Letters to my Berry#21

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You might grow up to either love me or hate me, but you are 21 months old now and you can identify all the continents, and name a few countries within them!!! If you ask me, I’d say I’m damn proud of both of us for having gotten past this milestone. Basically, I am bored to read your silly storybooks and so I figured I’ll buy us a book that makes for an interesting read for me, and so I took you to the book store and bought an atlas that you picked. Simple no?

To give you some practical classes in geography, we also took you on some trips. Okay no, we just took you along like luggage because appa and I had to travel. Haha. We were at Isle for wight for my birthday, and this was your first time at the beach. You absolutely enjoyed playing with the sand by throwing it over your head, but you were damn scared of the sea. You bawled until we pulled you out of water, and I wonder if it was because the water was too cold for you.

The best part of this trip has to be you walking upto me with two glasses in your hand, handing one over to me, saying cheers and pretending to drink some imaginary drink and then singing “happy tirday” to me on my birthday, just as I was waking up. You did something similar the previous day when we’d ordered a dessert that came to our table and you started singing happy tirday. Although it wasn’t intentional (I’m guessing?), I was really touched. 🙂

You also went to Munich last week as I’d to travel on work. You and appa spent the two days exploring Munich by yourselves and appa has written a wonderful journal of your adventures. You make for a better travel partner for appa than I do, so thanks for saving me the bother. The highlight of the Munich trip for me was you crying about me leaving to work on the second day. I’d never felt so bad about leaving you and going off to work. I felt so guilty, and wish I could stay home with you all day and everyday. But I’ve heard from appa that it can be very annoying, so I’ll try not to ever do that. But no promises.

You’ve found this new fascination for planes, and I hear it comes from the nursery. We can see most take-offs and landings from/ into Heathrow and so you’ve this game where you do “tata” to every plane that you see outside the window. You also sometimes wonder if that plane is going to ajji thatha’s house, which is when you remember “bhatta” as well. Currently, “bhatta” is this massive stuffed german shepherd that you have but this is actually inspired by the stray dog that came to thatha’s house everyday. Thatha would take you out to make you feed the dog he lovingly called “bhatta”. So, I think playing with your British “bhatta” is some way of remembering thatha everyday?

Your face just lights up every time we video call him and he says his usual “onaNNa, Berry aNNa”. In fact, you are very excited to see ajji too, ever since we came back to London. I think you really miss everyone back home and this evident from how you keep saying everyone’s names and also get damn excited when you see some Indian faces while friends visit us. I sometimes wish I could raise you back home, but then I think about how hard it will be to do this along-side a full-time job, I quickly let that thought go.

The good thing about raising you here is that you have a nice little routine that works well for all of us. When you come back home at 6pm from the nursery, you take off your shoes and put them away, promptly bring a bowl/ plate asking for some kind of a snack and go away to play with your toys. You then remind us to bathe you, then eat a good hearty meal and get ready to read a story and go to bed. Now, some days this whole ordeal takes longer than an hour or two but on good days, you are in bed by 8ish. I was miserably unsuccessful in keeping this routine in Bangalore, maybe because it was a vacation?

When I watch you do a lot of things quite independently now, I feel so proud of you and I hope to preserve that sense of awe as you grow older and discover new things for yourself. You’ll promise to tell me every random new thing you discover no? I am damn excited to rediscover life through your eyes, even though you might feel otherwise sometimes (talking about the times when I make you binge watch netflix with me!). Happy 1.75 my love, and thank you for filling our lives with so much joy and madness (ok less thankful about this bit though!).

P.S – Your favourite god is Ganesha and you keep calling all statues as maamis, and I have no idea who taught you all this because appa is atheist and I am at best agnostic. Actually, I don’t mind you knowing about all gods and goddesses, which is why we bought you an Amar Chitra Katha book while we were in Bangalore (although you don’t like the book!).

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Letters to my Berry#18

cooling glassI can’t help but comment on my lateness at the start of every letter to you, giving you the impression that I really need to be more disciplined in my life. May be I do, but if I haven’t already, I want to give you some context. I juggle several different things like a demanding full-time job at Amazon, running Marriage Broker Auntie, my side matrimonial advisory gig, running a household, looking after you (where I am supported equally if not more by appa, and thank god for that!) and trying to keep you connected with the rest of your family across the world. So, I hope you’ll cut me some slack, whenever you are old enough to read this, which might be soon given the pace at which you are going.

This month has been quite an eventful month with us moving house, you being sick and all that, but you have been so cooperative, that I can’t think you enough for your patience. You might think it’s strange that I am thanking you, but sometimes kids can be damn exhausting to deal with and you have been good, and so this deserves some appreciation. You are just about getting used to your new house having been here for almost a week now, but in the beginning you woke up every morning crying, running around the house wondering where you’ve come and all that. there are more changes to come in the next couple of months with you going to India for a month, moving to a new nursery after, etc., and I hope we get through it in one piece.

In the last couple of weeks, as we visited a few nurseries in the area, I feel we are a minority as appa and I don’t seem to have thought much about what schools you should go to – if it should be a Montessori or not. I know that personalities are forged pretty early on and our environments have a huge role to play, but it seems ludicrous that one needs to think about all of this when their child is 18 months old! I suddenly feel very underprepared for all this, but given that I always see how best to wing it, I might just manage this one too.

Apparently most parents nowadays, prefer that their child’s learning foundation be laid right and so, they like kids to start school late. I don’t even know what that means. I think the only choice one has to make in life is whether to be a part of the system or whether to escape it. Once you have decided to go through the regiment, you are better off getting ahead of the game rather than simply playing by the rules. So, if you are two and you can do 2 digit addition, you should find a way to nurture your abilities rather than wait 4 years till everyone else catches up.

I have obviously mentioned that you can say your numbers, but now you can even show off with it. Whenever I mention to anyone that you can say 1-10, you immediately begin reciting, making us very proud. In fact, you can even show the numbers on your fingers now, which is commendable. We were visiting nurseries close to home yesterday and when we were taken to the topmost floor with the pre-school class that is about to join Reception, you found some number blocks. When asked to recognise some of the numbers, you immediately did, like a pro. This is all too exciting to watch you learn everything, but by no means does this mean that we want you to go study Math at Princeton. Hahaha.

You have this really cool ability to suddenly switch from singing ABCD to Twinkle Twinkle. I think you have always had a flair for music, given that you sing sa ri ga ma with taLa and all. You love dancing too, as any peppy music gets you to get grooving. You are always singing something with your own lyrics that no one can really understand. We can only catch a few words here and there, but as far as I have noticed, you can understand and speak in both English and Kannada. We consciously talk to you in Kannada at home, and thankfully. that’s had some influence over you, which is great, especially when we go back home in May as you can communicate well with everyone you meet.

Also, in preparation for going home, we bought you some fancy clothes along with sun glasses for the summer in India, and may I say, you are addicted to your kannadi. You love showing off by wearing it everywhere. You will make thatha proud, which you already do by religiously reciting every number, alphabet and animal sound you know. You also love jumping up and down on the bed now, guess thanks to Peppa pig who has showed you how to jump up and down (in muddy puddles!). Not just that, you have been a major climber this month, not only tires us to no end, but makes our lives more fun. Berry climingIt is also quite evident this month that you are very very attached to appa, probably because you spend thursdays with him now when he takes you to the park and does fun things with you outdoors, which you are a big fan of. You both are very similar in terms of wanting to go out always, picking out kadlekai from your chitranna, etc. He calls you a mini-me. It’s quite cute how you keep screaming “Ka-ha” and trying to find every excuse to hang out with him, which he absolutely loves but also gets bugged by sometimes. He thinks I manipulate you to seek him out and he fights with me about it. You get so upset about us fighting, and try to calm us down by crying yourself or coming to give one of us a hug or a kiss. Despite everything we do to scare you (unintentionally!), you are so forgiving and the very next minute, you come give us a hug or one of your infectious smiles, and it totally melts our hearts.

One day, you gave us a silly smile and we happened to say you look like “Paapalakshmi”, your ajji’s cousin and ever since, whenever we ask you to make “Paapalakshmi face”, you give us that same silly smile. You can also recognise people you speak to regularly on FaceTime, you keep chanting their names – Ajji, thatha, Barbie, Avva, Addu, Avani and you know when the phone is ringing, it’s one of them you are about to speak to and so you run towards the phone. By run, I mean run. You have also picked up new life skills like brushing your teeth well (although you have been brushing for some time now!).

I am always amazed as to how you are learning so many new things at once, and that’s the bit I love about being with you on this journey apart from being showered with kisses/ hugs randomly. You know, I could go on about everything you have learnt over the last one month, but I’ll stop for now and save the rest for next month.

Happy vonendoff Berrima!

 

 

 

Letters to my Berry#17

IMG_9213Warning: This is going to be a very disjoint letter with a random collection of thoughts coming together in a random order as we have all had a very tiring day trekking King Henry’s mound in Richmond Park. So, please bear with the incoeherence.

You’ve turned 17 months and are running 1.5 years now. It’s crazy how quickly time has flown. You are the oldest in your play group at the nursery and you’ll soon move out to the next level in a month or two. You can eat on your own with forks, spoon and chopsticks. You can take off your jacket all by yourself. You are pretty self sufficient in most of your day-to-day things, which is very impressive especially because your appa and I have had such an insignificant part to play in it. All thanks to your nursery and your carers.

This month I realised that you have some strange fascination for veils, blankets, throws and other flows things. Every morning, when I am making the bed, you come running to go under the blanket as I sway it in the air. I realised this comes from the veils used by your music and movements teacher in the nursery, whose class you enjoy so much. So the other day, you found this stole of mine and kept playing with it. I decided to wind it up around you like a sari and you seemed to fascinated to have a tail like pally hanging behind you. This is probably one of those rare moments when you’ve let me put a clip on your hair and take a photo, else you usually pull off hair clips the moment I put them on. Anyway, you got so mad when I took the veil off after this picture.

You are a bit short-tempered, you express displeasure pretty quickly, although it is very rare. Couple of weekends ago, we took you to the park and let you play there for about an hour after we which we tried to put you in your stroller, and you got so angry. You clearly seemed very pissed, and we could tell by your face. Of course you got over it pretty quickly as we wheeled you by the duck pond and you’d forgotten all about the swing and the slide by then. It’s funny how these things come to us so young.

Talking about things that we are pretty good at early on in life, is pattern recognition. We were in the tube one morning on the way to work (and nursery), and you suddenly screamed “Cece” (Cece is a girl in your nursery, who has some Vietnamese heritage). I looked around to see who you saw and it was a woman, who looked East Asian. When I was young, I thought all men with Mongoloid features were called Danny, thanks to Danny Denzongpa.

Although it gets misconstrued as cultural insensitivity as we grow up, I would say it’s some fantastic pattern recognition. Think about google photos, it uses the same concept to classify photos. Just like how with more data, google learns better about differentiating between baby photos of you and your cousin as being different individuals, we learn better with more exposure.

For a brief period this month, we had moved the sofa close to the book shelf, so you learnt to climb up to help yourself to some krishnamurthies (jumping jacks). You pulled apart all of them and even tried to eat some of them. You found a few pens and books, so you happily scribbled away to glory. You also learnt that you can jump from the arm of the sofa onto the sofa and so you kept saying “deddy deddy wow” (ready steady go) and jumping till we decided to save ourselves some anxiety of you rolling over and moved the sofa away from the book shelf.

You are also now beginning to watch our lip movements very closely so you can imitate some of the words and sounds we teach you. The number of animal sounds you can make is growing in scope. You haven’t gone beyond 10 in numbers, you say ABCD until around P, but just start clapping immediately after. I’ve mentioned several times before that you have some strong connection with music, so it’s not surprising that you can sing sa ri ga ma with such great melody. It would be great if you want to learn more and pursue music more professionally at some point (ok, I am acting like a tiger mother now).

Not only sounds, you even imitate actions. When I do yoga sometimes, you come lie next to me and try to imitate my moves, and pretty well that too. You want to do everything we do. If we are on our computers, you want to be on it too. If we are putting stuff into the dishwasher, you want to play a part too. If we are hanging clothes, you are daddy’s little helper and so on. I am so going to miss all this as you grow up because the older we grow the less like our parents we want to act. No?

When you woke up this morning, you were hungry and asked for milk. I passed the bottle that was next to me, but the milk was cold. You wanted it warmed up, so you said “bisi” (which means hot in kannada) and I said “drink it as it is if you want or leave”, because I was still sleepy and was in no mood to get off the bed to warm up your milk. And to that you said “No! No! No! and murmured something babbles that sounded like get your ass of the bed and go heat my milk” and so, I did. You are fairly manipulative you know? I think kids are designed that way, and hence, we return the favour when you grow up. Haha.

Ever since we came back from India, I always worried that you’d be very sad to not have too many people around you, but you make up for it by being quite friendly with random strangers here. You also absolutely love speaking to people back home on FaceTime, and so you keep wanting me to call your ajji thatha Barbie and avva. When I don’t do that often enough, you pick your toy phone and make pretend conversation with them anyway. It makes me wonder if you are too Indian to live here in the UK. It makes me miss home. So, guess what, we’ll be going there soon, so you can meet everyone again. Whee!

 

Letters to my Berry#16

 

IMG_9191I remember vehemently arguing with Ajji that I would never fall in love with you like she did with Barbie or me, but with time I keep proving myself wrong. At 16 months, may be I like a little more than I’d like to confess? The thing about love is, you sign up to get hurt in return for love. That’s the problem I have with love. Does that make sense? Ok, I hope you read this at a point in life when this actually might make sense.

Your love for me at this point seems so unconditional (well, may be babies are designed this way so they are taken care of?), because every time you do something naughty and I say “No”, you get upset and cry, but the next second you want to come hug and cuddle. Now who wouldn’t melt to such things?! However, this month has been interesting because you save me the trouble of saying “No” by saying it yourself and also giving yourself a mini lecture in babbles when you realize you have done something naughty. So, I guess this means you have not only learnt to mimic my reactions but you can also anticipate them. I guess this is how you innovate in terms of melting people’s hearts.

You can says a few more things – “Barbie” with the r silent, which has obviously left your chikki super excited. You can also say what sounds like ABCD up till P after which you start clapping. You can also hum the Peppa Pig title song, because we make you watch it pretty often (unfortunately we have no creative ways to keep you engaged). The cutest thing has to be your ability to read books now – you mimic storytelling in babbles with a rhythm which is so incredibly cute. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to capture that on video yet.  You also keep saying “Daddy” despite appa and my best efforts to make you call him appa. Oh well, we don’t mind what you call us as long as you call us!

You make animal noises very cutely – cat, dog, sheep, tiger and frog. You can also how how babies cry and laugh (with actions). Now, it’s a tad bit weird when you keep making these noises on the tube, so I have found a new way to keep you busy on the tube – I have started teaching you body parts. So you can show your nose, eye (and say eye as well!), cheeks, chin, head and hand. You are still struggling  to show your mouth, but you’ll get there soon, don’t worry. I realize, you are able to learn pretty quickly in the last couple of weeks, so I know appa and I should be spending more time teaching you things when you are in the mood to learn of course. You can say some words that we teach you, and so the next step might be learning the ability to make associations about when to use them. Oh you already know how to use “so cute” very well because you compliment us whenever we put something on our head because in the past we have said so cute when we put a clip on your head.

You are so loving and it is very evident in your interactions with the friends we’ve had over the last couple of weekends. You are an absolute delight to be around for guests (ok, you are for us also, most of the time!) and that’s why we prefer to meet people at our house. Now, I have to give it to you that you let us have a great new year’s eve because we were asleep most of the time we were at the Khares letting us have fun without the responsibility of saving their house from your damages 🙂 When you woke up, you quietly had dinner, went to everyone who wanted to pick you up and then picked up your jacket and said good night to everyone indicating that it had to be the end of the night for us. Could we have asked for any better?!

In terms of food, you have acquired some new found love for doses, which is what you get for lunch on most days. You happily savour food all by yourself which makes our lives easier (except for us having to clean up the mess after, but trust me, it’s all worth it!) You like drinking water from adult water bottles (haha!). Your appetite has improved, and which also means you don’t go to bed without a good meal. This step changes take a while for us to notice, during which time we end up more sleepless nights because you wake up hungry often. Although we start with putting you in the crib at the beginning of the night, we end up making you sleep between us sometime in the middle of the night when you wake up crying. We are trying to make you be able to sleep better, with little success.

I would love to spend more time with you singing or dancing because I know you love doing both, but the days I spend with you are so busy for me since I need to manage the house, do office work and also keep all my weekend job deadlines. When I relax, I end up watching movies, but I would much rather do fun things with you than make you watch movies with me. I sometimes worry about the content that is going to shape your world view, since I must confess that I watch very weird things sometimes. But you know what, I also hate people who make excuses for not being able to do something that they want to and blaming it on time. So, I am sitting here in a cafe right now trying to finish off my writing work (not just this letter ok!) before I get home to play with you full day!!!

P.S – I forgot to mention that you like to sweep the floor with the broom, all the time and so I think you might have been a cleaner in your previous birth.

Letters to my Berry#15

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This has been the longest I have actually taken to write you a monthly birthday letter and this is mainly because we were off to Bangalore on a holiday and my routine was completely disrupted. In hindsight, I am glad I waited because 15.5 months seems like a better milestone than 15 months because of the sheer developments I have seen in the last couple of weeks. This month, you met Santa for the first time at the Christmas party in your nursery, cried your lungs out but managed to get a lovely present from Santa (courtesy smithfield) and also enjoyed the music and movements session at the party. However, you were mostly sticking to us through the party, wonder if seeing so many parents at once was daunting for you?

However, you are a completely new person now. especially post the Bangalore trip. You are ‘tarle’ to the core, so much so that you bit our selfie stick into pieces this morning. You are in this massive destructive phase where you have all this unshaken energy that simply cannot be contained by one adult and it is positively correlated to the number of adults watching you. You seemed fine on the flight to Bangalore (slept for the first couple of hours), which I had dreaded for a while now. You were very perplexed when you arrived home here in Jayanagar, very unsure of where you had come and if it was okay to walk around the house, but within a few days, you’d become a ‘dada’ in that house pulling every drawer/ shelf you could find, running into the balcony at every opportune moment and trying to hide in the on-suite bathroom every time you saw the door open.

Your curiosity has increased multi-fold. You would keep trying to go into the bathroom and close the door behind you, but we wouldn’t let you. Finally one day I wanted to watch what you did, so let you close the door and then walked in a minute later to see that you were trying to pull up the toilet seat to see what’s inside and when I caught you do that, you had the cutest sly grin on your face. I am sure you will do plenty of silly things behind my back, and remember that even if I don’t peep in to see what you are upto, I will have a pretty good idea because you know what, I have been there and done that myself 🙂

The day we arrived in Bangalore, ajji thatha came home to meet you and you had no trouble recognising them, as you went to them quite instinctively, especially to thatha. I guess his hymn (onannna baranna berry-anna) helped a tad bit. You also went to Inna ajji at the same time, although with mani ajji you just smiled from far away and hesitated in the beginning. However, over time you grew quite friendly with her, so muchOne of the biggest revelations for us in Bangalore was seeing how social you are and have no trouble going to strangers, almost on the verge of being quite kidnap-prone. For instance, you happily held our house watchman’s hand and started walking away with him, even though you were meeting him for the first time. So, yeah, we’ve got to watch out.

The upsides to you being social of course meant that we didn’t have to bother taking care of you when we went somewhere – muthajji mane, leela aunty’s house, kitta thatha’s house, etc. In fact, you were a mini celebrity at muthajji mane on day 2 after landing in Bangalore, with your babble-y rhymes and dance moves. The most amazing bit about that day was how you went and hugged every person in the room in between your performance, almost as if to make sure each and every one there paid you attention and didn’t feel left out of your attention as well. You have clearly taken after your mutthajji in this aspect since neither appa nor I are this socially lubricated.

We even left you with Ajji thatha overnight for a couple of days just so you could spend more time with them since all anyone in India cared about was spending time with you rather than with us. They thoroughly enjoyed hanging out with you barring the time you broke amma’s glasses, and left them sleepless and exhausted, although they will vehemently argue that they enjoyed your destructive streak too. You even bore the mosquitoes like a champ, with one swollen eye and what not, thanks to your NRI-ness.

Ajji thatha have taught you some animal sounds, and the way you say meow is the cutest, EVER! You really like animals, you enjoyed playing with the kitten in Swaroopa’s house, random bow bows all over Bangalore and the ducks in the lake at Hyde park. You came with us to all the awesome bhindi places we went to and belted dose everywhere – Mahalakshmi, Vidyarthi Bhavan, Maiyyas and SN. To be fair, the only place you actually enjoyed the dose was at Vidyarthi Bhavan, and of course, enjoyed conversing with random strangers at neighbouring tables there too.

Thanks to hanging out with ajji thatha, we discovered that you know ABCD, all nursery rhymes and so on, which you seem to have picked up at your nursery. You have also started communicating extensively, mostly in babbles and it sounds so cute, except I feel very bad that I can’t understand what you say. You can also say a few basic things – in fact, you have started to use words to manipulate/ get your way. For instance, you say taachi (sleep) when you want to be breast fed because you think I’ll feed you if you were to fall asleep more than if you were to just ask me for milk. This goes to show how manipulation is such a basic instinct. Oh and you can also say kakka when you are doing potty, which is really cool because this means you are ready to be potty trained next.

Sometimes, we let you sleep in the crib and since, we have removed one side of it, when you wake up in the middle of the night, you come over to our bed by yourself and get all cozy with us. It’s cute, but scary because I don’t even realise when you come sleep next to me. You go to bed early and rise early. When you are sleeping between appa and me, you wake up the moment you lose warmth on one side, which is usually from appa’s side since he wakes up early every day. You follow him to the bathroom, brush your teeth yourself while he brushes his and then follow him to the kitchen and run around him till he gives you haala. You have your haala while we have our morning coffee.

You get ready with us every morning, bring your shoes and jacket just when we are wearing ours since you love stepping out of home. You keep saying tata and going off all the time, especially on your tiny bug scooter. You loved stepping out in Bangalore, since we’d take you up and down in the lift, which is your most favourite place in the world right now. May be you will grow up to be like M Ganesha and A Ganesha loving lift aata. You have also got a new peppa pig bag from ajji thatha which you will start taking from now on, since you love peppa pig. You can actually say peppa. Well, I must confess that I got you hooked onto peppa because I liked the show, so if there’s anyone to blame for excessive screen time that would be me.

Theres always so much to write about you, and when I fall back on my letters to you, it’s that much harder to squeeze so many things into a tiny blogpost. So I promise to write to you more often so I can tuck away more memories for us to reminisce on. You are going to your first late night, new years party now at our friends place, so I am going to end on a good luck note for us, so we can all have a good time (which means you will hopefully sleep early. Haha).

 

 

 

 

Letters to my Berry#14

IMG_9037You turned 14 months 3 days ago, but given that things have been mental at work this month and will continue to be until the end of this year, I am only getting around to writing to you now. But hey, you are 1.16 now. Woohoo. As you can see from the picture above, you are scaling new heights, quite literally – you managed to climb onto the chair and stand up on it all by yourself. You also wake up, get off the bed quietly and come to the living room like a big girl. I can see that you are discovering a lot of things for yourself and prefer to do everything independently – you prefer to not be carried, because you want to run and explore the world all by yourself. You like to touch and eat everything, that too, all by yourself.

For the last two weeks, you had been making it very difficult for us to feed you dinner and so, one day, I finally plonked you onto your high chair, put your food onto your plate and left. Guess what? You happily started to eat by yourself. Excited by this, I came back to feed you and you got so upset, so I let you finish your dinner on your own. This meant that you threw food all around you and I spent a few minutes cleaning up after you were done, but it was all worth it. Now, you eat your meals all by yourself, thanks to your nursery.

Since last week, you have been going to a new nursery just on Fridays, since it’s impossible for me to work from home with you around. I never felt guilty when I first left you at Smithfield back in March as I was excited to start a new adventure (at work!). But now, whenever I drop you off at your Friday nursery, I feel so guilty for leaving you there since you cry so much, and you don’t even look at me when you do and I think that makes it worse since it feels like you are clearly upset with me for leaving you. If I had to choose between you and work right now, I would choose you any day hands down but I don’t have that choice, atleast not right now.

But as always, you are making peace with how we have been treating you. Thank you. Sometimes I wish we did better as parents, because I have seen mine do better, but it’s okay. For instance, you probably had some viral infection over the last 2-3 weeks and I don’t think we even realised you were unwell because we kept thinking you were hurting from your molars beginning to pop out. I guess we are raising you the British way given that by the time you can get an appointment with the NHS, you would have kissed your sickness goodbye. In a way I don’t mind since it helps build your immunity.

There are a few other British things you seem to have picked up on your own – drinking imaginary tea from your tea cup all the time, and saying  things like “hiya”, “yeah”, etc. with an accent. You love playing with kitchen play things – I don’t blame you given that you see either appa or me in the kitchen most of your waking hours (mornings before work and evenings after work). The one cool thing that has come out of playing with kitchen things is that you have learnt to count from 1 to 10, I mean count, that too from a musical tea pot that Smitha gave you for your birthday. At first, I thought you can only say these numbers, but it’s only when I started saying ABCD and whenever I got to I, you would say 10, that I realised you have actually learnt to keep count. So, you aren’t so bad at Math, huh? Although you only like to say 2,3,5,7,8,9 and 10.

You aren’t that quiet kid who will just sit with her toys and books, you keep coming into the kitchen to pull out all the vessels and cutlery from the shelves, and you like to run away with the empty milk cans screaming “haala (milk)” repeatedly. You also love riding the buggy on wheels which we got you for your birthday and the musical walker that Sam got you for your birthday. You might be learning a few things from the walker also, who knows?! You know how to ask for milk, food and water, which is quite useful since we can use that as a cue to feed you, and be assured that you will finish what is given.

You have started to communicate just a little bit. You keep saying “yeah” at all opportune moments. You can understand what we say to you in both Kannada and English fairly well. You follow instructions like a bot – you bring things we ask you to bring, sit when told, etc. It’s quite cute. Oh, you also have the cutest sad face when we scold you for doing something naughty such as pull my hair, etc. You are appa’s pet, who brings his socks, his shoes and also yours every morning as we get ready to go to work. You also bring your jacket from the room because you love going out and you know the drill. You also wait like the dog at Shibuya station for appa coming back home and as soon as you hear the door downstairs you run to the gate at the head of the stairs to see him. You babble some gibberish as soon as you see him and it’s the cutest sight ever.

It’s not funny how quickly you are growing up – Appa and I were just watching photos and videos from the day you were born and you were sooooo tiny and quiet and now you are one big dada who demands maggi and soft drinks as if it’s your birth right. I can’t wait to take you home next month to see how you’ll react to everyone back home. You are a people lover and love socialising, so I am sure you’ll love it because everyone is waiting to see you.

More exciting stories for next month. Toodles.

 

 

 

Letters to my Berry#13

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I am a week too late, but I am glad I waited to write this. I was PMSing (something you will experience when you grow up) and so I wasn’t completely in control of my emotions to provide with you a fair report of the last one month. For starters, I yelled at you towards the end of month 13, I gave you “hatta” on your back since you wouldn’t let me work on Fridays and spent the rest of the day crying about being so mean to you. I also realised what it must have felt like for ajji when she once hit me a 7 year old for doing something stupid. Neither of us are right in what we did, but I feel a bit more empathetic towards her than I ever did. That’s the great thing about being a mum – to see what I was like as a child right in front of my eyes, and to feel what ajji felt as my mum first handed.

I saw fear in you this month, for the first time. There are these moments when I watch you and wonder if I have damaged you for good, and the next minute you just start laughing and come give me a hug and rubbish my doubts. You got three vaccines on one day, you didn’t react for the 1st one, you winced and held your pain back for the second and you only cried for 30 seconds for the last one. As I watched you, I wondered if we learn resilience that early in life because you are surely fearless, as your name suggests, my little Abheri.

You show resilience as you learn to run. A few weeks back, we were out near King’s cross in a square with little fountains and as soon as we put you down, you started walking and then running, away from us. You loved being chased by us around the square and went absolutely mental when we tried to pick you back up. You are a runner, you absolutely enjoy running in parks – we took you to Walpole park last sunday and you just kept running and falling, picking yourself up and running again. You even enjoyed playing on the swing, slide, see-saw and the little merry go round type thingie. You refused to leave the park, which means we have to live in an Ealing like neighbourhood even next year when we move. I wonder if you’ll ever get a chance to run around so freely if we went back to Bangalore?

Among the other big milestones this month, you are showing more signs of fulling understanding what we say. You do peekaboo when we ask you to, you sit when we ask you to, dance, sing, kick the ball, throw it and even say 1, 2, 3 when we ask you to, and when you are in the mood. Talking about 1,2,3 – the funniest thing about this month has to be the 5 page report we got from your daycare about your progress, which said you aren’t very strong in math and your carers plan to help you get better. Hahahaha.

You are one!!!!! I don’t care if you aren’t good at math, as long as you are eating and alive. But hey, I may not say this when you are 10, so enjoy this as long as it lasts. 5 pages, I still can’t believe they had so much to say about my little person – this is the nice thing about living in London where you have daycares that are run professionally, albeit being expensive. It makes my job of entertaining you that much harder, but I don’t mind being challenged to do better as a parent.

The one thing I still struggle to keep up with is your obsession with books. You wake up in the morning, the first thing you do is go find appa, since he is busy working away in the kitchen in the mornings, have a babbalogue with him and then come back to me to drink milk and once that’s out of the way, you hit the books. You flip pages, make strange sounds, want us to read out stuff from the same books, over and over again and you keep giggling at the animals sounds we make, over and over again. You never get bored of the repetition, it amazes me and we play along. I will get old someday and might enjoy repetition just like you do right now, but will you have the patience to indulge me?

You love the computer, kindle and phone, just like any other kid your age, thanks to us for overexposing you to gadgets. Although you surprised us by picking up the phone one day and holding it to your ear and pretended to talk to someone, because you’ve only seen us video call people and so, we didn’t know where you had learnt to make voice calls. You’d apparently picked this up at your nursery, I learnt later. It was a revelation to learn that we don’t entirely control what you learn even as a one year old, and that there are so many influences outside of home and outside of our control. It was both re-assuring and unsettling at the same time, because what if people could make you do what ever they wanted and it wasn’t necessarily in your best interest?

You are not a big fan of toys really, you prefer books, and music making toys, the piano and your tea cup, from which you keep pretending to drink out of. You even pretend to take food from our hands and pretend it. You even pick your chest and pretend to be feeding yourself milk (Lulz!), but I guess you being able to pretend and imagine things is a sign of you becoming more and more human everyday. Of course, your ability to socialise (thanks to your great grandmum’s genes) always made you more human, from a very young age and I really do hope you will use your ability to make everyone around you smile for years to come.

Ok, happy 13th month for now (you came and disturbed my flow of thoughts, so this is what you get – an abrupt ending!). Can’t wait to experience many more revelations with you. Hugs.