Will Lactaid Come To Our Aid?

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I am in the middle of switching pediatricians. Well, the old doctor was close to the place where we lived 1.5 years back and I have been lazy and putting off changing pediatricians for soooo long. Eventually I decided to get it done. Also the old pediatrician was getting too busy to spend a decent amount of time during the appointments. Most of the time when I call him for an appointment for cold or rashes or fever, his standard response used to be,“Oh, don’t worry, you don’t have to come, there is a bug going on. Just give them plenty of fluids and they will be okay” What kind of response is this? The rash turned out to be chicken pox and the cold had already turned in to a nasty ear infection.

Any ways, found this new pediatrician close to where I live. Hubby’s cousin and another friend vouched for Dr.P. Yesterday was the first appointment with the doctor – just getting to know the doctor. I was briefing the doctor about how Chula and Mieja don’t drink milk, they are okay with yogurt, but they have a strict “NO MILK” policy and that they are on antacids for acid reflux. The doc tells me, “Wait a minute. May be they are allergic to milk. May be it makes them feel uneasy, that’s why they don’t want milk. May be milk is causing acid reflux, gas and fussiness. Acid reflux is just a symptom. Zantac treats the symptom. We must find the cause and treat it. Let us try Lactaid. Since it does not have Lactose, may be they will do okay. If not let us try Soy ”.

So in the UTBT household, we will be experimenting with organic Lactaid, Soy and the likes of it. Funny, how I never thought of this possibility. Even now I find it hard to come to terms with the possibility of lactose intolerance in Chula and Mieja. When I was young, I was exactly like them, I used to throw up every single meal and drive my mother up the wall. Some how when I turned 8 I grew out of it. Any how, keeping fingers crossed to a throw-up-free future, where everything in the house smells like….ahhh…not-throw-up!


This And That

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Kids are doing okay I guess. Mieja has started on her next round of cold, which I am getting used to, so no big deal. I will do a special post(may be some kavadi and karagattam too) to celebrate the day she has been cold free for at least 2-3 weeks. Chula…I don’t even know where to begin! Well she is still complaining that her ‘tummy is hurting’, especially when she is being disciplined.

I am just wondering, apart from experience, how does one pick on the kid really being sick? Last week, Chula’s day care provider told me that Chula was sitting by herself in a corner the whole day and was not interested in doing anything. So I took her to the doctor. The doctor on call, after chiding me, (“If you are coming in with two children, both under three, you must bring some one along with you. Do not come alone.” Yeah doctor, now if you point me in the direction of the spare adult, I am all set.) pronounced that Chula is perfectly okay, may be tiredness and little of the stomach virus, but nothing to be concerned about. But this little girl is up for at least three hours in the night, it is either 12 midnight – 3.00AM or 2.00AM – 5.00AM, she screams, cries, asks to be taken to the bed with me, the minute I settle her down in the bed, screams that she needs to go to her ‘white crib’…you get the idea, I am sleep walking from the crib to the bed and back, carrying Chula. Instances like this makes me think that she is in pain.

But get a load of this:

I am cooking, Chula tugs my shirt, her lips are all pouted.

Chula: Mommy, I am sad.
Me: Why Kannamma?
Chula: Mommy, I am scared.
Me: You are sad and scared? Why?
Chula: Because my tummy is hurting.
Me: I am sorry that you are sad. I am sorry that your tummy is hurting. Is there something I can do to make you feel better?
Chula: Yeah…
Me: What Kannamma?
Chula: Can you put Barney?
Me: !!Speechless!!

…and this….

We are in the library, we are coming down in the elevator.

Chula: Mommy, mommy, what number must I press?
Me:Press 1, because we need to go to the first floor.
(And I bend down to pick up Mieja, meanwhile Chula not only presses 1, but also the alarm!)
Me: CHULA?! What did you do?
Chula, takes a scared look at me and falls on the elevator floor clutching her tummy.
Chula: Mommy, my tummy is hurting.

So I am really confused if she is still sick or major-ly capitalizing on our attention. Do I assume that she is all right and go about the routine or play nurse? Here I was sitting an dismissing Chula’s throwing up and aversion towards food as her regular stints, concluding that it is her acid reflux that is acting up and doubling her regular antacid, but it so turned out that she had a stomach thing after all! So if some one has a dose of veritaserum, please feel free to mail it to me.

One thing is for sure. Thanks to the night stints, she is developing a vicious circle, awake in the night, too tired in the day, sleeping during lunch time and throwing tantrums while she is supposed to play. Ahhhh….


Where have I been?

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Sorry for the long absence. Thanks to all those who sent concerned emails and comments. I had my finals in the last week of July. Then house guests – my aunt visited (I totally took advantage of her being here, camped on the couch and made her do all the cooking and cleaning!). Just after she left, Chula and Mieja fell sick – common cold, but lots and lots of throwing up. Even before the Chula recovered from the cold, she came down with a stomach thing. She was throwing up even water. She is still on non-dairy, bland food and she is already on round two of cold. Yep, she is moving on! I am just keeping my fingers crossed that Mieja doesn’t pick up the stomach bug. It wasn’t just work, I did get my share of fun in the middle of all this! Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – read it from cover to cover! I would have liked to revise The Half Blood Prince before I read Deathly Hallows, but, hey, I am not complaining. :)


My Indian Authors – Part II

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Continued from My Indian Authors – Part I

I can list my favorite Indian authors with reasons, but each author will become a post by itself. This I don’t want to do for the fear of loosing you all. So here is my list:

Kalki: I own and have read every written work by Kalki. Ponniyin Selvan, of course, is the top of my list. Short stories, contemporary novels, historic novels – Kalki, according to me, is ‘THE KING’. He’s got humor, he’s got style, he’s got class, he’s got panache, he’s got guts.

T.Janakiraman: He was very advanced for his time. Nearly every story by T.J has a thread of what you could call, adultery going on. But he some how manages to portray it elegantly!

Devan : He is the genius who created Thupariyum Saambu (Detective Saambu). I personally think that Pink Panther is a knock off of my dear Saambu. This abishtu(nincompoop) brahmanan(brahmin), who has a massive tube light instead of a brain, decides to quit his job as a bank clerk and becomes a professional private detective. Lady luck makes things happen for Saambu and he ends up as the most sought after detective. Every week our Saambu gets his feet in to a different case, but he perseveres! Unfortunately, for me, I have not read any other works of Devan.

Saavi: The only work of Saavi I have read is Washington-il Thirumanam(A wedding in Washington). I remember reading this when I was about 9 years old. This was my first introduction to USA!

Vaasanthi: The sole reason I read Vaasanthi is because she is my mother’s favorite. There are some books of Vaasanthi I have enjoyed, but again there have been some which have eluded my simple mind! Most of her subjects are beautiful, intelligent women who belong to upper middle class, who have it all. But they start wondering if they really have it all. They tread a fine line between liberation and running wild. My description might sound very chavunistic-putting-the-women-in-her-place kind of writing, but it is not. Vaasanthi has delicately balanced real women’s liberation and the perception of women’s liberation in her books. If I am not mistaken, Kuruthu is by Vasaanthi, which talks about communal issues. It fudn it very touching. (It was a while ago, so if Kuruthu is not by Vaasanthi, some one please let me know.)

Thirukural: In school, I was prepared to cut off my limbs for escaping the Thirukural memorization. But with time, I am beginning to appreciate this book. Every time I read it, I am surprised by the management philosophies that are so relevant and so precisely expressed!

Sujatha: Can’t get enough of his Ganesh and Vasanth! He introduced me to world of sci-fi. He is master story teller, literary genius, versatile writer with a strong urge to use sexual insinuations! There are few of his works (may be Katradhum Petradhum) without double meaning dialogues. I recently found that, he was chief of the team that designed the Electronic Voting Machines that we use in India now! How cool is that?!

Ramani Chandran: This one I have a love hate relationship. Just a silly romance story, with strong male characters, who are always the masters of the relationship, sensitive women, who have to listen to the men irrespective of how sensible they are, strong insinuations of the gender pecking order of the society are characteristics of her works ! Once a few years, I read a Ramani Chnadran to get my romance dosage. Thats it for me, any more than that, I pull my hair out. Her works are a necessary evil in my life:)

R.K.Narayan: I can go on an on about him, but I don’t have to, because I know that he is close to all our hearts. Again, I own most of his books. For the amount of humor in his work, it is sad that his life has been pretty lonely. Thiswas very touching.

Other than R.K.N, I haven’t read too many english books by Indian authors. A few that have struck to my memory are Train to Pakistan by Kushwant Singh (I cannot forget this one for the rest of my life ), Difficult Daughters – Manju Kapur(I remember it for the sole reason that the novel made my blood boil, because the so-called hero, a married man, goes after another woman whom he considers his intellectual counterpart. He so easily reasons out that his present wife is for his family and social obligations and the second wife is to interact with him on HIS LEVEL. **Grinding teeth**). Twentieth Wife – Indu Sundaresan(I thought this was a very decent first attempt, but towards the last 3-4 chapters, I was loosing patience. Indu does show lots of potential.) The Glass Palace by Amitav Gosh – sorry folks, not for me. I did enjoy Inscrutable Americans – Anurag Mathur, when I was fresh off the boat in USA. But if I read it now, I am not sure if I would like it that much. Mistress of Spices by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni – didn’t get most of the layers and the underlying meanings, so didn’t like it very much.

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  • My Indian Authors – Part I

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    Boo tagged me on Indian writing. I ditto Boo on reading non-detail textbooks before the start of the academic year! I don’t remember how and when I started reading English. But I clearly remember how I started reading tamil. My parents religiously read Kumudam and Vikatan every week. I knew that these books had jokes and jokes were funny. I was just 4 years old and was not proficient in reading. So I used to pester my parents/other adults at home to read and interpret the jokes for me. At a point of time, the adults started running away the minute they saw me approaching them with a book! So I decided that it was time to take matters in my own hands. My father had a kidney surgery that summer and I was sent to stay with my father’s uncle and aunt (I call them thatha and patti) so that my mom can have one less thing to worry about. My patti’s father was staying with them. He was very old, had lost most of his eyesight, very badly in need of company and more importantly needed some one to read him the Dhinathandhi. I used to read the paper with my araai-kurai (incomplete) reading skills and he would correct me and explain the words and contents I didn’t know/understand. Voila, I was a skilled tamil reader in 20 days!

    By the time I was 8 years old, I was reading Gokulam, Muthu comics and any other tamil magazines that was available at home. I remember my father getting me a bunch of Gokulam, Muthu comics, Twinkle and Ambulimama from used bookstore at the beginning of my summer holidays hoping that it would keep me out of my mom’s hair for at least a week. I would finish the books in two days and would start bugging my mother. I remember my father getting me the next set of books under the condition that I must read only a certain number of pages every day!

    I am an only child. I did not grow up with cousins. I didn’t have children my age to keep me company. I grew up with my aunts (my moms sisters, who my father was putting through college) who were a good decade older than I was. I never ‘played’ as a child. I remember reading, talking, drawing and pestering the life out of my aunts to tell me new stories every waking moment. My house consisted mostly of adult things and activities. I read mostly grownup magazines (adult magazine sounds shady!), the newspaper, especially the cinema section and stories. When I was well over 15 years old, I read the usual Enid Blyton, Nancy Drew stories. When I was reading Enid Bltyon, I had already read Rajeshkumar thrillers and Sujatha’s sci-fi-s! In a way I was regressing in the maturity of content of my reading material, but I didn’t care, because of two reasons. The primary one being, my love for reading, the second one was that I didn’t quite get the adult part of the stories. My limitations are that I cannot read non-fiction books. I haven’t crossed 10 pages – uh-uh, sorry, not for me! Also I prefer light works. Humor is the top of my list. I want the author to think, describe and reason out for me. If (s)he manages to do this with a sense of humor, (s)he has my vote!

    Please read Part II for my list of Indian authors.

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  • Where did daddy go mommy?

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    Hubby takes on trip and I beat it to death! But I couldn’t help but writing about how the kids reacted.

    Hubby did make it a point to tell the two girls in detail that he was going away for 8 days and that the girls must not trouble me. Chula(toddler) was her usual self – ignored him(reasoning – what I don’t hear does not exist). Mieja(infant) blew raspberries on his face and covered him with saliva. He did kiss them good night and tell them that he will be on a plane when they wakeup the next day morning.

    Chula( was the first to wake up – she came running to me): Where did daddy go mommy?
    (Her lips were turned down, palms turned up, fingers fanned, she kept asking the question again and again.)

    Me:Appa has gone to India, to attend his niece’s wedding.

    Chula:Yesh mommy. I know. Appa gone in Sindhapures. Appa going to Switzerland, see Ashu. Then appa go to Anna Nadhal to see thatha, patti, P chithi.
    (Sindhapures – Singapore airlines. Every since our trip to India in Sigapore airlines plane, it is used as a common generalization to denote airplane. Hubby was going via Hong Kong and Singapore. But she added the Switzerland and visiting Ashu, just for the heck of it. Three weeks back baby Ashu had bid bye bye to Chula and went back to Switzerland on a plane, so any one who travels by plane, according to Chula, goes to Switzerland, meets Ashu and then travels to their final destination! Thatha+patti+P chithi are my parents and my chithi. In India she met them and had a fun time, so thatha, patti and P chithi are one single entity for all practical purposes. Anna Nadhal is Anna Nagar where my parents live. )

    Having said all this she went and stood by the window peeping out. When I asked her what she was doing she said that she was playing peek-a-boo with her father. Every evening father and daughters have a ritual, they would go to the back yard, water the plants, kiss the flowers, smell the grass, pluck the vegetables and what not. So in the evening Chula’s internal clock started ticking and she ran to the window every few minutes peeking through it looking for her dad. When I tried telling her that her father was in India, I got the same answer, “Yesh mommy. I know. Appa gone in Sindhapures……meet Ashu…Anna Nadhal…thatha+patti+P chithi.”. She knew that hubby was gone, but didn’t have the concept of time or distance. She was thinking that he will be back by evening as usual! For the 8 days, every male figure she met, she called them daddy.

    Today we took the girls to hubby’s office for the family day celebrations. We car pooled from a common place. So I dropped off hubby next to his car, we were planning to drive back home in our respective vehicles. Chula lost it. She thought that her father was leaving her again. She started screaming, kicking and crying out loud for her dad. She cried so hard that she threw up all over herself. Hubby suggested over the cell phone that we pull over and switch Chula to his car and I refused. She surely will throw a bigger fit that I ran away some where and will enact another throw up session. Bottom line she still feels insecure about her father’s trip.

    Chula put it in words, poor Mieja couldn’t. She woke and was quite surprised that I changed her diaper. Then she wriggled out of my hold and went around the whole house. She paused in front of every closed door and proceeded to pound it with her little fist uttering, ‘paaa’. She would wait for a minute and continue pounding the door. Every time she heard the door bell ring or a door squeaking open, she would squeal with laughter and run to the front door, squat in front of the door with her lips set in a smile showing off her bunny teeth. She would wait for a minute, then she would get up and slowly walk away.



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    You all know them as toddler and infant respectively. Chula (pronounced Choo-la) and Mieja (pronounced Me-ha) are terms of endearment in spanish. Chula means cute girl. Mieja means little girl. They are called so by their (Spanish)day care provider. Toddler loves being called Chula. When asked ,‘Who is Chula?’, she says, ‘I am Chula amma’. When her day care provider calls another little girl Chula, there is a look of confusion on her face! She goes to her day care provider and says, ‘I am Chula Mari. I am Chula’. Infant doesn’t have any opinions to offer at this point of time.

  • Filed under: My Darlings
  • !!She Remembers!!

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    This post refers to two ‘she’s – toddler and the infant.

    Let us start with toddler.
    Intro: When we went to India 3.5 months back, I picked up couple of Curious George books and a Bob the builder book from the library and used these books to ‘contain’ her in the plane. The books were duly returned after we returned from motherland. There was no mention of the books, what so ever after that.

    Today: This day will go down in history as the day I fainted in the library.
    Toddler is hating home. She would do anything to not go home. The minute I pick her from day care it is, ‘Amma, no go home amma, no go home’. So I took up hubby’s idea and took her to the library, which is three blocks away from our house, instead of coming home. To make it interesting for her, I made her bike to the library. I walked along with her, infant in the baby carrier, guiding toddler and shoving the carton of chocolate milk in to her mouth every now and then.

    Toddler was quite hyper, she kept chirping,’We all going to the libllalee amma?’ every few minutes, ran to the children’s section, and started browsing. I was busy huffing and puffing from the walk. Toddler gives me a book and says, ‘Hele amma, have CG goes to school. You have it amma’. I was still not paying attention. I thought that she is mentioning any CG book by the CG book she already read. I grab the book and before depositing it in my bag see that it IS CG goes to school! I froze. Then she picks up another CG and hands it to me, ‘Hele amma, have CG costume palty’ and it IS the right title. Then she also picked out Bob the builder’s birthday party book. She can’t read(…..I think). She must have remembered the books from 3.5 months back! If with my simple memory I could remember the silly things that happened 8 years back (and pick fight with hubby, “that’s what you said on Jan 31, 1999. I know what you meant”), what does this girl have in store for me???? I fainted.

    Now to infant.
    When she has her heart set on something, no army can stop her. She wanted to grab some one else’s key. The other lady distracted her, jingled the keys here and there and with a ‘Kaka ush’(Meaning: the crow took it and flew away) hid it behind her. Infant smiled wide and pitter pattered to the lady’s back and found the keys. I jumped to the rescue, distracted her squeaky with toys while other lady put her keys in her purse. Infant played with the squeaky toy for 5 whole minutes, threw the toy away and made a bee line for the table on which perched the purse which contained the keys, as if she was the one who put the keys in there! And here I am always seen with a piece of paper and pencil because I have to jot down every single thought that pops in my mind because a small distraction and I forget the while thread!

    PS: Now that infant is walking strong and steady, asserting her presence with tantrums, preferences and wisdom(?!) that would put teenager to shame, I am obligated to promote her from infant-dom to toddler-dom. So there will be new nicknames for the kids. How is the PS connected to the post? Who said that it was? I just wanted to put my thoughts in writing before I forgot.


    Home Alone

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    It was midnight. She went around the house checking and rechecking every window and door, making sure that they were all bolted down. She switched the security system on and turned off all the lights. She put her cell phone and her hand set under the pillow(in case she needs to call 911 in the middle of the night) on her husband’s side of the bed, the one that will not be used for a week to come. She sat on her bed seriously considering if she must put the big kitchen knife also under the pillow – just incase some intruder entered the house. She seriously questioned herself if she was the stabbing type. She equated the two innocent children, sleeping peacefully in their cribs, in to the scenario and reconsidered the knife. She shook her head and forced herself to think about something else.

    Why did her husband have to go away? She had known about this trip for three months now, but still the minor details scared her. How on earth can she get up in the morning, make breakfast, make the baby’s daal rice for lunch, wake up the kids, feed them, wash them, drop them at day care and make the 8.00AM class? She was used to doing as much as she could and dumping the rest on the husband and runnig out of the house at 7.45AM. It was not just the work. She just felt kind of insecure without her husband, especially in the night when the thoughts of all the psychos she had read about clouded her mind from thinking straight.

    She had always been like this. Even when she was young, she felt antsy when her father went off on one of his very are work related trips. She truly believed that these two important men in her life could protect her and her precious children from harm. Its funny because both her father and her husband are small built – they were hardly 5 feet 6 inches tall, not even 130 pounds and didn’t know any kind of defense arts what so ever! Yet, the thought that there was some one to fall back gave her the security.

    She never told her husband about the insecure feeling. She was too proud to admit to that kind of thing. She was not the type. Every day of the eight days was a mad rush. The days were long and the nights were longer. To make it worse the toddler fell sick. The child was running 105, throwing up, shivering and shaking – all this at 1.00AM. She had managed by calling her dear friends for help.

    Finally eight days passed, her husband arrived. She went and picked him up from the airport. There was a bear hug, no I love you-s or I missed you-s. Her husband is not good at expressing how he feels and she had a big fat ego. They started talking, one thing lead to another and they had a fight over nothing. That’s just how they are – two quirky peas in a pod!

  • Filed under: Short Stories
  • !!She knows!!

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    Toddler goes to day care full time. Infant goes for four half days. They go to day care at 8.30AM. After my class, I go to day care and pick up infant, feed her and put her down for her nap. I make another trip to the day care at 4.00PM to pick up toddler. This is our routine.

    Most of the days, toddler is asleep when I pick up infant. Some days she is just rolling around trying to go to sleep. In any case, I don’t want toddler to see me and start crying that she wants to come home too. So, I put a big show. I call ahead, inform the daycare provider that I will be there in 15 minutes, I wait at the door, pick up infant at the door and leave.

    I have always wondered what goes on in toddler’s mind? Just before her nap, her baby sister was lying in a crib not more than 5 feet away. She wakes up and the baby isn’t there. Does she even notice this?

    Last week, I picked up infant, toddler was rolling around singing, ‘Go to sleep J, go to sleep. Go to sleep M go to sleep’…. basically she was singing a lullaby for the 12 other kids in the day care. I wait at the door and pick up infant. As I was about to close the door, toddler sings, ‘Go home with amma, infant go to home’. She knows!!!!




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