Saturday, June 14, 2008

This one's for you dear...

Dear Pup,
This Father's Day I want to send you an online message.
Where should I start, now? How about from the pre-kid days?
I don't think I have seen or heard of a more devoted, expecting-dad-to-be!
You ne'er got tired of me getting tired all the time!
Do you remember? We had decided to cut eating out for a healthy pregnancy, and there were times during your 16 hour work days when you quickly came home, cooked dinner, cleaned up and then returned to work!!!
Oh, those seemingly never-ending (to you) massages that lulled me away to sleep on more occasions than I can remember!
I can go on...and on.
If there were any moments of tension between us at that time, I sure don't remember! All the cute-sie things you did for me are all that stayed with me.

Then our beautiful T1 was born! I could see your pride, the bonding, right at the first moment! You did not just stop with procreation (for lack of a better word :)
You were (and still are) with me every step of the way. The midnight diaper changes, the 2AM feeds, the 4AM lullabies, everything!

The initial years with T1 were challenging for us as first-time parents. We were learning a lot of things through her, the virtue of patience being one!

A few years later, despite me being home during my pregnancy with T2, you showed the same level of attention and care as you did the first time around! The time that I had caught the stomach bug was quite scary, being the first trimester and all! You were quite freaked out but you helped me recover so easily and with so much caution!
You were always there when I needed a moment or two or three or well you get the point(!) and let me have some time alone and my feet up after a whole day of running around spirited, little T1.

You seemed to be quite intuitive that day when I went into labor...That was so incredible, don't you think? You were on your way to work and for some reason just turned around after driving for a few miles right after I talked to you! You must have sensed something in voice, I suppose! Anyways, I was in labor a few hours later and a few more hours later, our beautiful peanut T2 was born.

Ditto the para on all the tireless parenting efforts that you did for T1

Two months after T2 was born, I got back into the workforce doing 15-16 hours a day with the long commute and everything! I can still remember your constant encouragement and support during those trying times when I barely got to hold T2 a few minutes each day! I'm sure I would have quit a long time ago if it weren't for you! Well, I wouldn't have gotten back to work if it weren't for you in the first place!

I was able to leave the girls with you for a whole weekend, when I had to go for cuz-K's graduation! I never for one moment had to worry about them.

You know their schedule, their likes and dislikes and partake in their every activity. We do things together for them, and I love that. It may be stressful now, but I hope in the long run it will benefit us as a family.

Of course, I'm making it look like we had easy parenting...a lot of time it's been anything but. Nevertheless, we have learnt to overcome hurdles by working together, by overlooking each other's quirks and negatives and realising that our family always comes first.

You have been open to listening when I have to talk to you about parenting stuff, or about anything! You know your shortcomings, you accept them, and attempt to work on them. For that matter, I have my quirks too :)

Over the years you always have been a truly devoted dad and the girls' absolute love and affection for you are living proof of that.

I'm sure I have missed so many things that I shdda mentioned here...I guess I'll save them for future occasions :P

I know that in the midst of our demanding work and life schedule, I don't always appreciate the wonderful things you do for our girls, for me.
You are one heck of a dad, and an unbelievable husband!
We love you tonnes and more.
Happy Father's Day to you, the world's best dad (or as our girls have fondly called you over the years - adda, daddy, appa, daadda)!

With all of my love,
Yours truly...

Monday, June 9, 2008

Three Cheers...!

The story starts about a few weeks back on Memorial Day Weekend, when I had to help T1 on a diorama that she had to make as a final project for school. She chose the book, Cam Jansen and the Double Beach Mystery. I YAY-ed her choice cos I'm thinking "Beach" is going to be an easy scene to set up.
We had a fun shopping spree at Michael's and we went berserk buying art materials :)
So, we ended up spending hours on making the diorama, with absolutely no complain whatsoever from T1! She loved every bit of it - the drawing, the cutting, the painting, the pasting, the carving...even though it seemed never-ending! I could see how much she loves art!

So, when my good friend, VG forwarded an email to me about an upcoming painting competition, I registered T1 right away. I really, truly wanted her to have fun.
I did not want her to be completely clueless, so I asked her to think for a few minutes about the topic before painting.

There were two age groups that the kids were competing in, 6-9 and 10-13. The kids were asked to choose one of three topics - Healthy Food, Family Fun or Fashion.
T1 apparently chose family fun.

Sis-S had registered my niece, P for this too. And it was a good catching-up time for the two of us while the girls were painting away to glory :)

When their time was up, we were allowed to peek in and take a look at their paintings. I couldn't help smiling when I saw T1's painting! It was like she'd done a painting of her diorama. She had a picture of mommy and herself playing at the beach! I suppose she was completely clear on what to draw from her recent project.

My niece-P chose "Healthy Food" and painted a beautiful lone apple and a distant pear on a table (covered with a beautiful table cloth), and a couple of pictures hanging on the wall of the room. So realistic!!

On Saturday, Pup called me when I was at the gymnastics class with the girls and told me that T1 won 3rd place! I was really thrilled! Of course, I had "hoped" like every mom does that she win. But I really was not expecting it. She was one of the youngest kids in the crowd (being 6 1/2) and has had no formal training in Art (not counting the stuff they do in school).

A really cool thing is that they had announced the results in a local TV Channel and displayed her painting too. Of course, we have it DVR-ed, cos I knew we were going to be at the Gymnastics class when they were going to make the announcement.
I couldn't wait to get back home and watch it on TV.
Pup didn't tell me anything about the older kids' results. He did not know. My friend, VG had called to congratulate and that's how he knew!
So it was time for double celebration when we saw that my niece rightfully won the first place in the 10-13 age group!

On Sunday, the kids were given a trophy and a gift certificate at a small ceremony!
It was a real proud-mama moment! Strangely, I was happier now than when she got her first trophies for ASHR in Kumon (translates to being above Grade level).

I'm really glad we were able to give her that bit of encouragement for something that she whole-heartedly enjoys!! So, Art Classes, here we come!!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

My Dearest, Genuine A2!

Here's a long overdue post on my eldest sister's daughter, my niece, A2.
She was visiting from Chennai for a few weeks during her summer holidays.
The last I saw her was over 4 years ago! Fall of 03! A2 was in her tweens then. What an amazing little kid!! So level-headed even as a kid! So genuine, so kind, so unselfish, so warm, so genuine, and did I say genuine?
She was my life-saver! T1 was a little less than 2 during our visit in 03, and was loaded with food allergies, mainly wheat and nuts.
So most snacks and food were taboo! And we all know how people shower us with food and more food when in India...Esply kids - you can't visit someone and walk out without some cookies or candy! Simply unthinkable.
Once we found out she had these allergens, we completely cut out her exposure. And that was not easy when we were in Chennai.
I had scared A2 (and A1, my nephew) about the possible adverse reactions! Poor kiddo! I'm sure I completely freaked her out! She would promptly grab cookies and candy before they reached T1's hands! She was my "allergen-police". She had a watchful eye whenever we went to someone's place or when we had visitors.
I don't understand how a little kid could comprehend something like this SO WELL, when so many adults I know simply did not get it!
Anyways, all through my 2-month stay there, I not only saw her true affection for T1, but her over-all selflessness and kindness that left me completely amazed.
She is just so genuine!

And while planning this visit of hers a couple of months back, I truly did not know what to expect. Of course, we've been in touch and everything, but talking on the phone for a few minutes every once in a while is not the same as being with her. Moreover, she's 16 now...
Oh, I am so glad sis-H agreed to send her here with my parents. It was a wonderful opportunity for me, sis-S, sis-U, and all our girls to spend some real quality time with her! For us, it was like having a little sis, and for the girls, they loved their A2 Akka crazily!!

When she was staying at our place, she refused to send T2 to daycare. So T2 got spoilt rotten with all of A2's nasukees (cuddling for lack of a better word), and silly games she came up with that kept T1 and T2 busy and engaged for hours!
She enjoyed their antics, yet chided them for their mis-doings, and never failed to tease them for their false "dramas". So genuinely! Just like she rightfully should!
She knew the exact words to use when doing all of this. She would take complete pride in their cute-sies, and at the same time she never falsely-praised them for anything. I just LOVED that! She'd go, "Can you believe T1 did this?", or "T2 was so cute when she sang that..." or, "Chithi, ithu konjam too-much drama-nnu nenakkaraen!" ("Aunt, this is a bit too much drama, don't you think?")

We had an amazing time once, the 4 of us (sis-S, sis-U, A2 and me) chatting all nite. It was like having a 5th one of us! We sorely missed sis-H that day! We were talking about everything and nothing, teasing and sharing jokes and stories all night long.
She taught us some "cool" local slangs ("local", being a slang word itself) - like
'Sema Bulb' - meaning a good snub;
The best of all, she gave us this - (albeit inherited from her brother, A1) -

Kekaravan kenayanaa irunthaa, Saroja Devi kooda car ottuvaa

(Something to the effect of - Do you think I'm a moron to believe that Saroja Devi can actually drive??)!

I've used it like a thousand times in the last 2 months :)

Jokes apart, Sis-H, you've raised one helluva daughter! So proud of her and of you!

A2, be yourself - ALWAYS! You are a strong girl, never lose that trait!
Love you dearly! Happy Birthday!!
Here's to a wonderful future that's ahead of you!