon she watched. One day, I saw her touching the wall with one hand and the other hand straight up over her head. When I asked her what she was doing. She very soberly replied, "I am charging".

----
M loves clocks and wants us to buy one for her room and every other room in the house, but before clocks were clocks, shed call them time, and this does make for a very profound statement. She looked at the wall clock in my parents' house, and said "Manya want to hold time in her hands". Now, don't we all want to do that?

----
M somewhat knows of tunnels - If you go on the DND from Noida to Delhi, you can see lot of under-construction buildings to your right. One early morning as we were driving by, M remarked, "Mommy, so many tunnels going to the sky."

----
On our trip from Delhi to Bangalore, a friendly air hostess asked her if she wanted something. M turned around to me and said, "What is the cleaning lady asking?". I would have not minded had the windows of the plane opened and the air sucked me out!

----
In Bangalore, M was rather amused with the ac vent for the back seat in my sis-in-law's car, and she said, "The wind is leaping."

----

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Documenting some old conversations...

I shared these on FB during our India trip when blogging seemed a tad bit difficult. Posting these here now.

M has perfected the art of throwing things - At noon today, seeing her throw mud from the pots in the balcony down, I lost it and yelled at her.
Me: Manya enough is enough. You will not throw anything down - the next time you throw something down, I'll throw you.
M (grinning): Don't say that Mommy.
Me: No, I am serious. If you throw something, I throw you.
M looks at me straight in the eye and with open defiance, throws a fistful of mud down.
Me (with fuming anger): That's it. I'll throw you down.
M (with mock fear): No mommy please don't throw me down.
Me (with real fury): Why did you throw the mud down?
M: Mud not saying don't throw me down.
Me (to myself): WTF.
Me (to Manya): Okay, but did the mud say please throw me down?
M: No.
Me: Well, then you shouldn't have thrown it down.
I thought to myself I had won this battle with reason and my victory applause had hardly subsided that M again threw some mud down.
Me (in a shade of raging red): Again, Why did you throw the mud AGAIN?
M: Mud said, Manya please throw me down.
Me (to myself): WTF WTF WTF - my hair will go grey before we get over this toddlerhood-bordering-on-preschooler phase.
Me (to Manya): You just earned yourself a timeout. Now.
M: No timeout - Manya is very dirty - Let's have a looong bath.
Me: a long pause.....
[If you are still wondering, yes, I am typing this as my daughter is busy enjoying her bath, while I have her towel ready for when her highness decides to step out - PHEW]

----------------------

Manya's spin on her jet lag: "Nani's house all day all night. Morning soo dark"
(She refuses to acknowledge the fact that it is she who is sleeping "all day" and up "all night"!!!)

Friday, February 6, 2015

First taste of friendship!

During our India trip, M struck a special friendship bond with our neighbor-and-very-good-friend's daughter - who is just two months younger than her -K. 
It was such a joy to see the girls squeal in delight as they would meet each other every day. Their fights over toys and such were fun as they sorted out their own mess, requiring not-so-often adult intervention. The kisses and I love you's and good nights exchanged at the end of the day were ever so endearing!

M remembers K often though I feel the memory will slowly fade - like happens with most friendships huh - lost in the sands of time as we grow apart. We adults, though supposedly more aware, also often let relationships slip as physical distances seep in - it is sad. Anyways, I am hoping that M and K will continue to re-ignite their bonds and meet with the same fervor every time they meet!

Cheers to sunny days and bright smiles!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

M at 27 months

I did miss posting updates at the 2 year mark - better late than never, huh?

We are quite comfortably settled in our Terrible Twos, and it is well, terrible, and ofcourse a lot of other things too!
  • I cannot not mention that M is a great talker - she copies what we say - most of the times she gives us back, quite literally, in the right context. Her vocabulary is growing at lightening speed - her sentences are well formed, grammatically complete (and often grammatically correct) - and you know most of it, if you read the latest posts - looks like her conversations are going to to overshadow most of our posts on this blog.
  • M has 16 teeth - a big achievement, considering she cut her first tooth somewhere after the 14th month. Four more to go for our cub.
  • M's taste in food - varieties, textures etc. keeps changing. She doesn't eat much, as has always been the case, but I must give her her due - she doesn't shy away from trying new stuff. At present, her favorites are peas-rice, fruit loops with milk, chickpeas, blueberries, bread-butter, and bananas - and apple juice! She has been offered junk but doesn't seem to care much for it - she once in a while does ask for chips, chocolates, MnMs and the likes, I don't resist and let her have - I have seen she barely has a few bites of anything - so long so good, eh?
  • She has finally taken a liking to her tricycle - she tries to pedal but is not able to complete one rotation of the pedal - I have not made any effort to teach her either - that has been parked for the summer (and for daddy, perhaps!). She plays catch with a ball, quite well. Loves hide-n-seek (though refuses to hide - she only want to "seek"). Loves the slides at the park (a big no to the swings). She has recently shown inclination for long walks while she's in the stroller - this after all these months and months of refusing to sit on it! Also, her highness likes the wind in her hair - she runs in the park with the cold breeze swirling her hair, and then she says, so delightfully, "Mommy, see how Manya is running with the wind."
  • M is into a lot of pretend-and-play. I must do a separate post on this. She cooks, cleans, is even a doctor! (I think she needs the right tools now ;)) She also pretends to be characters from her favorite cartoon shows and books. She has quite a huge collection of soft toys and loves playing with them too - she talks to them mostly as I do to her. M also sings a lot of nursery rhymes and introduces a twist every now and then - this too in another post.
  • While still on the playing topic, we are looking to upgrade her puzzles - she aces the simple wooden puzzles that require shapes, animals etc to be fit in - she does the shape sorter very well - except the heart shape - which "just does not go in", apparently! The stacking rings are also almost in order, and only yesterday she remarked, "I need more puzzles." :o:O
  • Play dough, crayons, sidewalk chalks are the top favorite activities right now - we did some paints too but very messy!
  • We have begun potty training with zero luck so far. She loves her Dora pot and stool but refuses to do anything at all. In her words, "it all gets stuck inside." Looks like this is going to be another summer project!
  • She continues to be tall for her age and much lower than average for her weight but I have finally stopped fretting - her pediatrician quite encouragingly tells me, "she looks thin, because everybody else is obese!" Oh well, if you put it that way...
  • Personality traits right now: mostly outgoing, yet selective when it comes to warming up (with children her age, she refuses to engage in any kind of talk or activity), loves talking, expresses well, quick to love, hug and kiss (I have a post coming up on that for sure), has a bad temper - I mean a really bad one - accompanied with a tantrum and lot of mean spoken stuff (I don't love mommy - I don't want to be with you, I don't want to behave properly - you get the picture!), adamant and stubborn - be it deciding what she wants for her meals or when she wants them, what she want to play, when she wants to nap, sleep, what she wants to watch/read, and so on - she clearly knows what she wants and often does not settle for alternatives easily.

God bless us.
(P.S. One thing that this motherhood has surely changed in me is that I tend to seek God a lot more than in those footloose days :p.)

Monday, February 2, 2015

The Great Indian Vacation round-up!

M's first visit to India was, as expected, very eventful. She thoroughly enjoyed the rather long stay at nana-nani's house - nani a clear favorite from the entire trip. She still tells me she wants to go back or that nana-nani should stay in Portland! 

We took almost a month to normalize sleeping and eating routines - Everybody had lot of fun at M's expense who complained about everything being "noise, hot, and sticky". She was on a self-imposed water diet for the longest time :). But once we were acclimatised, the true Indian in M came out - loving the noises - constant honking, ringing of the door bell, enjoying the cows and the dogs on the road (travelling without a car seat made road trips even more fun!), snacking on spicy stuff that had tears coming from her eyes but the mouth refusing to stop eating!

Her typical day routine included jumping and clinging on everybody - nana, nani, and mama as they struggled to get to work on time while trying their best not to upset an already whining, yet, very lovable puppy (M ofcourse ;)). Nana's daily puja and the conch blowing had her fascinated all through. Nani would get a joyous welcome everyday complete with hugs, kisses, and licks! (I am serious.) - the others came in after bedtime.
Weekends were a riot - mall hopping, endless shopping, eating out, some but of sightseeing, and lots of snuggles and cuddles with our adorable cub!

M met a whole new world of uncles, and aunts, and grandparents, and friends, and neighbors - and am so happy she got to meet so many people who matter to me. Lot of pampering but I am not complaining - she was thoroughly loved and the narcissist that she is, she enjoyed every bit of it. She had a taste of her first friendship - well, the closest a friendship can come to for a toddler - more about that in another post.

Thatha-dadi, Athai, uncle and the first cousins made M's Bangalore trip very memorable. She can still recite everyone's first names, and what each on of them did - for example, akka plays the hoop and has biscuit and choco - She mentions the latter everytime she has her evening milk! It was wonderful to see M instantly take to "akka" - as she went overboard with the kisses and the i love you's!

We came back with overloaded suitcases (what with all the stuff everybody insisted that had to get M - I got some too!), and slightly heavy hearts - and while we are thrilled to be back at home with daddy, et al. I can feel M misses the constant companionship of loved ones and the constant hustle and bustle around the house - so more work for me to keep her gainfully occupied!


(P.S. M as always kept us entertained with a string of one liners and funny phrases - trying to remember some of them and put together in another post!)

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Pursuit of HAPPYness

While I am still striving to do some pending posts, I cannot help but share how interesting conversations with M have become - she is all but 2 but quite the spitfire already. What certainly helps her cause is that she can now (quite delightfully) string words in to sentences which are complete and most often than not grammatically correct.

However, our initial joy is slowly being replaced by reaction that are more on the lines of seizures and cardiac arrests. Can you imagine I have already heard, "Mommy, I don't think I love you"!!! Can you beat that! She is TWO for god sake!

Here's something I shared on Facebook a couple of days back, and need to record it here for posterity.

I was in the kitchen when I saw Manya jumping on and off the couch. 
Me: Manya you will get hurt - how many times should I repeat myself - can you please behave properly!
After a minute or so she enters the kitchen.
Manya: Mommy, I want to talk to you.
Me: Yes, what is it?
Manya: "Mommy I just want to tell you that I don't want to listen to you and I don't want to behave properly - I want to be HAPPY."
And she marched back.
(And here I had been hoping I'd get to wait till atleast teenage to hear that from my daughter )



Monday, January 26, 2015

Our first international flight

Those of you who know of our first flight experience, would appreciate the fact that I was a bundle of nerves flying international - let me clarify - trans atlantic - Portland to Delhi - with two layovers and a two year old. That very well could be the definition of doom, hell or whatever.

I had prepared myself for the worst - I had two huge hand bags loaded with everything I could possible think of to keep M occupied. But most importantly, I was mentally prepared to face the worst - I had also grown ample thick skin for the co-travellers who wouldn't be sympathetic, and air hostesses who would hurry, and airports that would be child unfriendly.

So, this is the big lesson - brace yourself for a nightmare and whatever really happens will be better. In my case ,I was so pleasantly surprised - from this home to that, we were out and about for 30-36 hours and M must have fussed a cumulative of about 2-4 hours. It seemed a lot more then, but it wasn't much at hindsight. For the most part, she was such a cheerful trooper that a couple of times I could have cried at the brave face she put up - being dragged from one airplane to another, from one country to another, from one time zone to another, from one world to another. 

We did not meet any nasty people - everybody was very friendly, more than willing to accommodate us - the TSA guys willing to spend extra time with M convincing her that her monkey needs to go through security and she should let go, playing peek-a-boo with her while Mommy sorted out extra security thanks to all the extra liquids being carried; the random strangers at airports waving a friendly hi, helping with the stroller and luggage carts, picking up our bags from the baggage belt; our co-passengers who engaged M in play, even offered to make her paper planes and boats and get their hands messy with her play dough, flight staff that only had encouraging smiles - it is not such a bad world out there huh?

What ofcourse also helped us was - tonnes of finger food, juice boxes, crayons, markers, drawing books, sticker books, play dough, fav books, fav soft toy, bindi packets (the Indian influence ;), lotions and powder (to play with ofcourse), lots and lots of diapers and wipes (to kill time going to the washroom again and again to change and ofcourse wipes to "clean the airplane - don't ask for details ;)), and last but not way bit the least oodles of patience to answer all those questions - the same ones again and again - and to not lose it when she is losing it ;).

We did make it both ways and have our own backs to pat :D. Here are some memorable moments from he airplanes and the airports.

--------------
M was so impeccably behaved in the 30 min flight from Portland to Seattle that the two flight stewards on board came together to applaud her and presented her with an Alaska Airlines badge! She ofcourse didn't realize what the fuss was about but got really excited when I told her this is what the Captain wears!

-------------
Waiting to board a delayed flight from Seattle to Dubai, M walked upto the airlines counter at the gate and said I want to board airplane NOW. The guy was a little taken aback as to how to respond.

------------
In our longest flight ever - 14 hrs nonstop Dubai to Delhi - M lot her patience after the first 9 hours. She kept on pressing the Help button and after a while of my apologizing profusely each time, she very angrily tells one air hostess, "Manya wants to see the Captain - Why Delhi not coming!" Yes, I did hear a fit of laughter from all around.

-----------
When we finally landed at Delhi after what seemed like forever, M and I hi-fived as the plane was taxing, and M comments, "yay, Delhi has come - Now I want to do potty". She did it right there as the passenger waited to deplane ;)

-----------
On our Delhi to London flight, a guy was seating at the aisle seat and M tells him ever so rudely - "I don't want the man to sit here. Tell him to go away." I was so embarrassed - I told her you need a private jet then - and that opened a whole new can of questions :(.

-----------
In London, we actually boarded the flight after the doors had been shut - I was all huffing and puffing with the running around and it was decided to keep the stroller inside the aircraft rather than along with the valet baggage because there was no time and so as I handed it over to the air hostess, her highness remarks, "Please keep my stroller carefully." The cheek!

---------
All through our return journey, I heard the following from M atleast 2.35 million times;
"I want to ride on the airplane wings. I don't want to sit on the seat. 
Does Captain love Manya? I want to ride the plane with the Captain. 
I want to hug the lights on the airplane's wings."
I am not sure if I'd actually prefer general crying over such arbit statements!

--------
At Chicago customs we realized, a bag had been left behind at London - I was talking to a couple of people about it, while M was patiently observing everything. After sometime, she very cutely says, "Mommy don't worry, London will send the package, I will take care." She is such a cuddly bear sometimes! 

--------
Waiting for the last flight home at Chicago, M and I walked into Starbucks - So, I ordered a hot chocolate for myself and asked M what she would have - I offered practically everything - muffins, puffs, crisps, sandwiches, all the junk everything and she looks around as says, "Mommy, I will just have a banana" - Oh my god, the gasps I got from all the people around! I did buy her the overpriced banana and to her credit she had about half of it!

--------
Finally, when we landed at Portland - I hugged M so tight - she had been better than I would have ever expected - we were still in the plane then, and she looked around and said to the people in front - "I need to go fast, Daddy has been waiting for sooo long." 
That was such a befitting closing awwww moment!

God bless us!