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Okay, its raining tags, home works and colds (Runny nose and colds have started even before winter has set in. Nothing depresses me more than seeing the days get shorter.) in the UTBT household. Since I cannot do much about the latter two (except to complain, which I do a LOT to hubby. I act absolutely cool and matter-of-factly to others!), I decided to take action on the first one. For your information, my writing wheels are just not turning. If I had been writing on a piece of paper, there will be zillions of crumpled papers around me. But since technology offers me with the convenience of ‘Undo typing’ and ‘Delete’ I still end up with a blank document after lots of clicks on the key board->undo->type->delete. Booo hooo, a blank document gives me the idea of inaction; vs crumpled papers would give the impression of work in progress :(

Judgemental tag by Swati

At first I thought I would apologize to Swati and excuse myself from doing the tag for a couple of reasons. First one being, God this is complicated and I don’t know how to get about it, I judge being judgemental. I know, full of contradictions, feel free to comment on it. I haven’t worked this one out myself, so comments might clear it up! The second one is, it would bring the ugly side of me. I kept going back and forth and finally decided to do it.

As a rule I do not judge other mothers/their parenting skills/philosophies. My motto is ‘whatever works’. Just because I do not like/want/do things a certain way, it does not mean that it is the only way. After long and hard thought there are two things that I am REALLY REALLY judgemental about.

Some people give unsolicited advice about adoption. Here you are going through (either personally or indirectly), the hardships to have a baby and some people have the nerve to suggest adoption. No, no, I do not have anything against adoption. It is just that the couples have to through the steps and finally decide for themselves what they want to do. You cannot put the adoption idea in to some one’s head, it has to come to them! When I am talking about my personal pains, my longing to feel that small kick in my belly, at the end of the day sit on the couch with my feet up and my hands on my pregnant tummy, huff and puff for walking even a small distance, throw up every morning, feel like eating idli 24×7 I just want you to listen. All I am looking for is a shoulder to lean on. Please do not tell me ‘You are being selfish. Adpot, there are so many needy children.’ When I am out of denial and the whole emotional catastrophe, I will decide if I want to adopt. Also, the adoption advice really does not sit well when you have a litter of children of your own. Makes me think, that you talk the talk but cannot walk the walk.

Wow, that came out really strong. Lot of pent up feelings there huh?! The next one that drives me mad is when people tell me that they are busy. I admit every one is so wrapped in what they do. But the truth is it all boils to priorities. We have a relative living around the area where we live. But we do not know their address, phone number or any contact details. We heard from common sources (this relative’s parents, grand parent, uncle with whom we are in touch) that this couple moved here. I was initially okay with the fact that the couple do not want to keep in touch with us. Just because we are related in some complicated way and we have met once, you don’t have to find space from me in your life. But what gets me is this, every time we talk to the couple’s parents or grandparent or uncle they all say the same thing, ‘Oh, they are soooo busy’. I loose it completely. One day I wish I can work up the guts to tell these people, ‘Stop making excuses. I am here juggling a family, two children, part time work, part time school, part time my own business. At this point of time, there is no way your son and daughter-in-law can be busier than me.’ Till then I keep fuming to hubby that if I happen to walk up on them in a restaurant or grocery shop, I would play it cool and walk away pretending that I do not know them. Hmmmmhp, can I be any more pathetic???! :)

Okay, one down. Nick names tag, Chula’s quirks and my quirks coming up shortly.

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  • 1, 2, 3 Mike Testing…

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    This is Mieja speaking to you all for the first time. A special thanks to Kodi’s mom for tagging me. K’s mom, I must mail you a packet of sweets for pointing out that we second born children get sidelined. Truer words were never spoken. My amma, is so smitten with my older sister. Chula is all nice and interesting, I like her too. What I can’t understand is my amma’s obsession with her. May be its because amma thinks that Chula does lots more interesting things or may be Chula is in ‘that phase’, has a few meltdowns* under her belt that she needs a little bit more attention. But, to my defense, I do interesting things too! For instance last week, I ate a dead snail** (Tasted just like chicken – with a crunch of course. Not that I have ever eaten chicken, but that’s what they say in the movies when they eat weird meat). And an impartial jury can vouch that I throw my share of tantrums. Hope amma changes, mean while I am counting on all of you for support.

    I decided to copy Moppet and Ashu*** write the post by myself, because I don’t want amma to put her Zen in to my simple pleasures†. I had been trying so hard for the past one week to do this post. But amma, on the pretext of doing her homework, was hogging the laptop 24×7††.

    I love ‘I scream’ - No that is not ice cream. It is ‘I SCREAM’. I have been doing this for the past 10 days and I have to admit, I am very kicked about it. Amma and my day care provider(M) are quite confused where I picked it from. Amma secretly thinks that I picked it from day care and M thinks I picked it from home. But I am having a ball. I just let out a shrill, loud, ear piercing, glass shattering, operatic scream every now and then. Amma complains to every one that she is going deaf from round-the-clock-screaming. Well, that is not true. I don’t scream when I am sleeping. Only when I am angry, happy, frustrated, want to make a point, get attention, want something, sleepy, tired, bored, hurt, sad and hungry.

    Hair Affair – Everyone, who knows me, has been comparing me with Chula and say that my hair is sparse. Amma also makes fun, ‘Naathu natta madhiri yirukku’(Meaning: Farmers when transplanting the plants to the field, plant them far apart to increase their chances of survival. Amma says that my hair is planted really far apart, just like the plants! I get the hair gene from amma). So I have decided to take matters in to my own hands. Since I am not a big fan of eating food, I have decided to apply the nourishment my hair needs, directly to my hair. So what ever I see, be it fruits/veggies/porridge/vadai/yogurt/sand/diaper wipes/water/idli, I pick up with both my hands, squeeze, rub my hands together and then rub it on my head. I am quite pleased with the result.

    Although amma thinks that my hair is to short to embellish it with clips and hair bands, I honestly think I am ready for it. What does the woman know, she let me eat dead snails for the love of God! So I pick up clips, hair bands, headbands and books (at times), place them on my head and walk around the house. I still haven’t figured out if the accessories stick to the hair or it is just a matter of balancing them? I try my best to balance them, but no luck. I can’t seem to keep the stuff on my head for more than two feet.

    Reading and Writing: I generally prefer not to read. I strongly believe that by hearing you remember things for a few hours, by reading you remember for a few days, by seeing you remember for a few years, but by doing you remember for a lifetime. In our house I am the doer and Chula is the reader. Those rare moments I pick up a book, I always insist that I hold it upside down. Amma does not understand that I am trying to do ‘thalai keezh paadam’(meaning: reading it thoroughly from top to bottom and viz. ) and keeps turning the book right side up. I reprimand her with one of my screams and turn the book my way. Same way I am obsessed that pencil and paper are a pair, one cannot exist without the other, not that I write on the paper with a pencil. I simply like to wave the paper and hear it rustling when I am munching the pencil’s graphite tip or when I am scribbling on the wall.

    Laughing: I like to laugh my heart out. Amma thinks that I laugh like P.S.Veerappa. Never mind her, we have already established that she does not know much. The most hilarious moments are those when I pull some one’s hair. It is so funny, I cannot help it. In my day care, during nap time, after all the kids go to sleep, I get out of my crib and go around pulling all their hair and I do the laugh. All the other kids being older than I, I don’t dare to attempt it when they are awake, because they would chase me away or swat me like a fly.

    Folding my hands: When I am seriously observing someone doing something, I strike a humble pose by crossing my arms and observing them intently.

    Folding clothes:I know I am supposed to write only 5 quirks, but cosidering how difficult it is for me to get to the computer, I want to add one more. I love to see my amma folding clothes, one reason is that it is so rare. I am more used to seeing piles of laundered clothes lying around for eternity. So when she does fold the clothes, I don’t want the fun to end. She folds the clothes and puts them in different piles on the center table. When she is not looking I pick the folded cloth, shake it open and throw them back in to the laundry basket. The last time I did this, she wasn’t too happy and asked me crossly for how long I had been at it. “Lady, come on, don’t you know how many pairs of dark blue jeans you own? You must have realized what was happening when you folded the same pair twice.If it took you a while and folding the same jeans three times (or four, who is keeping count?) to figure it out what can I do?”

    *God, whats with all that tears??? Sheer waste of energy. I can get amma, appa and the rest of the world dance to my tune without out shedding a single drop of tear. Now that is an effective tantrum. Chula, you can learn a thing or two from me.

    ** Pun from my amma’s friend’s husband – “UTBT you told Mieja ‘naan vegetarian’ (meaning: I am vegetarian) and she must have heard it as non-vegetarian”

    ***Copying is the deepest form of flattery, my amma says.

    I was just playing peek-a-boo. What does it have to do with trees? Next she will be associating my bodily releases with global warming. The woman simply thinks too much.

    ††It was literally 24×7, I checked. Day before yesterday I woke up at 12 midnight, 1.30AM and 2.00AM and she was sitting in the couch with the laptop glued to her, no prices for guessing, lap.

    PS: I have learnt to say ‘oh-oh’. I realized that I have to say that when I drop something. Since people find it too cute I have decided to keep them happy by dropping things on purpose and say ‘oh-oh’.

    Signing off with my motto: “Who says terrible twos start only at two. Two, three and four are mere numbers……”

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  • I here by declare….

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    …that Chula is potty trained!!! :D :D :D

    Well there are still some stray accidents (especially if she happens to be watching TV) and last friday, at her day care, she refused to get on the pot. But….I think she is ready.

    Yesterday we went to a park with three other friends. We were there for 5 hours. She surprised by coming to me to tell that she needed to pee, held it in till I ran with her in my arms to the rest room and did her business where it is supposed to be done. Not once, not twice, but thrice folks. I now know how Edmund Hillary must have felt when he reached the top of Everest!!!

    Signed
    Proudest mom ever :D :-D

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  • Summarize it for Aug2007

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    This is kind of a ‘?????????? ?????????’ (blogs I enjoyed reading) post. Not that I didn’t like the other blogs I read……

    Me thinks this rocks, so do others

    Absolutely incomparable. Thanks Poppin’s mom, we all had a great time.

    Blogs that got me thinking

    TheMadMomma’s point is {BEGIN QUOTE}”Funny how children can retain the weirdest and most distorted memories, despite the effort we make.”{END QUOTE} It got me thinking how we as parents do things in the best interest of our children. Sometimes the children openly express their discontent, like mine did when I changed her car seat. But what if they jut go along with the change, only to retain it in their subconscious and let it surface sometime later? I have heard from friends who were middle children or had siblings who were middle children, complain that they never got any attention from their parents. Is it really true or is that the idea they formulated in their heads? As parents we already have this huge sword of guilt hanging above our heads. Even if no one else cuts the chord to that sword, we do it ourselves time and again and suffer because of it. What if the person who cuts the chord is the child himself/herself? Ouch, that’s got to hurt!

    Hey I was thinking along the same lines!!
    …but couldn’t have put it own so nicely.

    Noon talks about gifts. After Mieja’s star birthday, calendar birthday, our trip to India, hubby’s visit to India for the his niece’s wedding, ‘just because’ gifts from close family friends, Mieja has about 38 new dresses between 18 months – 2 years of age. There is no way she is going to wear it. So after great deliberation, I decided to recycle some of those. The hesitation was because I knew that it is bound to snowball on me some time. Finally, decided to go for it because these were perfectly cute clothes and were definitely expensive than the dolalr value I had in my mind. Finally it so turned out that the people who had originally gifted it to me had written their name on the tag where they print the dress sizes. I found out through a friend that my stupidity had been exposed….arrrghhhh…one of those moments I will remember for eternity because it was thoroughly embarrassing.

    A friend was once telling me, {BEGIN QUOTE} how we always get expensive gifts, even if it is out of our price range, for people who have to all and end up giving mediocre gifts to the less affluent. Ain’t the less affluent be getting the good stuff because they are the ones who need it badly? Some how the desire to get in to the good books of the affluent and expecting a gratitude of anything we throw at the not so rich is sickening.{END QUOTE}

    I don’t know, the whole charade of gift giving is getting too loopy and meaningless now a days.

    Tharini’s post on the day to day challenges that parents face. To discipline or not, if yes, how to? It inspired me to write a post on my own enlightenment.

    Arty Crafty

    Professional looking bookmarks from Gauri and her super talented kids. I am so jealous of the incredibly talented trio.

    That’s soooo funny
    Read it and laugh, at Boo’s expense of course! Only Boo can write such a witty post on how difficult it is to parent under ‘watchful eyes’!

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  • Mieja’s menaces

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    This is pretty much a summary of what Mieja is doing at 15 months.

    Wants me to be exclusive – Mieja was always side lined because when there is an older child in the house that tends to happen. But this one is no shrinking violet. She knows her way around things. She knows how to get the things she wants and when to pick her battles. If she wants to be carried, she will first scan the room to see what I am doing. If it looks like it is hard to get my attention, she will look who else is around, then analyze who is more likely to lift her, will run to them, wrap her little arms around their knees, lift her heels from the ground and say “Ummm”. By no means it is a request, the “Ummm” is a command. If I am the only adult at home and I am doing something with Chula, she will wait till I am done with Chula and will come running to me and sit in my lap/ask to be carried. At that time if Chula comes back to sit next to me or even stand with in three feet of me, Mieja gets mad. She will point her chubby fingers at Chula and will complain. The next step will be pulling Chula’s hair or pushing her away. Finally if nothing works, if I try to convince her that both of them can sit in my lap, Mieja gets up and walks away. Sometimes she engages herself in something, but at times she is REALLY mad, she would plop down against a wall and give me a cold stare. *Shudder*.

    Action – She actions for a bunch of nursery rhymes. She can recognize Wheels on the bus tune anywhere. If she hears Barney tunes some where, she squeals with laughter. If she catches me picking up the remote, she drops whatever she is doing, runs to the TV and jumps up and down – of course with both feet planted firmly to the ground, because she thinks I ma going to switch on Barney. Chula has taught her to say ‘Barney’(Oh it was cute. I was sitting at a tire shop to replace the hopelessly damaged tire of my Honda Odessy. Mieja was on my lap and Chula was standing with ‘Family Fun’ magazine. She picked Mieja’s right pointer and placed it on Barney’s picture and said, “Mieja yidhu Barney. Sollu Barney.” And Mieja repeated “Baayee”. Aww I smacked myself for not carrying a camera 24X7. )

    Dance – The last CD I burnt at home was Ghajini. Usually it is some nursery rhymes or Hindi varnamala or Kadri’s sax that plays in my car and I am so lazy that I would rather listen to the same CD for months together than invest 30 seconds in to changing it. I tried catching up on Shivaji songs and it is a huge hit with Mieja. Especially ‘thee thee’. She stood by the laptop looking at it intently, shaking just her butt, till the song got over.

    The happy helper – If I open the dishwasher, she will come running to help me unload it. There must be no time lag between she handing over the dish and me picking it up. If she senses a millionth of second delay, then she licks the dish. Every time she hands me something or I give her something she says ‘Thenth thoo’. The dishwasher was a trip down nostalgia lane. Chula used to do the exact same.

    Words – Few other words she says, amma(ofcourse), appppaaa, thaaath(thatha for grandpa), thaapi(patti for grandmother) and aththa(akka for elder sister).

    Hi – If she is looking for me, after she find me, she smiles a wide smile waves her left hand and says a soft ‘hiiiii’.

    Misc – Last Tuesday the sisters had a huge falling out over a container of moisturizing cream. Mieja butted in and started snatching the cream and Chula started screaming. I got tired of explaining sharing and I bribed Chula with chapathi dough and roller. I was curious what Mieja wanted to do with the cream. She put it on the center table, pumped a small bit in to her left plam(!), rubbed both the hands together and massaged it in to her head. That she repeated for a zillion times. Then walked around with the nozzle in her mouth, holding both her hands behind her back. After 20 minutes of this she decided to come and snatch the chapathi dough from Chula. I separated the fighting siblings and gave Mieja another ball of dough and asked her to roll it and Mieja said “RRRrrrrr”, apparently she is a bit confused with hr Rs and Ls. She thought I asked her to roar. So she held the dough in her left hand and “RRRrrrrr”ed it every time I said roll.

    This one wants to eat by herself, sleep by herself, walk by herself. May be soon she would want to drive by herself!

    If she sees me with a diaper bag, she religiously drops whatever she is doing, opens the shoe closet, grabs her shoes and sit down on the entry way with her feet stretched and shoes to her chest. Once I put her shoes on and open the door, she is the first one to run out and on the way to the car she sabotages all our plants.

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    This is a very philosophical discussion. Some say that sound is defined as the vibration of air as picked up by a human ear. Since there is no one to receive the vibrations there is no noise. Some say that there is a noise irrespective of a person being present or not.

    My take on this is, is this even a discussion? Of course there is a noise. In tamil there is an adage, ‘Poonai kannai moodinal ulagam irundu poidadthu’. (Word for word translation: If a cat closes it eyes, the world does not go dark. What it means: Just because you block yourself out of something, it doesn’t mean that it does not exist).

    In case you are all wondering why all this sudden spark on philosophy, it was something Mieja did. She is totally in to playing peek-a-boo. I kind of started the peek-a-boo thing for her. She was about 6 or so months, was able to sit in her high chair. But she used to hate it if I left her in her high chair by herself. Even if I had to grab a paper towel from the kitchen, she used to scream her head off. So I would walk to the kitchen door and say peek-a-boo, then would hide behind the kitchen wall, do peek-a-boo a few times, then quickly grab my paper towel or whatever that I was looking for and come back to her. According to her I was just playing with her, I was never gone. It is now a favorite game of hers. She would look at me, give me her most enticing smile, walk to the nearest corner, every now and then checking if I am still looking at her, disappear around the corner, then pop her head out and say ‘Ummm’. Some times she would pitter patter to the kitchen, stand clutching the doorframe and would sway her whole body from one feet to another simultaneously nodding her head from side to side. It is her version of peek-a-boo.

    Three weeks back, I was washing my hands on the bathroom sink, she came running in to the bathroom, ran past me in to the standing shower stall, climbed in to it, clutched the corner and was playing peek-a-boo with me. Well the funny part was that, the shower stall was completely glass! So I laughed and said, “Mieja, I can still see you even if you think you are hiding.” She was just having a ball, she didn’t care.

    But I started thinking about what was going on in her mind, does she even realize that if she can see me through the glass, I can see her too. The thought process then leaped on to ‘how much children learn and how fast they learn’, then to ‘how exactly that connection takes place in their brain’, then to the trees falling in Godforsaken places and finally ended up constructing a post around the bits and pieces that sparked in my mind. Okay it was not exactly a spark, more like dim sputtering light bulb.

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    I have to confess, there was an ulterior motive in the Green Eggs and Ham book review. I started writing this post and decided that the review is better off in a post by itself.

    Every time Sam offers the dog(!??!) green eggs and ham, the dog keeps adding the variables and says no. The effect is a cumulative story.

    Yes, yes, I am coming to the point. I am working on Chula’s potty training. No, no you all read it right. I am the only person working, she is NOT. May be she is working against it…who knows?! I decided to not send her to day care and have her at home and work on the PT before my next quarter begins. I told her, no more diapers, only underpants, no poo-poo/pee-pee in the diapers, only in the potty, if you have to go tell me and I will take you to the potty.

    Its been 5 long days and the whole thing is such a flop. I had the sticker system, she just does not care about it. The first day she was very proud of her stickers, ‘Appa, lookie look I made three poo-poo/pee-pee in the puuty. I got three stickels’ she showed him excitedly. From then on the sticker became two, one and today there were none.

    I waited this long hoping that if I start late I can finish soon. But looks like Chula is going to take her own time. She made pee-pee in the chair. I told her, ‘Chula no pee-pee in the chair, only in the potty’. She made pee-pee on the floor, I told her, ‘Chula no pee-pee in the chair, no pee-pee on the floor, only in the potty’. Then she made pee-pee on the center table(If you are wondering how on earth, on the center table?, we have a certain model in which the top lifts off. Its perfect for little craft activities or TV dinners. She was sitting and during her breakfast eating and coloring on a shet of paper ) and I told her , ‘Chula no pee-pee in the chair, no pee-pee on the floor, no pee-pee on the table, only in the potty’. Of course there were numerous pee-pees in her underpants, and I told her ‘Chula no pee-pee in the chair, no pee-pee on the floor, no pee-pee on the table, no pee-pee in underpants only in the potty’. Just like the dog in Green eggs and Ham my list kept growing( and this is how Dr.Suess was dragged in to Chula’s potty training.)

    Today I put Chula in her crib for her afternoon nap. I just strapped on a diaper incase she pees in her sleep. Apparently madam wanted to pee, remembered that I told her no pee-pee in her underpants, so she decided to take off her clothes, take off her diaper, squat in her crib and relieve herself. I walk in to the bedroom and this stark naked child is sitting in a corner of the crib and is giggling like Dolores Umbridge. Selective hearing and selective implementation. She remembers ‘not in the underpants’ part and decides to chuck the ‘only in the potty’ part!!

    (Ofcourse it is now not in the crib, not on the chair, not on the …..blah …blah …blah….)

    I wanted to record this because, sometime in the future, I will look back at this post and laugh my head off. Till then there is loads and loads of mopping and teeth grinding to do.

    Updates: We are 9 days in to potty trainning now, no underpants, bare butt kind of works. Thanks Boo for the tip. Looks like with underpants she still thinks that it will hold whatever comes out. Without anything, she comes running to me yelling, ‘Come on mommy we need to go, poo-poo is falling out’ :). So we are headed in the right direction. Hope the streak continues.

    Waiting to potty train till the child is 18 months or older does seem to help.

    Funnies: She now sits in the pot and asks every one under the Sun she has ever met if they make their you know what in the potty or in their underpants.

    When I am using the bathroom, she stands outside the bathroom and is cheering and clapping for me.

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    Green Eggs And Ham

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    GreenEggsAndHamI picked up Green eggs and Ham (by Dr.Suess) from the library. I am a big fan of Dr.Suess. This particular one is about teaching the kids to be open minded and trying something, especially new kind of foods, before saying no. It is illustrated with typical Dr.Suess characters and typical Dr.Suess rhyming words. Sam offers green eggs and ham to dog (well that’s what I call him) and dog says no. Sam must have the proverbial motherly genes in him because he does not take no for an answer, especially when it comes to food. He keeps offering dog, the green eggs and ham, trying to convince the dog that the food would be very good on a tree, in a car, in a train with a fox, in a box……The dog just snaps and says:

    I don’t want them here, I do not want them there, I do not want them anywhere.
    I would not eat them on a tree or in a car or in a train.
    I would not eat them with a fox. I would not eat them in a box.
    I would not eat them in a house. I would not eat them with a mouse.
    I don’t like green eggs and ham.
    So let me be.

    Sam still persists and finally…..after lots of rhymes and repetitions, the dog gives up and tells Sam that he will try it if Sam leaves him alone.“I will try them if you let me be.” Dog eats green eggs and ham and loves it. Sam is ecstatic and the dog is happy.

    Well moral of the story is driven straight home using silly pictures and simple rhymes. The repetition of language is very suitable for young readers. For the rest of us – be it the kiddies who cannot read or the adult who is reading the book for a kid – it just puts a silly smile on your face!

    There is some interesting information in Wikipedia about this book. Do check it out.

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    ‘I am too old amma’ – Chula

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    ‘I am too old amma’ – Chula.

    I asked Chula, how old she is and ‘I am too old amma’ was her reply.
    Of course she meant ‘I am two old’ aka, ‘I am two years old’. :)

    She is in to telling everyone’s age. ‘I am too old. Mieja is one old. Amma is three old’. I laughed and said, ‘Baby, amma is too old to be three.’ So she is now in to investigating how old I am. This is how it goes:

    ‘Amma, are you three old?’
    Noooo.
    ‘Amma, are you four old?’
    Noooo.
    ‘Amma are you five old?’
    Noooo.
    And it goes on….. :)




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    Enlightenment

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    Tharini’s post has affected me in many levels. I just couldn’t stop with a short comment.

    First of all, her post is a window in to my thoughts. Second of all, though I feel the same way, I could have never put it down as eloquently as Tharini. Thirdly, I am not alone – that gives me a lot of strength to face the day to day battles.

    This is something I have gone through with Chula, still do every now and then. Hubby and self even fear her in some ways. We have complained to each other about the pain of dealing with her when she is throwing a tantrum. She has been called feisty, rebellious, adamant, stubborn, opiniated and few other names in those lines by the people in our lives. I too believed that she is a stubborn child. When we are in the heat of the moment, when she is screaming at the top of her voice and behaving unreasonably all I want to do is lash out so bad that she is scared to behave the way she does. But a month back, sitting in a class discussing how to deal with toddler meltdowns, it came to me – I am creating a self fulfilling prophecy. By believing that she is stubborn, all my actions are based on that assumption and it only kept adding to the stubborn streak in Chula.

    Another problem I had and still have though I am consciously trying to wean myself off it is individuating from Chula. For a long long time I thought and treated her as an extension of myself. You yearn to have a child, after such long time you are blessed with a child, you have such visions – the perfect diet, the perfect schedule, the perfect activities, the perfect toys, the perfect clothes, perfect, perfect, perfect. Well, striving towards such perfection only lead to tears and heart ache – both mine and Chula’s. I always assumed that I knew what was the best for her. When she deviated from my perfect plans, my whole world came crashing down.

    Then Mieja came along. I have wondered if hubby and self were too quick to have the second one and by doing that, placed this enormous burden of being the big sister, being the responsible one on Chula’s shoulders. But in many ways my little Mieja has been Chula’s saviour and a real eye opener to me. With two little kids, I found that I can be involved in their lives only to a certain extent. If I sat with Chula perfecting everything to my liking and micromanaging her life, litle Mieja would be left all alone. In fact that was exactly what happened in the first 6 months of Mieja’s life.

    In Chula’s first 18 months of life, not a single day had passed without me some how getting in to her system, her recommended amount of nutrition. I had personally seen to it. I had followed it even when we were travelling – of course she always threw up most of it after all the effort I had put in. Also she had never missed her nap time. If Chula protested, I used to get agitated that I am going through so much stress for her sake and she does not understand or appreciate it. As a comment to one of my posts Poppin’s mom mentioned that what we ARE as parents has more far reaching effects than what we DO as parents. It is so true. Controlling Chula’s life and perfecting it was stressful. I was this horrible schedule monster. At the end of all this, Chula might grow up to be dependent, unsure of herself and with a poor self esteem as a result of what I am and what I do will be completely lost. (Poppin’s mom that was a very profound statement. As I am writing this post I am seeing the statement in a very different light and all of a sudden all the layers and hidden meanings are unraveling!)

    After Mieja’s birth I discovered that I don’t have the energy to maintain two such schedules! Also came the realization that it is not just enough that if a parent is involved in their children’s lives, but a parent must also know when to get involved.

    I never had problems individuating from Mieja. I have never held her responsible for the expectations I place on her. May be I am experienced the second time around. Or I know that this is my last child and I either live up this moment or loose it forever. Or I realize that in the big scheme of events its okay if certain small things don’t fall in place. Or may be I am and will always see her a baby and am ready to cast aside the little stuff. Or may be just the lack of time. Or a combination of all the above. I don’t know.

    Now a days I don’t sweat the small stuff. I don’t loose it if Chula does not finish her food to the last bit. I am totally against wasting food. So, I box it up, telling her that it is her food and that she must finish it later. The remains will turn up on her plate later the same day. Whenever there is a tantrum, I sit down hugging her, wait for her to cry it out and then talk to her. Most of the time, just the sitting down with her and hugging her itself does the trick. May be it makes her feel worthy and respected – I don’t know what goes on in her mind. Few of the times when the hugging is not enough and she is still sobbing, I tell her that I do not understand crying and that she needs to use her words to get her point across. She is just 33 months and is not able to do that. So I help her with prompts, ‘Are you sad?’, ‘Do you know why?’, ’What can I do to make you feel better? ’, ‘Do you know why amma said {this} and did {this} ?’, ‘Are you still sad?’…etc. I do this even in public places. I have sat down on street pavements, in the mall, parks, parking lots, public restrooms, amusement parks and today at the beach. There are times none of this works. In those times, I just walk away with Mieja in my arms (I know that Chula’s will definitely try whacking Mieja just to get to me and something holding this little bundle gives a sense of fulfilment ) because at those times I know for a fact that I will do more damage to Chula by being with her.

    Am I doing the right thing? Only time can tell.

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