Random Again!

21 Nov

Here we go with some randomness from our lives:

  • In the last 24 hours, I have had 8 slices of Pizza. Yes, this is the size of a complete medium pizza. So I was swamped with work and bored to cook yesterday, we decided to order pizza. Now the options were a large pizza from a really nice store or 3 medium pizzas from a chain for a few dollars more. What do you think we choose? The 3 mediums, of course. Bandar , who was recovering from a bout of fever and had not eaten much at all for a few days , perked up soon as I mentioned that pizza was being delivered soon. She ate a slice and took a few bites of one more. This 1.25 pizza slice eating spree of hers made me so happy!
  • As Bandar was sick, I had a nanny at home, from the back up care option my company offers , for a few hours each day this week to watch her. As I work from home, it means I sneak away to work in the guest room, while the nanny watches Bandar in the living room and other bedroom. On Tuesday , the husbadoo was working from home too. So we were cooped up in the guest room – sadly, working! Hmmm..conference calls and faculty apps do not lead to any sort of romantic moments.
  • I am going through such mixed emotions about my India trip which is in a week. I am excited and nervous. Nervous only because the husbadoo isn’t going to be with us and I am spending two weeks with his family , without him. I am a grown ass woman, so I need to snap out of this nervy Nellie mode and deal with it. I did this last year too but it was for a shorter time and also certain things have happened since then..things have been said on both sides and though we Skype and chat with my in laws almost each weekend, and I have long phone conversations with them as well, we somehow never talk about the mean things that were said and I just feel being under the same roof for two weeks might make some of these uncomfortable conversations happen and I am really nervous it. My strategy is to try to spend several hours outdoors, visiting relatives and showing Bandar Bombay.
  • Maybe it is my recent Austin visit, but I am having some weird blues since I have been back. The whole career not going anywhere from working remote thing, the whole OMG we need to make more to survive in NYC thing, we are 30 – when is this phase going to be done thing! But snuggled between the husbadoo and Bandar each night I realize that being together right now is the only thing that matters right now. I just need to hold on to that happy thought during the day.
  • I am researching elliptical trainers to buy this holiday season. I lack the dedication to work out on a mat at home and maybe seeing a machine in the house will motivate me to get on. I am getting ready to make the $$$ investment but already feel sorry for the delivery guys who will have to bring up a 100 lb machine up 5 floors. This has got to be human cruelty.
  • I started using a slow cooker. I have an electric pressure cooker which I love and the slow cooker option was something I had not tried at all till recently. The only problem is that my house smells of delicious desi spices for about 6-8 hours as I work and I constantly feel hungry. Yes, the elliptical is much needed.
  • Our 4th floor neighbors finally removed their Halloween decorations. The frightening skeleton had been on for 45 days now as he had gone up well before Halloween. Bandar was petrified and refused to climb the stairs! I made up several stories of him being a regular boy who had simply refused to eat his food and had hence reduced to a mass of bones and been thrown out of his house, and though she listen to this story each day , she didn’t pity him or befriend him at all.  So imagine hauling almost 30 lbs up several flights of stairs. Add a few more pounds for our winter gear.
  • Oh and this foolish story has to be told here. A few weeks ago, I absentmindedly got Bandar downstairs without shoes! I decided in one foolish moment that I had no energy to take her back up, so gave her strict instructions to sit on the bottom step and wait for me , while I ran up to get them. What a stupid, stupid idea as our building faces a busy main road and residents keep coming in and out in the morning hours and Bandar is just two . Bandar was safe for those maybe 3 minutes but gave a resounding scream when one of the residents wanted to cross her on the bottom step. I almost fell down the stairs getting to her. Even though nothing happened, I tortured myself by thinking of the “what if” scenarios. I gave Bandar terribly tight hugs that morning and all she randomly said was “I love you too and I am your child, Amma. I will scream if anyone comes near my step, Amma ”.
  • I have so many random tasks to do in the next few days but the most fun one is getting holiday cards made. I scanned our computers for a nice family picture from the year, but I only have one suitable one of us from vacation in April and we are in summer clothes. Do we need to be in fall or winter clothing for holiday cards? So we have requested our one, sole friend in NYC to take a few of us this Sunday.
  • Second on the fun list to do, is getting a mini Christmas tree .Bandar is old enough to understand now and is so excited to decorate it. As Bandar and I will be in India on Christmas Day, we plan to celebrate it with the husbadoo on Dec 27th when we are back. Excited!
  • We are sadly missing the most magical time of the year in NYC.I am not unhappy about missing the cold, but do wish our previous India trip plans had materialized with Diwali in India and Christmas in NYC together. But there is always next year I guess !

The week that was

17 Nov

Playing back the week with the highlights. Long post head… skip if you don’t like the mundane!

Saturday

Bandar had a fancy schmancy haircut! A few months ago, the husbadoo cut her hair and though he did a decent job , it had started to grow back really unevenly, especially her bangs and Bandar perpetually looked untidy.  We had been postponing a professional cut for a while. A kid’s haircut in Austin was $ 15 and in NYC it is $ 35. This is at a specialty kiddie salon. I debated taking her to a small adult store that does kids cuts too but I recently read a scary email on my mommy group where a small child had been hurt badly with the scissors at a cheap adult salon. So that decided it for me. I decided to suck it up and get Bandar a good cut at the right place. I am so glad I did this too. It gave me an awesome business idea if I ever go that route. This is a money maker! Bandar loved this place – they had toy cars for the kids to sit in while they got their haircut, bubbles were blown around them, they got to pick a video to watch and got a little toy at the end. Bandar also got a professional hair consult. This part makes me giggle – it was a serious talk on next steps in growing Bandar’s hair out and we were strictly instructed on how to train it, how to tie it and most importantly NOT CUT IT OURSELVES! Hehe. Anyway, Bandar looks much cleaner in general now without a mass of heavy bangs on her forehead .She has also finally agreed to let us start tying her hair and we had a fun 30 minutes at another store picking out new clips.

We went to a local dosa chain – Hampton Chutney, after her haircut.This is an NYC chain that sells dosas and sandwiches with exotic fillings. Arugula, portabello and goat cheese dosa , anyone? I like the fact that this place actually brings the exotic dosa to American families with a set of fillings that they are familiar with. I love seeing little toddlers of various races holding dosas like wraps and taking bites as their parents tuck in. I stuck with a standard masala one which though decent sadly always seems missing some seasoning , the husbadoo had a sandwich and Bandar actually asked for her own cheese dosa which she ate a quarter off before we helped her with it.

Once home, I spent the rest of the day cooking as I was leaving on a work trip on Sunday. I made palak paneer, chole, a bell pepper and besan dry subji, chocolate pancakes, custard, quinoa salad and adai batter. The idea was to cook enough to feed the husbadoo for a few days and to make life easier for him as he goes about preparing Bandar’s fresh food each day.

I then did some packing and got set for my early flight out for the next day. As I only physically go to an office every six weeks or so, it is always fun to prune through clothes and decide which ones I would like to be seen in during my visit. Needless to say, I always overpack and almost always come back with a few new shirts each time.

Sunday

Sunday flights just kill your weekend. Though it is barely a 3 hour flight, the whole shuttle to and fro the airport adds to the time. I was unable to take a Monday AM flight this time as I had early morning meetings on Monday, so that meant Sunday was my only option.

Being at Austin airport and the city in general just brings back a flood of memories each time and I desperately miss the husbadoo. I do miss Bandar too but somehow Austin was our place and it is the husbadoo with whom I want to reminiscence with.

Anyway, I got to my friend’s place and after relaxing for a bit, we went out for dinner. We went to a south Indian place which was really good – Suprabath and I had my second dosa of the weekend and nice fluffy idlis. I don’t know if I have said this before but like most Tamilian kids, I started appreciating idlis rather late in life, when I don’t have access to them regularly.

We then watched Million Dollar Arm which I highly recommend and lazed on my friend’s couch before turning in for the night.

Monday

I was up and out of the house at 6:45 am. Sadly, the latest I left for work that week was 7 am. Something I am not used to at all, working remote really spoils you. I stopped to buy tacos for my team at the best taco place in Austin – TacoDeli. I usually try to go in there atleast thrice during a trip but sadly could not this time and this was the only taco I had during my entire trip. The rest of the day was only work – I was in all day meetings that did not go as well for me as I wanted. I had dinner with my team at a BBQ place that surprisingly had a decent veggie burger and I avoided the fries. So yeah for me! I did have a glass of wine though.

My friend’s husband left on a work trip which was perfectly timed to give us some girl time and we lounged around and scoped Netflix to find a random show to watch – Reckless. It starts off with everyone making out with everyone and is such a mindless watch but we stuck to it and watched an episode each day.

Tuesday

I started the day early again and had fairly satisfactory meetings and redeemed myself for Monday’s performance- atleast in my head. I had lunch at the cafeteria which was a cheeseless made-to-order pizza and spent the day in more meetings.

I got to the parking lot at 4:30 pm , excited about a shopping spree with my friend that evening and started my car, only to be hit a few minutes later as I reversed. Ughh..ugly car accident which fairly should have been the other guy’s fault for speeding on campus but as I was the one reversing, it is always considered my fault. I should have looked around better too , I guess. My poor car might not ever be the same again. I have been dreading this moment since we bought a high end car almost 5 years ago and it finally happened, just as we finished our last car payment. One hour later we had finished campus police and local police procedures and I was on my way home to my friend’s house with dangling car parts.We managed to kick specific parts in (that sounds brutal, doesn’t it) and the car looked less damaged than I originally thought a few hours later , but at the very least,the back bumper still needed replacement. Sadly my deductible had to come into play for the body work. What are the odds of this happening when I drive once in 6 weeks. Pretty high if you consider I am a nervous , bad driver.

Anyway, my friend cheered me up by making me look at the bigger picture of minor damage and no one being hurt and I was cheerful enough to go shoppingJ We went to the Domain and I bought a few things for my impending India trip gifts and we had dinner at the Steeping Room.  I temporarily forgot about the car for those 2 hours but felt horrible when I saw it again on her driveway once home.

Wednesday

I left the house bright and early again for my medical appointment at the campus doctors- this is my yearly physical for my insurance. All things look good except my Triglycerides have gone up 40 points and are at 125 in one year! Whew – carbs and sugars I guess! My waist is down an inch and half to 26 inches which is nice to know and my cholesterol and sugar levels are fine. All this doesn’t negate the fact that I need regular exercise though – need to get back to Jillain Michaels videos that did wonders for me 6 months ago.

I spent a good chunk of the morning figuring out car repair plans, and roping in a team mate to kindly pick up the car for me next week. I then realized I had only half a day with a car left and rushed to do some more India trip shopping at Kohls and Ross. MY favorite cheap hangouts from days of yore. I also picked up lunch – Pineapple fried rice from my favorite fusion Asian place – Fire Bowl. Considering I was fasting overnight for the blood tests, I was ravenous at 1 pm.

I dropped the car off for repairs and my friend picked me up for some more shopping – this time at the outlet mall. I just bought two dresses at Loft which did not break the bank , being on clearance and all.  Size 4 at Loft appears to now fit me like a glove, though of course, I want to make it into a size 2 without the ugly bulges. H&M is a stupid other story where size 8 pants are difficult to roll up my thighs.  I also got a shocking pink cardigan from Banana Republic. The cardigan over random tee or sleeveless work blouse has become a signature look for me now and I needed to add to my colorful cardigan collection.

We had dinner at Tarka. Seriously, love their Paneer Biryani – no irritating veggies –only yummy paneer and fragrant rice. Maybe I overdid on the rice but I was so acidic and uncomfortable  that night that I throw up a little once home and felt better . TMI!

Thursday

My team mate picked me up for the Texas Conference for Women. Loved this – 5000 women from all walks of life attending inspiring sessions on leadership, career development and work life balance issues.

Fun advice from the day – Get a professional headshot for LinkedIn and ensure you show your teeth when you smile. Apaprently, it builds more trust!

I loved every bit of the day, except the nasty veggie lunch – don’t even ask me what it was. I spent some time around the expo floor – sneaking in freebies like Vitamix sponsored fresh juice samples and vegan , gluten free macaroons that tasted exactly like coconut ladoos!

Once done, another friend dropped me off at a team event at the Domain. I spent some time shopping (for the India trip, I swear) and then met my team for drinks. I had a tasty cocktail with vodka, ginger ale and lime and then a glass of wine. I nibbled on carrot sticks and pita chips and had a fun time with my team.I got dropped off at my friend’s place by a team mate and caught up with team gossip on the way. Who said guys don’t gossip? I felt handicapped without my car in just 24 hours  but it let me bond with various people that I usually don’t talk to on my regular trips, so I guess that it one of way of looking at it.

Friday

I made my way back to NYC. Nothing much to note, except that my shuttle ride from Newark Airport to the city took longer than my flight from Austin to Newark! I got home tired but excited to see my babies and spent the evening cuddling them and ordering in Thai.

Playing Host

5 Nov

My mom is a wonderful hostess. My sister and I always had the best birthday parties – lovely homemade food and creative, fun games.  The games seemed to get more creative and fun as we grew older and I think I celebrated my birthday well into my teens. The food each year was so well thought of too– some classics that we loved remained the same each year and other new ones were introduced to surprise us and our friends. Her dinner parties for adults were also pretty awesome. Living far away, I haven’t been witness to any in recent times but she keeps me posted over the phone and even now her menus are elaborate, the décor, lighting , the cutlery -the prep she puts in to plan everything surprises me . She does have house help but that said her enthusiasm , energy and execution are pretty much spot on. My parents often hosted dinner parties on Saturday nights when I was growing up and I remember the extensive shopping for groceries, prep and the actual event. The nicest part of the whole thing used to be my parents, sister and I cleaning up after the party, my mom washing the exquisite cutlery by hand, while dad dried everything and we kids went around the living room and kitchen picking up scraps and trash. We would talk about the evening; discuss the badly behaved kids if any, discuss what the women wore and other things before sometimes sitting down for some additional dessert well past midnight. We would then have a lovely set of leftover options for Sunday meals.

These dinner parties and the work involved however, don’t come close the huge task of hosting the people who stay at our place. We had a steady stream of relatives and friends staying with us for a few days at a time as I grew up. Maybe it was because of dad’s transferrable job, but as soon as our cartons were unpacked in a new city, the hordes of guests would start to arrive. Mom took it all in her stride though and really went out of her way to ensure their comfort. Amazing meals, immaculate guest rooms , a steady stream of snacks, packed food when the guests went out sight-seeing, planning excursions and shopping trips with visiting ladies  – all this she did with balancing a full time job , two kids and a husband. I believe she still goes over the top when my sister’s friends have sleepovers at our place and her friend’s love coming home. My mom thrives on playing host and seems to enjoy the whole thing immensely, despite the work it involves.

So growing up with this, I just know no different and now that I have my own little family unit, I strive to be a great host. But I have miles to go before I perfect the whole thing. We have had quite a few distant family members visit us in NYC in the last one year. Our recent guests stayed with us about a week last month. My mom gets super excited when I tell her we have family visiting and she starts her trans -Atlantic planning for me and gives me loads of ideas. They are merely ideas but I of course, want to execute them all perfectly. Undoubtedly, It is a lot of work . For one, the cooking three continuous meals is hard to pull off for me. Next , the sight-seeing leaves me exhausted and resentful. And on top of that, if it is the husbadoo’s distant family who is visiting, as was the case recently, I am so stressed about impressing them that it overwhelms me.

The other hard thing in all this for me, is the fact that the husbadoo wants me to do bare minimum- not kill myself making different breakfasts each morning, not worry about packed lunches on all day site seeing trips and to order in Indian food when we return really late from site seeing with them on weekends. I don’t agree with any on this – offering just cereal for breakfast to middle aged Indian family members is unacceptable in my book, packed food when they are out sight-seeing on a weekday without us is a must as I don’t want if I don’t want them spending their hard earned money on food on the go, and us ordering overpriced NYC Indian take out that I cook better myself is not an option .

So we argue in hushed tones behind closed doors. He tells me not to kill myself and that impressions don’t matter anymore, that we are married now and have a child and who cares what people think. He reminds me of certain relatives of his who I slogged over hosting over the last few years but who continue to hate and judge me for illogical reasons. I argue that I am not asking for his opinion in any of this – I am simply going to do what I want to do and that all he has to do is help with the toddler and stay out of my way.  So we go on and on each time we have visitors! I don’t see either of us backing down from our stand anytime soon and I am sure we will have plenty of more visitors through our life and plenty of more arguments about this.

P.S. This last set of visitors we had were fairly easy to take care of and I successfully pulled off all the things that I had planned during their visit. I spent a few days feeling just good about their visit after their left and some weird sense of achievement.

Daddy’s Little Girl

4 Nov

Even if I don’t write about anything else that happened in September, I need to quickly blog about my Dad’s visit. He spent about two weeks with us right after Bandar’s birthday and it was a much needed change for all of us. After the business part of his trip was over, he spent his days at home with me and it was fun to take a break from work during the day to play a game of Scrabble or Chinese Checkers with him or to have someone to make some ginger tea for.

Bandar , who has always been extremely  fond of my mom but never really spent a lot of alone time with my dad clung to him within a few days of his arrival and waited for him to return from work in the evenings.  He took over school pick up and drop off duties during those ten days and took Bandar to the park every evening. For once, I was glad to live in NYC as it meant he could go about without being depending on us to drive him around. He watched Bandar all evening as I cooked or worked and she now sings quite a few Kishore Kumar songs in her strong American accent. It’s such a riot to watch her.

Bandar sadly still doesn’t sit down patiently for a slightly complicated Enid Blyton story and prefers simple books with tons of pictures but nevertheless I think she did enjoy the stories he told her.

We tried to keep our trips outside Bandar centric and managed a museum visit and a zoo visit. Surprisingly dad enjoyed these as much as Bandar.

I had the task of coming up with healthy meals all through his visit . Given that he doesn’t eat rice and that I don’t make rotis, this was quite a challenge. Let’s just say I introduced him to whole wheat tortillas and quinoa on this visit. But he was a sport and ate and complimented everything. This trip also was perhaps the first time, my dad saw me as a real adult – running a full household, managing a toddler and of course, working.  Somehow we have always had some form of help during his last few visits, unlike the do-it-yourself life we lead currently.

I think I have posted this before here, my wedding probably happened only thanks to my dad. After 3 years of riding the parental disapproval wave, I broke down once on a family holiday in San Francisco and I think seeing my sob miserably did it for him. That appears to have been the turning point in his view of my relationship and from that point on, he arranged the family meetings with the husbadoo’s folks , convinced his parents and spent several months trying to convince my maternal relatives. Him orchestrating the whole thing really means a whole lot more to me than I ever let him know.

. At this point, us going back home for good remains a very distant possibility. So I worry about aging parents and often wonder if mine will ever agree to stay with us for a few months when they retire. Their longest trip here has been 3 weeks and I wonder how they will fare if they were to stay a few months. In the meantime, these refreshing , short visits are precious memories I cling on to and think fondly about as I go about my day.

Back

4 Nov

Back! It hardly seems like the right title when I feel I was hardly gone. But it has been two months. Two months of thinking – thinking about posts in my head everyday, thinking about people whose blogs I read everyday and thinking about my poor neglected space on the web and still doing nothing to actually get back to it all. Why I ask myself..why did I sit back and not read any posts or blog at all. A large part of it is laziness , of course ( it really is easier to sit and have a marathon Netflix session of Scandal – how fab is Season 3) and a smaller part of it is all the lousy excuses I am going to come up with in the next para or two.

My blogging gadgets – my tablet , my cell phone broke in the last few weeks.  I dropped them of course – on different days in case you are wondering, but yes in the same week. So I have been functioning with just a laptop – oh poor me, first world problems.

Also , the husbadoo worked very long hours over the last few weeks-  I am talking spending several nights at work, to return for a few hours of sleep randomly to the house and then to take off again . He spent a few weekends too at work and Bandar and I were left to our own devices . ( or  deviceless thanks to my clumsiness).My weekdays and weekends often blurred into one and I functioned as worker bee, cook, cleaner, sole care provider, sleep whisperer and so on and so forth.

I dealt with weird illnesses – self and Bandar , successive work trips and visiting relatives galore. More on all these later.

Anyway, the madness seems to have ceased temporarily. The husbadoo spent a complete weekend relaxing with us at home, which was seriously fabulous and our world seems fairly normal again.

Thankless little Bandar of course , clings to her dad and takes me for granted as I always just around and I am the happiest. This gave me lots of time to write a flurry of posts which I will post, mainly to recap the last two months and to bring everyone upto speed on our mundane lives. If I have any readers left , of course. I will also catch up on my own reading of blogposts on my reader. So expect some commenting from me too.

2 years of her monkiness

12 Sep

Note: I wanted to publish this on Bandar’s birthday, Sept 5 and had started writing it a week ago. I just finished it today though, so I figured better late than never.

__________________________________________

And just like that, our Bandar turned two!

Dearest Bandar,

My silly little goose, you are two! Time really does fly. I remember the moment you were placed on my chest a minute after you were born and you just looked at me with an unblinking stare and then gave a lazy yawn. You were not much of a crier that first day, and your Mimi worried about this in her usual way. You more than made up for it of course, on our second day at the hospital, and I broke into tears too. I was overwhelmed, dear girl. Overwhelmed with the excruciating recovery pain, the no sleep situation (again, not your fault..you slept like a lamb that first night . I was on an adrenaline high and just couldn’t sleep), the cluster feeding that no one tells you about , the unsolicited contradictory breastfeeding advice I had thrown at me from all angles and I just broke down. This was too hard, I thought. I had no idea how this little ball of baby would be fed and nourished and raised. I was not cut out for this. I was a failure.  But slowly and surely , Appa, you and I figured it out. It was just the three of us trying to make this whole feeding thing work those first few days. Your dad read multiple forums with me, researched positions , drove me all over town when I as much as hinted I wanted to meet a lactation consultant and you and I tired everything in our power to get this right. Lo and behold, you grew with each doctor’s visit and I no longer feared that darn hospital baby weighing scale. We then figured out how to actually get you to sleep. We did no pacifiers at all, and this meant you tended to comfort nurse for hours. At some point each night, you were unlatched and Appa walked you all over the house in the crook of his arm. Again, we handled this all on our own and got our own rhythm going as a family.

This year has been a lot like that, hasn’t it. As much as the first year was about extended family visits, this year has primarily been our little unit of three. We have had a lot of changes and have had to figure out how to make it all work. We moved to a new city, you transitioned from staying with your nanny at home to starting pre school, we traded our cars for public transport and sultry Texas summers to torrid NYC winters. You my little goose, did brilliantly through it all.

  • You happily wore the 4 layers of clothing I put you in as we made our way to school in sub zero temps for weeks.
  • You did a decent amount of domestic travel this year and enjoyed the plane rides immensely.
  • You are a social butterfly, my dear and call out a cheery greeting and start a conversation with passers by on the road and strangers at the grocery store. The homeless man at our doorstep who you lovingly call dada and watch for hours on our video monitor is a favorite.
  • You have learnt to walk and run and play and seeing you fearlessly climb the monkey bars at the park, confirms that you have a lot of your daddy in your genes.
  • You excel at pretend play and one of current favorites is to pretend that we are at the beach. You get so caught up in the imagined play that we have to distract you to stop.
  • You still have a fair amount of separation anxiety from your parents and are cautious ,as every child should be ,about who you go to. Despite that you have adjusted really well to different nannies when you are home from school of late.
  • You have thrived in this school, though I sometimes fear it is a tad chaotic for you, and your teachers absolutely adore you.
  • You have made a best friend who is the polar opposite of you and it is hilarious to watch you girls play together.
  • You have met a new set of kakas and kakis and mamas and mamis this year and you have won over several almost 30 year old hearts.
  • Talking to you is an absolute blast. You went from words one day to sentences the next and are now fairly expressive for a 2 year old. I particularly love the way you hear new words like “Steeple” and “Crescent” and use them perfectly in sentences several days later.Your vocabulary is almost 98% English with a few other words thrown in. Your dad and I need to work harder on the Tri Lingual thing if that is still an aim.
  • On the same note, your baby talk is almost gone and I miss it a little bit. You recently kept using the word “alligator” for “elevator” and I stopped your dad from correcting you. But he did just a few minutes before I could stop him and you nowproudly exclaim “Alligator is an animal, Amma” when I try to get you to say it.
  • You climb all 5 floors up to our walk up apartment on your good days.
  • Your daddy and you have a special bond. He manages you all on his own for a week at a time every few months when I travel for work and does such a fabulous job of it. He is your favorite parent by far, though I am hoping this love is better distributed in a few years.
  • I like to think you and mommy have your fun too when we are thrown together alone on weekends and all weekday evenings. We have done the zoo, the museum, several train adventures and lots of park and library trips on our own – just us girls around the big city! I can’t wait for you to grow up and have more fun places to explore on our own.
  • You love eating out and keep urging us to go out to a “mamoo place” to eat. We have started being a little less stressed about taking you to restaurants as well and by now know the routine.
  • You absolutely love the moon and can stare at it for hours. Amma has created a fun series of stories about a boy who is the moon and is called “Moon Baby” and he does pretty much everything you do during the day , except that he shines big and bright as the moon at night! The possibilities for Moon Baby are endless and I make up new incidents every bedtime and you listen gleefully.

Some other things that Amma true to her nature, has to call out!

  • You are not a great eater at all , Bandar and I try oh so hard with this. I have shed tears and lost my temper a few times off late but I still cant get you to eat more than you want to, which IS a single bite at times. I really hope you grow to have a healthy relationship with food as it means so much to your dad and I.
  • You are scared of any toy that moves in an unnatural way..be it the lovely train engine or the barking stuffed doggy. You are also scared of domestic pets that approach you , though you will admire them from a distance.I am not at all concerned about this and know you will grow out of it.
  • You refuse to get potty trained and have no interest in even trying your potty seat. You keep saying that you will be trained “one day” and I can only hope it is soon.
  • You are rather too free with your hands, darling and we are working on changing that. You feel immense guilt after a slap-happy incident and immediately apologize profusely. You enjoy your timeouts for this far too much and refuse to leave the naught corner.We probably need some other solution to correct this behavior.

Honey, if you look back at birthday pictures when you grow up, you will see the massive shin dig we had for your 1st with scrumptious home cooked food and almost 50 guests in Austin. As compared to that, your 2nd birthday was really different. You had a fun Disney World trip the week prior to turning two with your parents and you celebrated your birthday at school with cupcakes and loot bags for the kids. You cut two yummy cakes – at school and at home with mommy and daddy and we spent a pleasant evening at your favorite Central Park playground. Your grandpa (Mipa) arrived from India two days after your birthday armed with tons of gifts from both your maternal and paternal grandparents. You are always going to be the first grandchild on both sides and are much loved by your grandparents and two aunts. Overall, I don’t think you did too badly for a second birthday at all.

.

I am going to end this note with some fun stuff you have said recently.

Amma – Bandar, where were you born?

Bandar – In the hospital, amma.

Amma – And how were you born, Bandar?

Bandar – The doctor pull me out.

Amma – What did you do next?

Bandar – I went to have a nai nai( bath). Appa came with me

Amma – I love you, goose.

Bandar – I love you soooo much, Amma

Kaki asks – Do you like New York or Austin?

Bandar – (Thinks and says ) New York

Kaki – Why?

Bandar – I am settled there!

Amma – What does settled mean, Bandar? (I prod further)

Bandar – It means I have toys there, Amma. Lots of toys.

Bandar – (Notices a small pimple I am getting on my cheek) Amma , you have a tomato

Amma –That’s not a tomato,Bandar. It’s a pimple

Bandar – That is not a tomato. It just looks like a tomato.

Bandar – (Appa is back home from work and Amma is now given secondary citizen status). Amma, go away to that room. I am going to play with Appa.

Amma –( Pretending to be hurt) You want me to go away, Bandar?

Bandar – No Amma, I will play with appa and then call you when I am sleepy, You come and sleep next to me.Together.

Love you sweetheart, stay blessed always and always.

Amma

Short Vacay Recap

11 Sep

I am really delayed in documenting our recent short trip to Florida. For one, Bandar is down with a bad viral infection  ..again. Also I am somehow really tired, vaguely depressed and frustrated with life in general. Anyway writing this cheerful recap will at least let me bask in the warm, golden recent memory we made and might make me happy for a little while.

To start with, we booked tickets for this trip purely on a whim. It was Bandar’s last “free” trip as she was still under 2 and did not need a ticket. We had planned to go somewhere  close by in the NY/NJ area but when we did some research online we found  car rentals and hotels are freakishly expensive for a road trip around here. Somehow if I plan a road trip, I do not even consider it a real holiday and more of a mini break and would like to budget very little for it. It is sad that hotels/ bed and breakfasts in this area in season are 3 times what we paid to stay in really nice places in Hawaii. Not kidding! Maybe my expectations of the Jersey shore are really,really low that I refuse to spend a 4 digit amount to subject my husband to do his hated task of driving and my child to do her hated task of sitting in a car seat for 3 odd hours in holiday traffic, and all of us to sub par veggie food and frigid beaches in September. So we will probably leave the east coast sometime next year without really seeing much of it but I frankly don’t think we are missing too much.

Side note: If any readers have any nice things to say about this area and must see places around here, please do comment and let me know.

Anyway, we narrowed our decision down to spending a certain amount (that was probably not a wise number given we are trying to cut costs in general) on a “real holiday” that involved flying somewhere.And then we scanned vacation spots and decided to do Orlando for the long weekend and giving Bandar her first taste of Disney World

We left at the crack of dawn on Friday morning. After our whole flight missing incident for our Puerto Rico trip, I try to err on the side of caution and  get us to the airport earlier than needed. This is obviously against the very core of the husbadoo’s beliefs as he rather spend a precious extra 30 minutes sleeping. But I don’t see us resolving this particular difference in opinion anytime soon.

Bandar was a delight that morning. I had meant to wake her after we had a few bags out the door and down 5 floors , but she sat up with all the commotion we made getting ready and proceeded to get ready angelically as we were going to “Dizzny Word” .Bandar’s teachers in daycare had been educating her on the various characters she would see on her trip and we had a mighty excited toddler the week prior.

For once we packed lightish...all our clothes in one strolley which is a huge achievement for us.

For once we packed lightish…all our clothes in one strolley which is a huge achievement for us.

Anyway, we got to Orlando around 10 am and picked up our car rental. Bandar has puked in every single car ride in the last 4 months and I was armed with bags and towels. But I think the combination of not feeding her before drives and playing nursery rhymes really helps and we had no hurling incident throughout the trip.

We picked Olive Garden for an Italian lunch. I know its funny, that we have access to some of the best Italian food in NYC and we pick a chain for our American-Italian meal! Maybe we just have country-mice mentality but I really don’t care. We miss are frequent OG trips that we did in Texas and we really were craving the breadsticks and salad.

We then did another activity we miss supremely in NYC – a trip to Walmart to pick up some essentials- from diapers to milk and snacks! Bandar had a blast running around the broad aisles, something she misses when she is confined to the narrow aisles in NYC bodegas.

Enjoying the wide open space at Walmart! I can seriously fit 10 NYC grocery stores into this space. I miss you suburbia!

Enjoying the wide open space at Walmart! I can seriously fit 10 NYC grocery stores into this space. I miss you suburbia!

We checked into our hotel near Disney around 2. As it was raining outside we crashed for a short nap, only to rise at 6 pm. We decided to have dinner in the Downtown Disney area and dressed up to go out. We reached Downtown Disney and we expected it to be like the Universal city walks in Orlando and LA and really lively and fun. Instead it was dull, dreary and there was a major reconstruction project going on . The rain didn’t help either. We decided to call off our dinner plans in that area and drove around near our hotel to end up in an overpriced Indian place for dinner. It was pretty decent food though.

This trip was different from other ones with Bandar as we did not have access to a kitchenette during our stay. Bandar doesn’t really eat all the stuff we eat outside, so we survived on some food I had made for her at home, frozen and packed to take, some stuff I made in our rice cooker in the hotel room (Seriously this thing boils pasta, steams veggies, rice, dal. Its the only gadget you need if you are travelling with a  baby) and other things like fruit and snacks.

The next day, we made plans to meet the husbadoo’s BFF , A and his wife P at Cocoa Beach. We drove 1.5 hours to get there, while they drove close to 3.5 hours form Miami just to see Bandar. Bandar is really attached to her “kaka and kaki” as she calls them and we spent a really fun 6 hours at the beach with them.We snacked on popcorn and pizza. The husbadoo stole some quite moments with his BFF and we, the wives joked that some sunset hand holding probably happened. I really miss having good friends in NYC and would love to end up in the same city as these people. Let’s see what next year brings

We did the short drive back to Orlando and decided to check out the kiddie pool at the hotel. Bandar was overtired by then though and had a royal screaming scene at the pool and we abandoned this plan and hit our room for some rest.

We picked up veggie burgers from Chillies that night (yes, another chain!) and had a peaceful dinner in our room.

The last day of our trip was our to be spent at Magic Kingdom, the kiddie themed Disney World Park. Here are some random points if you are visiting this park with a toddler. Else skip ahead :)

  • It takes forever to get into the park from the parking lot. We obviously missed the early morning hotel shuttle and had to drive ourselves there. Parking is Disney level exorbitant ($17). We took a motor coach from the parking lot to the ticker booths and picked up our tickets. Do buy in advance and pick up at the booth using the “Will Call” service. You then take a ferry ride across a man made lake to the actual park itself , where they do a bag check and let you in. All this is fairly exciting in the morning when you are fresh and ready for your Disney adventure and are pointing out the first glimpse of Cinderella’s castle to your little one. But bear in mind that the same journey is laborious and long with a screaming toddler at 11 pm when you are leaving the park.
  • Bandar with her "1st Visit" badge

    Bandar with her “1st Visit” badge

  • Being ferried across , you get the first glimpse of the castle and then it becomes bigger and bigger!Fun

    Being ferried across , you get the first glimpse of the castle and then it becomes bigger and bigger!Fun

  • The Disney Fastpass and App are pretty awesome. The 3 rides for a 2 year old that we used the Fastpass for afterreading multiple online forums were – Ariel’s Under the Sea ride, Peter Pan’s ride and Winnie the Pooh. Bandar enjoyed them in that exact order. She also liked the “It’s a small world “ ride. She didn’t particularly want to sit on the Dumbo or Magic Carpet Ride which are also toddler friendly and we didn’t force her
  • bandar and I
  • Other enjoyable things we did were the Jungle cruise ride, a visit to the Swiss Family Robinson treehouse and Tom Sawyer’s Island and the Buzz Lightyear ride. Overall  , I think we got our money’s worth on the rides with a small child in tow and we have no regrets there.
  • Even we surly adults found this pretty!

    Even we surly adults found this pretty!

  • Now we come to the silly thing we did. We decided to wait to see the parade at 9 pm and the fireworks show at 10 pm. Nutty, nutty, nuttier than a fruitcake idea ever! You assemble for the parade as early as 7 pm and Bandar refused to be restricted to an area. Finding veggie food in the crowd became a pain. The 3 of us survived on one giant ice cream sundae- whipped cream , 2 flavors of ice cream, giant waffle cup and all. The sugar obviously got Bandar to her highest spirits! She did enjoy the parade when it started though and called out to each of Snowwhite’s seven dwarfs with gusto! Oh and then we didn’t leave at 9:45 pm but stayed for the illumination show and the fireworks. Beautiful but maybe not worth tiring out our baby for. We left the park at close to 10:30  pm but only reached the parking lot at 11 pm. Most .miserable.30 minutes. EVER! So what I would advise is try and catch the fireworks on another day of your visit. Apparently they are visible from some of the Disney hotels that you can visit even if you are not staying there and the Disney Boardwalk that is open to all. So do plan to do that on another day and not on the day you have been at the park since 9 am.Learn from our mistakes!
  • We had a back pack for Bandar with a leash attached that we didn’t end up using as Bandar hated it. Bandar spent most of the day on the husbadoo’s shoulders , her favorite mode of transport. I do recommend this though if you have fast toddlers who want to run and explore.
  • We had carried cookies, chips, granola bars and oranges that the 3 of us snacked on through the day. We did pause for a pizza lunch at one of the casual restaurants in the park. Dinner in one of the nicer places in the park needs a reservation, so do that if you are interested and not amble along searching for veggie food and eat your weight in ice cream instead like us!

 

 

 

Early on that day, I  had decided I would not be losing my temper at all, come what may that day. So with this resolve, I was able to really somehow patiently bear toddler tantrums, a snappy spouse , long lines and other things. I probably need to make this resolve more often, eh. We skipped dinner that night after our park visit. I ended up packing till 2 AM. We woke at 5 am for our 7:30 am flight back home. We realized we had lost Bandar’s Piglet stuffed toy :( He was carried  all the way from NYC with the sole purpose of frightening her to eat her food. She had such a love-hate relationship with this toy! He did miracles for her eating habits though. I just had to place him by her high chair and make up an elaborate story of him taking away her toys and clothes if she did not eat, and she would swiftly chomp down. With him gone, no other toy induces quite the same reaction.We spoke to the hotel but have not recovered him yet. Here’s hoping we bring Piglet home soon,

 

So that was our very short but fun trip. We had entire Monday to relax at home though which was good. Often, I have hesitated making short trips as I felt it wasn’t worth it. But in this case, I do think it was money well spent for a fun experience.

 

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 25 other followers