October 30, 2007


One thing I like to do with Arun is to discuss the prior day's events with him. Even if it just a trip to the grocery store, I will recount what we did, what we saw, which produce/food products we purchased. It helps with building memory and such - something I learned from my Sister the Former Preschool Teacher because oddly, I did not learn these things in Business School. Anyway, yesterday I was talking with Arun about the Boo at the Zoo event that we went to on Sunday with Mojavi's daughter and Chocolate Covered Susan's daughter.

Me: Arun, remember yesterday we went to the zoo with Kya and Aubrey? What did we see there? Remember how we saw the tigers and elephants?
Arun: NO! Elmo! No! Elmo! Elmo!

Nice, real nice. Folks, we trekked our suburban asses out to the zoo to enjoy nature and animals and all he remembers is how Aubrey dressed up as Elmo.

In other news, I am posting over at the BoobLog about folks commenting on Anjali's weight. Size does matter - listen, I am ecstatic that my girl is pudgy, chubby and healthy. I am grateful for the rolls on her thighs. I love blowing raspberries on that round baby belly. And I enjoy kissing her puffy cheeks. She is healthy and happy. What more could I ask for? Oh, maybe for folks to quit commenting on her size.


In other, other news, I came across this great link over at the Baby 411 blog about the supposed link between autism and vaccines. First, I need to clarify something - this is a hot, HOT topic for me on many levels.
-When I was in 2nd grade, a classmate of mine died from complications from chicken pox. My school was small - only 42 of us in that grade. Everyone knew and loved Audrey.
-I had a family member test just outside the spectrum of autism 15 years ago.
-A month ago, I had another family member test inside the spectrum.

Vaccines and autism are simply not a black/white issue for me and I do, indeed, take it all personally. I cannot pretend otherwise to have an open mind about this.

Dr. Brown has some very valid concerns about painting vaccines with such a wide brush. She also has some valid points about the responsibility of celebrities dispensing incorrect information color with their opinions. Do not get me wrong. I am a huge Jenny McCarthy fan - I have always appreciated her self-deprecating humor and her vivacious, positive attitude towards life in general. However, it is disturbing that she is sending a medically incorrect message.

October 29, 2007

Is it really that hard?

Aw Shucks....
X and I had unprotected sex in October 2006 and I am ever, ever so eternally grateful. Had I known that encounter would be our very last ever unprotected, unpregnant conjugal visit EVER, sure - I would have tried to be more appreciative. But, um.... Still. No regrets. Anjali is one of the most precious mistakes ever in my entire History of Lifetime Mistakes. Of which there are plenty (and I hope they do not have blogs of their own.)

Anyway.... when Marilyn writes yet again* on one of my 2 Under 2 posts, I have to take a moment and think. And think. And think some more. I hope it is crystal clear to everyone how utterly crazy I am about these two obnoxious kids of whom I am so very, very privileged to be left in charge of their complete well-being. Right? They are my Center, that is for sure. And I should mention that I primarily do the 2 Under 2 posts not because I think we have it harder, but rather that we of the Club have it different. I am merely attempting to share the experience for those that may be facing similar Life and Times. I have a friend who had a baby earlier this year and her situation with her 9 year old daughter is challenging in very different ways then those I am experiencing with Arun. But I do not think my situation is more difficult. It is just different than my friend's situation. For sure, she could probably use a blogger doing a "2 Under 9" series of posts.

And it is true, I am taking much creative license with these posts. For example: getting into Target is painful, the actual visit there is usually no big deal. Ah - yes! You never hear about the actual adventure inside Target, now do you?? Anjali has yet to cry inside the walls of Target (that's my girl!) and Arun has not made a fuss in the presence of the Bullet Eyed One since he was Anjali's age and even that was my fault because I improperly timed a feeding. In general, trips to Target are a no-brainer for Entertainment Mileage.

But Naptime? She is a whore. I hate Naptime. I am on the brink of declaring that Arun has outgrown Naptime, that evil temptress. However, Bedtime is a much bigger Bitch and as we all know, no one ever, ever outgrows Bedtime.

So, there you have it. Sleeping is our biggest problem with the 2 Under 2 predicament into which we have found ourselves tangled. My first piece of advice to parents would be "get sleep under control". Although, to be fair, that is very crux of the 2 Under 2 issue. A child under 2 is going through some Crazy Times as it is - walking, jumping, running, counting, talking, teething. Then, you throw a sibling into the mix and hello! You just rocked the poor kid's world. What could you ever expect? Not much shut-eye, that is for damned sure.

So....yes.... it is that hard having 2 Under 2. But it is temporary. It has to be because I cling to that knowledge knowing that as things are difficult now , eventually they will even out. And I am appreciative of the fact that Arun has never once questioned Anjali's existence. Not once. The 2nd time he came to visit me in the hospital, Anju was in the nursery, but he immediately noticed she was not in my room and continually asked where da bee-bee" was until she was finally brought in by the nurse. And since we brought her home, she is usually the first thing he asks for in the morning.... "see baby? see baby?". He will never remember a time that she was not in his life. And vice versa.

I consider it a perk, not a quirk. And I will take it and be thankful.

Did I mention how utterly insane I am over these kids? Yes?

IMs on the Edge
From Cagey to X:
KelliG**(7:30:15 PM): I love you. You drive me crazy sometimes, but truly, you are my Everything.
KelliG(7:35:07 PM): espresso grinders. what do you think? tell me and I will look on eBayhttp://www.chowhound.com/topics/398033

Later in evening...... X, from the dining room says "Hey, Cagey - are you on AOL?"
KelliG(11:37:25 PM): yes I am you sexy thang.

From undying declarations of love to espresso to crude lust. That is how we roll around here.

*And are you reading Parenting Sites 411? No? Why not? Marilyn's Friday "You Need to Read" posts make my day. Seriously - check it out.

** AOL Name changed to protect the guilty. Which would be me. I sorta like me. Which is why I protect me.

October 23, 2007

How do they get the air inside the bubble wrap?

First, some Linky Love....
Scribbit has a totally cool, ridiculously easy "trick" for making cookies into witches' hats. I will definitely be doing this next year for Arun's Halloween party. Scoot on over and check out her cookies. She is looking for more ideas, so if you have one, be sure to include your own link.

Now, onto my regularly scheduled blather.....
Some days, I feel as if I have it all together. This whole "2 Under 2" thing, that is. However, all too often, I have days when my diaper bag tips over just as I am getting into the car and every single wheeled object in it tumbles out to commence with their own miniature NASCAR qualifying race underneath my car. Or days when I am convinced that Arun will never finish growing those molars. Never. Or days when I am at a park with Arun and he has a really dirty diaper which I discover accidentally after getting poo on my hands and only then do I realize that I have no wipes. Whatsoever. Or days when I show up to Target when they are resurfacing the parking lot and I cannot find parking close to the cart corrals, but then find out the carts have just returned to the store anyway and so I have to carry both kids all the way in with my arms burning in agony. Or days when we cannot get Arun to sleep for anything, not even for promises of a pony, puppy, ANYTHING which leads us to consider whether he might sleep best in the basement.

Then, I have days like today. When both kids laugh in unison at each other for the first time. And Arun freely gives kisses while Anjali dispenses gummy, toothless grins in return. And Arun counts to his toes perfectly without prompting. And Anjali pulls toys to her mouth for the first time. And dinner comes out just lovely and we feel cozy for having cooked something healthy. And then, we all go for a long walk together in the crisp autumn evening with a waxing moon just on the cusp of complete fullnes while airplanes zoom over our heads in the inky sky. And then, I lie in bed with Arun and he rubs his nose on mine as his eyes get huge and he smiles like the imp he is.

These are the days that make it worth the frustrating ones. These are the days that I hang on to, the memories that will surely make my heart ache when these obnoxious kids march off to college and out of our house. I know they will leave us someday and I truly do not want to waste too much time reflecting on the crappy days.

Therefore, I will tuck today into my heart and carry on.

Where am I?

Today, I am posting over at Brit's place. I am going to talk about "5 strategies for healthy living for your family". That is, after I am finished going through her underwear drawer, of course.

October 21, 2007

What has been making me giggle lately?

Kid Rock Arrested in Waffle House Fight
I did not even need to read the article for all the giggling I got out of the headline alone. Who knew the Waffle House was such a den of violence?

In other news, Arun is honing his skills in the realm of "Out of the Mouths of Babes". I do not intend to subject the Innernets to much of this new language I call Arunese, but some of it simply cracks me up. For the longest time, I could not figure out why I got the biggest kick out of him saying "more". Then, I noticed I was equally delighted by his similar pronunciation of "four".

Last night, it occurred to me why it tickles me so.

Basically, my kid appears to be channeling Ralph Cifaretto's pronunciation of "whore" (Ralphie said it like "who-are"). And now, I cannot get it out of my head. And it is wrong. I know it is, but I still laugh......

Baby Einstein
I cannot get enough of that hair.

Kilroy Was Here. Redux.
She simply cracks us up when she does this "peeking out of the Bjorn" thing.

My Lame Attempt at Being Artistic
Truly lame. To an extent where I can only laugh at myself.
Updated: Hmmm, the more I look at this picture, the more I like it. I was SO disappointed in it when I initially downloaded it, but it will always remind me of some special times that inspired me taking it in the first place. Which is sort of the point of taking snaps, no?

My Most Favorite Kinder Egg Toy in my Collection
And yes, there IS a Kinder Egg collection. Mock amongst yourselves.
Updated: Oops - apparently I am not that lame after all, there are loads of others with Kinder Egg collections.


October 20, 2007

Puts a new spin on things, eh?

Okay. I have had my world rocked.

This bit is about Dumbledore.....
He is gay! I find it fascinating that Rowling outed him after the series ended. Actually, I love it. I hope this makes any homophobic Harry Potter fans stop and think.

This bit is about the Sopranos series finale.
I used to think that Tony lived and that was sort of his punishment. However, I was reading Alan Sepinwall's blog and this post had me thinking. Then, I read the comments and one commenter in particular made me do an about face and I got chills when I realized what the commenter was saying. Now, I actually believe that Tony died. This comment from Homertojeebus is what did it for me....

Alan, Tony's dead. I'll reprint analysis from a blog post I did on it. The Sopranos finale left many people cursing at their cable companies, scratching their heads, or flogging David Chase in effigy. Herewith, I will attempt to put this whole thing to rest. Many of these observations have been made elsewhere, but I do have a couple of points that I haven't seen before.

Initially I felt, like a lot of people, that Chase was just messing with us, giving us all the finger. That's the "write your own ending" theory. While the ending does allow the viewer some rorschachian wiggle room, the real ending is there if you want to see it. Actually, you have to want not to see it in order to miss it.

See, the problem with this theory is that it presupposes that Chase is writing the last scene about "The Sopranos": the TV show/cultural phenomenon, and not the Sopranos: the family/criminal organization/set of literary characters. This is a narcissistic interpretation that runs counter to everything that came before it. If you leave the "fourth wall" intact, the ending can only mean one thing.

As everyone knows, Tony flashed back to a conversation with Bobby about how, in the end, you never see it coming, it just ends, etc. What you might not know is that you never even hear it coming. When I was a kid, I had a neighbor who had been shot point-blank in the head and survived, minus an eye, and his senses of smell and taste. He said he never heard the shot or even felt it.
The most compelling evidence, however, is the choice of music in that final scene. I thought about that song, "Don't Stop Believin'", and I realized it was about denial. That whole last scene was about denial, both Tony's and (as a byproduct) much of the audience's. As Tony looks around, the scene alternates between the Norman Rockwell images, the cub scouts etc, and the menacing. AJ invokes Tony's denial, saying "Didn't you once tell us to try and remember the good times?" The music is imploring Tony not to stop believing that he is a great, normal family guy, that he's managed to keep his family separate from his "Family". "Member's Only" ("this thing of ours?) goes to the can.
So, yes. I think Tony died. I do think it is telling that Chase made the mention of Gerry the Hairdo and how Silvio did not see it coming. Now, I believe that very last bit of the Sopranos was from Tony's perspective and that is why the screen suddenly went black. That is how it would have appeared to Tony when he was shot.

October 18, 2007

Good gravy, what is the in water?

I have noticed something. It snuck up on me, but I do not think it is in my head. There is much of this Baby Makin' Business going on in the corner of the blogosphere that I happen to hang out in - 20% of my blogroll is in the process of making a human from scratch. Take a look:

2 Boys and an Angel
Goofy Girl
Ice Cream Mama
Life in the Hundred Acre Wood
Miss Zoot
Mrs. CPA
Voices in My Mind

Did I forget anyone??

I can think of at least 4 of these ladies who really, really, really wanted another baby (as opposed to the rest who just "really, really " wanted another baby.) I am shocked that Arun has not learned to say "squee!" yet because he has heard it often enough.

This list does not include Jenn at Maniacal Days who just recently had her son Luke. It also does not include my Real Life friend Susan (yes, the very same Susan of the Chocolate Covered Pistachios fame). Susan is pregnant exactly the same amount of weeks that Anjali is old.

I post this in the hopes that one of my other Real Life friends gets her dream, too.

October 17, 2007

I wonder what we could sneak into this?

For Arun's Halloween party, I made this dessert called Ghosts in the Graveyard. It is SO yummy, creamy, chocolatey and actually not too heavy. Just perfect for an afternoon kid's party. It is a Cool Whip recipe which is ironic because I use real whipped cream. I loathe Cool Whip and it takes less than 3 minutes to whip real cream anyway. Also, I do not like Oreos, so I use Honey Maid chocolate sticks. Now, the question - which veggie/fruit do you think we could sneak into this? Jessica Seinfeld of Deceptively Delicious sneaks 1 cup of avocado puree into her chocolate pudding. To be sure, sneaking Omega-3 fats into chocolate pudding does not sound half bad.

Ghosts in the Graveyard Halloween Recipe
1 pkg Honeymaid Chocolate sticks
2 pkg (4 serving sized) Chocolate INSTANT pudding
3.5 cups of cold milk
3 cups whipped cream

CRUSH cookies in zipper-style plastic bag with rolling pin or in food processor.

POUR cold milk into large bowl. Add pudding mixes. Beat 2 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. Stir in 3 cups of the whipped cream and 1/2 of the crushed cookies. Spoon into 13x9-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining crushed cookie for the "dirt".

REFRIGERATE 1 hour or until ready to serve. Store leftover dessert in refrigerator.

GRAVEYARD DECORATION: Decorate assorted cookies with decorator icings to make "tombstones." Stand "tombstones" on top of dessert with candy corn and pumpkins. Drop dollops of whipped cream to make ghosts.

Is it not delicious to be deceptive?

Yes, I did buy this book.

First, I feel I should confess that I have a Cookbook Compulsion. I LOVE reading what I refer to as my Kitchen Porn and I do have a collection of cookbooks that I like to peruse just for fun. One of my most treasured cookbooks is my Boston Cooking School Cook Book by Fannie Farmer. I will probably never actually cook something from Fannie Farmer's selections, but it is still fun to read. I also have my grandma's first ever cookbook she purchased as a newlywed back in the 40s. And I own a copy of Average Jane's family cookbook. Also, I totally scooped up Sophia Loren's family cookbook with excitement. Um. Yeah. The list goes on because I enjoy reading cookbooks. Anyway.....when I saw Deceptively Delicious a few weeks ago book, I was immediately interested and saved it to my Amazon cart to consider.

Then, I saw the incredibly adorable Jessica Seinfeld on Oprah last week and frankly, I was impressed with her sincerity. It was also obvious that she was WAY excited to be on Oprah which I found to be quite endearing. So, I did go to Borders to get a copy. And promptly discovered this book was flying off the shelves and that I would need to order a copy. No problem. When I went to pick it up a few days later and the gal at Border's said people were going insane over this cookbook because of the "power of Oprah".

So. Is it worth the hype? Probably not. However, it is truly a fun, easy cookbook that is worthy of a Picky, Childish Palate. Dude - EASY. The recipes are very simple to follow and she does a great job with explaining the steps for preparation. Also, this book won me over with its adorable anecdotes, telling quotes and whimsical illustrations.

There is much debate about whether one should actually deceive one's child in consuming vegetables. I am not sure how to answer this. I bought the cookbook for 2 reasons - to get ideas for breakfast and for Arun's lunches. Our family meals at home are primarily South Indian and when we eat out, it is at a variety of ethnic restaurants. We are not a mac n' cheese family . Arun is only two years old and at this point, we do not have any issues whatsoever getting him to eat veggies. I am not sure if this is due to the fact that he often gets curried veggies (as opposed to steamed veggies) shoved in his face or because he is two years old and does not know better. To be fair, I am 36 years old and I do not like American-style veggies myself. I do not see myself serving those to my kids often because I think steamed veggies are fairly bland.

However, I do struggle with breakfast, lunch and what to pack for Arun's lunches. Let's face it - I am not going to whip up a curry for lunch and besides, curries do not pack well for a preschooler's lunchbox. Therefore, for me, this cookbook met a need for gathering more ideas. I have not made any of the recipes yet - I will be doing that over the next few weeks and into November during my Foodie Month. My review thus far is only that of a reader.

But, I am excited by what I have read. There are actually a few recipes that I think I can make Desi Worthy by throwing in some chili, cumin and turmeric to make it spicy enough for us for dinner - the Aloha Chicken Kebabs and the Tofu Nuggets in particular hold much promise. So, I will definitely report back. And I do like that there are some standard American comfort foods here that I can make when X is out of town - the potato soup recipe made my mouth water.

I would like to make one, small criticism of this cookbook - the recipes are definitely built for folks who like bland food. I still think most Americans underestimate the toddler palate. We often give Arun food that is too spicy for him. He knows now that his world has not collapsed and that he simply needs to reach for his water. After a few sips of water, he invariably reaches for more food. However, he is only two years old and I am hearing that the ages of 3 to 4 are tough ones for the whole issues of Food Fights so you can rest assured that I am not overly confident over here.

Finally, I do not think it entirely uncool to shove veggies into recipes. After all, grandmas have been pushing zucchini into bread for years. Have you complained?

October 16, 2007

How old?
When did that happen?

A few weeks ago, Arun asked for some soymilk. I poured him a cup and watched him walk gingerly to the table with it, then he drank some before carefully putting it down. It was a regular cup and he did not spill a drop. It dawned on me then how much he has grown. A year ago, he still had not lost his pudgy baby cheeks. And now, he is all boy.

I like to think he is a child prodigy on the cusp of solving many of our societal ills including our impending energy crisis, our lack of viable 2008 presidential candidates and our increasing reliance on text messaging. However, to the rest of the world he probably appears to be just like any other 2 year old boy who loves his trains, chasing his cats, reading his books and blowing raspberries on his kid sister. And that is fine by me. Normal? Healthy? Happy? In desperate need of a haircut and basic table manners?

Is awesome and very much appreciated.

Happy birthday, babycakes.

A Sampling of Simian Snaps from the Past Year

Two Years

October 15, 2007

If the Wicked Witch of the West melts
in water, how did she take a bath?

Note to the Innernets:
Loading your kid up on cupcakes is most definitely not conducive to healthy sleep habits. Trust me on this.

So..... Arun's 2nd Halloween party was a smashing success. Again, I kept it simple - a few snacks, cupcakes and an easy balloon decorating activity. Everyone had fun wearing their costumes, including Yours Truly in my Professor McGonagall costume. It seems appropriate for me to dress as a witch and as I do not see any drastic changes in my personality traits forthcoming, I suspect I will always be a witch.

So....I am still torn about having to limit the numbers of the party and only inviting kids that Arun plays with on a regular basis. Nearly every single friend I have has kids and it seemed weird to have a party yet not invite all of my friends as well.

So....Only one friend broke the strict No Gifts Mandate and since she brought me Arun a Mr. Potato Head, she has been forgiven. Holy crap, no one tells you how to keep your little brat from messing with your Potato Head Masterpiece. I am planning on buying me Arun some of the expansion packs - I am thinking we he most definitely needs the Glamour Spud and Space Spud sets.

A rare, elusive beast with menacing eyes. Native to the plains region. Known for its maniacal laughter and its penchant for stealing your heart. Diet consists of pizza, fries, cupcakes, yogurt and rice.


Crazy Eyes

October 12, 2007

Who's zooming who?

And so it begins.....

Arun, playing contentedly with a car, lets a big one rip.


I believe I even spied the back of his pants fluttering to and fro in the "wind".

Me, in my lame attempt at Elimination Communication:
Arun, did you pass gas?

Arun, pointing demonstratively at Anjali:
NO! Da baby!

Can't blame a dude for trying.

I am lying, am I not?

Good grief - these damned kids and their deal with "changing" and "growing". I just posted about Arun not singing at all - what, last week? Just last night as I was singing to him, he decided to join in. And he did a damned good job of it - considering he has never, ever attempted to sing with me before. I am wondering if the preschool had something to do with it because I do not normally sing Twinkle Twinkle with the hand motions that often, yet he knew what to do. And remember how I said Anjali hated the crib? I plopped her in there this morning so protect her from Arun while I took a quickie shower to rinse off yesterday's funk. By the time I got out, she was snoozing away. Damn. I wish I had known because it would have been nice to shave my leg while in the shower. I am reaching Cricket Status over here, folks. It ain't pretty.

Okay. A meme, which as you know I LOVE. Thanks, Average Jane! Of course, I had to do this one because Jane has been my book buddy and fellow book club member for so long. This is a great list of reads, too! Sadly, I have not read many of them. Speaking "well-read", I generally do not like that term. I read all sorts of books and would rather be called "well-rounded". There is something to be said for Sue Grafton, dammit.

Literary Meme

Bold those you’ve read.
Italicize books you have started but couldn’t finish.
Add an asterisk* to those you have read more than once.
Underline those on your TBR list.

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell
Crime and Punishment
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Wuthering Heights
The Silmarillion
Life of Pi: A Novel
The Name of the Rose

Don Quixote
Moby Dick
Madame Bovary
The Odyssey
Pride and Prejudice*
Jane Eyre*
A Tale of Two Cities
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the Fates of Human Societies
War and Peace
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveller’s Wife
The Iliad

The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations
American Gods
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Atlas Shrugged
Reading Lolita in Tehran
Memoirs of a Geisha
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
The Canterbury Tales
The Historian
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World*
The Fountainhead
Foucault’s Pendulum
The Count of Monte Cristo
A Clockwork Orange
Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible
Angels & Demons
The Inferno
The Satanic Verses
Sense and Sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Oliver Twist
Gulliver’s Travels
Les Misérables
The Corrections*
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

The Prince
The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes
The God of Small Things
A People’s History of the United States: 1492-Present
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
Cloud Atlas
The Confusion
Northanger Abbey

The Catcher in the Rye
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
The Aeneid (in the original Latin)
Watership Down

Gravity’s Rainbow
The Hobbit
In Cold Blood
White Teeth
Treasure Island
David Copperfield
The Three Musketeers

October 11, 2007

Why cannot Diego just stay put? And why is he always shouting?

Per usual, I grouse about my kids and they immediately straighten up their acts as if they are determined to make a liar out of me. Today has been so pleasant, just hanging out and playing. This is the stuff SAHM Dreams are made of, folks.

So. We have a bit of Reverse Marketing going on in our household. Arun chose his Go, Diego, Go backpack because it had an elephant on it as evidenced by the repeating elephant sounds he kept making when we were in the checkout lane. Because of the backpack, once in the grocery store, he noticed the Diego yogurt and wanted it, so I bought it (only once though, that stuff is CRAP). Then, given a choice between toilet seats, he selected the Diego one because of the light-eyed little creep (Diego. Not my son.) Now, we find ourselves in possession of a complete twin bedset with Diego's chirpy mug on them. But the thing is, Arun only just recently started watching the TV show when he once witnessed Diego flash across the screen - Arun recognized him from all the products making their way into our home. Sigh.

In other news, Arun has slept two nights in a row in his new bed, I am actually growing fond of that Diego. The other night, Arun refused to sleep in his crib, so as a last ditch effort I attempted the bed. We had not tried Actual Sleeping in the bed because we were letting him get used to it. However, Arun slept the whole night through without a peep and promptly woke up at 8am happy as a lark. Then, he slept there again last night without a peep again and promptly woke up at 8am happy as a lark again. Holy crap. Of course, that first night I did not get any sleep because I was so nervous that he would wake up and freak out, but last night we all slept like shriveled Rumpelstiltskins. Squee! And in fact, he is napping in the new bed now. Not his crib, which he has struggled to nap in for TWO FUCKING YEARS. I do think this crib aversion is a legacy of co-sleeping - Arun has always slept more comfortably in regular beds. I suspect Anjali is on her way to this path because even SHE likes regular beds and will gladly hang out on any of them, even Arun's new bed. Put her in the crib? She starts wailing.

I cannot wait until we are done with that fucking crib. If I did not think the varnish fumes would kill me, I would eagerly chop it up into firewood.

Yet Another Victim of the Men from Madison Avenue

October 10, 2007

Can you roll with it, baby?

Get Me a Rope
Twizzlers, that is. I need me some candy. STAT. This has been a wrenching week - Anjali is in the middle of a growth spurt and is treating me like a 24 Hour snackbar. What the hell is up with all this "growing" and "trying to roll over"? Who the hell does she think is? And Arun? Apparently is under the impression he needs a second set of molars. What an ingrate - did he not appreciate the first set? And the father (paternity test pending) thinks he should work his ass off and do things like go to Boston to work even harder? For the week? I most certainly do not remember these sorts of details in my wedding vows.

The blogroll has been updated. I had not looked at it in ages. And I was quite shocked to see that folks I consider to be personal friends were NOT on it. As Trixie Belden would say, "Jeepers, Mart!!" Overall, my blog is certainly not a big political statement - I try to include my daily reads, favorite friends and those that I think everyone else should discover. I have quite a few Power Bloggers on there, but I do not include them all as I assume everyone is already reading them.

Preskool is Not Kool
Arun emphatically declares "No! No!" as I pack his lunchbox then later, as we turn into the parking lot and even still, as we head down the stairs in the church. Even promises of playing with the beloved trains there do not help. It makes my heart totally crumble leaving him, but I know I am doing the right thing. I am a firm proponent of listening to one's Mommy Gut and my Gut says two mornings a week is good for him and will not scar him (much). While my Gut could stand to lose several inches, I still think she is right on this one. Anyway, my Gut and I stand in the hallway until the crying subsides - fortunately, we only have to be there a minute or so. The pickup later is fine, at least. There is no drama thankfully, he is just happy that we are back.

Arty Pants
In other news, Arun has been bringing home artwork. Well, "art" is a loose translation at best, but I get such a kick out of seeing what he is doing there. The other day, he had to choose stickers for what he liked to eat and stick them on a sheet of paper. My boy? Chose pizza, fries and doughnut stickers. Apparently, he thought the doughnut was "cake" because he referred to as such. He is obsessed with "cake" (I blame the damned Hungry Caterpillar who is most certainly NOT a bastion of healthy eating, that much is obvious ) Anyway, I guess they did not have stickers for rice and fish, his two other favorite foods at home.

Speaking of Fish
Arun loves fish in an aquarium. He also loves fish on his plate. When does he realize they are one and the same? Well, not precisely the same since we are not really into Pan-Fried Nemo, but you get the drift. However, we are a family that does not mind if our food source has an eternal soul. How do you handle this?

Arun is still very excited about the alphabet and our Parent Educator got a kick of him the other day with his rabid pointing and naming. However, I realize my post the other day bordered on bragging which is silly because Hello! Most toddlers are also learning their letters, numbers and such. My kid is not special in that regard and I am well aware of it. As much as I fantasize about Arun harboring extreme intellectual inclinations, the truth is that he just a normal kid. I think for me his fascination with the alphabet is personal because letters are the very first step to reading. And I am SO looking forward to Arun discovering all my childhood favorites and yes.....me "re-discovering" them right alongside them. I am unapologetic, too. I want my child to be a bookhound like me. So what? There are worse things, right? Therefore, when Arun gets all fired up to see an E and a T in our grocery store's meat department, damn....I get a little excited, too.

October 9, 2007

Can we talk?

Ahhh... it is that time of year, folks. The trees are losing their leaves, the air is getting crispy and cool, and ridiculous amounts of birds are congregating on power lines.

It is also " school fundraising" time. I do not have any particular issues with school fundraisers. If a kid comes knocking on my door hawking his over-priced wares, I usually will buy something. What I find icky is the parent calling or emailing me. It is troublesome to me that the kids are not doing the work themselves. My mom refused to take fundraising stuff to her job or even to ask her friends. And yes, at the time, it did hurt my feelings and made me anxious. Hell, yes. I never won the contests for selling the most product and the pressure itself of selling stuff myself was pretty intense. To this day, I am still not a good salesperson and I was horrible at telemarketing. It is also one reason why I left public accounting - to be an effective manager, you also have to be able to sell work and as such, I knew that I could never be management material. However, my mom did me a favor. She taught me to face rejection, but to keep trying. It was a life skill that has served me well. Because I am not afraid to "put myself out there", I have done some pretty cool things in my lifetime and taken on some freaking scary challenges.

I suspect that Arun's school will have some sort of fundraiser soon - they are already doing the Scholastic Book thingie. However, until Arun can dial a phone or schlep his tiny butt around the neighborhood, I will be taking a page from Goofy Girl's book and just writing a check myself.

October 8, 2007

What is the point?

I did NaBloPoMo last year. Good lord, why would I sign up again? By the end of November 2006 I was ever so weary of posting....posting....posting........ I mean, sure - I was in my 1st trimester of pregnancy, but still, posting every day does get a bit tiresome, even for those not building a human from scratch. And this year? In November, my kids will be 4 months and 24 months respectively - NOT respectfully. Let us be clear. They do not care a wit for this blogging thing of mine. Oh NO. They do not. The written word? Means naught to them.

However.....in a nutshell...or literally, a word - I like this MoFo, NaBloPoMo thing because of the challenge.

I love to be challenged. And a personal challenge is the very best. For me, NaBloPoMo became much more than the "post a day". I felt compelled to come up with something halfway interesting every single day. Let us be honest - it is no big deal to post every single day of November. It is quite a different thing entirely thing to come up with something worth reading every single day of November.

Did I actually write compelling material every single day of November last year? Probably not. But it did not keep me from trying and it will not stop me from attempting the nearly impossible again. The Unholy Grail of Blogging - keeping the masses entertained..........

This November I have decided to focus on Food. There is a reason for this - the Big Idea has to do with Food and so that topic has become front and center for us this year. Towards that end, I will be shamelessly whoring out this blog to promote the Big Idea. Sure, I will still include my beloved books, TV shows and precious progeny (I suppose) , but I will really focus on food. My favorite recipes, my favorite food shows, my favorite food books, my favorite food sites, my favorite FOOD.

Come hungry........

Simian Snaps
I have not forgotten that I do have two children. Believe it or not, I do attempt to snap more pics of Arun but lately, I usually end up with shots of him running away or alternatively, super-close shots of him trying to grab the camera . If you can come up with an acceptable method for getting the kid to sit still for two damned minutes, I am absolutely open to ideas. In other news, I have discovered why photographers use the word "cheese" - it works!

She's got wide, staring eyes. Thankfully, no urge to fly.

Super Spy, super sly. Blending into the Background.

So Over the Photography Thing.
This picture made my heart stop. I think she looks so much like my sister in this shot. It is true, our children are such a blend of X and I, but without a doubt, those poor kids got the Oliver Nose.

Her unfortunate relationship with the red eye flash is driving me crazy and I cannot get rid of it via iPhoto's red eye function. I have some pretty spooky snaps because of it.

No Wire Hangers
He hooked a hanger in his front pocket. Poor kid must have inherited my poor sense of fashion.

October 6, 2007

What is that Dean Koontz quote about Fear?

My Dearest Mojavi,
I realize my actions yesterday at the zoo could have been easily misinterpreted. You see, when the emu escaped from his pen and began to follow us, I was really running for help. To save you. I mean, I was not really running away from you in a frenzied state of fear - although I can see where it may have appeared so.

And while I may have said "Get the fuck out of the way", I was really only concerned for your safety.


P.S. In my defense, it appears an emu can reach speeds of 30 MPH. It might be relevant to add that I, however, cannot reach speeds of 30 MPH. Although, admittedly you probably cannot, either.

P.P.S. The next Wine and Chocolate Playdate is totally on me. Ahem.

October 3, 2007

Boy, you've got your hands full, don't you?

Why, yes.

YES, Random Stranger, I DO have my hands full.

Thanks! for! noticing!

Too bad you did not notice when we were outside and you could have been helpful by holding the fucking door open for me before you waltzed on through the doorway.

Thanks, Asshole.

Truly, I do not seek much outside assistance. I chose to have unprotected sex, after all.* (gladly! willingly! Sweet Lord, Hallelujah! yes. yes. YES!). I am happily and responsibly bearing the consequences. Squee! But still.... for the love of All Things Miss Manners, why cannot folks hold doors open these days?

So.....Arun's first week of preschool went okay. Not great, but okay. He does not necessarily say goodbye with a smile**, but he is none worse for the wear and he is certainly not panicked when I come to get him. He was particularly sweet today during Pickup when the first thing he did as I hoisted him onto my hip was to lean over and give his Baby Bjorn'd sister a smooch while snuggling his nose in her hair and making the obligatory "Mwah" sound. Seriously - that sort of shit makes burning biceps totally and completely worth it. It also makes me reconsider hiring a nanny.

In other news, apparently we have a parrot in our midst. That little "language explosion" all the Wise Baby Tomes keep referring to? Yeah. It is upon us. Oh....Yeah.......My kid can say such gems as "cake", "food",and "uh oh". OH. And he is repeating everything I say. You do the math with that combination of vowels and consonants. I am going to have to clean up my Linguistics Act STAT. Look for this blog to become one of my few outlets for all the smut brewing in my coconut. Holy fucking crap. I love me my foul words. SHIT.

SO......Anjali is 12 weeks old this week. This is where I officially move into "months". I am now the mother of a 3 month old and a nearly 2 year old. Wow. WOW. In late 2004, X and I were thinking we should start trying in December to "get pregnant" and "see what happens" since I had always been told by my doctors I "would have trouble"**** and "might need to be jumpstarted"******. Then, THEN.

October 16, 2005 we have a kid. Then, October 16, 2006 we go about conceiving another - a story which shall be recounted as the Tale of the Golden Bangle - without details for Arun and Anjali. Of course. Although, when Anjali grabs at my bangles, I giggle a bit. Little does she know their part in her conception. I am still a little in awe of it all, quite frankly and never, ever not exceeding grateful for the privilege that our combined fertility has afforded us. Seriously.

Life is good. Fuckin' A, peoples.

It is GOOD.

*AND, I might add, the last unprotected sex of my life unless one of us goes all snippity, snip, snip.

** I did the obligatory Waiting Near the Door Within Earshot 'Til the Tears Die Down that all mothers must perform when leaving their precious progeny in the hands of Cold Strangers***.

***Not really. She is actually really, really cool. Not cold.

**** X teasingly likes to remind me that I was supposed to "have trouble", like I tricked him or something into "starting" early, because we had thought it would take a long time to conceive. So, Um. We would have a kid in 2008 or something. Like, I secretly knew all along that we would be Super!Fertile!!! Whatever. *****

***** Birth control??? hahahaha! Joke's on YOU, Suckah!

******Actual Quote from one of my doctors, mid 1990s. I will never forget that quote, I was so horrified and terrified. Then, I went to the library. Because Dr. Google was still in med school at that point.*******

*******Are you tired of all the asterisks yet?

Rain, Rain, Go Away

12 Weeks

Lips? Her daddy's..... Eyes? Her daddy's..... Curly Hair? Her daddy's....
But her face shape? Mine. Her nose? Mine. Eye color? Mine.
Such a sweet, sweet mix of X and I. Truly, truly, she is lovely.
Our Peanut Butter Anjali.

1st Day of Day School

This picture is dedicated to Erin Keane. Who is about to distribute her first published book. Go give her some Linky Love.

Bento, Kansas Style
Cous cous, some grapes and carrots, then some Mareblu Cashew Crunch and cheese then...finally...good ole PBJ.
I am totally loving the Laptop Lunchbox. We received it last Saturday and have used it 3 times already-- getting ready for a 4th time on Friday when we do a picnic at the Zoo. This lunchbox was ridiculously expensive and yep. I bought it for myself with Arun as a mere excuse. However, not only is it FUN, it is EASY. You open the lid, throw in food, then head out the door. No fumbling for containers and lids. It is all there, neatly contained. The sports bottle fits perfectly in Arun's hand and he loves drinking out of it. The utensils are just the right size for him and are easily packed as well. I wish I could be more apologetic about the cost of this thing, but I suspect this sweet little box* is going to save us money in the long run because I am more apt to throw food into it than give in to the ubiquitous drive-thru at the Golden \Arches. Which my kid already excitedly yells "M!!" at when he sees the fucking sign. Not that we ever go there.


October 2, 2007

We have choices, do we not?

In my early years of college, I worked for Sallie Mae - the folks who do student loans. I did collections, skip tracing and customer service. It was a GREAT experience and I learned lessons in how to treat people that still benefit me today. For example, I rarely have issues with customer service because I actually treat CSRs as if they are humans with feelings - imagine that. The experience at Sallie Mae also taught me to be very careful when it came to getting student loans - I learned that it was very important to only take out as much loan as you could actually pay with your starting potential salary when you actually graduate. Notice how I emphasized a few words such as "actually pay" and "starting potential salary"? Meaning, NOT the salary that you will make after being in the work force for several years. After Sallie Mae, I went on to work at KU's Student Financial Aid Office for a few more years. There, I learned, a good financial aid office will help the student determine the amount of loan that could be taken out, according to your potential salary. For example, most liberal arts majors realistically should not be taking out $100,000 worth of student loans.

So, when I came across an article bemoaning the rising cost of education and how student loans costs could haunt the economy, my hackles got risen. So to speak. This section, in particular, pissed me off:

Kristin Cole, 30, who graduated from Michigan State University's law school and lives in Grand Rapids, Mich., owes $150,000 in private and government-backed student loans. Her monthly payment of $660, which consumes a quarter of her take-home pay, is scheduled to jump to $800 in a year or so, confronting her with stark financial choices. "I could never buy a house. I can't travel; I can't do anything," she said. "I feel like a prisoner." A legal aid worker, Cole said she may need to get a job at a law firm, "doing something that I'm not real dedicated to, just for the sake of being able to live."

WTF? She chose to take out those loans and now she is complaining about having to work in a firm, something that she is not "real dedicated to"? If her dream was to be a legal aid worker, she should have rethought the loans. Holy crap, it is not rocket science to figure what a legal aid worker can look forward to in the terms of salary.

Then, there is this story:

Dr. Paul-Henry Zottola, a 35-year-old periodontist in Rocky Hill, Conn., faces paying $1,600 a month on his student loan on top of a $2,300 mortgage payment and $1,500 on the loan he took out to start his practice. His credit record remains solid but he owes more than $300,000 in student loans as he and his wife, Heather, an elementary school administrator, raise two young children. "It would be very easy to feel crushed by it," Zottola said in an interview. "All my income for the next 10 years is spoken for."

I know that getting an education to be a doctor or lawyer is expensive. But in Zottola's case, what did he expect? And besides, he can see an end to the means. Is it not worth the investment of 10 years to put his family towards a better future?

I did take out student loans, I did get a little money from my grandma and I did have a job during college. I did not, however, fulfill my lifelong dream of being an anthropology major or a linguistic major. Nor did I ever feel it was my right to pursue those degrees. I certainly did not dream of being an accountant when I was a little girl, but I did pursue accounting because I knew that I could make a decent living at it. In that vein, I did get a few student loans to ease the financial load and to pursue my master's degree.

Yes, a college education is getting expensive, but we still have choices. Personally, I think we are a lucky bunch of fools here in the US that we even get the opportunity to take a loan to further our education. My India-born husband from a poor family had to study his balls off for a standardized test, sweat out the results and then had to move away from his family where he only got to visit them once every few years. When his mother died, he had not seen her for 2 years. However, if he had not made those sacrifices, he would not be here because a "student loan" was not an option for his family.

So, no. I did not particularly enjoy paying off my loans. In my early years of working post-college, I would cry at the beginning of every month. It was so scary to be alone and trying to make ends meet. Furthermore, it did not help that I had to use my credit card way too much because I had to buy a brand new wardrobe for my Brand New Professional Life. But I did pay it off, little by little. And to this day, I still view the fact that I could even take out a student loan to further my eduction as a privilege. Because it was one.

October 1, 2007

Is it bad to need a drink at 10am?

The Boy
So, I took Arun to his little day school this morning. Neither of us did as well as I had hoped. When I said that I had to go, he interpreted that to mean that HE had to go and he began to yell "No! No!" because he was having fun. When he realized that it was actually ME who would be doing the leaving he started crying. Ditto for yours truly, although I held my own tears until I got into the car. Yes, we will both be fine. Excuse me a moment while I dig out a wineglass....... SO...... I come back to a quiet home with only Anjali to contend with. Ha. PSYCH! I forgot about my husband, the Work At Home Dad (Also known as a "WAHD", the other player in the wargames that fathers play - the whole WAHD vs. WOHM Wars. What? Have not heard of them? Not of the wars where fathers fight about whether it is right to stay home with their kids or stick them in daycare? You have not seen the paternal rending of the garments over the unrelenting guilt? The pointing of fingers? What? Where have you been?)

Anyway, X is already sniffing around asking what's for lunch. Apparently, I need to find a quality nursery school for X and only then, will I be Home Free. Literally.

The Blog.
DUDE, it has blown up and I have no fucking clue how to fix it. I am so weary of fiddling with code, republishing, reloading photos on Fluckr. Bah. I got the banner fixed, but I think the rest will have to wait. I will still be publishing photos on this blog - Anju's 12 Week and Arun's 1st Day of School must be shared. Besides, Anju's got this whole Mad Scientist thing going on with her hair lately. Seriously - how can I deprive my loyal blogfriends of THAT?

The Book
I read Cane River by Lalita Tademy recently. This book is based on actual people and covers the lives of 3 generations of women - beginning pre-civil war on through reconstruction. The details of daily life in that era, both for slaves and freed people was fascinating. And heartbreaking. It was a difficult read for me emotionally with just having had a baby. My heart grew so heavy during some sections, that it was hard to let go - even when I was not reading the book, certain events that had happened in it would still linger in my mind. Just the fact that I can choose to nurse my baby whenever the hell I want does not sit lightly with me.

The thing is, when I was a girl, I was so in love with the romanticized version of the Civil War - hoop skirts, mint juleps, fancy balls? Count me in. I read Gone with the Wind when I was 11 years and have read it 3 times since. Of course, in my adulthood I see now what complete bullshit novels such as that one are and I understand why black folks have such issues with them. I feel a little ashamed of how I used to view the deep South in that era, but I do logically know that I was just a kid/young adult who was not really thinking things through. It is also easier to believe that things were not so bad because to face the truth that humans could be so indifferent to other humans and treat them so casually as property? It boggles my mind.

And the racism is still there. Still here. Still everywhere. I am not saying anything so profound, I know it and I am sure you know it, too. And the scariest kind of racism exists today, the sort that runs just underneath the surface, the sort that does not necessarily reveal itself. As an adult, I have had to look hard at myself. I have had to question previously held notions that such novels as Gone with the Wind built for me at such an impressionable young age. It was uncomfortable, to say the least, but it had to be done.