Thursday, September 24, 2009

Of mosquito bites

The swine flu scare made me stock bottles of eucalyptus oil and sprinkle the oil wherever in the house and this has helped tackled another problem. Mosquitoes seem to bite less! This does n't seem to be a repellent but is as effective. Anyway... the problem is the damage they've already done.

V looks like he has rashes on his legs, whereas the truth is that they are scars from repeated scratching. Initially we were worried but later learnt that it is common and the marks take time to go away. We now take care to protect him from bites as they are more dangerous than scars.

I have been applying Lacto-calamine on the scars in the night and it is pretty effective. I guess (Ok the H said so) the zinc whatever in the lotion reduces itching. The little one does n't scratch much, these days. I also apply a moisturizer in the morning to prevent flaking.

What I consider more dangerous are the questions posed in this regard. Tired of answering (even if what I say is what doctors also say) them, I now dress V in trousers whenever we go out. Thankfully, he is co-operative.

Wish I was an Ostrich...

... and am glad that most of us moms think so. My friend had come home for navaratiri and she had left both her children at her aunt's place. The younger one, who is a year old never seems to sleep during the day and is giving my friend a really tough time. She sleeps for hardly an hour a day and stays awake until eleven in the night (I am not alone!). But yesterday my friend came simply because the little one was fast a relative's place. For all the time we spend 'you-know-he/she-likes/does not like', these brats love to embarrass their moms. 

V loves cheese slices and hates anyone (read his parents) 'helping' him remove the slice from the wrapper. A month back a relative had come and V was about to open the wrapper. I know the relative well and told her, with a straight intelligent face, that he gets angry if anyone tried to help him. The unpredictable puppeteer did the unexpected....he gave the unopened cheese slice to the relative and asked her to remove the wrapper. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Of thaak uuu and choyee..

Well well and well...I can lift my collar up and give myself (and also H, poor fellow)  a pat on the back. All our efforts from, when V was a small baby, in practicing courtesies have paid off. We are receiving reciprocation for all the 'Thank yous' and 'Sorrys' we had repeatedly used to teach V some lessons in manners. He manages to say "thaak uu', sometimes even without prompting. Sorry or in his words Choyee came a little late, a few weeks back, to be used regularly, whenever he drops his food, scribbles on the wall or throws a toy down.

Whenever V wants water he would run to the water can, hold a tumbler beneath the tap, open the tap and shout for his amma or appa because he does n't know how to close it. If he finishes it he'll get a 'good-boy' or a stern (or that is what I think) stare if he thinks he is playing with the water by pouring it down.

A few days back he wanted water and as usual called for his amma after opening the tap.

I did n't know whether to rejoice or get angry when after I had closed the tap he said 'thaak uu' and immediately poured the water down and said 'choyee'.


This has been my most favorite festival since childhood. More than the pujas, pattu paavadais and sundal what attracts me most is the 'Golu'. Clay, mud and paper mache dolls, all adorned and colorful, arranged creatively on the steps make it one exiting package. I use to spend hours and hours in helping my father set up the steps and Paati, sister and I would arrange the dolls. I, especially loved to set up themes and parks on the floor. I loved 'Golu' for another reason. It looks like all your favorite people are at one place. The place wears a festive look and whomever and whatever in all shapes and sizes are there right in front of your eyes. And they are not talking! On the tenth day when we pack up all the dolls in their respective cases, it would seem like a function is over and all your relatives and friends are leaving you.

Post marriage I continued this tradition and this is our fifth Golu. Little V is super excited. He patiently accompanied us as H and I we walked up and down North Mada street in Mylapore and the exhibition stalls at 'Kuralagam' to purchase a new set of dolls. We ended up buying five different dolls.

I must mention here that as with everything else the quality of dolls and craftsmanship is deteriorating. I am doing all that I can to pilf...err... procure some old dolls from my grandmother. Someone has to do something about this. Most of the newer dolls look  like they were modeled on film actors and actresses. We bought a small 'Thiruvalluvar' doll and it was nothing but a replica of the statue at the Marina beach. Thankfully, the Sri Raghavendra that we purchased did not (for a change) look like Rajinikanth!

We came home, arranged the steps and the dolls while V was sleeping. The new additions included a 'Thalai aatum chettiar' pair (The chettiar pair indicates the merchants who sell all our daily needs) which were given a special place in the bottom-most step. I promptly placed V's discarded (note the relevance) kitchen set and the set up looked like a 'Ratna Store' and I quickly put a placard that said "Chettiar Stores (Firm)- All products available in all sizes!", pretty pleased with my endeavors, when V sleepily walked in

He gave one look at the arrangement and smiled broadly. He pointed out to all the 'ummachis' (baby talk for God) that he knew and then did what we were dreading all along. He went straight to the 'chettiars' took his kitchen set and started playing with them....after two full months upon discarding them!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

To Kim Clijsters the mom

What do Kim Clijsters and all the other tennis playing and non-tennis playing moms have in common? We all take a break for the family. 
What do Clijsters and a few other moms out there have in common? They give birth to a baby and eighteen months later come to what they do best and triumph! 
I am very happy that it has to be Clijsters setting this example after more than 25 years, than any other player. It is not only because of her silent grit, as she powered past a bad-mouthing Williams sister. It is because she always has played her game this way. I will not get into the analysis of the match. But this is to a woman who has proved (like many others) that marriage and children are not the only show-stoppers! Looking forward to more tennis from you...

Speech milestone-2

In my enthusiasm I could just go on and on...but there are a few things that I was expecting and am very happy that they are happening at regular intervals...or whenever they have to. Well..V has begun asking questions. I thought before the 'ammaaa...ennathidhu' could become frustrating I'll make a note of it. Also make a note of how sweet it sounds now and the fact that I am initiating a lot of questions just for the pleasure of listening to some. I am sure I will get back to this sugar-coated post in the near future. I don't even want to think of this post's future contents!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Of new toys and books

The anally retentive amma pulled out all of V's books and toys, looked at each of them a hundred times and decided that new ones were due. H was led down at gun point and I was made to understand at the same point that it was going to be a bike ride and we set off to Landmark to see if anything new was on the racks. V was left at home with a kindly relative who made sure we shop and hop with peace. 
The Nungambakkam store is good for books (as always), music and films (even for children!) If you are looking out for toys head to Spencer Plaza or Citi centre and head back to Nungambakkam for books. Under the pretension of taking a long winding walk towards the kids section I stood still at 'Indian writings' and 'Humor'. When H asked I told him the Indian writing section had the panchatantra which we could read, but he pretended to be deaf and went away. After half an hour, knowing exactly what I wanted in the children's section I pulled out books that I thought best with half of them going back at H's behest (to put it mildly). We eventually settled for some 'Bubbles' books and some picture books. We actually counted ourselves lucky to find something on the tamil alphabet. I made a mental note of the books that we could buy later at the store or at the book fair at discounted prices. This done we headed towards toys and as I had mentioned earlier it was really not worth taking a look. We (I) still managed to find some puzzles. Finally it was the vcd/dvd section. Impressed by V's latest craze and obsession towards naathaswarams, I had this brilliant idea to get him a vcd/dvd of 'thillana moganambal (TM)'! 
A note to the store guys: Tamil films have an equally big following at your store as the others. Kindly learn to arrange atleast in chronological orders for the sake of people like us. Well...after rummaging through the racks of tamil films (that is quite a collection...I made mental note 2 to come back later) we found everything but TM. Frustrated we asked an attendant and he after spending some 15 mins managed to find a three film dvd of which TM was a part. I'll watch the other two films and write later.
As we left the store I could n't help but realize that I did n't buy a single book for myself and H had conveniently 'forgotten'. Anyway, I am happy that I did n't buy then (this was a week back) because a sale is on at the store and I can shop minus guilt.
We went home, showed V his new possessions and told him we got him a a new 'ga ma' (as he refers to that particular piece). I played it and he he asked me to repeat it 10 times. He was smiling though I really can't say if it was the musical note or Sivaji Ganesan's  or Nagesh's acting. I was pleased at having spent all the time in bringing back that perfect thing to make him happy and was making mental notes 4, 5 and 6 on all the other things that we could set our hands on when the little brat said...
 "Amma...Nalla Ga ma podu" (play the good Ga Ma)!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Speaking milestones....good and bad

I seemed to have unlearned all that I so meticulously and obsessively have been following all along. All the books and websites I pored into have caught me on the wrong foot. Trying to be 'the perfect mom', I had, all along aroused annoyance only to be laughed at now.
Four days back my parents had come to stay with us. V, a couple of days later suddenly began saying..'paati..poo...neee pooo, veliya poo' ( go away) etc. I glared at him and whether he understood most of what I said or not, asked him not to utter those words again. Suddenly it dawned on me. That morning and the day earlier, when my mother tried to help me in the kitchen, I asked her to stay away (for her benefit obviously). I must have (I do so often) used 'po' quite liberally then! I was dumbstruck for a long time. My mother was gracious enough to let it pass (after all mother knows best!), but my father jumped at the opportunity to get back at me after all the sufferings his wife had to go through under his treacherous, over-powering, know-it-all daughter! I defended (though meekly) that I at least had the sense to react quickly. Jokes apart, it was a rude wake up call.
I always considered the mixing up of tenses as one of the developments in speech and wondered when V will say tomorrow instead of yesterday!. To my delight he did that two days back. When I asked him 'when did thatha come'?, he said naalaiki (tomorrow)!!

Friday, September 4, 2009

The percussion passion!

This post has been long pending but had to get it out today. From toy drums to vessels, from little dholaks to basins, from drum-sticks to spoons and ladles... V's repertoire of playthings (read percussion instruments) is fairly big.
It all began a year back when a neighbor gifted a toy drum on  V's first birthday. Long before that, when he was barely  a month old, my father bought this toy dholak from T.Nagar. But V's 'no-germs-from-anywhere-obsessive' amma stashed it off in a place which even she could n't remember. After the toy drum arrived, it became V's only passion for life. Soon the long forgotten dholak also came out. So the drum's sticks were used on the dholak (also called mirudangam, thavil for V's sake) and vice versa. Soon, a toy xylophone joined the party. So all three were used together and what it resulted in was a harmonious cacophony. Glass tables were beaten upon amidst fiery Nooos. Rice drums, steel plates, idli plates were all the variants that formed the jugalbandhi from time to time.
V, whether he is at home or at a friend's place does n't  bother whenever another kid plays with his toys. He generously lets the other play with his toys and just sits and watches them! I, needing one other reason to panic did n't know what to make out of it. I was a little worried that V was not 'normal' because he does not fight for himse...errr...his toys, much to H's consternation who just wanted to let him be. My fears were nullified one day (some three, four months back) when a friend brought along her three year old. That kid was playing with V's toys and as usual the little mister was the silent spectator. Suddenly V started crying uncontrollably albeit from the place he was seated without moving an inch. We first could n't find the reason and then it dawned on us. The other kid was playing with V's dholak! Thankfully when he saw V crying, he gave him back the dholak and started playing with the drum....Generous kid! And I was son is not 'all angel'!
Apart from rhyme videos what keeps him 'occupied' are...hold your breath... videos of naathaswaram kutcheris where the thavil vidwans go dum dum tak to  his delight. These days, "kurai Ondrum Illai' and Old Macdonald have taken the backseat. V wants to listen to Naathaswaram as he goes to sleep! H began  playing a piece, one that became popular as the 'western note' in the film 'Thillana Moganambaal". The one that we have is by Namagiripettai Krishnan. Since the note begins with "Ga ma ga ri ga pa" swaras, the song is 'Ga-Ma' to V. So it is 'Ga-ma' paadu (sing) or podu (play) all the time. He sits with his drum and I have to play the 'pippee pippee' with whatever is available - the remote control, spoon, stick, toy trumpet or anything that has a handle! The lazy amma can't get past the 'ga-maga-riga-pa' part and continues with more pipee pieeee...
He seems to be showing some interest in music...but I am not going to get carried away. Even if the familial pressures are greater than those that originate in the Bay of Bengal this tough 'nut' is not going to crack (already 'people' are talking of putting V in singing and mridangam classes and insist that I play the music DVDs when everyone is around. Also, I must add a reminder to read this post a few years later to check if the determination has persisted or has fizzled out!!)
In the meanwhile, whenever we meet the neighbor who had bestowed upon us a truck load of goodness by gifting the drum, we never fail to thank them for their thoughtfulness so much so that whenever they catch us from the corner of their eye, they run a mile in embarrassment. It actually turned that the neighbor aunty had bought some 'A-B-C' kinda toys and her husband who did not want to burden such a young child with educational toys exchanged that with the toy drum. After we learnt that story we now praise the uncle and only he does the running these days.
I want to add a lot of thing to this post that they don't strike right now and I hope this is good enough for me to take a trip down memory lane a few years later. The reason for the hurry is that, a couple of days back 'Thilla Moganambal' was telecast on KTV and poor V was asleep then. But as if taking a cue in his sleep he got up much earlier (much to my dismay) and sat watching the 'pipee pipee, dum dum, not quietly though what with him playing the drum to 'accompany' the artists on screen. So there I more thing to add to my woes...while I thought it was only a matter of time before V catches up with power rangers, dora, mickey mouse and what not and all the happy struggles between amma and his he was watching Sivaji Ganesan's histrionics in 'Thillana Moganambal'!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

When the heart almost skipped a beat...

As a "scared-to-death-if-the-apple-of-my-eye-gets-hurt" mom, I keep an eye on V all the time that he's awake (sometimes when he's asleep too) whether he is outdoors or at home, especially at home. The two year old carries along a plastic stool whenever he wants to climb the window, or to the cup board that has his favorite biscuits. Though he is a careful (touch wood) child my stomach does a turn whenever he climbs a few steps extra on the slide or tries to climb the stairs to the water tank on the terrace. The same happens when he tries to pull some wire or plays too close to the UPS. I really can't carry everything on my head and I also have to let him learn. Many call me 'obsessive', but my instinct is almost always right. All my screams to H to keep a watch on the little one were justified this morning. V loves 'playing' with kitchen utensils, touching to see if the iron box is hot and so on. H uses an old teak table to iron his clothes and V likes to climb on to the table and do all the careless jumping. The electric socket is very close to the table and it ironing easier, but I don't think that will be the case anymore. V picked up the plug from the carelessly laid iron box and inserted it into the socket and put the switch on. Since my obsessive mind and self were hovering around, I caught him just in time and laid the iron box to rest in a place where even H can't reach. All stern warnings and sterner eye-ball rolling did n't seem to have the desired effect. I have the only option left...I am praying to God for extra pairs of eyes and ears....