Happy Chappy Moments with Keerthi #1

What makes you happy?

This month, Keerthi’s class has got a new class teacher.  I waited for two weeks anxiously. After spending too much time on the day care camera to see how the new teacher moves with children and looking at the planning sheets that she puts up every week and the elaborate daily notes from her, I felt good and started feeling comfortable. So I finally decided to do a quick catch up with her about Keerthi. She was so positive and Im glad that I talked to her.

One incident that the teacher shared with me, will stay in my memory forever.  Teacher was talking to the children about feelings and was randomly asking the kids on what makes them happy, sad, angry and so on. And this is what happened

Teacher: Keerthi, what makes you happy?

Keerthi: Mommy & Daddy

There are so many things that would make her happy. She loves books, paint, colors, bubbles, cookies, cake, chocolate, ice cream and of course, me and L. I never knew that we topped the list, in spite of lot of disciplining talks that she hears from us. That discussion with her teacher surely made my day.

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How about waking up with tea in bed?

It was a lovely sunday. I was woke up with (imaginary) tea in my bed. Keerthi is first person to wake up on the weekends. No matter what time she dozes off in the night, she is up before 7.15 AM. This week was no different from that routine. She woke up and cuddled with me for sometime and gave me a hug and went to hall where she left her clip in the night and came back to ask me to clip her hair and turn on the light. I did what she requested with half eye open. She said thank you and told that she is going to play with toys. I closed my eyes to catch few mins of sleep. After few secs she came back to me,  holding the toy tea cup and said, “Amma! Wake up.. Tea for you”. How could I say no to this lovely gesture? I woke the very second which is unusual on the week end.

Leaving a picture of my sunday morning tea.

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Update on Keerthi at 2.5 years

“How did it get so late so soon? It’s night before it’s afternoon. December is here before it’s June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?” ― Dr. Seuss

How true is the saying..? Time flies.. I always wanted to write about Keerthi on this blog and record all the wonderful memories with her. Though we have taken tonnes of videos and photos of her in these 2.5 years, this is the first written update.

At 2.5 years, Keerthi is so loving.. She is emotionally very sensitive and full of love.. Her love and smile is so infectious and she pass it on to others effortlessly.. She is sometimes fascinating.. sometimes amazing.. sometimes amusing.. sometime curious.. sometimes naughty.. (not all good) Sometimes she bothers me too (with her whine & fuss. May be due to her Terrible Twos..)

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She loves colors. Be it a crayon or color pencil or sketch or paint. (Yes..! I introduced all of it to her one by one in the last six months) She can sit with the colors and few papers for an extended period of time. She does freestyle art most of the time (some random scribbling), sometimes she draws solid lines and circles.. At one point of time, she wanted all her drawings to smile. She will ask me to draw shapes and when I draw them she would say, “Amma, Circle siri”, “Amma, Square Siri”.. Likewise she will make me draw eyes and smiles for all the shapes/flowers/alphabets/anything she likes. One day, she even made me draw a smiling face for one of the butterfly wallie that I had on my kitchen wall..

We read a book where Caillou goes to work with his Mom and draws a picture of his mom, dad, himself, sister rosie and his dog when he was at his Mom’s office. Next day, when she had her papers and colors, she drew three pictures and called the smaller one keerthi and the bigger one amma and the biggest one appa.. I was so thrilled when she showed it to me and explained it. The pictures dint look anywhere closer to human cartoon representation. But her idea to do that stunned me..

I have started filling all the art work she does at home.. I hope she would be happy to see her master pieces when she grows up..

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Her love for books is endless.. Im very glad that I started reading to her when she was 8 months old and we are going strong and steady till date.. Touchwood.. Nowadays, when Im busy and if she wants to read books, she picks them from the shelf and read on her own, from her memory by turning the pages.. Dr.Seuss books are her favourites now.. She can read ‘Are you my mother?’, ‘Brown Bear, Brown Bear what do you see?’, ‘Chicka chicka boom boom’, ‘Pete the Cat, I love my white shoes’ and few other books perfectly.. Shortly, Im planning to introduce her to the kids magazine..

Books are man’s best friend and they play key role in our life.. Some books has inspired me while some made me laugh n some made me cry.. Some books helped me realize, some of the morals and values that have been formed in me.. And some books destroyed and reconstructed my beliefs.. Sometimes reading a book can change be a life changing experience.. I have given five to myself several times for having made Keerthi enjoy books.. I hope she keeps growing the love for books forever..

I wish every child undergoes through this wonderful experience of reading a book and gets introduced to all the nice books out there.. I push and inspire all my friends with kids to read books to them..

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She knows all the English alphabets, uyir ezhuthukal in tamil and can count from 1 to 20. She knows the basic shapes, colors.. She loves to sing all her rhymes with actions.. Sometimes she demands me to sing along with her till she wants to stop.. I also taught her a vinayagar stotram and now she can recite that all by herself very clearly when she prays..

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She got completely potty trained in a week when she was 2.25.. And it was very easy to get her trained.. I read her book on potty for five consecutive days and took her to potty on the sixth day. She took exactly three days to get completely potty trained.. In another two weeks, we left her off the pull-ups in the night as well..

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She was all-the-time-before-the-tv girl when we came from India after our vacation.. With three functions and all meeting-the-relatives time, we were super duper busy.. Madam used this time at the best to convince thatha n patti’s that watching tv for long time is ok and enjoyed it to the core.. We worked so hard to get her out of the tv/gadget addiction.. Now the tv time is drastically reduced and it is 2-3 hours every week when I and L run around the kitchen to do our week end marathan cooking..

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She was once a big fan of jigsaw puzzles.. At around 2.25 years, she was in love with her puzzles.. She would make and break her 12 piece and 24 piece jigsaw puzzles multiple times in a day.. She would do all her puzzles in the morning as soon as she got ready and arrange it in the hallway before breakfast.. then would come back in the evening and break them and put them together again.. Me being me.. I always wanted to challenge her to get the best out of her.. I bought a 48 piece puzzle and gave it to her.. she spent lot of time and finished it completely in one go which made me very proud at that time.. But after that she never touched her puzzles.. she does not want to do them even if I bribe her with her favourites.. So I left it to her to decide when she want to do the puzzles again..

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She looooooooooooves cooking.. she loves to watch it.. loves to help me cook.. loves to do imaginative cooking with her kitchen toys.. she is in the kitchen all the time that I spend in kitchen.. She can peel big onion.. she washes my vegetables.. she helps me when I wash the dishes.. she wants to throw things in the kadai.. sometimes she turns off the gas when Im cooking and I notice that after a long time.. Whenever I go to kitchen, she runs behind me saying, “Amma, I want to help.. I want to help..”. She does not gets bored in the kitchen.. Her enthusiasum in the kitchen makes me feel that she might become a chef one day.. who knows.. Whatever she does, I want her to give her best and follow her heart..

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Chipotle is her favourite eat out now.. we live just opposite to the mall.. Whenever we drive in to the mall for something, she point to the chipotle logo and jump saying, “Amma, Chicken.. chicken”. I should thank chipotle for making you like chicken.. Now that two people opt for chipotle, man in the house has no say but to follow us..

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Few things that she learnt from her day care..

Whenever I or L sneezes, she says ‘Bless you amma’ or ‘Bless you appa’.. And she says that even when we cough.. For the few times she did this, it brought smiles on our faces.. And we started telling ‘bless you keerthi’ when she sneezed. And in turn, she said, “Thank you”. After that we said, “Thank you” whenever she said bless you.. Following our thanks, she said ‘Ok amma’ or ‘Ok appa’.. Now we are following her and tell her ok when she thanks us..

She points to each and everything at our home and says, “This is Mine.. Not yours amma..”. Last week, this MY/Mine fever went so high and on the way to home in the evening, she said, “My train, my car, my sky, my bird, my bag, my signal, my snow, …. and she finished with my amma.. my appa..” Irritated with all the my words, I pulled her closer to me and said, “My keerthi.. my keerthi”.. she said.. no no.. “My keerthi”, “My amma”.. How do I stop this? Any idea..

Whenever I finish my tea in the evening, she runs to get the cup from me and puts it in the kitchen sink.. Before taking it from me, she checks the cup to make sure I finished it completely. On seeing, empty cup she says, “Good boy, Amma”.

She can now jump when she whines and make a fuss.. This is latest learning from day care.. She learns both good and bad from day care.. Undoing all the bad learnings from her fellow tiny tots is so stressful me.. Everytime I have to come up with new strategy to make her unlearn or forget the inappropriate things..

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This list is so endless.. I can keep continuing this on and on.. but let me stop here and reserve the rest for some other posts.. She is growing up soooo fast and there will be lot more to write very soon..

Look who is doing all this..

(Post that was in drafts for almost 2 years now)

Few years back – 2008/2009

Over the phone – Conversation between brother and sister – Scene 1:

Thambi : Please don’t pay the advance for that home. It is closer to your office but too far from my college. It will be a very long commute for me. We can find house somewhere between my college and your office.

Akka : No chance! I can never have an exhausting commute. I want the house closer to office. If you can’t travel from here, then better be in hostel and come home on week ends.

Thambi: Ok.. Thanks! (bangs the phone)

In the office cafeteria – Conversation between friends – Scene 2:

Workaholic girl : Hey sorry.. sorry again..! Held up with some work again. Were you waiting too long?

Friend 1 : 20 mins… (gasps) When will you stop working like this? And why don’t you go home soon? Have you ever seen the day light in the evenings?

Friend 2 : She is trying to befriend all the security who work here during day and night. And not to miss the dogs that wait in the streets to welcome her. (giggles)

In the office cubicle – Over the phone conversations – Scene 3:

Workaholic girl : tat..tut..tttat.. (seriously looking at the monitor & typing on the keyboard) Phone rings… (sound is ignored)

After one complete ring, phone rings again. Girl takes the phone and clicks something to put the phone in silent mode without seeing who calls.

Mom : (calls friend of the girl) Hi ma. How are you?

Friend : Im fine aunty. Did you call her? Is she not picking up the phone?

Mom : Yes ma. I dont know why she even carries a phone with her. Can you please let her know that Im going to temple in the evening and will turn back home only by 8 PM. Today there is prathosam puja in temple. I forgot to tell her this in the morning.

Friend : Don’t worry aunty. She wont return home that soon. You better eat and sleep aunty. Today is code release day for her. She will come home and ring the bell in the mid night or early morning. Anyway, I will dial to her extn & will pass on the message.

NOW – YEAR 2012

At home – Conversation between lacchu and me – Scene 4 – On Feb 26, 2012:

Lacchu : If you are going to continue in this job, its better we move to Princeton or somewhere closer to your office. That will cut down your exhaustive four hours commute that you do everyday.

Me : No. I have made all my analysis. This is the place where we have a good day care with parent viewing monitor. I can have the monitor open in office always and take a glimpse at it every now and then & see what Keerthi is doing, once we put her in day care.

Lacchu : This long commute will take a toll on your health and stress you out.

Me : Not a problem. Without the parent viewing monitor, I will be even more stressed out. So being here will be the best option.

Over the phone conversation between me and my mom – Scene 5 – On Feb 27, 2012:

I returned to work after the work break will the exclusive time spent with my little sweet heart.  My Mom and Keerthi at home

@ 9.05AM

Called mom to check what she has been doing after the time, we left home. Mom has put keerthi to sleep after long struggle, so couldn’t ask her to put the phone over to keerthi. (Yes. She enjoys to hold the phone and listen. And loves to coo & giggle back)

@ 10.45AM

Called mom to check if she is awake. She was awake. So asked mom to put the phone over to keerthi. Heard her coos and giggles. After sometime puts down the phone with no heart

@ 12.20 PM

Called mom again to know what keerthi is doing

@ 2.10 PM

Called mom again. What for? Keerthi again.

At home – Conversation between mom and me – Scene 6 – On Feb 27, 2012:

@ 4.15 PM : Someone knocks the door of my house. Keerthi and mom sleeping. Mom hears the sound and comes to the door. Sees me standing outside. But not shocked or surprised. Opens the door.

Mom : I know you can wait to come home till 6.15 PM. When did you start from office?

Me : 2.15 PM. Is she sleeping?

Keerthi cries from her bed. I rush to her without even taking my shoes. Stops crying for a minute and stares at me and cries even more. As I was wearing shoes, I couldnt go to bed and take her. My mom takes her and I walk back to leave my shoes with a great disappointment. I took off my shoes and turned back to get elated. Yes..! Keerthi was trying to come off my mom’s hand and extends her arms for me to take. No words to explain the happiness. Took her.. Then hugs and kisses followed.

Today, again I left the office early to come home soon and spend time with my daughter.

“The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.” Osho

Motherhood has changed so much in me.