Saturday, March 31, 2007


Has it only been one year?

One year since you came into my life and turned it upside down?

Was the last time I slept for 8 hours straight a mere 12 months ago?

Has it only been 52 weeks since weekends disappeared from my life?

Was it only 365 days ago that I could spend a whole day reading on the sofa?

Have I spent only a thousand hours breastfeeding you?

Have I changed only four thousand nappies?

Has it only been one year?

Yes, it's only been one year.

Only 12 months ago that I held you in my arms for the first time.

Only 46 weeks since that first magical moment when you looked at me and smiled.

Only 365 days of the wonder of watching you become you.

Only a million smiles and kisses and hugs.

Yes, it's only been one year.

One year since you came into my life and turned it right side up.

Happy first birthday, Moppet!

Friday, March 30, 2007

Material girl

How to boogie, Moppet style!

Step 1: Posture
Take your stance with your knees slightly bent, butt pushed out, and arms raised.

Step 2: Shake That Booty
Move up and down in time to the beat, wiggling your butt as you go.

Step 3: Wave Your Arms
As the tempo builds, twist your upper body from side to side, keeping your arms raised. A dash of hand flapping adds style to this step.

Step 4: Get Down
For the climax do steps 2 and 3 together. If you do it right, it should result in a graceful flop-bot, wherein you fall backwards and land on your butt.

Step 5: The Grand Finale
Give your audience a big smile, and wait for the applause.

Monday, March 26, 2007

A rose by any other name

...would smell as sweet, the Bard assured us.

But honestly, I'm not so sure. Just think about it - do you really believe you would be the same person you are today if you had spent your life answering to the name Sweetlove? Or Nebula? Or Godly? (In case you're wondering - I haven't made these names up. They're for REAL!)

There have been a lot of baby announcements recently in my circle - cousins, classmates, colleagues, and friends have all been queuing up for their bundles of joy at the stork's this past year. And while I have nothing against unique names (and unique spellings of regular names), some of the names I've heard have had me wondering what the parents were thinking.

Now I should clarify here that I have a high tolerance for what a normal person would consider strange names. I come from Kerala, a state famous for creating the silliest names in the country. Mallu kids either get freshly coined names based on a combination of sounds from their parents' names, or get named after a famous (usually political) figure.

So the average Aji, Biji, or Ciji doesn't even register as odd on my radar. Introduce me to Jaison and his younger brother Bison, and I won't miss a beat. Point out Abraham Lincoln Verghese and Lenin George Cherian hobnobbing at the local tea-shop and all you'll get is a bored shrug.

But there are names that have shaken even my Mallu immunity. Shabby Jacob. Lousy Thomas. I kid you not - these are REAL people! And anyone who's flown by a certain popular Indian domestic airline is bound to have encountered the lovely Nymphia.

My own name was picked out of a hat, since my mom, dad, and paternal grandmom simply could not agree on a name for me. So they finally each put their favourite name into a hat and had my granddad pick one out. The chosen chit was my grandmom's choice - an ordinary, even common, Indian name, with a sweet meaning.

If I ever needed a sign that the Big Guy up there is watching out for me, this is it, considering that I could have ended up being named after an exotic Russian literary heroine (courtesy my dad) or the 55 year old matronly doctor who delivered me (my mom's choice; a name that even my grandmom thought sounded old)!

In retrospect, my shortlist of names for Moppet has quite a few candidates for the 'what-was-I-smoking-when-I-picked-that-name' prize. Maybe it was the hormones. Or the excitement. Or the fatigue. I don't know. Anyway, she's lucky that whatever caused that lapse in judgement passed before we registered her name. I actually know parents who decided 3 years after their son was born that they didn't like his name and registered him at school with a completely different name, causing much confusion all round. They finally resolved it by turning the old name into a middle initial that got dropped a few years later.

Finally, check out this link . More kids who will be changing their names as soon as they can.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Call me!

Seen this afternoon: Moppet with her toy cellphone, walking up and down the balcony babbling loudly into it, looking for all the world like she was yelling at her baby stockbroker. (I told you to wait till it hit 10! Whaddya mean, you can only count till five?!)

Thursday, March 22, 2007

It's all in the tone

My grey cells have become slow and lazy, on account of getting no exercise beyond the daily breakfast Sudoku. So in order to ensure that they stay reasonably fit, I decided to throw them a challenge and signed up for Thai language classes.

So far it's been fascinating, and my poor unfit grey cells have been huffing and puffing and trying to comprehend the multi-tonal nature of the language. Consider, the SAME word pronounced in a high tone means something completely different when pronounced in a low tone - including such deadly combos as near-far and beautiful-shit! My grey cells have been having a hard time coping! :-)

But I've been getting help with this from Moppet. She chatters non-stop now, using a wide range of sounds, although I haven't been able to recognize any words yet. Her most often repeated sound is close to 'Duh-Duh' and depending on the tone in which it comes out, I have to guess the meaning.

So we have:

Word: 'Deh-deh!' (pointing)
Tone: Insistent
Meaning: Gimme that!

Word: 'Duh-duh-deh-deh' (accompanied by big grin)
Tone: Conversational
Meaning: You big people are SO silly!

Word: "Duh-Deh?" (when the doorbell or the telephone rings)
Tone: Questioning
Meaning: Did you hear that? Let's go see!

Word: 'Duh-duh-duh-duh' (poking me in the leg)
Tone: Urgent
Meaning: Gerroff! You're sitting on my stuffed elephant!

Word: "Da-da-da-da" (patting - ok, hitting - my face, sometimes followed by an open-mouthed kiss)
Tone: Soft
Meaning: You're okay. I love you.

Yeah, I'm beginning to get the hang of this tone thing. Khawp khun kha*, Moppet!


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Coming home

The minute he gets home, she pounces.

Wraps her arms around his knees and does a little jig.
Pick me up. Now. Now. NOW.

He lifts her up and she stretches her arms as wide as they can go, giving her broad-shouldered Papa a baby bear hug.

He kicks off his shoes, hopping first on one leg and then the other, and she squeals with delight.

He asks her about her day, and she responds excitedly with a string of baby words.

He puts her down; she grabs his finger and drags him off to show him a toy, a book, a cushion, the remote - whatever her treasure of the day is.

When he heads off to change and shower, she stands outside the bathroom door calling out to him. As soon as he comes out, she demands to be picked up again.

While dinner gets ready, father and daughter cosy up in the study.

Sometimes they chat. Sometimes they play. Sometimes they each just do their own thing.

But it's always a happy time.

The many faces of mischief

Guilty face.

Innocent face.

The true face of mischief!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Moppet's day out

Sunday was a very busy day for Moppet.

In the morning we had a birthday party to go to. Yes, another one. (And yes, I am aware that my 11-month old daughter has a busier social life than I do - there's no need to rub it in!) So we spent a fun couple of hours at the party, mucking about in the sandpit, and zipping around in a little red car.

The birthday party was followed by a trip to the hospital (some minor treatment for Moppet's Papa's foot) where she amused herself by:
wandering around the lounge, patting waiting patients reassuringly on the knee,
playing peekaboo from behind the receptionist's desk,
getting stuck while attempting to squeeze through the gap between two sofas,
spilling a glass of water in the corridor,
and dragging my purse through the puddle.

In the afternoon, after an all-too-brief nap, Moppet and I were banished from the bedroom by her Papa. (Moppet's Papa will put up with a lot of things but not with ANYTHING that disturbs his Sunday Afternoon Siesta.) So we spent the afternoon on our balcony calling out to the poor souls who were trying to spend a relaxing Sunday afternoon in the pool.

And in the evening, a visit to the Oceanarium - a lovely place with the most gorgeous aquariums and a huge variety of fish. Moppet appeared to enjoy it, pressing her face up against the tanks and pointing out the fish.

A quick stop at the supermarket (with only a minor mishap where she knocked over a row of shampoo bottles) and we were home for dinner.

I was completely spent, as was Moppet, and for once she didn't put up a fight when I put her to bed. She lay there quietly, holding my hand, softly babbling under her breath until she couldn't keep her eyes open any longer.

Sweet dreams, Moppet!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Alladin and the Diaper Genie

Moppet hates nappy change time. The 2 minutes spent lying flat on her back while her nappy gets changed is 2 minutes NOT spent getting into mischief around the house, an unthinkable waste of time.

So every nappy change involves much twisting and kicking and howling on her part, and rising blood pressure on mine.

Until last week when we discovered Alladin.
A little board book which for some reason she finds most fascinating.

Now nappy changes are a dream! I plonk her down, hand her the book, and she leafs through it happily while I do what needs to be done. Then I pat her little butt and tell her we're done, and she drops the book and slides off the bed, ready to get back to the rest of her day!

I don't know why it works - but I'm not complaining! :-)

Friday, March 16, 2007

Sleepy head

These days my main gripe is that Moppet just doesn't sleep enough (Enough for me, that is :-)

I don't know why she fights sleep so much. Her eyes get red and droopy. She gets cranky and clingy. But she WILL NOT sleep!

Putting her down for a nap is a battle of wits that can last upto an hour... and when she does nap, she's usually up in about 4o minutes.

But she's always in a much better mood for having had her nap, and wakes up all refreshed and ready to enjoy the rest of her day, so I continue to fight the good fight...

Anyway, for all my complaints about her wide awake ways, I've discovered I do have a few photos of her asleep. Here are some of my favorites:

Moppet, age 5 days, in thoughtful slumber - don't miss the little thumb under the chin!

Moppet, age 2 weeks, taking a siesta with her Papa

Moppet, age 5 weeks, not a care in the world!

Moppet, age 4 months, doing impression of a sleeping crab

Moppet, age 10 months, finally gives into sleep, but keeps her hold on my finger!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Birthday Woes

Last month, Moppet and I were invited to a little boy's 3rd birthday party. It was lovely. There was a clown making balloon animals, lots of food, music, party games, great fun! Certainly the birthday boy's 5 year old sister and all her friends were having a ball.

But where was the main man? Turns out he was having a hard time dealing with all the people in his house, playing with his toys, and messing up his railway tracks. So there he was, sitting in a corner, holding tightly onto his nanny's hand, and looking most unhappy.

It struck me then that birthdays, especially for kids aged 1-3, are more for the parents, friends and family than for the kids themselves. It should be their special day, but it's not really.

Once the children get older, parents have to deal with more complex party problems. The kids want specific party themes, the return gifts have to top those received at the last party they went to, the venue must be just so, and the entertainment unique. One of my colleagues ended up spending Rs 50,000 for her daughter's 5th birthday party because the little girl wanted a specific venue (with glass floors) and a Little Mermaid theme.

It's easy to blame it on indulgent parents, but really, how do you explain to a 4 year old that you're giving her a fun party at home when last month she went to her classmate's birthday party which featured assorted Disney Princesses and had giant inflatable castles? The problem is that over-the-top birthday parties appear to have become the norm and while it's ok for us as adults to take a stand and do something different, I don't know if a 4 year old would understand that. It's tough!

Anyway, in a couple of weeks, Moppet will turn one and I've been thinking about what we should do to mark the occasion. I think her papa got it right when he said, 'Let's make it a happy day for her.'

So that's the plan. A happy day for Moppet. This is easy right now - it takes so little to make her happy.

We'd better enjoy it while it lasts!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Moppet and the mysterious packet

Hey, look what I found!

Boy, it's heavy! I wonder what it's for?

Something to eat, d'you think?

Yuck! Don't think so! Maybe it's for mopping the floor?

Oh, now I get it! It's for my butt!

How this blog was born

Me: Moppet, I'm bored.

Moppet (scrunching up her face) : Da DA dee dee DAAAA?

Me: No of course not! You're a fun girl, and I love playing with you all day. But you know, we're always talking heavy intellectual stuff, and I thought I might give my brain a bit of a rest sometimes... something light, you know what I mean?

Moppet (waving her stuffed elephant at me) : Tha THA tha tha!

Me: Exactly! So, I was thinking... what about a blog?

Moppet (poking her finger into my nose): AAAAAH!

Me: I'm so glad you agree! But will I really have the time to blog? And enough to write about? What if it's lame? Or boring? Or both?

Moppet shakes her head vigorously and slides off my lap, heading off to investigate the shoe cabinet.

Me: Ah, you're right! I should just do it!

And so I did.