Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Moving Math

8 flights in

6 weeks to

5 locations in

3 countries with

2 small kids equals

1 very tired Mama with 

Zero time to blog

We're moving, folks. Reluctantly on my part - I've grown to love this city - but kya karen, when you gotta go, you gotta go!

I have a few posts buzzing around in my head, but I don't know if I'll be able to get down to writing them for a while. Most likely Jan 09.

If I may go into Oscar mode here, I'd like to thank all of you who've been coming around so regularly, leaving warm and encouraging comments, and generally brightening my day. I'll miss this, but I'm fairly sure I'll be back soonish, so don't go dropping me from your readers just yet, ok? ;-)

Wishing all of you a peaceful, hopeful, fun filled holiday season.

Munch, Moppet, & Maggie

Edit: Sorry, didn't mean to sound all mysterious about the move, just thought I'd update once we finally settled in, given all the uncertainty in the air. Yes, we are currently in Bangkok, and yes the airport has been shutdown, but I hope things will clear before we travel. Thanks for asking, Deepa!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Logic and Lego

She has an answer for everything. Are you ready for some Moppet style logic? 

Moppet is whining for some pink ice cream. Mama reminds her of the time at the restaurant where pink ice cream was ordered for her and she refused to eat it, resulting in Mama having to eat her brownie with strawberry ice cream. [Ick!]

Moppet (defensively) : I finish all the white ice cream.
Mama: That was just whipped cream - why didn't you eat the pink ice cream you asked for?
Moppet: Because YOU finish the pink ice cream!

Her father did always claim there was a bit of Vulcan in her. His only evidence at the time was the amount of Trek I watched while pregnant, and her pointy ears, but his case appears to be growing stronger! ;-)


On another note, she has been creating things with her Lego blocks lately that have impressed the pants off me. Ok so I'm biased and you, dear reader, will probably wonder what all the fuss is about, but still, this blog was intended to document this sort of stuff and I do it with no embarrassment. (On my part at least; Moppet will probably cringe at  this a few years from now!)

Here I present The Big Blue Chicken, which, after being suitably admired by the whole family, was then deftly converted into The Blue Prince. All her own work, including the names.

And of course, the artist, protecting herself from the Mamarazzi.


While on the subject of art etc, she has started bringing home stuff she draws at school. It's usually something like a shaky circle or some random squiggles, and I ooh and aah and say things like wow that's a nice circle, or what lovely rainbow noodles! She throws me an exasperated look and explains, "No, that's pink elephant with pink umbrella and Mama is giving banana."

Ah! Ok. So these days I just ask outright what it is. They always have some elaborate story. And they're always pink. Today's pink amoeba is a 'pink shark and pink boat and fishing rod'. I don't see it, but I'm keeping it safely. It may be worth millions some day! 

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Turn over a new leaf, Mama

So Munch rolled over by himself for the first time this morning, quite by accident I suspect, going by the comical look of surprise on his face when he found himself suddenly nose to nose with a baby bear on his playmat.

For weeks he has lain on that playmat making no attempt to turn whatsoever, just grinning gummily at me whenever I nudge him and say fondly, 'Move it, you lazy lump.' 

Then today, just like that, he rolled over cleanly, popped up his head and pulled his arm out from under him as if he'd been doing it all along. It was so quick that I missed most of it. I put him down on the mat, turned to say something to Moppet who was hopping around behind me, and turned back just in time to see his surprised little face popping up off the mat.

Since that first roll a few hours ago, it appears he has sprouted springs on his back. Lay him down and boinggg!, he's on his tummy in a flash. 

So he's been doing that all morning, and then another surprise. I left him on his mat for about 10 minutes as I went to deal with Moppet's home from school routine, and came back to find him curled up on his side, thumb in mouth, fast asleep! First time he's ever put himself to sleep with neither boob nor rocker to help him nod off. It must have been all the rolling around.

And as I write this, he's off to la-la land by himself again, after an energetic half hour of post lunch rolling over. 

It feels like he was just patiently waiting for the right time, so that he could do it correctly and with minimal effort. If I were a more mature adult, I'd admit that that's a far more sensible outlook to life than my own energy intensive try-to-do-everything-all-together one. 

But I'm not, so I won't. 

I may just follow his example and take a nap though. Baby steps, see? :-)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Come visit with me

I'm over at Parul's today! Hop on over and say hi! 

I'm fairly sure everyone who reads me reads her too, but just in case you haven't yet discovered one of the wittiest bloggers on the block, do check out some of her other posts. Side-splitting stuff, I tell you.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Back to (ir)regular programming

To quote Dora the Explorer, (who's quoted a lot in our household these days): 'Yay! We made it!'

Yes folks, the holidays were a super hit. The beach holiday was just the right sort of lazy, our time there evenly divided between beach, pool, siestas, drinks, and meals. 

Oh and some spectacular sunsets that had us all awestruck, but particularly fascinated Moppet. So much so that she actually, of her own accord, struck up a conversation with a random woman sitting on a deck chair next to hers, watching the sunset.

Moppet: Do you see the sunset?
Random Woman: Indeed I do. It's beautiful isn't it?
Moppet: (seriously, with an emphatic little nod) Yes. 

This was a holiday in which father and daughter bonded like never before. With me often stuck feeding Munch, and no nanny to call on, Moppet had to let her father help her with stuff, and he had no choice but to figure out how to do it. 

Bath times, bed times, and general keep-her-out-of-trouble activities, he took it all on with wonderful enthusiasm. There were  even a couple of days when I would wake up lateish in the morning and find her pottied, brushed, and breakfasted, wearing, upon her own request, a pair of strange pony tails that the husband had tied for her. They were strange but cute and he was so endearingly proud of his effort, asking me some 10 times during the day, 'How do you like her pony tails?' Well, I like. Very much.

As for Munch, he was his usual happy-go-lucky self. As long as he got his meals on time, he was quite content to doze in his stroller, or watch the world with interest. Having decided I wasn't about to spend my holiday in pokey little feeding rooms, I would just throw a dupatta over myself wherever we were and tank him up - by the pool, in a bar, in a deli, airport lounge, cafe, anywhere would do. Worked fine all round.

He also got lots of attention from assorted bikini-clad babes, prompting his father to remark enviously that that was already more female attention than he himself had got from babes in his entire lifetime. 

For her part, Moppet was the protective big sister to the hilt, dissolving into angry tears at the airport where a girl jokingly declared that she wanted to take Munch home with her. Whether that was out of genuine affection for Munch, or on the general principle of he's mine, don't touch, I don't know. But that first incident did make her a lot warier when other strangers approached him later on in the holiday.

Post a little break back home, we all then went north to the hills for a very different kind of holiday. This was much more tiring since we wanted to do some sightseeing as well, but it was great in its own way. We made a trip to the zoo, which houses the only pair of Giant Pandas in Southeast Asia. We got there at a great time and saw them at their playful best. Moppet was so excited she couldn't keep her voice down, despite the glares of a burly security guard brandishing a huge sign that said 'Quiet Please'.

The rest of the zoo was great too. We got to feed baby elephants and giraffes, and Moppet almost rode on a little pony but decided at the last minute that she was too scared. The zoo is built in a naturally hilly jungle and is very beautiful, with orchids everywhere (Northern Thailand is where some of the best orchids in the world are grown) but it was tough on our knees with a baby stroller and toddler who was very quickly too tired to walk. When, in front of a magnificent white tiger, she threw a fit wanting to see a cow of all things, we knew it was time to head back to the hotel.

The husband and I indulged in some street shopping - Chiang Mai is a centre for great wooden handicrafts, and artists who bring their own designs, art and other handmade items to the famous Walking Street Sunday Bazaar. Moppet spent most of her time perched precariously on the footrest of Munch's stroller, making faces at him and generally keeping him and herself occupied.

We also managed a quick trip to the beautiful hill-tribe village, set in the mountains among lush green terraced paddy fields. The Padong are a Burmese tribe where the women wear rings around their necks to elongate them, starting from as young as 3-4 years of age. It is controversial, this village, and I must admit to feeling awkward and intrusive, walking through their village as they went about their lives. Then we met Manan, a friendly Padong lady, sitting by her house and strumming her guitar (!) who chatted with us, told us about their customs, and cuddled Munch. I'm won't go into the politics of it here, but most residents of the village are refugees from Burma, and this is their livelihood. The women weave and sell authentic shawls along with other touristy items, and Manan at least, appeared to be under no illusions about living in this fishbowl.

Anyway, it was fascinating and sad at the same time. I leave you with a picture of two little girls who will probably lead unimaginably different lives, right now just being two little girls.