Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Building Blocks

It was exactly a year back when I got my son his first set of building blocks. My brother and I grew up playing Lego toys building tractors, houses, building, and cars. But what I forgot was we were over four or five years old when we made interesting things out of those colorful blocks. Wasn't it a little too early for a one year old to be attracted to some random shapes? This was at my mom's last January. After that I got another set in Pune a few months back which just occupied one corner of the huge toy box. A few days ago, out of the blue LG started making shapes sitting patiently in his room struggling to fix atop another. Was I surprised? Well, not really because if I start acting surprised for everything he does these days then I would stay in that state the whole day.

Going to school has opened up a new side of LG altogether. Earlier we would plead with him to play with toys and now we have to plead to get him out of the room because he doesn't want to eat or sleep. Such an immense transformation in a matter of five weeks. Last evening, I had an opportunity to take a picture of one of his latest creations with the blocks...sure the CG seemed out of balance for the structure..but who cares when it comes of a two year old. Here I present to you his latest:

Monday, December 22, 2008

I Can Open a Sabzi Mandi...

... and I mean that in all honesty. Going by the number of times I and Li'l General's grandfather buy potatoes and beans, we sure can supply a truck load of vegetables to the entire neighborhood. Earlier whenever his dadu stepped out of home, LG would say, Dadu ummachi" (read: a visit to the temple). After last week's episode, if we are going out then it's definitely to buy beans or carrots so much so that after his Polio vaccination yesterday when we were returning home, LG stopped by a shop on seeing vegetables to pick a few. Needless to say, it took a lot of reassurance from my side to convince him we did have potatoes at home. And what do I see after getting home, that we are running out of potatoes. Maybe he is more efficient at the kitchen than I ever will be.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

When Signs Give Way to Words...

I was talking to a friend this evening; she mentioned she was eagerly waiting for LG to start talking. "What?", I wondered. Because he has been talking by the dozen, alright not full-fledged meaningful sentences but related words strung together that definitely make sense - if you are paying attention :). Then it dawned upon me that I haven't been writing about his latest speech milestones here so it's natural for people to be in the dark. Many of my friends who I don't correspond with regularly over e-mail do know what's going on as they are regular readers of this blog and Reflections.

There was a time when I worried a big deal about raising a multilingual child - an entry that gained tremendous popularity. It's been a year and half since that post. Li'l General mixes words in English, Tamil and Hindi with ease now. Most of the common objects are said in English and that's one language he is the most comfortable in for now. Things would have been a little more simpler if I was the only one living with him as before..with in-laws moving in and Hindi thrown in, progress on the language front has been a little slow over the past four months. The most significant period has been last month. True to the saying, "One to walk, two to talk" LG expresses himself or atleast tries his best. To strangers, it is all still goobledygook. But to m, it is an important milestone when he no longer points to his bum with "ooooooo" which means it is time for potty. He now says, "Mamma, potty."

Some of the cute phrases from the past that I would want to remember forever. The replacement term is the one after hyphen that he has begun using these past few weeks.

  1. ooooooo with a sign - Potty

  2. Owwww -hot

  3. Ta - Light

  4. Ta - Fan

  5. Pi - shoes

  6. Pi still the same for chappal

  7. Boiche - Ball

  8. Pappe or Papi - Papa

Some words that he can't still pronounce correctly:

  1. Pe - thengai or coconut

  2. Tchea - TV

  3. Pooch - Spoon

  4. Cooch - School

  5. Pipi - Chappati

  6. Pow - Polu Teddy Bear

  7. Dolchie - Dolphin

  8. Aby - Heli

  9. Kho - open

  10. Chaku - Kachu

  11. Capsicum - Pacsi

He is clearly going through the vocabulary explosion phase, one that I longed for. Happy Talking.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Turning Two was Thrilling!

LG turned two yesterday. We had a fun day though the morning started off on a chaotic note. I woke up startled with the cellphone ringing first and when I cut the call out of drowsiness, the land line blared aloud within minutes waking up both LG and me this time. After I managed to get a few incoherent words to Dad something to the effect that I would call him later, I snuggled into bed with LG who had managed to drift into sleep by then. Five minutes later, the door bell rang - a neighbour who had stopped by to wish LG and present him with a gift. There you go - that's how our morning began. We didn't leave room for anymore interruptions and woke up. I walked LG to his toys room and he couldn't believe his eyes. He dashed all over the house for the day was full of surprises for him - balloons all over the place, his room decorated, momma singing Happy Birthday non-top and his dadu was back - with Potatotoes and Beans! It took a while for LG to gain his composure. In the morning frenzy, he forgot his morning milk, so I walked him back to his bed but he just couldn't gulp it down. There were gifts to be opened and some that were already open were lying on his bed...so how could he waste precious moments drinking some milk. I had gone to bed the previous night after decorating his room well after midnight after trying in vain to blow up balloons. I felt disgusted at not being able to blow up balloons - imagine Googling for "how to blow a balloon and watching wikihow videos at 11:54 p.m." Blowing balloons was a feat I had successfully achieved many times in the past - blame it on the superior quality this time. All I could manage in a span of 57 minutes was 1 balloon. Exhausted, I crashed deciding to worry about th balloon project next morning.

The whole morning was a race against time. I dropped him off to school; got caught by the traffic police and his dadu went to buy a balloon pump and got further delayed. The best cake in Bangalore is apparently from Sweet Chariot. But it didn't work out good for me as they didn't deliver before noon and I was against the idea of collecting a day before and storing it in the fridge for a day; we had arranged to cut the cake at school around 10:30 a.m. We reached by 10:40 a.m. and felt so bad for not making it in time. Damn traffic police! Anyways the kids had finished singing and dancing with LG by then. So we cut the cake. LG was super thrilled but was clingy at the same time uncomfortable with all the extra attention bestowed upon him. After a small party at school, we returned home well past 11:30 a.m. and boy was I surprised. The cook had managed to blow a dozen off balloons in the meantime ..she did it to surprise us. Just before I left for school, she saw me struggling to blow but the morning was way better than the previous night. I managed 5 in a matter of 15 minutes :) With more gifts, cake, ribbons, and balloons LG couldn't control his excitement. He had stuffed way too many pieces of cake at school and chips. Eventually, he skipped lunch and went to sleep well past his nap time at 1:00 p.m. woke up a fresh boy at 2:30 p.m. to have his lunch and got about methodically for the next round of toys.

He has been very fond of pizza these day..not that he has ever tasted it jut the ads on TV and the outlet near our place. So we went for a walk and surprised him by stopping by the Pizza place. Usually, we just walk past every evening so he couldn't believe it. H kept telling "Momma Pizza" and then announced the same over phone to his granny and Papa that he went to ate pizza. Bread makes him puke so he is off bread and cheese products..didn't matter to him. He was happy just being there, running around, and the thought of actually stepping into a place that we never went to. He was super thrilled to have just the vegetable toppings. Isn't it amazing how small things in life can make a child so happy? We spent the rest of the evening at home playing and having a good time. I also discovered that evening that his molars are surfacing now. No wonder he has been in so much pain and that should explain his reluctance to eat any food at all for the past week. On his first birthday, he had 16 teeth and four more on the way on his 2nd. And this kid was born with a calcium deficiency!

I don't have any more to say than I have said through the year on his milestones. Just that he talks a dozen now! So I leave you with some of his latest pictures...

An example of his resourcefulness: If it's 7:00 p.m., then it's time to have dinner. If I haven't made pi-pi (chapathi in LG's language), then he decides to make one himself. Caught in the act below...

The occasions he empties the pepper/chilli powder container far exceeds when he does something useful for me. Yesterday afternoon for instance, I had just got vegetables and had not put them away in the fridge. He got back from school, saw the bag, then sat down and took one of those vegetable bags from the platform
and meticulously stuffed 1 KG of tomatoes in it, opened the fridge with the intention of placing it in the tray. The tray was too heavy to be pulled out so he called out for me instructing me to keep it in. Needless to say, I was overwhelmed. In this one, he is peeling onions for me.

When he gets hurt which is so very often through the day, I apply an ice pack if he is really hurt. Most times, he is just faking it. If his friends - car, dolchie (dolphin), po (polu), buco (buco kiddoo), stucha (stuart little), or holse (horse) get hurt, he tends to them himself by fetching the ice pack from fridge and then rubbing their eyes because they are supposed to be crying out of pain. And then soothes them with an ice pack.

The drama king in action...

Edited to add a picture of the birthday cake below:

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Happy Birthday LG : You Turn 2 Today!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It takes a day to buy beans and potatototo

As an adult, I understood the meaning of the word "innocence" through my two-year-old. How easy it is to make them believe anything despite all the perceived smartness of kids these days!

So the story goes that a fortnight back my dad was here to meet LG to wish him Happy Birthday well in advance because he was traveling before the 18th and couldn't come down to met his grandson even if he wished to. Destiny had other plans with my grandpa passing away a week back and Dad is still in the country. Anyways, while dad was here for two days Li'l General and his grandpa bonded a lot over two days listening to music, playing the park, going for a drive in the car, an auto ride, a trip to the mall, making weird sounds, and most important of all playing with the camera that I never allow. As Dad was leaving and kissed his grandson goodbye from the auto, LG's face changed color and the smile was gone. Soon, he was sobbing and within a minute started wailing "thatha, thatha". Dad had not gone too far - maybe a hundred meters by then. An otherwise openly inexpressive person, he couldn't hold back his emotions and asked the auto guy to stop for a minute. He came back and comforted his grandson close. Both of them felt miserable and having Kleenex would have been handy. It took a lot of me to stop LG crying that night and put him to bed. He was so mad that he refused to talk to his thatha the next day over phone for leaving him and going.

I learned one big lesson that night. That goodbyes are for those who are grown up and can understand what it means. My son is barely two now and there's ample time for him in life to understand separation and the pain of seeing someone one. Reality can wait. Last night, his paternal grandfather who he calls "dadu" left to meet his thatha for a day to offer his condolences. LG was seated on his high chair having dinner when his dadu left. He saw the bag and asked where dadu was going. I had the presence of mind to tell him he was going to get "Potatototo" (his favorite word of late and yes, the "to" doesn't stop). That got him excited and he chipped in with, "Dadu beans callot." There you go, the boy has my veggie list ready for me. This morning he woke up as usual and after looking for his dadu said, "Mama, dadu beans." I nodded in agreement. A while later when he asked me once more I said, "Dadu has gone to get beans from thatha." So he promptly called up his granny and asked for thatha and beans so that his dadu can return home early. Surprisingly, he was teeny bit anxious about his absence but not cranky or sad. Heartbreak avoided and There goes the story of how it takes a day to get beans.

His dadu would return tomorrow morning in time for LG's birthday with beans, carrot and potatoto.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Ready to Leave the Nest

My son turns 2 years next Thursday. I can't believe he thinks that he is already old enough to fly out of the nest. He has done it before and repeated it today. Once before, in a bag he packed his belongings that he deemed were important for his existence. This evening, he packed a bag yet again. Since the two incidents were atleast five months apart, the contents of the bag varied - a sign that he is growing up and so his needs are changing :) The earlier one had just a comb and water bottle.

Today's bag contained :

1. Water bottle (aware of hunger, thirst)
2. Books - one needs certain things for entertainment
3. A pair of dress comprising shirts and track pants - yes, after susu one needs to change, right?
4. Two sweaters - it's cold in Bangalore

After stuffing this, the plastic packet was full but he needed more essentials inside it before leaving home. So the packing continued.

5. Sandals
6. An elephant toy
7. And how can I forget his pillows? He smelled the pillows to see if they smelled fresh.

Am I surprised that he has his travel checklist ready? I can entrust him with the job of packing from now onwards.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Business Lessons Begin Early

Scene: Li'l General seated in his high chair for dinner. I'm feeding him vegetable soup. NDTV Profit is playing in the background. Tired of watching Aamir Khan and SRK battle it out with endless promos of their upcoming movies in Zoom, I flipped the channel to settled on NDTV Profit. The program "The Unstoppable Indian" was playing. YC Deveshwar, Chairman of ITC Group, was being interviewed. YCD was recounting how Madhavrao Scindia had persuaded him to take up the offer for Chairman of Air India to turn around the national carrier similar to British Airways; how he left ITC for a period of three years from 1991-94 and how under his leadership Air India's gross profit margins improved.

To my surprise, LG did not want the channel to be changed. This has never happened before. So I took the cue and told him who the gentleman was. Strangely, YCD spoke as if he was in a stupor and in a very unimpressive manner. It was kinda odd for a man of his experience and all that he has seen in his 40 year career. At one point, when he was emphasizing on how rural people empowerment was more important for the group in it e-choupal initiative than aiming for a higher share in profits, I pushed the discussion a bit further and told LG, "This is where papa worked once. Say I T C." And there he went for the rest of the evening....

I tche chaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
I tche chaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

Haven't been able to stop him ever since.