Category: Growing up

New Year Resolution

Almost at the end of August, the 8th month of the year, and I write a New Year Resolution. Late am I, or what?

The night of December 31st, eve of the New Year, we were at a friends place. We were there for only a little while as there was somewhere else we needed to be in an hour’s time. While the adults mingled, the kids were upstairs playing together. Soon it was time to leave and we called to kids to go. Bugz came down with her regular huge smile, talking mile a minute but Buzz looked very subdues. After repeated asks about what was wrong, she quietly said, “the girls were mean to me.”

A big reassuring hug to her and we moved towards the door. As D opened the door, the hostess came and asked us not to forget to write our New Years Resolution on the poster by the door. While we thought about ‘eating right’, ‘working out’ – the usual resolutions, Buzz picked up the pen and wrote ‘Be Kind!’

Buzz has been in drama camp all week and today there was a performance for the parents. The kids were amazing, funny, confident, silly – perfect kids. At the end of the performance there were certificates for all the kids with one word to best describe them per the coaches. They were creative, happy, focused, funny. And then her name was called and she was ‘kind’

A check for the New Year Resolution and how! We are so very proud of you sweet Buzz, so very proud!

Matter of heart

Buzz came back from school with an envelope, 3 pages of instructions and talked about heart, jump, donation, puppies. With a lot of things on my mind and emotionally not open to taking in everything she was talking about, I told her we would talk about it in a few days. With a long face, she walked away.

A couple of days later she came back and talked again. The school was hosting an event to support American Heart Institute and the kids were all to jump rope based on the money they collected, to educate about the importance of exercising and keeping the heart healthy. Could I donate some money, so that she could participate? Also there were different stuffed toy puppies that the kids earned based on the amount of money they collected, and she really wanted a couple of those.

I sat her down and explained that the idea behind the money raising drive was not asking parents to give the money. It was about talking to people, raising awareness about heart health and asking them for donate for the cause. Hard hearted mom that I was, I could not make things easy for her and give her money just so that she could get some stuffed toys and participate in the jumping rope activity in school. If she really wanted to do it, she had to do it all. Go talk to people and ask for money. We would donate some as well, but only if she did some work first.

She sat on the idea for a couple of days. Asked questions on how she could raise money. The grocery store, knocking door to door, the mall – ideas we came up with.

We were heading to the grocery store yesterday and she carried her envelope. She said her ‘excuse mes’ as she walked up to someone. Explained what she was doing and asked her question. ‘Could you contribute may be $5?’ She thought it would be easy. With $100 her goal, she did her math and figured all she needed to do was ask 20 people and she would be done. The script of course did not work as planned. A handful of people gave her a dollar or two but mostly all she heard was ‘All the best, but sorry!” After about 30 or so tries, there were tears in her eyes, here voice heavy. I told her I was proud of her for putting herself out there and knew it was not easy to hear ‘no’, but collecting money was not easy either. I asked her to stop and we could try again later. Demoralized we came back home.

Back home as she counted her money, $11.50, D encouraged her and told her that we would match everything she collected. $23 already she finally laughed.

Today after school we went to the mall. ‘There are more people there’, she told me. As I sat with my book, she walked around and made her case. After yesterday’s experience she took nos with a lot more grace. She smiled and thanked people. She talked and made a better case. At one point she spend 10 or so minutes talking to a mom and returned with a huge smile and 65cents in her hand. She jumped with excitement with every amount that she raised. And then when she was tired, she came and said ‘Lets go home Mumma!’

Current count is $54.34. She has also made a deal with D to convert her $4.34 to $5. $55 and matched by us she comes to $110. She couldn’t be more excited. We couldn’t be more proud. She did it on her own. She learned and can say she raised the money. I learned as well and can say, always be kind to kids trying to do something like this, even when you say no for whatever your reasons might be. Kindness goes a long way and the kids remember those more that even the amount of money they get. Buzz definitely talked more about those people than anyone else.

As she takes the money in to school tomorrow, she has to deal with a new challenge. Jump rope 220 times. Wish her luck!

 

Taller..Bigger..Stronger

Dear Buzz,

You are our happy, kind, friendly little girl and that is why it sort of came as a shock to us when we saw the shy, uncommunicative side of yours. The first time we really noticed it was during our trip to London, where you would not talk to any of the friends we were meeting. Your Paa and I have been watching closely since. You are your regular friendly self – laughing, talking, running around – around other kids, but around adults, even those you know well, you become shy. You don’t even make eye contact, when directly spoken to. And this includes all your friends’ parents, all the teachers in your school.

But before we can worry, you turn around and are super active at in your class. You compete to answer any question asked. Ms. M says your hand is always up, that she can always count on your participation. Sometimes you are so active that you have to be reminded to give others a chance.

Then again the minute you start to perform, this confident side of yours comes forward. Be it dance, plays, gymnastics, singing – you love it all. Your class was singing a song for your Year End Performance, last school year. You practiced your song constantly while at home. One day you came home, all excited. “I get to stand in the middle!” you told us. You did stand in the middle and you smiled as you sang. We couldn’t have been prouder.

When asked what you like to the do the most, you can never pick. And that is the truth. There is so much you love to do, but even though you don’t realize it, I think your favorite thing to do is read. Every morning, while it is still dark outside, you sneak in to our room to check the time. You pointedly tell me that our LED watch is easy to see the time in. You quickly calculate how much time you have before the rest of us wake up and then run downstairs to start reading for the day. Magic Tree House, A to Z Mysteries, Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew, Ready Freddy, Capital Mysteries and so many more. You read and make sure you tell me the parts that you found really funny.

The other thing you absolutely love doing is art. Currently drawing airplanes is your passion, which of course takes me back to your fascination with them as a baby. But other than that, you are constantly trying your hand at drawing things you see around you. Be it the dinosaur on the table mat, the bird outside, the bear Bugz refuses to let go of, our family, our house. I can always count on you to make a birthday card for any of your friends’ birthday and they are not scribbles. They are well  thought out, detailed cards.

Non activity wise the one thing that makes you crack up the most is measuring your height against me. Everyday you quietly come, give me a hug and then measure yourself, laugh and run off. I tell you, your height does not chance everyday and still you do it. Still you find it funny and I realize in complete shock that you indeed grew over an inch in the past few months. For someone who is on the tall side (me I mean), you come up to my chest now and I can only look on in surprise. Most people think you are at least a couple of years older than you actually are. You feel very proud when you correct them and they seem so surprised.

And with growing taller comes added bonus for me. I can always count on you to help me with my chores. If I would let you, you would not only stand next to me as I cook, but do half the work as well. You fetch, measure, pour ingredient for me and if I tell you not to pick up something because if is heavy, you get offended. To prove me wrong, you carry Bugz who is heavier than anything I have in my kitchen and run around the house. Point noted sweetheart! I am learning to trust you when you say you can do something.

The one thing I am struggling most with is giving you your independence. I have to let go and trust that you will be safe, away from my eyes. I started slow. In the restaurants that we frequent most often, I started letting you go to the restroom on your own, while I stayed back on our table. I used to get jumpy, and watch the door like a hawk, but am getting better at it. Bugz, of course, has to follow. Which means all thanks to you, I am training her and myself at the same time. Letting go of both of you at the same time. Letting you ride in your friend’s car, leaving you for play dates, leaving you in a section of the library while I run behind Bugz – Baby steps and together, you and I, we will make it.

As things change and you grow, more they stay the same. You are the same Buzz that we love like crazy, only taller..bigger..stronger and our wish for you stays the same. Stay happy, stay healthy, stay you.

Loads of love,
-Maa

Leaving with my favorite picture made by you.

London-Blog

 

Chat Chat Chatter

Dear Bugz,

The phone rang today and before I could say “Hello”, you had it in your hands and were talking away. I was only invited to the conversation to help explain, what you were saying, to the other person on the line. Excitedly you talked and I looked on with a smile.

Everyday during pickup there is some new story about your talks from one or the other teacher at school. You stop in the middle of the road to talk to a stranger. You chat up people in the pool, while they are trying to swim. You talk about school, your teachers, your friends, your ladybug backpack, the books you like, how Didi and you landed up in the same swim class, your plans to ski during the winter, your new car seat, gummy bears, ice-cream, letter sounds, songs – the list is endless.

Your Didi is the shy one, who does not even say hello to people she knows, so it has been a slow realization for your Paa and me that you are the exact opposite. We are not used to having to watch what our child says to people and then to have to look horrified and apologize to some stranger at the gym, just because you called out to him, “You silly guy, why are you not wearing a shirt?” is definitely an experience. While we are still learning the pitfalls of a talkative child, we can only be thankful for your still baby voice which makes understanding what you say a little difficult for people who are not used to hearing you talk.

Every time we talk to family, they only want to talk to you. Well because you talk back. Your giggles, your laughs and your non-stop chatter keeps them entertained. You also have your pet phrases for everyone. There is “funny Nana!”, “when will you come here?” for S Mami, “Russo!” for Bua, “We will come for Christmas!” for Mama and Mami and the list goes on.

I look back at the time when as a year old, you hardly spoke a word. Your Paa was so worried for you and I would laugh as say, “Wait till she starts and then she won’t stop.” You have proved me right and how! Even when there are times when I put my hands up and ask you to stop, I wish you a world full of happy conversations. Stay happy, stay healthy, stay you – my dear little chatterbox.

Loads of love,
-Maa

Fairies

Dear Buzz,

For over a year now you have waited for this day. You have asked endless questions, you have watched your friends closely, you have read books about it and you have been impatient for your turn to come. Kids in your class started out with the phenomena more than a year back and that is when your questions started. Last year just before PD mama’s wedding, I joked and told you to hold on till after the wedding and you took my word for it, but the wedding happened and days and months ticked on after and nothing. You counted out your friends in class and the numbers kept dwindling till you were the only one left and that is when you started pushing.

Pushing hard on your teeth – if you could, you would get those teeth moving by sheer dint of your will. Your friends lost two, four – some even as high as twelve teeth, but the school year came to an end and you did not even have a wiggly tooth. You were so very disappointed.

Adding to it was all the visits Tooth Fairies were making to your friends’ place and your constant struggle with the question, “Are Tooth Fairies real?” You argued – all the doors and windows are locked at night; magic is not real; only birds have wings and even they can’t come in through closed windows. “How can Tooth Fairies be real?” you kept asking. But you wanted them to be real so bad, and that is where you were stuck. With your logic, you came up with simplest of solutions, “if I have a present under my pillow when my tooth falls, then they are real otherwise they are not.” How your Paa and I smiled at it all.

After quite a few complains of pain in your lower front tooth, for over a month, they finally did start to wiggle noticeably last week. The excitement level went up multiple folds in our household. The only time you talked tentatively about your teeth falling was when it came to the Tooth Fairy. Oh yes the present, I remember sweetheart, so on a recent trip to a store when I came across books, I bought two and told you I needed to hand them over to someone special. Not one more question you asked. You smiled and walked away.

Today when I came to pick you up in the evening, you smiled to show me what was missing, and then ran off to show me your precious tooth. Apparently eating cherries did the trick (along with freaking out your teachers, since they could not tell whether it was blood or cherry juice).  Then the chatter moved on to the gift. Bugz, super excited at sleep time peeped, “Tooth Fairy will come today, Didi!” You smiled big and whispered in my ears, “You are the Tooth Fairy Mumma, but Bugz is so little that she does not know.”

Yes sweetheart, Bugz is little but you are growing to be so big and sometimes I miss my little girl. But but I love the big girl you are becoming. Your next big milestone is here and we are super excited for you. We also know the second tooth is going to fall any day now, so enjoy your special time which has come after such a long wait. As always, stay healthy, stay happy, stay you!

Love,
-Maa

In the middle

Higher, push me higher!

She screams, trying to catch up to Didi. Didi, of course, pumps her legs to go higher still, laughing as she swings back and forth.

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Bugz, come catch me.

Off they go running. Little feet unable to catch the bigger faster ones, but laughter follows and so do shrieks of frustration.

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Biking, biking! Let’s go biking

Longer legs, bigger bike, she zooms off as soon as we get to the trail. With her little bike, sitting comfortably on her bike, training wheels still in place, the little one peddles on leisurely, laughing gleefully as she spots her Didi, every now and then.

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With the perpetual need to keep an eye on both of them, I run between the two of them – sometimes faster, sometimes slower, sometimes backwards, sometimes forward. The sun is out, the day is beautiful, the kids are happy, there are laughs, there are stops for hugs, there are endless smiles. As they go about playing, they run circles around me. Never consciously, always unsaid, mostly unacknowledged, yet I always find myself in the middle – middle of their play, middle of their fight, middle of their love – and every time, my heart swells up.

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Mumma, let me push her now. Higher and higher!

She comes and takes over, while the little one nods her head excitedly.

No Didi! I can’t catch you.

She comes back to hold hands and off they go running together.

Didi, wait for me!

Barely able to keep her balance, she rides alongside, just to keep the little sister happy.

Responsible

Dear Buzz,

Every month I think back to the month past and I am amazed at how much you have grown. Your actions, your activities, your questions – they take me by surprise every single time.

A few weekends back Bugz woke up in the morning and woke you up as well. You two walked in to our room but it was still early so you turned to Bugz and said “Mumma needs to sleep, let’s go down.” Unable to sleep knowing the two of you were alone, I walked down 10 or so minutes later to find the two of you sitting on your chairs on the deck eating strawberries. You looked up and said “I washed them before putting them in bowls Mumma.” I was speechless. Since then you seem to relish being the one to give Bugz her morning snack on weekends. I stay in bed listening to your conversations and smile. “Bugz what do you want to eat today?” you ask. She replies and you surprise me every time. Last Sunday I came down to see you two eating bread. You had gotten the packet of bread out of the fridge,  pulled a chair to put two slices in the toaster, gotten two plates out, waited for the bread slices to get toasted, applied butter to both of them. I was speechless is an understatement.

Early in the summer your class was a mix of kids from different grades. The older kids could do the monkey bars, you could hang from one bar but could not traverse. You worked on it every chance you got and a month later you were hanging off them, well like a monkey. You have blisters on your palms but you count them with pride and keep on with your monkey bars. Any visit to the park come with only one pre-requisite, it should have monkey bars.

You learned how to ride a bike last year but that was on a small bike. This year we got you a big girl bike. It is high, your feet barely touch the ground while you are on it, you haven’t really mastered the getting on the bike yourself part but you love ridding, especially when one of us takes out our bike and ride with you. The other thing you love is when your Paa and I go for a run and you ride alongside us. Excited, confident, you keep talking while the out of breadth us try to keep up with you.

Your Paa had dreamt a dream from I don’t even know when. You fulfilled part of it last winter when you skied alongside him. The other part came true last month when you climbed. We bought you a harness, fixed a rope on top of a rock wall and you climbed while your Paa belayed you. He gave you a little pull to move you a tad bit higher when you were totally stuck but for the most part your climbed up on your own. When you got to the top of that rock wall I could not make up my mind who I should focus on, your hand waving from the top or your Paa’s face radiating with pride.

You are processing everything you see and hear and are adding further layers to them. Your questions are getting more and more complicated to have straightforward answers. You understand that a doctor helps get a baby out of mommy’s tummy but now you wonder how the baby gets there in the first place. You asked me where did the first first first man come from and I reply with the easiest thing that comes to my mind, “they came from monkeys.” “Really? Really Mumma!” you asked over and over again and I thought we were done. The next day you came back with “Where did the first, very first living thing come from?” That you made the man to monkey to first living thing connect held me in shock. The next thought was”, how do I explain this?” Darwin’s theory of evolution here we come! You wanted to know “Is God for real, Mommy?” Unsure about how to answer, I replied, “Some people believe God is real and some people believe he is not.” You thought about that for a minute and asked “What do you believe, Mumma?”

Last year during the school year, your teachers taught you the concept of responsibility. They kept repeating that doing and bringing your homework back to school was the responsibility of every kid and not the parents. They told you that you had to be the ones to remind the parents when something was needed at school. They insisted that you had to remember to carry your own things home. “I am responsible!” you tell us constantly. Yes you are sweetheart and so grown up. Your insistence in helping me as I cook, the pride with which you tell everyone that you are the tallest kid in your class, your taking care of Bugz, your big hugs, your ever present smiles – I love it all and wish that  continue to grow beautifully. Stay happy, stay healthy, stay you. Always!

Love,
-Maa