Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ready, Get Set....

Ready...Get Set...

Just say these words to Munch and watch him throw up his arms and yell:


At 16 months, that pretty much sums up his life's philosophy. He's always on the go, taking on each day with astounding energy and endearing good humour.

Although I had initially thought he'd be a bit later on his milestones than his big sister, except for that first roll-over which he managed a couple of weeks later than she did, he's actually been at least a month ahead of her in everything else.

I suppose it's because Munch believes he's really three years old, and therefore sees no reason why he shouldn't turn somersaults, jump off coffee tables, go up the slide the wrong way, and hang upside down off railings, just like his sister does. The only problem is that his gross motor skills, while fantastic for a 16 month old, are really not upto 3 year old standards. So he's never without a bruise or bump somewhere on his body, but he doesn't let that ever dampen his enthusiasm. Every cut or bump is forgotten and he goes back to do the exact same thing within minutes of the last tear being wiped. Whether that stems from real courage or from having bumped his head one time too many, only time will tell, but it certainly makes for exciting times around here!

Probably because of hanging around his extremely verbal sister (here we go again, do second borns EVER get any credit?!) Munch is so much better at communicating with us than Moppet was at this age. Not only does he have a large number of regular words, he also has some specific babble words that are used consistently for the same situation. So 'pacha pacha' is always said while handing over a bottle or a box and means open / take the lid off. Or 'minnum minnum' which means 'I want', or 'Taa!' said with a fat little hand held against his own cheek, meaning 'hot!'. And he understands so much of what we tell him too, it's amazing.

When he was barely a month old, I got the feeling that he'd be the family funny guy. I was right. He delights in getting a laugh out of his audience, and he gets plenty. His antics have us in splits all the time, and he's always coming up with new 'acts'.

At 16 months, I'm happy to report that while he continues lives up to his nickname of MatterEaterLad, his palate has gotten marginally more discerning. He's still happy to sample anything new that comes his way, animate or inanimate, but at least he's now better at recognising (and spitting out) inedible items. This also makes feeding him rather a pleasure, since he's open to a variety of tastes and textures, in stark contrast to Moppet who is an exceedingly fussy and slow eater. I have on several occasions caught her palming off her food on him which he, despite having already finished his own meal, is only too happy to accept.

He continues to maintain his easy-going good humour and is rarely cranky. He may sometimes be a little clingy around me, but usually that's only when he senses I may be going out without him, or when I've just come back home. Since for second kids, sharing is the only way they've ever known, there's none of that jealous possessiveness that consumed Moppet at this age. He is a teeny bit possessive about her, though - I've noticed that he doesn't quite like it when she plays with other kids. He comes around and generally tries to poke or shove the other child away.

He can be quite a ruffian at times and likes to play rough. Poor Moppet bears the brunt of this, because he throws himself on her and sometimes even bites her. It's him being playful and affectionate, but I've had enough of those bites to know it really hurts. And since I'd drilled into Moppet the need to be gentle with 'the baby', she neither resists nor retaliates, and just lies there crying piteously. It has reached a point where, unable to get the message across to Munch that this sort of play is not appreciated, I've had to show Moppet how to push him away firmly but gently.

Life with Munch is a big barrel of laughs, punctuated by mini heart attacks, and laced with exhaustion. But every night, despite the tiredness, I find myself holding him for a while after he has fallen asleep, his warm body curled into me, his head nestled in the crook of my elbow. I listen to him breathe, feel his eyelashes on my arm, and gently stroke his cheek. For those few minutes, I close my eyes and pretend that I have stopped time, and my walking, talking, 16-going-on-36 month old toddler is still my little baby.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tales from the pot

Okay, so this is not exactly the best subject for a comeback post, but given my abysmal rate of posting this year, I figure at least it's a post, right? D, this is for you :-)

I have on occasion asked friends whose kids found all things potty hilarious, whether it's a boy thing, seeing that Moppet didn't seem to find it particularly funny. They assured me it wasn't, and that I only needed to bide my time. Yes, you have my permission to call me an idiot. Of all the things to worry about, I just had to worry about her not being age appropriately amused by potty.

Anyway, even that worry didn't last for long. These days she has developed a rather sophisticated (if indeed, this word can be used together with toilet jokes) sense of potty-humour.

For example:

Me: Are you done yet, Moppet?
Moppet (examining the contents of the pot): Not yet. I've only done a leetle baby potty. Now I need to do a mama potty, a papa potty, and a sister potty.


Moppet (making a sad face): Mama, my potty is very sad.
Me (against my better judgement): Why is your potty sad, Moppet?
Moppet: Because he fell in the water and lost his best friend Susu.

These little punchlines are usually followed by a 2 second pause during which she scans my face for the appropriate disgusted expression, and then bursts into peals of excited laughter. I think she's going to have a real talent for stinky pjs when she grows up.

And as for Munch, I already know I don't need to worry about him. Everytime he farts or burps he giggles and looks at me to make sure I appreciate the wonderful sounds he's produced. He's even been known to clap his hands for a particularly loud burp. And his father is genuinely proud.

I think my original hypothesis was right. It IS a boy thing.

Friday, June 26, 2009

You're One!

It's been an eventful year, hasn't it, my darling?

Starting with the day you arrived, it's been a such a full, rich, exciting year. We've had more holidays this year than in the last 3 put together. We've moved homes and countries, and you've accumulated more stamps in your passport than you have teeth! You've taken it all with your characteristic equanimity. I could learn a thing or two from you.

With your sister, I've often complained that I never quite realised how quickly she went from being a tiny babe who fit in the crook of my arm to a sassy little girl who wants to do everything by herself. I've tried not to make that same mistake with you. I've savoured every moment of this year with you, even those moments that were sad. Yes there were some of those, and plenty of tiring, exasperating moments too, and I have savoured them all. I can tell you this though - there have been no boring moments this year!

Watching you grow into the happy, friendly, fearless, enthusiastic little fellow you are today has been immensely fulfilling. You make me so proud, baby - I don't know if I'll ever be able to tell you how much.

As you step into your second year, I look forward to exploring life with you. Exploring, examining, and experimenting in that calm yet intensely curious way that you have.

Happy birthday, Munch!

All my love, always,

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

All about Munch

Munch is 11 months old today and I've probably done 5 posts on him, if that. It's not my fault, just blame it on the second child syndrome!

Seriously though, I'm enjoying his babyhood so much more than I did Moppet's. Not that I didn't enjoy Moppet as a baby, but there was a lot more worry and self-doubt at the time. With Moppet, I'm finding her current phase much more enchanting than her baby phase. The things she says and does surprise and delight me every time. You'd think I'd have learnt to expect it by now, but she still takes my breath away with all her chattering.

But this post is about Munch and what a delicious little fellow he's turning out to be. Sadly, it appears that the whole 'good boy' impression was just an act. Having deceived us all into thinking that he was going to be a quiet, well-behaved young man, he sprouted horns overnight and turned into a babbling, walking, dancing, hair pulling, mischief mongering little imp.

He took his first unaided steps at nine and half months and now does what I call the zombie walk - arms outstretched for balance, he teeters and totters (particularly around corners), but manages to stay upright the whole distance. He's practically stopped crawling now, and no longer needs support to pull himself up. He goes from sitting to crouching to standing and walking all by himself. And now that he's figured out that when he walks he has his hands free to carry stuff, things are getting ferreted away and turning up in the most unexpected places.

Oh and he dances! It cracks us up every time. He toddles up to the music system and then jigs up and down in time to the beat, waving his arms like a windmill with a supersized grin on his face.

He babbles a lot - not just a a few repeated syllables, but a stream of made up words that sound so familiar that I wonder why I can't understand what he's
saying. Like when I go in to get him after his nap, he'll be standing in his crib and will say something that sounds like 'Aathaka?' on seeing me. And the tone screams 'what took you so long?' Or the way he puts his fist behind his ear and goes 'Aa-uh?' in exactly the same tone as I say hello on the phone. He does say a few recognisable words - Papa, Mama, and Ka (car) being the most oft heard.

He attempts to eat everything he comes across, earning for himself from his father the nickname MatterEaterLad, who is apparently some obscure comic book superhero. He has ingested some sort of insect (I only managed to extract the wings from his mouth so I have no idea what sort), assorted varieties of leaves and grass, mud and gravel, crayons (which I realised only when he threw up bits of it later), and plenty of paper. A nickname well-earned.

He's learning to stand up for himself against Moppet. Her days of being queen bee are numbered. If she tries to take something away from him, he hangs on for dear life and screams in her face. He pulls her hair every chance he gets. He bites, mostly out of affection, but sometimes in frustration, a habit I'm trying to nip (heh heh) in the bud. To her credit, Moppet rarely hits back. Having been the recipient of some of his pinches and bites, I know that they really hurt. But though she may scream or push him away, so far I've never seen her hit or poke or pinch him back.

On the whole, he's a most satisfactory baby. He's soft and cuddly and affectionate. Friendly, sociable and a complete clown. Total paisa vasool. Even though he's done his growing up as fast as Moppet, faster in some cases, he's still very much a baby, unlike his sister who always felt like an old soul to me.

Kaala tikka, my darling boy, and happy 11 month birthday!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Around the world in 80 clicks

It's taken the combined might of FOUR bloggers to get me off my arse and do this tag, so you guys can see what a ball I've been having (not!) here in sultry Singapore. 

The Mad Momma, Dipali, Gauri, and Kiran, have all invited me to join this virtual mommy globetrot  and the ticket is to tell you 5 things that I love about being a mom. Only 5? Easy peasy! Here goes:

1. I love that the simple things my children do can fill me with so much joy and enormous pride. A pink caterpillar drawn by a confident 3-year old hand that actually looks like a caterpillar. Tottering steps taken by still soft and tender 9-month old feet. An impromptu concert where the lead guitarist belts out Twinkle Twinkle at the top of her voice, and the drummer chews contemplatively on the drumstick.

2. I love that the simple things I do can be the cause of such happiness. A silly noise and a funny face is all it takes to get the boy to scream with laughter. An unexpected extra story at bedtime has the girl beaming fit to split, and earns me big, squeezy hugs. Never before has it been so easy to please, and, I suspect, never again.

3. I love that I get to be a kid again. (With the difference being that I can actually buy all the cool toys I want and not have to beg and whine and get turned down by evil parents.) The world is a much nicer place when viewed through my little ones' eyes.

4. I love that I am the centre of someone's universe. Ok, maybe not at 3 am, when nobody but Mama can hold and hug a wakeful little girl back to sleep. But most other times, it's a wonderful feeling.  

5. I love how I can sometimes see a shade of me or the husband or one of our parents in a sudden tilt of my daughter's head, a fleeting expression, or an oddly familiar gesture.  (The boy, at the moment, looks and acts like a badly behaved puppy, so I'm certainly not looking for any family resemblances there....)

And now the hard part - finding enough bloggers around the world who haven't already done this tag. I'm pretty sure they've all been tagged already, I'll just hope that they just haven't gotten round to it yet, and can add my tag to the pile :-)

Mummyjaan in Ireland
MayG in the UAE
Fuzzy in Canada
Orchid somewhere in the US

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

When did this happen?

When did this foot high creature turn into a lanky, tree climbing little monkey?

When did my poolside splashing tot become this grinning sea sprite?

When did this book-chewing little bug turn into story-reading big sister?

When did my babbling baby become a full-sentence uttering, mama-scolding, cab-driver- instructing young lady?

Happy third birthday, my love!
(It's too soon! Too soon, I say!)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Settling in

It's funny. Before we started house hunting in Singapore, we set down a prioritised list of criteria, did many many hours of online research, and spent several days seeing apartments with our increasingly frustrated real estate agent. The evenings were spent comparing notes, refreshing our memories with photographs of the properties we were discussing, and assessing each apartment against the criteria on a spreadsheet. 

And then we walked into this place, and both of us just instantly liked it. It wasn't perfect - in fact, it actually did not meet quite a few of our criteria - but it was the first place that felt like it could be home. And that was how we - rational, model-making, excel-wielding, B-school types - chose our new home. It just felt right. 

So in we moved and discovered that the apartment came with its very own Ugly Naked Guy. Yup. Fellow who lived across from us and liked to sit by his window in his underwear and surf the net. Perfectly positioned to be within our line of sight from our living room and balcony. 

2 weeks into our stay, we realised that we had to do something about it. Imagine, we'd plonk down on the sofa to chat and relax after a long day, and there he would be - Naked Netsurfer, Eyesore Extraordinaire. I sent up some strong complaints prayers. Make him move, I pleaded. Or at least let him put some clothes on. Really, if we had to have a naked neighbour why couldn't he have looked like John Abraham? Now that I would be totally cool with.

Of course the good book says that God helps those who help themselves, so apart from my nightly prayers, I also began to work out what combination of hanging pots and screens on the balcony would block of our view of the bare expanse I did not want to see. But even before I could put that into action, it seemed my prayers were answered. One day I noticed some contractors in his apartment, and within a couple of days he was gone. The husband and I heaved a huge sigh of relief and all is well in our world again.

Well almost. Last week, I was playing with Munch on our balcony and I saw something in another apartment window that had me do a double take. A woman, doing housework - in a bra and thong! Ok, so she's not quite Ugly Naked Guy. For one she's most definitely not a guy. And not ugly either. And apparently she doesn't do naked housework on a regular basis because I haven't seen her since.

But I am rather mad about the whole thing. I'd asked for a John Abrahm lookalike, dammit! Someone up there has a very twisted sense of humour.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Living in SIN...

...and sorely missing Bangkok. I miss the fluidity and ease of the city, its vibrant energy and welcoming, accommodating air. 

Ironically, despite its shortcode SIN, Singapore strikes me as being rather strait-laced and well, rigid, for lack of a better word.  But we're still settling in, and I'm told the place will grow on me, so I'm hoping that will be sooner rather than later.

So hello! Anyone still out there? I've been gone a long time, I know. It's just that moving countries with Moppets and Munches and a husband who's continuing to work full-time in the midst of it all is a pain in the neck, the arse and everywhere in between! Throw in an incompetent moving company - Crown Relocations, that's you - and watch the fun. Phew! It's just been a very long few months.

But we're getting there. The house is almost fully set up. Moppet has started going to a preschool that she's taken to quite well and Munch is being his usual happy self.

More soon. This is just a quick hello post. Drop me a line so that I know you're out there! :-)