Thursday, December 18, 2008


Ashwin had a splinter in his foot yesterday and I took him to the doctor to have it removed. I was afraid of taking him all by myself as I would have to hold him and I am scared of needles (scared being a bit mild). And blood.

The doctor had him lie on the bed with the white sheet and boy, he looked so tiny there! I wanted to scoop him up and push him back into my tummy (even though it has another occupant now) and keep him safe there. The doctor shone a light at his feet while a nurse held his leg. I caught glimses of the doc picking up the needle and glimses of red. The nurse was trying to strike a conversation with Ashwin while I stood there stupidly. He did not once flinch. Or cry. Or complain. Cooperated so beautifully that the doc gave him 4 jelly babies!

Is this really my son??!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Precious Bytes and Nibbles

Amma, naan lawn mow pannaren, he said pushing his tricycle around the front yard. For some reason, he felt compelled to translate to English: I am lawning the mow.

I was reminded of my Hindi teacher

Yesterday I woke up and left the bed to prepare breakfast before Ashwin was up. He woke up soon after and called for me.

"Why did you leave me and go?" he asked when I went to check on him.

I told him that he was still sleeping and I was done sleeping, so I left.

In the perfect tone of a hindi teacher who doubles as a principal, he told me:

"You should WAIT for me next time." While I was mentally composing this post and trying not to laugh, he continued, "OK AMMA? Nee per STUPID BOY"

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

New Age Worship

Ashwin was intrigued by the priest performing Abhishegam in the temple. So here is my little priest in our back yard doing Ummachi Kaapaathu Jojo...
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No Presents for Kamal Hassan

Story Time

Our library had their story time Christmas Party today. After singing the rhymes and Carols and listening to stories and doing craft.... SANTA CLAUS made an appearance. Before I could blink, Ashwin was on his way to meet the old guy. He came back clutching a small bag - a PRESENT from Santa Claus!!!

Queuing to meet Santa Claus

I tried to explain naughty or nice to my son:

"Do you know why Santa Claus gave you a present Ashwin? It's because you are a good boy. Only good boys get presents from Santa Claus".

There was a minute's pause when I thought he was ignoring me in light of his new found treasure. Then he said to me:

"Santa Claus won't give any presents to Kadav Hassan because he is a stupid boy, but he will give the priest presents because he is a good boy, right??!"

Absolutely, my son!

The wreath he made before he declared "I had Enough!"

Monday, December 8, 2008

My wittle chatterbox!

I took Ashwin to the clinic on Sunday and he was talking NON STOP as usual.

"Why is there only one man in this room?"
"Why is there only one doctor today?"
"What are the other doctors doing?"
"Will they finish dinner and come here"?
"Will wee willie monkey go to their house?"
"Will they come here tomorrow?"

The receptionist remarked: "He's quite a chatterbox, isn't he?"

He went quiet for a while (like 20 seconds!) before asking me:
"Why did the lady say I'm Santa Claus?"

Pilot needs a real aeroplane.

Ashwin got a ride-on wooden aeroplane from the toy library this week and promptly became a pilot. After cruising around in his aeroplane for a while, he came to ask me why the aeroplane was not flying.

"This is a toy aeroplane", I told him. "You have to act as if it is flying".

After inspecting it for a while, he came back to me:

"Where is ACT??!"

I tried to explain further, "Act is a verb Ashwin, it is not on the aeroplane" (I can be very helpful, I know!)

"Where is ACT VERB???!!"

I'm giving up: "This is not a real aeroplane, it is just a toy, This can't fly".

"I want a real aeroplane"

Of course he does!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Social Scene at Day Care

Oh the joy of being surrounded by cute girls...
And getting up close and personal...

One lucky boy he is!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

My Son

Last evening, Ashwin and I were alone at home as Raghu had gone to play cricket. The weather being gorgeous, we decided to take the tricycle and go to the playground by the river.

Along the way, Ashwin was stopping every two minutes or so to ask me a question (why is that man walking on the grass? Doesn't he like foot path? *I* like foot path) or observe something (the water level in the river has gone down. Has someone removed the plug?) or to adjust his tricycle.. My patience was wearing thin. We left home at 6pm and had to be back at 7pm for dinner. I had a plan to execute and Ashwin was not helping me.

I noticed that the passers by were all slowing down when they approached him to smile at him. He would yell out "Hello" and they would respond with big grins on their faces and make conversation with him. I couldn't believe that every person we met on a Thursday evening was just being polite to a child, so I took a few steps ahead of Ashwin and turned to see what it was that they saw..

I saw a bubbly bright eyed preschooler on a tricycle wearing a yellow helmet with his hair sticking out of it. I saw what it meant when someone says "enjoy the journey". I saw 'being present in the moment'. I saw a child's curiosity and no attempt to curb it. I saw unabashed happiness. I saw his joy and actually saw it oozing from him to all those around.

I saw my son.

Precious Bytes and Nibbles: The Allure of Chain

This is my 100th post in this blog. Never thought I would have the endurance to get so far, but thanks to Ashwin for the inspiration from his never ending cuteness, here we are! I want to start a new feature in this landmark post where I simply record his words that bring a smile to my face. Precious Bytes and Nibbles...

The weather was fabulous this morning and we were having breakfast in our backyard.

"Four years aanaka naan big boy aayduven. Apparom enakku chain kadaiyum (opposite of kadaiyadhu). (Indicating his neck) Inga potukarathukku, romba big chain"

(Translation: After four years, I will become a big boy. Then I will get a chain. To wear around my neck. A very big chain)

Totally out of context, but at least now I know why he wants to grow up!

Big Day Tomorrow...

I have my appointment for the second trimester ultrasound tomorrow. In Ashwin's words, we are going to the hosipish where they will press Amma's tummy and we will see the baby on the TV. I'm pretty excited because we will learn tomorrow (fingers crossed that the baby's legs aren't crossed!) if we will have another boy or a girl. We don't mind either way, a healthy baby would be delightful whether it is a boy to kick ball around with Ashwin or a girl so that we can have some pink and fluff in our house. But I don't like the suspense, Baby, do you hear? You know what to do tomorrow...

I'm needing divine help in another matter tomorrow too - Ashwin believes that after they do my ultrasound, they are going to do the same for him (press his tummy) and we are going to see his thoppa kulla baby on TV. God help me explain to my son why there won't be a baby on view in his tummy. And in case, as Ashwin says, there really IS a baby in his tummy??! GOD HELP ME!!!!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Birthday celebration at Little Rascals Childcare

So happy his cheeks are flushed!

All his friends ready to sing for him

My cute birthday boy!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

!~!~! THREE !~!~!

Birthday Boy

Ashwin turned 3 over the weekend and we have at home now an adorable 3 year old baby-boy who proclaims he is 4, but that he is still a baby (at least when he wants to be babied). How adorable is he? So adorable that I'm hoping I would be able to give birth to a three year old directly the second time around, despite how fabulous my son was in his years leading to three. That's saying SOMETHING.

We asked Ashwin what he wanted for his birthday and based on his reply, I highly recommend asking this of every three year old before you spend more time, effort or money than necessary to make them ecstatic:

Balloon. Big balloon. Romba perrussa big ballon. Too much big-ga.

Romba Perussa Big Balloon

He was greeted with this when he woke up on his birthday and he has cradled it in bed, danced with it, played bounce, catch, shared it with friends in the evening at his party, until it burst. VALUE FOR MONEY!

We started the day snuggling in bed with his birthday gift. Raghu gave him birthday bumps hostel style (thankfully, only 3) that had him in fits of laughter. We then showed him photos of when I was pregnant with him and him being a brand new baby in the hospital. It was nostalgic for us, but for the first time, Ashwin believed that he grew in my belly like the current baby is growing and I think he now understands that a baby will be coming home as a result of my growing belly. My darling compassionate sensitive son's reaction to the photos however was : Why do you have a sticker (plaster) on your hand amma? Does it hurt? Will you have a sticker again when baby comes out? Said with such concern that I scooped him up and ate him right then.

(Dont worry, Ashwin has perfected a method by which when I eat him up, he points at me and goes "pssh pssh" and back at himself with another "pssh pssh" and he is restored.. For my future eating pleasure.)

This is the first birthday that was actually about him, in the sense that he understood it was HIS birthday and looked forward to it for a long time. (Is my birthday coming? Is it her now? now? how about now? when is my birthday coming? Is it saturday now? now? now? now?) He knew there was going to be a cake with candles for him to blow and that his friends were going to sing for him and was high with anticipation.


We had a gala party in the evening (HIS party) and there were toys, there was noise, there was cake, noodles and kids. We all had a great time. Ashwin was celebrated.

Photos are here.

Happy birthday baby, here's to many more healthy happy years!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thinking on his toes (or fingers in this case)

A few days ago, we had made plans to go out to a restaurant for dinner.

As soon as I arrived home from office that evening, Ashwin came up to me and said he ate chocolate. I asked him how many he had eaten.

Counting on his fingers, he began:

One chocolate, and one more chocolate, and one more chocolate, and one more chocolate ...

In that case, we are not going to the restaurant for dinner, I said. He couldn't possibly be hungry after that many chocolates.

He stopped in his tracks and looked down at his hand where his little finger was still folded in.

I did not eat THIS one more chocolate, he said pointing at the little finger. So let's go to the restaurant.

Who knew chocolate made your thinking quick??!

Monday, November 10, 2008

i-Ashwin and i-Friends

At bathtime yesterday, Ashwin moved over from the side of the bath tub he normally occupies to the opposite corner. I inadvertently started a game of searching for him in his usual place and when he was not there, I ignored him in his new corner of the bath tub and continued searching for him everywhere. Ashwin soon joined in this game declaring himself to be amma (in addition to myself that is...) and we searched for Ashwin together. He found the imaginary Ashwin (i-Ashwin) playing with the teddy bears.

After chiding i-Ashwin for leaving the bath early, he told him to put on his underpants quickly before a cockroach came to bite the pen*s. When picking out clothes for day care, we also picked up some i-clothes for i-Ashwin and Ashwin helped i-Ashwin get dressed: Sit down and hold your pant like this. Put this foot in.. No no. Wrong leg. This foot. yes. Now put this foot. Good boy! We left the house with Ashwin holding i-Ashwin's hands and leading him to the car. In the car, Ashwin lectured i-Ashwin about the necessity to keep the seat belt on failing which spiderman will come and swat you on the bum. You can remove seatbelt after amma parks the car. Once in day care, he introduced i-Ashwin to the carer, and I had to say good bye to i-Ashwin and my son, and by this stage, I was not sure who my son was!

By evening, his imagination grew even wilder!

When he came home after cycling before bed time, all children came home with him. All children consisted of Carol, Karen, baa baa black sheep and possibly a few more. All children put on their night dress and went to bed. He had to go to the toilet at least thrice in 5 minutes because all children wanted to do susu. Raghu almost got the boot from the bed y'day because Carol was sleeping in his place. Eventually, Carol was kind enough to move over a little and Raghu had to sleep in a tiny corner of the mighty king size bed, now taken over by i-friends.

i-Friends were still on this morning. They brushed their teeth with Ashwin and rode the police car with him (giving me a break from that job). They all played music together, had their bath together. Half a dozen underpants came out of the drawer when it was time to get dressed. I had to set 4 plates at the table for breakfast because all children wanted to eat upma. Of course, all children came to day care with us. Once in the drive way, I had to pull over because Carol was not wearing her seat belt and I had to fasten it for her! From then on, Ashwin took care to see that none of his i-friends took off their seat belts! My responsible boy..

I can't wait to get home in the evening to see where his imagination will take him next. It's top class entertainment!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Excuse me while I blow my trumpet

When I dropped Ashwin at the daycare yesterday, I was chatting with the carer. She told me that Ashwin loves singing and that when they do singing time, she often calls Ashwin to come up to the front and sing to the other children alone.

"He just gets so into it, especially with his favourite songs like crabs and seashells or wind the bobbin", she said.

That's my son. Being called upon to perform solo in front of a group. And not yet 3 years old.

Mama peacock (peahen?) is bursting with pride!

Everytime he sings "I'm a little teapot" and gets to "tip me over and pour me out" with his whole body tipping to a side, I want to eat him up.

Monday, November 3, 2008

This nasty growing up business...

Every morning after his bath, while he is still wet in his birthday suit, Ashwin asks me to "Baby carry" - I get to pick him up and cuddle him - squishy bum and all. I love this time of the morning and usually hold him as long as he will let me. What's not to love about a freshly bathed baby?

This morning, however, once he had finished his bath, he said, "jojo finished, I want crocodile towel".

What about baby carry? I asked. To which he replied:

"No Baby carry. I am in big people".

Oh.. In that case, I want to carry big people I said.

"No, no big people carry. Big peoples is heavy".

Oh no!

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Last evening, I was applying mehendi on Ashwin's hands. As usual, it was elephant on one hand and an aeroplane on the other. He was thrilled.

I was reminded of an incident during my sister's mehendi ceremony.

We had lots of guests at home and everyone was having beautiful mehendi designs applied on their hands. Ashwin made a request for the elephant and aeroplane on his hands, but the professional mehendi guys were a bit slow and said they didn't know how to do these! So they applied usual designs on Ashwin's hands.

In the evening, my Natarajan Chittappa arrived. He is one with a beard and mustache and a size to go with it. And curly hair. The kind that is generally intimidating to kids. Growing up, I remember him to be one of my favourite uncles, but also the most intimidating. My other uncles would instigate me to say "Raja Gooja" to him, but I wouldn't. Bayam Kalanda Mariyadai.

Around the same time, I told Ashwin I will make the elephant and aeroplane on his hands. While I was making the elephant, my chittappa came to us and told Ashwin in his gruff voice that he was a boy and boys don't have mehendi on their hands. Up until this stage of his life, Ashwin was not used to being intimidated at all. It took him a while to get scared during which he tried reasoning with my chittappa. To no avail. Finally, my little boy burst into tears and said to me "Wash pannanum". I carried him upstairs away from the others and continued drawing the elephant and the aeroplane. We then came down to show people our mehendi trophies. My chittappa was still instigating him so I offered to say "you you" to chittappa on Ashwin's behalf (you you was the choicest swear word of that time.). My little boy turned to me with tears in his eyes and said "You you aana amma". Even in his state of terror, he was protecting the others from what he thought was unsafe!

Anyway, Chittappa and Ashwin became friends and Ashwin got chittappa to concede that it was boy-ly to have mehendi in his hands and chittappa introduced him to the pleasures of "pakka vadiyam". He also took him on auto rides and even got him to sit on the driver seat of an auto, to Ashwin's extreme delight!

Chittappa also gave him a coin every now and then to put in the small temple hundial in the marriage chowltry. On the last day of the wedding, when it was time to leave, in true my-chittappa fashion, he asked Ashwin for the money back.

Cocking his head to a side, Ashwin explained,

"Paisa ummachi kitta potachi. Finish aayiduthi" (We've given the money to God, it's over now.). Chittappa however insisted on getting the money back and at this point, Ashwin burst into tears.

Any other end to this interaction would not have been as authentic...

That's him with my sweet Raji chitti...

Friday, October 24, 2008

We're a growing family!

If anyone noticed and wondered why this blog had a 2 month hiatus, it is because I spent much of those two months being sick. Too sick to do anything that was not absolutely necessary. Wonderfully sick nurturing another life. In my belly.

We are expecting an addition to our family!!

I'm now past the dreaded (and pathetic) first trimester and my energy is back. I have just completed 14 weeks and baby is due end of April 2009.

((Thank you.))

According to Ashwin, I'm not the only one with a baby in the belly. There is a baby in his belly too! This is a convenient fact for him because he now blames the baby in his belly for anything he does not want to own up responsibility for. He wants an ice cream and I said no? But the baby in the belly is asking for it! He does not want to wear a jacket although it is cold? That's because the baby in his belly said it feels warm. He wanted a hot chocolate before dinner and I refused. He put on a pathetic face and said, "there is a baby in my belly and he is pressing my belly button, so I need a hot chocolate". Nice try mate, though you are the wrong sex to pull this stunt!

His father cannot leave home without kissing the baby in his belly goodbye. He would run after him with his t-shirt up in the air asking for "thoppah kulla baby ki kissi!"

(in case you are wondering, he did not pick that up from me...)

In other news, tomorrow marks the first anniversary of this blog. How far Ashwin has come in this one year.. How time flies!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I've been made redundant.

The tasks Ashwin can accomplish on his own are so many that I wonder if this is the same boy that was a baby just a little while ago.

If he wants to use the toilet, he informs me, and then instructs me to wait for him where I am while he goes on his own. Even though he was at this phase a few months ago, he no longer is that clumsy boy. Why he doesn't even need a stool or a baby seat!

He can dress himself. Completely. For a while now, he could put on his underpants and pants (and quickly discovered taking them off is way more fun). Now, he can put on his t-shirt all by himself too! Since spring is here (we are down under, remember?) and sandals are our choice of foorwear, he can put them on all by himself. He gives it a go and then comes around to ask me "wrong leg?"

He can count on his fingers, use scissors, open the fridge to get his yakult, straw and proceed to drink it with no help. If he wants chocolates or chips, he drags the foot stool to the kitchen and uses it to reach onto the kitchen counter. You think the little plastic clip holding them shut will deter him? You really do?

As of this morning, he has learnt to open the deck chair and close it again.

And with that people, I have been made redundant.

No. Wait!

He can't make upma yet (and that's his favourite / everyday breakfast). Even though he quizzes me as I make it to check if I have added salt, water, fried it, boiled it, there's still some utility for me.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Lover Boy (or rubber ball...)

I had a dream early this morning that Raghu and I were suddenly "unmarried". Life was otherwise unchanged and Ashwin was still in the picture, but to be husband and wife, we needed to get married again.

Even before we were fully awake, as soon as I heard murmurs from the other side of the bed, I did what any rational woman would do:

I asked Raghu if he would marry me.

Before he had a chance to understand the question and compose an answer, my son shouted out:

"Naan pannikaren amma!" ("I will do it amma!")

Too bad I did not wait ten years to be married!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Ashwinish Paradox

There are a few syllables that Ashwin can't pronounce, most notable of which are the "r" and the "l". Until a while ago, he would substitute any 'r' and 'l' with a 'y' or conveniently make it silent.

His school, for example, was itt-asca childcare (Little Rascals Childcare). The driver of a Bolero, one of his superheroes, is Boyeyo Unce. A duck's baby is Duckying.

Ashwinish, the ever evolving language has gotten sophesticated, and he has decided that a "w" sounds more elegant instead of a "y".

So his school is: Witte Wascas Childcare.

A duck's baby is duckWing, with heavy emphasis on the "W" twang.

My favourite passtime these days is to ask him where does a train go. Any guesses to the reply?

tWain tWack, with the W even more pronounced because of the pride of

  1. Knowing the answer
  2. Pronouncing it right, according to him anyways

Coming to the paradox, another syllable he can't pronounce is "M" as in Madhu. He replaces it with a "B".

Madhu becomes "Bodhu"
Medicine becomes "Bedicine"
(which he loves asking for these days so that he can proclaim it spicy and then ask for raisins. And then one more raisin, no matter how many he had the first time. Anyway, I digress!)

Why then does vicks become "Mish"? Mish indeed!

Has he been pulling a fast one on us all these days?

My Athletic Son

Ashwin wanted to play cricket with me yesterday. He took the bat... and the ball. Placed the ball on the floor and with one swipe of the bat, missed the ball perfectly and crashed the block-truck that we had just built.

Unfazed, he tried again to connect bat to ball. Failed.





After about 8 tries, he FINALLY managed to send the ball off with his bat. Boy was he pleased with himself! He did a little dance and hurrayed himself. "Good on you mate!" is exactly what he said.

We have no doubt that by the time cricket is introduced as an Olympic sport, he will be ready to participate.

In other related news, we were watching the olympics swim championship with Ashwin and he asked he how they were swimming. (how is his favourite word these days). I replied that they were swimming very fast.

With deep concern in his eyes, he looked at me and asked:

"Wet aaitaa?"

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Thank you my parenting guardian angel.

While my weekday mornings are generally rushed, wednesdays are even more so because I have a regular meeting in office at 8am. This means that I have to get Ashwin ready for day care and leave home by 7:30.

This morning, after I had showered and dressed Ashwin, he lay back in bed with his wet towel. He was trying to drape the towel over him like a blanket. He put quite a bit of effort into this to ensure that he was covered from his toes all the way to his neck with that small towel. When I wanted to put his socks on, he obviously wouldn't let me because exposing his feet would make his previous effort null and void.

Hmm... I watched the clock.


He lay smugly in bed.

I was evaluating my options. Should I yank his towel off? Try and explain that you should adhere to timing of corporate meetings (even if it is a lie!)? Bribe him to get up by telling him he could wear a hair clip to school?

He continued to lie there as I watched the clock again.


Just as I was about to do *something*, he blurted out:

"Naa ippa very happy irukken" (I am very happy now)

THAT is totally worth the awkwardness of being late in a meeting and much more.

I'm so glad I didn't destroy the moment, given how close I came to it..

Vidiya Vidiya Ramayanam Keetu...

Last night, we had stormy conditions. Ashwin was intrigued by the thunder and lightening. I explained to him that lightening is caused by the clouds clashing and that thunder will follow lightening - see - there's the thunder now! All the while, he paid rapt attention. I might also have thrown in a bit about the speed of light being greater than that of sound. When I was done, here's what he had to ask:

"Yaar irukka outside-la?" (who is it outside?)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Understanding gender - with apologies to Bodhu Chitti

Me: Ashwin girl-a? boy-a?
Him: Boy.

Me: Appa?
Him: Boy

Me: Amma?
Him: Girl

Me: Subadhra Aunty?
Him Girl

Me: Pavithra?
Him: Girl

Me: Subagan?
Him: Boy

Me: Kannan uncle?
Him: Boy

Me: Chitra Athai?
Him: Girl

Me: Prakash Athimber?
Him: Boy

Me: Raghul?
Him: Boy

Me: Madhu chitti?
Him: pause. Therialla.

Oops! Ooops! Ooooops! Going on anyway,

Me: Vijay Chittappa?
Him: Boy.

I was wondering what logic he applies to find out which class to sort all these people in and I decided to ask him why his appa was a boy.

Him: Pause. ponder. ponder hard. Appa innum girl aala. Annala appa boy. Appa apparam girl ayiduva.

Now this is worth translating: Appa has not yet become a girl so he is a boy. He will become a girl later. That's not how I remember learning it, but I much prefer this theory!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Oh yes, I'm a star!

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Thank you Perth

For giving me many such precious moments of father and son bonding!
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Watching Sunrise

Ashwin and I start our day either sipping our coffees (white for Ashwin) or having breakfast on the sofa watching the sun come up. It is like a movie - it begins with the sky being dull and suddenly turning crazy colours as the sky reflects the soon to come up sun. Then, slowly, very slowly but not so slowly that you can afford to look away for a few moments, the sun comes up.

This is a movie we both don't tire of however often we watch it.
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Thursday, July 10, 2008

He's a growing boy.

It has been a long time since I have updated this blog. A lot has been happening here, but being cute has become so much the norm with Ashwin that I forget to write about it so often.

I have just kept pasta on the stove to boil and I told Ashwin that we will go to bed once the pasta had boiled. He rolled out one finger with great difficulty and said "Ashwin ku one pasta", another stubby finger followed: "Amma ku one pasta", "Appa ku one pasta" with another finger, "Police uncle ku one pasta", "Boyeyo uncle ko one pasta", with the last two fingers unfurling with such intense concentration and difficulty.

Yup, my little boy is counting with his fingers! And how cute is that??!

Among other news, he has begun constructing complex sentences. A conjunction is a compulsary part of his conversation. If you ask him if he wants a jacket, he will tell you, "ne heater on pannikka la SO warma irukku. Annala jacket aana". No kidding.

He has begun to recite nursery rhymes too. I didn't realise he knew any nursery rhymes at all despite singing them to him every so often. The other day, in the bath, I sang ABCD to him and finished it with "Wont you come and sing with me". His reaction? "Appi iyya. Next time wont you sing with me, appi sing pannun." His repertoire of songs consists of "Baa baa black sheep", "Row row row your boat" (which he sings as yo yo yo boat gently down the stream, meyyi meyyi meyyi meyyi yife is but a dream!), itsy bitsy spider (I'm thinking of charging money to let people watch as he mimes the spider climbing up with his fingers, it is impossibly cute) and many more, even I'm not sure how many.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I can empathise.

Ashwin was trying to brush his teeth by himself. He normally has a go and I finish the job off for him.

A few days ago, he didn't want me to help but do it all by himself. I directed him to brush the teeth in the back as he was focussing only on the front teeth.

After a brief trial, he gave up with "vayya (varalla), tight ikku".

I looked on with an amused look on my face while he continued "Anga kosh the door pannikku".

I don't call him chucchy beesh for nothing!

Literally Speaking

This morning, Ashwin wanted to bathe in the bath tub (thammi okkachi) but I had no time for that. So I offered him the choice of shower or bucket jo-jo. He kept insisting that he wants to thammi okkachi (sit in the water).

I held up two fingers and said to him - this one is for shower, this one is for bucket, touch whichever you want.

His reply?

"Iyya. idhu fingers" (No, this is fingers).


The other day, there were some birds chirping and I was trying to get Ashwin's attention to them: "Ashwin, birds enna sollaradhu kelu"

Ashwin: "Bird, enna sollaya?"

In the bath tub, the other day, I asked Ashwin to see if the water was hot.

He took a CLOSE look at it before replying, "iyya"

Come play hide and seek with us.

This evening, Ashwin, Raghu and I were playing hide and seek. Our game went like this...

For the first round, I counted to 10 while Ashwin and Raghu went to hide. I went around the house calling out:

"Is Ashwin in the kitchen?"
"Is Ashwin in the bedroom?"
"Is Ashwin in the guest bedroom?" "Yes" came the reply.

When I was done laughing and found them in the guest bedroom, Ashwin said "Happy birthday to you". Because any occasion is good enough to say that - like finding someone hiding or being found out.. Likewise, what is the right thing to say when you have your temperature taken using an ear thermometer? "Cheese!"

Then it was Raghu's turn to count and Ashwin and I went to hide. Where else would we hide but in the guest bedroom??! By now, Ashwin had wisened up a bit and when Raghu asked "Is Ashwin in the guest bedroom?", he did not reply. However, when Raghu concluded "Ashwin is not in the guest bedroom", that was too much for him. "Irukkan" (he is there) he replied.

My ever helpful son!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

A slice of Australian life: an artist at work.

Ashwin's (short) experience at the movie

In a certain non thinking moment, Raghu and I decided to take Ashwin to watch a movie Dashavatharam - a new movie starring Kamal Hassan in 10 roles. After that, we did not question our decision until we were at the movie.

In Perth, screening of Tamil movies is a rarity. There are no cinemas that regularly screen them and so an association has to rent the cinema premises for a screening. The seating is not reserved in this case but rather first-in-first-seated. The movie was supposed to be screened at 8:30 pm but was rescheduled to 9pm with no announcement whatsoever. We were at the cinema in the queue waiting to be seated at 7:30.

After a LOOONG wait, we were finally in the cinema and the screening began.

It started off well as the crowd welcomed Kamal Hassan with whistling and clapping and Ashwin joined right in. He doesn't need a reason to clap, just an excuse. And then it was time for the movie to start in full earnest. Ashwin turned to me and said ....



"Enakku veetuku ponum" (I want to go home).

(Did I mention that we paid 17AUD per person to watch this movie?)

Anyway, Raghu and I tried distracting him for a while and hoping he would fall asleep (fat chance, we are speaking about Ashwin). He kept insisting that he wants to go home and sleep. My heart went out to him when in a monent of quiet, he looked at the screen hopefully and asked "aachi?" (finished?) and when it started again, turned back to me with a nervous crestfallen "innum irukku". (There is more).

I realised he was scared and half an hour into the show, decided to leave with him.

There is an idol in a temple which gets thrown out. There is violence against the priest, affectionately known to Ashwin as "ummachi kaapaathu uncle". There are jerky movements and loud scenes. On the way home in the car, Ashwin announced, "Movie uncle bad boy. Movie nanna iyya" (movie was not good).

When I was putting him to sleep, he asked me "Amma, ummachi kaapaathu uncle yen kai poota?"

My poor baby, his serene secure experience of the temple and the priest was shaken.

I'm not making the same mistake twice, there are no more movies lined up in our plan.

But in fact, I am making the same mistake twice. A month ago, I took him to see "Horton hears a who" - an animation movie about an elephant called Horton and little people called whos. I paid AUD15.50 for the ticket and after an hour at the show, he was bored and wanted to go home.

Will I ever learn?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Elephant Uff pannithu

We went to Thirukadaiyoor to celebrate my parent's Sashtiabtha Poorthy. This temple has some significance for people completing 60 years and people go there to pray for longivety.

As with many temples in India, this temple had an elephant that is considered holy and people offer the elephant banana or money and take the elephant's blessings. Ashwin had his turn to give the elephant "paisa" too and the elephant blessed him by placing it's trunk on his head. This was totally unexpected for Ashwin and he was deeply impressed. He declared that the elephant did "Uff" on him.

From then on, every night he would become a baby elephant and climb upto our head and blow with his baby mouth.

Even now, when he goes for a "ride on the elephant" on our backs, at the end of the ride, he asks the elephant to do "uff" on him, if not the experience is not complete.

He came back from day care looking like this.

This is the post I thought I would never write.

My son loves his day care (aka school) and looks forward to going each morning. There! I've said it and I hope I haven't jinxed myself.

I have started working full-time here in Perth and Ashwin is going to daycare 5 days a week regularly now. I drop him off at daycare at around 8am everyday. Once we get off the car at his daycare, he is all excited and cannot wait to go inside! I have to sign in on my way in and he hurries me to open the door for him. Once in there, he looks at me with a "Do I know you?" look on his face. Raghu starts his working day before 7am so that he can finish off early and pick up Ashwin from daycare around 4pm.

While there, he has loads of fun. They do painting, blocks, singing, story time, outdoor play etc all day. He has learnt a lot in the month he has spent there. He can now go to the toilet all by himself! When he has the urge, he marches himself to the toilet and pulls down his pants and hoists himself up on the throne using a stool. Once done, he recites to himself, "Jetti first, then pant" as he pulls them up in that order. He knows that you hold a pen with three fingers although exactly how still eludes him.

If you ask him what he did at school today, he will say "Enjoy panne" (I enjoyed.)

Probe a bit further and ask him how he enjoyed and he will say "Thoppala fast fast enjoy panne"

Don't ask me what that means!

Monday, June 2, 2008

The long weekend had a few laughs for us..

We just had a 3 day weekend which went by much too quickly for our liking. The weather held up fine on Sunday and Monday and we had a lot of fun! We went to ride the miniature railway at Castledare once again on Sunday (I wasn't kidding when I said our first Sundays are all marked..). On Monday, we caught the Joseph Ashton circus.

On Saturday, Raghu had gone to the Canningvale market to buy fruits and veggies and Ashwin and I were at home. Ashwin told me he wants to do su-su. I offered to take him to the toilet but he asked me to go away, to the kitchen specifically, as he marched off to the toilet all by himself. A few minutes later, I heard a "Aaaaaaagh". I rushed to the toilet where the sound came from to find Ashwin stuck inside the toilet bowl (yes, inside!) with his pants and knickers pulled down. Apparently, he had tried to hop onto the toilet seat and could not break the leap and went straight through!! I was going purple in my face trying not to laugh and hurt his ego, but I didn't succeed! Luckily for me, my boy is a good enough sport and joined in the long laughing session as we mentally replayed the scene :)

Yesterday, Ashwin asked for tachi (curd) at lunch.
"Idhu enna tachi" he asked Raghu who confidently replied that it was WHITE tachi. "Iyya" said Ashwin. Idhu PLAIN tachi, I offered helpfully while secretly feeling pride in offering the right answer while Raghu got it wrong. "Iyya" said Ashwin again bursting my ego. "Idhu NORMAL tachi".
My poor baby, he has to educate his ignorant parents!

We were playing train on Ashwin's traffic mat and Ashwin was the train driver. He looked around and asked me in English (because train drivers are supposed to speak english), "Ashwin eet where?" Ashwin will eat at the dining table, I replied.
"No. Ashwin eet where" he asked again. Ashwin will eat on his placemat? I tried again. By this time, his tears of frustration was building up as I tried various answers (rocking chair, floor..).
I was sitting on some buildings on the traffic mat designated as Ashwin's house and he wanted to find them. So his question to me was "Ashwin eet (veedu, house) where?". Boy, sometimes I can be slow!

Oh, I nearly forgot.. I was complaining to Raghu of a headache when Ashwin came upto us and said "Enku thala valikkaradu. Enku thoppala thala vali" (I have a headache, I have a headache in my tummy). Wonders never cease, it seems!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A Quickie.

This morning, we had idli upma for breakfast.

Ashwin: Idhu enna upma?
Me: Idli upma.
Ashwin: Iyya. Idhu chapati upma.

Language Nuances

"Nethiki na saathi paati veetukku ponen", Ashwin declared yesterday. No, he did not visit Savithri Paati y'day, nor is he bluffing. Nethiki (yesterday) is used by him to mean anything that happened in the past.

He could tell you "Nethiki Ashwin small baby a irundhan" referring to the fact that he was once an infant or "Nethiki na waa waa azhuden" two minutes after he has screamed his head off as you try to feed him medicine.

He tells us on an almost daily basis "Nethiki appa kai vizhunda. Big big ethuthu fast fast kai vizhunda" referring to an incident that happened in the beginning of April where Raghu was walking down the steps with Ashwin carrying a basket full of laundry and he toppled. He does not do this on an almost daily basis, thank God, but Ashwin is impressed with his father's acrobatics :)

The collective noun is something that Ashwin has figured out and loves to abuse.

"Blocks vayyadalaam namba", meaning not me alone but WE shall play blocks. This is how the usage started but has now gone on to "Namba poopoo polaam" or "Green getti potukkalam namba".

It is adorable how he completes most of his statements with either "See" or "Therima".

"Naa big thammi ethunden, See" or "Inga dirty aachu see". He is sitting on my lap as I type and saying "button, see" indicating the buttons on his night dress.

"Ashwin veetukku bird vandachu theyima", "Ummachi kaapaathi light hide pannikku theyima" (Sunlight is hiding behind the clouds, not gone, do you know?!) or "Appa kitta car saavi ikku theyima" are some of the classics that entertain us all the time!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Resolve of Steel

As you may know from this post, Ashwin's school going was a teary affair at the start of this week. After I spent two teary mornings with him at school, I suggested to him that he not cry at school but instead say Bye to me and give me a kiss. His reply was: No, you SHOULD cry at school. OK, I understood the rules of the toddlering game and complied. The next day, he enquired "wah wah aana?" (needn't I cry?) and I said no, don't cry wah wah because I'm going to say bye and be back in the evening to pick you up. On thursday, before going to school, he declared "Inniki naa school la wah wah azhaduda maaten" (I will not cry in school today). He was not over joyed to see me leave, but true to his word, he did not cry.

When I went to pick him up at school, the first thing he told me was "innuki school la na wah wah azhududa iyya". I'm pround of my son who made a decision and stuck to it, however tough it may have been.

After coming to Australia, Ashwin has graduated from a child seat to a supported booster, one which goes all the way up his back and not only elevate his bum. This means that he can undo his seat belt all by himself and he was overjoyed with he discovered this. He once took off his seat belt as I was driving to a friend's place. I promptly parked the car, buckled him back up and gave him a good round of scolding. Once again, when I was going to hand in our rental car, he took off his seat belt on the freeway. This time too, I gave him a good ticking off and for added measure, I told the taxi driver what he did and the driver told him to never do that again. Of course he knows that if you take off the seat belt, adi padum (you will get hurt), the police uncle will scold you and you are only to take it off after the car has been parked.

These days, once I buckle him in the car, he declares: Naa seat belt remove panna maaten (I will not remove the seat belt). He may be tempted, may touch the buckle, ask what will happen if he removes it, but again, true to his word, he does not undo it until I have parked the car.

Such is the resolve of my 2 year old boy!

Monday, May 19, 2008

4 Steps to keep a clean house

1. Get married
2. Have a son
3. Buy a pair of mops
4. Sit back with the camera and enjoy!

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Vallavanukku pullum aazhidam (To the man who can, even a blade of grass is weapon)

Ashwin loves to sit in the bathtub with his bath time companions duck and fish. What he doesn't like is that he has to eventually leave the bathtub. This has been getting increasingly tricky. In the beginning, if I let him take the plug out by himself, he was happy enough with the empowerment to end the bath. After that wore out, I had to take the plug out but he would put it back. So these days, I take the plug out and keep it high up so that he cannot reach. So what does he do?

Get the ducky or fish quickly to stuff into the drain so that the flow of water can be slowed and the bath prolonged!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Breaking news!

The persons who conduct prayers in temples, also known as temple uncles will henceforth be called yeast. That is Ashwin's rendering of the former English word Priest.

So what does the Yeast say when he utters all those Sanskrit Slokas?

Ashwin, appa, amma, thatha, paati, atthai, chitti, raghul anna, ommore uncle, ommore uncle, ommore ommore uncle, everybody should be happy.

Feeling like a pile of shit.

I have just left a crying baby in child care today.

Ashwin started attending child care 3 weeks ago. The place he goes to is called "Little Rascals Childcare" which Ashwin pronounces as itte ashash childcare in the most adorable way. He will also tell you that his school is in Applecross.

The first week, he went enthusiastically, waving be good bye and giving me my ration of 2 kisses. The childcare is quite a fun place - choke full of toys, a playground in the back yard where new toys are introduced on a regular basis. Even the food they serve is quite fun. I started him on 2 days a week of care and he was going Tuesdays and Thursdays. The second week, he was not quite as happy to see me go as he realised school was not a one-off thing but rather a permanent fixture in his life. The third week, I had to keep him home as he was down with cold and fever.

I have just enrolled him in every day childcare starting today. To say he was not happy to see me go today will be an understatement. He was clinging to me, proclaiming himself "Baby", having me feed him yoghurt and steadfastly refusing to say Bye. After I spent 45 minutes with him there, he finally relented to go to a carer who agreed to take him to the playground and I promptly left.

When I left the building 10 minutes later, he was crying.

I just called to see how he is doing and I was told he was settled in and was playing outside. (Is he really settled in? Happy? I don't know!)

The thing is this child care business is not for fun. I have found a job here and I will have to start working next week and I NEED Ashwin to go to childcare. I also NEED him to be happy there because otherwise I'm going to be this grumpy and weepy myself too and that's not the way to go to work.

Will he settle in quickly? Will he be happy there? Will I come back soon with a "My son loves school" post? Only time will tell.
Updated: I went to take a peek around lunch time and saw him sitting with his friends and eating Pasta. The carer told me that prior to that he was playing in the sand pit. It seems I am brooding more than he is... We'll see.

Updated again: When I went to pick him up in the evening, he was riding on the back of a tricycle with another boy. He said "Hi amma" to me and made no effort to move towards me. When I told him we could go home now, he said "No" and ran straight back to the playground.

Ask him what he did at school today and he will tell you that he did "enjoy".

The little rascal.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


My friend and ex-colleague from ST France Antoine Gautier died last Friday in a mountain biking accident. I don't know the details of the accident but I'm imagining that one moment he was happily cycling down the summer slopes of the Alps in Grenoble and the next moment he is dead. If the details are any different, I don't want to know.

Antoine was a very good friend and colleague. He was one of the best engineers I have ever encountered. Engineering was a game to him. He was one of those few people who would be excited by the prospect of problem solving and he conveyed this enthusiasm to those around him. He was an A+ human being. Kind, compassionate friendly and most importantly full of life. He was always involved in some sport or the other - be it skiing, cycling, biking, anything at all. I have worked with him extensively and during our phone conversations, I could actually hear his smile.

Antoine was the same age as me. We turned 30 months apart. I was in Tokyo with him on my 30th birthday and remember discussing with him what it meant to each of us to turn 30 and what we wanted from life. I will miss him. I am totally shocked by his death.

He leaves behind a one year old boy and wife who is 7 months pregnant. It is not fair that there is a child younger than my son who cannot wave goodbye to his father everyday as he leaves for work. That there is a wife out there who cannot look forward to the husband's arrival in the evening to lighten her parenting load. That my friend will not be around to marvel at his son throwing ball. To witness the miraculous birth of his second born. To take his children wrapped in red skiing down the snowy slopes. No. Life is not fair at all.

Now is the time to give our loved ones an extra squeeze and tell them we love them. And then, do so all over again. Now is the time to count our blessings.

I hope some kind of solace soon reaches the grieving family.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

A conversation with Ashwin

Yesterday, Ashwin brought me his mickey cushion.

Ashwin: Amma, idhu enna?
Me: Idhu mickey cushion da raja.

Him: Mickey cushion yaar vay kudutha?
Me: Mickey cushion Harsha uncle vangi kudutha

Him: Harsha uncle enga irukka?
Me: Harsha uncle Bangalore la irukka.

Him: Bangalore enga irukku?
Me: Bangalore India la irukku.

Him: India enga irukku?
Me: India very far irukku da. Map la daan paaka mudiyum.

Him: India eppudi poonum?
Me: India woosh la poonum.

Him: Woosh illa, adhu aeyopyane.
Me: (Yeah right, my growing teacher!) Aeroplane la poonum.

Him: Aeyopyane enga irukku?
Me: Aeyopyane up la irukku.

Him: Up iyya. Aeyopyane airport la irukku.
Me: Amam, aeroplane airport la irukku.

Him: Aeroplane endha airport la irukku?
Me: Aeroplane Perth airport la irukku.

Him: Perth airport enga irukku?
Me: Perth airport appudi poi appudi poonum.

Him: Enku aeroplane okkachi vaenum.
Me: Amma kitta paisa illada raja aeroplane okkachi panna.

Him: Paisa shop la irukku. Shop poi paisa eduthu va.

If you are thinking "how cute...", please read this post atleast once every 5 minutes with different objects and places substituted each time and think again. Oh, the sweet sound of silence!

What is the first thing you do in the morning?

Me? I take photos.

You would too, if you woke up to something like this:

This was the view from our living room y'day.

I can sit in our backyard with a cup of coffee or icecream and watch birds in the trees, cyclists along the esplanade, the deep blue water, boats and skiers in the water, pelicans, the freeway across the river and the trains across the freeway, all at one glance!

Today, I woke up to this and I was actually disappointed!

You can see more pictures clicked from our backyard here:

None of the photos have been touched up in any way, I promise!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Honing his negotiation skills (or blackmailing??!)

As soon as he woke up this morning (after confirming with me that ummachi kaapaathu light was on, that's God's light or sunlight in his language), he announced that he wanted a yoghurt. I said he could have a yoghurt after he had brushed his teeth and he didn't want to do that.

"No brush teeth, no yoghurt" I said.

"Illati vommo yoghurt veenum soyven naa" he threatened right back!
(Or else I'll say I want one more yoghurt)

Some other threats he likes to throw on occations..

"Illati wah wah azhuven naa" (or else, I'll cry wah wah)

"Illati naa thittuven" (or else I'll scold you). This is followed by him walking up to me and giving me one smack - wonder where he picked up that from.

"Illati naa appa kitta kepen" (or else I'll ask appa)

When I was in India, I used Bolero uncle (the driver of a Bolero or any other MPV) as a tool for disciplining him. If he was acting up in the car, I would tell him that Bolero uncle asked him to sit down. Likewise, Bolero uncle would tell him to go to sleep if he didn't want to. He figured that Bolero uncle had the ultimate word and would comply. But now he has learnt that two can play this game. The other day he said to me in the shop "Bolero uncle soikka Ashwin Candy tha pannu" (Bolero uncle has said that Ashwin should have a candy). Since then, he substitutes anyone with Bolero uncle since anyone else seems to have more authority than him and me. This afternoon when I was trying to put him to bed for his nap, he said "Nutti (his teddy bear that used to be mine) Ashwin tachi aanaa soikku"

Nice try mate, but you still need to sleep. If not, when will I update this blog?!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Castledare Miniature Railway

I had read in my book "Kidding Around Perth" of a miniature railway that operates in Castledare grounds on the first Sunday of every month. Since we were so close to the first Sunday of May, we decided to check it out.

Ashwin was THRILLED when he saw this railway. For that matter, so was I! He was even more excited when he learnt that he was actually going to ride on the train!

We went with friends of ours Subadhra, Kannan and their kids Subagan and Bavithra. Their friends Suresh and Bhuvana also joined us. Waiting for our turn was fun in itself as we got to watch the trains pulling into the station, changing signals, people waving little flags. The railway was just like the real thing. For each run, the coal and water had to be loaded into the engine and it was Ashwin's first experience of the actual "Koo chuk buk kuk" - the steam engine! Since then, Ashwin's question "Train eppidi koo chuk buk kuk poogum? (How does the train go koo chuk buk kuk?) has been unceasing. The correct answer is: The coal heats up the water and converts it to steam which turns the turbine making the train go koo chuk buk kuk. This activity of Q&A gets tiresome after a few back to back rounds ! No short form answer will please him though. Likewise, the answer to how does a car go drrrrr? is The driver will put the key in and turn it. The ignition cranks and the engine starts. This makes the car go drrr. What was I thinking when I told him this for the first time???!

Back to our railway, the ride meandered through the grounds on a very scenic 5km track which all of us enjoyed. Soon, the ride was over and it was time for our picnic.

We set up our picnic somewhere in the midst of the tracks so we got to wave to the passing trains as we picnicked. The young and old kids enjoyed a round of football after yummy food. All in all, a splendid day.

You can see pictures of our day here:

Our calendar has been marked for all the coming first Sundays!

A fine evening in Perth

Yesterday was a bright and sunny day. I took Ashwin cycling along the riverfront to the playground which is about 20 minutes from our place by walk. Any guesses what we saw along the way? DOLPHINS! It was amazing - just minutes away from our house too!

Of course, Ashwin was hardly impressed.. What's so great about Dolphins in the water when there was a DOG swimming right there??!

Some of the other great views to greet us yesterday:

And the best view of them all?

Sunday, May 4, 2008

I'm back!

After a month in Perth, Australia, I have FINALLY got internet connection at home! In some ways, it is like getting my breath back...

This blog has been collecting dust for the past two and a half months. And in this period, Ashwin has been busy. There has been our final few days in Singapore, his time with family in India, my baby sister and Ashwin's Bodhu chitti's wedding, my parents Sashtiabthapoorthy, our settling in in Australia and much more. He has been growing into an awesome boy. Over the coming days, I will try to capture the nearly lost memories of the past months.

Now that I have broken the awkward silence of the blog, I hope to go back to blogging about my wonderful son in full swing soon!

See you internet!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Picture Perfect Happiness

This picture was taken at Shaun's birthday party last december and I love it. Perhaps it is the way we can see he is smiling even though we cannot see his eyes or mouth?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Ellarum Tachindu Thoongita (Everyone's Asleep)

Putting Ashwin to bed has been the biggest ordeal of my parenting life. He will play, bite, ask for music, ask for thammi (water), ask to use the toilet and search for other distractions until the batteries on his eyelids run completely dry. It can easily take me an hour to get him asleep. Of course, that's just with me. If someone else is putting him to bed, he falls asleep in five minutes flat. (Do you think everyone is lying to make me feel bad?)

These are all the people who will go to sleep on my tummy before it is Ashwin's turn. There is baby, lion, doggie and pink doll (This is the reason Ashwin is going to hate me when he is a teenager - for giving him a pink doll, calling it that and getting him to like it!). They all have to lie down one on top of the other in a tall pile as in the picture. Then he will ceremoniously throw them off to the floor to make space for himself on my thoppah. All of them that is, except the pink doll which has a wire and a speaker plug which doubles as Ashwin's handsfree to speak to Appa, Chitra Atthai, Bhawna Aunty etc.

Then comes the projection torch. He knows that they work only at night and so when the light is switch off, he would ask for Monkey. It used to be spiderman, but that one broke and I bought another one at the zoo with a monkey, frog and bird images. He gives it to me to turn on, says thank you and projects the image on the ceiling. And the headboard. Outside. Inside again. Repeat with another image.

When we (I) declare that Monkey has to go home and tachi, he asks for big-small (his opposites book). He reads this all the way to the last page and finishes with Left-Right... good boy, good boy! Now he wants January, February.

In between these activities he takes time to recite nursery rhymes and shlokas - who's in a hurry to sleep anyway! "One two buckle shoe" is his current favourite. My favourite is when he recites "Chubby cheeks" as "chuchy beeshs". He can almost entirely by himself recite "Gajananam" as well as "Saraswathy Namasthumbyam"

When he is finally tired, he asks me to open the door (put my arm on the bed) and climbs on top. Then I have to close the door and do "Ippudi ippudi" (pat his back). When he has had enough of patting, he will open the door again and fall on to the bed.

On most nights, by this time, I am fast asleep. I can only believe that Ashwin falls asleep soon after. At least he lets me sleep!

Dear God, I hope I can read this post back in a month and wonder if my now blissful sleeper actually put me through all that or was it a figment of my imagination. Are you hearing me? Are you reading my blog?

Monday, February 11, 2008

Gothupa and Atha Paati

Ashwin's Gopu Thatha and Latha Paati, fondly called Gothupa and Atha Paati, were in Singapore for the past two weeks and during this time, everyday was a special holiday for Ashwin. Apart from the fact that we were out and about a lot when they were here to visit the zoo, bird park, sentosa etc, he learnt a lot of useful stuff from Gothupa, such as:
  • To say Johnny jonny ... telling lies? Yes papa.
  • To say important phrases like "Dai Mamoi", "Dai Mavane"
  • To say big small with action, but big with palms close together and small with palm far apart
  • To say happy with a sad face and sad with a happy face. Ever since, if I try to correct him, Ashwin has been telling me, "Happy Sad like this."
  • That Gothupa goes to office for two minutes everytime he goes out for a smoke.
  • That no matter where Atha Paati is, to proclaim "Atha Paati shoe kai poota" in the car. So much so that on our way back home after dropping them at the airport, he told me the same thing! If Atha Paati pinches his cheeks saying "Poi ya?", he will reply "Cheek, atha paati". Yeah, duh.
  • To dance to old Tamil songs, especially "Kan poona pokkile kaal poogalama"
  • To throw the ball and *try* to catch

And a whole lot of other stuff that I have to work long and hard to teach him to forget!

Atha paati made yummy yummy mammam for us and anyone who makes yummy mammam is our friend.

See photos of their visit here

Thank you for coming, Gothupa and Atha Paati. I had hordes of fun!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Gong Xi Fa Cai (Happy New Year)

The 6th and 7th of February this year were the first two days of the Chinese calendar. This new year is the biggest celebration in Singapore. These are the only two days in a year when most businesses close shop. Chinese dress in their finest clothes (mostly red) and pay visits to their elders on these days. It is customary for elders to give the unmarried youngsters money in a red packet as a form of blessing. This red packet is called Ang Pow. It is also considered auspicious to exchange mandarin oranges during the visits because of their deep orange colour which symbolises gold.

On the first day of the Chinese New Year, Gothupa, Atha Paati and I took Ashwin on the train to Boat Quay to sit by the river and eat sandwiches and icecream. Next to Ashwin in the train, there was a chinese girl about 4 years old with her mother. Ashwin was offered a candy by this girl and he accepted it without thanks because he was too shy. I chatted with this girl for a while and understood from her that I cannot have her pretty sandals because they were too small for me. Ashwin could not have it either because they were not boy boy shoes. She took out a book and a pen to sketch and of course, Ashwin copier her right away.

When the train attived at their destination, the girl gave Ashwin a kiss and her mother gave him an ang pow with $2 in it.

Candy, kisses and $2 ang pows, what's not to love about train journeys?!

My faith in humanity is restored.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Speaking of grammar, let's talk pronouns.

I wanted to write this post for a long time now but I cannot delay any further. He's beginning to figure it out!

"You flush" Ashwin will yell. So you put your hand on the flush. You you YOU! He will scream until you remove your hand by reflex. Yeah, he refers to himself as You.

It is so fun to watch the confusion on a random stranger's face as he runs ahead of them shouting You press to press the button to call the lift. If you ask him, "Do you want this yakult or shall I drink it", he will answer You want. If you drink it, don't ask me to save you from the ensuing tantrum.

In tamil, he refer's to himself as nee (the tamil you). Ask him "Ashwin, yaaru da shoe kai poota" and he will reply "Nee kai poota" and leave you wondering if you have such accute insomnia that you can't even remember throwing his shoes! If you try to serve him lunch, he will yell "Nee" until you take the cue and offer him the ladle and vessel so that he can help himself.

The other day, I asked him who's shoe it was, "Is this Ashwin's or Gothupa's" I asked him. "You's" he replied.

Yeah, it's you's of course :)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


BTW, this is Ashwin's doing, not mine.


Ashwin and I play a modified version of the memory card game. We leave all the cards open face up and I call the object I want.

"I want .... two babies" I shout.

Ashwin will scan the lot for two baby cards hand them over to me one by one. And wait for me to call the next object.

"I want ... two doggie" I called.

"Doggies", he corrected me.

My very own two year old grammar teacher.

Cricketing All-Rounder redefined.

Handing me the ball, Ashwin takes up batting position. I was in a hurry and bowled a bit too early, he had not performed the customary two taps of the bat on the floor. So he called NOBALL.

OK. I bowled again when he was ready and he perfectly .... missed the ball. So perfectly in fact that he did not even try to make contact with the ball. That is not part of the game.

With the bat in one hand, he picks up the ball and proceeds to bowl it to me, but not before pretending to lick it and wipe it on his pants. He runs straight up to me, right up to where I am standing and throws the ball further ahead.

Bat still in hand, he is now "fielding" - lie down wherever he is (forget where the ball is, that is unimportant detail) and perform one roll to the left and another to the right.

If that ain't an all-rounder, what is?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Why children are meant to be carried

So that those incredibly succulent cheeks are within kissing range of your lips! And if the said child turns away those said cheeks? Those highly edible earlobes are yours for nibbling.

You need more reason? Really? You do?

OK. Here you go.

You get to hold in your hands those super duper squishy bums for your squishing pleasure!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Bedtime Story Scene

"Oru oorula oru paati irundha" I began.

Paati ikka? Ikka? Paati ikka? Thatha? Thath ikka? Iyya? Bye poch? Aunty? Aunty ikka? Ommore aunty ikka? Two aunty? Three? Four? Four! Four? Four FOUR? Amma? AMMA? AMMA!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

No, I'm not renting him out.

All of last week, I was uninspired to blog, so I guess Ashwin decided to take matters into his own hands.

What?! Cleaning is serious job, don't laugh!

I did not set him up to do this. Cleaning is now his favourite passtime. Needless to say, we now have a soggy, spotty (oops!) spotlessly clean house!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

My day out with Ashwin.

On Saturday, Ashwin and I went to Singapore Discovery Center. At first I was apprehensive about taking him out all by myself - he would get bored and I would get tired - but I must say that my son is a delightful companion.

At first, we took the SAFTI bus tour. We were the only ones on the bus beside the guide and the driver. I enjoyed learning about the way NSMen live and work and play while Ashwin enjoyed … the bus ride. We even got to wave to a group of soldiers passing by.

The exhibits at the center were meant for an older audience but there were buttons for pressing and that was enough for Ashwin. There was a station where you could be a news reporter and watch yourself live on TV. Ashwin took the hotseat and started to report on the first MRT operating in Singapore. "One Two Buckle Shoe" he began … and then he noticed himself on TV and went totally shy! Not another word spoken into the microphone. The spectators enjoyed this cheeky grin for the rest of the show.

For a cultural touch, we got to try some Malay dancing.

We caught an iMAX movie on Mount Everest. I mentally prepared myself to leave the show half way through if Ashwin got restless. I bought a packet of popcorn for added measure. Throughout the 45 minute show, Ashwin watched with fascination. Guess who was the one digging into the caramel flavoured popcorn?!?! The movie was inspiring and at the end of the show, I was filled with a kind of tenderness towards Ashwin and the world at large that it actually ached (or was it the popcorn causing heart burns?!). I was proud of the world for being such an interesting and beautiful place for my son and happy for him to have the choice to explore and conquer the world or sit back and watch others do it - whichever pleased him more.

We shared a pizza for lunch. I was sure that all the olives would land on my plate - being black and all. My epicurean son however discovered two things - one the olives fit his thumb perfectly and two, they were delicious!

On our way back, Ashwin sat down abruptly on this step. I was about to think this would make a cute snap but the thought bubble must have popped out of my head because before I could react, Ashwin asked, "Poto?" Ashwin, the mind reader!

This morning, I asked him again if he liked the "big movie" and what did he see and he replied "Aunty uncle up up po ikka. Aunty KAI vizha kka"

Obviously, I was not the only one inspired!