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Catching up

I was going over some of my older blog posts today. Generally, when I do that I cringe and squirm at all the grammatical and structural errors in the content. But today, I was pleasantly surprised at how nostalgic I felt as I read the little slices of life captured in those posts despite the imperfections. And with that came the desire to preserve more of these slices that quietly slip into oblivion only to be forgotten.

That’s my long winded way of saying that I want to get regular at blogging. So, what’s up at my end?

– We have a brand new itsy bitsy bundle. Da’s sister had her second child, a sweet little baby doll, on Oct. 17th. We are thrilled to have another girl in the mix and look forward to pampering her. And yes, we get to pick a name. I am rooting for “Rasika”. I have always liked how it sounded but after learning what Rasa meant in a recent dance workshop, I had to pick this name for our niece. To put it simply, Rasa means that which must be relished. Rasika is someone who knows how to relish. Our Rasika will be someone who will know how to relish the little pleasures and the grandeurs of life.

– Hari is cruising along well at school. We have heard some really good things about his teacher – that she is thorough, takes the time to understand your child and work with him, so and so forth. The theme for this year at school seems to be awareness – what makes a good reader? what are some things that good writers do? what are the steps you need to follow in scientific experiments? how can you break numbers in different combinations? what makes you a good citizen? I wish I could go back to second grade and get my basics stronger! At home, this year we will be working with Hari to have him accountable for the quality of his work. To do his personal best in all his endeavors, be it raking leaves in the driveway or writing an essay for school.

– This year is big year in terms of extra curricular activities for Hari. He has been pursuing swimming, skating and piano for four years – and he has moved to advanced levels in these spheres. Now that his skills are established, his interest and flair will be our guidance in deciding whether to pursue these activities or not.

– Ram is doing dandy. Tons of playing, bonding, and fighting with anna. He is becoming quite the daddy’s child, clinging to appa when he is distressed or when amma gives a cold stare. Very verbal and participative, is building vocabulary by leaps and bounds. He is also getting more social and friendlier with folks that we do not meet as often. Not inclined to the potty yet, but has strong preferences for what he would like to wear or eat. Time to go preschool hunting for this child!

– I think Da is doing well. The word “think” should say it all – how we are drowned in our respective commitments with barely time for each other. That’s how this phase of life is suppose to be, isn’t it? No matter what, whether I am away on business travel, or to teach in Sunday school or to attend dance workshop, he is there for me offering a helping hand, and a supportive shoulder with a smile on his face, never for once making me feel he is doing us a favor or make me feel guilty about wanting to do more. I doubt if I will be as supportive if he and I switched roles. God bless him!

– And how about me? I have choked my family and myself with all the additional commitments I have taken up. Commitments of my choice, and once I am glad that I acted on, but ones I will have to get better at managing so that I can do more for my family. There have been role changes at work, so I am trying to figure out how I can meaningfully contribute in the changed environment.Outside of work, I teach culture in Sunday school, one that I put my heart and soul into. Dance class is going well. I have my first dance performance this Sunday after a long break – nothing fancy, a small Vijayadasami offering in a group setting.

So that’s my story. Tell me, what’s up at your end. I am all ears!

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Turning Two

The littlest person in our household, who knows to charm his way into our hearts and strum our heartstrings, turned two recently. We went to Storyland to celebrate the occasion. “Humpty Dumpty”announced Ram eagerly to our neighbors when they asked him about the theme park. Although he found the life size Mother Goose characters tad intimidating at the park, turns out that those are the ones that he recalls one week after the visit. He went happily on all the rides – from the merry go rounds to the tea cups and flying shoes..

When I think of the past year, some of the images that flash my mind are:

– Ram holding a slice of watermelon or a corncob, chomping it away happily. Such pride in knowing that he can eat what the rest of the family seems to be relishing. All by himself.

– Ram’s eyes twinkling with joy, his head nodding in an angle, his body swaying to an odd rhythm, and his lips trying to catch up with the lyrics. Music and dance are huge comfort factors for Ram. He would drag me with his tiny fingers and lead me into the living room “c’mon amma, let’s go amma, dance amma”. With a dance partner as charming as he, how can I refuse? So I ignore the kootu that is getting burnt in the stove and the clock that is ticking away mercilessly to join the merriment.

– Ram’s fancy for pretend play. Tea sets. Bindis. Costumes. Bangles. Hats. Helmets. Playhouse. Face Paint. Stickers. After dinner time, his favorite activity is to collect all our lunch bags, hang them on his shoulders, and announce with glee “bye bye amma, bye bye anna, bye bye appa” and head to the front door.

– Ram calling out for his anna to help him wear his shoes. “Anna Ram shoes please anna”. Hari sits there brimming with pride, from knowing that Ram chose him over appa and amma, and that Ram wants to hang out with him, and only him. Even if that exclusivity lasts for only few minutes, it brings much cheer!.

– Full blown tantrums. You can clearly see that the child needs food and sleep, but what he wants is control. And he will settle down for his needs only after he is convinced that he is the one controlling his choices and his environment.

– Ram’s liking for books. There are a few he likes more than others. Like the Brown Bear Brown Bear, The 100 Trucks book, and the ones from the Winnie the Pooh series. We play little games as we read – “Ram, can you show me where the cat is in this page?” I love how his eyes scan the entire page, a smile playing on his lips as he spots the kitty and points to his finding in delight.

– Politeness and courtesy even in the middle of a meltdown. “Don’t amma, please”, as he turns down something that I offer. “Thank you anna”, as anna brings his sippy. “Are you ok?” – when appa sneezes.

I have many more images of endearment that I would like to record here as keepsake, and those will be stories for some other day. Today I am writing to celebrate Ram’s second year into our lives and what a joy it has been. As you turn to two Ram, wishing you more music and dance, cheer and laughter, and lots and lots of growing, in the coming year and always! God Bless you dearest Pattu Kunjalame.