Vishu in Dubai

This year our Vishu celebration wasn’t that great. What is celebrations without family and friends ? As Vishu was on Sunday ( a working day here, in Dubai ) we were in office on Vishu 😦

Anyways, we arranged a vishukani with available items, Babs wasn’t much thrilled to be shown the Kani as soon as he got up. But as soon as we gave him one Dirham coin as Kaineettam, a glow came on his face. Then he was happy to see the Kani and had something to blabber about the items kept for Kani 🙂 I was reminded how Kaineettam was the best thing about Vishu for all of  us as kids. Didn’t know this love for pocket money would start at the age of 16 months 🙂

I came home a little early from office and prepared a small Vishu Sadhya for dinner . The sadhya was spread on a plaintain leaf and surprisingly Babs enjoyed his first Vishu Sadhya ( last Vishu he was just about 5 months old ). Not only did he have stomach full from his plate (plaintain leaf), he wanted a second helping when I sat down to eat.  So that leaves a happy baby and a happy mummy and of course a happy daddy 🙂

 

PS : As I was posting this, I felt the tremor of the Earthquake. This is the first ever time I actually felt the Earth quake.

Baby Sitting – Woes to Bliss (Part I)

My little boy gets up in the morning and as soon as I change his diaper and clothes he says ‘ta-ta ‘ and points to the door. He wants to carry the bag with his dabba (snack box) and dress himself. Once I open the door, he points and pushes me till he reaches his Aunty’s house. He happily goes into his Aunty’s arms and says ta-ta to me and eagerly looks around for Uncle. I smile and walk back to our room.

Last April I returned to Dubai after my 7 months long sabbatical, with my 4 months old baby. My Amma came along with me to stay for three months and help me with the baby. I rejoined my work the next day.

For three months things were fine. Babs was with his Ammama and I had nothing to worry. But as the time neared for Amma to return back to India, we all were worried. The search for a baby sitter started.babysitting

We could not afford a maid, so the options left were Day cares or Baby Sitter. Location was one major issue in our search for Day care/Baby sitter, as we do not own a car. We had to look for a place near our home or my office or somewhere in the route between my home and office, so that my office cab would not mind me dropping and picking my baby on the way.

I was not much sure about Day cares. The stories I heard about  Day cares such as that the kids are given cough syrups and put to sleep whole day, was not encouraging. We could not get any recommendations from any of our contacts, Google was our only guide. Online research and phone calls followed. Our options were limited – Few do not take babies below 1 year, few were off on Saturdays, few cases the timings were not ok, few were highly unaffordable.

Finally we found a Baby sitter, the week before Amma left. We visited her flat which was 15 minutes walking distance from my office. Her sweet talk and behaviour somehow convinced us that she was the right person.bs

But that turned out to be a horrible mistake. At that time Babs was 7 months old and still on milk and purees, he had just started crawling and could not stand without support.  My baby cried a lot every time I left him there and went to pick him. I went in the afternoons to feed him.  He was suddenly left at a new place with strangers, he would take time, things will be ok in few days, I thought. Two more weeks, there was no change and she had lots of complaints. She said he was a difficult child, fussy eater, not mingling with anyone. I told her not to force feed, I don’t force feed him. Let him have what he wants. But she kept comparing him with other kids and complaining. I was depressed. Didn’t know what to do. Was she no good or was the problem with my child ? Should I give them some more time ? Nearly a month and still I couldn’t see any attachment develop between them.

Then one day she called and said that Babs had fallen and bleeding from his nose. I rushed to her flat. He was sitting in a corner crying. I picked him up and he immediately clung to me and stopped crying. I checked his nose, bleeding had stopped. His dress had few drops of blood and there was little blood in his hanky. She was panicking and asking me to rush him to hospital immediately. I calmed her down and asked her what happened. She said he was sitting on the floor and falling asleep, she tried picking him up to put him on bed, but he would not allow her to touch him, he would cry when she went near him. So he dosed off sitting and hit his nose on the floor.

I took him home immediately and decided to not send him there again. Kids fall, bleeding happens, it sometimes happens even when you are most careful. I do not blame her of carelessness but I was disappointed the way she panicked and reacted after that. I could not understand why she was not able to pick up a sleepy child and put him to sleep. Why she could not connect with him even after so many days ?

But what knocked the daylights out of me was her call in the evening, “What can I do, he doesn’t allow me to pick him. I thought he was afraid because he was not familiar with us and so we all moved to other room and closed the door . Even then he cried. He is a difficult child, you better quit the job and take him with you back home. I tried my best but your son has some problem ”

What the hell! You don’t move out  and close the door leaving a crying child alone in the room, in an unfamiliar place. She thought she was doing her best taking care of the child by leaving him alone crying? It was completely my mistake. I cannot still come out of the guilt of trusting my baby with someone like her . Even now the image of my baby crying in a corner of the room all alone breaks my heart to pieces.

I took off for some days . Had no clue what to do. How can I trust a new baby sitter ? How will I find one ? Then one of  my husband’s acquaintances told him about a middle aged lady in the building next to his, who was taking care of kids for a very long time. They personally knew her and the parents of two kids going there. They assured us that  we can trust our baby with her.

Continued on  : Baby Sitting – Woes to Bliss (Part II)

What kept me from leaving home !!

Once when I was around 10 yrs old and my dee 12 yrs, my Amma was doing the routine combing to remove the head lices / jua (they are now extinct or endangered species I suppose, haven’t seen even one lice for a long long time now) which flourished and nourished on my long thick black lustrous hair I had then (and now I have something black on my head in the name of hair 😦 ).

ImageI hated this (Indian mother’s favourite pastime) sooo much. Just the sight of the comb used to make me a rebel. All my pleas to leave my hair alone fell into deaf ears. Finally I had enough and I decided to leave home for good. I escaped my Amma’s hold, declared my intention to leave home.

My dee, who was bathing, was hearing the commotion outside. She rushed out of the bathroom with water dripping from her hair and body, wetting the frock she wore. She ran behind me and pulled my arms.

“Please don’t leave, please “

“I have to. I can’t stay in this house. Amma doesn’t like me”

“Then I will also come with you. Please wait for 5 minutes.”

“No am going. I can’t stay here for another minute.”

“Don’t go alone. I will come with you. Please wait for 5 minutes. I will join you.”

“If you want to come with me, come now. I can’t stay here for another minute”

“Please wait for 2 minutes at least. I will come with you. Please.. please..”

I thought, may be she was not stupid like me, wanted to pack some clothes. After all she used to scare Ammamma (granny) often by packing her 2 favourite dresses in a polythene bag and declaring that she would leave home and come to us. (Me and Bro were with parents in Hyderabad till I was nearly 9 yrs old and my dee was left with our Ammamma in Kannur )

Konipadi

“Ok.. I will wait for you at the konipadi (steps at the gate as in picture). But why do you want 2 minutes ?”

“I rushed out of the bathroom hearing that you were leaving. I could just pull on my frock in a hurry but did not wear chaddi (underwear). How can I leave home with you without wearing chaddi ?”

She ran towards the bathroom.

Image

I stood there unable to react. My dee came back running in 2 minutes. I looked at my Amma who was enjoying the whole drama.

My whole anger had vanished but just to teach smiling Amma a lesson, we did not go back home immediately. We both sat at the konipadi till our hunger forced us to return home when Amma called us for tea. We had tea as if nothing had happened.

So what kept me from leaving home that day ? My dee or her Chaddi ?

PS: I wanted to post this on 9th Dec (her birthday). But last two weeks were too hectic at office and awful at home with Babs falling sick.

PPS: Sorry Dee.. I know you would want to burn all my chaddis and leave me chaddiless  for posting your chaddi story.

Together we have turned One…

An year has passed… an year with you in our lives. Last November you were in my arms, too small that I had to hold you so carefully, it was so difficult for me to breast feed you and today you are sitting alone on the bed and nibbling away a biscuit. On the third day you were born, I was still finding it difficult to

breastfeed you. The nurses were scolding “Why are you not holding him properly”. Your Acha still pulls  my leg telling, how I cried hugging you tight and said “Oh my baby, you are a new born and I am a new mother, we both have to learn.”

And we learnt together. Every day was a day of discovery, of new emotions.

From the first time you smiled to today when you are laughing out loud  blinking your eyes ;

From your first cry to the shriek you gave when we just took away the dirty shoe you were going to eat ;

From breast milk to the parippum chorum (rice and dal) you had today;

From your first black poop to the pampers full of shit we just put in the bin ;

From the first see through cotton dress you wore to the kurta – pajama you are wearing now ;

From the first day you flipped on your tummy to today when you are trying to stand on your own ;

From the rattles you shook with your hands to the toy car you are trying to drive today;

From the first sound you made to nonstop blabbering you are doing now;

From your toothless smile to the 4 sharp teeth with which you bite us whenever possible;

From drinking out of a feeding bottle to the straw sippy bottle ;

From crying at small sounds to enjoying fire crackers on Diwali ;

From the day you first crawled on your knees to today when you are keeping small steps holding the bed ;

From the smile and attention you gave to the music from your toy to the way you shook your hands and head in tune to Gangnam Style beats ;

From crying on leaving at the baby sitter’s to the silent acceptance that your Amma have to leave you there even if you cry ;

You have come a long way. (Darling tu pehle se kitna badal gaya 🙂 )

Its not that the last one year was a walk on cake. There were struggles, both emotional and physical. There were times you took away our sleep, we got tired, anxious and sometimes at our wit’s end. But then the joy your innocent smile gives us can wash away all those pains.

You may not understand yet why Amma and Acha have decorated the house today with balloons and colours, why Amma held you in her arms and blew a candle on the cake, why Acha made you cut a cake and offered a piece for you to have, why your little friends have gathered in the room and clapped hands and sang “Happy Birthday to you”; But darling you would understand in years to come that we were celebrating the day you came into our life, you would understand how much you mean to us, how much you have changed us and our lives.

“HAPPY BIRTHDAY MY LITTLE ONE”

PS : My sunshine celebrated his first birthday yesterday – 25/11/2012.

The Anniversary Rusk

Spandana’s Mug Cake

I wandered into this Blog and saw this recipe . I have never baked a cake. I do not have the equipments to bake in an oven and I am too scared to bake in the pressure cooker. I have this weird feeling that my pressure cooker will burst if I keep it on stove for more than 10 mins. By the way, I also have this weird feeling that my oven will burst if I keep it on for more than 5 mins. I have previously used the oven only to heat the leftover meals.

So this recipe gave me the chance to bake a cake using regular coffee cups, that too in 5 minutes time.. I thought of surprising Raj with this Cake on our fourth Anniversary, yesterday.

But my first baking experience didn’t go well 😦

My mistakes :
1. Filled up to 3/4th of the cup,  when my cup was smaller and I should have filled only 1/2 of the cup. 
2. Baked in the oven for 5 mins exactly, going by the recipe, ignoring Spandana’s advise ” The baking time might differ depending on the microwave, so keep checking for every minute after first two minutes.”
So poor Raj ended up eating over baked cake renamed as ‘chocolate Mug rusk‘ .
As for Baking, I have not given it up yet. I know my mistakes and am hoping to make a perfect mug cake, the next time.

PS : I also gifted him a pair of formal shirt & trousers. Whoever says shopping for woman is nerve wracking, please try shopping for my husband. He took 2 hours to buy just 1 pair of shirt & trousers . By the time Raj’s shopping was over, Babs was so bored that he started pulling my hair and when we walked out of the shop, my hair was a khosla ka ghosla. My new hair style got many admiring glances on our way out of the mall.
 UPDATE : I made the mug cake again on Thursday and it came out perfect!!
Raj absolutely loved it. Thank You Spandana for the recipe.

Smart Birthday !!!

July 16th2012  
My Nokia 3110 Classic, decided to drown in the water, not in chullu bar pani but table bar pani. No, it was not a suicide and noting that
wasn’t aware that the water dispenser kept on the table was leaking, it was neither a murder. It was an unfortunate accident. After being with me through the thick and thin, surviving at least 5 falls a week for 3 yrs and 10 months, it finally said goodbye.  
July 17th2012 
Raj : Lets go and buy a mobile. Anyways you needed a new mobile phone, the phone you had was an antique piece, no one carries such old models now.
Me : No.. not today, now that I have to buy a mobile, I want to buy a smartphone and this month we cant afford it. If only I could get an old phone to adjust with for this one month.
 
Next 2 weeks , a friend was kind enough to loan me an extra mobile set she had. 
 
Aug 2012
 
Raj : Lets go and buy a mobile.
Me  : No.. not this month, we cant afford it. If only I could get an old phone to adjust with for one more  month.
My sister who was in Kerala enjoying a short vacation had come back and she lend me her old mobile set, Nokia 2600 Classic,

which she had given her 7 yr old son to play with. My nephew was kind enough to trade his toy with chocolates, just for his beloved ‘elemma’ (mother’s younger sister ).

Sept 2012

Raj : We have waited long enough. Lets buy a new phone, I have checked the smart phones in the malls, Sony Ericcson Xperia seems to be good and in our budget.
Me : Ya.. but not yet. Lets wait and see if I get an increment this month.
 
Still using the Nokia 2600.
 
Oct 2012
 
Raj : My colleague has bought Nokia Lumia 900. Its good. Lets buy Nokia Lumia 800,  that would be in our budget.
Me : No. Smart phone will be a luxury. I keep dropping phones. This Nokia phone is good and can survive my rough handling. I use phone only to answer calls and rarely to make calls. And yes  as alarm also. I don’t need any extra features in the mobile. Can think of a smartphone next year. May be.
 
29th Oct 2012
 
My Birthday and guess what my Hubby gifts me : Samsung Galaxy S duos.

And my reaction : Oh my God !!. Why did you spent so much money on the phone ? It would make a big hole in our pockets. We could have bought it next year. May be I would have got an increment by then. Why did you…………
Raj : My dear please…….. What’s the use of saving money, if we can’t spent a little on such essential luxuries. ( ya, that’s what he said “essential luxuries” ). 
Me : But I don’t need…
Raj : I know you wanted it . This is NOT a waste of money. This is what we earn money for, to fulfill our small desires.
Me  : Oh ok. ok.. ( by now I was impressed with the phone and giving more attention to it than my poor hubby )..it’s nice, looks good..  Thank you dear…
Raj : But don’t expect any other gift on our 4th Anniversary that comes 12 days after, and “mummy Seena’s” first birthday that comes 27 days after and the 4thanniversary of our first meeting which also happens to be today.
Me : One gift, for 4 occasions ? Oh God! You are such a miser. Mr. Kanjoos!!
Raj : Kanjoos!! but just now u were against spending ………..
( I walk away tapping on my new Samsung Smartphone) 


On another note :
Did you know Google does customized birthday Doodles for those who have Google account ? Well, I didn’t. I was pleasantly surprised on seeing this when I logged in Google on 29th morning.

Babs & Elephant, Jalebi & Kappayum Meenum

My Babs is a true Mallu. Yesterday he had his first encounter with the Elephant. He was so excited to see the Elephant, he was shouting , clapping, touching it , pulling it’s nettipattam  , pulling and tapping on it’s trunk and was hanging on it’s tusk. Fortunately (for the Elephant of course!), it was not  a real Elephant J
This happened when we went toDALA’s  (Dubai Art Lovers Association) Keralotsavam 2012, which was taking place just opposite to our villa. They had put up a life size Elephant statue, and our son’s reaction to it was really amazing.

Carricature of my 11 months old son ‘ Babs’ by Artist Sadanandan

We also got his caricature done.

And we registered ourselves for blood and organ donation. And also for lucky draw contest which am sure we would never win. Am so unlucky in lucky draws that I would not win even if I am the only person participating.

And also one of my long time wishes was granted. I ate garam-garam jalebiyam for the first time ever. I ate Jalebiyam many times but somehow never got the opportunity to have ‘garamagaram jalebi’ right out of the kadai
Image Source

No, these are not the Jalebis I ate ( though looks exactly the same), I was too busy eating to think about clicking.  

They had put many stalls, including this Jalebi stall and tattukada  (street food stall ).
Raj ate some Kappayum Meenum (tapioca & fish curry – typical Kerala / Kannur food) from the Tattukada

Image Source

No, this is not the Kappayum Meenum he ate. I was too busy playing with a balloon, and keeping Babs attention on it, in an effort to keep him from pulling the plate off his dads hand, to click.

I too wanted to have kappayum meenum, but decided not to, after hearing Raj’s comment  “ udayathe kappayum, meeninte thalayum, mullum mathrame enik kiyttiyullu, allengillum Bharya villambi tharunna pole aavullallo  ” ( All I got is half cooked tapioca and skull & bones of fish, afterall I cant expect them to serve like my wife ) He likes only the tail part of the fish and whenever I cook fish, I select and serve him only the tail part, not that I like the head part but as they say if your loved one loves tail, you would have to start liking the head J.
I like my kappa mashed, as in the picture above. It was one of the things I craved during pregnancy. But I was advised by everyone around to avoid it since it is believed to cause gastritis. But my sweet sister finally made some for me to satisfy my craving. I devoured it and also proved that it did not cause gastritis ( at least not to me ). And then I made some myself, and once back at home for delivery, I convinced my mother to make some more.
You would be wondering, we went to DALA’s Keralotsavam and all I wrote was of food and the Elephant. Well, there were many programmes going on the stage, but Babs made sure we do not watch them, he loves moving around than sitting/standing at one place for long. And afterall the main reason we went there was to entertain him and not us, although we ended up entertaining our stomachs as well.

“Amma….”

What do you feel when your seven month old calls you “Amma” ( mom ) for the first time.. you would jump in joy.. smother him with kisses, call and share it with everyone you know… at least that’s what I thought I would do.. But only thing I could do was to stain his burning cheeks with my tears..
My son called me “Amma” for first time when he was 7 months old and was down with fever. He had cold, cough and high fever. His chest was infected and doctor said if not controlled immediately would develop into pneumonia.
That night he was having 103 degree ( F ) fever. Blocked nose made it difficult for him to have breast milk. He would not sleep on the bed and was sleeping on my lap. His whole body was burning hot. With eyes closed in effort to sleep and lips dry and trembling, he called “Amma….” , not once but again and again. I could do nothing but take his hands in mine and say “Amma is here with you my son, am here with you.” and my tears dropped on his cheeks…
PS : After 10 days of  nebulization and 5 days of injections, thankfully my son regained health.