Monday, August 25, 2008

29 pokes later...

Sigh! What a long evening!! And for what? To find out that T1 has a whole slew of allergies again!
T1's home this last week of summer vacation before the hectic back to school life begins for all of us! I was working from home today, with Pup being outta town for work. I wasn't sure if I should leave T2 home with in-laws for the doc appt! I kinda had a familiar hunch that it's gonna be a while before we can get back, and mil and fil may not be able to handle T2 for that long. Esply with T2 already going through a change - transitioning to Pre-K...I wasn't sure how she'd be.
So, I picked up T2 about a quarter to five, gave her some milk, and rushed off to re-visit the almost forgotten allergist's office after 3 years!
Ya, the last time we had T1 tested was when she was about 3 1/2! She was allergic to peanuts then. There were conflicting results in blood vs. skin test for other nuts, so we pretty much stayed off of all nuts, esply after she had reactions a couple of times.
Once last summer after taking a bite of kaju katli (which she has eaten before with no problems)! And again to walnuts - once from contact, and once an accidental ingestion. Fortunately, the amount was very, less and all we needed each time was a bit of Benadryl to do the trick.

With her entering the Public schools next week, and me attending a "back-to-school" night last week with the local FAAN chapter, I started getting anxious! Too much information can be scary, don't you agree?
So, I made an appointment with the allergist right away.
And picked up T2 and reached there just in time earlier today. Seeing a full waiting room at 5.00PM is not a good sign at all! It took an hour just to see the nurse. But, the waiting room had a kewl school-bus-toy that you can sit in and play...So the hour was not bad to kill at all!
It was the next 30 minutes in the patient-room between seeing the nurse and the doc, and the 15 minutes wait after 29 pricks that were the most difficult. Not to mention the time talking to the doc to discuss the results and plan of action.
T1 was very brave when the nurse pricked in one allergen after another. She started itching though...and was not supposed to scratch, of course. So we held hands playing word games to get her mind off as I watched one prick swell up after another, while T2 was drawing away.
So, yeah! We're back to being positive for most Tree nuts (except hazelnuts).
Like I use hazelnuts everyday!
Cashews and Walnuts were huge, so were peanuts and a slew of tree-pollen, dander, mold, weeds, and cat dander.
When T1 found out she was not allergic to dogs, she told me, "I KNEW IT! See I told you?" What? When??? 6 year olds!!
At least it's one less thing to argue about - having a cat is ruled out - Yippee!!

I have now gotta meet the School Nurse and make a Health Plan - as in what to do in case of an exposure!
I've been a bit relaxed over the past few years because most of her nut-allergies were seemingly history.
So, now it's back to worrying about her safety and wellness.

The allergist recommended allergy shots - once a week for 6 weeks, and then once a month for 3-5 years! Say that again?
We're seriously contemplating going to see a doc who practices the BIOSET variation of the NAET technique. Cuz-P had amazing results last year with little D's food allergies. It's expensive, but if it works, it's worth it!

Only time will tell.

Friday, August 22, 2008

More of T2's Chronicles...

Looks like that’s pretty much it from the “Bad” series, so off to the Good times –
And, as promised (to self), I am FINALLY wrapping up the recap series on T2's fourth year.

Need the Blue
The Blue Blanky, that is. It was love at first sight (or touch). The Blue Blanky (BB) disappears every now and then for a wash. It’s a very tough separation period. And, it’s the cutest thing to see how she hugs and kisses it every time BB re-surfaces from stealth mode. Our BB is not allowed in the bathroom anymore (ya, it used to follow her everywhere)! So at times before entering the bathroom for brushing her teeth, she first spends a few minutes hugging and kissing and talking to BB. She would tell it to stay there, and that she’d be “Right Back”! If BB could talk, it’d tell that it has received the most love on earth. Ever!
BB and thumb sucking go hand in hand. T2 uses BB to hide her face and thinks we don’t know what’s going on behind the screen! Nice plan!
A couple of times over the past couple of weeks, she told me that she’s a big girl now and won’t take BB to school. But a minute later, she would be walking down the stairs holding BB snugly, conveniently forgetting or ignoring her words.
Honey, that’s ok! It’s yours. It’s cute. Keep it. Let's start with getting over the thumb sucking first.

Big sis, the first Teacher
Akka has been T2’s silent Music Guru. From what little we practice every week, T2 picks up the music so easily and effortlessly. I think it must be true with most younger siblings.
Actually, Akka has taught her most everything she knows.
T1 is learning her multiplication tables, and we usually practice on our way to school (or summer camp now). To make it interesting for her, we made up a tune - something like how the Army folks sing songs during their arduous training.
So the other day I sang the question, "Six times Seven Is...?", and Pat came the reply from T2, "42"!!
I was naturally stunned. 6X7 has been one of the most difficult for T1 and we've been working hard to memorize it and I guess added with the tune, it easily settled in T2's mind :)

And, just to amuse myself more, I asked her what is 1 + 1. She said 2. Must be a fluke. Then I asked her What's 2 + 1? She answered back with another question -
"Amma, If you have 16 apples in your hand, and One Hundred Ants on your back..." trying to imitate our Word Problems. But she has a point there, doesn't she?

Not to mention a lot of other things that she learns - comes with the territory of having a big sis (sigh)! As long as it's not categorized as blaspheme, I try to ignore or laugh it off.

Like the other day I wrapped her in a towel after a bath. She looked at herself in the mirror with content and said,
"Thanks for putting the towel around me amma, now nobody can see my boobs!"

I couldn't but laugh at that unexpected statement.
As shocking as it is to hear her use such lingo, I'm thankful it's not the F word or the like!

Being a little sister
It comes naturally to T2. We just saw how well she learns from her akka. She completely reveres T1's words. She prolly thinks, "If T1 says so, it must be right. So I'll repeat it"! That must be why she parrots most everything that T1 says! Sure she fights with T1 and has trouble sharing stuff, but that's with anyone, not just T1. She really adores her big sis.

The music in her
In addition to easily learning music by proxy, she has an innate aptitude for music. She catches on to the rhythm of songs before the end of a stanza and starts humming the tune. From complicated SUN TV ad-songs, to Carnatic Music to Movie songs…It’s really cute to watch her enjoy the tunes humming along.
She has a few favorite tunes that she runs to if she hears them on TV. The new “Ramayana” Title song that goes…Jai Shri Raaaaam, Jai Jai Shri Ram. She stops whatever she’s doing to run to it.
That Sun TV Ad, “Sun Direct”. She’s crazy about it.
Most Sun TV Dramas' Title songs…
Most Disney songs, including soundtracks from movies, Hannah Montana, and Jonas Brothers’ numbers to name a few…

Daddy's girl
An update on T2 would be remiss without mentioning how much of a Daddy's girl she is! Totally! It is quite depressing to me at times, but a relief most times. If I leave the kids with him for a weekend, I know I don't have to call every hour to tell him what he must do next. Which I have had to do once, actually! When T2 was 2, I had to fly to Indiana for a weekend for my cousin's graduation. And the trio did so well! Good job daddy!
Both Pup and I want to have an equal role in their lives, at least we try. So now, T2 shows a fair share of affection to yours truly :)
(I humor myself with that thought).
Cos there is no doubt that she's still a big Daddy's girl.

She loves water! Splashing, that is. In fact, all summer my Wednesday mornings were smooth in anticipation of Splash Day at her pre-school, and of course getting to wear her 2-piece swimwear :)

She also loves raw veggies and fruits! I think I owe a Big thanks to Dottie's Chip for this. Chip's very big on fruits and could eat a bowl full of grapes as a toddler. When Chip and T2shared a nanny for about 10 months, T2 picked it up from Chip, I'm sure! Her mouth waters when I cut fresh vegetables. She can eat a whole cup of Cilantro! No kidding. It's not like she never eats junk, but at least some good stuff to balance it out!

She's a big teaser! Loves to fool around with thatha and paati, esply paati! She truly brightens up and brings on a glow to their otherwise monotonous days.
The best that paati enjoys about her is how T2 climbs on to Paati's spot the moment paati leaves the room! It's like she has this spider-sense that sends in an alert when Paati steps off :)

She needs a bit of Law and Order.
Order where she thinks is necessary.
And the Laws in her own terms!

If there is lack of symmetry in the folded comforter, she won't rest till she gets it right. Yet, when her toys are scattered all over the house, she promptly uses her law, "T2Delegate" and makes sure either T1 or mom or dad does it. She'll happily sing "Clean Up, Clean Up" for us in the background, and start the work off, but drifts away cleverly. She'll be a good Manager, I say!

If she used the "Green" pencil to write one day, that's the one she wants until it's ready to be thrown away! It's hers now with her name invisibly embossed on it. She won't rest till she finds it (or has one of us find it)!

She has to brush her teeth by herself first, before I can finish it off for her. Never mind if we're running late for work/school, or if its too late for bed! It has to be in that order. She is happy to skip brushing her teeth at night altogether, but if it's done, it has to be her way!

We're doing these pre-school worksheets with her. It starts out writing Letters and Numbers 5 times each. But she won't stop at 5. She goes on writing till the end of the line to complete the SYMMETRY. Or maybe she's being Green by not wasting paper, you think?

She loves or used to love her Gymnastics Lessons. And being so slim (Ahem!), it came easily to her too. She TERRIBLY misses the Saturday morning routine of going to the Gymnastics lessons (we took a break for summer). We're planning to try out ice-skating this fall, so it's gonna be a while before she can get back to the Gymnastics lessons :(

The 4th Birthday Celebration
A recent decision she made was to have a Mermaid Birthday. I asked her in different ways to see how much she meant it -
"How about a Gymnastics Party"?
"No! I want a Little Mermaid Party!"

"How about Chuckee-Cheese?"
A slight hesitation, but..."No! I want a Little Mermaid Party!"

"How about Sleeping Beauty or Cinderella or Snow White...?"
"No, No, and No! I want a Little Mermaid Party!"

I think after all that it's safe to say she really wanted that! So that's what she got! A whole hour of fun with Ariel (a family-friendly Ariel, I made sure of that!!).
Cuz-P and I have been thinking for the last 3 years that we shd have one party for T2 and my neice, D. They are both almost exactly a year apart (D is a year younger).
T2 will pretty soon have her own friends-list, so we decided it has to be this year.
We started off wanting to keep it simple. It ended up being anything but!!
But, it was worth it! Kids - Little and big had fun. Mommies being mommies had a great time seeing the happy little faces, and dads being dads found ways to amuse themselves.
Here's one more variation of the famous MasterCard Slogan -
$ for the rented community center,
$$ for the special order cakes,
$$$ for the little mermaid,
$$$$ for the catered food

T2's gratified look saying, "Amma, Thanks for bringing Ariel", Followed by the biggest HUG - PRICELESS.
So, with that, we enter her Fifth year.

Monday, August 18, 2008

You did not think to ask ME first?

Pup decided to remove his goatie and mustache. The girls woke up early this morning and T1 (the great compliment-er) said without any hesitation, "Appa, you look good!"

T2 noticed the change right away, of course, but kept staring at him trying to find the right words to tell him. Then she did it with "Appa, you look weird!"

Poor T2! Poor daddy! They were both disappointed for different reasons vis-à-vis the new look!

But then she seemed to take it in. This was around 5.15 in the morning when the girls sneaked into our room and bed and Pup was ready to wake up (ya, his long commute added with a workout day means up and about at 5.00).

A couple of hours later, when I was helping T2 brush her teeth, all was going well, when all of a sudden she just burst into tears (needless to add that she was screaming). And not surprisingly, kept asking for "Appa".

I couldn't get it!

If it's from me accidentally brushing her gums, she usually tells me that and then cries…

I thought that she was prolly hungry since she went to bed early last night and did not really sleep well after the 5.15 migration to our room!

I left her alone for a couple of minutes, and then she was back to normal and then we had a smooth sailing rest of the morning!

And then, hours later it occurred to me that maybe she was crying because of Pup's new look. He has kept his goatie for years now, and T2, I'm sure doesn't remember him without one! Being such a daddy's girl, this huge change must have made a heavy impact on her.

Just my guess!

Gone are the days when kids request parents' approval for a new look!
Gone are also the days when he wanted to change his looks to impress me and me him!
Gotta remember to talk to the girls first before making big changes.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Guilt Trip

August 10th, 2008 is a day that has been etched in my mind's calendar. I have been operating on guilt mode since then. You blink for a few seconds and something terrible happens. But all is well that ends well. Really? Then why can’t I stop thinking about it and about how much worse the day could have gotten??

The day started off with excitement to go to a picnic for the entire family organized at work. This is a place with a miniature golf course and other such sporty stuff. Also, they had arranged for kids’ events, which is always a good thing! This place is at a stone’s throw from where we live, yet we’ve never been there in the 8 years that we’ve lived here!
The picnic
Anyways, despite it being a picnic, we ate lunch, fed the kids too – better to take well-fed kids especially when the event starts after their usual lunch hours! So, we arrived there in time, got our tags and walked up to the pavilion. Pup noticed that familiar faces (to him) were missing, so he promptly walked to the crates of beer to help himself with some familiar taste. The girls found some pebbles and started collecting them and arranging them on the picnic tables. I made small talk to some of my colleagues, grabbed some iced-tea and took the girls over to the caricature artist. T1 got hers done early on and went miniature-golfing with daddy, while I waited with T2, who unable to sit in line kept losing her spot. She was more excited to see the artist in action anyways. She was totally mesmerized at the artist’s work! Then the artist suggested I should sit in line and hold her place. Not wanting to miss getting her caricature done after having waited over an hour, I paid heed. Good thing I did, cos it was our turn 15 minutes before she was ready to close shop. We put both caricatures in the car and went to the get some golfing (ok! put-put golf) action. T1 made her own friends and was a few holes ahead of us going around it for the umpteenth time, while T2 stayed with Pup and me. She of course, tried to get the ball close enough to the hole as she could, and then happily picked and dropped the ball into their final targets. Mommy, whose game started off with pars, eventually had to resort to T2’s tactics, while daddy’s game was getting better.
Then, we tried to get a game of volley ball. What “game”? We were just volleying and missing. We gave up after a mere 5 minutes and decided to head back home. It was almost time to leave. 3 quick hours had passed by.
So far so good…

The accident
The batting cages were right outside the volleyball court and T1 wanted to try it. I’ve never been to one of these before and unfortunately didn’t even know how it worked! I decided to sit it out. Seeing T1 in a helmet triggered a set of tantrum tears from T2. Pup was trying to convince her that she’s too little, a few feet away from where I was sitting. I was looking at them wondering if Pup needed help or if I should rather not cut in. Then we heard this terrible scream. Very, very, loud! I turned around to see T1 screaming from the batting cage she had entered. From the pose that she was crying in, I figured she hurt her leg. My mind was not working. I was struggling to open the door to the cage. The 2 seconds that it took to open it seemed like a lifetime. I picked her up and found a bench to sit on while she kept touching her right thigh, screaming.
In those few seconds that I was not looking, she managed to enter a cage that was meant for adults, that even talented players think twice before entering. I couldn’t begin to imagine how badly she must be hurting.
I am glad I have a little bit of my mom’s composure in tough situations. Or, maybe it was because I did not know then that these balls from hell keep coming one after the other. Or that if she had moved forward and not backward after the first ball hit her, she would have been facing a terrifying burst of them. I can’t stop thinking about the extreme possibilities.
With Pup still holding T2, my friend and colleague, B, rushed to get an ice pack. She started to calm down a bit. There was only a small swelling and a big bruise. I was hapy that the swelling wasn’t getting any bigger, meaning that the possibility of a fracture was less. She was even able to stand up and take a step. But B offered to carry her to the car, while Pup was trying to console the still-tantrumming T2. Of course, now she was crying cos akka’s crying. Then, I got a hold of T2 and she thankfully stopped crying as abruptly as she had started. Pup was horrified by this whole thing, because he knew that the balls could have come rushing at her, and he also knew that T1 made one hell of a Godsend move backward after she got hit!
The aftermath
By this time, T1 was braving it much better so we figured we did not have to take her to an ER. When we got home a couple minutes later, she even wanted to walk from the garage! We made an appointment with a Pediatric Urgent Care facility, had time to feed her a quick dinner, and then took her there. Thanks to my in-laws, we were able to leave T2 home. They offered to help finish up her dinner, and she ate and slept too giving them no trouble! Amid all her tantrums, she does come through during critical times, doesn’t she?
After a typical long wait, we got to see the nurse. From the time the nurse left us after taking T1’s vital stats to the time the doc arrived, T1 walked back and forth to the books corner in the waiting room a dozen times. By now, we certainly had a clue as to what the doc was going to say, but we still needed to hear it.
So yes, a few minutes later, she walked in and told us that there is no way it could be a fracture with her walking like that. And added that a few inches above or below would have been mighty bad as it could have hit a bone. I still shudder to think about what could have happened!
She sent us home with a dose of Mortin. That's it!!
T1 slept well and except for a slight swelling with a big purple bruise, she’s all ok! The next morning, she was trying to convince me that she’d be ok at the ice-skating camp! Yeah right!
So did this really end well? T1 is one lucky girl to have escaped with a minor bruise. Pup and me are mighty thankful for that! But we can’t stop thinking about the incident.

  • How do we warn and protect our kids from every single danger that lurks?

  • How do we prepare ourselves for everything possible, without taking our eyes off of them for even a minute?

  • How can we not feel terribly guilty when something as frightening happens the one minute that we are distracted?

  • How do we ignore some callous remarks asking to be more careful, because the underlying truth happens to touch a nerve where it hurts?

  • I don’t know answers to these questions, but what I did learn is that –
    T1 has tremendous will-power and strength, and
    We owe a THANK-YOU trip to the temple.
    Which we did this weekend with big fat Thank you check…

    Saturday, August 9, 2008

    T2 before 4

    T2 just turned 4 and I am making a desperate attempt to recapture her past year(s) before they fade away. "Desperate attempt" because I am realizing how much I've forgotten already! And, due to lack of time (Excuses! Excuses!!) am spreading them out in multiple posts over this month.

    So here goes -

    I’ll start with the Ugly first and then move on to the Bad and then the Good…Save the best for last, right?

    T2, The Screamer
    Expect it when you least expect it! The screams come with little warning and stay for a good while. Sometimes they are triggered by the slightest change, and often times the “real” triggers are the classic ones – hunger, sleep, and tiredness. She goes into an irrational fit of crying. She pretty much freezes, unable to stop the flowing tears.
    She doesn’t get violent or fall on the floor kicking all around. Only relentless tears…
    As they say kids do not have the same inhibitions or control as adults. But we’re getting bigger and better at using words and not screams to convey our thoughts and feelings. Even a few months ago we used to have more frequent and long-lasting episodes .
    Our favorite way to deal with our crying episodes of late is to shoo away the monster-king. Because only monsters scream and we do not want to become a monster, we want to remain as T2…so we shoo the monster-king away.
    It’s a work in progress and I sure have to admit that we have come long ways since the same time last year.
    This is pretty much the only thing that qualifies as Ugly. (I know I’m gonna be lashed at for using “ugly”, but hey the truth is the truth no matter which way you say it).

    We have a couple of Bads worth mentioning.

    T2, The addict
    Her Thumb-Sucking started at about 4 months of age. We had to start her in a daycare, a home-based daycare that T1 used to go to when she was little. With all the things that come out of being away from home, sucking her thumb started right after. At that point, we did not do much to stop the comforting habit that she discovered. Can’t really call it “discovered”, we witnessed her sucking her thumb when she was a 5-month old fetus. That’s right! Her sonogram revealed her already developing habit!
    We couldn’t do much about it anyways, she caught on strong and fast and being away from her for such long hours during the day did not help much. (Insert Terrible Guilt). If there was one good thing that came out of it, it is the fact that she lulled herself to sleep with the rigorous thumb-sucking.
    As always the notorious distraction is the only thing that works.
    She became 1, 2, then 3 years old and this habit only got more and more intense. What began as a self-lullaby developed into an involuntary action when she is bored or tired. After a visit to a dentist when she turned 3, she kept saying “Doctor saiiiiiid, No Sucking your thumb” and would take her thumb out. Pretty soon, she started repeating her statement and would promptly start sucking her thumb again. The effect wore off!
    We once tried to wrap her thumb with a piece of cloth. She was so distressed at the sight of it, that we could not see her face like that for more than 15 LONG minutes. Nothing should be this hard!
    We also tried using nail-polish as a means. I refused to apply nail polish on her thumb to prevent her eating any of it! She could not stand to see the asymmetry of the lone unpainted finger! She was “Monk”-ing about it (after the USA Network show called Monk) so much that we gave in and painted her finger. Soon she wanted it off as she figured that her obsession with symmetry ranked way, way below her addiction to suck her thumb!
    So there you go! Both Painted and unpainted nails did not work for us.

    Our big worries in addition to her jutting palate is what they say about thumb-suckers and low-confidence!

    If you have any miracle tricks that have worked for you, do let us know!!

    Until then, we’re gonna need all our resolve to work on diversion and distraction and hope that it does not affect her personality.

    To be continued...

    Tuesday, August 5, 2008

    T2 @ 4

    The past few weeks have been a bit too hard on me. It started off when it hit me out of the blue that T2 starts Kindergarten next year. What? Really? OMG!! It IS true! Maybe its because T1 missed a school year being born almost 2 months past the state cut-off date. T1 just finished Kindergarten and T2's up for it already? Hmmm...
    I've been telling everyone about how difficult it is for me to take that...
    I mean this is T2 we are talking about for goodness' sake!

    T2, an amazing fetus, hardly gave me anything to worry about. The way she came out to the world - literally painless. I noticed the first contraction around 1700hrs, we were at the hospital at 2000 hrs, and she hurried out at 0010 hours, an easy 7 hour labor (Folks at work would be proud to see me use the N-hundred hours terminology)!
    Anyways, the only strange (good strange too) thing that day 4 years ago was that Pup went to work a little later than usual, drove about 10 miles, then had a weird feeling, came back home and took the day off. Who'dda thunk that we'd be driving to the hospital a mere few hours later??

    That day still feels like it was yesterday...
    Yet, here we are now celebrating her 4th day with The Little Mermaid, a handful of family and friends, loads of laughs, not to forget the look on her face for having granted her wish for a Mermaid Party. That glimpse of happiness on her face that spoke a million words, photographed only in my memory, that said it was all worth it!

    Happy birthday sweetie pie. be continued with more milestones, mumbles and memories before they fade away...