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Showing posts from July, 2009


In an effort to cultivate in Ash a love for books - which he already has, though his companions so far have been a couple of encyclopedias and magazines and some books I buy for him - I took a Classic Young Learners membership for a year at the British Council Library here. I can borrow upto 6 books/CDs and 3 magazines for 3 weeks (but right now one can keep it for 5 weeks as BCL is being refurbished and they can do without too many member visits).
Though there are plenty of books in the 5-8 age group, I took 3 illustrated storybooks in the Toddler/preschooler category since my kids need to get familiar with the English language before they are ready to hear Enid Blyton or Roald Dahl. But I did take one Enid Blyton though an impatient Ash might prefer to hear the summary of the stories than me reading them aloud.
Yesterday, we did The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, and another cute one on a sea monster. He repeated questions and I repeated answers while he ingrained new facts - …

Pea for princess

I have just been wondering how to write this post without looking like I am bragging. But then arent mommy-blogs bragposts or nagposts very often?
Little Evan happens to be the only classmate of Mira's that we know personally. But I dont know if the kids know that the parents know each other. Evan's dad is V's colleague and his mom is the relative of a blood relative of mine.
Yesterday when V bumped into them after escorting Mira to her classroom, Evan's dad told him: "Evan tells us there is a princess in his class named Miriam."
His mom turned to Mira, and asked her: "Are you a princess?"
And Mira nodded shyly. Once out of the house, she doesnt open her mouth. At home, she is loud and bossy.
Today, I bump into them. "When we ask him about his friends, the first name he mentions is Miriam."
As for Miriam, all the children in her class are piller (children). She cant give us a single name.

Swami and patients

Ash is beginning to look better (touchwood), and I'd like to think the swami's line of treatment is beginning to work on him. His skin is smoother and doesnt crack/break upon the worst of scratching. The thick, cracked skin that characterised the back of his palm and the ankle has gone. I do not know if rains and winter in Chennai, towards the end of the year, will make the skin bad again as the peadiatrician fears. Anyway, swamiji has added a new medicine to cure the itching when V met him on 23rd.
Since a couple of folks have asked for info on the swami's line of treatment, I will post what I know. The swami is available for consultation at many places in Kerala. Our folks first met him at the the Panmana Ashram near Quilon, where he comes on the last Sunday of the month. The crowd here is much bigger than at Palghat, where he is available thrice a week - Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
If you are going by train, alight at Palakkad or Ottapalam (which is nearer). The nea…

Storming the house

It is the children's second day at home, and they have part-turned the house upside down. The knowledge that the father is away makes them all the more bold and insolent. And a power failure much of yesterday was enough to make them riotous. With no television to keep them occupied half the day and no fan to cool their heads, they turned to the kitchen and the four walls of the house to vent their fury.

When I was leaving for work, they had set the dining chairs in a line and was running over it, and then playing ball under their legs. And when I reached late in the evening, a plant pot had broken, a door and a bedroom wall had pencil and crayon sketches, the cloth baskets had been ransacked and some of the toys had been broken. And the culprit in most of the cases was Mira, who is going through her Terrible Threes. Ash is relatively quieter, and gets instructions for destructive activities from his kid sister. Just the previous day, she had bumped his forehead with a water bottle.…


... slightly tired ones, save for the second where she is attacking an ice cream after a haircut. We decided that her unruly curls were just not right for her at this stage and got it pruned. The last one is after school hours. Which reminds me, the kids have 3 days leave beginning tomorrow plus the weekend since the senior kids are having their Sports Day on 22-23. The kindergarteners will have their sports day later. The leave suits me fine, since V wont be around to drop Ash at school. Tomorrow, he is leaving for Palghat to collect medicines for Ash. He will be back only on Monday after visitng his hometown . L and me will have our hands full.

Musical satiety

Concerts these days dont hold much attraction for people. There are endless musical programmes on the regional channels - from the ancient Chitrahaars on the ever-boring national channel (wonder if they are still there) to the dial-a-song and reality shows that are the rage now on Tamil and Malayalam channels.
So even when the church announced a musical extravaganza by KS Chitra, Kerala's very own nightingale, on 17th evening, there were not many takers for the tickets, which were slightly expensive even by city standards. And it fell on a working day. Those who bought the tickets did so because a good part of the money was to go for charity.
One of my most exciting memories from childhood is attending a concert organised by our school. I cant remember the singers (but they were not famous playback singers, just some musical troupe trying to make some money). The venue was packed and people did not mind the heat or the lack of proper seating. But those were days when television hadn…

Demolition boy

For a week, Ash kept asking me to destroy the vettavaliyan's (mud dauber) nest somewhere on the staircase. God knows how he came across it but he complained, expressed his fear and reminded me that I had to do it. I told him it was a harmless insect but he wouldnt buy it.
He had been fascinated by a mud wasp's nest during a holiday in Kerala, where such nests are aplenty. I like the look of them though they spoil home interiors. In the old-style house in Kerala I spent my childhood, they had seemed a part of the architecture. Not to mention the medicinal properties of the mud.
I offered to get the watchman to do the demolition. But Ash wouldnt wait. And on an occasion when we both walked up the stairs together, he pointed out the tiny single strand of mudhouse under a stair. I told him it was a sin to destroy a poor insect's house but in vain. So I smashed the nest down with my footwear to Ash's obvious relief. There was no insect or cocoon inside. I told Ash that the wa…

Great expectations

Most parents these days have ambitious plans about their kids' future. They hope to fulfil their dreams or their dream career through their still-toddling wards. (For the sake of a career option he had left half way, my father nutured the hope that either of his kids would make it to the Indian Administrative Service. In vain.)
And now I find we are not immune to such vanities either. "I think he is going to be a finance guy. He will make a great chartered accountant," V expresses the hope as he looks at Ash.
"Uh, I dont want him to ruin his life. He will have better career options than that," I smirk.
"What would you like to be?" V asked Ash yesterday. "A doctor, a lawyer, an engineer?"
"A train engine driver," Ash replied calmly.
"I meant e-n-g-i-n-ee-r," V repeated.
"No, appa. I want to become an engine driver." His role models seem to be the engine drivers in a couple of nursery rhymes.
Mira, for her part, said she…

Rules of entertainment

After a month of devoting most of my waking hours for the kids, I am back at the workplace and having some time to myself. And some time to blog, twitter, surf, read etc.
This weekend was busier than most others we have had after the kids came. We decided to give Mira her non-veg dues and took her out to the new Mcdonalds in the neighbourhood. (As usual, we told the kid who was left behind at home that we were going to the doctor.) But it was too packed for our liking, nor did they have anything other than burgers and french fries. So Mira had a her pound of chicken leg at another joint, and an icecream she couldnt finish in another.
Ash got his time out with us when we went to buy a gift for a wedding we were to attend the next day.
Since outings without an eat-out is no great fun, we have been doing more of family visits where we warn the host family in advance that they dont serve anything other than a glass of water. But our hosts on Saturday night decide to break the rules and give…

Schooling dilemmas

Coughing and sneezing, we make the ideal team for a cold concert at home. The virus that caught us on our way back to Chennai last month doesnt seem to have any intention of leaving us anytime soon.
Yesterday, we prepared to take Ash to school but turned back at the first red signal - not only were we likely to reach before the bell, but Ash was sneezing and itching that V thought he wasnt ready to go to school.
Today, we met the school principal after dropping Ash in school. She asked us if we want him to take a break from school. But that is not an option we are keen on. Atopic dermatitis could run into adolescence and we cant afford a break till he is completely free of eczema. We are hoping the present line of treatment would cure the affliction in a year or two (a few acquaintances tell me that they know cases where ayurveda helped to cure eczema almost completely in 2 years' time).
The principal then called up a friend whose relative has eczema. The kid is 11 and still has it d…

Torrential queries

Ashwin's fascination for Ambedkar continues, much to my discomfort. Not because I have anything against the Dalit leader but because I find it difficult to answer his questions. The queries come non-stop, some easy some not-so-easy, some silly and some shrewd. He likes to know what Ambedkar eats, what his wife eats and I am careful not to mention any food that Ash cannot have. So my answers vary from rice and buttermilk curry to rotis and dal.
But only when he demanded that he wanted a music album of Ambedkar did I realise that he was confusing him with Michael Jackson.
And today he is trying to make a paper boat fly since he doesnt have a kite to fly. He has tied it with a string onto the window sill, and is watching it flutter in the wind. He is worried if a crow will peck on it or shit on it. That leads to fresh questions:
Why do crows shit?
Where do crows shit?
The answers may be simple but God, give me the patience to deal with them all!

Little games

Of late, Mira seems to think she is Dora, and sleeps with her schoolbag over her shoulder. She doesnt let go of her bag or tiffin box after she returns from school and plays her own games with them. Sometimes she involves the Dolly also in the game and pretends she is dropping her at school in the van.

Two kindergarteners

Yesterday after some dilly dallying, we sent Ash to school. While me and L and Ash was for it, V was against school since he thought Ash didnt look fit to attend school. But the previous day he had been pretty itch-free and we thought he was wasting his time and life sitting and watching Pogo the whole day. (He also watches a 5 o' clock cooking class on Asianet without fail along with the nanny - probably just to see all the good food he has been missing out on.) All his classmates chorused 'Ashwin, Ashwin' when they saw him come in. I guess being a visiting student to the class, he has become a VIP of sorts :) The teacher said I could check with the principal if Ash could attend a couple of hours everyday until he was better. V decided against asking for that concession. When I went to pick him up, the teacher said I neednt send him everyday, maybe on altenate days for the sake of attendance. Kindergarten syllabus is quite relaxed. More than the itching, the goodies that …