Archive | September, 2014

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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

5 Sep

We got back from a short vacay in Florida earlier this week. The problem with short trips is that you end up trying to pack up activities to make the most of your time there and end up totally tired out. Anyway, I was nominated for an award by TandooriPaniPuriLife . So here goes.

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Thank the blogger who gives it to you.

Thanks TPL.I am honored to be nominated! I started reading you barely a few months ago but I am hooked because of the sheer honesty that reflects in your posts. I have never even seen a pic of you but have this vision of a young , smiley, innocent girl!

Answer the eleven questions he/she asks.

 

  1. What made you start blogging?How is blogging different than keeping a diary for you or is it the same?

I think I have mentioned before here that I have always loved writing. Just never really developed this hobby more. I did intend to blog more regularly(always resolve to do this but don’t follow through. Maybe I should do a post a day for a month to get my blogging mojo back.

My writing is essentially for myself. In strive to be honest in every single post and often pour my heart out as I type. I don’t really know who reads and it is a pleasant surprise to  seecomments and  nominations like these.That said, I also enjoy the interactions I have with a  few fellow bloggers who have commented. You don’t get that with a personal diary, right.

 

  1. Do you have a pet? If yes, which one? And if not, why?

I am a dog person and so is the husbadoo. Bandar surprisingly seems to like cats! We do plan on adopting a dog when we move to a house with a yard and more open space.  However, my mom is terrified and vows she will never visit if we do. So we will have to see.

 

  1. Which city do you think is the best to settle down in India? And why?

This would have to be Bombay for us. The husbadoo is born and raised there , while I am I guess not even fully raised there but spent a lot of formative years in that city. But with real estate prices being what they are, “settling” in the true sense of the word seems a distant dream.

 

  1. What is the one thing that you ordered in a restaurant and it turned out to be totally yuck and expensive?

OMG! This has happened to me much too often in NYC. I blogged about a Mexican dinner we had which was overpriced and horrible. This is not an isoloated incident. Have had a few other terrible ones recently. Have come to the conclusion that I need word-of –mouth recommendations before we walk into a place here for veggie food.

  1. If you see your enemy (or simply somebody you dislike) in a helpless situation, will you go forward and help them? Or leave them and enjoy mercilessly?

Yes, I am not a vindictive person by nature.  I take time to forgive though. (don’t necessarily forget, but don’t really do anything about it). I do eventually prefer mending bridges and moving on.

 

 

  1. Have you ever been caught by your parents doing something totally inappropriate for your age?

YES! The intimate texts I sent the husbadoo! They read the majority of them.And I was 19 , so I guess inappropriate.

 

  1. What is that one thing that you criticize publicly, but do the same in private?

Gossip, I guess! I do this with some close friends and my family but hate it when others gossip about me!

 

  1. Do you like water sports? Which one?

The only two I have done are jet skiing and white water rafting. But it has been a few years. Wish I was a better swimmer though to be more confident in a large water body. I can save myself in a swimming pool but have no confidence in the sea or a flowing river.

  1. Have you ever thought (or actually did ) of harming somebody very badly in order to get back at them? How?

No. I rather focus my energy elsewhere. Like I said, I am not vindictive. I might at most ignore the people I dislike.

  1. Do you fart and behave like the other person is guilty of the crime?

Yes! All the time. It’s way easier to do this now that we have a baby who poops and farts on command. Very easy to shift the blame J

  1. Have you ever been caught by the police ( or worst locked up)? For what reason?

No, touchwood. This is a huge random fear that I have. I will never survive in prison. Maybe watching too much of “Orange is the New Black” has me really scared about this. I had a bad car accident a few years ago and was so scared that for some reason I would be locked up.

  1. Nominate eleven bloggers with less than 500 followers.

Think all the blogs I read have done this at some point. So I am going to skip it. But please do take it up if you want to.

 I had so much fun answering these questions!