It's a 4!!

I remember her first birthday like it was yesterday. Well it was, only three years ago. We invited almost every body we knew. Mom and Dad +Ganeshan Subramanian  invited their friends from when they were kids. It was a special day for them, it was after all their first grandchild's birthday. 

The in-laws +ishwarpal singh almost did too, but considering that the birthday was in Hyderabad and their childhood friends were in the North of the Vindyas, they settled to celebrate with the local crowd. So we had more adults than kids. If there were 250 people, 240 were adults. 

It was a big deal. Big venue, big dinner, Driti was becoming a big girl. We were all excited and she had no clue. Her first birthday in that sense was a celebration for us on 'successfully' completing one year of parenting. We survived, and that truly deserved some celebration. Thank you +Santosh Parachuri  and +Lalit Dutt our unofficial yet assigned photographers.

On her second birthday, the number of kids increased. It was beginning to look like a kid's  birthday. The adults still remained in the majority thanks to a family that's very fond of the little one, but we could feel the balance tilting. +Vasudev Singh volunteered and got pulled into shooting the kid for us. She survived, and we have beautiful memories. Thanks V!

The third birthday was when she started demanding stuff. She wanted a 'Chota Bheem' themed birthday, she wanted to dress like the female lead - Chutki, she wanted a cake with the ladoo eating lad. And it was special because she had really started making friends and all her cousins were in Hyderabad just to wish her. +Anirudh Bhide , +Daphne Nongbri +Debabrata Chatterjee+Srishti Srivastava+Nikhila Krishnan +Rupa Raghavan 

This one is by far the most challenging. A new place, a different format (All her birthdays in India had a magician and a party host), we had to create some activities to keep all the kids engaged. They would no longer be only wide eyed spectators, they were participants with an opinion. Plus, pizza was replacing samosa.  

She no longer wants to be Chutki, but oh, and how can I forget the PINK! She eats, digests, sleeps and dreams pink. Her closet is filled with more than fifty shades of pink. And frocks. Pink frocks. She doesn't like skirts or pants. She's very clear about that. She's a princess and her highness wears only frocks. Maybe she'll stoop to the level of a gown sometimes, but not when the frock's still an option. 

So in her pink frock she set about dancing with her friends while the instructor led the kids into some dance moves. And we did have the Bollywood numbers playing in the background. If only I had a dance partner, Chammak Challo wouldn't have gone to waste. 

It was the first of its kind for us - keeping the kids engaged in an activity while we socialized. +Vishal Joshi was the photographer for good pics and yours truly for the variable ones. 

Happy Birthday baby, may you have many more wonderful ones and hopefully, you'll also make it easy on us. 

And just as I finish this,"Mamma, for my next birthday, I want to have my party under water, like Ariel!" she announces. 

The American Grab and the Indian Get

I knew this day would come. But I never knew I'd be tongue tied. Me? Tongue tied?

The process of rolling her 'R's and stretching her 'O's  had started a few weeks after we moved to Seattle.

Driti's first accented word in the American style was 'Paati'. At first we were very concerned when she said she wanted to go to 'Paati'. Was she so home sick? Did she miss her grandmother so much? Did she already want to go back to India? (Paati is Tamil for grandmother)

"Why Driti? You don't like Seattle?" Ady asked reassessing his decision to move us to the US. 

"I like Seattle papa" she answered confused, before running to the washroom. 

She wanted to go to the "Potty"! We were never so relieved for somebody else's intentions of using the potty. But there, it was only a bodily requirement our daughter was trying to address. She was not questioning our big decision!

So what started with paati, is continuing ever since. And today, she said this:
"Mom, I bumped my head. It's hurrrting me. Can you please grab me a wet towel?"

Unfamiliar words for me: Mom, bumped, hurrrrting, grab

I am Mamma or Amma - Not Mom.

In India, we hurt our heads or hit it someplace, we don't bump it. We may bump into people, or bump prices up. We just don't bump our physical selves against inanimate objects.

And it hurts. It doesn't hurrrrrt.

grab 1  (grb)
v. grabbedgrab·binggrabs
1. To take or grasp suddenly: grabbed the letter from me.
2. To capture or restrain; arrest.
3. To obtain or appropriate unscrupulously or forcibly: grab public funds; grab power.
4. To take hurriedly: grabbed my coat and hat and left.
5. Slang To capture the attention of: a plot that grabs the reader.

Why would she just not want me to get the wet towel to her?

And now, I rrrreally underrrrstand a laat of what she says.
And they say, the communication break down happens in the teenage years!

Driti's Career Choice!

Have you ever noticed that when your husband is trying to play with your baby, he becomes so engrossed in the game that the baby comes to you crying, Papa's not letting her play?

That's at least the story in our house and a few more that I know. Even so, Ady is the only other person in the house over 3 ft who can help me get the short one ready in time for school. Today, was no different. He was supposed to get her to eat her breakfast while I was making lunch for the two of them.

Ady tried everything he could. I could hear bell noises, blocks falling down, Driti crying for her turn with the sketch pen, Ady pretending to be a tiger - everything. I was pretty sure he would come down soon enough giving up. "Your daughter won't drink" or if he was lucky, "My daughter finished her breakfast". 

So after a lot of fight deciding who plays 'Temple Run' better, Ady came down to the kitchen all excited. Yeah, Ady. "So who won?" I asked, trying to figure out if the spinach needed salt or masala. "What? Is that even a question?" he remarked. "Of course I won".
"Great achievement. Beating a three year old" I snickered. "She did exhaust all my gems" he added sheepishly.

I have no idea what these stupid gems are and why the two kids in the house went nuts over that silly game. If anything, I would appreciate them running toward the temple in real life.

 "Then why are you all so excited?", I asked. 
"Oh, that's for a different reason. I finally figured out what Driti's going to be when she grows up!" I had multiple emotions brewing through me at this point. How did he know before I did? Is she closer to him? Am I a bad mother? Is he enforcing his choices on her?

"You don't want to know?" he urged.

"What?" It may not be all. Maybe she'll change her mind and when she does, she'll tell me first.  I tried reasoning to myself. "Yeah.. what is she going to become?"

"You know, when we were playing Temple Run, I decided we'd had enough. It was time for her to go for a bath. So I hid the iPod in my pocket"

"I'm so glad you did that" I said encouragingly. At last, the game was not going to rule our lives!

"Yeah. And then Driti was so sweet, she came and hugged me and kissed me"

"And with that you figured she's going to be a....."

"She hugged me alright" Ady continued, ignoring me. "But she thrust her hands into my pocket, to remove the iPod!! She's going to be a pick pocket!!"

I had no idea how to react to that. "And you're proud of it?"

"No, it just seemed so cute, I...." now Ady did not know how to react. 

"She won't be a pickpocket, will she?" he asked, suddenly all concerned. 

D,who had now entered the room looked at her confused dad with great concern. 

"Mamma, Daddy looks weak. I think he needs to eat some vegetables"

"She's going to be a Doctor!" the two of us screamed to a startled three year old.

"No, I want to be Tinker Bell!"

No Siblings Yet.

For most who've been following my blog, you know that Driti is Calvin's female version.  Only, she thinks boys are silly and crazy. You also know that I attribute her traits to Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes and not Dennis from Dennis the Menace, because, well, I was an ardent C&H reader when I was pregnant. There's got to be some influence of it on the baby, right? All that research on pre-natal influence and stuff should  have some truth?

Anyway, do you recollect those stories and movies based on those stories, where the twins separated at birth or just plain old siblings lost during carnivals or a mom who thinks she's lost her kid forever reunite because of that family song or because of that amazing repetition of an incident, a deja vu?

Well, so here's proof that what happens in the movies also happen in real life, or if you want to believe the other way around - what happens in movies, is inspired by real life. 
I was shocked. Wait, let me build it up. You weren't there to witness the scene, so I need to create the scene for you to experience all the feelings I had when I witnessed the epic moment. 

Driti's bed time ritual - read her a story, tuck her to bed, and then tell her she's a big girl, needs to sleep by herself and all that jazz. Driti's starting to read now, so she picks out the book herself. Strange thing, our book shelf is organized.  (for a change, something is organized at home!) Her books are at the bottom shelf and the grown up books are high up.

She's surfing through the book shelf and says "Mamma, why are kid books in your shelf?"
She points to the 'comic' Calvin & Hobbes and says she wants to read it. 

My heart's racing. It's the moment of truth. C&H is already ingrained in her subconscious and I am almost a 100% sure she does what a female Calvin would do. Reading the book - wouldn't it give her more ideas? 

But I was really curious to see what happens. A parental experiment, if you will. So taking a deep breath, I opened the first volume. We read the first three pages and she didn't laugh at all, while I was trying my best not to roll over the bed and fall. "Why are you laughing so much Mamma?"

"Because it's funny, don't you think?"

"But he's copying me Mamma. Is he my brother?"

Calvin and Hobbes

And now, everyday we read to her about her brother and skip through the parts we don't want her to be influenced by. Is this called coming a full circle?