Archive | May 2013

A day to forget

That was last weekend when it looked like the stars of entire family took all possible twists and turns.

LHB catching cold. My heart sinks to see the 3 month old fight with cold, cough and difficulty to breathe.

Microwave refusing to produce heat waves.

Washer conking out with overload of clothes.

Part of dining room ceiling kissing the ground..  Fortunately it was just two minutes before the fall Adi and I moved away from that place.. Just the thought of “what if someone was standing there?” is enough to stay awake all night.

Work speeding up with late nights and early mornings..

The family is still coping up with the situation and cannot further take in even a miniscule change..

Who said “One at a time”? We exist to prove them wrong!!!!!

 

 

Who is the luckiest?

is out of the bag and is popping up very often.

My response is both are lucky in your own ways. She repeats “No!!!! tell me who is the luckiest?”

Self: He is the luckiest as he has got an adorable sister.
Adi: Haan.. then why didn’t you have him first? I would have had an adorable brother..
Self: Know what? I think you are the luckiest!! You didn’t share your parents for almost 7 years but he is sharing from day one!!
Adi: True!!!! so is it even?
Self: Yep it is even. Both of you are luckiest but in your own ways and the good part is its even. She nods, moves on and I pass out with the pressure of handling the most dreaded question.. Pheeewwww!!!!!

P.S: The girl is ready to play cleanup game in the laptop but doesn’t want to assist me with cleanup in real world !!!!!

Go with the flow

**Alert – Incoherent thoughts…

Just go with the flow. Don’t hold on to grudges and act abnormal. Be your own self.  Easier said than done haan? I totally understand that its very hard to act the way you want to be when the receiver is not reciprocating even one tenth of it.

Although I give you this piece of my mind every now and then I am myself confused.  You win by confusing me don’t you?

I only wish to answer all your cornering questions and shut you down for once. Hope it just doesn’t die as a wish.

Yes, you the evil who jumps up high when triggered by external forces.  Its the good that is pleading you, please please allow me to be my own self !!!!

 

Fruit themed party

Inspired from fellow mommy bloggers I always wanted to plan a themed party for Adi at home and the wish was fulfilled this year. Once it was decided to have it as a simple party at home inviting her school friends I started looking for ideas. Fruit themed party attracted me the most and the planning started. I wanted to work out the logistics before promising to Adi so collected all required details and then involved the little girl. She was thrilled to be part of the planning and preparation and the satisfaction level after the party is beyond words… Over to the party

Decorations:

Adi’s name banner was done by me with fruits drawn in between each letter. Do you see those apples, strawberries and grapes? The girl hugged me at least a dozen times for this banner 🙂

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Hanged these inflatable fruits randomly at different places and also at front door so that it will be easy for guests to locate our house. That is the hallway outside our apartment leading to backyard door.

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M’s contribution to decoration was with streamers

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Fruit based party supplies – invitations, plates, cups, napkins

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Food:

I made fruit pizza, cup cakes with strawberry/blueberry toppings and arranged cut fruits/marshmallows in a platter with skewers. The idea was for kids to make their own fruit kebabs. All the three items were huge hit. I made two batches of fruit pizza still we didn’t have any for ourself and one of the mommy asked for a to go 🙂 :). Kids made kebabs of their like and the platter was empty within minutes. I kept cantaloupes, red seedless grapes and banana for the kebabs.  Another mommy didn’t believe that cup cakes were baked at home. M agreed with her but later said, he would have given credit to me if I had baked it from the scratch. I used the cup cake mix. Still it was me who baked it at the right temperature/time and decorated with frosting and fruits. Doesn’t that count? 😦 This guy exists just to make sure that I won’t fly in the air even for a nano second.

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Cake cutting errr Fruit pizza cutting:

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We also ordered cheese pizza and bought cheese puffs/juices for the kids. For adults (mostly non-Indians), Amma prepared chicken biriyani, onion raita, chicken pepper gravy, Idli, coconut chutney, rasam and white rice. I was surprised to see that all of them tasted every dish without any fuss. They loved indian food and appreciated Amma very much.

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Games:

It was a week long discussion between Adi and myself. I gave her many options and the girl finally choose three among them.

Candy toss: Kids have to stand at a distance and toss candy into a bowl. They earn all the candies tossed into the bowl and the one who have tossed the most got a medal at the end. I bought fruit shaped hard candies for this game.

Pin the tail on the donkey: Kids will be blind folded and then have to stick the tail on the donkey. I bought the kit from dollar store and the game was a huge hit among the kids. The one who was closest to the actual tail got a medal.

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Straw candies: Put M&M’s on one bowl and the kid has to take the M&M using a straw and put it on another bowl. We had advance levels for kids who were good at it. We kept increasing the distance between the bowls and then made them kneel to get the candy. Adults were attracted by the game and they tried their hands too.

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Making fruit kebab was itself like a game and there was pinata too. The kids loved the medal ceremony 🙂

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And of course bubbles.. They played bubbles at backyard.

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Return gift:

Fruit tote bag, Snap circuit and their candy loots. The fruit tote bag can be squeezed like a fruit. I missed to take a picture of them. These pictures are taken from the original websites.

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It was not an easy task. M and Amma helped me to pull it together. It was a budget party and I was very glad as the actuals was very close to my initial estimation. There were obviously some tensions around like I kept the decorated cup cakes inside “just used” oven and the frosting started to melt. Luckily I noticed it at the right time and took the cup cakes off the oven. Then, Adi was throwing up in the morning. But, overall the party exceeded our expectation and we all had great fun. For once, I didn’t forget anything (remember the last time I forgot party hats?).

Thanks to our apartment supervisor. If he had not cleaned up the backyard I would not have planned this party at all. Also, thanks to LHB. He was a darling through out the party. He settled in ammachi’s lap and spent all the time observing the kids around. There was not even a tiny whine.

ETA: She was upset with the boys in the party. There is this girl disease and boy cancer viral and girl/boy thing going on now. Looks like if a boy touches a girl he will turn into a girl and that’s girl disease. Don’t ask me about boy cancer. I didn’t ask them either.  Looks like these boys threw most of her stuff in a bucket full of water and she was very upset about it.  Still she gave me thumbs up and 5/5 for the party and that’s is all I wanted end of day 🙂

We had around 10 kids and 10 adults in total.

For those interested I bought most of these items from orientaltrading.com and rest from dollar store except for the snap circuit.  Oriental is a very good site for party supplies and its value for money.

On her birthday eve we went to Paratha junction for dinner. It was a bad choice as food was not great. Still, all that mattered to the little girl is that she went to a restaurant with family for dinner on her birthday.

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On a different note, this was my breakfast on the party day which collided with Mother’s day. Adi fixed this for me with Ammachi’s help. She remembered that  I like Idli podi for the side. A thoughtful girl I have 🙂 She also asked me what did I give to my Amma?

Btw that’s her old picture in new frame.

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Last Friday I took Amma to a restaurant for lunch and gave her the printed copy of  “My Amma” post. She was overwhelmed is an understatement.

My-oh-my!!!!

There she asked last evening “Amma is it true that once you grow older your pee turns into blood and you have to use pads to save your dress???”

It took me few seconds to respond but I am glad I handled it quite well instead of goofing up. It was totally an unexpected moment. I took a deep breath and said “Yes, its true though you may get it only for 3 to 4 days a month and its called menstruation”. With that we moved on to our own work. One of her schoolmate was the source for her.

Note to self and fellow mommies:

1. Don’t worry about how to initiate the talks rather prepare yourself to handle the questions at unexpected moment.

2. It makes it easier to talk about it as science and more importantly in not-a-big-deal tone.

3. Acknowledge and keep the talk brief. No matter what you do, the moment they raise the question give full attention to them and respond to all their questions briefly.

4. If you are not able to respond at that moment simply say “Yes, what you have heard is true but shall we talk about it after a while? Then, remember to talk about it when both are involved in some task like while folding clothes together or chatting in general. The child should be in a state of mind to ask more questions. Probably start with some general talk and then move on to the specific topic. Check with them if they want to talk about it before proceeding. Maintain the casual tone throughout the talk.

5. Don’t explain in detail unless they are ready to listen.

There could be better ways to handle this but these are my first hand experience. Hope this helps someone someday…

Adi doesn’t want me to kiss her in public and says “don’t embarrass me” if I call her by cute names or act weird in public.  I am missing those days when simple yet weird acts like a swift dance move, a jump here and there, saying “yo-yo in rap style” made my girl laugh. Today they embarrass her. I don’t want my little girl to grow up so fast!!!!! I am not ready to accept her as a grown up yet.

IS THERE A WAY TO PAUSE THE TIME ONLY FOR MY GIRL?????

P.S: I am behind by few days on clearing my reader and responding to comments. Will get to it soon.  I will also make a separate post on the fruit themed party. Thank you all for the birthday wishes to Adi…

Happy 8th

Dear Pattumma,

It just feels like yesterday that I wrote the first letter to you on your 6th and here I am already writing the third letter. Your attitude and behavior has changed drastically this year. I have heard about the tween phase that starts at about 10 but is there any pre-tween phase and is there any parenting guidance to handle that phase? Its high time I upgrade my parenting skills as you strongly show the signs of a tween already. I have also heard that girls grow faster than boys but I didn’t realize it would be this fast. Please give me some space to breathe and accept that you are no more my cute little baby that once was a mommy pleaser and cuddled me every night.

You say it loud that “you don’t have to like something/someone because your parents like it/them”, “You need not be good at everything”, “You cannot please everyone all the time”.  Every time you utter these gyans I stand there awestruck.

The phrases you commonly use are “never mind”, “what now?”, “it is not fair”, “whatever”, “leave me alone”, “move on people move on”… Let me explain

“never mind” happens when you ask us for something and then swiftly change your mind.

“what now?” happens when you are lost during the screen time. I explain ten times to you, you nod all the way as if you understand with eyes glued to the screen and finally ask “what now?”

“it is not fair” happens for anything and everything. At one point I was so annoyed on hearing it every other minute and brought you back to ground with a fun game. If you say it more than 5 times a day then you have to pay me a quarter or else I pay you. I made fun of you on initial days by saying “come on come on say it say it. I need a quarter” when these words were about to slip through your mouth and you gulped it down with a huge scream. Then, you hummed those words for few days. Then , you said “I feel like saying those words but I won’t as I don’t want to lose”. Slowly and steadily you got better and my ears are more happier now upon not hearing those words as often as it used to.

“whatever” happens when I try to explain things in detail to you. Patience is slowly giving up on you. When I am in middle of explaining you either say “whatever just move on amma” or “whatever just tell me what I should do now”

“leave me alone” happens when you are outraged. You lock yourself inside a room for a while. We never console you as it only makes the situation worse. You come out once you feel better and we all act as if nothing happened. We do talk about the incident but later when you are ready for the conversation. See, I told ya! I feel like dealing with a restless teen to analyze her mood and think twice before initiating a conversation.

“I know, I know” happens when we try to grind the same stuff to make you realize the importance of the talk. You are slowly graduating from ” I know everything” phase to “Are you kidding me? How do you expect me to know everything? After all I am just a kid”.  It would be great if you could apply this logic at most times but sadly you use them only when they favor you.

“Fine then I am never ever going to do this ever again” with stomp happens when we don’t say yes to your request. You don’t want to listen to the but after no. So far you have cancelled your birthday plans at least a dozen times.

You call me “girl” these days. You say “go girl”, “get me this girl”, “it is getting late girl”. I am fine with that. Actually, I like that!!!

You yell when things are not done your way. Most of these could be influence from those tween shows but I have no idea on how to control it. Hope its a phase and you will outgrow them sooner. At the same time it sends shivers down my spine to think what is in store for coming years. You may outgrow this but what will you get into next?

You lost interest with “pattu” and we have suspended the class. May be I was the reason. I stand guilty for all those forceful practice sessions. Hope you will revive the interest someday.

Appa says all these are fine as long as you don’t get physical like hurting people or breaking things.  I nod half heartedly. After all you need a way to let out too right? But but isn’t this too early to talk about pressure, let out, relax? All I knew at the age of 8 was to eat what amma fixed, wear one of that 3 or 4 dress, play on the streets and sleep happily. Life was much simpler then.

Am I complaining too much? Looks like our honeymoon period is over and my letters are not going to be all rosy from now on. Please don’t take it personal dear. Its your age and I sincerely hope we will sail through this safely.

Now for the good parts

You are doing amazingly well at academics. You are a consistent first honor roll student inspite of skipping a grade.

You take care of school works by yourself. All we do is only signing the sheets. You fix your bag and remind me about all school activities.

You cannot hurt your friends. You love each one of them and you have a big gang. You skipped buying the italian ice when you friend’s mom denied your friend’s request citing cough and cold.  I knew how much you longed for an italian ice after all these winter days.  I love you pattumma.

You are an adorable big sister. You have a special song for LHB. I wish to capture the tune one day. Lyrics go like this “I love you, yes I do. Whom do I love more than you? Nobodyyyy. I love youuu”.  You talk to him at every single chance. You call him with many names. The most favorite is “thambi bambi” and “kuttyma”. You soothe him saying “Nalla irukkum kuttyma nalla irukkum azha kudadhu seriyaa”. As of now he holds half of your heart and rest is shared by family and friends. He stands number one in your list.  You are a totally changed person when you are with him. Every morning you drink milk sitting by his side. You tell him all that you do. When you step out you say “Akka poittu varaen. sekirama vandhuduvaen seriyaa”.. LHB is blessed and lucky to have an akka like you. Hope this guy deserves your love and treats you the same way.

You don’t hold on to grudges for long. Though you scream and cry, you do what we request you to do and that gives me so much peace.

You are good at planning. You use homework passes wisely. Like you have saved the homework pass received last week and using it today so that we can go out for dinner on your special day.

We follow a tradition at home that is set by you. When one of us ask “do you like it?” to another our response should be “NO”. It should be “No I don’t like it but I love it”. You go mad if we respond with a “yes” for the “do you like it?”. We are wierd that ways!!!

You leave that one strand of hair on your face just because one day I accidentally spilled out that you look all grown up with this new style. You can easily spend hours in front of the mirror. Like we say “the mirror” will miss you so much when we move out of this house.

You have asked to save my “cooking diary” so that you can pass it on to your offspring.

When I asked if your kid would call me “ammachi” you snapped, ammachi is a tamil name amma. What if I marry a Hindi man? Very true!!!!! There is no pressure at all darling.

You are still scared of the dark. No amount of explaining or cajoling works. You absolutely cannot step out of the room if all lights are switched off.

You still co-sleep with us and that’s a top secret. You truly badly want your own room to be setup just for you and sleep there at least theoretically.

You are dealing with some health issues now. The treatment requires at least half an hour of our time every night and you are cooperating very well. I engage you with ABS (Akbar Birbal Stories) at this time and you are now looking forward to these sessions.

I am still wondering at how you convinced Appa to get you that american girl doll. Julie is your best buddy and you love her.

You  had a fantabulous (if I may say so myself) fruit themed party at home this year. **preening alert** Master mind was amma!!!

As you requested Amma will gift you the doll and few more stuff through a treasure hunt okie? Oh you love treasure hunts.

May God bless you with good health all through your life. That’s the only wish I have for you this year.

Love you always,

Amma

My amma

The lady who is still a child at heart with grays on hair. Sshhh don’t ask her about the grays okay? She was brought up like an apple inside a fridge with her brother pampering with goodies from every town visit, mother not letting her to do any housework in spite of fellow village girls slogging to meet their mom’s orders, father letting her to handle finances, younger siblings running around her obeying all her orders.  She lived a life no less than a princess yet swiftly emerged out of that dreamy life to face the reality after marriage when she had to start a life all by herself at a new city. Thank you amma for it is your gene that has led me to manage work/home/kids without biting my head off in this foreign land with zilch help.

She got married at the tender age of 15 imagining marriage as child’s play,  gave birth to her first child at 17 after struggling for three days and nights and groomed herself as a woman learning life along with her offspring in tow.  You name a class, she would be there learning cooking, baking, knitting, stitching. Hailing from a bigger family she funnily recollects the early married days when she cooked in biggest kadai for just two. She is now the well wisher for my maternal uncles and aunts. They call him “akka” (big sister) inspite of her being their father’s sister. The maternal clan from my generation, for that matter all of them call her “mummy” even after starting their own family. Such is the way she treats family. Thank you amma for its your love for family that led me sail through difficult times and guide my family with love and affection as the primary focus.

Once a friend, she will always be a friend with you. “Aunty” is very popular in my friend’s circle for her hospitality, food and companionship.  No one will put the phone down without asking about aunty. She owns big big vessels just to cook away for friends and family get togethers with love as the secret ingredient. She still maintains contact with those mami’s and mama’s whom she befriended some 40 years back. She makes at least a dozen sweets and savouries for Diwali. The preparations will start ten days in advance, the stove will be brought down and the house will be filled with smell of ghee.  She has come a long long way in cooking as she recollects from learning to boil water to making the sumptuous wheat halwa and mysore pas. Thank you amma for its your determination that had led me to learn cooking and enjoy baking with my daughter.

She had hosted distant relatives from our native village during their exile to chennai for a better life. Its quite common to have an impromptu visitor to our home at odd hours. She befriends domestic help akka, pal-kara-amma, kerai- kara-amma, meen-kara-amma, pazha-kara-amma, paper-podara-anna, poo-kara-amma. Come to my home mid morning or afternoon you can see one of this amma or akka taking rest at our porch after selling on the streets screaming their lungs out. Its our home where they stop by for a lota of water and some days even for their lunch. The meen-kara-amma (fisher woman) even cleans the fish for her when she returns after sale to rest for a while. She gives them company as they rest talking nineteenth to the dozen.  No, we neither lived in a bungalow nor had surplus financial status but she had never hesitated to host people in that small two bedroom rented house.  Thank you amma for it is your love and warmth for people that was instilled deep down in my heart that led me to build nice people around me.

She had taught us to always address relatives with the relationship names like atthai, mama, chithappa, chithi, periappa,periamma. We call most of our relatives only by relationship. The generic uncle and aunty was rarely used. Whoever comes home, we should at least greet them with a “hello, how are you?” Locking inside the room had never been a choice.  Thank you amma for its your actions that had taught me the act of socializing and the importance of relationship.

She suffers from severe OCD when it comes to cleaning. I have seen her with inch tape on her shoulder to measure the distance between wall and sofa while cleaning. Her home will always be spick and span, even the distance between the toys at living room showcase will be measured to micro inches.  She dresses up so elegant while stepping out that people ask “where do you work?” instead of “do you work?”. It is a delight to watch her in those pressed cotton sarees with neat pleats and matching blouse. She never compromises on dressing up especially on the matching blouse. She followed the same rule for us too. She would travel to the other end of city to just buy one shirt for my bro. She wouldn’t hesitate to empty the purse if I liked the salwar, ofcourse after saving the coins for return train ticket. At the same time she taught us the value of money. I am still wondering on how she pampered her kids to the core and at the same time instilled good values in them. As kids, we were never exposed to financial issues of the family. She would make everything affordable for us yet make us realize the value behind it. Thank you amma for all the bold decisions that you have taken for our betterment and its the way you handled us that I am reflecting on my parenting skills today.

She had never shown any difference in the way my brother and I was brought up. I have only heard about gender inequality but never experienced it in my family. When asked whom do you love the most she would say “both my kids are my two eyes” and laugh away when I counter her as ‘Am I the cataracted eye?” She soon got the other eye cataracted too and I was left with no option to pull her leg.  Instead of restricting, she gave me full freedom and enabled me to understand how to use that freedom in the right way. Is that your way of teaching amma? Thank you amma for its your support and encouragement that made me who I am today and enabled me to lead my life with confidence.

To sum it up I realize that I am turning to be you in your early thirties amma. In every action of mine as a mother I see you. Most incidents appear like a replay with just change of roles where I play as you and my daughter plays as me.  Many times we think alike and speak each other’s mind much to the other one’s surprise.

Thank you amma for teaching us by living and not by preaching or enforcing.

Thank you amma for instilling the thoughts in us to transform and rise up according to the situation rather than training us with dry runs. I am trying my best to focus on correcting Adi’s thoughts than correcting her actions as a better thought process will eventually lead to better action.

Thank you amma for making me realize that it most matters as how a kid evolves as an individual while starting its own life. My life is a living example. I am a lazy bum in your presence where as I roll up my sleeve when the responsibility is on me.  Preparing for tomorrow needs as much attention as correcting today’s action.

Thank you amma for believing in your kids and trusting them one hundred and one percent.

Thank you amma for making us realize the importance of education. I can’t forget those trips you made to your friend’s place to get loan to pay our education fees and those late nights when you sit along with us reading magazines as we prepare for our board exams.

Thank you amma for being there for me and our family. Just your presence does wonders to us.

Thank you amma for taking in all that crap I through on you yet lift me up when I break down.

Thank you amma for listening to me and never judging me.

Thank you amma for even justifying our anger towards you.

Thank you amma for never letting us down in front of others.

Thank you amma for being selfless and giving me wonderful childhood that turned into beautiful memories to cherish.

Thank you amma for looking at life through my eyes and being active part of my month long preparations for every birthday.

You are the only one to whom I speak from my heart with no filters.

Like I told Adi the other day, there is no “bad mommy” in this world. She asked “How about a witch?”,  I said, even a witch will be good to her own kid. No mommy can be bad. Period

And as I read somewhere “God created amma’s to help him out as he cannot tend to all his creations at the same time”.

Happy mother’s day to my bestest amma and all the amma’s out there!!!!!

Cross posted at IMC. Do checkout their site. They are celebrating motherhood at a different level.

 

Random updates

  • So far so good.. LHB is an easy maintance guy who cries only if he needs something and can be pacified within minutes. All you have to do is put him on your shoulders and pat for few minutes. I guess he has taken after his mom’s genes what say 😉
  • Akka has given him a sweet pet name that we have decided to use at home. M did not agree to this name but the girls decided.
  • LHB started responding at 2.5 months and gives that cute bokka vai* wide grin. Sometimes akka goes cross as he doesn’t respond to her consistently. He is turning to be a man of moods. He would simply stare at you if he is not in mood no matter what you do to make him smile.
  • I have started work this week and it feels beyond great to be back at my desk and reconnect with fellow colleagues.
  • I am pumping at work and LHB is still on my milk. For first two days we used the freezer stash and now the routine is set to use the pumped milk next day. touchwood touchwood !!!! breast pump is a blessing. Seriously!!
  • Amma is looking after LHB that gives me peace while staying away from home.
  • Akka is doing good in general and if anyone wants to see a doting big sis please feel free to visit our home. She is playing the role at its best and outperforms herself every single day. Again touchwood touchwood !!!! M says I am speaking too soon and we should wait till the day LHB gets on to her nerves.
  • Akka’s birthday is around the corner and I have got something up my sleeve. Hope I get to execute them and make her happy. Its a challenge for self too. fingers crossed. More details will follow after execution. Please wish me good luck.
  •  I am now enjoying the state of peace before the storm. Storm details are unknown yet but there is definitely one in next few months. I am literally cherishing every moment that will transform into beautiful memories.
  • Our backyard has been cleaned by the new supervisor. His family took in charge recently and the elderly couple of the family are doing wonders to our backyard. I felt ashamed when they took turns in cleaning the yard. The husband spent one full day to clean and the wife spent another full day to plant flowers and decorate with a small red bench and other cute little stuffs. I will post a picture soon. They did barbecue last weekend inviting their friends and extended families. He keeps the common area sparking clean these days. Hats off to him and his wife. Their energy is something to learn.
  • I have moved on to feedly. How about you guys?
  • I started with “Ponniyin Selvan” but have suspended reading for a while as most part of time at home is spent by chatting with amma. Even after three months of staying together all day and night we have not run out of topic yet.  I would never get these golden days back.
  • I am still sleep deprived and looking for every little chance to drop down.
  • Family’s recent addiction is Food Network. We watch Restaurant Impossible, Chopped, Cupcake Wars, Sweet Genius. Occasionally we watch the day shows like Paula’s cooking and Barefoot Contessa too.  The height is Adi finishes her homework real fast to watch Sweet Genius. I wouldn’t call it as quality time but at least the family gets to spend one hour together in the living room chatting during ad breaks and guessing on who will win.  I say this is far better than the girl watching disney channel teen sitcoms. To name a few of her favorites – Jessie, Austin & Ally, Good luck charlie, Dog with a blog, A.N.T farm, Shake it up and what not..

*bokka vai – In literal meaning its toothless mouth.