Neel at 4 months

Neel Mueller at 4 months-

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  • Can recognize his mama and papa, even from a certain distance.
  • Observes what goes on around him.
  • Talks a lot in his own language.
  • Is able to hold many things with his hands like his toys, clothes, our  fingers and very recently his feet as well. And of course whatever he holds, he puts them into his tiny mouth.
  • Is able to keep his head straight. We are encouraging Tummy time almost every hour for at least 5 minutes (which he is not such a big fan of!!).
  • Can turn left and right.
  • Is able to sit for sometime in the baby chair without falling.
  • Loves watching TV even though I try hard to stop him!
  • There was a time when he hated going to people other than his mama and papa, but now it seems like he actually enjoys company!  Whenever we meet someone, he automatically catches their attention with his big, beautiful smile! But 5 pm is his deadline. Beyond that, he cannot stand being with anyone other than his mama! Poor Mike had to struggle a bit to get him to sleep when I was gone for my body training in the evening.
  • Hates sitting in his car seat.
  • Tries to lift his head while holding our hand as support.
  • Has already started to teethe and because of that we are having sleepless nights and fussiness. He fell sick too for a couple of days.
  • Has already taken his first trip on a flight. And has also been on many road trips.

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So far everyday has been a learning experience as a mother. Sometimes it is challenging. My frustration level goes up when my baby wakes up every hour or so at night. It took me a while to understand that this is just a phase and it will pass (Like Manasa tells me “If everyday is not a Sunday, then everyday is not Monday either”). Also, I have learnt some tricks and ways to make my life easier (which I will soon share with you all) and most importantly I have a powerful support system in my husband, my parents and my sister.

-Madhurya.

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Close Encounters with the Wild

It was our third visit to Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve. (You can read about our first here and here) Shruthi, Ashwin and little Shristi (who were visiting us from the US) joined us along with other family members. We needed a couple of SUVs to carry us all to our favorite Jharana Lodge. After the welcome drink (refreshing), lunch (delicious) and watching a few resident male Turkeys woo a female (noisy and endless), it was time for one of our favorite parts of visiting a jungle – Tiger Safari.

We’d booked 2 jeeps into the core area. No sooner did we enter the Jungle than we spotted a couple of bears foraging on grass and insects. They were huge and it seemed funny that they were feeding on bugs instead of something that would suit their bulky frames!

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While we were too busy describing the bears to one another, we barely caught sight of a Leopard, who crossed our jeeps and made a leap into the thickness of the Jungle, before we managed to click a picture of him.

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We were on a roll! Thanking Goddess Luck, we drove on, now wishing we spot the Big Gun, a Tiger. By the shimmering lake, basking in the winter sun, who do you think we spotted?! No, not a Tiger, but a huge Crocodile!  We were exhilarated!

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There’s something about visiting a jungle- all your senses come alive! There’s nothing to distract- no phone calls, messages or TV. If you stay longer, your sensations are only heightened. You’ll listen to the warning call of a Sambar deer and know that the Tiger is around. You’ll see pugmarks on the ground and figure out which direction he’s gone. You’ll smell the carcass of a dead animal and prepare yourself to the possibility of spotting him. Digression aside, Luck favored us once again.  Around a bend we spotted a couple of Tigers with their prey. One of them was tearing at it (It looked like the limb of a Deer) , while the other seemed to have had his fill. This one stretched and ambled down towards us.

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He sharpened his claws on the bark of a Tree and sat upon a stone wall. He was close enough to give us a high five! The other one finished his lunch, licked his paws and regally made his way towards the ‘throne’ the other Tiger was seated upon. We learnt that they were 2 brothers- Tarachand and Chota Matka, the cubs of Choti Tara and Matkasur. It was adorable to watch them pat one another and unwind after a hard day’s ‘work’!

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A long queue of Jeeps and Tour buses had formed by now and the cubs seemed to be enjoying all the attention! We had taken several trips into the jungle before and went on multiple trips thereafter- into both the Core and Buffer areas, but never did we experience such a spectacle! It was a First Day First Show for Shruthi and Ashwin and they were absolutely elated!

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Prasad and I had to manage the kiddos who were all loaded into our jeep and now were clambering atop its railings to get a better view of the cubs. Their excitement (and ours) knew no bounds! We’d spotted almost all of the Big 5, except Wild Dogs, on a single trip! Did it lessen our enthusiasm to continue exploring the jungles of India? Not at all. It has only intensified our passion for Wildlife and Nature.

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So long, wilderness…

– Manasa.

PS- Photographs were taken by Shruthi and me..

A day in Papiliorama

On a cold, depressing morning, Mike decided to take us to PapilioramaLocated in Kerzers, in the Canton of Fribourg, the French part of Switzerland, Papiliorama is a Botanical Garden with exotic butterflies, birds,  insects and nocturnal animals. More than 60 species of butterflies from all over the tropics can be found in this garden.

Here, visitors can observe the complete life cycle of Butterlies from egg to a vibrant adult, and the stages of caterpillar and pupae in between.

 

One of the highlights of Papiliorama is the Jungle Trek. Papiliorama has reconstructed an exact copy of a jungle in Belize. Once you enter this area, you feel like you are walking through a Central American Forest (I haven’t been there yet, but watch the movie “Rio”, and you will know what I am saying). You can spot birds like Toucans and  roseate spoonbills spreading their wings alongside fascinating reptiles like the Iguana.

The plants, the humidity and the temperature is set to help the wildlife survive in this frigid country.

Another interesting feature of this place is The Nocturama, in which an artificial moonlight is created for the nocturnal animals like night monkeys, bats, tree porcupines. Visitors are allowed to wander freely here, while bats fly right at them… Don’t worry, they are harmless!!

 My 2.5 month old was quite mesmerized with this place and so was I. I carried him around in the baby carrier I use, so that even he could enjoy the sights and sounds. Papiliorama is a family-friendly place with a restaurant serving simple yet delicious meals. Entrance fee costs CHF 18 for adults and CHF 9 for children between 4-15 years of age. I highly recommend visiting this zoo (with or without kids).

-Madhurya

 

What’s up folks?

I’ve been off blogging for so long, I’ve completely forgotten what it feels like to post! What do I post about anyway? My kids? Our travels? This mundane life? If I do post, would anybody be interested to read? Anyways, I’ve decided to give all these thoughts a rest and just go with it! Here I am…

If you are new to this blog here’s a bit about me: I’m almost 32, a mom of 2 lil monkeys, still in love with my man after almost a decade, a homemaker, a journal-keeper, a spiritual person, a voracious reader, a sewing enthusiast, a dabbling writer and a mental. (Seriously)

I’ve been blogging on and off for a long time now. There have been many a blogs before this one, all of which I must have deleted. I blog because I love to write. I write even when I’m not blogging.

I live in India in a calm and beautiful neighborhood. Ours is a joint family with 4 adults and 2 kiddos. Medha is almost 8 and Madhav is almost 5. We are in the midst of their exams- Both have Maths coming up. I’m busy taking turns teaching them one at a time. Madhav picks up his subjects quickly while Medha takes a bit longer. They both go for Taek Won Do lessons every evening. My days are busy, but they are a good, satisfying kinda busy that never fails to make me thankful. God knows how many don’t make it from one day to the next…

Along with writing, sewing has been my passion for a while. Beautiful fabrics entice me; Sewing how-tos and Diys leave me itching to get my hands ‘dirty’. I joined a sewing class and learnt as much as I could. Now I practice at home, whenever I can.

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I read all the time. When I’m done with my chores I treat myself to a good book. This year has been good so far, reading-wise. In less than 2 months I’ve read more than most read in a whole year. Now I’m in the thick of 2 books – “Eligible” by Curtis Sittenfeld and “An Autobiography of a Yogi” by Paramahamsa Yogananda (I love to read a fiction as well as a non-fiction at a time) and I can hardly wait to go back to them when I’m done blogging for the day.

I (and Maddy) plan to be more consistent hereon, but who knows what’s around the bend? Right now, this moment is all that matters…

So, what’s up with you all?

Love,

Manasa.

A letter to my baby when I was pregnant

 

Baby,

35 weeks and 1 day now.

Few more days to go before I can see you and hold you for real and say you`re mine. I never believed that I could have such a rush of feelings for a human before. I still can’t believe its almost time for this new chapter in our lives. We both have gone through this journey for almost 35weeks together. You have been my constant companion for the last few months. A lot of women I know told me that they had had enough by this time and couldn’t wait to get the baby out, but trust me when I say that I have enjoyed every minute of this pregnancy. Though I am crazily awaiting your arrival, I will surely miss you in my belly and showing off my bump to everyone.

The other day I got very emotional and told your papa how much I will miss carrying you around. As long as you are inside me, I can and will do everything possible to protect you, but don’t know if I can once you are out….

But your papa and I will promise you one thing – we will do our best (Go to the moon, if we have to) to protect you, stand by you whenever, wherever and whichever way we can!

Everyone is looking forward to your arrival including your grandparents, uncles and aunts and all your cousins in India and Switzerland. Believe me when I say, you have a huge family who will dote on you, love you and pamper you crazily!!

Everytime I am stressed at work, your constant kicks keep me happy while reminding me that in a few more days the best day of my life will be here….

With much love and anticipation

Mama.