Friday, January 2, 2009

A week with Anjali

I had a most enjoyable week. Over Christmas and new year, it was a total joy to take leave and spend the time totally with Anjali. There is  bit of regret in getting back to work but over all, one thing I am grateful for is this time that I had before baby Sophia comes out and my attention gets divided.

Pattiya came over nearly every day to help out and to play with Anjali. But for the most part it was not really needed. I was plesantly surprised to see how easy it has become to manage her, over the past few months since the trip to Auckland. Sure, she still required constant attention,  there were a good number of tantrums, a handful of squabbles, but what amazed me was her abbility to communicate.

Husband had a ten hour flight with Anjali back from Auckland, something he was terrified about. But at the end of it, he told me that she played till 3am and then crashed, and slept for seven hours in the plane. That gave me a lot of encouragement. Surely, if husband could manage her, I could too.

Here are some interesting observations:

1. Anjali's tantrums come more readily if there are more people around her.

If husband or me is alone with her, she has absolutely no problem, she goes out, plays, listens to stories, sings, dances and has a good bit of fun, goes to sleep on time etc. If husband and I are both with her, she usually sets up a "mummy mummy" tantrum once in a while, tries to stretch her bed time by a couple of hours by striking up a conversation after lights out etc. But husband and I have wisened up to her tricksand have learnt that after ten thirty, ignoring is the best thing to do.

Unfortunately, this doesnt work with patti and thattha. Thattha is very happy to extend the imp's bed time, and entertains her as long as she wants, and then exclaims how come she doesnt sleep till past midnight. One day during my leave, patti and thattha came over to spend the evening. The imp refused point blank to go to sleep when the patti was there. The patti and thattha, afraid that she would cry if they left early, stayed up, hoping that she would go to sleep. But nothing doing. It was past 11pm when I forced patti to leave, whereupon, Anjali began to cry. The first time this happened, patti opened the front door and came back in. Ten minutes later, I coerced her into leaving again whereupon the imp cried for a grand total of 10 seconds, and then decided that she wanted to go to Auckland and give bread to the seagulls. So we entertained her for ten more minutes and she went to sleep pronto at 11.30.

2. Anjali can be very well argued over by logic and treats

Anjali generally loves to have a bath, but it is hard to make her get to the tub unless she has a good reason. The old reason we used to give her was to encourage her to bath her pooh and snoopy. Now that does not work anymore. We changed it to making soap bubbles, which is fun too, but only during the bath. Right now, it doesnt entice her enough to let go of what she is doing to step into the bath. The newest treat is to allow her to wash her clothes. Sometimes, as a better treat (to allow mummy to take a bath too), I let her wash my clothes as well. We usually shower her while the clothes are being washed.

The logic also works for potty. We have gottne the potty training down pat, except the bit with sitting down on the potty. So once in a while, we need to take either the meow meow, or the tortoise or gita or someone to sit in the potty, and ofcourse, they dont know how, so Anjali must show them how to sit in the potty. And we also get to climb up and flush the toilet.

Too bad the logic doesnt work when we need to dress Anjali up. The only thing that works then is to tell her that we are going to the playground. We dont even need to bring the tortoise to the potty in that case.

3. Anjali knows how to make (and keep) a deal

Every few hours or so, Anjali would come to me, and say "Sheeta!!". That means that she wants to watch Pal Pal Hai Bhari on the computer. At first I was getting a bit worried about it. As the song has played atleast 50 times in the house. Then I decided to tell her, Ok, you can watch it, but just once, or to ask her how many times she wanted to watch. Usually she would say one or two. So then i would tell her, fine, you can watch sheeta x number of times, and after that we must do this or that. Ok?

"Okay!" she would say

"Do we have a deal?"


And at the end of the thing, she would climb off by herself and go to keep her end of the deal.

Another time, Anjali refused to get off patti's shoulder because she thought that patti would go home if she went into daddy's arms. As we were at the market, patti had to carry Anjali while doing other stuff. After watching her for a few minutes, i decided to try a new tactic. "Anjali", I said, "If you let daddy carry you,  patti will come with us." And Anjali immediately nodded and jumped into husband's arms. Patti decided to keep her end of the deal and Anjali was happy. Patti and thattha came back, and then left for home as Anjali was having her bath.

4. An ever increasing vocabulary is not necessarily a parenting advantage

I have written before about how an increasing vocabulary makes Anjali totally bossy. This morning, I asked Anjali if she wanted to wear a shirt.

"Naked!" she exclaimed, running around the house and beating her stomach with her palms like some kind of King Kong.

5. Anjali becomes more rowdyish when she is dressed out of the anamoly

Two days ago, we went out for new year's eve, to pick some stuff up for baby Sophia - clothes cotton, a bottle etc. Anjali was dressed impeccably. Pretty sleeveless T-shirt, red pants, pink shoes. I was so proud of accomplishing such a pretty dress up. But she was clingy and wanted to be carried. Until at some point of time where she spilled water all over her pretty dress. Upon which we had to take off the clothes. Which was fine. But she didnt want new clothes to be put on her, and ran around the mall with just a diaper. Husband chased after her and put a T-shirt on.

As I was eating at that time, and as the day was fairly warm, husband didnt bother with pants. And then somehow, (and I still cant figure out how it happened) the imp managed to remove her diapers. And decided to run around the restaurant without a diaper (thankfully, the T-shirt was a long one). As husband caught her and forced a new diaper on her, he exclaimed, "Kithu!! I want to stay at home and rest. Please!!"

But then, Anjali was perfectly happy and non clingy after the pant came off. She walked, ran, charmed all the babies etc.

The same thing happened on new year's day trip to the center. Pretty pink dress and blue shoes and the girl got all clingy to mummy. But then somewhere between the restaurant and the MRT station, she lost a shoe, and happily began to run by herself. "No no caie, walk". And so, to improve her balance (and to simplify her life), we took off her other shoe as well. Her feet were pitch black when we got home. But she was extremely happy and active and walked and hopped and ran all the way home.

6. Whoever taught the imp table manners (namely me) forgot some crucial points

I should have insisted on the high chair, but now it is way too late. A trip to the restaurant is fine if it is a fast food or a buffet. But go to a sit down restaurant, or even Pizza hut, and it becomes a true ordeal, one of the reasons is that you need to wait for the food, and then you need to eat it. We went to a nice, family friendly (lots of kids and babies around) restaurant for new year's eve. Why cant she sit in her chair? She kept running around between spoonfuls of soup, and then she got full and didnt want any noodles and got very interested in the family at the next table with three kids. She kept saying baby and touching each kid in turn. I was pretty amused. Husband was not. Of course, he was the one running after her (i have the up the pole excuse).

For the record, this was after she dumped water over her pants.

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