Tuesday, November 7, 2017

High Five!

Good lord, she is five.

  • She talks non stop - a vocabulary that is far above her age range - she can still manage to surprise us with her words.
  • She reads well above her peer level too. She loves books and has a varied range of interest.
  • Still not very fond of writing - she prefers writing words and sentences rather than focussing on forming the individual letters. She insists that "not writing is alright mom, I will handle it"
  • Doesn't care much for numbers but can write 1-100 and use manipulatives to add and subtract. 
  • Loves drawing, cutting, gluing, coloring, painting, play dough and all kinds of messy projects!
  • She has started saying she is getting bored of martial arts and so we might be ending that soon. I am not too happy but there's no point forcing it so...
  • Swimming is something that continues to delight her - she absolutely loves the water and her swim coach!
  • She is showing a lot of interest in music, instruments and dancing - wants to start learning ballad - we might just give that a try!
  • She absolutely loves school. Has made a lot of friends and looks forward to it every single day.
  • Lot of junk has found its way in her diet - we try to keep a check and I really hope we do better.
  • In the princess and all things pink and glittery stage - Mommy gets annoyed with it but nobody dare argue with the "my life, my choice" stance!
  • very strong willed - with distinct defiant streak -but absolutely adorable still :p

Monday, November 6, 2017

Oh the places you'll go!

Dearest Manya,

Happy 5th Birthday. High five. Really. You are five. I'll never grow tired but I'll definitely grow old exclaiming how time flies! And you are definitely growing sassier by the day.

You got a birthday card from one of your best friends that said why be a queen when you can be a goddess. Oh my god! That totally describes your attitude these days! Strong willed, you almost always know what you really want. While the defiant streak does put mommy and daddy on the simmering pot every now and then, you also possess the uncanny knack to diffuse a situation. And ofcourse that you are adorably cute does help your case!

Your biggest strength is your very plesant personality - you respect others' feelings, are mindful of your words and sensitive to your environment. I pray to god that that never ever changes. This is going to be your biggest asset always.

We are so blessed to have you in our lives - you fill it with infinite craziness but also with eternal joy. Mommy and daddy love you the best!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Lessons from Indian Mythology - Diwali!

Me: It’s diwali today and tomorrow, manya. Happy diwali!
M: Happy diwali Mom!
Me: Do you know why we celebrate Diwali.
M: Uh huh. It’s the Festival of Lights.
Me: But there’s also a story behind it.
M: Oh I know. Hanuman saved somebody’s wife from someone who had stolen her. And right won over wrong.
Me: Yes, Lord Ram’s wife, Sita, was abducted by Ravan. There was a war and Hanuman did play a major role. So we celebrate Diwali to mark their return after the victory.
M: I have a question how did Ravan kidnap Sita?
Me: He went to her in disguise and tricked her.
M: Was Sita very old that time.
Me: No
M: Then why didn’t she defend herself. One roundhouse kick and Ravan would have backed off.
Me: Well But Ravan was pretty powerful too.
M: But did she kick him nice and strong?;
Me: I don’t think so Manya.
M: She should have. The whole war could be avoided.
Me: Hmm that’s a great learning. That’s why everyone should learn martial arts like you.
M: Yes. But I like celebrating Diwali. Will you make chhola puri today?
Me: Sure!
Happy Diwali to you and yours. Here’s to self defense and chhola puri, ofcourse!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Halloween Obsession Going Strong...Third Consecutive Year

A very unassuming friendly gentleman at the store, to Manya: "Aren't you a lovely little girl there!"
Manya: "Yes, I do look like a lovely little girl, but actually I am a vampire. I suck human blood."
That speechless-horrified expression on the man's face for the one moment was priceless. I ofcourse chimed in, "It clearly is Halloween time!"
He gave a quick smile and retreated into oblivion.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Spinning the fairy tales...

While reading The Princess and the Frog...
Me: Manya, would you kiss a frog?
Manya: ofcourse!
Me (highly amused): why, because he'd be a prince?
Manya (in a very no nonsense voice): It doesn't matter whether he is a prince or a normal person, rich or poor, will marry me or not, it is about uncursing him. I would kiss anybody or anything if it helped them.
Me: (still searching for that halo around her head 😊)


Wednesday, June 28, 2017


Me: Manya you know next week on the 4th of July, the American Independence Day is celebrated.
M (very disinterested): hmm
Me: you know what that means. The United States of America won the war of freedom against all rulers. And finally they had a government by the people. No king or queen.
M: (very disappointedly): Oh no. That is so sad. 
Me: why is that sad. 
M: because I love Kings and queens and palaces and princesses and all things royal.
Me: But imagine manya if we ever had a bad or mean king or queen the people would have no say. We now elect our presidents - people can choose.
M: I would have fought the mean king and queen, there would have been a Great War. I would have thrown them out of the kingdom and become the nice queen. 
Me: you just want unlimited drama in your life, don't you! Pls finish your milk now. We'll discuss this again tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Martial Arts update

Manya has been regularly attending her martial arts classes for more than a year now. She is really not the most physically coordinated kid out there but enjoys her classes and looks forward to them. 

I have been happy with her continued interest and she was thrilled to get her single stripe black belt last weekend. She joined as a mini warrior, moved onto the little warriors program and is now finally with the Warrior Juniors who are mostly 6-7 year olds.
I was a little skeptic on her joining the grown up kids class worrying if she'd feel overwhelmed but so far looks like she is liking the challenge and learning more by watching other kids. 

Since this is so close to my heart, I really hope this is one thing she continues with in the years to come. Fingers crossed!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

A year of preschool!

Manya came back home after her last day at preschool today. And while I rofl'd at her demand for a graduation present (I didn't even know going from from preschool to pre-k was semantically fit to be termed "graduating"...pffftt), I do realize how she has grown in every which way this year. From the protective cocoon of home and mommy and daddy, she ventured out on her own - making her own relationships, living her own experiences, taking on the world ... okay even if that is an exaggeration, she was out there for almost 3 hours, five days a week, without me *insert piny sobby mom face*.

And as I sit here reminiscing the months gone by, I thought sharing her "growth" and "learning" would just be the perfect way to celebrate her "graduation" from preschool. 

  • Big Words
I have always been secretly very proud of Manya's vocabulary (so what if more than 90% of it is used against me) but this last year the words she has picked up (with or without complete context and meaning) is phenomenal. I already did a post on Synergize and Proactive here. She uses obnoxious in the right context to describe me when I am angry. When I couldn't decide what to make for dinner the other day, she goes, "Mom, you don't have to be so skeptical about it". Ha ha ha, but I will take it. The term withdrawing privileges gets thrown around once too often. Case in point here. And ofcourse daddy's contribution, "There will be consequences for actions." Or, Don't you dare interrupt. Or the very hilarious, "Let's just improvise, mom! No arguments, no disappointments! I could go on but let me end this with, "Weird" - elongate ei and say it with the emphasized American twang. That was really weeeiiiirrrd, mom! Huh!

  • Bigger concepts

Not just the words, the concepts are growing too. We have an in-house "recycling" nazi who double checks the trash to ensure waste has been properly segregated. Manya can give you the complete low down on healthy diet and sugar crash - organic food, essential nutrients - everything but whoever said Practice what you preach never ever said it to her, She is also big on insects and bugs - lifecycles of termites, ants, ticks, dragonflies and what not. She throws around terms like metamorphosis and camouflaging to to make sure you know that she knows!

  • Americanisms
While reading, Manya often points out  certain words such as fast etc where my British pronunciation (Thanks to the lingering colonial influences where we still bow to the Queen when it comes to matters of the English language) is different from what she hears around here, especially in school. So we often discuss how both are correct but it's best that she follows school. The other day, I was reading out to her B I G, that's big. And the cheeky things goes, "Mom, I think we Americans would just pronounce it as ginormous". 
And then, she was trying to open the bathroom door once when I was inside so I shouted, "I need my pr-i-vacy. She goes, "Do you mean, you need your pr-Y-vacy? I yelled back, "I mean, Leave me alone." Seriously, WTF. 
Other Americanisms...What the heck! And you have to see a four year old go, "Oh man (say it with the A twang), not again!! Or, Are you kidding me? Or, "This is freakin' awesome!" Or, "Mom, give me a break!" Mom, you need to seriously chill. Guys, seriously?! Or, "Oh, those suckers (roll the r please). Again, it's an infinite ever growing list but let me close this one with the most annoying. "Hey, guess what? What? Chicken butt! I had to consult the urban dictionary online for this. *insert infinite eye rolls*

  • From Americanisms to American fast food

Before I proceed, I really want to say I don't want any American to take any offence to what's written here. You know it's light hearted. I mean I love all my American pals, I swear I do and you know that. But seriously American fast food doesn't earn you any brownie points. My lovely fruit eating, vegetable loving, daal-chawal (lentils-rice) and roti-sabzi (Indian bread-cooked veggies) kinda girl has become this mac-and-cheese, oreo, pretzel, gold fish, cracker babe. To be fair to her she does strike a balance but hello we were doing just fine without jell-o! 

  • Welcome to the Princess phase
What is with little girls and princesses? Nothing but peer pressure? Like seriously? One day before preschool we were all good - all kinds of clothes were acceptable and so were all colors. A quarter into preschool and if something isn't purple, pink or glittery it is 'ugly', 'unbeautiful' (because I told her ugly was a harsh word) or just 'sad'. She has never been fed on a diet of princess stories or fairy tales, but now she gravitates towards them, asks for them, devours them. And let's not talk about the merchandise. I am so sick of it.

Btw, just in case you didn't know, three and four year old girls apparently discuss hair color, nail paints, salon trips (manis and pedis specifically), and even looks that are fashionable and "sporty" (yes, Manya came home the other day saying I wore that ugly nike tennis skirt and shirt to school but everybody said I am looking good, sporty actually.)
Add to that questions on skin and eye color and who can really be a princess. So I told her honestly that skin and color doesn't really matter. It's  mostly titles passed on by birth. Very dismissively she says, and we don't really live in a castle anyways! So that was that!
We also have dangerous conversations about girl colors and boy colors and we have on multiple occasions got into serious discussions on choice and its irrelevance to gender. But how do you argue with a four year old who goes"It's my body and it's my choice. And I will choose happy. And pink is happy. And nobody can tell me what to do with my body or how to be happy. I am smart and intelligent and I want to look pretty."
I back off!

  • Star Wars, Super Heroes

So either my daughter has multiple personality disorder or she is just really well rounded. She loves her hair long and her dresses flowy but her favorite story character is the droid from Star Wars - R2D2. She enjoys reading all the Star Wars stories and most super heroes, her favorite being Hulk. And she races cars with her friends too. The challenge we have had is to keep her from watching the related series and the movies because I told her those were not age appropriate. And yes I do hear the constant whine, "But so and so at school already saw it". 

  • Towards financial wisdom
So we have started having conversations around how we cannot go buy everything we lay our eyes on or "really need" vs. want.. How real privilege works. How we count are blessings and try to be happy with what we have. How we find happiness in giving and sharing and not just taking. How the simple solution to every problem is not just , "Let's look it up/buy it online". How people work to earn money and how money is used. How we cannot just "let's send mommy back to work for money so that we can go on a holiday to a different country every month". How the answer to "Daddy, can you please buy a house for the poor guy at the signal" is no. How "sharing my car snack and giving away all the money in mommy's wallet" is not going to solve world hunger and poverty. How charity is not "giving away mommy's dresses and trousers and coats to those who don't have it." How it's polite and good to be reasonable with birthday and Christmas lists even though we do not know the answer to "Mommy does Santa also have a money problem like us". How it is just not only about money.

Too much for a four year old? I think so too. Now somebody please go tell her to raise issues that are more age appropriate.

  •  Am I an Indian? Am I an American?
Manya is starting to ask questions around identity and belongingness. I don't know how this was triggered but she asked me one day if she was an American or an Indian. I explained to her about citizenship, passports and origin in the simplest way I could but I was surprised how much children observe their surroundings, absorb and question.

  • A dog or a baby sister
This ofcourse is pure peer pressure. I have been given a choice between giving her a dog or a baby sister. For now, we have settled on that she will grow up and have, and I quote her, "two adorable baby girls just like me". God save her.

  • Toilet humor vs. Morbid humor
All my preschooler's jokes fall into only those two categories. If the mind is not in the potty, it is caught up in the other existential extreme. Mommy, I am just going to die, kill so and so. Oh I am just kidding. Ha ha ha. There's nothing funny about either of the two categories. I love you mommy forever, even when you die. Thank you, I say, quite without humorlessly.

  • Career choices
Manya at age 2.5 wanted to become an astronaut. At age 3, it was a veterinarian. At age 4, she wants "to be a normal person who is a technical writer who works from home and has two adorable girls just like her." She had me at "normal" :D.

Finally ending this post with a recent conversation that is the perfect summary of the overarching sentiments of this year.

Manya: Mommy can somebody be different from out and something else from inside?
Me (trying to be as vague as possible): Umm I guess yes, but like in what way different?
Manya: Like they look something from outside and are very different on the inside.
Me (Very clueless as to the direction of this conversation): I guess so. There could be such people. But why do you ask? Do you know someone like that?
Manya: Yes, I am like that.
Me (very bewildered): I don't understand...
Manya (In conspiratorial whispers): You know, Even though I look like a sweet little girl on the outside, I actually feel like a panther inside.

Here's to another year of exploring our wild sides!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017


"Mommy you are so nice. You drive me everywhere. You drive me to school, to martial arts, to swimming, to the store. You even drive me crazy. I love you!"

Monday, May 8, 2017

Happy Mother's Day!

M: mommy when is Mother's Day?
Me: this Sunday
M: I am going to give you a surprise present that I am making in school.
Me: that's awesome!
M: what's the best Mother's Day present you would want?
Me: a tight hug and a kiss and no tantrums or arguments - peaceful discussions and listening to mommy - that's all - that would be the best present ever.
After a long pause...
M (very calmly): mommy, what's the second best gift you would like?

Wednesday, April 12, 2017


Manya woke up with a rash all over her body - no other symptoms except a minor cold and cough. So we are driving to her doctor and en route...
Me (trying to go over my google knowledge): Manya you are sure the rash is not itchy right?
M: No mom.
Me: Is it hurting if you touch or press the red dots.
M: No mom.
Me: And your ear or throat is not hurting?
M (very irritably): Nothing is happening mom.
Me: That's really strange. I wonder how the doctor is going to diagnose anything.
M: It is nothing mom - I could have just gone to school - maybe the stress caused the rash.
Me: (wtf) Stress what stress?
M: All the stress in my life!
Me: (muttering) You don't even know what stress is. Pls explain stress.
M: I'll tell you later.
We visit the doctor and of course with no definite accompanying symptoms she just puts us on a wait and watch.
M walks out shaking her head dismissively: I told you it was nothing. Just stress.
Me (with a deep breath): Looks like Manya you were right, as always. I have heard ice cream is great for stress, let's both have some!
Fingers crossed that the rash is just that - stress - and then I need to figure out what stress means to a four year old! 😳🙄😈

Monday, March 27, 2017

Presenting Manya's Frozen...

(P.S. Manya has watched a few minutes of the popular movie Frozen. She loses interest every time she sits down to watch it but thanks to Disney marketing she's quite obsessed with the brand in terms of material possessions and does know the characters and the story, largely, that's what i thought. Only today did I realize her version is, well, more interesting. )
M: mommy, I want frozen multivitamins.
Me: Manya, you don't even eat gummies, you won't like them.
M: you are buying multivitamins for me, so I get to choose which ones, it's only fair!
Me: sure, don't you dare waste them. And what's with frozen these days anyways, you don't even know the story!
M: (very offended): ofcourse I know the story! It's very simple. Elsa leaves her palace after her parents go on a vacation because her sister gives her no privacy. She makes a frozen castle of her own and lives happily. Meanwhile Anna marries some random stranger Chris and Elsa says this is not even a marriage. Who marries a random stranger anyways. Then Anna thinks she must make it up to her sister so she tries to visit her with Chris but Elsa tries to block her way. Finally, Anna learns how to ride a horse and Elsa thinks that thank god my sister has learnt new skills and not just doing wrong marriages. So she forgives her. The end!
Me: that is absolutely great manya. Can you please repeat it slowly so that I can type it out to share with others who may not know this story....

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Mean mom! Oh no!

Me (at the brink of insanity): Manya you have not been listening and you have been really acting up, I am sorry but your screen privileges for the rest of the day have been withdrawn.
M (at her cruel best): That is not fair. You are being a mean mom.
Me (trying hard to keep it civil at my end): Well, you do admit that you have been giving me a tough time today. I warned you not to push my buttons.
M (in complete earnestness): You are not even wearing buttons - I never pushed anything. I use my words.
Me (trying hard to keep a straight face): Pushing buttons means annoying or troubling a person till they lose their cool.
M (the devil is back): So are you withdrawing my screen privileges because you lost your cool.
Me (fumbling): errr, umm, errrmmm, no. I am withdrawing them because you were having an unnecessary tantrum. You tell me what should I do when you are not behaving yourself - you don't like me raising my voice, you don't accept timeouts, now you don't want me to take away your privileges.
M (in that absolute adorable face): You can hug me and kiss me.
Me (trying to not get dissuaded by this put on innocence): That is always how I start but you refuse to listen.
M: Then continue hugging and kissing me.
Me (trying not to melt): That's not fair Manya - you know you don't come around easily.
M (the horns are back): Withdrawing privileges is not going to help. Screen time is not even a privilege.
Me: It is. You don't get it, you earn it to deserve it.
M: Okay, I will earn it back. How?
Me (finally beginning to feel back in control of the situation): That's the spirit. Here let me put up a chart for you. Every time you are being exceptional, you'll get a + and when you are being really difficult, you get a -. Get your +'s up.
M (with complete dismissal): This is nonsense.
Me (she did not just say that): Watch your language Manya.
M (in great accusatory tone): Fine. But if I had to withdraw your privileges, I don't even need a chart - you would only get minuses for your bad mommy behaviour.
Me (given up on sanity): I don't see that attitude helping the chart.
M (in utter defiance): I will change it if I need screen time.
This 4 year old is going to ensure I really lose it. While at it, can we also get over with teenage already. Just in case you are still reading, I have not given up, not yet.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Snowed in!

It has been a snowmageddon in Portland this year. We have had almost 10 inches of snow. Multiple snow days. An adventure in the snow with being stuck on the road for 3-4 hours. 

Chains on wheels, forced for almost a week indoors with mommy going crazy 24/7 food and snack support, sliding on sledges on the side walk and spray painting the snow and ofcourse making a cool snow dude - we have really had it all!

And ofcourse, the one who has derived the most joy out of all this is Manya. She hasn't once complained about the extreme weather. Actually, and I might have to bite my tongue sooner than I know it, but M is quite the sport when it comes to disrupted routines and plans gone haywire. Her maturity at this age in handling disappointments actually surprises me many a times. 
Also, it is such a joy to watch her growing up enjoying all the seasons equally. I hope she remembers these days with great fondness...

Sunday, January 8, 2017


In a rather loving and cuddling mood;
Me: Manya you are my heart beat.
(I literally feel the warmth evaporating ...)
A rather indignant M: I am not your heart beat - I am a human being - I talk, i dance, I think. (And then in the most contemptuous tone ever) I am not just a heart beat.
Me: oh heart. ❤️💔❤️