Medha @ 8

Oh What do I write about Medha, my firstborn, when I’m still trying to figure her out myself?!?! There have been times when I have felt like asking her, “Who ARE you?” Seriously! She’s so unlike me, that I find it hard to believe she came from me! Medha is a riddle I’m trying to solve, and boy I can tell you I’m enjoying the challenge, even though it is quite frustrating at times!

Can’t believe she is 8 already. She’s come so far from being a scrawny and colicky baby who used to drive me to tears with her constant crying. She’s in 3rd grade now. She’s taking Taekwondo lessons and practices her kicks and other moves on us. She’s a total foodie. She won’t tell you, but I know she’s fond of her brother. She simply loves babies, especially Neel.

Medha loves watching TV. She can watch it all day long if we let her! Like Kevin who says “I’m 10 years old. TV is my life.” in Home Alone, TV is her life too, which can make this mama go crazy! Animated movies, chick-flicks, cooking shows (especially baking) and travel shows are her favorites.

She pesters me to buy something for her whenever we go out shopping. She won’t ask for clothes or books, nah nah, it’s the make-up stuff and candies! Medha loves make up and draping herself with scarves, adorning her head with a tiara and walking around the house like a princess. Oh! And her little brother, who kinda worships her, is ready to take on the role of a prince or servant or whatever suits her highness’ fancy!

These days she’s into making a lot of money. Our budding entrepreneur goes around serving lemonade that she herself prepares or giving massages or facials to whoever is willing to pay her a buck or two, preferably in US Dollars!

Medha is more of an outdoor person than indoors. She loves the jungles and safaris. Oh she doesn’t mind going to the neighborhood shop even. She just loves to be out and about.

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And when she comes to me as I type this and I tell her I’m writing about her monkey business, she tells me, “You always talk about my monkey business. You never see my good side.”, that hits me hard. Am I really? This girl doesn’t have to punch me to make me stagger. So small yet such big words!

She can be sassy when she says “Why are YOU so happy about Papa coming home early? Don’t you see him everyday? I’m happy, but not like,’Yayyy! Papa’s coming!’ kinda happy!”

A Firecracker, this one!

You know, sometimes I share my thoughts and feelings with her and she comprehends them (mostly) and gives her own inputs. I feel she’s emotionally capable of handling big conversations. She’s empathetic, she feels for others’ pain and responds with compassion. When someone was being mean with her she asked him how it felt if someone did the same to him. Wouldn’t it hurt him too?

I think of her as a Wildflower sometime – exotic but rugged, beautiful yet adaptable, someone my Grandma, who wanted so much for us to be ever-smiling and pleasing towards everyone, would have simply adored, had she been alive.

I used to think she would struggle to cope with her studies, what with her monkey mind and her lack of interest in some of the subjects, but with steady, everyday, bit-by-bit learning and relearning, she’s not just scraping through but a straight A student now. Her award for proficiency says so! But what truly made me happy was when she won an award for having a “Golden Heart”! Yeah! That’s my girl!

-Manasa.

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Madhav @ 5

My littlest isn’t too little anymore! He turned 5 a few days ago and tells me 5 years has been fun so far! He is tall; he’s skinny; he has the biggest, most teeth- and gum-baring smile of all. But don’t be fooled by his stick-like appearance! Thanks to the taekwondo lessons he’s been going to, he has the guts, the strength to take on his big sis, who also goes to the same class, in fights.

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He didn’t cry one bit when he got his shots, which surprised the doc. He said most 5 year olds throw up a ruckus when they are being vaccinated.

But… But… He’s a chicken in some other ways, mind you. He still sleeps with us or his grandparents instead of in his own bed!

His curiosity, the questions he comes up with about the world and beyond, the ways in which his little brain works and the amazing connections it makes between thoughts and ideas, continue to surprise us.

Being the youngest, it’s a wonder that he loves babies so much! It was cute to watch him dote on his little brother, Neel. He would sing lullabies to soothe him and act silly to get him to eat. It was equally a delight to watch the adoration in Neel’s eyes for his ‘big’ brother.

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He follows his sister around like a little lamb. And everywhere that Medha goes, the lamb is sure to go!

Madhav knows I’m a crybaby, so anytime a sad scene plays on TV, he’s all eyes on me, ready to console. He can’t bear to see his sister in tears too. He will do anything to make her feel better even though he would have tortured and made her cry in the first place!

His favorite pastime is to make cards for his little cousins. He drops them in our post box and waits for the postman to pick it up and deliver them. And wonders why they don’t write him back!

It feels like only a few days back he began talking, but now he’s quite fluent in Kannada, getting better at English and knows a smattering of Telugu too, although he still babbles. He even gets selected for speeches at school! What?!?

He has God on his speed dial whom he calls upon whenever in need, especially when he’s playing and is determined to win. The sweet thing is he prays for everyone.

Madhav at 5 loves to write, like, All. The. Time and becomes restless when he’s unable to. I wonder who he gets that from! 🙂

-Manasa

Medha at 6

Medha at 6 –

Medha at 6

  • is a fun girl (has always been one), ready to socialize (she’s called a “social butterfly”) and willing to go anywhere, anytime.
  • now has a scooter (a gift from the grandparents) which she rides like the wind, telling me she feels like singing “Kitna maza…” as cool breeze hits her face! She has never played with anything else this long (Touchwood!). Always flitting from one thing to another, it’s a wonder she’s still excited about it!
  • is very athletic, always ready to walk, ride, run, dance, whatever! I wonder where she gets all that energy from. And I also wonder how powerful that idiot box called TV must be to keep such an energetic person sit glued in front of it for hours!
  • may seem too detached, carefree and easy-going. But know her better, you will see her sensitive side, the side that wants everyone to love her; the side that is capable of comprehending complex thoughts; the side that speaks words beyond her age. For eg: “I feel like a woman when I wear this!”!

She simply stumps me with her dialogues. Grandpa thinks she’s well-suited for the movies, but, with her restless nature, she’ll just be jumping from one project to another without completing any, he despairs!

  • loves to dance and tells me she doesn’t need a teacher to teach her the steps; says she can come up with her own, thank you very much!
  • will not stop dancing till you’re bored to sleep; so please ask her to display her skills at your own risk!
  • is a complete foodie, tasting everything and insisting upon helping me in the kitchen. I let her. She washes and peels veggies, tosses salads, mixes ingredients and even helps with cleaning the dishes! I wonder why I used to be so worried about her eating habits. Things keep changing, you see…
  • is getting better and better at Reading. At the end of a reading session (of not more than a few pages, by the way!), we are so exhausted, we take a nice long break!
  • isn’t too impressed with my stitching or other creative projects and asks me why I struggle when it is SO easy to buy stuff!
  • is Madhav’s “Little Mama”, keeping an eye on him at all times, making sure he doesn’t stray far, ensuring his safety on lifts and escalators. She does a better job than I do, seriously! My favorite pastime is to just set everything aside and watch the duo converse or play or fight with one another! They’re one hilarious couple! 🙂

Love,

Manasa.

Madhav at 3

Madhav at 3

Birthday Boy

  • is still a mama’s little boy, always following her around like a puppy. He loves each and every one of the rest of his family to pieces too, especially the men. I don’t know what’s his problem with the ladies! He still takes really really long to get attached to them!
  • loves to ape his papa, dressing up to match him, to look like him! I wonder how he is going to look when he’s actually as tall as him! I keep thinking of that often and hold tight this tiny person who won’t remain tiny forever, no matter how much his old mama wants him to.
  • isn’t a big eater! Let alone big, he is not even a moderate eater! The only thing he asks for are chapathis (still calls them “chapachi”). I comfort myself saying Medha was the same at his age. Now she’s a total foodie!
  • is imaginative, using toys and household stuff in unique ways, coming up with his own games. He still loves to build, especially trains and tracks. After the visit to Dubai, he’s been a big fan of planes too! In that way he’s a total boy through and through…..
  • But….. he is very fond of the shows big sister watches, like “Sophia the First” and “Minnie’s Bow-tique” and lets out a squeal when they play on TV! So….
  • loves his grandmas (I think!), but he absolutely adores his grandpas for reasons I can’t fathom!
  • has very few friends, maybe a couple of them and loves hanging out with his sister more than anybody.
  • can spend hours painting: he has finished quite a few of those jumbo coloring books in, sometimes, monochromatic colors or at other times, no color at all, using only water as paint!
  • is a sight to watch when he is absorbed in building or painting. I’ve never seen or met a 3 year old who concentrates so hard at his  ‘work’!
  • loves to be read. Until now I picked “cute kitten or bear” kinda books to read to him. Recently I gave “Superheroes” book a try and he absolutely loved the adventures of Batman and Superman. I need to read a variety of books to my kids!
  • is my little helper, helping me with all my projects, even stitching. This guy loves to watch me stitch and begs to be allowed to “titch” too….
  • isn’t as adventurous as his big sister, thank god! He even takes on my role in my absence, admonishing her for her mischiefs!
  • is a big hugger, passing out free hugs and kisses to us when we need them! And apologizes to me when I’m hurt even if he is not the culprit!
  • I’m telling you, he is one of the sweetest guys ever… No no…. I’m not saying this just because he’s MY baby. He IS. Just get to know him, you will see…. 🙂

Lil Monkey

Love,

Manasa.

Letter to Medha

Dear Medha,

I’m sorry I haven’t been able to write much to you. Not because there isn’t much going on with you, but BECAUSE there is! We’re too busy right now, neck-deep in your school stuff and home stuff. Apart from 2 big Weddings in the family, the arrival of guests home, there’s so much school work to do. If one day you have Crown-decorating competition, then the next day you have Leaf-Doodling (for which you won the first prize!). If one day you have to narrate a story in the assembly, then you have to read a book in front of the Principal the next. And now comes the hot sauce to this porridge- Assessments- for which Papa and I have to figure out how to squeeze the spellings of some 30 new words into your brain and teach you what consonant blends are (which by the way none of us knew until we read your book!). Phew! And… and… How about your Dance (Classical) class and your Tennis lessons (We took the month off from Tennis. Thought it best for my sanity!)? Most of the time I find myself navigating the busy streets, dropping and picking you up from one class to the other. I don’t dare think of the days when your baby brother joins various classes too! I might be becoming certifiably insane, but you, you’re so chilled about everything! No sweat, no tears about this crazy business we are in! But just enjoying everything, going with the flow… You know one really really good thing about you that I find highly improbable in a child your age? It is that you’re game for anything!

“Dance class?”  “Why no Tennis today?”

“Don’t you want to go?”  “Hmmm… OK. Let’s go!”

“Tennis today”-  “Yay! Let’s go!”

“Painting?”  “Wow! Yes!”

“Let’s read a book” -“Will you help me? Then I will.”

“Let’s learn some new words” –  “Yeah… OK” (with a slightly constipated look)

“Forgot a word?” “Don’t stare at me like that! I’ll write it 5 times if you want!”

“Let’s go out”– “YAY!”

“Let’s stay home”– “Yeah… OK. I’ll watch TV then. What? No TV? ALRIGHT! Phone? OK OK… I’ll play with Madhav” (Looks at Madhav with a “Do I have to?” face. But goes with it…)

I wish I could be more like you!

What punctuates these short, overloaded days are the sweet compliments I receive about you- Papa commending me for having drawn you this far from the days of your struggling to recognize letters, to now being able to build words on your own. The Supervisor at school telling me how beautifully you dance and that I needn’t worry about your studies. My own friends telling me how well-behaved you guys are (despite my telling them, repeatedly, that you could be a couple of monsters at home!)!

Perks of this job!

Love you my sweet girl,

Mama.

Letter to Madhav

Dear Madhav,

School is FUN for you! You do nothing but eat, sing, dance and play there, of course it has to be fun! You enjoy the holidays too. There’s nothing that pleases you more than wrestling with papa or teasing big sis on a lazy Sunday. But we’re glad we started school early when many asked us to wait a year more. Every morning you make sure Papa doesn’t leave for work without dropping you first. STOP! You tell him, complete with your palm in his face, if you spot him slinking through the door! Grandparents find it impossible to believe someone this tiny can be so excited about school. And it’s hard to keep up with how much you are learning there. I find you mumbling one song or the other, songs I never heard you sing before. You’re picking up a few languages too… Before going to school you hardly spoke in English or Hindi! But now you do, and Telugu too. Our helper was over the moon when you asked her what she was up to in her mother-tongue! And your teacher tells me you talk quite a bit! Oh, really? I know you’re a talker (way more than Medha!), but you hardly speak outside the comfort of home!

I’m always discovering something new about you guys every day!

King of our Jungle

My most favorite part of the day right now is picking you up at 11:30 AM and talking about all that you did at school. In the beginning you wouldn’t say anything, but now you’ve gotten so used to my probing that you just say whatever random thing comes to your mind! Like, there were days when you said “Gobhi”(Cauliflower) to my “What did you do today?”, everyday!” What else did you do?”. “More Gobhi”. “And then?” “Lots and lots of Gobhi!”. I wondered whether they made you cook for the staff!

And then came days when you said “I did ‘this'” or “I did ‘that'”, with my friend “Esha”. I was excited that you’d made a new friend. You told me she’s a good girl, but cries after her mommy leaves and some such stories about her. Wanting to know who your special friend is, I asked your teacher to tell me more. Guess what, she said there was  no one by that name! Either you must have gotten the name wrong or you must be cooking up a tale to keep me happy and my mouth shut! Ha! You know I don’t give up so easily! So….

Baby, What did you do today?

During Diwali, you, the BRAVE, MISCHIEVOUS Madhav, were too scared most of the time! Every Diya (Tea-light made of clay) lit and each cracker burst would send you whimpering to me, poor thing! I wanted to capture the festival of light in all its splendor and bustle, but how could I? I had to carry YOU all the time, not my camera! Thank God, it’s over! Until next year…

One more thing… It gives me the warmest of fuzzies when you tell me, “Medha is MINE (about your big sis)! You can have Papa if you want!”.

No matter how much you guys fight(And you fight like cat and dog!), you love your big sister the most and follow her around everywhere!

Love,

Mama.

Letter to Madhav

Dear Madhav,

Hi! Ahem… How are you my little one? How’s being a little brother going so far? Fun, I hope? I know you’re sort of being neglected since we began preparing for Medha’s exams; But what to do?! There’s so much she needs to practice for her Pre-primary exam – sight words, number names, letters in Hindi, words in Hindi, names of vegetables, fruits, flowers, parts of the body… Phew! Papa and I are so engrossed in teaching and applauding her every tiny success, that you’re getting annoyed with us for ignoring you. We do ensure that you are safe, healthy and happy, of course, but beyond that I haven’t been able to spend much time with you. Nor have I taught you a thing more than what you already know! I’m so sorry my little monkey (By the way you prefer to be called a “monkey” or a “doggie” instead of a “baby”!

Busy reading a book by himself

But you already know so much- Words in 3 different languages (Kannada, English and Hindi); colors like Red, Black, Orange, Pink, Purple and White- more colors than you did just last month; most Shapes including Oval; quite a few rhymes; when to say “Please” and “Thank you” and to meditate (Yep, I take you to my meditation class where you sit quietly for a couple of minutes and then play with a puzzle set by yourself. Still, all our attention is focused on sis right now.

But you will take center-stage soon, tomorrow, to be precise.

You will start school. We finally found the right one for you, for us. I’m looking forward to the next big step in your life- Preschool. You are learning so much, soaking up everything like a sponge. What was once enough- home, your mama and and your toys- don’t amount to much anymore. You are ready to move on. But Am I? That’s a BIG question!

All the excuses I used to make – “You’re too young” “You’re contented with playing by yourself” or “You’re learning so much at home itself”- `to keep you with me all day, aren’t working any longer. You’re growing, and fast too. Papa thinks you have too much potential that will only get wasted if you stay home all day. It’s only apt to send you to school; Just for a couple of hours, everyday. I’ll miss having you around at home, helping me with cooking, laundry and grocery-shopping. But I’m sure you will have much more fun at your new school, make a bunch of friends, learn loads of new things and burn off that extra extra energy!

With Love, Anxiety and a bit of tears mixed in,

Mama

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