Dear Paatii (Grandma)

Dear Rajee Paati,

How are you? Since it has been three days since you left I thought I will write on how much fun it has been with you. I know you told me, you will come back in ‘”10 days”, but I somehow think it is going to be longer. I miss you already. First of all I thought ’10 days’ was a place until, Amma corrected me, and said that you were in Chicago with Arjun mama, Peeya mami and Tejas. Tell Tejas I want you back soon :). So when will you come back?

Next, you have gotten me sooo used to that heavenly paruppu sadam of yours that I really miss it. Please teach this Amma, how to do it EXACTLY the way you did. She has been doing okay the last 3 days, but I must say she is not able to tell the “kaka kadhai” like you do. She really mixes her stories up, so while you are teaching her how to do paruppu sadam teach her this too.

Two months have been so much fun staying home with you, doing puzzles all day long, rolling on the floor playing, sleeping on your chest while you told me such wonderful stories, having my afternoon quota of yummy hashbrowns. But know what I miss the most? Someone for me to say “No Paatti don’t know” too. You really did not know the puzzles that well paati :):). I can teach you well when you come back soon.

Amma and Appa have been missing you too. Amma especially. She is not that well,  but don’t you worry, I turn on my super duper charm and she is smiling in seconds. I will be a good boy and keep them happy.

I also miss all our drawing sessions- cow, poochi, mountain, kaka kadhai in pictures etc. You can draw pretty good paati, but I am getting there the next time you see me, I will be able to draw you :):)

Also, I cried the first two days to go back to daycare but this morning, Appa reminded me of my friends and actually how much fun I have, so I went without crying, thought you would be happy to know. They teach me so much, I sing, I dance, I exercise, I play outside and have all the fun. By the time you come back in four months (I know 10 days is not 10 days), I will be talking a lot more, Be prepared!!

Paati, so much memories these last two months- stories, games, songs, food (esp avy yellow mamum) everything is so special to me and so are you. Come soon, I really miss you,now I have to go.  Tell amma that even I can write 🙂

Love

Avy (Mottai)

Here is a pic of you and me, see how cute I am!!

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Getting back on the high horse

After that rather depressing rant last week- happy to say am back feeling better. Not my whole 100% self, but the road is getting better.

My updates-

 So, I have started to drink milk and slowly introduce to my body all that I had avoided. It was just not what i expected. I used to LOVE milk, just plain milk too. I could drink milk 3-4 times a day. But guess what?? Milk makes me nauseous now. After complaining about it for couple of days, Ajit offered to make me tea (the main reason why we got together in the very first place!! a story on its own for another day!)- he makes good tea! So I was very hopeful, but no.,after couple of sips, had to return it back. Could not sip more. Guess that is NOT one of the things I can do for love!!

We under-estimate our bodies so much! I mean I have been drinking milk for 28 years, and been off it for 1.5 (so now does everyone know my age?), you would think I could jump right back on??? But I seem to do better with processed milk products. So yeah, in a twisted way, it made me feel better that I am not ‘enjoying’ these things too soon.

So when Ajit and I would talk about the day- the day when Avy will be fully weaned, I would say that I was going to order a full cheese pizza and finish it up all on my own. Well, it was not the same day, but we did have pizza over the weekend, the experience was okay not quite as fulfilling as I had hoped. Guess the mommy card trumps taste buds!

On health front – doctor has adjusted med dosage, hopefully will lead to better times!

Now onto Avy:

He is finding it hard to get back to the day care routine. 2 weeks in India, then labor day weekend, plus being home with patti, have all made going to daycare unbearable for him. But I feel sad, as Patti is leaving this Sunday and he has to get back to his 5 day routine after nearly 6 months of just 2 or 3 days a week.

But there is a shimmer of hope, as he did better yesterday than what he did the last week. He is learning more, guess his class is now geared towards pre-school learning. From doing really cute hand gestures on how a lobster swims to singing his rhymes fully and clearly, he seems to having fun when he is there.

Also, with his turning two, I am seeing some attitude. Not a whole lot, but some. Endearing to watch him knot his eyebrows and stand next to his patti and correct her saying “Nooo Paati noooo”. This bring to yesterday evening. A friend of ours have given Avy a car, that can be taken out – one in which he can sit and push himself around with his feet. So, Ajit takes him outside to play.

I had to take care of something and then when I headed out, I walked into the scene, where Avy was shuffling his feet and yelling “Noo, Appppaaaa”.

Upon further investigation it was revealed that we were not allowed to help him, any, not even a single touch. Anything of that sort prompted him to yell, “Noo, Avy’s turn”. Guess, who was taught about taking turns in class today!!! It was tooo funny to see the little one, all hyped about not getting his turn. Guess he has a LOTT of learning left because every single time it was ONLY Avy’s turn.

“Avy’s turn”, was followed by mutterings of which the only thing I could decipher “noo boys” (with severe head shaking)!! Someone has been upto some ganging up  in daycare!!

It made more sense to me as I had seen his classmate at the store, who was also equally, giggly, silly and hyped up. I really want to know what the fun was all about!! Don’t you?

Freedom- bittersweet, nevertheless!

Freedom- YES, but so bittersweet it is! Well, when I least expected it, the day arrived- Avy is fully weaned! It is DONE! Been 5 days today, with no tears and all the happiness in the world, he has weaned himself. The following article is the one that kept me going for the last two years and now I am happy to add that it happened the same way with me as talked about here

“I see how it has made me more patient, more centered, able to calm myself. I see the look of deep knowingness in his eye, as if we’ve been walking the planet together for a couple of hundred years. I see how breastfeeding has become part of our rhythm, our rhyme, our understanding of each other. How it has given our relationship a whole other layer of connectedness. And how that connectedness has influenced my parenting choices, how I perceive him, and how he responds to me.”

SO SO TRUE!

So it has taken me 3 whole months to push him in that direction and to do it with no tears at all. I am very satisfied and happy that I was able to provide him for the past 2 years. Funny thing is the last part was done all by him. He refused it one fine day and never asked again or talked about it. Guess he DID become a big boy when he turned 2, and the biggest chapter in my life has come to an end. He is sleeping longer and better.

I was very very happy the first day, I guess mainly because it was done with no tears, no fighting. Also because I was FREE!! For the first time I slept all night without being a feeding box :). But then, as the days are going by I am feeling sad. The BIGGEST chapter in my life is over. We have been attached for the past 2 years and 9 months (pregnancy included) and now it is over.

The dark thoughts are back- Will he need me anymore, Will we be close anymore, Will I be able to let go, Will I be able to pacify him, Will he have more meltdowns? I am working through them; one at a time, every time he needs me now, makes me feel special. These thought may appear silly to some, but then they are not in my shoes!

But to add to the mix, to use Ajit’s words, it has been a double whammy. This weaning means I could start having milk and all other foods I have been avoiding the past year and half. This thought racks me up with way more guilt.

I feel like I am leaving my baby behind and having nice things. I feel so guilty to pop anything in my mouth that he cannot have. Maybe I have to leave this feeling of being a martyr. With my health, I NEED to fix my diet. Who knows how much my calcium and other nutrients have depleted over the year. I saw to it that he took his supplements but kind of ignored me. It is high time I fix myself too; he needs his mommy happy and strong.

So with the depression of weaning him, my health related sadness, and this over-bearing feeling of guilt, I have been a mess the last 2 days. Finally a ray of light yesterday, when Ajit said, what I think so far, has been the most convincing argument on why I should not feel the way I do. I told Ajit yesterday, on our regular phone conversation that we have every day on my drive back from work, that I feel guilty eating the nice things without Avy. Ajit replied, “But Avy does not know it is nice, to him it is just something he cannot have, just like spicy food”.

See that struck a chord, I do NOT give him spicy food, and I love eating spicy food, I have been eating it all along. I guess milk, egg etc are just like that. Just something he cannot have, and Ajit gently reminded me that I try my best to replicate everything for him and that would not change. So thankful to have married the ‘logical’ guy, times like this, makes me thank my stars! I sometimes overthink, analyze and complicate things, sometimes it is easy taking the logical way out!

Since the weaning, Ajit has been giving Avy a bath and putting him to sleep, though yesterday, Avy screamed for me. For a minute I got worried that he would want to feed, but then, no, he wanted me for me. I told him stories and we fell asleep hugging, and all I know is we woke up again at 4am only, and fell back to sleep in 5 minutes. Am building a new bond, a new phase to my parenting and a new relationship with the little one.

So as I am writing this now, I am in the lowest of moods- the weaning, the guilt, the tiredness everything together is making for a sucky frame of mind and I am happy I can at least write. I have been trying everything in my power to make me feel better, walking during lunch, eating healthy, playing with Avy, but sometimes the body and mind just take over. So hoping to be in better spirits soon, hopefully a restful weekend, can give me that!

Letter to my son!

Dear Avyukt,

Wish you many many more happy returns of the day, my dear son! Son- what a Pandora of emotions that single word bring about in the mind, as I am writing this letter to you today, on your birthday. It has been the most wonderful, the most fulfilling, the hardest, the wackiest, the most joyful, the most painful, the most eye-opening, and the best two years of my life. In spite of sounding clichéd today is not only your second birthday about also two years since I have embarked on this life fulfilling journey.

A little flashback- See when I was pregnant I was convinced that I was carrying a girl. But in that ultra sound room when they told me that I had a tiny little man growing inside of me, it suddenly dawned upon me, the possibility of sharing one of the most precious bond in this world that of the mother and son, and that my son has been reinforced again and again each day in the last two years.

Deciding your name was such a pleasure. I made lists and lists and lists, and finally decided on this name only about 10 days before you were born, guess when I found the name I knew it was it. You are so much an Avyukt, an Avy. J. It helps now that it is the easiest name to roll on the tongues of all your little playmates, and when their mom’s tell me that their kids keeping calling your name at home, I have no idea why, but I do feel a little proud.

You when born were obviously attached to me for the best knows reasons- food and sleep.  But then the good part of the first 1.5 years of your life you were such a Daddy’s boy. You were the best source of inspiration, happiness, and light at the end of the tunnel in an otherwise hard situation in our lives. You can make that big man into a puddle with your slightest smile. You would always go to him first, you would want him to carry you around, and refuse to come to me also during that time. He made you laugh the most, capable of doing the silliest things, and it made you adore him more.  Your face would light up at the mention of his name, or appa. He taught you the letters of the alphabets, Tamil syllables, slokas, and rhymes- all on the car ride to and from your day care. You still wield an iron hand over him. That man, can never say no to you. A diaper change that takes 5 minutes with me would take 15 with him, a bath would take twice as much to0 (yesterday you were dabbing his hair with water as he was giving you a bath)- more fun!!!  You know how to smile, how to ask to get what you want. I come a very distant second to you, and it has never made me happier.

Before I tell you what you did to me and how we celebrated your second birthday, I want to tell you on what kind of kid you are. I would like to document forever on the joy that you are. You are such a sweet natured, happy and affectionate kid. Even when I was pregnant, every time doctor heard your sound they would say “Such a happy baby”. They probably said that to ALL pregnant moms, but in your case it is soo true. You are such a happy baby. When you were small and woke up in your crib, you would never cry, you would just whimper, and it made me wish on many days that you would cry loudly so that I can attend to you better.

You are a sucker for being clean and organized. You, even yesterday, told me to “wash the daep” (wash the grapes) before I gave it to you. You would take a wipe, and wipe everything in sight, including your tummy. You like putting your toys away, when asked. You keep your face, like the whole world just got away, if a single part of your alphabet puzzle is missing.

You love your routine, though you adjust pretty good with any changes, you are the happiest being at home with your routine intact, I think you have taken after me on this one. Even while I was pregnant, you would stop kicking by 10.00pm and would start up again 6.00am. You still kind of like that :). You go to bed on most days by 8.30 and wake up at 6.30. You like to eat, sleep at prescribed times, and that helps us a LOT!

Affectionate is the perfect term for you. You get upset at the slightest indication that anyone else is upset. You cannot see me have a sad face at all, it shatters your world. When a friend of ours, got a dump truck for you to play with, and it went and hit against your stuffed dog- Barclay- you got shocked. You went and hugged, and kissed Barclay’s boo boo away.  Even now when you fall, and we ask you to hit the floor in jest, you feel bad to do it and often times end up saying sorry to the floor.

You love cuddling, hugging. Now-a-days I see a little resistance creeping up, I wish you stay cuddly longer. What else is a mother to do?

You are such a shy person sweety. I think your stranger anxiety started really early. Initially, I really believed it to be a phase, but now I know it is your personality. You are exactly how your dad and I are.  Kind of reserved and shy with new people. But once you get to know them, you are so affectionate to them too. You always make it a point to share everything. Even if it is your favorite thing, you make it a point to give some to everyone in the house. I love this about you. But you just refuse to share your ball with next door kid Eddie, what is up with that????

I have been worried about you being this soft, shy person. I was worried about you being bullied as you grew up and worried if you would stand up for yourself, and in the last 3 weeks alone you have alleviated all my fears. The India trip has shown a different side of you. When kids bothered you time and time again, and coming to me and dad did not help, you stood up for yourself, held them by their shirts and took your toy back. Though I do no encourage fighting, was nice to see you stand up for yourself. But I would like to cut back on it and not take it out on poor innocent girls trying to hug you. DO NOT pull their hair out, like you did over the weekend with poor Tara.  I am happy that you did tell you’re sorry but I warn you, leave little girls alone!

Then, what else- yeah you are smart! You knew all your letters but the time you were 20 months, you can count till 20, know all your colors, know many many rhymes. Now you are becoming a puzzle monster and I love how to try and learn. Those kept you busy in the total 30 hour journey back from India.

Rhymes- OLD MACDONALD!! Your year two is not complete without writing about this song! This is the biggest influence in your life. You enjoying watching all different versions on youtube. It was restricted to the computer, but ever since your dad has shown it can be played on the TV, you coyly ask ‘Tv EIO?”. You LOVE animals, your face lights up the minute any animal or bird comes on the tv, or you see one in a book or magazine. I can keep you occupied for hours with books about animals and ever since your Venki Thatha got you those new books, you now know some exotic animals too.

I see your dad in you.  The inquisitive nature, the nature to find out what everything is. I am happy that your dad is there to take care of that, I am not sure I can keep up. I can hardly remember the stuff I have too.

In case you do not remember, you had a great party for your second birthday- Sesame Street themed, with the biggest Elmo. A Special thanks to Ram, Poornema, Tarun and Tara for making it so much more special. Our Daily Bread baked your delicious cake- Avy friendly version. It made me well up in tears that you could have this party, cut the same cake everyone could have. A year ago I thought it was not possible. You had fun, but more concerned about saving your Elmo from prying hands. Lovely friends visited up and got you special gifts. Thanks to everyone who came and made it such a special occasion.

Tara’s visit brings up yet another side of you. You spent all weekend pulling her hair when she was just trying to hug you, and yet yesterday evening before they left you were so sad. By the way, we were having fun kissing across the deck screen just for fun, and you kissed your Grandma first, then your dad, then me, and you called out for Tara and kissed her cheek, but then you wanted to get rid of the screen and kiss her, while she ran away, this made you very upset. Welcome to the real world, my son! You do not pull the hair of the girls you like!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So over the next year practice your skills to be a nicer boy :p 🙂

One other major thing this past year in your life the large presence of your grandparents. With someone or the other being here for the last six months have made you even more cheerful, healthy and happy.  In turn they adore you like you are the most intelligent kid on this earth. Now only, Rajee Patti is here and boy how much are you attached.  You LOVE her paruppu sadam, every time you see her, you ask “patti mamum”, no matter what time of the day it is. I am so scared to try and fill her shoes in two weeks.  You missed her so much after India trip that you went to her at 4am to sleep, when normally you would never leave my side. She has now opened up the world to story-telling for you, and it made me come up with random stories at 1am to get you to sleep (Did you all know that the crow also took part on the Hare and Tortoise race- that’s how groggy I was last night ). Thanks Patti!!!

Now to what you have done to me- You have made me whole. You made me realize my fullest potential. You motivate me, make me happy, and make to do unimaginable things. But for you, I do not think I would do as much as I do now, with my health being what it is. When people tell me, I cannot imagine how you do all this with your health, I just think of you. Yes, you have me wrapped around your little finger too, not just your dad. But I know your every cell, I know how you manipulate for anything. In spite of all that I cannot refuse your “Amma, Kokki” smile. A sucker for a cutey smile, is all I am.

 You are such a Mama’s boy now. You refuse to leave my side all the time. Though it is flattering it is hard sometimes. I do want you to feel safe with everyone. I love your face lighting up every time you see me, I love you waving good night to me, when I settle down for my afternoon nap, I love the care in your face when you tell your dad “Amma oova”, I love you supervising me when I go to take my medicine in the morning- like your checking on me and asking me “Amma, Mannu?”, I love how you take your medicines without troubling me a single bit, I love how you listen to me for anything- even while sitting on my lap to eat at the Indian functions and not touch anything, even though it was tempting, just because I said it was too hot, or it was only for older people, I love you smile, I love you bunny teeth laughter and everything about you sweety.

If there is one word anyone who sees you even for a little bit tells me is that you are chamathu (a good boy). But now I see the naughtiness creeping and I am gearing for what they call the terrible Twos. Are you ready for the ride my monster man?

Love,

Amma

P.S things for you to work on for next year: LOL

– do not pull kids hair when they try to hug you

– do not turn off the TV – please please

– do not take your dad’s side and tease me (actually do it is cute)

-do not refuse mommy kisses, I already miss them

-BE THE SAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Home is where the heart is!

I Am backkk! Well the last 2.5 weeks we were on a trip back to the homeland, the best place on Earth- Chennai India. This was trip was an unexpected one this year and it made it all the more sweeter.

We survived the long plane journeys and 11 days in India, with a function every single day, and are back and settling down. We have been back two days, the little one was home 2 days with Grandma, adjusting to the jet lag, and went to his daycare today. I get a call couple of hours ago saying that he is sad- tears my heart. He has been spending every waking moment, mostly being attached to me (Ajit calls him a magnet) for the past 15 days and now, he is back in his new class, which I guess can be overwhelming.

Now this post could be a really long one, but I am trying to just do a short and sweet recap, the milestones and a take on managing a child with allergies on a trip back home, where nothing is labeled and ghee is staple in any preparation.

So before we went, I as usual did my long list. But due to my thyroid issue, and the fatigue, memory loss that come with it I was SO scatter brained and I hoped that I would not forget anything. So the most important thing, I would suggest for anyone who is packing is, pack the MEDICINES first. Make a list, check it twice and be sure you take it all. Never know what you would need. With Avy, the Epipen was a must for me.

The next issue comes to his food. Last year I carried his Gerber, which now he scowls at. So it made things harder. So I made a list of all his meals and what he eats, and figured what I can give him there safely and tried to carry the rest. So, main food, rice, paruppu (lentils) (never knew paruppu sadam itself would become a battle), dosai, idly etc I could always make it there. So one issue down. Then, he LOVES fruits, I knew I could give him banana, apple and orange safely there. It was his Rice milk that was the biggest issue. So after big debate, on whether or not it would survive the travel, I packed tons of Rice milk, the small juice pack size, hoping that it would last and it did do really well. I also took his favorite cookies, wafers, Lollipops, Chocolates, anything and everthing I could think of, adn everything came handy.So people out there, take it with you, best idea!

Now comes the actual air travel issue, while going I packed a lot for him, knowing airline food cannot be trusted even for us, let alone him, I packed, Idly, Dosai and Venpongal (Rice and lentil dish). The first flight to Dubai was 13 hours long, we all slept nearly 10-11 hours, so food was not a major issue. We had ordered Vegan meals for all of us, that way we can give anything to Avyu if the need arises. So once we reached Dubai, I tried feeding Avy the rice, but it was soggy, so he refused it and he had not eaten in nearly 15 hours. I gave him some juice, and got him fries at the airport and some fresh watermelon juice, which satisfied his hunger.

Once we reached Chennai, all of us were jet lagged and then started the whirlwind 11 days. We left to Coimbatore the same night for the Upanayanam function for my nephew and were in Coimbatore for 3 days, where we got Avy’s head tonsured (Oh my, how much he cried, I am not sure I will be able to put him through something like that ever again). Since we were staying in hotels and the mandapam, we had to carry rice, lentils, idly batter etc and a portable gas stove and cook for Avy everywhere, every day that we were in Coimbatore!!!! Made everything so hard. However since he was jet lagged he barely nibbled on the food. Just jucies, water and Rice Milk is what helped him be hydrated.

Once we reached Chennai back, the rest of the trip was kind of the same, we would pack food for him every day and leave the house for the functions and come back at night. Also, at some places I would get rice and lentils at the function, but Avy did not like the taste of it and would refuse to eat. So he sustained himself on appalams and Vadais . The first few times on the visit when we went out to eat he would eat Idly and vadai, but I guess he got soooo bored of it that he refuses to even look at an Iddly 🙂

This trip was different for me, because usually my Mom would be there when I go to India, she would help me, do stuff for us. I missed her so much every day morning, when I would get up early, cook and pack. I missed you, Amma a lot.

Our flight back was a nightmare, as we came through Mumbai. Our flight from Chennai reached a little late, which made the time to our connection even shorter. We had to take out our entire luggage, go to the International terminal which was sooo crowded. I must say that none of my previous experiences there has not been pleasant, but this time it was different, people helped us and we made it to the gate 15 minutes before departure only to find the flight 30 minutes delayed. Our connection was through Munich. We all slept the first flight and were mostly awake the second. Avy does really well on flights. Never have I been on a flight, where there has not been at least one person come up to us and say how well behaved he is. Guess he is calm like that. That made the arduous travel back a little easier.

In spite of all this, all the work, it was so so wonderful to be with family, to see Avyu forge bonds with his various Thatha’s, Pattis and cousins, to see him get excited at the sight of an auto, to see him so overwhelmed with joy seeing the dogs and cows on the street, to see him pour water form a well and play, to see family and friends, to enjoy the laughter, to see him roll on the floors and play, while hoping he does not catch anything, to see him impress everyone by doing his puzzles, to him laugh and cry while riding on the motor cycle, to see do namaskaram to older people, to see him enjoy the car rides with no belt, to see him enjoy his vadais and to always have so so many people around you.

I missed doing a lot this trip, missed meeting some of my close friends, missed shopping, missed seeing a movie, but then seeing Avyu interact with his extended family and to see them light up just at the faintest hint of smile from him made it all so worth it. Looking forward to doing all this all over again!!! (Okay now am off to get ready for the little one’s second birthdya party!)