Month: September 2012

Jab mein badi ho jaaoingi – Part II

We had to go to a friend’s place for lunch, which meant I got the girls ready and walked in to my room to get dressed myself. The salwar kameez I was planning to wear sat on the bed. Buzz, who is used to seeing me in Jeans and T day in and day out, took one look at the salwar kameez and asked,

Aap yeah pehno ge?*

Yes, I replied and walked to the bathroom with my clothes to get dressed. After having changed as I stepped out to have Buzz chime in,

Jab mein badi ho jaaoingi mein bhi yeah dress pehnuingi. Aap mere saath share karoge, right?**

I smiled, ruffled her hair, said yes and got busy with other things before we left.

Socks, shoes, bottles, diapers, food for Bugz..check..check..check and we made our way downstairs to get in to the car. And instead of wearing my regular shoes I got my Jootis out.

Yeah aap ke shoes hein? Jab mein badi ho jaaoingi mein bhi yeah shoes pehnuingi.***

Turns around looks at the shoes D is wearing, turns back to me

Papa wale nahein pehnuingi!****

* This is what you will be wearing?
** I with also wear this when I grow up. You will share it with me, right?
***These are your shoes? When I grow up I will also wear these shoes.
****Won’t wear the ones Papa is wearing.

Paate hum hein jindagi eak baar

Dear Bugz,

There is so much I want to say to you, so much I want to capture about you but I get caught up in my day to day chores and the little things you do get left behind. I try and keep a mental note and tell myself I will get to it but again I never seem to. Today I was looking at some old pictures and they looked all wrong for some reason. It took me a while to figure out that they looked wrong because you were not in them, which made me go find a picture of me on my birthday from last year. I have part of my hair tied back, a smile on my face, standing outside your Paa’s and mine favorite restaurant and there is a hint of you. That was the time when you were only mine. I was all you needed and I was the only one who could feel you move. Then I looked at a picture of you the day you were born, so small yet so perfect, looking at the world with your gray/green baby eyes.

I know, you are growing bigger every single day but the pictures truly bring home just how much you have grown. Unlike with your Didi, I don’t even remover your old clothes from your closet because it keeps the illusion alive for me that you are still little, that you still can fit in those clothes if only I put them on you. There is a part of me which would love to be an Ostrich and burry my head in the sand and refuse to see how big you have become, but the practical side of me almost always overpowers the mushy part of me. So today I write to you as you are, the talking, screaming, smiling, tantrum throwing you.

I have to be honest here; you were the most neglected member of our family for a little while. All you needed was to be fed, changed and you slept your day away. Then one day, you found your voice. Nothing has been the same since. You have a voice and by that I mean you have A VOICE. Loud, that is what you are. One sound of ‘anhei’ is all you could make for the longest time but how you scared everyone around you with it. And then you love to scream. No, you are not the neglected member of the family any more. You ensure that you never are.

Then there are these fights you get in to with your Didi. Your push her, pull toys from her and don’t let go, pull her hair and scream on top of it all. Your poor Didi looks on, tries to hold you off, finally gives up and comes running to me or Paa. You one the other hand don’t give up. Your grip is so strong that even I have trouble getting things out of your little hands. Your Paa under estimated you once and you showed him by carrying his precious laptop and almost throwing it down the stairs. He has never left his laptop unattended since.

You love to climb the stairs and have even figured out how to make your way down. You love love love the dishwasher. I try and open it with so much stealth but you know the minute it opens and are seen climbing in to it before I can even blink my eyes. Your favorite toy to play with is a spoon and a bowl. You love long ropes/ribbons but get entangled in them. Then it is time to cry because you want to get out, but don’t want to let go. It is some task to get you to let go of them. You know our daily routine and are seen doing your part without any prompting. You love your Didi’s room and always laugh as you run up to her bed and fall on it. Cheerios, Milk, fruits, yogurt are your favorites. Cheese and savory stuff not so much.

In all your likes and dislike and personality traits, your drama element is what stands out the most to me. There is the sitting down and putting your head on the floor. Then there is laying on your back and moving your head in denial. There is also the scream in disapproval. And there is also the fake, almost tears in the eyes. Permutations and combinations of these are seen multiple times a day but especially when one of us goes out leaving you behind. You love to be out and hate when one of us leaves without you.

You follow your Didi all around the house. You have your biggest smiles and loudest laughs for her. You understand the games she plays and wait your turn for the ball to come to you. She throws something high in the air, you laugh, go pick it up, hand it back to her and the game goes on. You love to break the lego houses she builds. You give out a happy scream every time you spot her in the playground. You chase after soap bubbles just because she does it. You happily sit in your high chair pretending to eat till she is sitting next to you. The minute she is up, you want out of your chair as well.

Your Paa and I have been through raising a kid before you and we always figured things would not be as difficult as they were the first time. Then you came around and taught us just how different you are from your Didi. You need more attention and demand it. There is very rarely playing by yourself. You love to be held and cuddled and can happily sit in our laps for minutes. You are a super light sleeper and wake up with any sound but then again you already sleep through the night. 10 hours straight. Things your Didi never did.

Buzz and you mess up our world, shake it up and make it perfect. Stressful, super hectic, no time for anything, but perfect. Your smile charms us out of our bad mood. Your sitting in our lap calms us down. Your screams makes us long for ear plugs. If there is one character trait of yours that stands out for now, it is your stubbornness. And I have always been called a bull head, which means we will lock horns a lot in the years to come. But through it all, I wish for you to stay healthy, stay happy, stay you. The rest we will sort out.

Loads of love,

Leaving you with your Didi’s fav. song these days.. kyoin na karein khul ke hum isko pyaar

Bawara mann dekne chala eak sapna..

Dear Buzz,

Dreams, we all weave them and spin them around. Yours are small and simple, a ride on the airplane as you sit on the window seat. Or being to be able to fly if you had a super power. Mine, they are a little more complex. I look at Bugz and you and dream of a bond so strong that it carries the two of you through all the ups and downs that life will bring along. I dream of a support system so rooted that nothing can shake it. I then follow it up with sending my wishes out to the universe at large and hope they come true.

I used to worry about how you would take to Bugz while I was still pregnant but you took one look at her and she was your baby. ‘Will my baby come to pick me up from school today’, you ask ever so often and get upset when I reply with a negative. You come running the minute you see her whenever she does come to school with me, a reception I never get. For me it is always, ‘2 more minutes Mumma’. You show your baby off to everyone but no one can come and touch her. That only brings forth the super possessive elder sister.

The time before Bugz was born, whenever we came across a baby animal in a book, you called them ‘Buzz’. So there used to be ‘Buzz lion’, ‘Buzz cat’, ‘Buzz elephant’. Now everything is about Bugz. There are ‘Bugz lions’, ‘Bugz cats’, ‘Bugz elephants’. And then you come up with a gem like ‘Bugz bubble’ as you see a small bubble amongst the big ones we are blowing and you are popping them. Talking about gems, here is one that always cracks me up, every single time you see me change Bugz diaper, you come and ask me, ‘This is Bugz pot?’, as you point to the diaper. I tell you, ‘yes’, with a straight face and you go on to explain how you go do your business on a pot while Bugz does hers in a diaper.

I don’t know how, I don’t know why but whenever we have people over, one way or the other, the conversation always get around to them telling you that they will take Bugz with them and your drama starts. ‘Noooooo! not my baby’, you scream and follow it up with keeping a hawk eye on Bugz till they go to ensure that Bugz stays behind with you. There are times when you get super mad at Bugz but that is between the two of you. It does not mean that Bugz needs to go away. Never ever do you agree to that.

Bugz is at a stage where she does not play with you, but she plays around you. If there is sudden silence in the house I know you two are playing together. Which also means, I know what is coming soon. Precursor and all that. Bugz shriek and your voice in anger are heard as you fight over some toy, spoon, thread. And I smile. I see my little dream becoming a reality. What is sibling love without these little fights, after all?

The other day you did not take a nap at school and were tired and irritated by the time you got home. I knew the best way to calm you down was to give you a bath but you refused to walk up with me, so I walked upstairs telling you that you could come up whenever you were ready. You kept on sulking while Bugz played around you. About 5 minutes in to your drama, you started crying real loud. I got you to come upstairs and talk to me. Then came the reason for your crying out. Bugz apparently heard me upstairs and came up to investigate and you got mad. All you kept saying over and over again was, ‘Bugz left me alone’. Not ‘you left me alone’ or ‘I was left alone’ but ‘Bugz left me alone’. That day I just could not stop smiling. My dreams around the two of you are coming true, little by little.

Sweetheart, you are such a great kid and I don’t think I can ask for more. I have my dreams around you but they are mine. I will not burden you with them. You go on, be the person you want to be. I will help you when you stumble and guide you when you need to, but will not try and override your wishes when it is not required. You go on an create and develop your bond with Bugz the way you would like. I will stand back and smile any which way because I know, with the two of you, my dreams will come true no matter what. Stay healthy little one, stay happy, stay you.

Loads of love,

Baware mann ke bawari hein baatein

Akka came on bacashion

Endless chat sessions, long phone calls, about a dozen Skype dates and countless dreams about what we would do when we finally met. Work schedules, university schedules, different continents, life in general and a certain someone’s sheer bad luck when it comes to travel plans and meeting face to face seemed almost impossible. And still we kept on planning. Expectations were kept low to the point where a couple of days before she was to fly to our part of the world, I told her ‘I will believe you are coming over only when you land here’. She did start that conversation with floods in her part of the world, am I really to blame then?

First step was a call from the same continent and I started to feel more hopeful. Second step was a phone call telling me she was on her way to my city. Excitement grew. I would actually see her (unless she somehow missed her connection). No further communication, I took as a positive sign, which meant in my excitement I strapped both the kids in their car seat and drove to the airport to bring her home. And and got to the airport on time. The airline folks has other plans, alas, which meant there was the wait at the airport, followed by lost and found phone calls, till another drive around the arrival area and I spotted her.

As I parked the car and stepped out, the one thing that constantly played in my head was, ‘it is OK if she does not give you a hug, you need to give her her space’, remembering all the conversations where she spoke about being uncomfortable with people invading her physical space. And what does she do? She opens her hands wide and gives me a big hug. Ahh! I could not stop smiling while all she did was gush over the fact that both the kids came to pick her up. hmmp! I get no importance, I tell you.

What followed was me playing awesome host. NOT! One meal was all I cooked for her in the 3 days that she spent with us. She was dragged to Bugz doctor’s appointment, Buzz’s school pickup, an overnight trip with complete strangers (for her, not me), some random stuff D and I had to take care of in town and we abandoned her, all on her lonesome, in the middle of town. She cooked amazing sambhar and dosas for us while D and I sat and ate. She entertained the kids while we drove 4 plus hours for our overnight trip. While most everyone ran after kids (and God knows what the guys did, what did they do, do you remember?), poor soul was left to man the stove. She was made to sleep on the couch. She held on to a crying, wiggling Bugz while I ate my breakfast and fed Buzz and was so good that Bugz finally slept on her shoulder (and that never happens with anyone but me and that too if I am very lucky). She sat through another 4 hour drive and Bugz spitting all over her and then came home to make Biryani while I sat and talked to her. Oh and made enough that it lasted me two days. I so needed that to remind myself that she really had come and was gone so quickly.

I think I lost count on the number of times I cursed her itinerary which has her spend so much of her time on the various airports but I got to see her in person and got to spend three days with her. And the highlight for me was the hour long walk we took along the river, talking about Amma, Jani, Paati, the kids but even more the fact that I could stop and give her a hug when she had tears in her eyes. Full moon and the beauty of it all only added to the reason why that walk was so special.

You know how when we think about meeting someone, we picture things a certain way? I had a similar image in my head. But in my head Buzz and her interaction with her Akka was a big part of my image. I say this constantly (biased Maa alert) and I will say this again, Buzz is a happy, social, friendly kid but one never knows when the shy bug bites kids, so I held my breath on how these two would interact. There was the need for translation every now and then when Buzz spoke to me (Akka we need to teach you some Hindi, you know 😛 ), there was a little bit of being shy on Buzz’s part, there was all her kiddy friends on the trip. But they did spend some good time together and the big ice-breaker came at the tail-end of the trip. D was helping a friend by fetching something from the car, I was busy feeding Bugz, Buzz standing at the edge of the lake while Akka took off her shoes and stepped in. Buzz of course wanted to follow. I told her that she could only go in if she held on to Akka’s hand. Aah the instant looking at Akka with eyes shining and voice dripping with honey, ‘Akka will you please take me?’ What followed was being held from one stone to the other by Akka, laughter galore and some amazing pictures for me to hold on to.

As Akka said her bye-bye Buzz made sure she pointed out that Akka was to come back for her next bacashion, which Akka promised and we will hold on to. Till date Akka’s next bacashion is talked about, the chocolate Akka got is talked about, the dress Akka got is looked at with longing (we are eating well to grow up to fit in to it). On the other hand Bugz stays blissfully unaware, lucky her.

Rev Akka when do you come back? We miss you already.

In to the wild

On our usual drive back home in the evening we came across a couple dozen crows sitting on a small patch of grass.

I want to go to the birds.
Which birds are those?
Yes, crows they are.
I want to go play with those crows.
You can’t play with them.
Because they will fly away.
They are wild animals?
No they are birds.
Lion is wild animal.
Yes, lion is a wild animal.
It bites?
Yes, it bites.
Shark also bites.
Yes, shark also bites.
So it is a wild fish?