Friday, September 26, 2008

And the Moral of the Story is...?

Moral of the story is...Well I can't decide really. It can be one of the following -

  1. Routines are for a reason - don't disrupt mine. I need amma in the mornings and appa in the evenings.
    Mommy drops me off, daddy picks me up. Could I be any more clear?

  2. I think I may be making a switch to becoming mama's girl (dreaming on).

So which one is it?

Here's the "Story"...
Story within quotes because I'm quoting T2.
When I ask her about her day, she tells me something like this -
"In the first story, I ate pancakes for lunch".
"In the other story, Megan pushed Emma." (making up names).

Or, when I ask her if she slept well, She says -
"In the first story, I saw dinosaurs and it was so bloodishy..."
(Esply if we happened to read the Dinosaurs book at bedtime).

This girl here has taken the famous Shakespearen wisdom from "As you like it" that All the World's a Stage, a bit too literally.
But, she never ceases to crack me up everytime she does that!

Ok, back to the Story...It's a short one...

Our regular weekday routine is for daddy to leave in the wee hours of morning while the rest of the house is still sleeping.
Mommy then wakes up reluctantly, gets ready and then gets the girls ready for school by 7.20
After throwing some anti-jinx charms here, I boldly say that T2's morning tantrums are getting SO much better.
I am able to reason with her and prevent her from crying out loud almost all the time...
Other than my constant reminders to the girls to "GET MOVING", mornings are not much of a deal anymore.
After I manage to wake up, that is.

Unless, mommy and daddy switch roles. Then it's a completely different morning for all of us.
Daddy can't enjoy his quiet mornings,
mommy loves the extra hands and the extra sleep,
T1 loves it that Daddy is dropping her off,
but T2?
T2 behaves differently. She is thrilled to see daddy in the morning, but she gives daddy a hard time with everything!
The clothes, the bath, the brushing, the breakfast...(not in that order, of course)!!
And she wants daddy to do all of that, but not really!?

It's not easy for daddy either, who's completely spoilt with the peaceful mornings.

So what is it?
Do you think T2 is such a stickler to routine that as much as she loves having daddy in the mornings, she can't handle the change?
Or Is it true that my little shim-shim (one of my popular no-meaning endearments for the girls) is finally becoming a true mommy's girl?

I don't care what the truth is! I'm sticking with the second!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Milk, Cows and an Address

In an attempt to make the girls think laterally, T1 mostly, I've been throwing random questions at them...
Mostly math questions for T1. She can do addition and multiplication quite well, but I don't know if she knows why or when to use them...Hence this exercise.
My most common application involves apples - adding them and dividing them for a said number of people.

Yesterday, I was following a book to ask questions and I tried to see if they remember something they had seen about a year or two ago in an episode of Little Einsteins.

So I asked, "What's Milky way?"
T1 said, "It's part of an address!!"
T2 Promptly answered, "What comes from cows, amma!!!"

Need I say more??

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The GM Diet Changed me!

A few weeks ago, I decided to do the GM diet after a two-liner request from cuz-P.
She said in the subject, "Do you want to do this?"
The Body of the email had a link explaining the diet, and she added, "I want company!"
That's it! The only question was when do we start this? I am at a point where I am desperate to lose more weight. But the "detoxifying effect" in the GM Diet intrigued me too.
A typical rule of the thumb for a healthy weight-loss is to get rid of a pound a week. Maybe 2. But the 10-17 pounds that the GM Diet claims you can lose sounded far-fetched. Don't they (God knows who "they" is) say that losing so much weight so fast can alter your personality? Well, I'll know in a week's time, I thought!

So, we eagerly tagged another friend, N along. Our journey started...
Day 1: Weighed in X pounds. Started it off enthusiastically with a glass of warm water and a splash of lemon. Ate an apple a little later. Couldn't let go of my morning had a cuppa when I got to work - with creamer and Equal! What detox again?
Went to a grocery store near work to grab some cut fruits.
Whom did I run into at the store? None other than N, pushing her cart loaded with fruits. He, he. We whined about how tired we already were of this thing...Little did I know what's in store for me...
The store happened to run out of pre-boxed fruits. Disappointed, I packed a salad-bowl full of fruits from the open salad-bar. That's not the bad part. $12 (Ya, no kidding!) and 20 minutes later, I ended up trashing half my bowl, thanks to the rotten cantaloupe! I felt terrible. Just the fact that my ration halved, made me feel more hungry!!
Anyways, before I knew, the day was over with loads of watermelon and winter melon pieces...

Day 2: X-2 pounds. What a wonderful start with that baked Potato?? Mil usually gets done with cooking by 7.30, I had requested her to pop a whole potato in the cooker and she gladly did. What bliss!! Again, I cheated by eating it with some Benecol - yikes!!
I made some grilled veggies with hardly any oil, and no spices.
I took a salad with the grilled veggies to work, and a packet of microwavable veggies for a snack. I love the taste of grilled Eggplant. That smoked, burnt flavor with no extra spices to ruin the taste! Yum! I can do this all my life!
But the trio (me, cuz-P, and N) took turns whining, while the other two cheered and supported on (aka Whupped the whiner's A S S with strong words)...
This trend continued the rest of the week!
With uploads of Grilled veggies, 10 cups of water, and a few downloads (too much information??) later, we successfully ended our second day.

Day 3: X-3 Pounds. A little disappointed. Weighed myself again after a shower. Still the same! I often weigh myself 4-5 times in 10 minutes with the scale in different angles. What am I thinking? That my Mirror on the floor will tell me that I am the lightest of all? A girl can dream, can't she?

A mix of veggies and fruits today. More grilled veggies, wonder soup, and fruits (good, fresh ones, this time).

Beginning to feel different now. I mean right now, as I type this. I just did a bottoms up of Pup's drink...Don't know what it had, looked liked Mango Juice to me...
Wonder what it's spiked with!

Day 4: X-4.5 Pounds: Hey! Every ounce counts! I'm THAT desperate!
Lovely, lovely day! Bananas and milk. More bananas and milk. And some more.
You think you like bananas and milk? Try the GM Diet. Then we'll talk!
But seriously, I stopped craving for my morning coffee. And Afternoon coffee. But I had them cos of habit. I actually dumped half my afternoon coffee cos I really did not enjoy it! Hmmm....Personality beginning to change here??? Interesting!

Day 5: X-5.5 Pounds. One more pound lighter today! I could eat rice! Yippety Yip YAY!
This is the opposite of a cuss word. I was enthralled!! What could be better than eating rice after 4 long days of none??
You think? I ate less than the stipulated cup!
Really! I made a pot of tomato rasam and ate it as soup and sometimes mixed with rice. I lost interest in the 4-day old GM wonder soup, and was too lazy to make more.

Day 6: X-5.5 Pounds. Again!! No loss of weight! Must be the rice! It happened to be a festival day - Aavani avittam - the sacred-thread-changing ceremony! The only real festival for men! So loads of goodies that MIL had cooked. Being a saturday, I did not have the luxury of my GM-weight-watchers (cuz-P and N). I was on my own for the weekend!
But I behaved. Better than I thought I would. I ate a spoonful of everything that MIL had cooked, more for sentimental reasons than for cravings.

Man! That mango drink I gulped a few minutes ago was DEFINITELY spiked!

Day 7: X-5.5 pounds, again!! I have to act fast. This weekend thing was not helping! Plus the less fiber in my diet was not helping either...I felt bloated, and did not lose any weight.
Have you ever heard of watermelon juice described as beautiful? You will, now!
I drank a beautiful cup of gingered watermelon juice. Yum, yum, yum, yum, YUM! And I ate less rice and more veggies hoping I'd lose some weight, and also hoping I'd get rid of the what I was eating - out, Kaput!

Day 8: Wait a minute!! The GM Diet is a 7 day gig. What was I doing on day 8? Weighing myself, of course!!
X-6.5 pounds!

That's what I lost - a whole 6.5 pounds. And for a change, around the love handles, mid-tiers, whatever you call them flabby abs!
My 5 days a week of intense workouts did not do this to me. My running did not do this to me. But the GM Diet sure did! Added with a little yoga (15-20 minutes) everyday. I have a normal BMI for the 5 feet and 8 inches of me - After more than 7 years!! I'm Thrilled beyond words. Thanks cuz-P (who also lost 7 LBs, N lost 10 LBs).

You know what? It's been more than the weight loss for me! Like I pointed out earlier, "They" say that drastic weight losses can change your personality! It sure did! A month later, I have kept off most of what I lost. And better yet, my sweet cravings have drastically gotten better! I loathe myself everytime I have to eat out now, as opposed to finding excuses to eat out.
This past week, I did not really plan well, so haven't been packing lunches => eating out. The first time in years that I have felt SO horrible about eating out! (Well, could also be the bug I saw in my sambhar today at that place - I can't get myself to call it a restaurant - Dottie gave it the perfect name, "hole-in-the-wall". It's .3 mile from my work, Usually great food, but eating there builds your resistance, if you know what I mean...)

Anyways, usually the left-over mysore-paks that I bought on Sunday for some visitors, would have been trashed into my tummy within hours. But they've been sitting there the whole week, and I finally relented and ate one yesterday (and another one today after the Spiked Mango Juice)...

So, that's it! I'm glad the GM Diet has changed me for the better and am gladder that my Morning Yoga is still going steady - not everyday,'s going. There was one day that I worked out for a laughable 4 minutes. 1 minute of surya-namsakar, 1 minute each of kapal bhatis, anulom-viloms, and regular breathing...

After our success, sis-S tried it, sis-U tried to try it, and another cuz-R and his wife J tried it too.

I myself am willing to go for another bout of this - maybe my own condensed 5-day GND-Diet. All I need is another 2-liner email from cuz-P after she gets back from her 10th Anniversary-celebration in Paris and Switzerland.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Quick Quips...

A short and sweet note with a couple of laughs -

T1's first PJ - The poor girl has been trying hard for a while now to devise her own joke...and we, laugh along just to humor her...if not for the joke, surely for her question at the end - "Get it??"
But she finally made one up.

Why does a duck quack?

Because it can't Moo! That's why!!

I was doing a MathWizard worksheet with T2. The problem was to circle what's odd.
There was a cat, a dog, a bear, an elephant and an airplane.
T2 took a good look at it, thought for a second and confidently said, "The Animals!"
Who can argue with that?

Friday, September 5, 2008

First Week of Public School

First week of school -
Day1: The girls woke up in time and got ready with so much was unbelievable!! T1 can be such a dear if she wishes! We were ready ahead of time and promptly went to the bus stop. I was pretty darn sure, I'd be crying like crazy. But surprisingly, did not! I think I was too overwhelmed. But I did cry the weekend before when watching Mamma Mia! Esply, when the song "Slipping Through My Fingers" was playing - wasn't that the song that Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried sing just before the Wedding Day? Silly me!
Anyways, After the bus left, I drove to T2's daycare to drop her off and went off to work. I was having First-Day Jitters! I tried hard not to worry about whether or not T1 found her classroom, or if she was doing ok. I should give her more credit.
I decided to let T1 take the After-care bus without my help. I called them around 3PM to see if she got in alright and they confirmed that she was doing A-OK!
I left work at 4.00 to pick her up.
I had sent lunch from home. She forgot her lunch bag in school. No surprise there...She'll get used to it (or I will :)
Her bag's zipper was open and there was a tonne of material (forms and stuff) that could have easily slipped off.
So we had a quick talk about keeping her things in order (and she hasn't let me down since then).
Her first day was great! Ms.D read a book about First Day Jitters, and helped ease the "butterflies in their stomach" (Im sure she copied Ms.D's words). She made a couple of new friends, got familiar with the school's layout...
As a part of getting to know the kids, Ms.D had asked to send 3-5 items that best describe T1. T1 wanted to take a crayon (She loves to draw), her ice-skating camp T-Shirt, a book, and pack of go-Fish cards (she loves to play she said).
All her choices. She also wanted to add her $2 mic that we bot (cos she loves to sing) but it was a little too big to fit in the small brown bag.
By 7.30 or so, she was ready to drop.
Overall, I'd say a busy and fun first day.
Day 2: Similar morning...
We wanted her to get used to buying from the cafeteria when there was help.
But I decided to join her for lunch and familiarize with the process too.
We had pre-paid about $50 bucks into her account (which was already set up).
I went to school and arrived there a few minutes before their lunch time. The class was waiting outside the cafeteria, playing some games (moderated by Ms.D) to kill time. Soon they went in and most kids sat on the table allocated for Ms.D's class with their packed lunches, while the others (me included) formed a line to order our lunch. We stood at the very end of the line and waited.

The two veggie options were Cheese-sticks and cheese pizza (or bagel) with fruits, veggies, milk, yogurt, etc...
T1 reminded the staff there that she's allergic to nuts, and doesn't eat meat. I was a bit worried that it was like fresh news to this person. Like she did not expect it.
Anyways, she decided to take a slice of pizza, some corn, and a carton of milk, and I took the cheese sticks with apples.
After she entered her ID (aka paid), we went to pick a spot...We had to sit in the middle of the table, with all the corners occupied already.
On my way out, I mentioned to another Cafeteria staff about her allergies and that we were told that she would be sitting in one corner of the table, etc...
And again, she told me that she had no idea about her allergies! I'm sure its too early to put a face to the names they must have been given, but it looked like she did not even have a list!
I was disappointed...and promptly sent an email to the Principal and Ms.D expressing my concerns.
Later on Day2: Heard from the Principal that she will discuss the issue with the Clinic Aide and get back to me.
Day 3: One of the first emails I got was from the Principal. She had reviewed our health plan and discussed it with the teacher to make sure T1 will be in the corner of the table. And, the class teacher had formally informed the cafeteria staff about T1's allergies.
Of course, part of the responsibility is in T1's hands to make sure she requests to be seated in a corner, and never to share any food in the first place!
And the bigger responsibility is on us to remind her time and again (as we have been doing the past few years) until it becomes second nature to her!

I knew I had good reason to lose sleep the past two weeks.

Day 4: Got a note from Ms.D asking to sign a consent to give lollipops to T1 as an occassional treat. I have two issues here.
i) Why Lollipops as Treats??? Kids love stickers and stamps! Wouldn't that suffice?
ii) Since when did lollipops have nuts? Have I managed to become an unpopular parent for worrying about my daughter's safety??? In less than 4 days????

Risking more unpopularity, I asked Ms.D these questions. NO! Not in the same words!
I asked her how often the kids will be treated with Lollipops, and asked her where she gets them treats from!
She replied back saying that it will not be very often (If the kids do something above and beyond expectations). And she sent me a link to the store and kind of lollipops she buys.
Actually, turns out there is a small note at the end of the website link she sent that says "Product may contain traces of peanuts". So that's that!

She was genuinely concerned! I was over-reacting!! I read the entire page umpteen times before seeing this note!!

So, no lollipops for my dear baby...Will have to send in something else from home...

Other than that, the rest of the week went by fast and without new incidents. She loves her school and after-care, and we love it that she loves it.

Mommy's now a much less nervous wreck than she was a week ago...and eagerly looking forward to the new school year!

Need a break or I'll break!

You have NO idea how over-worked my mind is/ has been the past few weeks!
And it's about T1 starting Public School...

Why would this be SO different from her Kindergarten?
These were my thoughts before the open house and back to school nite...not in any particular order!
1. It's a totally new place.
2. It's much much bigger than her other school.
They prolly have to walk a mile each day getting from one class to another, to the cafetaria, the gym, the playground, etc...
(No, I am NOT complaining about the walking part, just trying to bring out the vastness of the school).
3. Completely new faces, from the teacher to her classmates, to the Principal...
4. Eating at the cafetaria. All I had to do last year was sit down with her, go over the veggie menu and let her pick the days she wanted us to buy from school. Then the teachers it served to them...
Now, on the other hand, she has to memorize her ID and use it on the key-pad if she were buying lunch
(At least we have the option to pre-pay, and she does not have to handle money...)
5. Logistics of how the heck am I going to get both kids ready by 7.20 and rush to the bus-stop!
(At that point, all I knew was an estimate of the bus-arrival time).
At least now, my in-laws are here and I can leave T2 home and drop T1 and come back, in the worst case...
But what happens after this month?? (T2 usually wakes up around 7.30...if it's 8.00 she loves it better)!
Just doesn't make sense for Pup to leave so late everyday...
Traffic's a b i t c h around here. Even 15 minutes make a huge difference for his already long commute, so 2hrs certainly will.
Also, I'd rather we spend more time together in the evening...
6. And if I have to make the mornings work, I have to get them to bed by 8.00! Which means I have to be up by 5.00 (if I have any intentions of continuing my already getting-fewer kapal bhatis).
And this also means dinner at 6.30 and start bed-time routine at 7.30. And somewhere in there squeeze in HWs and Kumon and 15-minute reading...
Talk about life-style change!
7. Travel changes for her - taking one bus to school in the morning, take another to after-care in the evening.
8. Not forgetting to bring back her backpack or her lunchbag or HW! (I was sure I'd have to buy at least 10 new lunch bags this year)...
Even the previous years, it's been her responsibility, but we picked her up from school, so we were able to check her bag and make sure everything was there...
9. New academic structure, new HW patterns, etc...
10.Her food and seasonal allergies, of course! This is prolly what has been my biggest cause for concern!
How much can I educate her? How can I bring every possible situation to her attention? Or even know what to tell her?
Everyone has been telling me how vocal she is and how she's going be fine...
But as true as it is, it is not really true! Does that even make sense?
She "can" be very vocal, if she is not distracted, that is! When she's with friends or other kids, she "completely" forgets all rules!
She does not stop to think, even though we have been re-iterating it to her more than we like.
I'm almost like a "thenja" tape - a worn-out tape - playing the rules over and over again. Until I actually see her in action following the rules, I will keep telling her the rules and will keep asking her to repeat after me!
- NO SHARING - NO accepting food from other kids even if you have eaten them before, you do not know if they had peanut butter -
- NO SHARING - Wash your hands before and after eating (let's hope the other kids do it too) - NO SHARING - NO SHARING - NO SHARING.

How the Back-to-School and Open-House Events changed some of my worries -
1. It won't be totally new to her now...She's seen the entrance, her classroom, teacher, classmates, and a little bit more of the building...
2. Is is much bigger than I thought it would be! Good heavens!!
3. At least she knows her teacher and the assistant teacher now by face...and a couple of classmates that she said hi to (and sad a bit that one kid did not say hi back :)
4. I found out that her school does not do a separate table for kids with allergies! sigh! they will be made to sit at one end of the table is all...
But the cafetaria folks will know that Tanvi has Nut Allergies.
There will be helpers the first week to help the kids use the keypad to buy their food.
5. Still an issue!!
6. Still an issue!!
7. Again, volunteers will be helping to guide children in and out of school.
Her after-care center had already contacted the school to make arrangements.
Her teacher made a note of each kids' PM arrangements for the first day, as well as every regular day...
That was the most important piece of info they collected from us.
May be I'll follow her school-bus and see if she gets in ok...and then again when school closes to see if she gets in the right after-care bus.
8. Still an issue!!
9. Lots of homework to come, lots of assessments to take place...
But, most often homeworks are going to be given out on Mondays and not due until Fridays.
We'll have time. Not so bad...
10.Talked to the principal, who was very accomodating and directed me to the School clinic Aide.
She switched T1's classroom to another where there were already 2 kids with Peanut Allergies.
That was thoughtful!
Met with the school Nurse/clinic Aide (whatever she's called...), handed in the necessary paper-work and Benadryl and Epipen (hoping that it never gets used, of course).
She said the cafetaria staff and specials teachers will all have a list of the children with food allergies (and other health issues like diabetes, seizures, etc...) Goodness! Scary, innit??
Her Class teacher, Ms.D, has a lot of experience with kids having food allergies and is comfortable administering an Epi.
I volunteered to help in anyway to bring an awareness to other kids and parents. Prolly sounded like a paranoid parent! Which I was!!

I think I felt a little better after those meetings. Thanks to our Local Allergy Network for Educating me and others like me.
Even though I'm more worried now, I'm glad I have the information!!
I knew what to do, what to expect, what to request, what questions to ask - wouldn't have dreamt of asking them otherwise...
Thanks guys!!

Been done 25!!

Yay!! The rate at which I'm posting, I should be celebrating every post!!
I've successfully completed 25 Posts, thanks to my family for providing me stories to write, and my dear fellow-bloggers for consistently visiting and commenting, and for the support and advice and all that...

Here's to more...Let's get some bubbly out...