Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Game of the Day

How do you get a ball out that's under the cot? If you are tiny and as flexible as Lil' General is, then you can just crawl underneath and take it out. But what do you do if you are a fatso and as flexible as a stick like I am, then you use a prop like a broom with minimal effort and 100% success. That was just an exaggeration; I don't weigh a 100 pounds if that's what you are imagining right now. I can't quite recollect the last time I used a broom or any such object to get something out. So it was totally mind-blowing to see LG get a broom from the utility area to get the ball from the under the bed. There was a folded mattress that got in his way preventing him from crawling underneath so he goes gets the broom; positions it but wasn't able to movie it sideways to motion the ball. With a little prompting and help from me, he was all excited to have ACHIEVED something for real, for once.

This was a few days back. So what does he do yesterday morning. Bored and ran out of games/toys to keep himself entertained, he decides to take out the parts of the Center Table. Yes, it was not the kind of day Center Table would look forward to much in the future. With its side rods mangled out of the holes, and totally satisfied with his undoing, he started fixing it back when one of the rods slid under the table. Totally calm and composed without throwing a tantrum or reaching for his subordinates (read: me, his grandpa) for help, he walks to the utility, opens the door, gets the broom and pushes the rod out with the broom from one side - goes to the other side and comes back with this huge grin which meant I am supposed to APPLAUD. Which I did. Now this praise from mom can;t be a one-time activity, can it? So he does it over and over again until totally satisfied.

Today, he found happiness in grating a cucumber salad for lunch unaided. A grown up person who knows it all and all that? You know who it works with an independent toddler two-months away from turning two, don't you? I'd rather not go into the details of the grating process' outcome. Let's just say, the cucumber went into the bin and it kept LG's mom occupied with scrubbing of the floor, cleaning for the following 15 minutes. There we go - with yet another game.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Breakfast for LG's Best Friend

The time we live in Pune, Li'l General was deeply fond of Beethoven aka Caesar. If there's one regret I'll have in life, it is not taking a picture of LG with Caesar before we left Pune. During the last few days there, despite my best efforts it didn't happen as either Caesar's caretakers were busy with other commitments or I just didn't have the time to drop by amidst all the rain and packing. So after a lot of Googling, I found a St.Bernard - Beethu's breed- that looks almost like Caesar. Beethoven is the name we had give to the dog before we got acquainted and knew his real name - Caesar. Because of Caesar's semblance with Beethoven from the movie, he got his name. Caesar was all of 17 days when he moved to Pune, we learned later. The first time we saw him, he was barely a 25-day-old and LG was all of 10 months. With time, they grew fond of each other so much so that every morning uncle would stop by in front of our house if we didn't meet them on our morning walk and LG would smile at them from the balcony. Caesar out of excitement would gallop high and insist on standing in front of the gate. They grew together seeing each other a few times every day.

To the best of my memory, I think the first location LG started identifying which pointed to his sense of direction was Caesar's house. It was a corner house and no matter which way we went he would promptly prop himself up in the pram and say "bow bow" and would get doubly excited if Beethu were standing at the gate. With time, LG grew like a human child would and Caesar the breed he represents which meant he was above our waist when we left Pune and beyond a normal adult's control. Sadly, uncle would wave us off from a distance on spotting us for fear of not being to control Caesar. He would get so excited on seeing LG that once he almost tripped his pram. On yet another occasion when he was barely a two-month-old he pulled the sock of LG's feet for fun.

So, it's not surprising to see LG's affection for dogs, in general. The no. of pets here in Bangalore in the neighborhood we live in is almost zilch. There's a stray dog that lives within the apartment complex. LG has grown fond of it but I don't allow him to touch it though I take him every morning and evening to see him. This morning he took him bread for breakfast. The dog refused to eat and he came back upset. Continental breakfast for a dog used to eating idlis and dosas will revolt, won't it? How do I make LG understand! Anyways, I'm glad he has found a new friend.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Lil' General at twenty-two months..

-- is two months shy of turning two. I eagerly waited to do the post when he turned twenty-one months September 18, only to miss until it turned too late to be relevant anymore. So here I am, not wanting to missing the opportunity of recounting the month just gone-by again. Monthly birthdays are exciting...the steam builds up a couple of days before the event and on the 18th of every month, the day starts with "Happy Birthday" and goes on through the day everywhere - in the loo, while jo-joing (LG's vocabulary for bathing), walk in the park, eating sessions and just about randomly. The difference being, LG understands now and joins me with "Appy Appy" with this huge grin on his face gleaming with happiness that he is being made feel special. Isn't that what it's all about after all?

The milestones in the early months - from one to six months were more noticeable and easy to write about. But if you ask me the difference between what LG did as a 21-month-old and a 22-month-old it's difficult to pin-point to one particular thing saying he completely developed this habit this month. Many habits have been manifesting in subtle ways over the past few months such as his preference for using left hand over the right. His first instinct to pick up a piece of biscuit or feed himself or lift a crayon from the floor is his left. I'm not against his being left-handed or right-handed; whatever comes naturally to him is good for him. But when it comes to eating and shaking hands with others, I encourage him in a positive way to held out his right and slowly I realise he is able to use both his hands with equal ease and the first instinct still remains left.

His need to assert himself has grown over the past month. He insists on feeding himself. More often than not, he can't bring himself to eat more than 3 spoonfuls. I appreciate him on his effort but there are times when I run out of patience because the meal times just seem to take ever and at times I feel there is hardly anytime left between the previous one and the next session. As a child he was quite fond of plain milk. He has perhaps outgrown the taste and now likes it flavored with Bournvita or something similar. It's down to one bottle a day which again is out of my convenience for the morning and not because of his demand. My goal is to completely stop bottle this month and move over to the cup for all times.

I can't quite recollect when I developed a phobia for cockroaches. As far back as my memory goes, I've always been afraid of the creepy insect. Maybe LG is too young to understand fear. He doesn't battle an eyelid before picking up a big grasshopper or chasing tadpoles, frogs, ants, dogs and cats alike. The only time I saw him cry out of fear was when the power went out last night and the inverter was down. He was seated in his high-chair having his dinner with me sitting beside him when total darkness engulfed us. Tears rolled down his cheeks and he began sobbing; a good amount of reassuring that I was right next to him soothed him in a while. Separation anxiety is still there but he doesn't throw a tantrum if I step out for a while like 30 mins. He enjoys donning a hat all day and putting one on the horse and his other teddy friends too.

His curiosity hasn't died down a bit; if anything it only gets worse by the day. LG lets the whole neighborhood know during the day that the power is gone and inverter is on. He goes onto check the lights on the mains, opens the fridge to see if the lights are out, then switches on the tube light and fan to see if it runs. And this process is repeated in a sequence atleast a dozen times and if it's our lucky day, the power comes back before he is done with certifying that the power is indeed not there. Or like the other day when he was all set to open the fridge with a knife.

One significant milestone of the month is his explosion in vocabulary. It's been over a month and half that he has gotten into one-nap-a-day routine; sleeps for over two-three hours at a stretch in the afternoon which is good. But it's become challenging to keep him actively engaged during the day and later in the evening as I run out of things to do with him. We do about two or three trips to the park in the morning once before breakfast and once before lunch. And then follow it up with a longer one in the evening and one last one to say good night to the moon before going to bed. At home, it's nursery rhymes time for an hour, seeing pictures of The Seniol and rest of the family for 30 mins, a visit to the neighbours' and then toys. Still we are always short of things to do as he can't sit in a place for more than 2 minutes - has to get the dough or water the plants or throw stuff into the sink or run into the bathroom. After a lot of conundrum on what is the right time for him to go to playschool, I finally made up my mind one morning this week that it was time to let my baby go for a couple of hours for his own good. Not much is going to change between now and two months. It's tough to come to terms of letting him go for the first time to be in someone else's care considering I've taken care of him every single day without a caretaker since the day he was born through my good days, bad days, through my sickness and days of being down and out. I try convincing myself he is too young to go to a play school which he is. At the same time it might do good to him playing with other kids. I took him to two schools nearby and both the times he was all excited while there and quite sad to leave. The expression on his face said it all though he cannot express it in words yet. The boy has inherited his expressive face from his mom, perhaps! So, he is all set to join one after Diwali.

I'm told the terrible twos phase is yet to come. But I sincerely believe it's arrived well before time. Temper tantrums are more one day with the little boy pointing his authoritative finger at me with that seriously frown on his face when he doesn't get his way; and then there are days when he is the perfect little charmer with twos getting terrific than terrible. He quite understands that his mother won't budge for unreasonable demands no matter how much fist-beating and fake cries he enacts. At the same time he also understands that with half the effort he can get his way with his grandfather. So he turns to him for all the unreasonable ones which miffs me. It's a challenge to mix grand-parenting and parenting. Because then the child starts understand his mom is not on his side so much so that I get slapped by him now and in the next breath he is trying to comfort me running his fingers down my cheek. I don't like raising my hands on the kid but I do raise my voice and he understands it is not right to do what he did.

On a closing note, having LG was one of the best things that happened to us. He makes everyday beautiful and living worthwhile.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Caught in the act

What do you do if your mother locks the fridge with a key? Try opening it with a knife : practical advice from Lil' General. That's what LG decided to do yesterday after crying and beating his fists didn't work out. So much so that even his pointing an authoritative index finger with a frowning face didn't move his mom, he decided to take things in his own hand and reach for the first suitable object which turned out to be a blunt knife. I'm at a loss of words for what to call this action: presence of mind or desperation? But firstly, I'm just surprised how the brain of a barely 21-month-old works. I've secured the tool section of the cabinet with a lock so screw-drivers are out of his reach now, else his instinct would have been to fetch that. Ofcourse, the knife didn't result in a positive response because his mom took it away for one; next it didn't rotate the way he wanted it to. "Not amusing mom!", said his look.

And then this morning, he decided it was time for his mom to haul her a** and get some cleaning done around the house with Diwali less than a fortnight away. So what does the kid do? He piles up the masala dabbas from the cabinets on to the vessel strainer making it easy for me to wipe the shelves and re-arrange it again. In the evening, he was only too happy to hand me the curtain rings one by one as I hung back the washed curtains.

My toddler son was extra-delighted to create an emergency last evening. My husband frantically calls me to ask what happened. I have no clue what he was talking about. He goes on to say in one breath, "You called 4-5 times continuously." I reply in a casual tone, "Really? Oh!" It's not PMS time yet for me to act crazy! Then I ask him what number did the call come from. No sooner did he say land-line, I saw the sheepish grin on LG's face as I mentioned the word 'phone'. He had been fiddling with the instrument a few minutes ago; since we use it only as a backup for the cordless and it's a long process to dial an outgoing number, I didn't give much thought to it. Who would have thought "Redial" is the easiest way out to get through such hurdles and there he goes interrupting his dad in class! I try to keep the phone out of his reach but who is to prevent an excited toddler who goes to extremes of climbing a center table and another obstacle to reach for the phone.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Toddler's a word a day

"Paesste. Paesste.", said LG one evening swiftly waving a tube of black glass paint toward me. It took me a minute to understand what he meant. It' not often that you hear my son talk any more than the very-emphasised "Mummmy" or "Pleeeeeease" or "Baschh".

Then in the morning at the bathroom two days ago, I was squeezing the tooth paste onto my brush while he was positioned comfortably in his potty seat for the morning ritual, when he blurted "Blusssh." I almost dropped my tooth brush in excitement when I heard this. He is giving me a heart-break by suddenly transforming from a ten-word-vocabulary kid into this surprise a word-a-day one. I ensure my ears are clean with no signs of hearing impairment whatsoever for fear of missing the surprise word everyday.

I wonder if this is what they call the vocabulary explosion. This milestone has been equally exciting as the other ones. For a moment, I thought maybe this was way better than the rest now that my child can communicate a few words and we can have a "conversation" - so what if it's a fake one! the real one can wait - I don't want him to grow up so fast. But then, I thought about all his previous major milestones such as the first turn on the eve of his third month birthday, the first time he crawled a few inches after making us wait in anticipation, the first steps at fifteen months and the first time he uttered a word - "akka" - in a shop. Each gave me a high and was equally exciting as the rest. The best part about this whole developmental thing is it comes when you expect it the least and on its own - I mean you don't a teach a 3-month-old how to turn unaided or I didn't teach the 15-month-old how to take his first steps (he didn't have a walker).

Some of the words LG says now are really music to the ears like "daaaaaa du" which is well prompted and said with so much care and affection that his grandpa rushes to his grandson where ever he is. I think the word he picked most effortlessly was "thatha". I said "thatha" once and he repeated as if he's been saying it for ages. "Papa" is always said with utmost care in a hush hush tone that you have to pay real attention to hear it. I know LG is coming home from his park trips as he calls out "mummmmy" from the bottom of the steps. I never trained him to call me "mummmy", it was just a plain "amma" as I call mine. So it was quite a surprise as to where he had heard the word and related it to me. Things kids learn!

The funniest of it all is when he calls up The Seniol and says, "papa stuuuu" for "Papa study." Who else do you think taught him that?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Discovery of the Moon

I was cooking LG's dinner last night when I heard a very excited LG pace up and down between the balcony and the drawing room. Thanks to the Airtel signal, all our phone conversations are public. My FIL was in the midst of a conversation when LG tried to get his attention. This is quite normal so I didn't pay any heed for he always looks up to his grand-pa for help to get any object that's out of his reach. But this seemed different.

Before I knew, I see an equally excited grand-pa calling out for me with LG perched on his shoulder. The gleam on their faces said they had a remarkable achievement and I was only too eager to know what it was. Turned out LG discovered a white object in the sky which we know by "moon". I had been trying for months to show him the moon in Pune and all he saw were the trees, passersby on the street, his favorite dogs but not the moon. I forgot about it eventually and gave up. Now the kid decides to go out one fine night and discover it all by himself. I am so happy to see him happy on seeing the moon. I can't recall the last thing that got him so excited. The first thing he wakes up today morning and says is "Moo" and rushes off to the balcony. Every hour or so he steps to see if moon has made an appearance or is still playing peek-a-boo. I convinced him it will come in the night and sent a message to Sun to ensure that while he stepped out he sent in the Moon. LG was happy with my conversation with Sun and didn't ask for it until night-fall. Tonight he wasn't satisfied with the view from the balcony, so we stepped out and saw it from different angles - between the bushes, in open air and clear view, from the terrace and from the road with the buzzing noise of the traffic in the background.
Small moments as these are the highlights of motherhood that I wouldn't miss for anything. They bring more joy than all our material buys put together! Thank you LG for making us happy every day.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

When mom got creative

What happens when it rains cats and dogs for over 2 hours? I don't want to know the obvious which is the potholes/sidewalks are filled with muddy water running evening walks and there are a zillion tadpoles hopping around. The most disturbing outcome of an evening's rain is that it ruins a kid's play time in the park and the morning after too because it's not a pretty sight with the swings and slides laden with mud and serving as the perfect breeding spot for mosquitoes.

So what do you do when your toddler gets bored staying indoors all day? You try and recreate in parts certain activities of the park at home. And, that's just what I did last evening to keep LG engaged at home. He is fond of playing in the sand with his kit of spades, sieve, and whatever you call the dozen odd items that comes with it. I got a few handfuls of white rangoli powder and poured it over the large plastic cover of the toy box (laundry bucket converted into one). And there you go, we have an excited toddler and an equally crazy mother involved for over an hour building castles out of white powder.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Fearless little kids..

It was about 7 p.m. last evening. LG and I were returning home from a birthday party in the apartment complex; it had rained heavily just a few hours before so there were poodles of water along the pathway. The walking path was poorly lit so I could barely see. However, a few feet ahead in the darkness I imagined seeing something jumping sideways. A little closer and it was unmistakeably a frog. A few steps forward and to my shock it is not one or two but atleast two dozen of them. I was scared of stepping on one of them so quickly moved ahead without looking back. LG who was holding my hand suddenly shook his hands off me. What do I see? The kid is bending down to pick up a frog showing absolutely no signs of fear while I am dumbstruck. My instant reaction was only to shove him aside and take him back home.

The amazing part is as kids we are so fearless and then later grow up to be the ones with a hundred phobias like my fear of cockroaches.

Let me start by narrating an incident that happened this morning. I had to visit a bank next door to make an FD. This much-delayed task had to be attended to soon and I was just putting it off for some reason or the other every day. Yea, I know - FD of all investment avenues. Hey, but atleast it's better than seeing your stock/MF portfolio lose over 75% in value in a span of 9 months, isn't it?

It was about 10 in the morning and I decided I would take a shower and run down to the bank and get this over with. It had been a long day already - considering it was just 3 hours since we had been up. But it can be equivalent to staying up 20 hours with someone like LG. I had done two trips to the park, run around the slides with him, spent over 45 minutes trying to feed 6 spoons of porridge for breakfast and when that didn't work tried giving banana and cheeku which eventually ended in the dust bin. Now this whole exercise can be very draining. Throw in a few more activities in between like dragging him away from the bathroom, washing his mud-filled fingers, picking up a box full of cornflakes strewn on the floor, keeping a close watch as he reaches out for the extension cord and plugs it in, places 2 DVDs in the player, scrubs the floor like his mom - oh God! there's not a moment to relax while he is awake. Today was the peak of everything and I said to myself, "enough is enough. I'm taking him out with me to get the job done." My FIL warned he might not let me sign the documents and it would be a trouble lugging him around and suggested I leave him behind.

But my adorable son keeps a close watch on who enters and who leaves the house. The clicking sound of the front door is enough to make him dash across the hallway just to check if mama hasn't left. I tiptoed but he figured I had left and started screaming. So I came back and took him along. And was back in 30 minutes finishing a few other things on the way. To my surprise (which btw is not the first time and I had expected it), he was so well-behaved that the ladies at the bank couldn't stop praising him as to how well-behave and obedient a child he was. He let me sign the papers while sitting quietly on my lap, smiling charmingly at the ladies, occasionally waving at the others, and pointing to things familiar while they enjoyed his company. They couldn't stop raving how cute a kid LG was for 1 year 9 months. I almost felt like saying, "Please come home and see for yourself." but just sat there and felt like a proud mom for once.

And then this evening at the park there were a dozen kids as usual. LG played on the swing for a long time and I had to run errands so I left him in the company of my FIL. My FIL was all excited on my return to narrate what happened. There is this girl who is about 2 months older to LG and another one about three months younger to him. Both of them are the dominant sorts who hate sharing their toys - which is alright because it comes naturally to many kids. While the first one took her turn on the slide, LG went behind her when the other girl came as well. The perfect gentleman he is, got down two steps to let the younger go ahead of him, he went behind the two of them. A few minutes later, the girls parked themselves on top of the slide refusing to go down. LG who was behind them waited a few minutes. Seeing they weren't going down, he yelled in his own language which is "aay,ooy". He can be the perfect charmer and also knows to see his way through.

He is 2.5 months away from turning two. I don't know if it's the terrible two phase or whatever. But the past 4-5 days have been extremely draining managing the hyper-active toddler. Throwing a tantrum for everything from eating to wearing clothes has become second nature. Every day gets very challenging as he hurts himself a few times in the process of protesting. Yet there are moments when he exerts his independence and behaves like an adult talking to his dad laid back on the sofa or drinking a bowl of soup with a spoon. At such times, his mom is not allowed to be even within a hand's reach for fear she might 'help' him in his activity.

VIBGYOR High is one of the schools I'm considering for LG for pre-nursery/nursery; it is not far off from where we live. Most forums online about schools in Bangalore mention this one, so I decided to visit personally. I was pleased with the school. Here's a detailed review based on my two visits:


Honestly, it was intimidating taking a tour of the school on my first visit. BIG and sophisticated is what I thought. Now having seen a few more, I think parents feel it is a given that schools should have facilities such as splash pool, swimming pool, skating rink, basketball courts, aerobics classes and the like. I liked the school but thought it was too big for LG to start his academic career from. I mean I wanted something small and homely for him initially that would make him comfortable. But I guess it's more in my head. What does a 2 year old know what's a school and a play home is?

So, coming back to the facilities, the schools boasts of all that I've just mentioned. Currently, they start from the toddler (pre-nursery) program and have classes until 7th Std. They follow the ICSE curriculum. A few parents I spoke to had the concern that since this school does not have until 10th Std. they are not considering. That's the last on my list to begin with. I'm here for pre-nursery who knows if we continue to stay in Bangalore or not and moreover, maybe a few years down the line the school might introduce more classes too, who knows? I think it's too far-sighted to base a decision for securing admission in pre-nursery by considering 10th Std. which is still years away.

The nursery and pre-nursery sessions were over when I visited so there were no children around. Since the school also runs a day care center some kids move over to the day care center after completing the nursery classes.

The pre-nursery section of the school on the ground floor was segregated from the classes of older children in the other wing or the upper floors. All the classes seemed colorful, bright and equipped with single chair and table - a far cry from the wooden benches we had at our schools.

Admission process:

The application forms for next year were distributed this August so they reached the 100% by the time I went in which was late September. They did take in the application form but refused to commit. One has to visit personally to collect and submit the application which costs Rs.650 in all. I know, pretty weird! Come to think of it, it's the cost of entertaining parents and showing them around. The personnel at the reception are friendly and answer all your queries patiently which is one thing I liked about the school.


They have two more branches coming up - one off Sarjapur Road and one in Whitefield.


The location can be a put off as it is about 800 meters in the interior from the main road. There is no proper road leading to the school - just a muddy one. Roller coaster ride free of cost guaranteed.

How to get there:

If you are coming from the old airport or outer ring road or KR puram, join the old airport road and proceed towards Varthur.
Cross the flyover (the one with Purva Riviera and the concrete jungle on the left).
Keep going straight and you will come to the signal.
Turning left will take you to ITPL. Instead continue straight, you will see Brand Zone to your left and KC Das to your right. Keep going.
About 700 meters from the signal, take a U turn and come towards Shriram Samrudhi Apartments. Next to the apartment is a muddy road.
Take this road; it will lead you to the school which is at about 800 meters from the main road.

I wrote in a post recently on my other blog that it's probably to get an admission into the IIM's but was fairly tough to get a pre-nursery seat in Bangalore. When the NYT ran a piece early this year about the parental stress due to pre-KG admission for their kids, I dismissed it as hype. I mean how tough can that be was all that I thought. From my own experience with the admission process for LG, I hang on to every word written in the article and swear it's all true. TOI ran an article last Sunday as to how some private schools have already started the admission process for pre-nursery and nursery.

It's early October and some schools I've approached are already not accepting any more application forms. They started as early as August and are done informally with the acceptance process; the interviews are scheduled for late October or early November. Had it not been for a casual remark from a friend as soon as we moved to Bangalore about the admissions starting in September, I would have been totally in the dark and would have had to home school him!

Here's a list of the schools I've come to know in and around the areas - Marathahalli, Outer Ring Road, Jeevan Bhima Nagar, Kundalahalli and Whitefield. Please feel free to let me know if you have more information. I have personally visited many of them reviews of each will follow in separate posts. Some schools have not made it to this list because I'm not considering them for teh feedback received such as Ryan International and Gopalan International.

  1. VIBGYOR - Varthur Road (Marathalli)
    Phone: 4205 3101-03/

  2. GEAR International School - Off Sarjapur Road & Outer Ring Road, Phone: 9740777799,9741777799, 28440917

  3. Shishu Griha - Near BEML Gate, Off Tippasandra - 25213940/941

  4. Geethanjali Educational Society - 25272357 /9845349176

  5. Casa Maria Montessori House of Children - Airport Road
    Ph: 25266116 / 9845104830

  6. Prerana - Indira Nagar
    Ph: 25295116, 9341405116

  7. Neev Schools
    Neev - Indiranagar
    2989/C, 12th Main, HAL 2nd Stage
    Indiranagar, Bangalore 560 008
    Tel: 080 25263935, 080 41300836 / 37

    Neev - Whitefield
    123/64, Main Road Whitefield
    Bangalore 560 066
    Tel: 080 32973720 / 21

  8. National Public School (NPS) - HSR Layout
    Ph: 25705171, 25705172

Shishu Griha is very strict about the age of kids they entertain for application process, let alone admission. I was told the kid has to be between 2 years 9 months and 3 years as of June 1st.

As for other schools, to be admitted in the nursery program the kid should have completed 2 years and 9 months as of June 1st.

The status quo on LG's admission process is that I have an appointment scheduled for one and given the application form for another. It will be late November before we get to know anything positive. Most schools other than VIBGYOR and GEAR do not disclose the fees unless you discuss in person.

It must be a lucky day thought LG, for he stepped out the apartment complex on Sunday evening. It had been almost a month since we went on an outing. Since The Seniol left, the number of times we step out are far and few. Mostly, my FIL and I take turns to stock groceries while LG is asleep so as not to cart him along. And, what did his dear mom choose as a hangout place - the neighborhood mall. Couldn't she come up with something better? No, seriously! Anyways, there's a dearth of places in this concrete jungle where I can take LG for a peaceful walk in the evening or just stroll around the locality gazing at children play, cows grazing while breathing in fresh air. A dream we left behind but it's not so bad here either within the apartment complex. He has a company of dozen other children his age to play with which makes every evening fun.

Malls are not totally new to LG though he detests them a lot or atleast used to. Because it meant no visit to the park that evening for one. Secondly he was not allowed to run around freely. On more than one occasion he has disturbed stuff in display on the shelves. It puts him off to be lugged around in the cart or on my shoulder. I was expecting a revolting behavior in tune with his terribl-two phase lately. But to my surprise he was well-behaved. The sight of a toy shop caught his attention as soon as we entered and he longed for every stuffed toy to the motorized car and cycle. I had to literally drag him out of the store as he parked himself comfortably on the floor refusing to budge. Other than this, I think he enjoyed the trip. We got a large portrait done of him. I became a monkey, a donkey, an elephant, a clown but nothing brought a smile to the poker-faced LG. Once the shot was taken, he was grinning cheek- to-cheek like a Cheshire Cat .