Friday, November 30, 2007

We are moving to Australia

Even before we had a child, Raghu and I had plans of relocating to Australia. We liked what we saw when we were there on a holiday. We saw friendly, content faces and a relaxed pace of life. We saw beaches, crisp weather and high mountains. We saw a living we would want to be part of. We put in our application for Australian PR after Ashwin was born in December 2005. Some 10 months later, it was granted.

A few months ago, Raghu got a job offer from a renowned company in Perth and it was time for us to make some decisions. From Raghu's career point of view, it was a good move. From my career point of view, maybe not. Or may be it is! Could this be this is a blessing in disguise? An opportunity for me to try and find something else to do which I may enjoy more than what I'm doing now? Perhaps! let's hope..

What swayed the decision was what we want for our son.

We want Ashwin growing up with space to run in the house. We want him to experience seasons and appreciate and enjoy them. We want him to be surrounded by friendly people. We want him to respect and be pleasant to people. We want him to learn to enjoy life by example of those around him. We want him to have a schooling that he enjoys. We want him to embrace diversity in a global environment. We want to give him all round exposure. When time is appropriate, we want him to have the confidence to decide where he wants life to take him. And steer his life there. We want him to grow up to be a smart, fine young man. Most of all, we want to be parents with time and energy for parenting.

Australia, behold. Here we come. You'd better not let us down, or else!!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

What Ashwin Reads!

What is the uncle (the clown) doing in this picture?

Ans: Pushing the bus!

What is the baby on the left touching?

Ans: Helmet :)

PS: The scribbles in the book is not by him..

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


That was my heart bursting with pride!

I introduced a book on opposites to Ashwin in an attempt to explain to him why he can't sit in his small toy car and auto. He has become quite fond of this book now and can read this book by himself (almost!).
  • Big - Smaa
  • Yong - sha
  • Day - Night
  • Hot - Night (still working on this)
  • Happy - Sad
  • Empty - Pull
  • Up - Down (his favourite)
  • Opa - kosh
  • Yeff - Eight
  • Sow - Fas
And to think that I did not know the opposite of heavy when I was 8 years old - perhaps my mom is making that up?!

When he eats his breakfast, he picks up a piece of dosai and decides it is big and proceeds to cut it (or opa door) into miniscule smaa pieces before putting them in his mouth. He still wants to sit in his small toy cars and autos though!

Also? Numbers! He can say numbers upto 10 without prompting and here's how it goes:
  • Aun
  • Tooooo
  • Theee
  • Pour
  • Pi
  • Sis
  • Seeen
  • Aait
  • Nine
  • Ten
Clap clap clap!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Weekend snippets

We were in the playground when a random stranger was walking by. Ashwin wanted to shake hands with him, so we ran and caught up with him and shook hands.

"What's your name" the guy asked.
"Athin" the reply shot out even before I could have a chance to open my mouth!

I was chatting with one of our neighbours in the corridor and I asked him what the time was.

After careful consultation of both his wrists, on one of which he had a wrist rattle and the other, nothing, Ashwin replied "Forty Three"

While we were having dinner the other night, Ashwin announced "Poo irukku".

So I asked him, "Ashwin, do you want to do poopoo?"
Indicating his cute backside, he replied "Poo. Big poo".

He, hmmm, delivered the said goods.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Face

Of a two year old discovering Maggi Chilli Sauce.

He was not deterred from trying it again immediately though. Must have thought the first taste was a trick!

Thursday, November 22, 2007


At the beach, I showed Ashwin that we could draw on the wet sand with a piece of twig. He asked me to make a bus and I complied.

He picked up the twig and got ready to draw.

"What are you going to make Ashwin?"
"Tac" he said.

"Tac" he repeated. He was done apparently.

"Ashwin, Is that a cat?"
With a solemn nod of his head, "Tac"

Good job!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The evolution of a kiss

Ashwin started giving kisses when he was 5 months old.

With his saliva encrusted face and mouth wide open, he would aim wildly in the direction of our cheek, hoping to connect with that seemingly impossible target! Sometimes he would manage and leave our cheek smeared with jollu (saliva). Other times, his kiss would land on our hair instead! I used to call him jollu baby at that time because jollu was a prominent feature on his face. These first kisses, sloppy as they were, were divinely pleasurable, even if he has had milk just before.

A few months later, his gross motor skills improved and he would flawlessly connect with the center of our cheek and we would have a baby-mouth-shaped-ring-of-saliva to keep as a sign of his affection.

Somewhere along the way, he started drooling less and his face got drier. Then, his kiss changed to a lick. Perfect doggie style lick. With his tongue hanging out, he would give our cheek one good swipe. It should be noted that he was eating solid foods by this stage and the urge to kiss could strike in the middle of a meal. This meant that we often had green peas or yoghurt flavoured cheeks!

Then the teeth came in and with it the urge to bite. His doggie-style kiss gave way to a bite. Solid bite with 4 sharp front teeth. They are not called inscissors for nothing! He would give the most frequent kisses during this time and if he was feeling particularly affectionate, our cheek would sport 4 cute, deep bite marks! Ouch! The pain we have to endure for love!

After a few months still, he learnt to give open mouthed but dry kisses. He also got very selective about it. Would only give kisses to those he wants to and when he wants to. Not whenever we ask for it, which in my case was only about 100 times a day. I was very kiss deprived.

I wish I had never taught him the flying kiss! He became anti-physical and if you ask for a kiss, he would give a flying kiss. He never understood that flying kisses are for strangers and we people who are close in his life need his jollu and bites!

Now he has perfected the art of giving kisses - the wonderful pppchha! He has also perfected the art of withholding them. I get my 2 kisses a day (poor me, only 2) in the morning when I leave for office. None on weekends though. He will kiss "adi"'s (booboos) away though, and for a while, I pretended to have an adi on my cheek so that I can steal a kiss from him. Now he has learnt to see through this too and the badava payal is saying "Kissi aana" even to "adi"s. How dare he? Am I not his mother? Don't I deserve 100 kisses a day from him? 50? 10? 2?

Monday, November 19, 2007

I'm turning two and want to celebrate with you!

We celebrated Ashwin's birthday party on Sunday, 18th November. 3 days after his birthday, but that is his Estimated Date of Delivery. Not our fault if he decided to come early, is it?

The plans were grand. We wanted to celebrate by the side of the playground where there's a BBQ pit too. Children were supposed to run around in the playground and adults were supposed to chat and laze around in the park chairs. Supposed to that is, if Mr. Rain did not play spoilt sport. He threatened to come down with a bang, but finally did not show up at all. Still, we decided to play safe and move to plan 2: Prepare our flat to receive 10 children. And the parents. And did I mention 10 children? We managed somehow. Actually, you know what? We did not manage, we had GREAT FUN!

We had 8 little kiddos and 2 big boys at home intent on having fun. And boy, did they have fun?

I had rented a bubble blowing machine and the kids went wild!

We had our very own magician Raghul entertain us too.

Ashwin had a doggie cake and he tried so hard to blow out the candles. But as loud as he tried to say "ufffff", the candles stayed lit and that was SOOO funny!

And for dinner, the kids had noodles and mango pudding. And Jus. Poor kids, they somehow managed ;)

Here's an account of the cuteness of the night:

The birthday boy!
Multiple cuteness!
Eye hurting cuteness!
The big Shaun
Cute Kate
Naughty Adesh
Sweet Adeena
Intruged Sai
Serious Kevin
Buddy Shaun

Special special thanks to Parimal, our extremely talented official photographer for the night and to Suresh, our extremely talented official videographer. If you want to book either of them for your parties, remember that they come highly recommended!

See you all in Perth for my 3rd birthday!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Oh yes, I'm flattered.

What is the similarity between a train and my thoppah?

When Ashwin sees a train, he can't stop calling out Theen theen (notice the additional "n" now). The sight of my thoppah gets a similar reaction from him.

When he sees a train, he wants to "theen okkachi". When he sees my thoppah, he wants to thoppah okkachi (I should carry him so that he can sit on my thoppah).

He fondly remembers that he did thachi on the train. Where did he thachi last night? On my thoppah of course!

I'm totally flattered. NOT!

The father of my son.

Yesterday, while speaking about Ashwin's upcoming birthday, I said something to the effect of this is the day you became a father and I became a mother. His reply? "It is Ashwin's day, don't take it away from him".

Seems innocuous but I read a lot into this. Lot of love. Love for my son and love for me.

I love birthdays. So much that I get excited about my upcoming birthday a month in advance. When my birthday has gone by, I am actually disappointed. Yeah, I'm mature like that.

For my husband, birthdays have not been nearly as important. It's just another day, just a {little} special. Without my realising it until now, without my asking for it, he has handed over his birthday to me. I get excited about his birthday too. I plan ahead for a month, shop and bake. Sometimes, when possible, I even use the excuse of his birthday to plan a holiday. Watching me get excited and happy makes him happy.

He wants for my son the same happiness I derive from birthdays. He wants to keep the day as HIS day. He does not want it shared, not even by two people who became parents that day. He loves my son that much.

And I love him for it. He is a wonderful father, the father of my son!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Freeze the moment... But which?

When Ashwin was born and he fit my arm perfectly, I found myself wishing that the moment would last forever. What could be better than holding a baby designed just for me and perfectly complementing my family puzzle?

And then when he was a few months old and we used to snuggle in bed while he was breastfeeding, he would position himself just right by kicking my thighs and moving up. I wanted to freeze this moment - the serenity, the contentment, the comfort of the baby's touch and his budding intelligence and motor skills. My world was full.

A few more months passed and he started giving kisses - those moments had to be frozen too - what can give greater pleasure than sloppy wet kisses?

He started walking by holding onto our hands and I feared that his independence from us was growing. Since I was still too dependent on him (and still am!), I wanted to freeze that moment - the threshold of his needing us and exploring the world by himself as a person.

He started speaking gibberish - he would have long phone conversations that go "yakka dakka yakka dakka yakka dakka" in all seriousness. He does not remember this anymore, but somewhere I have frozen this moment too because he was absolutely delightful when he discovered that he could make speech.

He started speaking some more and I could actually understand him. I learnt his language and I could understand him although the others could not. I wanted to freeze this moment and savour my exclusivity with my son.

He would prefer me over the others for most tasks - be it putting on his shoes or taking him to the loo. Knowing that he will become a teenager who wants to have nothing to do with his non-fashionable, totally out-of-date parents one day, I wanted to freeze this moment. I was the most important person in someone's life at some moment. This means more than it can seem to mean.

That night when I went to the bathroom and he called out to me "Ma? Ma? Ma?" until I came back to bed and then finished with a totally contented "Ma!" - Totally a moment to be frozen.

When the lady at Kings park playground said "what a clever boy" and he nodded in agreement? The cuteness was so overwhelming that the moment had to be captured and frozen.

At the airport in Perth when a big boy of about 6 was playing with him and pointed out his parents to Ashwin, he in turn pointed at Raghu and me. He understood that we were his parents and was in his own way, introducing us to his friends. We were present in the background of his social interaction. We were acknowledged, yet he was by himself. I was so proud of his social development, so proud to be the mother of that boy, I wanted to freeze this moment.

As every word in his vocabulary becomes clearer and clearer, I want to freeze the prior moment - Childish talk to which there is no coming back in future is priceless.

When he holds onto my finger as we walk, those baby fingers wrapping my adult ones, knowing that I will protect him from all danger, placing trust on me and exhibiting this in a simple grasp of my finger, a must-be-frozen moment.

Today, he is two years old. He is a lovely, lovable, loving boy. He is gentle with children and animals. He brings joy to all around him like the old chinese lady whose face brightens up when he shakes hands with her and gives her a flying kiss. The fat chinese guy who he introduced to Raghul as his friend on Deepavali day. The stranger in the opposite block who pays for his bike ride and buys him a bun and sees the happiness this brings him. He is intelligent, understands where his limits are but at the same time checks periodically if he can push them. He sports bruises on his knees as a proof of his toddlerhood and sense of adventure. He is happy and healthy and that's all I ask for him. My life is perfect with him in it. I want to freeze this moment.

Instead, I will let this moment go, as I have let all those previous moments, knowing in my heart that the future will bring with it numerous such moments to savour.

Happy birthday Ashwin baby, boy, mini-man! I love you!

Of tacs and theepocks

Ashwin's vocabulary of animals and animal sounds is increasing rapidly. He can now identify a tac (any guess which animal this is? Hint: it says neaw.), doggie, horse, cow, duck (technically not an animal, but to be a bird, it has to be pictured flying!), bird, pig, ship and fish. Of course, other than tac and doggie (may be horse), he needs these animals to look like they are depicted in his buk and so he might not be able to identify them in real life (make that WILL NOT BE). Have you ever seen a pig in real life look as cute as it's pink cartoon counterparts? This is his favourite book at this moment. When he asks for a book, this is the one he wants. When he asks for one more book, he wants Pop-up animals.

Regarding animal sounds, a doggie says Boo. However when he approached 2 small dogs in the west coast park with a friendly "hai doggie.. Boo" , it said "AAAAAAaaaaa" so fiercefully that Ashwin came running to me! Cats are such gentle creatures that he has to be gentle to them too. He will bend down to their level and go "hai taaac. Hai. Hai taac. Bye taaac bye. Bye taaac"! (translation: Hi cat, you are so cute, but I'm scared to come any closer to you. Don't feel bad, it's not you, it's me. Bye) Pig says oink oink, sheep says aaaaaaaaaaaa and cow says moooo. At first trial, a duck says "Aaaa", and then I have to ask him again "Ey! Duck ennada sollum?" "Kak kak". When it comes to a horse, he will look at me hopefully and I tell him it says neigh.

What does a fish say? Can someone help me here?
Tomorrow, he is going to the zoo for his birthday, weather permitting!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Highlights of India Trip

Our trip to India was very exciting for Ashwin on all fronts. He woke up in India as soon as the flight landed and was thrilled to learn that he was going to take a bus ride to the terminal. That was followed up with a taxi ride with Chittappa to their house. He was very quite throughout the taxi ride. Vijay's thatha was waiting for us at house and as soon as Ashwin saw him, he ran up to him and said "thatha buss okkachi! Thatha tachi okkachi! " over and over even though he was meeting him for the first time! Poor thatha was so confused!

The "okkachi"s continued throughout the trip. In his language, he had:

Buss okkachi, Tachi okkachi, Horse okkachi, Ato okkachi - (scale as a problem here as he actually wanted to sit down "in" this auto and me to join him as well! It didn't help at all that his thatha gave him a car in which you can open the doors (about the size of my palm)- he wanted to okkachi in that as well! Anyone knows the formula to shrink kids?), Bike okkachi (he finally took not one but two bike rides! And still stunned and pink in his cheeks, announced that the bike went DDDRRRRRRRR) and Thee okkachi - after about 3 hours, this got stale and he declared "thee okkachi aaaa" and then let him climb the upper berth and he was amazed all over again! Of course, he had to push me at night and say "goooo" because a boy needs space in bed and he cannot share a berth with me! And of course the mundane kai (car) okkachi..

To him, India must be a boy's ultimate fantasy!

And of course, there were people! We arrived in the guest house when only Madhu was there. Soon, all the thathas and paatis, all 9 of them, returned. To say the least, Ashwin was overwhelmed - quite the same reaction his father had in a similar situation really. Soon, he got over his shock of his large family when he realised that this means attention from so many people! Thathas were of course his favourite as they would indulge him with physical play.

He learnt what fun it is to whack someone and asked for more and more and more of that. It was sooo much fun playing husha busha with thathas and paatis and laughing when they fall down!

And pretty girls! What boy wouldn't love the company of pretty girls?!

There was also a doggie in the guest house which was partaking of Ashwin's affection. Or tolerating being roused from sleep, I'm not sure which :)

When we arrived at the Chennai central and he asked me to carry him, he DID NOT scream his head off when I passed on my luggage to other people to carry - and he did not persist in his screaming until I got back every piece of my belonging (even then, he kept scanning other people's bags to check if they still had mine!). And he ABSOLUTELY DID NOT cry when Madhu took what was supposed to be my tea cup and keep at the crying until it was duly returned to me. Also? He did not make Madhu and paati choke on their food by stuffing a big chunk of plain white rice into his mouth at lunch. And he did not cause Paati's heart to lurch by keeping not one but two phones off the hook all the time that he was awake!

Oh, there was this!

Congratulations once again couple-to-be!

{{{ Vijay is hunching. MAJORLY! }}}

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Tummore and ommore

Sitting on his throne (aka toilet seat) to brush his teeth, Ashwin asks for "tummore" paste to eat. It's soooo cute the way he asks for it that I just HAVE TO give it to him.

He understands the difference betweeen some more (tummore) and one more (ommore). He wants "tummore" paste. But he sees ommore taxi on the road. He wants to stay in the swimming pool tummore but there is ommore button (butti) on my shirt. He wants tummore water (thaii) to play with in the bathroom but he sees ommore bird.

My son is a grammer whiz kid! I wonder what algorithm he uses in his wee head to determine which is which?!?!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Wish you a happy and colourful Deepavali!

and just so you know how the fire crackers go: Tttapah!

What Ashwin says

when he manages to open the door of the bathroom: Waaaw
Because the first time he managed to open it, I said a genuine Wow!
when he is inside the bathroom: Kosh the door
A boy needs his privacy :)
when he is on the toilet seat: Bush your teeth!
What else would you rather do?
when he has finished reading a book: Kosh the door
Why not?
when he wants to be carried: baby!
Just in case we thought he was no longer one!
when he has finished a meal: Wash your hand and wash your mouth!
I'm raising one clean boy!