Happy 10th

Dear Chellam,

This is how Amma call you these days! You are truly my chellam as you exactly know how to melt my heart ❤️We woke up today morning around same time, I was the first one to wish you and we scrolled through random pictures and videos from last 10 years and started the day with a hearty laugh recollecting those moments. This time, 10 years back you were ready to be taken out of my tummy! But end of the day you declared; Appa’s wish was the best as he wished you at the store right after handing over the cake to you!

I re-read your previous year birthday letters and you are still on the same track with all your traits growing slow but strong and steady. We have brought back study/activity chart system based on your demand and now you kind of have an idea about how to spend your evenings. I help you little lesser with your homework and you are semi-independent now! I measure your growth with Tamil learnings. Last year, I had to sit next to you to make you write every letter and now I still sit next to you and only guide you. If I underline a sentence, you can copy it yourself my semi-independent boy!

You don’t want to continue Tamil class and Amma’s persuasion is still working! I do a guilt trip talk in lines of
“Dude it’s your mother tongue, saying no to mother tongue is like saying no to your mother and I know you are not that kind, and you succumb.”

You did tryout for soccer travel team and didn’t get through. You are going to continue with rec soccer and try for travel in next seasons!

You signed up to play Guitar in upcoming talent show and very dedicated to this practice. This is a proof of your dedication to anything you put your heart into! You played Guitar at last year talent show as well!

Your wittiness is at its best state, you have very good sense of snapping with witty responses at the least expected time to instantly change the mood of the situation.

You miss Akka terribly and adjusting to the new life without her. She is home today just for you, and this is the best gift as you called it. It melts my heart to see the two of you bond since today morning!

You have developed a taste for Chinese food and now Appa and you get it more often. Sesame chicken and fried rice is your favorite.

You are continuing with cub scout, and it is getting competitive starting this year. You have an amazing den leader and your team secured 2nd place in Klondike competition with your den leader’s guidance.

It’s very hard to make you upset. You just go with the flow, adapt and bounce back very quick. This makes it very easy to work with you da!

You are equally understandable and annoying. If you need something, you will keep repeating it until I do and not give me space to respond.

It’s very hard for you to wait or have patience. We are working on this!

This Diwali, we both dressed up and went around the town to distribute sweets to your friends and my friends. You are my best companion da and you are still at this age to fully believe anything that Appa or I tell you. You validate yourself with us!

I can have a conversation and convince you to do something. I love our morning hugs and you are generous in your own ways!

You are my reflection da. The family always make fun of us when you display some of my not so cool traits. They go like “we wonder where he got this from”, and I brim with pride 🙂 I often say in a proud tone “en inam ada nee” (rough translation – you are my blood) even if your act is mischievous!

You have learned to brush your hair with gel, and I love you for doing that. I had to help and remind you the first few days when we started this routine, and you are pro at it now!

You are still going strong with brushing teeth at the night. Now, we team up to use the mouth wash at night! It’s fun to swish swash together!

I can still keep going and will stop here. I wish you loads of happiness and good health da.

Loads of ❤️,


Big Friday

The day I have been preparing myself for is finally here. Today is a mixed day with multiple streams demanding my attention.

Day started with preparation for my father-in-law’s 4th year anniversary ritual. We call it Thithi. I wanted to prepare an elaborate spread of south Indian meal, so the prep work started at 5am in the morning after a nice hot shower. Priest came home at 9am and the rituals went on till noon. Here is the platter I offered to my father-in-law today.

Left to right:

  • Moong dal payasam
  • Raw banana fry
  • Cabbage poriyal
  • Chayote kootu
  • Mango pachadi
  • Urad dal vada
  • Appalam
  • Lime pickle
  • White rice
  • White pumpkin sambar
  • Tomato rasam
  • Curd

Mid-morning, I had my 2022-year review meeting at work, and it was aligned to what I expected. I was happy as I am getting better at self-analyzing and not live in some illusional state. It seems like I am on the right path at work. I love my current job and hope to keep up with the momentum and continue to learn!

The main plan for the day is Akka’s surprise visit. LHB will go to Tamil school in the evening, Akka will arrive home when he is gone, she will settle down and lock herself in her room before LHB returns. LHB comes home, takes shower and goes to bed. Tomorrow morning, Akka will wake him up as a surprise. Perfect plan, right?

It was perfect until Tamil school declared today is online class due to very low windy chill temperature. Now, LHB will be home all evening and Akka will walk in when he is around! Mommy brain switched to Plan B. LHB was moved to basement to take his class. He was convinced as he can play video games with his friends right after the class as Xbox is setup in basement. Perfect plan, right?

It was perfect until Appa called me to wish LHB for his birthday. IT turned into a video call and Appa asked LHB if he knows the surprise about Akka. My heart skipped a beat and Amma tried to change the topic! I grabbed the phone, changed the topic and cut the call. Now, suspicious LHB wanted to go upstairs for some reason! I knew exactly what he will do. He will go to Akka’s room for a quick check! Thankfully, M diverted him to have dinner and the little boy had dinner and went back to basement to play Xbox. While LHB was having dinner I went upstairs and quietly shifted Akka to a different room, the forbidden room that we hardly use! She stayed there for a while and shifted back to her room once LHB went to basement. Mommy brain reached “shhabbaaaa” mode by now!

After his game, when he came upstairs, I managed to guide LHB to our bedroom and start bedtime routine. He took shower, settled in bed besides me and reading as I type this! I am not allowing him to step out of the room anymore and watching him like an eagle! I am done for the day. Hope the surprise works as planned tomorrow morning.

Akka update:
She came home, took shower, ate food (she tasted all the dishes I cooked today and said it’s all equally good). M and I were right next to her starting at her as she was taking every bite, the scene was funny! She was running around like a kid lost in candy land looking at all the food varieties on the kitchen table, inside refrigerator and in food pantry! She ate a hearty meal and now settled in her room catching up on work. She wants to finish all work today so tomorrow will be family day!

I guess LHB’s birthday letter will be delayed this year! With Akka being at home, I want to spend every minute with her so screen time will be less tomorrow. Let’s see!

Happy 9th

Dear LHB,

This is your last single digit birthday da! I was just reading your 8th birthday letter and most of it holds true still!

You are a mini version of me in all aspects. What would a typical 8 year old do when they grab an ice cream? gobble it? You offer to everyone around you before you take the first bite. This is you and this is me in you! Am I proud or Am I proud?

You are learning base guitar and have a good rhythm for it. Its going slow and steady! You have learned to play twinkle twinkle little star this past year!

One day you came home with an application form to join student council. I didn’t encourage claiming you have no idea about it. But, Akka supported you, both of you filled in the application form and later that week you came home running to share the news that you have been elected for student council. I couldn’t believe it at all and was planning to talk to the teacher to make sure this is not a mistake. You take this very serious and your teachers are very proud of you. Your first grade teacher told me how proud she feels when she hears your voice announcement in speaker about student council news! Am I proud or Am I proud?

This year, you started playing video games online with your friends. You all do a group video call in iPad and play on a different device while you continuing to talk on the video call!

So in the video call, one of the guy from the group was very mean to you and I am truly amazed at the way you handled it. At times you ignored him and at times you gave it back to him. I was worried if this would affect you mental health as your other friends also listen to him when he is in the group call. But, I watched you from a distance and let you handle it. The second he joins the call, he will ask you to leave! Eventually, you stopped playing with them and started playing on your own, even made your own another small group and moved on as if nothing happened! Am I proud or Am I proud? For the records, you play Fortnite, Roblox and Rocket league.

The same gang bullied you in school bus and you promptly reported to bus driver. Now, they call you tattle taler and you care less. You just move on by doing what is right!

On the day a new season was released in Fortnite, you made plans with your friends to wake up at 4am. You told them “My Amma will not allow me to wake up so early but guys I can convince my Appa. See you all at 4am”

Another day when one of your friend asked if you can gift him a skin in Fortnite, you replied “My Amma doesn’t buy any game stuff for me. She always says kids have to ask their own parents if they want to buy any skin or game, I am sorry. My mom will not allow me to buy”.

It is true, we didn’t allow you to buy any game stuff for a long time. You were using laptop to play with friends. Very recently we bought you Xbox series S as your birthday gift. Now you get ration hours every day to play in Xbox. All your robux and skins are only earned as reward points!

You can easily make me a “bad momma” with all your random comments but I try not to succumb! We both are the best pair 🙂 We push each other beyond our limits every single day!

You are an easy goer, doesn’t bother much about how people perceive you. You don’t care to impress anyone. You are not teacher’s pet. You give ample chance to others. You can be easily convinced. You make lot of trade offs. I often call you “dra” short form for “drama king” when you act up!

We cut short most of the words in our daily conversations! Some samples are “imag” for “imagine”, “quesh” for “question”, “dra” for “drama” and so on..

You have recently joined basket ball team and learning the tricks!

I spend most of my weekday evening time with you helping you with homework, make you read at bedtime and very recently we have started work out routine. You walk and do tricks in tread mill while catching up on your favorite Youtube videos. Ah, you want to be a Youtuber when you grow up and you want Akka to make tik tok videos so you can use those moves to create characters in Fortnite. You also want to be a Vet! You were asking Akka very seriously the other day “What does it take to be a Vet Akka?” You do homework just to satisfy me! Math and science are least of your interest!

Another quality time we spend together is art session. We pick a drawing of your choice from Arts for Kids hub channel and draw it together following the video instructions. So far, we have drawn Husky, Marsh mello, Kai ninja character and a Phoenix bird! I love these art sessions with you. Wish we can do this more often though!

You call me Amma few times and if I dont respond then you call me loudly with my full name (first and last name). When I ask why you do this, you respond with shrugging shoulders that only then I pay attention to you!!

You are smart in your own ways. You call iPad to find when we hide it and claim that we are fools to hide without putting it on silent mode!

You broke my heart last week by declaring that Math is your least favorite subject 😦 We take anywhere from 45 minutes to 1.5 hours to complete 1 sheet of Math homework! You are not an academy strong person like Akka. I am yet to identify your true interest as right now most of your time and energy is taken away by the game monster! Whenever you throw tantrum, I claim that the “game monster” has taken over you!

You are a great friend and your close friend G’s mom adores you! She keeps praising you for the way you protect her son G!

This is you and Akka splitting the candies that you got from neighborhood trick or treat. You gave away some share to her happily 🙂

This is you at Cub scout booth helping visitors to play some games.

I can keep writing 🙂 We all love you to the moon and back kutty! You are our lifeline!

You have a very generous heart and stay the same is all I want to tell you. God bless you chellam!

ETA: I woke up to see this in the morning. Our favorite plant “redda” decided to wish you in his own way! He holds a bloomed flower for you after many weeks. Not yesterday, not tomorrow, he decided to bloom today! Nature’s gift to you da! Are you lucky or are you lucky?

Loads of ❤

Melt my heart

LHB melts my heart at random times. Here is how he did it today

LHB: Amma, I could smell and feel the dosa when I was at class. Can you make me some dosa!
Amma: Sure da. How many dosas do you need?
LHB: Did Akka eat?
Amma: Yes da!
LHB: Did everybody eat?
Amma: Yes da!
LHB: How much maavu (batter) do you have?
Amma: I have enough baby!
LHB: Okay then make me how much ever you like ma!

And he melts my heart…

Thoughtfulness is

LHB asking me to buy peanut candy for his Appa as Appa is coming home tomorrow bringing loads of goodies and LHB wants to get something that Appa likes to eat.

He also saved this for Appa. He clearly knows the junk person of the house 😀

It reminds me of M’s deal with the kids. “Eat any junk but give me some and then eat”

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Thank you

Thank you all for your encouraging positive comments. I am working on lifting my spirit up and stay focused on things that need my attention. Its okay for the dark thoughts to come and go, its even okay if tears flow down, just let it flow or wipe it and continue to do what you do. Don’t sulk and give in to negative emotions!! I am repeating to myself often!

Kids have resumed school today after 10 days and I am able to breathe easy. Naughty LHB took his own time to get ready and made me drop him at school!!

Just for laugh:
Amma: LHB, please come over to take your medicine
LHB: Arghhhhh!!! Its that time again!!
Amma: LHB, please da, Amma paavam da, please come and take your medicines da
LHB: Amma, you don’t understand. My life! My choice! I can choose to not drink the medicine
Amma: **passing out instantly** and Adi rolling on the floor laughing..

If only Amma had even 5% of this wisdom!! My life, My choice it seems…

Adi and I were laughing over it for rest of the day by randomly saying “My life, my choice” and she kept mocking me “You don’t understand Amma”!!

Weekend highlights:

  • Adi attended a sweet 16 surprise party at old neighborhood.
  • LHB and I killed time at Chuck e cheese while the girl was partying
  • LHB won second place in a cub scout boat race. Don’t ask me how many participated 🙂 its 3!
  • Adi attended “Make a blanket” event at the temple. They made blankets to be distributed to terminally ill children at the hospital.
  • Quick stop at friend’s home to wish their daughter for her birthday.
  • I have started watching “Super singer junior” and had a very good laugh. Though I don’t like the way the kids are engaged, some lighter moments and laughter is guaranteed and I need them very much right now!!

We spent a solid 3 hours in making this boat last weekend. LHB chose to paint them red and blue.

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Hugs and love to you all.

Appa’s spy


Scene – On call with Appa

LHB: Appa, I want to talk to you in private and he walks into my closet with the phone. Closes the door but I could hear him!

You know Appa, these girls, they are using your card to order in Amazon. They are ordering stuff in Amazon with your name Appa.

Appa says its okay and then he steps out and tells me all about it. He felt so relieved when Appa said its okay.

We were ordering a party dress for Adi in Amazon and placed order with M’s card as it was auto saved in the account. I was too lazy to reach out to my wallet.

I least expected this little fellow fooling around to notice it, remember and tell his Appa. He didn’t utter a word when we were ordering instead observed it all and reported to his Appa dutifully!! Naughty guy!!

I feel that some change happens (either good or bad) right after I speak about something in this blog. Do you remember how few days ago I vented about the pain of making LHB do his math/english work. He is acting like a charm for past two days, following my orders and doing all the work he is expected to do with no whining or tantrum!! I hope to not jinx it :fingers_crossed

Getting along

Today morning:

Scene: On the way to airport to drop M. LHB came along as it was an early morning drop and timings worked out perfect to drop him at school on the way back.

I asked something to M and he snapped at me with raised voice

LHB: Amma, you will not see Appa soon again. He is gone for 1 month. Be nice to him.

I had to clarify to the little one that its not me but his Appa who raised his voice and felt terrible about it.

Adi got used to our skirmishes but LHB observes keenly and even voiced it out loud few times in recent months as “Will you guys ever get along?”

One day, M and I were having a casual convo and laughing over something and this boy shouts from behind “Akka, they are getting along, they are getting along” **face palm moment**

But, that triggers my thoughts “Will we ever get along? like ever??”

P.S: Day one of single parenting. Just 26 more days to go!!

Happy 7th

Dear LHB,

Where do I start baby? You are a bundle of positivity with abundance energy and that has a ripple effect at home. Amma, Appa, Akka are boring souls who are more focused on their work and then you come in to make us laugh loud and ease up the air.

Akka calls you Mousie. You sighed to me one day while brushing “She keeps different weird names for me ma. What does Moussie even mean?” But I can see how much you love it. She will step out of her room only when you enter the house to hear all stories form you. Our arrivals are grandly ignored unless we bring some treats. And you will tell all stories only to her ignoring our presence around. It is a delight to watch you both converse.

You want to marry Akka so both of you can stay together forever. You are worried as much as I am about Akka moving out to pursue college in couple of years but we talk about it often to come to terms with it.

There is a high school girl Ms.E working as an assistant in your class and you described her looks to Akka so she can reach out to her in high school for any help. “She will help you Akka. Ask her. She knows everything!! That’s your way of helping Akka!

You have a BIG heart kutty and that is the trait Amma loves the most in you. You offer it to others before tasting even if its your favorite dessert. Hearing “do you want some?” melts my heart instantly.

We have come a long way in communication. I am so glad that we have started making deals and you to some extent understand the implication of your action. We have a conversation and I am able to convince you, sometimes you convince me too. We complement each other very well and that is a big win for me.

You are at this prime age to question everything and your curious mind never takes a break. Your family is still the world for you and you look up to us for anything and everything especially Akka. From drinking a cup of milk to choosing a career, you lookup to her. “What do you want to do Akka?” is the question we hear very frequently at home. Every other sentence ends with “right Akka?”. You need to validate everything with her. Like for example, “Amma, you are a monster. right Akka?”

You have taken after me in many things like seeking to be treated special, easily convincible, capturing moments with pictures, putting others first and being generous. Appa says often that “You have taken after me” and I grow an inch taller with the pride. Its a big deal for a 5 feel 1 inch lady. I tell ya!!! I am listening to this tamil song as I type this “Maghizhchiyil endhan manam malardhidumae. En uyaramo innum konjam valarndhidumae….” which translates to growing an inch taller due to abundance of joy.

You love going to temple and I can’t thank you enough for that. You are my best company. Your favorite god is Lord Hanuman.

Your recent attractions are bey blades and pokemon cards. I am still able to convince you that video games and watching TV before bedtime are bad for eyes. Not sure how long it will last.

You change to pajama and brush your teeth before going to bed without anyone telling you. You make me super proud with this act and this is the one thing that Akka can learn from you!

Math and English are still boring and hard for you. I am sure we will get through it together someday.

You still believe in Santa and tooth fairy and allow me to hug and kiss you unlimited. I need them big time to survive so keep them coming da. Our home would not be the same without you.

You do have your moments but you are distractible and according to you “your silly brain forgets everything”

Your laugh is contagious, you know exactly how to make me laugh and use them when you see me dull. I am blessed to realize that you are watching me.

I love this phase and want to live in the present only for you, just for you so I take in as much as I can that will be the memories I talk about over and over again to your children when you are busy with your own family.

I truly thank the almighty for bringing you into my life and honestly I benefit more from this relationship than you. Thank you for everything da kanna. You make me appreciate life more than anything else.

Stay happy! Stay healthy and remember that we love you to bits.

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Picture taken when you were blessed with garland at temple during last week visit!