You are almost two and one-third, boo! I’ve been meaning to write for you for a while, but I’ve been too distracted the last couple of months to do justice to this letter. But, yesterday you did something which moved me a lot and I couldn’t help but wake up early this morning to write to you. In the morning while I was getting ready to leave to work, appa and I were arguing silly about something and I was fairly stressed out about something else at work, which made me all teary eyed through our argument. You immediately jumped on appa and said, “Appa, you are not nice. Look, Amma is crying”. How cute is that? I was too touched by what you did, all at a little over two. You have always been quite sensitive to other people’s emotions, and I don’t know if all kids are like this, but this tells me your EQ is fine.
Since I last wrote, a lot has happened and I wish I’d continued writing once a month rather than deciding to lower the frequency. In the hindsight, I think the biggest changes happened over the last quarter. For instance, you have started communicating quite clearly through words and we understand most of what you say. In fact, you are almost always talking now, and most of the time, we love it. I think what helped with the transition is the nursery where you spent a lot of time playing on the ground with older kids. It started with you coming back home and telling me about your day. You’d say “I went to the “gorden”, and I did a poo-poo”. In order to be able to communicate with you, we unconsciously made the switch to speak to you in English. So, you can currently understand Kannada fully well, but almost always respond in English. I am not trying to force you to learn another language as it will anyway happen when we move back to India.
Another big milestone in the last quarter is that you are now fully potty trained during the day, and you only use a diaper for wees through the night. At the cost of sounding like my mum, I am going to say that you will never realize how big a milestone this is until you have a kid of your own. This has changed our lives irreversibly – Fewer diaper changes, resulting in far lesser trash and we don’t have to keep tossing for who gets to wipe your bum. On a more serious note, I think it has made you a lot more independent thinking, where you tell us when you want to go and sometimes you prefer to be left alone while at it. Like this one day, I’d left you in the bathroom while I went and checked on something in the kitchen and came back a minute later and you said, “No, ma. Go away, leave me alone”. This was probably in October or November, and I remember thinking that it’s not going to be long before you become a teenager.
It’s quite important for you to feel independent at your age as you develop a personality. As parents, we are often tempted to intervene and help, especially with eating, peeling an orange or putting your clothes on, etc. but I think I’ve been trying to be patient with letting you do some of these things as often as possible. You tend to pick out your clothes for the nursery on your own almost every day, you try to eat on your own at your table, but over the last month with vacation and travelling, some of these routines have gone a bit haywire. Sometimes, you even come and help me in the kitchen – You drag your chair into the kitchen and stand next to me while I prep to cook, you find the vegetables I need, wash them and also help throw their peel. Helping with dinner makes you very proud, which is quite cute. You show the same level of interest in doing lots of chores around the house like fixing things, cleaning, etc.
You are a very observant kid, you know what goes where in the house, even though we have not actively taught you anything. This one day when appa brought home a bag full of groceries and left the bag on the floor next to the breakfast counter, you started unloading the bag trying to keep the supplies where they belong and then you started directing appa to keep the ones you couldn’t reach. You knew where every single item belonged. I wonder if it’s my OCD passed onto you, but you like things to be kept where they belong. You don’t like trash lying around, and so you will always pick up trash after anyone and put it in the bin while at home. I am starting to become blinded by your awesomeness and bordering around an over proud mother.
Taking about being proud of you, there is yet another incident that fascinated me. Over the last few weeks, amma’s cousin (Smitha) and her family were visiting us to spend Christmas and New Years here in London. It was quite amazing to see how you shared all your toys with your cousins, Avani and Addu and also how well you got along with all the family we met over the vacation. While we were in Scotland, you had each got an activity book and pencil and each of you was busy doodling in your own books. After a while, Avani came over to draw in your book and you resisted that. She kept insisting and you kept resisting. Neither Smitha nor I intervened, mainly because I just wanted to observe how the situation would unfold. What surprised me was that you didn’t cry or throw a fit, instead you told Avani, “This is not yours, it’s mine. Let go. You have yours, draw in yours” and you kept insisting in words that she leaves you alone. It fascinated me that you were able to lay boundaries and stand your ground using words, that too very explicit and did not hesitate to do so. I am not quite sure if this is a phase or a part of your personality, but what ever it is, I hope it stays as it’s something most adults struggle to do – lay boundaries.
You are so good at laying boundaries that when ever you are watching a cartoon on TV, you decide on your own if something is the last episode to watch. You say “Amma, last ok. Last.” Once the episode finishes, you declare that it is “tachi” time or dinner-time and head over to set the table. On days when we don’t have the TV switched on, you decide that it is either yoga time or meditation time. You want the lights dimmed out, some soothing music on Alexa and make us say “Oooom”. One day, appa and I decided to follow the “Om” with the gayatri mantra. You absolutely loved the sound of it, and wanted us to chant it again, and again. By the end of that night, you could chant by yourself. Similar story with “Shuklambaradharam”, but with a funnier ending. Appa decided to play Vishnusahsranamam which starts with this Shloka and decided to let it play on. You’d been sitting on appa’s lap and suddenly jumped out and ran to your toys. You pick up your toy “ghante” and start shaking it to accompany the shloka which was absolutely amusing to watch because we have no idea where you picked that from.
You have a great way with associations for your age. You seem to have a good memory for names, because we visited Raji thatha and Shobha ajji in Cornwall and now anytime, anyone says Cornwall, you remember them. We aren’t religious, in fact, appa is even atheist. About a year ago, when we went to the British museum, you started saying “mami” looking at all the statues there as you’d seen that idols were called mami on the one trip to Bangalore. You’d only been exposed to Ganesha once and ever since you can recognise Ganesha mami in any format. You can recognise a few other Indian gods, thanks to Amar Chitra katha. You still only enjoy books that have a lower words to picture ratio, so some of your favourite bed-time books are Bing, Sophie, Caterpillar, Hansel & Gretel and Anansi the spider. Recently, we got you this book called “The Gruffalo” because you insisted that we buy it while at WH Smith. When we came home, I read the story out to you one or two times and by the third time, you were reading the entire story all by yourself word to word. It completed creeped me out, but I later realised that it is your favourite book at the nursery and all kids there know the story by-heart. Haha. More recently, I have seen you make up stories from books you have never read and I think this ability to image and cook up stories makes you a bit more human.
Not only stories, you like to build other things with your blocks. You like building towers which you call “London” and bridges and this is all recent development. When asked where you are from, you now say London, and I have no clue who taught you that. When you see an airplane in the sky, you always think it’s going to Bengaluru and you can blame me for that. You are obsessed with make up, and like to put on imaginary lipstick all the time. You keep pouting and posing whenever asked, and sometimes even when you aren’t. This one day I wiped your mouth after lunch and you started howling saying that I’d wiped off your lipstick and you wouldn’t calm down until I pretended to put some on you. I have no idea where you get this from, it’s cute for now.
I wish time would freeze and you stayed this small and cute forever, but I guess I’ll learn to enjoy every phase for what it’s worth. Can’t wait to fall in love over and over again raising you. So, more to come soon.