Medha @ 10

“I finally reached a 2-digit age!!!” was Medha’s delight and relief at turning 10! This girl can’t wait to grow up! She’s counting the years before she becomes a teenager! God save us when she does!

Medha loves to dress up: She tries on different clothes, sometimes even mine, picks accessories carefully to go with her outfits, does her hair, puts on a lot of make-up and clicks selfies! She knows more about blushes and eye-shadows than I do! For her magazine, Glimmer Glamour, she writes that “Since nobody else is dressing up lately, I’m the only glamorous news there is.” In her very own “Salon and Spa” she gave both her papa and I makeovers, of which we have both vetoed down posting pictures, thank you very much!

She loves to dance. She enjoys dancing to Zumba videos on Youtube. And she loves listening to English music, screaming, I mean, singing along, when her favorite songs are playing on the computer. She loves listening to stories on podcasts (Check out Stories or Julie’s Library podcasts) and audiobooks. She loves reading books too (She’s currently reading the 3rd book in the Beezus and Ramona series). Medha is very good at storytelling herself. She reads books to her brother when he allows her to.

She’s so good at art. I’m shocked at how deft her hand movements are when she’s intently sketching and coloring. She’s into portraits of girls lately.

A Wall hanging she made with old bangles, wool and beads.

She still plays with the same doll her grandma gifted her long ago. But most of all, TV is her life! Yes! She watches the Ramayana, Mahabharata and Krishna with her grandparents. She watches other soaps from the 80s and 90s with them. Fullhouse is a show which she can watch over and over again.

And she’s a foodie. She loves to try different foods, gives us suggestions and ideas on what and how to cook, helps me with the cleaning and chopping of vegetables and sometimes even whips up a tangy juice or a fruity souffle herself. But she hates exercise! It’s a big struggle to get this girl to do our daily exercise. She will cry and complain and whine away…… but eventually she will come and do her bit. It’s the same with her school work! Once we push her from the claws of inertia, she will go with the flow!

According to Medha, currently her-

Favorite food is – Mac and Cheese

Favorite book is – The Fudge series by Judy Blume.

Favorite show/movie is – Fullhouse

Favorite thing to do is – Draw

And, she is bored of – her brother!

What drives her crazy is- her brother, again!

Best Buddy is- not her brother, Nidhi.

She wants to be a – Fashion Designer or an artist

And a thing that makes her very happy is – being outside.

On her birthday we baked 2 cakes – one, a banana cake and another one- a red velvet cake. Both turned out delicious! I’m not posting the pics here as the pics don’t do justice to the cakes. But I followed this blog for the recipes. I’m going to try her other recipes too!

Anyways, every minute with this fire cracker of a girl is a minute full of hysterics, intense drama, catfights and bucketfuls of tears……. nothing short of a bollywood movie!!!

– 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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Letter to Medha

Dear Medha,

It’s been 2 months since you joined a Tennis Class and you still enjoy going there everyday (Phew! I don’t have to cajole or threaten you to go! I don’t think I could have.). You know way more about Tennis than I do! I feel so jealous when you talk “forehand” or “backhand” with Papa; It feels as if you both are speaking a different language altogether!

You enjoy the other games that the coaches make you guys play in order to improve your strength, concentration and co-ordination. Thanks to all the practice you get at home, you are able to hit the ball right across the net (Papa has a ball stuffed inside an ugly sock hanging by a length of rope in the middle of our living room for his budding Tennis Champ to practice!)

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Playing “house-house” with your baby brother is another favorite. You like cooking and serving everybody fancy food like “Cracker soup”, “Pink Sugar Milk-shake” and “Pink Chai”. As you “cook”, you describe the process, like it’s done on cookery shows. It sounds so good, it makes my mouth water! The other day you told me you don’t need a laptop to check the recipe while cooking, like I do. “I know everything!”, you said, as a matter of fact. Wish I were so confident!

And my heart swells with love and pride when I watch you play with your brother and he repeats everything you say or do ’cause it doesn’t happen too often; You both tease and fight with each other quite a lot too!

There are times though that I have to remind myself that you are just a 5 year old kiddo and not someone older! You have such strong likes and dislikes, high opinion about the world around and the people in it; And you are so vocal about it too. The only thing that holds you back is your voice, which is so soft, a listener has to place her ear close to your mouth to comprehend what you’re saying. And that’s the reason why you get disqualified from speeches (according to your teachers), even though you are the best of the lot (according to YOU!)!

When I stop doing about a hundred different things at the same time, like I usually do, and pay attention to you, really look at you, I’m shocked at how tiny you still are. You just act older, like you don’t really care whether I show you any affection or not! Then I hug you real tight and you let me; Then I promise myself to savor every bit of this age before it is too late and you’re all grown up.

With baby

 (My baby with her baby “Saraqueta”, the space monkey)

Love,

Mama

Letter to Madhav

This feature is inspired by Elise at eliseblaha.typepad.com

Dear Madhav,

It’s funny to hear you talk and the funniest to hear you repeat what Medha says. I enjoy YOUR version of the pre-primary gossip that she shares everyday after school. I call you both “Peter and Re-Peater”. She talks and you repeat. My sister used to do that too, ape me when we were kids, and I would get so annoyed. But your sister doesn’t; Lucky you!

You know a lot of rhymes already: Baa-Baa Black Sheep is your favorite; You sing hymns too. And you’re eager to learn more; And play more. I think you’re ready for school now… But I’m not. I’m not yet ready to let go of my affectionate little Monkey that always hangs around my neck (and sometimes chokes me too!). Plus, I haven’t found the perfect play-school nearby. I don’t have very high standards, but I do expect the popular play-schools to follow basic hygiene, have a big play area and not make errors while writing words on the black-board (Yes, I found spelling-mistakes!)! Until then, we learn at home, a bit by bit, everyday.

Books are a favorite with you. You ask a ton of questions (mostly “What’s this?”, “What’s that?” and the meaning of words) as we read. By the time we finish reading a book, I’m too tired to read mine.

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But Trains top the list of your favorites. (Grandparents and aunties and uncles, we already have 5-6 train-sets at home, so no more please!) More than just watching a train trundling along, building one enthralls you. You can spend hours connecting one bogie with the other or one piece of track with the next. No matter what collection you have at hand- a few spoons, a packet of straws or a bunch of clips- everything gets attached to one another forming a train of straws or a train of spoons. An Engineer in the making, I suppose.

Of all the things that make you YOU, I seriously don’t understand your dislike for girls and women. They simply adore you: One girl insists upon buying you toys all the time, while the other brings you a big slice of Banana Bread (Delicious!) her mom bakes. There are many many who wish to cuddle and play with you. But what do you do in return? Make an angry-face at them or push them aside and run over to the boys. For now, Medha is your one and only girl. I know this will change as you grow older, but I still don’t get it.

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Yours truly,

Mama.

 

Letter to Madhav

This feature is inspired by Elise at eliseblaha.typepad.com. I plan to write a letter each to Medha and Madhav once every month.

Dear Madhav,

Nothing fascinates you as much as Trains do. You go “Choo Choo” all day long, asking me to read “Choyee”, story that is, about Trains and making up your own “choyees” along the way. That always reminds me of my brother’s absolute fascination towards trains. We would go to a Railway station nearby just to watch them. He even wanted to become a Train Driver when he grew up.

By the way, you simply love Story-time. “Mama Choyee please”, you come begging, when I read to Medha at night. Reading from the same book to the two of you will not suffice; You each want to be read from your own books. And by the time I’ve read all your books, I am left with no time or energy to read mine.

Bats and Balls are your favorite toys. And Balloons too. When there’s a Cricket or a Tennis Match playing on TV and the men have already left for work, you’re the only person who sits glued to the TV, watching the game.

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Wearing old T-shirts and shorts make you happy enough to scream with joy! And boy what a booming voice you have, almost as loud as papa’s! While he has the build to match, you don’t. Enough digression. We were discussing your love for old clothes. Even old shoes; Although you have a couple of brand-new, unused pairs of footwear, you always go for your favorite soiled and ragged blue ones. I’m all for “Reduce. Reuse. Recycle”, so I don’t force you to wear what you don’t want to, unless we are going to a party or visiting some of my relatives, who are all about “Buy new. Buy more. Get rid of the old”.

I must have mentioned this already, like a hundred times before, but I can’t tell you enough how much you enjoy digging through your sister’s cupboard for her clips and bangles and even Nail paint. Everyone who looks at you, assumes you’re a girl. I wonder how you’ll react to the pictures in which you’re wearing all that, when you’re a big boy!

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But there aren’t many pictures of you lately. Like me, you’d rather be on the other side of the camera, taking pictures than being photographed. Just as I’m about to press the shutter release button when you’re doing something, or, simply, looking cute, my screen goes blank. I find you standing beside me, watching how I photograph. After every click, you can’t wait to check out the picture. I have hopes of you becoming my assistant when I start a Photography Business. (I think the chances of ME becoming YOUR assistant when YOU start a Photography Business  are higher!)

Love,

Mama.

Letter to Medha

This feature is inspired by Elise at eliseblaha.typepad.com. I plan to write a letter each to Medha and Madhav once every month.

Dear Medha,

You always have a bag slung across your shoulder, no matter where you go, just like I do, but I think mine is way too lighter than yours. It has to be!

As I sit here, taking an inventory of your bag, there’s not an inch of space on the couch, that isn’t covered with its contents…

While mine has –

  • Some cash
  • a Debit card
  • a Library Card
  • a couple of Business cards
  • an Extra diaper for Madhav
  • a Phone
  • my Samsung Tablet
  • an Eye-liner
  • a Lipstick
  • a comb
  • a couple of candies for Madhav and you

You have the whole world in your bag!

It contains-

  • a few keepsake 10 rupee notes we bought at Iskcon (that supposedly brings good luck!)
  • a pack of tissue paper
  • an empty box of mints
  • 2 bunches of keys
  • a lock
  • an unidentifiable object that acts as a magnet and has a pin-like protrusion that poked my palm as I examined it!
  • a water-color box
  • an empty box of chewing gums containing two empty Lip Balms
  • a spinning top
  • a box of chalks
  • a 4 GB memory card
  • USB cord
  • a whistle
  • 3 phones (Toy phones obviously.)
  • a hair clip
  • a couple of toys
  • a bubble maker
  • dozens of Business Cards
  • Receipts
  • a couple of handkerchiefs
  • a teeny tiny bottle of Pond’s cream
  • a couple of mirrors
  • pieces of wood
  • dried leaves
  • (Taking a deep breath…) a snail’s shell

Yup! You carry all that and more. Whenever we go out of station or to a place that requires us to do a lot of walking, your papa and I go through your bag (without your approval, of course. It is hard for you to let go!) to decide on what can be carried, what stays back at home and what needs to be tossed in the dustbin right away (Out you go magnet-like-thingy-that-poked-me!)

But a fresh pile of knickknacks adds on, by the time we reach home. Cleaning that bag of yours is a futile exercise, but watching you carry it around everywhere you go, asking me to keep it safe when you need to play, pulling out a little something for Madhav to cheer him up when he’s crying, brings a big smile on my face!

By the way, I must thank you for a jolly time I had going through the contents of your bag and thinking of the joy this simple act of collecting and protecting such tiny (and weird) “treasures” as the shell of a snail brings to you…. Thank you!

Love,

Mama.

 

Letter to Madhav

This feature is inspired by Elise at eliseblaha.typepad.com. I plan to write a letter each to Medha and Madhav once every month.

Dear Madhav,

You can eat by yourself with a spoon or a fork, but you leave behind a messy floor and a messier YOU to clean up!

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You talk a lot and your favorite word is “Bela” ( actually, beda in Kannada, which means “NO!) and you use it profusely!

You sort of know what words the English alphabets stand for-

“A for?

all. 

B for?

ball. 

C for?

ball. 

D for?

ball

….”

“Old Mac Donald had a farm” is your favorite rhyme. I am the singer and you’re the back-up singer going “E-I-E-I-O” all the time.

Singer Shakira’s “la la la…” song is another favorite with you. You make us play that song on Youtube ALL THE TIME.

Playing with water is your favorite pastime, although you still detest taking a bath! When I’m not around you’re found to be splashing water. In the potty, that is!

You love playing with balls and toy cars, but my kitchen utensils are your favorite toys. I think there is a possibility of you becoming a drummer. You drive everybody crazy and deaf, banging on pots and pans, plus, you look like one with your long hair and pierced ears.

When sis (you call her adha or meedha)  is not around, you love rummaging through her closet, playing with her toys and accessories and asking me to dress you up in her pretty skirts.

When sis is around you fight with one another all the time, both wanting the same thing, both fighting over who gets to sit on mama’s lap.

But when one of you is in trouble, the other is always there to rescue. When a girl at the park poked her finger into sis’s eyes and she complained about it to me, you barged into that little girl in vengeance!

You follow Medha around like a puppy, aping her every move and repeating every word she utters. Watching the sister-brother dynamics is MY favorite pastime lately.

What is it about not wanting to try on new clothes I buy you? Also, you just hate button-down shirts! Wearing a vest and an old pair of shorts is your style!

You still aren’t potty-trained yet and don’t sleep through the night(God knows how I function during the day!), which means you are bound to doze off while watching TV.

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This isn’t all, but this will do for now…

Love,

Mama.

Picture #9 (As part of picture365- a picture everyday for 365 days)

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We spent a quiet evening soaking the festivities at the Lakshmi Narayan temple. Surprisingly I was allowed to click as many pictures as I could within the temple.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Letter to Madhav

This feature is inspired by Elise at eliseblaha.typepad.com. I plan to write a letter each to Medha and Madhav once every month.

Dear Madhav,

You had a slow start: You came out late; You crawled later; You began walking the latest. But now, it is as if you are trying to make up for all that lost time; You’re all over the place.

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During the day, when you aren’t taking a nap, not a minute goes by when you aren’t moving. You push your walker or the Megacar around; You follow us around like a puppy dog; You make insane number of trips to the trash can to throw away dirt as tiny as a strand of hair lying on the floor. I feel dizzy just watching you go round and round.

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You’re repeating the words we use. Not whole sentences yet, but just words. Plus, you imitate sounds of animals that your sister and I teach you. I mean, each sound sounds distinct! It’s amazing to watch you learn so fast.

It’s fun to hear the names you use to address everyone in the family. Your grandpas are “addha”, grandmas – “dhaddha”, Medha- “aadha”, papa- “abba”, Madhi- “baayi”, Srushti- “thitthi” and so on. “Addha” and “aadha” might look similar but we know who you’re talking about when you use one of them

You enjoy books as much as your sister does. Not the board books for babies that have a single word on each page, Nah, but the ones that have a sentence each, with colorful illustrations and words that sound funny.

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I borrow a book each for the 3 of us at the library, which means you get your own book. You toss it into my lap, insisting that I read yours, whenever I read to Medha.

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You enjoy spending time at the library. There, you sit at the tiny table and play with toy animals and puzzles for a while, pull books that are at your level and glance through them for another while. And, then start climbing the shelves or screaming about going round and round, which means if we stay a while longer we’ll be kicked out!

When I drive the car, it’s assumed that it’s you who sits beside me in the passenger seat, just as it’s me who sits next to papa, when he’s driving. You sit nowhere else. I strap you with the seat belt and you sit there the whole time without squirming. And I’m able to take you to a lot of places because of this.

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Sometimes I take you along to pick Medha up from school. Going to her school absolutely thrills you. You won’t let me hang around with her teachers, trying to find out what the kids learnt for the day. All you care about is sitting on the toy that rocks back and forth, back and forth until the security personnel ask us to vacate the premises.

When I think about how in no time I must begin looking for a play-school for you (that will not happen for a while, anyway, since I’m having a tough time trying to potty-train you!), I feel so sad. You’re growing so fast and you’re my last baby.  Oh I’m going to miss these baby-years….

With you, I’m making sure I enjoy every bit of this stage, no matter how exhausted and sleepless I feel.