Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Hindi and Bindi

Adorable picture of Anika courtesy Melissa

I finally had a play date at home. My friends Tanya and Andrea from my fabulous Mother's group suggested I host a play date with an Indian theme. So I gave it a tentative shot, I didn't think I had the initiative to get off my lazy ass and put something non-lame together. These mamas have set the bar very high.

Tanya and Andrea came a little earlier than everyone else, THANK GOD because I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off. Tanya and Mia came first. I got a warm warm Tanya hug that made me very happy. The sight of Andrea looking calm and beautiful in her purple and gold salwaar kameez put me right at ease. They were like, 'how can we help?' They got right to it. Andrea helped finish some of the craft prep while Tanya helped make everyone feel right at home as they came in. It felt like Mala and Priya(my older sisters) were around, they always had me covered. Tanya is like Priya, gregarious and loving. Andrea is like Mala, calming and dependable. I had my Hermanas by my side and life was good.

I had a few Indian books and toys on display, organized a craft activity and had some snacks available. Lora, the amazing made SAMOSAS!!!! I was floored, they were so tasty, I couldn't believe all the trouble she took. For the craft, I made stencils of each child's name out of foam and attached them to card stock with velcro. I wanted each child to go home with their names painted in Hindi. The foam was not rigid enough to hold up to jabs from toddlers' brushes. I suspect despite my best intentions all the kids' names have extra lumps on them. Next time I will try to use a more rigid material. However, I think the kids had fun and that is the REAL purpose right?

There were balls, dolls, cars, books, goldfish, raisins, hands, legs and little feet everywhere! I kept smiling from ear to ear the entire time, I was so thrilled to be surrounded by all this energy.

The most gratifying and loving part of the day was the warmth and openness of all the mamas. There were four American women dressed in Indian clothes. Melissa looked beautiful in a gorgeous sari, which she carried off better than me. Ever since I've had a toddler, I avoid wearing a sari like the plague because I'm certain I'll have it around my ankles in no time after one tug from Anika. Andrea looked gorgeous in her silk salwaar kameez. Tanya and Lora looked beautiful in vibrant churidaar kurtas. Everyone sported a bindi and looked so cute...

When they all left, I put Anika to bed and came downstairs to pick up. I realized there was nothing left to do, it was all done. I got kind of emotional when I went to the sink and noticed that some kind woman had even washed some of the dishes that I hadn't yet gotten to. Anika's bottles were washed and the sponges were neatly put away.

There will be many more play dates at this casa.

The pics are from Andrea, Tanya has great pics too on her blog.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Getting back on the web wagon

'Mama dove Aata', that's what Anika just said to me, it means Anika loves Mama. She also hugs Palu (the cat) and says Aata dove Palu, he is usually pretty tolerant, but the other day he bit her. Of course I chased Palu out like a mama tiger, but it's she who needs to learn to control her rough love=)

We have finally gotten used to being home after a lovely vacation in India. I feel rejuvinated and clear headed. I didn't know what I wanted from my trip back home but I got everything I needed and some. I spent a lot of time with family, Anika got tons of love, attention and stimulation. When we left she was pre-verbal, she had about 40 words she used to communicate. Within a month of being in India she had a vocabulary of over a 100 words and soon she was stringing them together to make two-three word sentences. It was like a cascade of development. Everything came together at once. She was having fun and getting such a kick out of being understood. She picked up many Hindi words too, she says words from both languages together to make certain we get it.

She has also developed a great emotional intelligence. If mama gets a 'hupee' or 'hurt, she comes over and kisses it. When we returned from a weekend away she wanted to feed her favorite toy, a stuffed cat. Today she was taking a bath and said.'Aata miss papa'. Out of the blue she says, "aata go bhaiya, park' Bhaiya is her cousin brother in Bombay, who she was crazy about. I can't believe her memory! Last week, we went to the Children's Museum and stayed for a couple hours, we left 5 minutes before closing time. When I got to the parking lot I started digging around for my key, it was no where to be found, I emptied my entire bag in the street in a panic. I ran back to the museum and got in right before they closed, with no idea where to start looking. I asked Anika, 'Beta, mama lost the car keys, do you know where they are?' She said immediately, 'Ya'. I asked her disbelievingly, 'Where are they?' She said, 'Shop', i was surprised she knew that word to begin with, but I listened to her. We went in the shop ad then I put her down and said, 'Can you show mama where they are?" She walked right to the back of the store and picked them up from the ground and handed them to me! I was shocked! Truly. I kissed her profusely and left the museum with a skip and sky high goose bumps.

Its so ironic that just when she is so much fun to play with I am thinking of going back to work. I really need the mental stimulation and the money, but I can't imagine being without her. I think part time is the best idea for now, for both of us. She will really benefit from learning new things and interacting with other children now.