Category: Puffed with pride

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!


Little Hills

Dear Buzz,

In order for you to be happy, you need everyone to be happy with you. And that means your parents, your family, your teachers, your friends, people you met for the first time. Truly everyone! There is also the fact that you are good at a lot of things. You pick up things taught at school without a lot of struggle, you love arts and craft and have the patience to finish coloring a picture perfectly, you are coordinated and dance well, you have a good balance which helps you in sports. These two things combined means that it gets very difficult for you when you don’t do well at anything. Your first instinct is to avoid doing it, pretending that it does not interest you. Then the struggle starts to try and try a little more. As a grown up (and a biased mom), I still things you pick things, you thinks are difficult, easily. A few tries and it is not a challenge anymore.

Beginning of this school year, learning to read was your biggest struggle. You knew you letters, you knew the sound they made. But seeing it all together and you decided it was too hard. It has been slow work, trying to sound every letter and fit it all together, but you my smart one, memorize words you get stuck on and remember them so that you don’t have to sound them out. In a way that is how we are all read, our brain processes most written text that way, which makes your way a great way to go, but your Maa still makes you sound every word and makes you work through it. Super mean of her, I know, but you are doing great, even when you think you are not. I look at the progress you have made in the few short months and am amazed at how far you have come.

You love to learn. You wanted to learn how to read and write Hindi, so I taught you how to write your name. For about a month, you wrote it everywhere you possibly could. When your school offered Hindi class in their after school program, I asked you if you wanted to go? You were so excited to start that it was difficult to make you wait the week before class started. Every week you would come home talking about something you had learned. There was the k, kh, g and your funny pronunciation of them, there was Ravan and Diwali stories, there was practicing writing the letters. And you had fun doing it all. We worked together on ghoda and not goda, jhoola and not joola but as we laughed, you learned.

When you were a year and a half we had gone to a beach. You were so excited to see the water that you ran towards it. A big wave came charging and I picked you up in the nick of time, but it scared you off. Big pools of water were not for you. It took slow build up of confidence to get you inside a swimming pool but once you got over your fear, you were amazing. Now I see you mastering the backstroke, working hard on free style and just this weekend they progressed you to breast stroke. The smile on your face and you talked all about how you moved your legs was a sight to behold.

Having heard and watched videos of your Paa skiing and snowboarding, you could not wait to learn either. But having skis on is a totally different experience and the cold and snow does not help either. Once you got used to that, they started teaching you how to stop on a small small (almost un-noticeable) slope. The first time around, you were scared. I stood below, with a promise that I would not let you fall. You smiled and came down full speed, not even trying to stop. A couple of trips down the slope and you realized, you would stop without any effort on your part as you came to the flat section. No matter how many times your instructed asked you to break, you would not. You looked at me and said, ‘I like going fast, why should I break?’. I explained that only when you learned to stop will your instructors take you up on the chair lift. Indeed they did that to a few kids in your class, while you got left behind. Not happy with that, you practiced you stops, relentlessly.

This weekend, your ski class was off. The plan was for your Paa to see if you were ready for the chair lift and if so take you up one and come down an actual long slope. A couple of reasons and we decided that I would carry my ski along and not him. The two of us did three runs on bunny slopes and we thought you were ready. With a little bit of trepidation (OK a lot more than little), I took you up the slope on the chair lift. You laughed as we sat on the chair, hanging high over the ground, looking down at people. The getting off the lift used to be the scariest part for me, while I was learning how to ski, but you were a pro at it, in your first time. I told you, ‘skis straight, stand up and I will push you a little.’ You did it exactly as instructed, not even a wobble and you were off, skiing out. I went in front, you followed. Not only breaking when your speed became too much but also turning as I did. Any expectations I had, before we started the run, you blew beyond recognition. As we came down to stand in line again to get on the chair lift, you asked me, ‘can you tell Papa, I did well? I feel down twice, but that is OK right Mumma?’. I hugged you tights, ‘of course it is more than ok!’ 3 more runs, only one more fall, while Paa and Bugz, standing in the middle of the run, watching and you were ready to move on to the next challenge.

Your little hills, you concur with so much ease. Your highs so much bigger because of your little age. Our pride ever growing with each step of yours. My dearest one, my wish for you stays with you, through the hills and valleys. Stay healthy, stay happy, stay you.

Oh and as you grow up and laugh at my skiing skills, remember I was the first one to teach you how to come down a hill!

Loads of love,


Slow melt

Bugz has moved on from being a one-trick (pony) to a jack (of many trades ..err tricks). For the longest time all she could do was clap. Bye-bye was a hit and miss thing. High-five got more hits than misses. These days she is picking new things every single day though.

Kitte badde hum? (How big are we?)

I would ask Buzz when she was little. She would raise both her hands high to show how big she was and would look absolutely adorable doing so. I was itching to teach Bugz the same and started on it yesterday when I had some alone time with her. Teach and repeat 5-6 times and Bugz had it down.

Today was the day to show off the newly learned trick and she came out with flying colors. Smiles and claps followed, which meant Bugz would not stop, even when we stopped asking her the cue question.

Things calmed down after a bit. D and I got busy in the kitchen while the kids started playing.

Wow, look at them!

exclaimed D, all of a sudden. I looked up to see them sitting on the floor next to each other. Buzz bent a little and gave Bugz a kiss on her cheek. Bugz then followed by stretching up to peck Buzz’s cheek. Repeat, repeat again and again.

Don’t know who taught Bugz the kissing part. All I know is that seeing the two of them had us the parents slowly melt in to a puddle of mush.

Wheels on the bus

..go round and round

Buzz wants me to sing it over and over again. After I am done with every verse I stop and she tell me the part to sing next.

Me: ..all around the town.
Buzz: Driver.
Me: Driver on the bus..all around the town.
Buzz: Horn.
Me: Horn on the bus..all around the town.
Buzz: How about daddy?
Me: <ignores her> Doors on the bus..all around the town.
Buzz: <she barely waits for the ‘town’ to finish before she chimes in> How about daddy?
Me: Baby on the bus..all around the town.
Buzz: How about DADDY?
Me: Mommy on the bus..all around the town.
Me: Daddy on the bus goes <and I pause>
Buzz: I lub oo <with a huge smile on her face>

Runs to where D is and gives him a hug..

I lub oo Papa.

Paa promptly melts in a puddle. Oh! that grin on his face refuses to go away.

And that my friends is why Daddy has to be the last one on the bus.

Was it really this easy?

Potty training..two words that have been on Maa’s mind for the past 6 months and even more.

Maa did not research or read this much about her entire pregnancy as she did for this one milestone in Buzz’s life. So there were signs of whether the kid is ready or not, various do’s and don’ts, things you should/could/would buy to facilitate a quick turnaround (err.. fully potty trained kid). Research in hand Maa figured Buzz was ready, but her teachers in daycare were not. (Maa was not at all relieved to have to postpone the process? It was not her fault that Buzz was not trained. She wanted to, really she did. It was all Buzz’s daycare’s fault).

Came a day when daycare teachers said ‘Yes, let’s do it’. Maa was also planning a trip to India. The last time she went to India, Buzz was 3 months old and she got a lot of flak for putting diapers on the three-month old. ‘Why tie the kid up all day long. Let them be.” Maa shuddered to think what she would have to hear if Buzz was not trained by the time they headed out. As expected, Maa started hyperventilating. All notes were revised (links revisited), tips and tricks noted down. Then the daycare teacher dropped another bomb..

Whenever ready, go cold turkey. Get rid of diapers in one go.

WHAT..but the carpeted floors! 

..Maa spluttered. Nothing doing, there was not buzzing them off.

The coming weekend was mentally checked off, the back was strapped* (it still hurts from the back issue months back) on the day off, the diaper came off and prayers in earnest started. Well Maa refuses to talk about the number of pants that were washed that day (5-6) and how little success was achieved (NONE) and how relieved she was that she was allowed to put a diaper on at nap time (VERY). Paa being the sane one in the family (oh how Maa hates to say that) talked to her about how sick she was (Maa had a bad cold, stuffed nose and was generally feeling miserable) and could she not postpone this thing called potty training till she got a little better.

Aah made perfect sense (anything to postpone the darn thing). The trip to India got postponed. Another reason to take a deep breath.

A couple of months down the line, friends with kids around Buzz’s age started to put up Facebook status like ‘To do it or not’ (Oh FB! how Maa hates thee). The panic returned. The back belt brought out AGAIN. Maa picked a weekend that Paa was out-of-town (did not want him messing things up. The last time midway ditching of the effort was his fault after all).

Saturday morning: Diaper came off. Buzz was made to sit on the pot every half an hour. No matter how many times and how long she sat there, she went 5 mins after she got off the pot. Pants were washed. 1 success in the evening just before they were to go to a friend’s place for dinner (bribe being she gets to take a bath if she went in the pot. The kid loves her ‘nahaie nahaie’ time or what). Big celebration on the success (there was dancing, singing, jumping..err all by Maa).

Not following the plan, diapers came on. Maa really, truly did not want Buzz to mess up the carpet at the friend’s place (Maa swears, it was not because she was too tired to clean up). Buzz fell asleep in the car on their way back. Nighttime diapers are allowed. (YAY! done for the day) 

Sunday: Diaper came off. Buzz kept asking her them. Maa had a brain wave,

Diaper to baby pehente hein. Aap baby ho kya?**

End to the demands for a diaper. Commence holding on, not going for 3+ hours. One semi accident where Buzz was seen running to the bathroom when she could hold on no more. So half in, half out. Celebrations were huge, irrespective. More holding for hours but grudgingly going just in time, happened. Maa also had a realization that the poor little thing was not comfortable sitting on the pot since she did not know where to keep her legs, plus all the colorful fishes on the baby seat which goes on top of the pot (which Maa had bought with so much love and enthusiasm) were distracting. Buzz would spend all her time finding the blue, pink, purple, yellow, orange, green fish rather than going about her business. Out came the portable potty that Nani had got, oh so many years ago, when she first found out that Maa was pregnant. Easy to sit, legs firmly placed on the ground, Buzz would still hold out as long as she could but would go when she really had to.

Monday: Off to daycare in her new big girl underwear. Maa was so very glad to hand over the rest of the day and potty training efforts to the daycare teachers (bad bad Maa). At the end of the day as she enters the class dreading the number of clothes she would have to take home to wash and the horror stories she would get to hear, she spied Buzz in the pants she wore that morning. No accidents, not one! Buzz would hold on for a few hours and then run and go on her own, Maa was told.

And so it went on for the rest of the week with Buzz going with more and more ease.

This was the weekend before last and all of last week.

Celebration time right? But Maa and Paa are mean. They wanted to test the little baby before calling her fully potty trained, so what did they do? They took Buzz out for a long drive (well they were mostly tired of the rain and went chasing the sun, but tell that to a one week only potty trained kid). Drive, stop, eat, run around, drive of 9 hours, with stops every hour and a half to two hours. The result you ask? Buzz came back with flying colors. Not one single accident!

Maa would ask her every now and then, ‘Buzz, potty?’, to get the look of, ‘are you crazy woman! We are in a moving car. How am I to go potty?’ Only to go the minute the car was stopped and the cute little butt touched the toilet seat.

For extra credits: Kids take way longer for nap time training and night-time training, since they have less control then. Buzz has had a dry diaper all week when she gets up from her nap. And she has had an empty diaper 3 days in a row when she got up in the morning.
For extra extra credits: Since Maa tortured her so much during the entire weekend and Paa was the good person who was not around, he has been designated as the official ‘take-me-potty-and-clean-me-up-after’ person. 😀

PS: Maa still cannot believe it could be this easy and is waiting for the disaster that everyone talks about.

*kamar kastan??
**Baby wears a diaper. Are you a baby?

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.