Monday, October 20, 2008

Glimpses of little N in India...

Just felt like capturing a few glimpses of the little one's life here in her new home in Bangalore. So here I go with a few pics...

Chasing the sun on a warm sunny afternoon

Enjoying bubbles with her new friend T
(poor little kids had to play indoors due to a rainy evening in Bangalore that day)

Playing ball

There are sooooo many more to take and so many more to post such as a few of her daily visits to the park downstairs, a few with her precious moments with grandparents and a few of her first Diwali in India etc. Each growing moment is so precious...I wish I could hold it still forever coz I know this innocence, this sweet little age when everything amazes you and every little thing is a novelty and a learning experience, this age will never return. Your innocence will grow into a wiseness and soon my little baby will be a grown up woman before I know it. Oh how I cherish every second of your life little N and how I wish I could make this last forever!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Monkeys - Yikes!

Ok not monkeys but one monkey inside my 7th floor apartment!!! And many more screeching and calling each other in the tree right next to my balcony! YIKES! Imagine facing monkeys in my home after I return to India from a place where India is known to most as the land of "snakes and snake charmers" ;)

So I am feeding little N her afternoon bottle of milk in the living room when suddenly I hear a sound in our balcony. First I think it is just a plastic bag ruffling in the air. Then I see a tail and think how did a cat enter a 7th floor balcony. And in the next second, am stupefied to see an actual monkey looking at me. Had to stiffle a scream and the impulse to run shut the door instantly...infact I couldn't move an inch since N was chugging away her milk blissfully unaware of what just transpired. Then as soon as she was done, I ran and shut and bolted the door. Thankfully he had moved on by then.

Later as I narrate this incident to my new neighbor friends downstairs, they tell me this is nothing. Apparently one of them had their kitchen raided by 2 monkeys while she was down with her kid in the park. As soon as she got home she let out a shriek looking at them munching down on her food. On calling the security guard, he comes home and tells her to not shoo them away coz otherwise they will remember the house and harasse them for life after that! Sounds familiar? It sounded like a tale of snakes to me :) Anyways, apparently the security guard pleaded those two monkeys to go away after that. So monkeys seem to be a known problem in 2 out of the 8 towers in my apartment complex. And security says you really can't do anything about them!

It is almost midnight now and I am awake since this is my first day at work. Am working from home for the same employer I used to work for in the US. And all I can hear is the monkey party going on in the tree next to my balcony. When do these guys go to sleep? My little "monkey" at home has gone to sleep a few hours ago :-)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Learning so much so quickly

It is amazing how fast these little cuties grow and how quickly they grasp things around them. In just a year, she has started comprehending everything around her and even though little N can't speak yet, she is able to understand, respond, communicate and imitate everything around her. It just amazes me so much that I had to document every little thing she has picked up before I forget it all :)

Aug 23, 2008 - This was the weekend I spent with my undergrad hostelite buddies who flew down from various parts of the US to have a mini reunion one last time before I moved to India. And oh what a weekend that was. We were 5 girls and all of us new mommies. So obviously there was soooo much to share, so much to learn and so much to talk about. In all this, the two of them (S and D) decided to teach my little N how to 'high five' and 'low five'. That was probably the first thing she ever learnt from someone consciously teaching her (so far all the rest was self discivery such as waving 'tata' and mumbling a few other words). By the end of that weekend, she was an expert at high and low fiving anyone who asked for it.

Sept 27, 2008 - N just turned 13 months 2 days ago and today was the day when she and I flew down from Mumbai to Bangalore to join my hubby. Her milestone: playing peekaboo with mommy for the first time. And my milestone: surviving an entire journey alone with the kiddo...quite an experience I must say. I flew via Jet Airways. I must say they did not fuss at all at my excessively overweight bag and 3 handbags (yes...again!) but the assistance the crew provided to a single mommy travelling with an infant left a lot to desire. Atleast in Mumbai where they made me not only drag my bags, the little one and the stroller to every single security check possible but made me even drink water from her bottle and sippy cup! I wouldn't have minded this if I was not already struggling with all the bags and the kiddo clinging to me having fallen badly a day ago and walking around with swollen, purple injured lips :( Finally it was a nice lady travelling on the same flight who came and offered to help! God bless her soul. Once I was onboard though, the inflight crew was a pleasant relief. They not only played with the little one all the time but even assisted me all the way to the gate until I met my hubby. Anyways, this was about N's milestones and I started ranting about my own :)

So while we were at DH's cousin's place that day, little N walked into the kitchen to explore the place. Suddenly I called out to her saying "where is Nikki....Nikki khai asaa" to look for her. And she comes running with her tiny feet and peeks out the kitchen door to smile at me. This was the first time ever she did this and I realized she wants a game of peekaboo. She was not going in to pick up the stuff in the kitchen (like she normally does), infact she would just stand next to the wall with her back against it to hide from mommy and show her smiling face every time I called out for her. She did this atleast 5 times that day and since then has started enjoying this little game of peekaboo with us.

Oct 7, 2008 - N ate or drank very little that day which tired and worried mommy until she saw that N was cutting her premolar teeth :-) That explained it all and was a pleasant relief!

Oct 7, 2008 - This was also the first time ever when I saw her enacting Twinkle Twinkle by herself! This has to be the cutest thing I ever saw her do. The thing is that she has been listening to this rhyme from us ever since she was born and may be a few months ago or so I must have shown her how to enact twinkle twinkle by opening and closing my fists. So she probably has memories from that time and it triggered when I recently introduced her to to show her nursery rhymes. Thanks to my friend S in the US who told me about it and to my friend G who reminded me about whenever I sit to browse on my laptop, little N comes to me and insists that I pick her up and starts enacting Twinkle Twinkle with her tiny little hands. I love it when she does this and can't resist a huge hug and kiss and pulling her on my lap to show her all the rhymes to her hearts desire. Her smile watching hello-world is priceless :-)

Sept & Oct 2008 - During these last two months in India, she has learnt to respond to questions such as 'Nikku khai assa (where is Nikku)', 'Nikkula haath khai assa (where are Nikku's hands)', 'Nikkula head khai assa (where is Nikku's head)', Nikku's nose khai assa (where is Nikku's nose)', 'Mamma khai assa (where is mommy)', 'Pappa khai assa (where is papa)' get the idea. It all started with her dadi teaching her where is Nikku. And she learnt to point at herself in such a cute manner - basically takes both her hands and beats on her tiny little chest proudly with a smile to show that here is Nikku :-) Then her dadi was trying to teach her where her hands were but before she got it, I had to fly out to Bangalore. So here I took it upon myself to continue that education and it is quickly working. Amazing how quickly they grasp these things.

Oct 8, 2008 - Saw little N hugging to things she didn't want to let go such as our car keys. This was really her first. She has never had a 'lovey' as such that she is attached to but these days if we give her something - just anything like keys or a belt or a towel, she plays with it and after a while I see her walking around hugging it close to her. I think she is ready for a soft toy or a security blanket or some lovey that she can use to soothe herself to sleep etc. I am sooo waiting for our container to arrive from the US which has all her soft toys in it.

Oct 2008 - Lately I have started leaving her diaper free for prolonged parts of the day to start the process of pee pee training a little early. It started off to help her with her rashes but has taken a good turn since then. With my mom's suggestion, I took her to the bathroom and made the 'sssss' noise to indicate her to pee. And surprisingly it worked! So now I do the same when she gets up from a nap or first thing in the morning etc. Sometimes though, when she is diaper less and she has a susu accident around the house, she starts making the 'sssss' noise herself. If I am not around, she comes to find me and tells me 'ssss' to basically let me know that she has peed somewhere in the house. And when she sees me cleaning it with a cloth, she has even started imitating that. Basically she pulls down whatever cloth she sees and mops the floor with her foot - just like how mommy does! Funny na.

Oct 10, 2008 - Finally after all the struggle of getting her switched to milk from formula, she has now made the transition to regular milk. Thank god! I was beginning to worry about her being allergic to milk or something. Now she has the Nandini milk we get at home which is 3% fat. After a month or two of this, I plan to switch to a higher fat content.

Anyways, among all these things she has learnt, what she just refuses to learn is to hold her milk bottle herself. Most babies are doing this at her age but our little princess wants to play with my hair while I hold the bottle for her. Every single time I have tried to put her hands around the bottle, she stops drinking and gets cranky and irritated and just stops her feeding session. Or she pours milk out of the bottle all over herself or the bed and plays with the spilled milk. That coz she imitates me pouring a little on the back of my hand to check for temperature. Anyone have any suggestions on how to teach her to hold her bottle? I do want to wean her to a sippy cup soon but just holding her bottle should be a good start for now.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I'm baaaaaaackk!!!

Gosh feels like I have been dug in the woods forever although it has really only been a week and a half since I have been disconnected from the entire world. I am back online now and am so glad to be able to blog again :-)

Me and my little N finally flew down from Mumbai to Bangalore to join my dear hubby on Sept. 27th 2008. It has been exactly one month today since we moved back from SFO to Apna Des. One month of living out of month of trying to keep N's tiny little things from getting lost...kinda tiring. But at the same time, one month of little N enjoying with her grandparents...getting lots of love and attention and fresh yummy home cooked month of me taking it a little easy on baby care what with so many eager folks ready to help out. What a huge milestone month it has been with N making the transition from her life in the Bay Area to here in India. She has fallen and gotten hurt so many times here that it is not funny. Anyways, all of that is a separate post in itself.

So I flew to Bangalore and spent the weekend at my hubby's kaka's place. And then we moved to DH's service apartment. I have been so curious to see how that looks like in India but I must tell you that 2 days there and I had had more than enough of it! Anyways, then we finally move with all our bags to the final destination - our new home in India - Raheja Residency, Bangalore. Whew! Feels like the struggle is over right? WRONG! It has just begun :-)

We spent the entire last week trying to get this place operational. Would spend each moment of the day trying to figure out what to buy from where and how to cook tonight for the baby, how to save the milk without having any appliances at home, etc. In new apartments here, it is not like the US where you get the basic appliances such as a fridge, stove, oven and microwave amongst other things. And you might think what's the big deal - you can easily live without them for a few days and then buy all of that over the weekend. But with a little baby things are slightly different. You need to have a stove and a gas connection at the minimum to be able to heat her milk bottles. You need to have a fridge to store her milk and food and you need to have a microwave to reheat her food and milk (or small vessels that you can use on the stove). Without that the little one's life comes to a halt. And things don't happen as quickly here. We went and chose the stove on day 1 of our move. But they did not have it in stock and required atleast 24 hours for delivery. Same story with the fridge and microwave. The ones we liked would need another 4 days for delivery so we decided to just get the ones that were in stock and can be delivered in the next 24 hours. And to add to the craziness, the day of delivery was Oct. 2 which is a national holiday here. Our apartment complex does not allow moving on Sundays and national holidays! Grrr! Anyways, I had to plead a bunch of people to allow the delivery guy to please do what he needs so that atleast our kitchen could become functional.

In the meantime, thanks to my dear blog friend Gayathri who coincidentally happens to live in the same building as ours - we were able to have a decent meal or two and most of all keep our little N happily fed! Plus as an added bonus her little Trish and my little N found each other's company to play as well. Who could ask for more :-)

So after Oct. 2, once our kitchen got operational, then started our efforts to get the rest of the services done. Like broadband connection for example. Without going into the horrific details of how painfully long the process is and how it takes forrrrrrrever to get these things done here, all I can say is if you ever move back, make sure you have LOTS and LOTS of patience. If you expect that the technicians will show up in the block of time given to you and that things will happen once they finally show up at the door, forget it. Our Airtel technician gave us a timeslot of 3 hours and did not show up even after those 3 hours were up. After calling up and following up twice, he finally shows up at 6pm and asks for a bunch of documents and their xerox copies! With no advance notice of what is needed, they expect us to have these documents ready? In any case, he takes my originals for getting xeroxed (while I am hoping he doesn't just run away with them) and after an hour of paperwork, picks up the bag and walks out the door! I am like "What? Who is activating my DSL?" He politely smiles and says that will take another 3 days madam! No one told me that earlier!!! Do you not have the courtesy to tell me the process beforehand when I pick you for my broadband provider and schedule you for an appointment? And then 3 days later they call me at noon to say the technician should be home before 3 pm, I keep waiting putting all the other things to be done on hold in case I am not home and I miss him. He does not show up till 7pm!!! Ofcourse I followed up like crazy but there seems to be no concept of accountability or customer service. No apologies either when they show up. They continue working at our home till 9:30pm while we are wondering when can we start dinner. In any case, I am just happy that we are now wired and I am back online! Without the internet, it just feels like I am disconnected from the entire world. Oh and wait - when I call Airtel today for another issue (our parallel phone jacks in the house are not working), I discover that they have activated this connection in some software company's name instead of mine! Jeeez oh Peete! Does this ever end?

Oh well - like I said - take a deep breath and relax. All this will be behind me soon. Hopefully :-) Overall, I am happy with the new home and the new community we live in. It is a huge complex with every amenity you can ask for and lots and lots of kids to play with little N. There are nice huge shopping malls nearby and you get almost everything you are used to in the US. Life is nice once you have the basic infrastructure up and running for you. And with my Vonage line set up now, I even caught up with some of my friends in the US who I so miss chatting up with :-)