Thursday, December 29, 2016

May the force be with us!

Manya has picked up a new obsession these days - Star Wars! Considering I am an illiterate at the subject, Google came to rescue when she was throwing terms and characters at us left right. (How did one parent before the Internet age, I have absolutely no clue.)

Well, we bought her a story book that would be more age appropriate. She picks up tons form the library too and is fascinated by the dark side really :). I have told her she needs to wait a couple of more years to start with the movies. The written word seems to satiate her till then! She is even considering becoming R2D2 - her favorite character form the series - for Halloween - but a lost changes in 10 months!

Sunday, December 4, 2016


We had to abandon Moana in the theater after the first 30 mins or even before because M was inconsolable. She was not scared of Maui or the waves but the helplessness of Moana. In Manya's words, "This is so sad. Why are we watching sad stuff?". Awww....

Saturday, December 3, 2016

In house vet

Manya has beens saying consistently for more than just a couple of months now that she wants to become a veterinarian when she grows up. She wants the entire Doc Mcstuffin kit for Christmas. And according to her she is practicing everyday to become a good vet. All her soft toys at this point have bandages, have been operated on multiple times and she has even helped her toy dog deliver puppies.
On a serious note, I really think she'll make a great vet. She absolutely loves all members of the animal kingdom - including reptiles, bugs and what not.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Happy Fourth Birthday, my love!

Oh my heart,
You are four - you are also going on 16, from the likes of it :). I am really not kidding. There are one too many moments when you say or do something that is so mature in a nice way, and then something that's totally brash and impudent in a teenage kind of way. Though, to be fair, for the most part, you are a very pleasant, well behaved darling and an absolute delight to be with. Your infrequent but stormy tantrums are usually reserved for mommy dearest - and I think we both understand and have learnt to navigate around the tough love that flows between us.

Your growing independence - not just in choosing your PJs and hair do's and accessories, but also in your thoughts fills us with seamless pride and a seemingly nagging insecurity at the same time. You are compassionate, sensitive, loving, intelligent but you are also too trusting, naive in the ways of the world and emotional - you wear your heart on your sleeve - I feel like constructing a barbed wire fence around you to keep away all the hurt that growing up brings. I like to believe I am that practical level headed mom who'll give you a hand when you fall, but I really wish I was the mom that would just prevent any and every fall. The fact that that is not possible aches my heart ever so often. I am very confident that you will grow stronger and tougher and better with every rough moment in life but as a parent my heart will break every time. 

On your fourth birthday, I wish that the spunk and zest for life that you have now, the empathy you show on your own accord, the absolute love that we share and the kindness in your heart - remains untainted as the years go by. We can never express how much we love you!

The fourth year update!

Oh my god, she is 4, and then some more...

- She continues to have an above average vocabulary - one of the first things most people notice about her. She is mostly very pleasant and cheerful (fingers crossed - we are trying to remain positive here.) M has started stringing sounds together to try to read. I plan to sit with her everyday to encourage this. She is not much interested in writing - and nor do I or at school is she pushed towards it. The later the better, in my opinion. She has started coloring within line on her own and makes well composed drawings and paintings.

- She seems to be doing well in school. Being an only child, we often worried about her getting along at school - with kids - but looks like she is doing great. We hear from her teachers that she communicates well, shares and is quick to make friends. We were much relieved with that assessment.

- Manya continues to move up in her Martial Arts and Swimming levels at a rather steady pace - she is not really the most physically coordinated kid but that has not been my goal. She enjoys these activities and they are helping her enhance her motor skills and general body coordination so that is enough for us. I am hoping she continues these.

- She wants to be a veterinarian - needless to say that comes from her love for animals. Her softies are all subject to surgeries, c-sections and what not. She seems really serious. She is also 4, so well!

- We are eating okay - she balances her meals out but has found great love for mac and cheese, gulab jamuns, oreos and marshmallows!

- She finally has all 20 of her baby teeth and takes good care of them - brushing, flossing and rinsing is the routine - on most days without a fuss!

- Emerging personality traits - she is strong headed - while she tries to put her point across well, she is capaple of losing her temper quick - now a days I feel she tries to control her responses and try to sweeten them - I am so glad for that!

I feel it is becoming easier to talk to her, explain to her - her understanding capability is great and that helps us navigate when we are at loggerheads. Phew, hope that lasts...

Monday, October 31, 2016

It's fall again!

All seasons with a preschooler is like rediscovering the joys and beauty of nature.

We started fall with some apple picking...

Made the customary trip to the pumpkin patch...

Went overboard with our Halloween obsession (Bewitched this year, as Manya chose to dress up as a Witch for Trick o Treating...Phew...Until next year!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Withdrawing privileges!

Daddy: Manya I see you have been having lot of tantrums lately. I want you to stop fussing right now or I will have to withdraw your screen privileges.

Manya: Okay, then I am going to withdraw your hugging and kissing privileges.

Speechless daddy: 01 | Sassy daughter: 02

Friday, October 7, 2016

Big words and Bigger concepts

A month of preschool and I have a blog post for sure to write on all the gyan M has been bringing back home. But that later.
So we are learning big words at school and even bigger concepts - which is great because I don't care for the traditional worksheet /,"academic" based set ups - but everything has a flip side.
This chit of a soon-to-be-4-but-going-on-18 kid tells me everyday how I need to "SYNERGIZE" better with her because everything can be done with team work - cooking, cleaning, groceries, laundry - we need to work together.
The other word which I hear about 62 times in a day is "PROACTIVE" - that I am not being proactive or I need to be more proactive - because her favorite pjs were not washed, or her favorite food was not available as car snack or any such high priority item. 🙄🙄🙄
(P.s. I spent the better half of my teenage listening to my dad about how I need to be proactive and not reactive - it's the same all over again. This is not fair. 😳😳😳)

(P.s. Her preschool is based on the leader in me principles - the 7 habits of happy children - I like it - for the most part 😳🙄😀)

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Swim update!

We started swim lessons this spring, and have been going strong at it. Summer onwards, M has been going twice a week for 30 min classes and this works much better than one class a week schedule we were on.

She crossed Level 1, which is basically introduction to water skills such as kicking, bobbing and floating. Level 2 makes her feel all grown up and she is pumped up for every class.

One interesting observation that I have made is that while she absolutely loves being in the water (has always been), she is very cautious - she will hang on to the side when it's not her turn - unlike other children who will try to escape or play around. She likes getting into the pool only when her teacher is specifically focusing on her - she will not jump in - she gently holds her instructor's hands and steps into the pool. It is hilarious! Her teacher tells her to trust the water but she retorts with, "I trust the teacher. I trust myself. But I don't trust the water.". She can be cute sometimes.

I feel hat this could be because she is not exposed to swimming outside of these classes - Since Vish and I both don't swim, I feel she is not as confident as other kids around water. Or maybe that's the way she is - Either way, I am just happy she is voluntarily learning a life skill. The Olympics can wait :D :P.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

First day of Preschool!

So we finally started preschool today. Many people think I waited too long but I think the time was just right. I was confident about letting go...and Manya was confident about letting go too (To be honest she has been school ready for a while but I always like to be double sure.)

The day went by exactly as I had planned down to the minute - Yes, I am a paranoid Type A mostly. Everybody was cheerful and all set - prepped enough, M knew what would be expected of her. She gave a very characteristic and matter of factly, "bye mom, I am going to be very busy now" practical farewell and was off.

We chose her school very carefully - not too long - just under 3 hours so that she has the time and energy for other activities. It is 5 days a week - thank god - not only because it gives me time off - but also because it is much easier to set a routine, It is one of the first Leadership based schools - established on the Leader in Me principles. I was sold when the Owner/Director of the school told me that they are not in the business of making great kindergartners or first graders but thinking, feeling individuals. So no worksheets, homework - very play and experience based. The focus is on practical learning rather than rote memorizing arbit letters, numbers or concepts. We are really hoping the school follows what it stands for in theory and I am sure then M will really blossom in the two years we plan she spends here.  

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Stranger Danger

Manya has been learning about stranger danger for a couple of weeks now at her martial arts class. Prior to this, during our trip earlier this year to India for my brother's wedding, Vish and I had been talking to her about being aware of strangers and especially in public places sticking to only mommy or daddy etc etc.

It is very difficult to explain the concept of stranger danger to a three year old - you have to keep that delicate balance between keeping their faith in humanity and all the goodness there is in the world and at the same time cautioning them to the ills without going into details. A curious and communicative child like Manya just adds to the complexity.

Also, sadly it says something about the world we live in if we cannot let our children trust our fellow home sapiens without any fear.

Here are some conversations we have been having...

"Mommy how does a bad stranger look?"

"Why would anyone want to hurt me?"

"Would a stranger try to hurt me even if I am friendly and nice to him or her?"

We are currently at this understanding: Most strangers are good. However, there are a few bad ones out there who can hurt you, so it is good to be cautious around all strangers because by looking at someone you can't really say whether they are good or bad. It is okay to exchange common courtesy or pleasantry with strangers but no other conversation without a parent or a safe grown up (teacher, family, friend). There are certain "safe" strangers who can help especially if parents are known safe grown-up is not around - police, firefighters, paramedics, doctors.

Phew, things were much simpler when we were growing up!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Of love and marriage...

Parenting note: Nobody makes more interesting conversations than a preschooler!!
Out of the blue, at breakfast...
M: Mommy I have decided I will marry you and daddy.
Me (hardly surprised - the things she says these days have lowered the shock factor): Why do you want to marry us?
M: Because I love you guys so much / you are my true love. And I want to stay with you forever!
Me: Manya children don't have to marry their parents - you can stay with us always.
M: But you left nana and Nani when you got married - I don't want to leave you so I'll just get married to you guys!
Me: (she gets mean and sarcastic even in a compliment, no?) Are you sure?
M: yes, really! Let's all three of us get married!
Me: Alright!
P.S. Somebody take out the stamp paper - I want her signatures on it and maybe a wooden sign with her words engraved to hang in her room during teenage!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Beachy Summers

Without an iota of doubt, we are convinced we have a water baby! M can spend all day at the beach or any water body for that matter and not get bored at all. I love the sand and water too so together all three of us have been exploring the Pacific Northwest Wonder, aka, Oregon. We have kept a close radius to Portland and yet have not been disappointed. The Oregon coast is undoubtedly beautiful but so are the innumerable rivers, streams, lakes and waterfalls in and around Portland. Our third summer here and most weekends all that we do is hunt for a new water hole and set out! We are really falling hard for Portland and here are some snapshots to convince you too...

To Manya,

"When you do dance, I wish you
A wave o' th' sea, that you might ever do
Nothing but that."


Friday, July 29, 2016


So we are playing one of the trillion pretend and play games that Manya invents everyday, and here goes...
M: mommy let's play the baby sitter game.
Me: (very uninterested): okay, how does it go?
M: my babies (pointing to her dolls) are all alone at home when I go to work, so you'll be the baby sitter.
Me: (stretching out for my phone, to get into character 😜) okay! So where do you work?
M: in Oregon
Me: no, I meant who do you work for?
M: I work for money!
Me: no no, I mean like a company or something
M: I don't work for anyone - I only work for money.
Me: why do you need so much money?
M: to buy important things for my husband
I am still in splits!!!

Monday, July 25, 2016

A beautiful doll like me...

There might be some sort of a correlation between daughters and dolls, or not. But, Manya and mommy both love dolls :D.
In our case, Manya was gifted her first dolls by friends, and it was only on her second birthday did we as parents present her with a doll as she had been asking for a while. Subsequently, on her third birthday, she again wanted a doll, which in her words. "should be as beautiful as me..." (As an aside, I never denied we are not raising a narcissist :P)

My daughter is close to 4 now, and the struggle that I continue to face in my quest to search for a doll as beautiful as her is crazy - yes, that has to be the word. We are about 1.2 billion Indians (I agree with not all same characteristics), but how difficult is it for a toy manufacturer to make a doll with brown skin, black hair and black eyes that is not size zero. We are a nation that has produced Miss Universes and Miss Worlds more times than I can remember (never mind, my personal opinion against most beauty pageants) yet when it comes to our dolls (or maybe even most of our so called beauty models), we whitewash them - pale fair skin, blonde golden hair, blue eyes, rosy cheeks, and pink lips - why are those still our standards of beauty worldwide? It broke my heart when M stated matter of factly the other day when we couldn't spot a single suitable doll across 3 stores, "I think only golden haired dolls are pretty" (why else she couldn't understand weren't there other kinds of dolls), and it did become my mission to find dolls that were pretty and not blonde.

We currently reside in the US - In the last couple of years I am increasingly aware of the growing number of black (and I don't see why black is politically incorrect - African-American seems more factually incorrect!) dolls on the shelves beside their white counterparts - which is awesome! But brown dolls - no luck. Dora comes close but if you are a parent of a preschooler, you know she is not made to really cuddle with. So the other day, I was having a conversation with some mommy friends, and they realized that it was true that even if brown girls were fairly common in the US, brown dolls were not. I have still not taken this omission from the market too much to heart - it is the US, there are so many different people out here and so be it if certain nationalities are not represented really - (not everybody is competing with the emojis, I understand *rolls eyes*) - Also the greater problem might be state representatives rather than doll representative, just saying.

These are Manya's first dolls as presents from friends...

The great Indian vacation was surely going to be our answer - or so I thought. I was very sure that back home in India we would get the dolls like "us" - but if you think finding a brown doll in the US was difficult, it is impossible in India. Infact, when you go to a store and ask for a brown doll, people look at you as if they don't understand what you are talking about. Friends suggested the Trudi brand (Italian), and when I checked their catalogue I was thrilled to see so many kinds of dolls - brunettes and black haired, and different eye colors - well somebody is doing it right (so what if it costs an arm and a leg, and only if you can get your hands on the limited stock). So, I went around looking for their black haired doll - ready to shell out any amount but with little success. I was, however, able to get my hands on Ginger (from Trudi) and she was different - not white, a little speckled even, not a blonde and green instead of blue eyes - one takes what one gets and we bought it for about INR3500 or about USD 60.00. Expensive for a doll, but not bad considering the options we had.
Here's Ginger...

Quite disappointed when we returned after our Indian vacation, I commenced serious research and realized that there were options out there, though not readily available in physical stores. American Girl clearly tops the list. Spendy again. I mean USD100+ is atrocious - you pay a price for egalitarianism, I guess - or is that the price for being "different"? Anyhow, they have really upped their game. (Tip: check out Zulily for deals! :D)  Here's the bitty baby that Manya got on her 3rd birthday and she was absolutely delighted. I really think it looks like her baby version :).
Madame Alexander, long considered the inferior cousin to American Girl, does comes a close second - I see greater choices added every now and then - less expensive too but again not available in physical stores easily.

Manya wants a cuddly soft toy doll this time, and these kinds are much easier to find but again you have to ignore the oneness of the color. Kayla (she is supposed to be a tall 28" brunette) is waiting for M in the store room since mommy grabbed her already at a great deal.

As we aspire to bring up our children to be confident in their own skin (quite literally too); to be respectful towards the diversity that comes with origin, race, culture, religion, country, sect, gender, sexual preferences; to be able to put values of love, help, and general goodness above any such differences, we as parents would really appreciate help that can come from big corporates who manufacture toys for these young clay-like minds. In an ideal world, my daughter should be able to go to a store and see all kinds of dolls (at a varying price range), just as she walks into her preschool class and befriends so many "different" girls!  Diversity is great - ofcourse it fuels curiosity - my daughter has been asking why some girls have golden hair and blue eyes, and if only those can be princesses (Thank you, Disney! - but that would be fodder for another post). But such questions are important - whitewashing the whole toys section just seems unhealthy in a world that's already coping with issues of acceptance of the "other". Don't you think? 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Sattar (70) minutes!

So M has been going for classes thrice a week now - for 2-2.75 hrs. Between driving to and fro, I roughly get about a little more than an hour or so, absolutely guilt-free, to myself, and oh my god - any parent will have to agree with me - each minute of that ticking hour is so precious! Most of the time I am just giddy with excitement - should I go shop, should I cook and clean (F it!), should I exercise, should I read, should I watch, should I surf, should I blog, should I nap!! 

Am no SRK fan but I am reminded of this scene from Chak De every time! ...It's like, "...yeh sattar minute main jee bhar ke jee loon; Sattar minute zindagi ke jo mujhse koi nahin cheen sakta...khuda bhi waapas nahin maang sakta" ha ha ha!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Busy days ahead!

One person in our house who now needs her own calendar so that everybody else can kepp up with her schedule is Ms. Manya Vishwanath.

She hasn't started preschool yet but her current rough schedule goes like this: 2 days a week summer camp, 2 days a week martial arts, 2 days a week swimming, one day a week school skills class. Add to that Library visits and story times, weekend impromptu trips, our little one is surely busy.

And she is clearly not exhausted enough as she still finds time to get bored!! The other day her highness mentions that she would like to start ballet and soccer classes - I had to be rude and cut her off with a No, Thank You - Mommy is exhausted with all the chaperoning!!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Board games!

We have finally introduced Manya to the wonderful world of board games. She got two to start with - Candyland Bingo and Hi Ho Cherry Ho - very age appropriate multi player games!

I remember doing a post on my personal blog a very long time back about the fun I have had growing up with board games - you can read it here.

It has been very exciting playing these with Manya as part of family time and thankfully she has been as enthusiastic. The other stuff that's keeping her really busy these days is puzzles. She can do upto 16 pieces now and is working on the 24-piece sets. That's one thing she can work on for a long time without having to be entertained by someone and I have been able to do my cooking and cleaning in greater peace thanks to that!

Friday, June 17, 2016

First movie in a theater!

While I would have wanted to wait a couple of more years before this first came along, but Manya clearly had other plans.

I spoke about her first movie ever (at home) - Finding Nemo, here. As luck would have it, she spotted Finding Dory marketing stuff all over the place - in clothing stores, grocery stores, book stores, and obviously wanted to know everything about it. And just like that, she decided she needed to watch the movie and if it cannot come on the computer or the TV, then she'd go to the theater.

And being the submissive pampering understanding parents that we are, we decided to go for it! So, ladies and gentlemen, it was Finding Dory in 3D with popcorn on the side and boy, did she enjoy it - she was already familiar with the characters and could relate to the story very well. So a great expereience and no, at this stage we don't want to really make this routine though she already told us, "It was a great idea bringing me ot the theater, we should do this more often!" Bleh!

Saturday, June 4, 2016


Our little MMA champ participated in the Kick-a-Thon organized by her martial arts academy. I mentioned hear how she and I both are thrilled with our decision!

She won in the 3 year old category with a record of 418 kicks in 30 mins! Poor baby was so exhausted _ she did not come down from my lap for quite some time after that - but have to give it to her to do the kicks properly even when when we were encouraging her to take it easy - she did not compromise on the quality of the kicks, so kudos to that too!!

Friday, June 3, 2016

A fruity spring/summer!

We have found great joy in fruit picking this season - strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, tayberries!

It was fun to have the mild sun on us as we picked the juiciest of them all, tasting them straight from the plant every now and then. This is a definite must do on our list every year!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Of death and mortality...

There's only so much you can keep a child's vocabulary limited to all things bright and sunny. With more stories being told, videos being watched, conversations at camps and classes, our daughter has picked up a whole set of new words that always bring in awkwardity and discomfort - death, kill, dead etc. 

Interestingly, she has not directly asked me the meaning of these words - and I have let her go explore her own meanings and plan to wait for her to come to me rather than offer my explanations voluntarily. During some fighting game she loves playing (read jumping on the bed on me at nap time) - she said, "Mommy I am going to kill you and then you pretend die, okay?"

I was like okay but "What do you mean by die?". So she goes, "Don't move - you are going to be trapped and you can't move or breathe." I just played on. 

However, the other she took me by complete shock, when very casually as I was helping her put on her shoes to go out for her swimming class, she asked me, "Mommy dying also means going to sleep forever,, right? I am scared what if you and daddy die? Who will take care of me? Who will take me for classes? Who will love me?"

I was absolutely shaken and couldn't reply for a minute or so. Finally, I told her, "Don't worry - nothing's going to happen to mommy and daddy - we are going to be with you forever."

That has to be the biggest lie I have or ever will tell my child but still I decided that a 3 year old need not worry about the tryst with mortality at such a young age. God willing, I hope I'll get a chance to revisit that question with a more mature Manya.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

M goes to the planetarium!

All of last year, Manya used to say she wants to grow up to be an astronaut (she want to be a Vet now) and consequently she has learnt quite a bit about planets, and stars and moons. We thought she was ready for her first trip to the Planetarium and we were correct! 

She was awestruck the entire time, and listened so carefully and watched with such amazement that it was absolutely worth it to go into the chaos of downtown braving a rainy day and crowded streets!

Friday, May 13, 2016


One of those moments that need to be captured as is...

We are standing at a slightly secluded spot - there are the woods, a small pond and lots of birds chirping around. Manya says: "mommy I love how I can hear silence here"
Me: how can you hear silence - you just mean the noise the birds are making
Manya: you don't understand - you need to concentrate and then listen.
Me: Manya I hear nothing
Manya: that is right, you hear silence.
Either I have driven her crazy or she's driving me crazy! 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Rules of Engagement: Toddlers

Our little cub is not so little anymore - from a new born, to an infant, to a baby, to a toddler - she has crossed through quite a few stages; and as we prepare to say adieu to toddlerhood and hello to the preschooler, I thought I'd put in my learning in a post to share - with parents who are going thru or will be going thru this stage soon, so that they know it never gets easy - with parents who have already crossed this stage, so that they can sit back, laugh, and thank god they are done with - with friends who are not yet parents, so that they know exactly what all to consider before taking the giant leap! :P.

And I am happy that I haven't broken the tradition of a post around Mother's Day - fourth year in a row! Thank you and a very happy mother's day to you too (whatever that means, because I haven't seen a non-Mother's Day in the last 4 years :D)

Alright, ladies and gentlemen, based on limited experience and research, presenting to you Rules of Engagement for Toddlers (Age range: About 1 - 3 years) - written from their perspective (ofcourse)...

I Rule of Ownership
Everything is mine - my stuff, your stuff, the neighbor's stuff, the friend's stuff, the play gym's stuff. If it is in somebody else's hand, it is definitely mine. If I can't have it, oh yeah, it sure is mine. If it is dangerous, I was born to own it. If it is broken, lying within reach, or nobody's showing interest in it, I might consider for one fleeting moment, that it may not belong to me. This poem makes a fun read on the subject.

II Rule of Time aka Rule of "NOW"
There was no past, there is no future - no yesterday, today, or tomorrow. I live in the present moment - NOW. I want candy now.  Want to go to the park now. Play now. Eat now. Cry now. Kiss now. Jump now. There's only one small exception to the rule - I never ever want to sleep now.

III Rule of Appetite
I am never hungry except when - you are using the restroom, on the phone, working, cleaning up, in the grocery store 5 mins post evening snack, at an outing where food cannot be made immediately available, when guests are home, and most importantly at nap time and bed time.

IV Rule of Night time Sleep
Fed, cleaned, brushed, changed, bed time story done, song done, all snuggled up in bed, I need to talk. I feel hungry. I definitely need to use the potty. I need a drink. As that sweet kissing mommy changes to a monster yelling at me, I quickly fall asleep so that she spends the rest of the night in guilt of shouting at me as the last thing of the day.

V Rule of Napping
Refer to Rule IV on Sleep above. In addition to that, there's a strong possibility I'll skip napping altogether and then I'll fall asleep in the car, driving to the groceries, so that mommy is caught in the eternal struggle to wake a sleepy baby or spend time browsing on her phone in the parking lot. (My mommy is getting smarter - she has a book ready on her tablet for such occasions.)

VI Rule of New Clothes
If you have dressed me in new clothes, I am surely going to soil it, spill food on it and generally make it unwearable before we have even gotten out of the door.

VII Rule of Vocabulary Building
I will pick up only those words and expressions that you don't want me to. You can never be too careful. And I will keep repeating them for everybody, till every single person knows how bad your language is. Don't even try spelling it for my sake - people find it cuter when a curse word is spelt out correctly by humans of my age.

VIII Rule of Arms against Common Enemy
Nobody is on your side - not me, not your friend, not your own mom and dad. I act extra sweet and cute when with extended family and friends, because I get sympathy, empathy, and such support that I almost begin to feel sorry for your state. Life is unfair, you often tell me. Haa!

IX Rule of Potty
Resist potty training as much as I can - as if my life would cease to exist if I were made to sit on the pot. And when finally potty trained, I sit on it all day singing, playing with toilet paper and creating a mess - potty is my favorite place to be. Also, it is of utmost importance to use the potty when mommy sits down to eat, when she is cooking, when there are guests, when in a new place and never mind there's no nature call - I just fake it. Also, I talk about potty all day - it has become the center of my being.

X Rule of Persistence
If I am told a NO, keep asking, whining, crying, in the hope that one day that NO will change into a Yes. And if that is not achieved, I atleast get the distinct satisfaction of my mom pull out her hair in desperation.

XI Rule of Unpredictability
I hate when adults are so sure about my like and dislikes. Hello! Till you get it signed on a stamp paper, don't hold me to what you think my favorites are. That includes what you think are my favorite foods, clothes, games, activities, people etc. I like to experiment and not be so predictable!

XII Rule of Argumentation
I first want to know WHO and WHAT. Who is that? What is that? Everything - everything all over a million times. Then I want to know the WHY - an infinite loop of Whys. You don't think you can keep up? Why?

XIII Rule of Positive Action
Ending the list of rules on an ominous number, I just do it. If it looks dangerous, if I know they are not going to let me do it, if I think it might cause panic and alarm, I will definitely take the plunge.

Finally, one overarching Golden Rule: While following all the above rules, I don't forget the hugs and kisses and cuddles and snuggles and the innocent puppy faced glances. These adults are suckers for such. Just as I know the dam of patience is going to break, I say or do something incredibly sweet and that gets me the get out of jail card for free!

Friday, April 29, 2016


Lately, Manya has been going on and on about how she does not want to be a human being anymore - apparently she wants to be anything but a human. Here are some quotable quotes from her highness on the subject...

"Being a human is so boring. I wish was some kind of an animal or a bird or even a bug - anything but a human being."

"There's nothing that human beings can do - they cannot fly, they cannot lay eggs, they cannot wriggle on the ground."

"Maybe, I'll grow up to be a bird. I'll fly high in the sky, build a nest, lay my eggs, and protect my chicks from human beings."

"I wish I was a cheetah or a tiger. I know I am ot a human being. I am a cheetah cub and I will grow up to be a real cheetah!"

And ofcourse, it is always the mother's fault...

"Why did you give birth to me as a human being - couldn't you give birth to me as a bird or a bug or an animal instead?" 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Our Morning Alarm Setlist

I got up this morning to be told by FB how I had shared the following status 2 years ago on this very day...

My mornings have been cruel (and very early) ever since M was born. In the initial months she'd wake us with a cry, later with a shout, then with a kick. Once she started talking a little, it was "aap" (up)...For the last few weeks she had been saying, "git aaahp" (get up). But today was really the heights. Her highness gets up, sits on my tummy and says, loud and clear, "Wake up, Lazy!!!"

Well, I had to update with our current status...
...I had to share this - she is still my morning alarm and while I don't get the wake up lazy too often, I do get a full blown sermon that usually goes like this, 
"mommy wake up wake up - can't you see it is morning - there is light now- we need to get up- everybody wakes up early. I need to pee, I need to drink milk - I am so hungry. I need to go to the park - can I also watch Octonauts today? Will we go to the beach today or the zoo? I really need a dog pet. I want to learn to fly. Did you know sharks can also be friends? Can I have a tiger or cheetah pet? Mommy if you don't get up I think I will pee in the bed!!"
All this and more in the first 2 mins of my day. 😳

Monday, April 11, 2016


Me: Manya what will you have for breakfast today.
M: something organic
Me: great choice, exactly what organic. 🙄
M: maybe, organic egg.
Me: awesome, and what should I make from the organic egg 🙄🙄
M: organic omelette
Me: okay, what fruit do you want after that?
M: organic fruit
Me: 🙄🙄🙄 and what organic fruit would that be
M: Banana
Me: great
M: how do you know this is organic
Me: because it says on the label
M: who put the label?
Me: the authorities that claim it is organic
M: hmm, what is organic anyway?
Me: if you don't know what organic is, why did you ask for it
M: because I like organic
Me: ha - you are exactly like most organic consuming adults I know 😛😛😛
(P.s we are still talking about what is organic and what is not - this is opening up a whole can of worms and more!)

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Swim lessons, finally!

We finally started Manya on her swim lessons. She has been asking for forever now and well we are there now.

Today was her first lesson and no surprises that she thoroughly enjoyed her class. She loves water so we really had no problems about introducing her to the class as such. We are on only for once a week classes and might up that in the near future. All the excitement and physical activity had worn our little tiger down quite a bit - she was hungry and sleepy almost immediately after (both very rare occurrences :))

Another first this year!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Martial Arts

While all activities that Manya is engaged in currently - art, swimming, dropoff school skills class - have been mostly driven by M herself, this is one thing that I consciously steered her towards - Martial Arts. I spoke to her about it and told her what she could expect and if she would be interested - she gladly said yes - anything to get out of the house for, I guess. She has watched KungFu panda and hopes to learn kung-fu soon. But oh well...

I firmly believe that children when involved in any kind of martial arts from an early age develop a positive body image - they learn to control and respect their body and become conscious of their own physical and mental strengths, a sense of discipline, respect for self and others and basic right and wrong. Actual self defense comes later. These are skills or values that a sport or a dance class would also inculcate - I was not very keen on pursuing these though because I feel she is too young to choose a specific sport and as for dance umm it requires some kind of innate skill- whereas martial arts is all acquired - i think that reinforces a greater sense of confidence in one's own ability and effort.

Sometime earlier this year, I finally found a school that completely aligns itself to my perspective. We had our first class today and I was absolutely thrilled - One, Manya loved the class and wants to continue. (I even asked her f she'd want to do a dancing class instead to which she very matter-of-factly replied - "I already know how to dance :P :D.").
Two, the class was structured exactly how I would have wanted - there's a lot of focus on physical posture, respectful behavior, and real life scenarios that require physical, mental and emotional processing. 

I really hope M decides to pursue this long term - it does help that we got a brand new uniform and the white belt!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

First drop-off class!

The control and plan freak that I am, this is how we have charted out Manya's initiation to one of the most widely believed in institutions - formal learning or school - So her highness starts formal preschool - 5 days a week, 2hrs 40 mins a day starting September. So that she is comfortable with the school environment, she'll be going for a summer camp in July-August, two days a week, 2.5 hrs a day. And to get used to staying without mommy, we have started her on something called a School Skills class (once a week - for two hours), which is just play, music and some project work at Gymboree, where she already goes for a mommy and me art class.  

Many people think I am crazy to micromanage the transition from being full time at home with mommy to being at a preschool, and I agree but then that's how I am :D. :p.

Anyways, so March 9th was Madame's first drop off class. If you have read my earlier posts, you'll know M has been showing signs of school readiness for a while now - we are potty trained, communicate well, and most importantly are damn bored sitting at home. She was well briefed by me as to what was going to happen and she was quite non-chalant about all of it. She just asked me the previous day that what if she really starts missing me and needs me, - I told her well if there's a problem your teacher will be able to resolve, else she has my number and if you "realllyyyy" need me, she can always give me a call. She also asked me if the teacher would give hugs and I told her if she wanted, she could initiate it herself. And that was about it.

I dropped her off and she said bye and turned around and did not look back even once - my mind tells me that I should be happy about it, but oh heart! To calm my nerved down, I sat in a coffee shop right across the street and once it was fairly clear I was not going to be called anytime soon, I ventured to a nearby mall.

I got a nice hug and a delightful squeal when I was there to pick her up - She showed me some projects and on the way home when I asked her what happened at school, she goes, "I told Teacher Jerda, I want to do susu, I forgot to say pee, but she understood. She had to help me get on to the pot but I pulled up my panties and pants on my own!" Oh and how I went awwww.
The other big happening was snack time apparently. After a couple of hours, she told e there was a boy who knocked down her tower and did not apologise but she didnt fight with him. We ofcourse have no corroboration for the story. And I believe another boy told her "he didn't want to be talked to" LOL.

So we are good and our little girl is all set to fly :).  

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Her first big fat Indian wedding...

We were in India in Jan-Feb to attend the wedding of my brother. Manya was upbeat about it ever since the conversations around the event had started. Her classic "mama ki shaadi hai" had been doing the rounds since months.

Like a true blue Indian she participated in the various celebrations with full gusto - shopped for all the finery, danced at the music evening, was a sport in the long drive for the baraat, and back.

Here is what she has picked up from her first big fat Indian weddings:
  • If you are getting married, you start staying together and don't go back to your own home for sleeping in the night.
  • A lot of pujas and functions happen, but you are truly married only when you "dance around the fire."
  • A chunni or a dupatta is a must have for any event. Or atleast lace, lot of bling, and frills and all that.
  • And bangles nobody goes to a shaadi without bangles.
  • Only married people have children (and I did not tell her that -she speaks from her personal observation)
  • Loud music and crazy dancing are important rituals at the wedding.
  • Daddy married mommy, nana married nani and so on and so forth and she missed all the weddings and that is so unfair.
  • Wedding means lot of strangers "poking my face" and asking me come to their laps even when I don't want to.
  • Whenever life seems boring, ask any random person to get married so that "everybody can have fun!!"
What have your learnings from an Indian wedding been?

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Heart vs. Brain

This gem of a conversation is from a jetlagged night in India...

M: My heart is feeling so upset because a mosquito bit me.
Me: Awww beta don't feel so upset, it will be okay very soon.
M: My heart is feeling hungry.
Me (amused): Hungry for what?
M (in a matter of fact tone): For food!
Me: I thought only tummy feels hungry for food.
M: No, sometimes my heart feels hungry too. I eat for my heart.
Me (philosophically): Actually, sometimes I eat for my heart too.
M (in a teasing tone): Your heart is greedy!
Me: Very funny. Manya did you know actually the heart , the tummy feel nothing - it's the brain that really feels...
M (in mild annoyance): No, that's not true. My brain is placed too high to feel anything.
Me (trying to control my laughter): You maybe right, you know.
M (very annoyed): What are you laughing at? Can I get some raisins for my heart.
Me: Ofcourse!
(To myself: and you don't need nuts because they are placed high up there in the brain.)

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Merry Christmas!

Christmas was indeed very merry - A daddy with minimal work load at office and an overenthusiastic mommy made sure the year ended with a lot of fun.

The house was lit up, the Christmas tree was set in the living space for the first time ever, a mail was posted to Santa with a tiny wishlist, mommy soaked fruits and nuts in rum and wine for the cake, we even took a train ride to visit Santa, we woke up on the d day to wrapped presents and stuffed stockings, more festivities awaited at the party hosted by friends. All in all, one of the most joyous year ends and beginnings ever!