Month: April 2011

Proud parents

Early this week D looked very thoughtful and a little worried as he came to pick me up from work. Sensing something was up I asked him what was wrong.

What had happened was, Buzz spied him step inside her class at daycare and came running. She was super happy to see him (since I am the one who mostly goes to pick her up in the evenings) and was chatting excitedly. Her teacher tried talking to her a couple of times but Buzz was busy talking to D (in Hindi) and did not reply to her teacher (who was asking her questions in English). Right about then another parent came to pick up his daughter and she was replying to her dad and the teacher (in English).

We speak in Hindi at home. Always have. We are not making a special effort to talk in Hindi at home because we want Buzz to learn the language but rather it is what comes naturally to us. In the past month or so we have noticed an exponential growth in what Buzz can say in Hindi. In fact a lot of things she says catches us by surprise because unlike when she first started talking we have not been making any special effort to help her grasp the language. This combined with Buzz not replying back in English, which is the main language of communication here, is what got D thinking.

Are we doing the right thing? Should we start talking to her in English? We don’t want her to feel lost at daycare, do we? What if she does not understand anything they say there?

Endless questions he threw my way. Which in turn got me worried. Till I took some deep breaths, calmed myself and started thinking on what I see when I go pick Buzz up every day. Suddenly a conversation I had with the accountant of Buzz’s daycare (whose daughter is a couple of months younger to Buzz and is in the same class as her) came to mind. We had got talking about how quickly the two girls were growing up and like a proud, besotted parent I started out on how much Buzz can talk now and how she was picking up new words and making sentences without us teaching her. To which she responded with, how great Buzz’s language skills were and how great she was communicating what she wants, especially for her age. I had been on cloud nine for the rest of that day, smiling non-stop.

Worry abated I turned to D:

Me: Buzz is fine. I am sure she has no issues at all.
D: Are you sure?
Me: Yes I am (went on to tell him my encounter)
D: hmm. But can you still talk to her teacher when you go pick her up tomorrow.
Me: Yeah I will.

Next day all geared up I fired my first question. Buzz’s teacher looked at me with surprise:

English is not what Buzz speaks at home? Really? I would have never guessed. She understands everything we tell her and replies back in almost complete sentences. Knows her letters, her numbers, her shapes, her colors, her poems. She is one very intelligent kid. I would not worry about her at all.

She went on to ask me about how much Buzz could talk in Hindi and seemed more and more impressed as I showed off. I came home super proud of my little one. I know the teachers are probably trained to sooth the fears of the parents and even say that the child is intelligent but I will bask in the praise for a little while more.

Buzz and I were heaving breakfast yesterday morning when she made a fist and said ‘a’ followed by the name of a girl in her class. I look on confused. She repeated it a couple more times and it hit me, she is signing the letter ‘A’.

Me: <copies the same hand position> A?
Buzz: Yeah!
Me: aur?
Buzz: <makes some changes and says> M. <followed by the name of another girl in her class>
Me: <copies her again> M?
Buzz: Haan. (Name of the girl)’s

She went on to show me E, B, K, S, J and R. Clueless me did what any self-respecting parent who has no idea what is going on does these days. Booted up my laptop, searched for ‘sign language for alphabets’. It is time for me to get back to studying folks. My daughter knows more things at her age than I know at mine.

But till I catch up and figure out certain contortion on my fingers means what letter I continue to bask in the pride that is my own little Buzz.

Advertisements

Beliefs – yours and mine

Alert – If you are a religious person please STOP, don’t read any further.

A few months back a very close friend of ours invited us for a puja at their place. I got the call while I was at work and happily made my way to their place directly from work, Buzz in tow. Time for puja was set for 6:30 P.M. and we made it by 6:20. Only a lot of other people were still to come. The wait went on till 7:15 and then started the puja.

I know what followed is my fault and I should have planned in advance even when I did not get a lot of notice. But in my defense I was clueless on what was to happen, but I will not pass on the blame. It is mine to take. After having spent her day in daycare Buzz generally comes home hungry. I get her through bath time and the 20 or so minutes it takes me to cook by giving her some fruits and milk as soon as we come home. Even then 7:10 in dinner time.

On this particular day as is her way, especially since she did not get her fruit or milk, Buzz started asking for khaana (food) at her usual time. My friend told me to go get Buzz something to eat from the fridge when another guest at the puja stopped us.

Milk was part of the puja (since it was a Shivji puja) and so was water, fruits were also kept as part of the offering and the prasad made up of some vegetables, puri and halwa. This meant all food groups were covered, which further meant no one could eat till the puja was done.

No matter how much my friend tried to argue, ‘God comes before everyone’ stood firm. Anyways the puja started and went on for an hour. No shortcuts allowed.

For that one complete hour Buzz was heard crying for ‘khaana’ without a break while my friend looked on helplessly and I cursed myself (along with getting really mad) for not having fed Buzz before I came by.

I grew up in a house where prayers, a temple inside the house, pictures or idols of God, or even visiting a temple regularly were not part of life. I was taught to respect beliefs of others no matter the religion but more importantly having a clear conscious as I went about my life was the bigger thing than praying every single day. So I can except that I don’t get the customs that others follow. And as a Mom whose kid was screaming with hunger in this situation, I get that I don’t understand the entire point of marking all food as inconsumable till the puja is done. I somehow got Buzz and myself through that hour, fed Buzz and let things be.

A few days back, another invitation to another puja on another weekday. Having learned my lesson, on my way over I stopped at a grocery store, bought two bananas and some yogurt, feed them to Buzz knowing they would even do as dinner if need be. We got there to have a repeat performance. Wait for people..Puja starts late..A child cries out of hunger..Some lady with same ‘God comes before everyone’. The only difference was the child was a 6 weeks old baby and her mom was going to breastfeed her.

Well the other difference was a super mad me.

You want to deny a 6 weeks old baby.. SIX WEEKS..milk? Really? And this is breast milk.
Oh but milk is milk and milk is part of the puja.



How can they not be part of the puja. That is disrespect to the God.
And you think God will want the baby to go hungry, crying all the while?

Fed up with all the useless argument, my friend and I asked the new mom to step into another room and feed the baby. Turned our back on this lady and started the puja.

I got to hear a lot of snide remarks about having no concept of respect for God, look at the way I came dressed in Jeans and T-shirt, look at how I wore no mangalsutra or sindoor, look this, look that. And this is where I draw the line. I respect your customs and what you do. I don’t comment on things that don’t even make sense to me. Can’t I expect the same curtsy? But more importantly, I do have a practical side which thinks before blindly following when there is a kid screaming from hunger. Or for that matter when you/me/we are harming someone or something as we follow our beliefs. For example I got equally sad and mad when I read this even when most people went about liking it on FB.

I want to know, would God really want a kid to stay hungry in his name. Does wearing so-called ‘suhag ke nishaani’ make you more of a wife? Will polluting and in turn destroying a fragile natural habitat please the Gods or provide moksha to the dead? Is the main reason behind praying not to attain a few minutes of calm in our hectic lives? Were religion and customs not started to show us a way to lead a good life? When did we become so rigid in what have been handed down from one generation to another that we forgot the human aspect of it? When did we forget to use our brains to question right from wrong all in the name of God and will God really be pleased about this?

Again maybe I just don’t get it. Maybe because I don’t pray every day or can’t remember the last time I went to a temple, I should not be the one asking all these questions. All I know is my beliefs stand in stark contrast to a lot of super religious people (and here I am not saying all religious people. I know enough people who are religious but not rigid in their beliefs). And that it does not seem to upset me one bit, even when I am called names. And I would do the exact same thing if there were to be a next time.

As we eat

Buzz is not a fussy eater. She has her likes and dislikes but eats without making me jump through hoops. And when she is done, she is done. No one can force her to eat once she is done.

And thus things lay till about two months back, when she had a bad cold. She stopped eating all but for her favorite fruits and that too not as much as she normally would. I waited it out till she got better having learned from pass experience that she would get back to eating when she recovered. Only she did not. A couple of weeks passed and still she would not eat more than a bite or two and be done. I was having health issues of my own and the added stress of constantly trying to get Buzz to eat was taking a toll on me. One evening D saw the run down state I was in and took over Buzz’s meal times.

Boring meal times suddenly took a new flavor. XYZ bite were introduced.

D: Yeah kon se bite hei?*
Buzz: Air-pain.
D: Yay airplane bite.
Buzz: Air-pain bite <places food in her mouth>

And on to parachute, climber, helmet, skydiver, gloves, rope bite. Food was finished or at least she ate till she was hungry no more.

We figured out that the real reason behind her not eating was the switch from one of us feeding her to her insistence that she would eat on her own, but not having the patience to sit and eat. D made it fun for her which helped get through the waste-of-time meal time.

Once past that hurdle, she got back to eating the way she used to. Now a day the three of us sit together as we eat our meals, with Buzz naming her bites every now and then as we nod along. No active participation required from our sides. Then last night D was busy with some work related emails and I was cleaning up the kitchen. But Buzz was hungry and wanted dinner, so I placed her plate on the table and she ran to her chair, sat down and started eating. A few bites down, some of her hunger assuage, she looked around. Saw that both of us were busy so looked a little further. Got down from her chair,  picked up the stuffed rabbit she likes to call ‘Mumma Rabbit’ (mumma’s rabbit), sat it down on the chair I usually sit on..

Pasha paneer, khao rabbit.**

..she said with every bite she ate.

When I was done cleaning I sat next to her. Took a small roti with paneer from her plate and pretended to feed it to the rabbit.

Kaho rabbit, jaldi khao.

My little bee laughed so much. Cracking up every time I fed the rabbit and would follow it up by eating the rabbit’s portion.

Dinner finished with laughs and smiles are such blessings. Touchwood.

*Which bite is this?
**Pasta paneer, eat rabbit. I was out of tomatoes one day as I made paneer. D and Buzz were out grocery shopping but where taking too long, so I got pasta sauce out and added it in place of tomatoes (What? Same thing as tomatoe puree). When Buzz was fussing about eating, I told her it was ‘pasta paneer’ (she LOVES Pasta) and she ate her portion up in no time. Since then she calls all paneer ‘pasha paneer’.

Counting

As I clean up after dinner D and Buzz sit with a book counting cows, horses, sheep, pigs, chicken, ducks and whatever else they can find. Once the book is done D moves on to asking Buzz to count his eyes. ‘2’ comes the reply.

D: Papa ke ear kitne hein?
Buzz: 1 (points to left ear), 2 (points to right ear), 3 (points to the backside of the right ear), 4 (points to the backside of left ear).
D: (laughs) Papa ke teeth count karo.
Me: (gives a dirty look) Please don’t ask her that else I will have my mouth open all day and same goes for you.
D: (looks sheepish) Papa ke hair count karo.
Buzz: 1, 2.
D: (sad sad voice) Haan ab to itne he bache hein.*
Me: Papa ke baal (since she understands baal better than hair) count karo.
Buzz: 1 (finger at the hairline), 2 (finger in the middle of the head), 3 (finger at the back part of the head).
D: Chalo eak se to badha.**

Now we know what someone has on his mind and I can’t even seem to sympathies for I laugh and laugh as I look at a head *still* full of hair.

*Yeah now only so many are left.
** At least it increased by one.

Bliss is..

– Makki ki roti, sarson ka saag, carrot pickle, fresh cut onions and fresh dahi.

– Little Miss ‘Food-why-would-I-want-to-eat-food’ finishing up her rice, asking for roti when she sees others having them, finishing those, continue to ask for more sabi* till everyone is done eating.

– He looking from mother to daughter not understanding what the fuss is all about.

– To pay for it all, there is Mastercard.

sabi* -> sabzi – kadhi is what she liked so much

House Full

The first time they met Buzz was all of 10 weeks old. The proud freshly christened big Didi was allowed close to Buzz only under close supervision and was only allowed to touch the little bundle with the gentlest of fingers. On top of that Buzz would let out cat-like meows as she cried which scared the poor Didi no end.

The next meeting happened right about when Buzz was finding her walking legs. Didi was either seen imitating Buzz by walking on all fours to try and get to whatever the younger one wanted before the younger one got there or trying to force Buzz to walk on her twos. No matter how things went, Didi constantly got in to trouble and did not have a good time over all.

Next time around things got a little better for Didi at least. Buzz was stubborn enough, old enough, strong enough to fight her battles. And battles they were with the two of them going at it, only to stop when both were put in different corners for a time-out.

The latest trip as Didi told her Dadi:

Dadi hum ne ladaayi bhi nahein ki. Eak baar bhi nahein.

..and with that both set of parents exhaled.

For a week or so, two little girls were seen running around the house with Didi leading the way. They were seen sitting on the table with a colored paper and multiple stickers each. When Buzz could not get her sticker peeled Didi would peel them for her before handing them over. Two little heads were seen with paper and common set of crayons. When one asked for a specific color, the other handed it over with not a protest. Every day they sat on toy cars making their way one behind the other as they played a made up a game of taking the car to the car wash (the kitchen) before taking it for a drive (the living room) and then parking it in the garage (the toy area). Splash shouted the two of them as they took baths together, pouring water on each other and making fishes swim. Two girls held on to each other’s hand not letting go, till the parents took charge and made them, as they walking through the aquarium.

Sleep time was also deemed ‘together time’, only that Buzz moves so much before she falls asleep that Didi gave up and said softly:

Bua mere ko nahein sona is ke paas.

Buzz on the other hand having gotten the chance to sleep with her Didi refused to sleep in her crib. Bua called a truce. The minute Buzz snored her first snore she was placed in her crib while Didi made her escape to sleep in peace.

For a few days the house rang with laugher, smelled of good food, swelled with love. The house was full of everything that is important. Now the reminder of the days past comes in form of a little voice:

Didi air-pain uper bye bye. Didi kal aayegi.

I wish Didi could be here tomorrow, Buzz. Only you don’t understand the concept of time yet and your kal never seems to come.

Can’t wait for the house to be full all over again. Let’s plan something soon.