Friday, March 7, 2008

The discoveries of parenthood

Every since we encountered the Scholastic early reading scheme, we have been trying to introduce Anjali to the world of books. It is not an exact hardship for us. Both husband and I read a lot of books and granma can tell long stories of how I used to bury my nose into a book and never look up till she called me ten times.

And I can tell long stories of how husband buries his nose in a book and refuses to do anything else until the chapter is finished (whole mahabharata wars have been fought over the subject but that is another story...)

So we began with 365 fairy stories, 366 nursery rhymes, stories for children from the bible and such stuff. A little story a day, we told ourself, just before bed time. But it wasnt unheard of for me to sit on the floor plop Anjali in front of me and read from a book to her while she played and blabbed. And most of the time, bed time for Anjali has a "roll on" prefix to the key word. So most of husband's bed time readings were when Anjali was either playing full steam, or when she was cuddled up and almost asleep. I suppose that the neuronal circuits are still active when she sleeps, and knowledge does get transferred, but still, it wasnt how we had imagined it, with baby in the lap, turning the pages as we read to her. (i guess 11 months is too early though.)

Well, all this changed a few weeks ago when granpa returned from India bringing back a rhhymes book. Granma taught Anjali Hickory Dickory dock and Baa Baa Black Sheep and Mary had a lamb. i taught her humpty dumpty, and hey diddle and jack and Jill. And now the rhymes book has become one of Anjali's favorite toys (and has sustained numerous wear and tear, sellotaped to such a great extent by granma). Once in a while, Anjali would toddle over to the rhymes book, open a page, point and say "oom". And we would have to sing a song to her. not just any song, but the rhyme that she pointed to. Try to sing a different song, and she would point again and say "OOOOOM". Her favorite is baa baa black sheep, with hickory dickory coming a close second.

On one of our forays to the library, husband and I discovered Dr Seuss. it has now become a household favorite. husband and I like to say

Walk Walk
We Like to Walk
Talk Talk
We Like to Talk
Hop Pop
We like to hop
we like to hop
on top of pop
Stop you must not hop on pop
and burst into laughter.

And then we would go
thing thing
what is that thing
thing sing
that thing can sing
Song long
a long long song
goodbye thing you sing too long.

And another peal of laughter would follow.

The discovery of Dr Seuss has had us more excited than other, apparently more important things. interesting how parenthood realligns your priorities.


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A walk through the jungle: The Dr Seuss way

Walk walk
We like to walk
We like to walk in the jungle path
video
Strode, Strode,
We always Strode
Through board or road
video
Pram
Arm
We dont want pram,
we dont want pram
All we want is daddy's arm
video
not quite Dr Seuss yet, but getting there..

Water on the floor

video

She picks the water and then tries to catch it.

Husband wanted to put flower petals in the water, but I drew a line there. I drew a much thinner line with the playing of water in the first place, especially as I had just wiped and changed Anjali, but thin lines are often ignored in the house (especially if it concerns prohibiting Anjali from doing something.)

Mischief at the library

video

Transcript of Daddy's comments, for those without earphones

"You know, it is not funny. I have seen her pull out whole shelves of books at a time!"

excitement personified

Along with the wrinkled nose smile. This is for the monkeys at the foot of the Timah hill
video

At Baystreet

video

Baystreet is our favorite restaurant at IMM, whenever it is time for Anjali's solid, husband and I make a beeline for baystreet. Good food, nice atmosphere, and a nice highchair for Anjali to eat it, and play in.

After she finished eating, she walking all around the restaurants, bumping into furniture, and testing again to see if she can repeat the bump

the bilbering hummingdinger strikes again

video

I really should send this video to the quibbler.

Coarse and fine motor skills

video

In all the baby books there are descriptions of how coarse and fine motor skills are developed in babies. I have seen, and been bought over by several toys that say that they develope hand-eye coordination, gross and fine motor coordination and blah blah blah,

But one of the more successful toys that really does help in these stuff is this bead runner that used to belong to Pranav and Pradeepta

Motor skills aside, I think this is one of the few videos where the bag of tricks actually stays put for the duration of 3 minutes when the video is taken, so the toy should be celebrated.

video

Up in the sky

"Anjali, look there!", I said, on our morning walk to granma's house this morning, pointing at three migratory herons flying across a clear blue sky.

Anjali, who was very blase and sitting in my hip studying the pavement and cars on the road sensed excitement in my voice and looked

In the arong direction.

"Not there baby, up, at the sky!"

She looked, saw the herons, pointed at them, and a slow smile spread over her face.

"adha"

Yes, birds, on the sky

"ada?"

Where have they gone? For the herons had disappeared behind the trees.

"ta ta ta"

Other birds! More birds, small black ones streaking across the sky, much lower than the herons.

"prrrr"

pigeons, on the ground, outside the temple

"tha tha"

ok, bye pigeons, I am going to granma's house.


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Wednesday, March 5, 2008

When mommy leaves for work

Anjali is generally very excited to see her granma. This morning I hitched her on a bicycle (husband and I decided that it is a good time now to introduce Anjali to the joy of bicycling. So we got two bikes and one front child seat. It took us a while to decide between the front carrier and the back one, but the front carrier won hands down. Anjali likes the bike ride, especially when we go down slope. Husband's the one who doe the down slopes, myself, if the incline is more than 5 degrees or so, I get down and push the bike. But when husband takes her down slope in the bike, she goes, whee)

So this morning, I hitched her on to the bike and rode to granma's. Anjali was excited. Got through a round of granma petting and then turned around and saw me eating strawberries. Now, anjali is very fond of eating food - from other people's plates. Yesterday evening Granma had a bowl of yogurt rice and another bowl of vegetables. Did Anjali eat it? Of course not. Instead, she made a beeline for my uppuma (spicy and cooked with condiments) ate a mouthful and kept coming back for more. She kept coming back for mouthfuls until I finished my plate, and then she put on such a morose expression that I had to laugh and get another plate of food - yogurt aval this time. At which point, no matter how much we tried to convince Anjali what i had in my plate was simply a differnet version of what granma had for her (just that hers was mashed and pureed), she refused to eat from granma's plate and wanted to eat my aval.

And this morning, Anjali saw me eating strawberries and made a straight beeline for my plate.

"mum mum mum"...

"Ok", I said, holding one end of the strawberry.

Anjali opened her mouth and bit through half the strawberry (she has six teeth now, so she can bite pretty well). The half strawberry went down pretty fast and she was back.

"Just hold the strawberry in your hand and dont give her. Let's see what she does", said granpa. Granpa always likes to do such tests with Anjali. Likes to see her asking for stuff and pointing at Om Namo Bagavate Vasudevaya (the Krishna picture), Mother's symbol (outside granma's door) and the exit sign before the elevator lobby.

So I just held the strawberry in my hand. Anjali toddled towards me and started jumping "mmmmm ummmm"

So we laughed and I held one end of the rest of the strawberry. But somehow, she managed to pull the whole other end of the strawberry into her mouth.

Granpa got stressed. "She will eat the stem"

"Let her" said granma and I. by now, Granma and I are used to Anjali's eating skills and are not too bothered by what she puts in her mouth. We know that for the most part, she will either swallow, or if it is too difficult, spit out the fibre after eating the juice. We tried to tell granpa. But nothing doing.

"Take it out!" And when granpa is stressed, his teeth get ground into pulp. So granma put her finger in Anjali's mouth and took out a mass off red pulp, with no sign of the stem whatsoever. The imp had chewn and swallowed it.

Then we wa upset because we had taken the strawberry out of her mouth before she was done with it, and so granpa went in and brought another strawberry, with the stem cut off this time.

That strawberry went down pretty fast too, in two great bites. And the next time granpa told me to not give her the strawberry but to watch what Anjali did, she didnt even bother with the umum ums. She came straight up to me, opened her mouth and said "aaa". I could not, but put the berry in her mouth.

Then it was time for me to go to work. Anjali went with granpa to the lift, but when she saw me, handbag up on the shoulder, lunchbag in arm, she realized that I was going off and did the koala bear act, which goes something like this:

One hand clutching my sleeve and the other hand clutching my collar and chain, both legs wrapped round my waist. Everyone else is ignored, and the clutch get tighter if someone tries to take her away. Yesteray granma and I tried a trick. I would turn her around and crarry her like husband does and then hand her over to granma, say bye and slip off without much fuss. It worked.

But today the imp cottoned on. She refused to be turned around and kept holding fast to my sleeve. For about five minutes, till she got distracted by something on the street and let go. Wonder what will happen tomorrow.


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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

And what about discipline?

Two days ago we took Anjali to bukit Timah hill. Granma, a few days ago in one of her and Anjali's forays into the playground, had come across a baby, not much older than Anjali with red rashes all over his arms. The verdict given by the baby's house maid was mosquito bites, on the playground.

So , when it was decided that Anjali was going to walk in Bukit Timah, Granma kept on reminding mummy and daddy to put a lot of anti mosquito lotion on Anjali before bringing her there. As Anjali was alseep, the said lotion was packed in her haversack and packed in our arms along with the little girl.

Alighting at the bus station a few minutes later I decided to put the lotion on her. The imp, sitting in her father's arms looked very politely curious at the light blue bottle with its clear liquid, patiently smiling and waiting for me to finish putting the lotion on her arms and legs.

"A tantrum is going to come" I said to husband, as I finished putting the lotion, cloed the bottle, put it in the haversack and closed the zip.

And come it did, the minute the zip was closed and Anjali realized that she would not be given a chance to play with the blue bottle.

Now the question to ask is this: I let Anjali play with all her lotion abd cream bottles after using them on her, and closing them. I would have let her play with this one too, had it not been for the mosquito repellent in it. So it was natural of her to expect the bottle, and to cry a bit when she realized that it did not come to her. i felt guilty about not giving it to her.

So where should you draw the line? At the truly dangerous stuff like mosquito repellents, or at all lotions, so that she would not even expect the bottle after it has been used? I would think it would be better for her to throw a tantrum at not having a dangerous thing, than to not know about the class of items in general. But the cry is heartbreaking all the same.

At the brunch on Sunday, we were visited by a short tropical downpour, which left all the tables in Rajah uncle's garden with puddles of water. Anjali went straight to the table and splashed with the water, in short, having a ball of a time. A friend, who was watching, remarked, "You are having a good time, arent you? Would mummy let you do this at home?"

Mummy was suddenly overcome with guilt. As she remembered the time when she let daddy take Anjali downstairs and the two of them came back sopping wet from the rainfall (on purpose, as they had gone down to enjoy the rain). Instinctively I kow that it is the right thing to do, to let Anjali experience the world, play with water (all montessori schools are supposed to have several activities involving kids playing with water), but traditionally it is not correct.

So, besides your instinct, what is correct and what is not? What is socially acceptable, as opposed to what makes your child happy? When do we draw lines, other than what our insticts tell us, and how right are our instincts?

husband's now reading a lot of books on bringing up babies, activities for teens and such. Myself,I want to raise the questions and introspect with them.


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Monday, March 3, 2008

The imp

Anjali is starting to walk all over the place and is taking about 10-15 steps at a time. Sometimes, she doesnot want to be picked up but wants to walk and that is not very convenient because she always wants to go to all the wierd places, like the gents toilet in the mall (no I am not joking).

Well, we took her to the forest yesterday and she got very excited. The wrinkle nose smile camwe on again, after being absent for a very long time. I think Anjali puts on the wrinkle nose smile whhen she is very excited. When she was about six months old, she had it on permanently. That was because she was just starting to interact with the world and everything was new and surprising. So the wrinkle nose smile was there perpetually all the time. Not, she is more all less used to all the things in the city - the cars, trains, alphabet books, water fountains etc make her smile and explore, but nothing has excited her much, since she is so used to everything.

Until she saw the monkeys in the forest. Initially she started to chase after the monkeys. Later, husband and I waled with Anjali behind everyone else (as we took it much slower and let Anjali walk on the forest floor), everytime she saw a monkey, she would point, and (if she was on someone's arms) jump, or else chase, with the wrinkle nose smile on for the whole duration of the monkey sighting.

And then she kept pointing and umming at all the leaves and wanted to touch them. At the brunch, she was quite intrigues by Rajah uncle's garden, with its swings and balls on the lawn. What struck her the most was, however, the fish tank. The wrinkle nose smile came on again and she kept following the fish with her fingers.

Husband now wants to eventually get a fish tank. i guess it is a good idea, since fish are relatively easier to maintain than dogs (husband wants to get dogs also. says that we look after the kids and the kids look after the dogs :P) . But I am still scared of fish dying, cant forget what happened last time granma kept fish, and we had to compose eulogies once in a while.

As Rajah uncle's son - in law put it, his kids went for a fishing party, and came back with a bag of fish. They had to get a fish tank, but by that time, the original group of fish were dead and gone, and a new group of fish had to be bought to go in the tank.

Well, let's give Anjali more time.

Anjali also discovered the joy of eating rice crispies (Lakshmi had them, and Anjali took one too) - organic baby finger food. However, i must say I was surprised at how fast the biscuit went in. Ofcourse, we are talking about the girl who chipes away sportively at my cookies (the rock hard ones) for minutes at a stretch and uses them (only when she is bored) to try to break one of her toys. Yesterday she dropped it on the ground and husband actually went and checked if the ground had a crack.

Two days ago, we put on a very pretty frock on Anjali, a green one that is a mite too long. That made her look less like a baby and more like a lady, and Adi and I were very scared out by how fast she was growiing. She looked so ladylike when she stood up/

But then she threw water all over the front of the dress and we had to change her into one of her usual t-shirts and all was well again.


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Friday, February 29, 2008

mum mum mum

Yesterday:

Granma has been, to occupy Anjali, taking out photos in batches - silly photos showing nothing in particular, backs of people, animals in forests/ zoos etc.

She was showing Anjali one such picture, rather similar to the one here, of an elephant being fed milk in a bottle at Pinnewala elephant sanctuary, how the elephant is drinking nga (milk)

Today:
The said photo, along with some others were stacked on the sofa. Anjali sorted through (playing) with them, when she came across the elephant drinking milk photo. She picks it up and says

mum mum mum

(In Anjali's language, mum mum mum means food, its what she says when she wants to eat or drink from our plates, or when she gets excited while her food is being prepared)

I got totally excited when I heard this story and called husband immediately. He had a good laugh. i told one of my colleagues and he says that her IQ is off the rocket.

@
http://members.tripod.com/~kimira_1012/


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Giving the video camera to granma

Its been a while since I posted videos/ photos over here. There's actually a very good reason for this. I hardly have any time to get videos of Anjali these days.

The little imp has changed her routine yet again. I suppose it is because she exercises so much more these days that she get more tired, but her bed time has shifted to around 9.15pm. Infact a couple of days ago, much to daddy's disappointment, she went to sleep at 8.45pm.

So the evening routine passes of like a blur to me, go to granma's home, have dinner, wait for Anjali to finish dinner, wear Anjali. by which time its 7.45 and granpa comes home. So Anjali has to go out of the carrier for a couple of minutes and it is almost eight by the time we leave granma's house.

Now, I have given granma a solemn promise not to walk in the dark, so even though it is only a fifteen minute walk, we spend fifteen minutes waiting for the bus, another five minutes walking to the bus stop and all in all, it ends up being 8.30pm by the time we reach home.

Daddy plays with Anjali for a few minutes, while I clear up some things and wash Anjali up, by which she is aleady showing starting signs of unmistakable sleepiness - eye rubbing, a need to hold my skirt, a call for picking up, a special frequency of cry etc. So there is no choice but to put her to bed where she goes to sleep pronto.

Husband gets all of 15 minutes to play with her.

Where do I get time to take videos? I get about half an hour in granma's house, playing and watching Anjali eat, before leaving. So it is not so bad. yet, something tells me that I am missing out on a lot of tricks, or atleast at documenting them.

Like yesterday Anjali came up with something new, and clapped when we said "Anjali, show us how you clap". We got very excited and kept asking her to clap, and the little bag of tricks got bored and/ or annoyed and stopped doing the clap on command by the time daddy came home.

So I decided to give granma the video camera and taught her this morning to use it.

Ten minutes ago, when I called to check on Anjali, granma tells me that she has taken several videos. But she added a warning

"I have taken something, but dont have high expectations, they may just be videos of her bottom!"

@
http://members.tripod.com/~kimira_1012/


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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

What Anjali did

I remember reading a story when I was a kid called What Katy did. It was about a very naughty girl and how she grew up. I think it was part of a set of stories for little girls, including Little women, Black Beauty and Heidi. Husband told me later that he watched the movies of all the books, but didnt bother to read any of them, as he knew they would be too girly wurly.

Ok, now I am starting to write like lemony snickett. So back to the subject. What Anjali did. Well, yesterday she got a new trick. She walks, turns and walks back. This is a new trick and its pretty exciting for us, cos it means that she can soon walk around corners. She is very open about walking in granma's house, probably because she knows the territory, or perhaps because granma's house is so much smaller so she can go between furnitures faster. Yesterday, she walked all the way from the fountain to the living room window, and thats definitely an acheivement. i wanted to get a video, but found out, to my charign, that my camera was out of battery. Well, I recharged the batteries, so maybe I can get a video today.

The umm game continues. When Anjali points to something and says umm, it can mean several things depending on the situation. It takes a lot of context aware systems intelligence to decode what she wants, but we can just about make out what she wants. If it is just a random object she is pointing at, she wants to know what it is. If it is the numbers in the lift, she wants you to tell them to her. if it is a person, she wants them to come near her, before she can do further processing. Further processing in this case will be a choice between going to that person (if said person is granma, mummy, or daddy) or hugging back who ever is holding her (usually granma, mummy or daddy) if said person is granpa or anyone else. If said person tries to pick her up, the crocodile in her comes out.

Well, yesterday, granma had a visitor in her house and had prepared a veritable feast - rasam, sambhar with small onions, idli etc. She asked husband to come for dinner, but since I had prepared a lot of (as husband calls it) good food for him to eat during the week and left them in the fridge, he prefered to go directly home from work.

As granma felt that husband was such a poor thing to eat refrigerated food (granma does not think that the stuff I cook could be classified as meals) she packed some idlis and sambhar for husband. so when I got home, I put the idlis and sambhar on a plate and put it on the coffee table so that husband could eat it when playing with Anjali, who was busily playing with cds and walking along the tv cabinet.

Well, you can guess what happened next. The bag of tricks pounced on the idlis, tore one apart, put the (significantly large) piece of idli on the coffee table and started to eat it from the table. To her the table was a plate. For after she had finished with the first piece of idli, she repeated the plate, table mouth sequence again with the next piece.

For the record, when I say, she had finished with a piece of idli, i dont mean that she had finished eating the piece of idli. i mean that she had finished eating, squishing, rubbing and throwing the piece of idli. I approximate somewhing between 50 to 70 percent of it went into her mouth while the rest landed somewhere around the place. I was torn between amusement (a mad desire to laugh) and the guilty feeling that I ought to be somewhat annoyed at all the idlis going on the floor. Aside from food being wasted (and that too, food especially given to husband so, otherwise has to eat stuff from the fridge), I have idli crumbs all over the floor. The day before it was cookie and bread crumbs. Soon, I will have to buy a broom extension to one hand and a dustpan extension to the other.

"You are enjoying this, arent you?" I told husband, half accusingly.

He nodded, his eyes dancing with mirth.

"You do realize that the ants will be upon the crumbs in no time" I continued.

Anjali, in the meantime, had given up squeezing her idli and started walking along the sofa, tapping her (idli covered) hands on the upholstery.

it is hard not to laugh.

"Finish your idlis fast, then she cant play with them", I told husband

"Relax", he said. "I agree with what you said about your morning walk. I had forgotten some of the simple joys in life."

I smiled. Aha, a compliment. And then he continued...

"Like how much fun it is to play with my food"

oh oh.


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Monday, February 25, 2008

Explorations

I succeeded in passing a whole weekend without taking a single photo or video of Anjali. What an acheivement!

I guess Anjali learning to walk was such a huge milestone that everything else seems small compared to this. But ofcourse, that does not mean that all the things that she does are small, everyday is still an exploration and her ability to put one foot in front of the other with the speed of a rocket has increased the explotation ability rather exponentially.

Now Anjali walks along the legth of the kitchen counter, using her hands to hold on, ofcourse, but, just for a support, not for balance. Similarly, when walking with us, she uses the hand for confidence, and uses it to toddle at twice the speed that she would, were it not for the hand.

When she is proud of herself, she sticks her chest out and walks, and that makes it all the more cuter. Granma calls her the bharathiyar pudumai penn (nimirnda nadayum nerkonda paarvayum)

But the explorations dont stop there. Here are some of the new tricks.

I reported some time ago on how Anjali likes to take apart her father's wallet. The bag of tricks has improved on her burglarizing skills. Now, she goes to the table where daddy keeps his wallet. She stands on tip toe, so that her eyes can go above the top of the table, opens the wallet, takes out the credit card, closes the wallet, and then runs away with the credit card.

No, I am not joking. She did it once, with husband as the witness, and then she did it again when granma and granpa came for lunch. So there are any number of witnesses to the naughtiness.

In another aspect of exploration, she wants to know exactly what each part of her body can do. And what each part of oher people's bodies can do. Some of her favorite games are banging her head against stuff (bed headboard, pillow etc) with such frequency that it makes husband's head hurt banging on mummy's tummy, putting her fingers into people's mouths etc.

Two days ago, the bag of tricks was sitting down in front of me and playing and suddenly she decided to see if her head could touch the ground. Down, down went her head, until

thud.

waaaa .... waaaa....

"No Anjali", I said."you cant cry if you hit your head purposely on the floor"

Nevertheless, the thud was an audible one.

Another aspect of exploration is objects. At a fountain shop, husband (the perpetrator of mischief) showed Anjali how putting the hand in the fountain bowl can make a jolly splash. This girl catches things like quicksilver. So she put her hands in the bowl and made splash, splash splash, until there was no more water in the bowl.

The shop assistant came over with a replacement bowl of water and politely chased husband and daughter out.

When Anjali explores objects, however, she only explores them when she can run back to us in less than half a second. And she is semi scared of Sylvester, doggy and a couple of other big toys, she plays with them, but only when we are near her.

Anjali bangs on the tv at granma's house, granma usually lets her, but when it gets too much, granma puts the doggy toy in front of the tv, and Anjali doesnt go near the tv. Wonder why this is so.

Yet another aspect of exploration is the vocal exploration. There are a plethora of sounds coming from the little mouth. eeeee, for train, amma, appa, abba, attha, anna, agga, a lot of bababa, brrru, and trrrs, and at some times, a very musical high pitch note. Should post a recording of this.

All in all, Anjali is having a lot of fun exploring what is around her, in holding a hand and walking.

Two days ago, she was enjoying walking that when she fell on the pavement she didnt even cry, but went on walking. It was not until much later that husband and I found two nasty looking little bruises on her knees.


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Friday, February 22, 2008

At the playground

Since the previous attempts were taken at night and Anjali's expressions cant be seen clearly, although her tricks can.

video

a morning walk

I always enjoy my morning walks from our home to granma's place. I think Anjali enjoys them too. At around 7.45, I tie Anjali up in a wrap, kiss daddy goodbye and get into the lift.

The number game begins. Anjali wants to know what all the changing numbers in the lift are. So we go, 18, 17, 16, 15.... If I stop for more than a secon, she would point and say "hmm". And then we would begin again "10, 9, 8".

Out of the lift and at the traffic junction, Anjali wants to press the button for the green light. I hav explained to her that red means stop, green means walk and flashing green means donot start to cross. And She understands, for mostly when the light changes, she gives a little jump in the carrier.

On the road, there is a drainage of water down a small hill. We stop for a minute to watch the water flow into the drain. Sometimes, I am in a hurry and turn after a couple of seconds, whereupon Anjali twists and watches the water for while.

A few bicycles pass us and she almost always twists around to see where they go, and occassionally she is interested by people walking, when she points and asks me to explain.

There is a patch of grass outside a chinese temple on the road, which has a handful of pigeons sitting on it pecking. Anjali is fascinated by the pigeons. the minute she sees them, she starts blabbing, and smiling, and jumping. We have a grand time watching the pigeons fly back and forth.

Then across the road where we can see the train track. During the stretch of road, two trains pass us, maybe three, and it is such fun to make "eeeeee" and look at the train track when we hear the noise of the approaching train. And then we pass a fence behind which there are a row of banana trees and we have a grand old time pulling the leaves and letting them bounce back. We even broke a couple of leaves off the tree, but we dont talk about that.

Then there are the stairs that lead up to granma's block, and once Anjali sees them, she gives yet another jump in her carrier. Into the lift and counting the numbers, we exit the lift and into granma's apartment.

What I love most about it is how the walks make me step back and enjoy the small beauties in life. Like this morning, when we were watching pigeons, I noticed two pigeons, one chasing another through jump, peck and flight, like a courtship scene, which it probably was. And the funny thing is that had it not been for Anjali I would not have spotted it. In fact, had it not been the fact that I was babywearing Anjali, I would not have enjoyed it as much.
This afternoon's report from Granma;



Anjali brings things back to you if you ask her. I asked her to bring the rhymes book and she pointed at it. I told her, "you bring it back" and she pointed at it again. "you bring it Anjali, I said", and she crawled to the bedroom, took the book and brought it back.


When you tell her to go see train, she crawls to the window, looks out at the train station, and if there is a train there, she says "eeeeeee"



When I took her potty to wash and brought it back, she pointed at the floor at the place where it is supposed to go.



And when she wants me to sing hickory dickory, she points at the clock and dances.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Friday, February 15, 2008

Entering into toddler hood

A few weeks ago I borrowed a book about toddlers. And the question I asked myself was - is Anjali an infant, or a toddler?

Well, she is definitely not an infant. If infants are small and wrapped in bundles, Anjali outgrew infancy seven months ago. In Infants stay put in one place, she outgrew infancy six months ago when she started bottom jumping. But she was not yet a toddler. Toddlers toddled and played with paints and made cherubic faces.

According to the book that I borrowed "The everything toddler book" toddlers become toddlers when they take their first toddling steps. And I guess, as of last Saturday, Anjali can be classified as a toddler.

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She took four steps towards me, I said to everyone last Saturday when we came back from the museum. No one really believed me, except husband, and thats cos he was there. No one believed me when I said that Anjali said maa to me when she was five days old. Of course, I was still half sleepy from the exhaustion of childbirth, but I know what I heard.

All through last week, she walked one or two steps, but it was not until we went to the library on Saturday that she really started walking.

I am glad that husband packed the camera.

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Of course, she still likes to walk around to people in the library, ttry to natch handphones and calculators and such.

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But she always returns things back

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And takes something else, like a pen.

Baby version of the homecoming poncho


For a very long time, I was intrigued by the pattern for the lion brand homecoming poncho. It was beautiful, and I wanted to make it for myself. Infact, that was the pattern that first got me interested in crocheting five years ago.
But somehow, I never got around to crocheting clothes for myself. Took toon long, too much yarn needed and too much work. So I made grannies, doilies and such, but never any clothes. And never a project that took more than 3 hours of crocheting.
When Anjali came, it was different. i had a desperate urge to make clothes and stuff for her, never mind that I had an equal ly strong urge to buy clothes and stuff for her. So, I made a baby blanket before she was born, but never used it because the yarn was acrylic and the weather was too warm. Now the blanket sits on top of the kitchen table as a base for the buddhe statue.
Then the halter top was made and Id ecided to take up something proper, and asked myself, could I make a baby version of the coming home poncho? I am not fond of buying yarn from the web, shipping costs a fortune. And yarns here dont match the gauge required. Besides the pattern is for adults. And I wanted to make a baby version.
Crocheting is a lot about mathematics, and there are an infinite number of things you can do with a piece of yarn, and thats one of the things I love about it. Another thing I love about crochet is that it really makes me relax and when my fingers are occupied, I ger less of an opportunity to worry or think of wierd things.
So, I found a ball of mohair at daiso at $2 per ball and said, why not. The color was beautiful, a varigated dark blue, the kind husband liked. I started the project with one ball and then bought three more to complete it.
So here's the pattern, intuitively modified to fit my requirements. I can make a larger version if I wanted to, much later, but granted, it will take much more yarn. This one used 120g of mohair.
==========
STITCH EXPLANATION:
Block 3 dc in indicated st or sp.
Shell Work (2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in indicated sp.

PONCHO
Beginning at neck edge, ch multiple of 44 until he chain when closed can go comfortably over the head, with about an inch of space for the collar. Taking care to not twist ch, join with sl st in first ch to form a ring.
Rnd 1 (RS): Ch 3, work 2 more dc in same ch as join (first Block made), sk next ch, *3 dc in next ch (Block made), sk next ch; rep from * around; join with sc in top of beg ch
Rnd 2: Sl st in sp between last dc made and beg ch (working around the post of the joining sc), ch 3 (counts as dc), 2 dc in same sp (first Block made), (3 dc in next sp between Blocks) until about half the length of the chain, (3 dc, ch 2, 3 dc) in next sp between Blocks (point made), (3 dc in next sp between Blocks) until the end, 3 dc in same sp as first Block; join with sc in top of beg ch; 2 points.
Rnd 3: Sl st in sp between last dc made and beg ch, ch 3 (counts as dc), 2 dc in same sp (first Block made), (3 dc in next sp between Blocks) across to point, (3 dc, ch 2, 3 dc) in next ch-2 sp of point, (3 dc in next sp between Blocks) across, 3 dc in same sp as first Block; join with sc in top of beg ch; 2 points.
Rnds 4 onwards: Rep Rnd 3; 2 points. until poncho measures 2 inches less than desired size. Do not fasten off.

EDGING Rnd 1: Sl st in sp between last dc made and beg ch, ch 3, dc in same sp (beg Shell started), ch 3, sk next 2 dc, sc in next 5 dc, ch 3, sk next 2 dc, *(2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in next sp between Blocks (Shell made), ch 3, sk next 2 dc, sc in next 5 dc, ch 3, sk next 2 dc; rep from * all around, 2 dc in same sp as beg Shell; join with sc in top of beg ch (beg Shell completed)
Rnd 2: Sl st in sp between last dc made and beg ch, (ch 3, dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in same sp, ch 3, sk next sc, sc in next 3 sc, ch 3, *(Shell, ch 1, Shell) in next ch-1 sp, ch 3, sk next sc, sc in next 3 sc, ch 3; rep from * all around, Shell in same sp as beg Shell; join with sc in top of beg ch.
Rnd 3: Sl st in sp between last dc made and beg ch, ch 3, dc in same sp, Shell in next ch-1 sp, ch 3, sk next sc, sc in next sc, ch 3, *Shell in next 3 ch-1 sps, ch 3, sk next sc, sc in next sc, ch 3; rep from * around, Shell in next ch-1 sp, 2 dc in same sp as beg Shell; join with sc in top of beg ch -.
Rnd 4: Sl st in sp between last dc made and beg ch, ch 3, dc in same sp, Shell in next ch-1 sp, ch 3, sc in next sc, ch 3, *Shell in next 3 ch-1 sps, ch 3, sc in next sc, ch 3; rep from * around, Shell in next ch-1 sp, 2 dc in same sp as beg Shell, ch 1; join with sl st in top of beg ch. Fasten off.

COLLAR: Keep single crocheting all around the top, I crocheted two rnds and after that crocheted the remaining rows with a slit in front, ie. crochet all the round, ch turn, sc in the inverse direction.

I also made a button and button hole for the slit. I used the one found here.


giving credit where credit is due

Yup. The problem with the sink was because she was scared of the big potty. Husband and I got her a new blue one, with small seats, and now all is fine again. Though it is sometimes necessary to distract her with toys to make her sit, but all in all, the EC business is working as well as can be expected.

Now, if I can only get the confidence to try the back carry...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The big trick bag

Monday Morning:

Anjali dada dada's all the way to granma's house in the stroller. Pushes me out of her way to reach granma before I can unbuckle her belt. Spends all the time with granma until I leave for work, at which point she started to play the "I am not going to granma" game. Basically, she sits on my hip, granma says "come", Anjali shakes her head and burrows into my shoulder kicking her legs vigourously. When the lift comes she goes back to granma and taps the lfit window to say bye.

But on Monday morning, she cried a bit as the lift door closed. Granpa said "open the door", but too late, the lift was already moving.

Tuesday morning:

Anjali changed her tactics a bit. Went to granma's house, played a bit with me, a bit with granma, sat on my hip when the time came for me to leave and refused to get down. granma had to tear her away from me. And I left her crying.

Wednesday morning:

Granma and granpa had worked out a new strategy. Granma would take her keys and come downstairs, take Anjali and spend some time downstairs with her in the playground. Managed to distract Anjali from crying by letting her look at a dog.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Very Very cute baby halter top: My first crochet baby dress pattern

I made the crochet pattern very intuitively, so it is extremely easy to resize. I am sure even an adventurous adult would be able to make it for herself, though if Anjali were older and wanted to make one to wear for herself, I am not sure if husband or granpa would allow it.

Anyway, here's the pattern. Its worked in some novelty yarn that bunica brought from Romania, but I am sure any other yarn could be used for varying effects.

Front middle:

Chain until the row measures the same as the side to side under arm measurement.

Row 1: Chain 3, turn, dc in 2nd chain from hook, dc all the way till the end, chain 3 turn

Rows 2 to x (x being whatever required to get to just under the breasts): dc in each dc of previous row, chain 3, turn.

Front and back, bottom:
This part is worked in rounds.

First join yarn to the last dc of row x. chain along the back of the front middle, until the chain length measures roughly the same as the length of the top (i.e, same number as starting chain). Join with slp st in first dc in row x.

Row x +1 : This part is worked in rounds. *Chain 5, skp 5 dc/ch sc in next dc/ch* rep from * to * around. slst in last stitch

Rows x+2 to y(y being 2 cm short of the final length of the top): chain 3,* sc in 3rd chain (in the middle of chain 5 of prev row) , chain 5, rep from *to* round. slst to join

Row y+1. This is the bottom edging: slst until sc, ch 3, 4 dc in sc, 5dc in in each sc of prev row. join with slst, weave in ends.

Front top:

Section A
Row 1: join yarn to foundation chain of front middle work. dc until middle of foundation chain
rows 2 onwards: decrease, dc until 2 dc from end, decrease, ch 3, turn. repeat until the measurement is the underarm to shoulder width of the model.

sectionB
repeat section A for the other half of the foundation chain.

halter strings (make 2)
Chain until size of halter string.cs or dc on chain (according to your width requirements). attach each string to each section of front top.

Back top
if necessary crochet dcs over the chains in the back until the back height is sufficient. I made about 6 rows.

P.S. This was originally called sexy baby halter top, as everyone who saw Anjali said that it looked very cute, but one of my readers emailed saying that sexy and baby dont go too well together. Wonder waht damomma would think of that. So changed the name to very very cute. *sigh*.

Zeus, Athena and Anjali

Anjali was not very interested in the 2000 years (the number of zeros is correct) old statues in the museum when we took her there. Husband and I were gawking over the beauty of the marble, but Anjali was not so impressed. Firstly we wouldnt let her down. Either husband, or I, had to carry her, and she wanted to walk.

For the record, Anjali hardly crawls these days. If you sit down on the floor, she sits with you and plays on the floor for two point one minutes and then holds some accessory of yours, shirt, hair, earring, fingernail, and pulls herself up to stand, shifts her grip to your forearm and pushes forward. I think that she thinks that the arms is a push chair.

or something like that. Then you would get up, and she would hold one arm and walk while holding her hand out for the other arm, or finger or nail, or something. And then the bull dozer would be off, kicking everything from balls to blocks to dry leaves to rattles and pretending that they are footballs.

anyway, back to the museum. The little imp wanted to walk. So we let her walk. At least husband let her walk, all around the superbly valuable statues of this, that, or the other greek god.


And then the little imp wanted to climb. All the way up the platform. We had to draw a line there. I am all for babies exploring, but we could get into big trouble if we knock a 2000 year statue down. Not to mention the fact that the Singapore government would have a lot of trouble answering to the Louvre people and Dan Brown will write his next book on how cults were involved in making babies and training them to break greek statues as part of the larger movement of discrediting the church and bringing back paganism into the way of living.

Now, maybe I should have let her knock a couple of statues down, that would have caused a lot of publicity and made Anjali world famous.

Anjali, when you are world famous 20 years from now, I hope that you will not get mad at me because I caused you to work hard all these years by refusing you the chance of instant fame. Hard work is the best and the most lastiing way to rise to fame, my dear girl.

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Well, so she began to sulk, and refused to pose for photos
And when daddy tricked her into turning for the camera, she gave him such a glare that it would have scorched the camera, had it been a little stronger.





The little picasso



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The first time I put paints in front of Anjali she tried to eat the paste


And got upset when i knocked her hand away.


Of course, I cant blame her, she always gets stuff to eat on a plate, and we didnt have a palatte and had to make do with a plastic plate.


This is the second time. Of course, it was just two hours later, and she is still not taking to them as well as she took to the piano, but hey, we parents have to understand that if our daughter is a child prodigy in musical talent, she cant possibly be a child prodigy in art as well...


Can we?


She types stuff on microsoft word pretty well though, and knows how to do tricks with the keyboard (like increasing the browser size). Seriously! I have been using a computer for 15 years and I cant increase the browser size without a mouse.

Anyway the art session was cute and mess inducing and and we are really fond of messes. At least all the baby books say that kids learn a lot from making messes and husband and I like to see Anjali enjoying herself, even if it means a bit of extra cleanup (And usually when Anjali is finished with the mess making stuff, she is tired and cranky and I have to take her to calm her down, so husband's the one who does the cleaning, so I encourage messes, no problem)


Monday, February 11, 2008

morning walk and shaky bridge

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This is the shaky bridge. Mummy is trying hard to keep lighting in consideration, but this one's an exception. I was so cute for her to not take the video

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And my morning sprint in the beach

My first ever camp! In pictures

When mummy and daddy told granpa that they are going camping granpa said, be careful with Anjali, you say she can crawl from the bed to the bathroom. She may crawl out of the tent.

Mummy said, there is a zipper in the tent.

Granpa said, someone might open the zipper and steal the baby.

granpa is a bit paranoid. And honestly, he thinks that he carried me in his tummy for nine months and went through three hours of labor!

Anyway, I enjoyed my first ever camp. It was two days and one night!

And we stayed all the time in a tent, near the beach!

Here are the pictures

This is daddy with a big, heavy bag, and the tent, all rolled up in the back, along with some yoga matsThis is daddy standing with the big bag and the stroller. To show that mummy as carrying me all the while and the big heavy bag went into the stroller.
This is our tent. And all our supplies in it
Another angle, with the plethora of tents on the beach
Me walking on the grass. In shoes. For the record, I never crawled outside the tent. i always walked. Either holding on to mummy, or holding on to daddy, or holding on to both!

How proud I am that I can walk so much. See, i am so proud that my tummy is sticking out. I meant to stick out my chest, but tummy stick out looks cute too!!
I am not scared of dogs. Infact, i have touched dogs in the playground.
This is me, running to the beach!

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Back in the tent. Isnt the scenery good?

Inside's not bad either. I like looking at mummy and daddy. They make funny faces at me and say goo and gaa and ada and aga.
I am especially fascinated by daddy's teeth.
Yup. I plan to be a dentist when i grow up
Let's take a short break
And go back to digging dad's teeth!
Then mummy and daddy closed the tent and I tried to get outside.
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But I didnt go too far. Thats the nice thing about me, I only do mischief if mummy, or daddy or granma or someone I know is with me. Otherwise, I dont venture too far. I call them though, and throw tantrums, until they come with me.
Back to the beach and this time for a bath
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Took a shower, came back, exhausted, drank milk and slept.
Not for long. I am up for action
And off walking
In my life, there are no obstacles, there are only stepping stones.
Be they cement pathways, or earthquake hills
Be they going up, or going down
Games galore:
Walking the shaky bridge
Beating drums Spinning on a roundabout: That was very adventurous
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A slippery slide
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And my favorite: The earthquake shaky bridge! Daddy was getting dizzy by the way the bridge shook. But did that deter me? No. I even went back for seconds. And thirds. And forths. And fifths.

Went to bed, exahusted, slept for ten hours, got up and seven, took one look at the night sky, pounded mummy on the belly to wake her up and started bugging daddy to take me out.
Is there anything better than a walk by the sea early in the morning?
Or a cuddle with mummy by the sea?
Under some coconut trees?
Or a brisk walk with daddy?