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!