Archive | April, 2017

The weekend that was

20 Apr

Weekends as a family of three are dwindling down fast and I am trying desperately to make the most of them before we enter our new normal. I just loved this pace of this past weekend . The husband had a birthday this weekend and I wanted to ensure this rarely occurring weekend birthday was wonderful for all of us and it undoubtedly was – lots of family time, eating out and cake!

We kickstarted the weekend with a late dinner out on Friday night with some visiting friends. As the H and I were in the same college for undergrad, we do know each other’s classmates – some better than others. And as is the case when you meet someone say after 12 years, you can’t help thinking about how much they have changed, how they are now and who they ultimately ended up with. And it is always fun to share this connection with your spouse and be able to gossip about this together. We went to one of our favorite vegetarian Thai restaurants and enjoyed a delicious dinner. Bandar was exhausted as it was quite late by the time we headed out, but she was on her best possible behavior despite having skipped an afternoon nap at school. As now seasoned  parents of a 4.5 year old , we continue to push her to her endurance limit on occasion. As the only other alternatives are never having a fun evening out as a family or getting a sitter, we make these occasions work for our family so far and our surprised by our prudent, adaptable little girl.


Saturday morning arrived and  Bandar had a playdate planned at the park and it was a daddy-daughter date. So the husbadoo started his year spending quality time with his daughter at the park. The other little girl had just had a brand new baby sister that very week, so there is so much in common for both little girls and dads.

I meanwhile, went off on my weekend 1 hour walk and did my usual hilly 3 miles. Each time I walk around our neighborhood , I am thankful to fate for having brought us to beautiful San Diego. I always thought I was more of a big city girl – I spent most of my formative years form the age of 11 to 21 in Bombay and I truly did love our short 1.5 years in NYC. But San Diego – with its perfect weather, natural beauty for miles around, the hills, desert and beach all at close quarters has won me over. With spring in the air, I gaze around and admire the blooming flowers and fruit laden trees in front gardens and truly feel content and blessed. Being heavily pregnant in spring somehow makes me happy and joyful at the thought of bringing new life into this beautiful world.

After we all were back home from our activities, we gathered up our beach gear which is a task in itself and loaded up the car. Out first stop was Little Italy for a delicious lunch. Instead of trying a new to us place like I wanted to , we stumbled into a previously tried , tested and approved restaurant  as I was getting pretty close to hangry. You really can’t go wrong with Italian food in this neighborhood though and we enjoyed our lunch. Bearing in mind that I was definitely going to indulge in the bread and dessert on the husbadoo’s birthday, I wisely ordered a salad and felt all good and righteous. Then onto my favorite part, ordering dessert.  The server brought out a delicious cannoli with a  lit candle as we were celebrating a birthday , but of course I wanted to order something else as well. Though that tiramisu with its liquor and coffee goodness called my name, we went with the chocolate lava cake and ice cream and split it three ways.  We actually had to a leave a teeny bit behind as all three of us were so full by the last bite.  Bandar in her concern for her unborn sibling and me, constantly reminded me that I really shouldn’t be eating more than a crumb of dessert , but for once I ignored her and tucked in.

We then headed to the beach, and though we didn’t go with our first choice location as it was fairly late in the afternoon and we had evening plans, we ended up in a good spot. The water was of course a tad cold, like it always is in the Pacific, but as the sun was shining down nice and bright, I really had nothing to complain about. After some water play, Bandar played happily in the sand and the husband rested his head on my lap and I was at perfect bliss having all three people I love the most at arms reach.

When it was time to leave, we packed up our beach gear and changed a tired Bandar into some Indian clothes as she had a spiritual class at the temple. This is one class we are trying to be regular with as Bandar seems to get a lot out of it, despite its many flaws in administration. Once that was wrapped up, we headed to an Indian restaurant next door for an early snack based dinner –our third meal outside that weekend. We tucked in but made sure to pick up three pastries from a bakery near by to truly celebrate the birthday! We were an exhausted trio who went home to hot showers , small bits of pastry  and bed.

Sunday started with yours truly making some rava upma, which the husband loves. I then squeezed in my walk again and we did some general stuff around the house that included moving our router out of the room that we intend to make the baby’s nursery. The husband went off for his short cricket game amd if asked,  will probably say that was his favorite part of the weekend. Bandar and I had  lunch at home and set off to get our groceries for the week. Once the H returned, we spent the rest of the evening doing some surface cleaning around the house and getting set for the week

What did you do this last weekend?

Random thoughts from the weekend 

12 Apr

– After not eating out for several days together, we headed out for a late dinner on Friday night as a family. Though I ate way more vegan pho than I intended too and threw caution to the winds that particular night on my carb intake that I am supposed to be watching, it was such a relaxing end to a busy week for both the husband and I. We got to chat, reconnect and felt relaxed.

-To add to that , both the husband and I went to bed early, a few minutes after Bandar. We both had loads of work to do but decided we would sleep instead and best decision ever. We woke up so refreshed , atleast I did.

-I kick started Saturday morning with a small walk – barely 1 hour and covered just 3 miles. I tell myself the terrain is hilly and I am pregnant, so this speed is probably okay. Anyway, it is all I can do during weekends at this point. I listen to the Harry Potter Audio books as I walk and I am now right at the end of Book 7 and though it’s probably the 10th time I have read, heard these, I find my eyes filled with tears as I walk. The husband keeps asking me if I cried at Dobby’s death and though I find that incredibly sad, I do not. Its Tonks and Lupin who get me every time, maybe because they leave a teeny tiny baby behind.

– Bandar did not mind the Easter Bunny this year at all. She sat beside him for pictures and exhibited no fear from years past. The Easter Egg hunt in our community lasted exactly 2 minutes and was the most excited I had seen Bandar in a long time. Its parents assisted but I got to walk behind her just so as to not lose her in the crowd. She did all the egg picking and balancing in her basket.

-Seeing Bandar interact with her school friends outside of school is always heartwarming. We bumped into one of the quietest, non-boisterous boys in her class (in Bandar’s words – He does not play with weapons and prefers nature instead) , who is also very fond of Bandar, at the Easter egg hunt. The spontaneous hugs and chatter convinces me she is genuinely happy at school and has learnt to really make friends.

-Going out with Bandar is really super-duper easy at this stage. The H was busy this weekend with work, so Bandar and I were out for a good 4-5 hours covering all the celebratory events around us, classes and groceries and she was good as gold. I have to have one snack for her and a sippy cup in the car and that’s about it. She holds me arm as I am no longer able to really lift her and walks along. She lets me know when she has to use the restroom. She communicates hunger and thirst. She welcomes a surprise treat. She makes great conversation. I just can’t get enough of this age – 4.5 years old! Of course, new baby is going to shake up this dynamic a tad but I know roughly what to expect and am fine with it.

-I am at a point in this pregnancy where I am getting up about every 30 minutes form bed before falling asleep to pee. Now, as I tend to  fall asleep soon as my head hits my pillow most weekdays , this is not a problem. But on weekends, with late rising and maybe an afternoon nap thrown in, I find myself lying in bed – not really asleep but too lazy to get up and find that I have to head to the restroom atleast 4-5 times in 2.5 hours. The thing is I remember this phase distinctly with my first pregnancy as well and its definitely one of the few things that stops once the baby is out . Only of course to be replaced with a crying hungry baby to be fed ever so often through the night. I guess I can give up on restful sleep for a good 2 years at this point. Bandar roughly started sleeping through the night around that time. Yes, we don’t do pacis or crying it out, and don’t intend to start with this one either.

– Speaking of pregnancy ailments, the one that still hasn’t occurred during this pregnancy is the “Charlie horses”. These are fun, shin cramps that are debilitating and mostly hit you when you are in bed. Then you have to flex your foot out a little and rub and rub your shin till your work them out. I am sure I am going to jinx myself by even typing this out here and who knows,  I have 10 full weeks left to go to maybe still get them.

 – I unearthed a full bottle of my grandmom’s homemade Sāmbhar powder at the back of my kitchen shelves last weekend. And I also found myself with tiny little pearl onions that just begged to be made into sambhar. So that is what I made on Sunday afternoon and consumed with millets.

– The husband made uttapams for breakfast on Sunday and dosas for dinner. Home made batter for the win !

– Two things I am really enjoying eating /drinking this pregnancy are unflavored Greek Yogurt and Coconut water. I go through a lot of both during the weekend as I have easy access to them in my fridge.

– I have realized I actually look older than I am. And that the husband looks younger to me. I don’t exactly know why – a good guess is the grey that is sprouting on my head . I haven’t ever colored my hair at all and going down that path scares me a little . It is something I wanted to avoid till I was atleast 35 but think vanity might push me to start very soon. 


Evenings with Bandar

6 Apr

One day last week I actually managed to wrap up work at exactly 5 pm as opposed to my usual 5:30 pm.

I got to the parking lot and was immediately accosted by a colleague about some work issue.I managed to wrap up the conversation in a record two minutes and I found myself outside Bandar’s school at 5:20 pm to pick her up! This never happens.

Next, she was ready to leave school in another 5 minutes and we were home by 5:40!! I had dinner already ready for her in the fridge and had no extra cooking to do. Bandar and I trotted up to give her a good bath. Post bath, a fresh, clean Bandar was at the dinner table at 6:15 pm. This is the time we usually get home!

Dinner was done by 6:45 for both of us. I had some home made jelly and custard for her as dessert and handed that out while I unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher, wiped down the kitchen slightly. We were then brushed and ready for bed a little over 7 pm. Post brushing, we sat down to play a board game till about 7:30 and then Bandar read three small books out to me. These books a teeny tiny and are mainly for beginning readers and they go by fast. After this, it was lights off at 7:45 and we were talking about happiest and saddest parts of the day.

Bandar was asleep by 8:30  PM, and I managed to get myself out of bed and went downstairs to get some office work done till the husband got home.

Such a peaceful, wonderful evening. And it all seemed to be so because of the leaving exactly at 5 pm bit. I did not have to cut down the board game time or do my timer trick of 10 minutes to limit bath time or anything else to get Bandar to bed at a decent hour. Going forth, I would like to aim to get this routine down for atleast 2-3 days of the week.

As the husband usually works late, evenings are almost always just Bandar and I. Here are a few other basic things I follow to ensure I get the most out of my evenings with Bandar and keep my sanity:

          On the way back from school, I usually set the scene with Bandar for the evening. She knows if it is a day that involves about 20 -30 minutes of cooking for me while she plays imaginary games in the vicinity. Or a day of no cooking which we both love! She also knows if she is getting a head bath or just a body bath. She also gets to pick our post dinner activity – building with lego, magnatiles, imaginary games, board games or reading. Usually it is 2 of the activities above. Having her aware of the plan, helps a whole lot and she is not upset to have say limited play time the days she has to wash her hair.

          I do not bother about having a perfectly clean spotless kitchen. If I were to sit and clean my kitchen and make it all sparkly every night, it would take me a good 30 minutes that would take away from my time with Bandar. I do what I can after dinner and I do a little bit in the morning when I am waiting for breakfast and lunches to cook. Also the husbadoo has clearly banned me from being around any chemical products at all during the pregnancy and wants to wipe down surfaces in the kitchen himself. And of course, he doesn’t do it when I want him to, and definitely not several days a week.

          I try to limit cooking to maybe 2 times a week and this is mainly for Bandar. I usually aim at two different subjis a week for Bandar and a pulav or a khichidi during the week. I have a cook who comes in once a week but her cooking usually isn’t suitable for Bandar as it is a tad spicy but it works for us as such. No, Bandar does not get fresh food every day and neither do we, but we survive and are fine with it.

          My house gets deep cleaned by a cleaner every three weeks. On weekdays, I do some basic picking up of toys and clothes but that’s about it.  Weekends that the cleaner does not come, I might spend a little more time cleaning my house. But again on weekends my priority is quality time with my family , so cooking and cleaning take a backseat though not doing any of it is not an option. My house is not spic and span and tidy if you were to visit without notice. But it honestly does not bother us all that much but I can see this not working for other families.

          I lie down with Bandar till she falls asleep and often find myself falling asleep with her. I blame the tiredness on the pregnancy! Lying down with her, extends our time together and most of our meaningful conversations happen at this time and this is not something I am okay giving up.  In my dream life, I would not have to get up after she sleeps to wrap up office work. But sadly this is something I have to do a few days of the week.

          Bandar gets read to as she eats. This is how is has always been since she was 18 months old and it works for us. We rotate out Enid Blyton Classics or library books and we both enjoy this time.

          I definitely try to only do office work after she sleeps and not go into the kitchen again if I can help it. That way I am focused on exactly two things – Bandar and work during the evenings. If I were to enter the kitchen again and either clean up or do some cooking, work would take a backseat and that is not something I am okay with.

          Occasionally if the hubsand is home at a decent hour before 9 pm , and Bandar is asleep and we both are not tired out or have work deadlines, we  watch a show together on the couch while he eats dinner.

          I try to avoid looking at my phone most evenings but sometimes in a particularly long imaginary game, my mind strays and I check messages and this is always a bad choice as my attention is not a 100% on Bandar like I want it to be. An exception I make is to sometimes call my parents or in laws as well for a quick update on our lives.



 Of course, all this is only applicable till baby arrives and all routines go out of the window again. I know those days are going to involve endless feedings, magical mountains of pump parts washing (the absolute worst part of the first year) , bottle washing (lots of joy in this activity if the bottles have small parts like Dr.Browns) , pumping, solids feeding and all that jazz , atleast for a while!


Sharing the news with Bandar

4 Apr

When I was finally out of the first trimester, the event I was most looking forward to was telling Bandar that she would soon have a baby sibling. Bandar at age four has a bunch of friends who have had siblings fairly recently and she had been requesting one for months. So when we were finally at a point to tell her, I made elaborate plans.

I ordered a cute “I’m going to be a big sister” T shirt for her from Amazon and a few “getting ready for baby “themed books. I put them in a nice gift bag. Then the husband and I decided to give her a fun evening and we started it off by picking her up together at school. It was a Tuesday evening and she was totally surprised to see the two of us together. We then told her we were going to take her out to dinner. We went to a favorite neighborhood small Italian restaurant and she ordered her favorite mac and cheese while we ordered our food and chatted. We told her there was a surprise for her at home and the question my ever practical child asked was – “Is it something to eat?” We told her no, it was a secret that we would share when we got home. She finished the rest of her meal in anticipation with and a hundred questions and guessing on what it possibly was. She finally landed on it was something to wear (the t shirt) when we got home, we sat down on the family room floor and gave her the bag of gifts. She opened up the t shirt and I helped her read out what it said. I finished with –“ There is a baby in mommy’s tummy right now”. She stared at me in surprise and asked “Really? There is a baby in there already?”  She then asked to touch my belly. Then my observant baby girl came up with – “ So that’s why you have been so sick, Amma?” She clearly had seen me struggle with first trimester nausea and general sickness and now she had pieced it all together. She was over the moon excited to find out her baby sibling was coming in June. She kept saying she had prayed for one ever so often and now it was really happening and that God had listened to her. She then did the math (she knew a baby is usually in the mother’s tummy for 9 months from her friends) and asked if it had been there for about 4 months already. We responded by telling her we had only found out ourselves that very day from the doctor. She seemed satisfied with that response. We spent some more time looking up the baby’s size on baby center. That is custom we now follow every week as this pregnancy progresses and Bandar loves knowing the baby is the size of a head of cauliflower or this week, a butternut squash!

We then with some effort from all three of us made delicious but not pretty looking oreo truffles for Bandar to take to school and tell her classmates. The type of chocolate I got for melting and coating the truffles was probably not the right kind and the truffles really did not hold together well. We ended the night reading the two books about awaiting the baby and she loved them. I actually found them a tad too childish for a four year old, but since then we have read them several times and Bandar seems to enjoy them.

The next day she proudly donned her big sister t- shirt and took the truffles to school. Her teachers were so excited to hear the news. Bandar especially was thrilled to share the news with another girl, P who’s mom is also expecting a baby soon. In the days that followed, Bandar drew a lot of pictures of herself with her baby sister and P with her baby sister.

Despite those first few references to a baby sister, Bandar seems to be okay with the prospective of either a boy or girl sibling . I am glad she has an open mind and is ready to accept both.Her friends on the other hand keep asking her and us how we will name the baby or even dress the baby if we don’t know what it is. But we just let them know that we will figure it out and are excited about the surprise factor here.

 Bandar came with us for an ultrasound as well, and was thrilled to see the baby moving about. I think that particularly made it more real for her . We talk about the baby every day and she showers my tummy with kisses morning and evening. She keeps talking about loving the baby most in the world and my heart sings every time I hear her say these things. If that is not affirmation enough that this baby was absolutely the right decision for our family.

I often wonder how she will be once she actually sees the abby and it is home. I am.Not naive and know that right now, the idea is still very hypothetical when we talk about –“when the baby is here…” scenarios. I am prepared for all sorts of emotions from her and will just have to handle it when the time comes. But for now, I am going to enjoy these last three months of anticipation with her.