Friday, July 23, 2010

Book Review: No No Yes Yes

No No Yes Yes is a board book with those thick cardboard like pages that the little ones cannot tear. That is a very important criteria for me - since N is a very active toddler who out of curiosity grabs the pages of a book a little forcefully at times. He is getting better with time :)

The book has a few daily activities sorted into what is OK to do (Yes Yes) and what is not (No No). A little baby in his diaper shows all the actions. N is able to relate to the baby so its even more fun! 

Everyday things like eating food, colouring with crayons, playing with other kids, reading books, playing with animals, bath time, going poo poo and going out with mommy daddy are represented in the book. On the left side is shown how not to do it (say, no crayons on the wall) and on the right side is the correct way (crayons on the paper). Some of the illustrations are funny yet effective.

You might find some of the activities not relevant to your lifestyle - say, you don't have cats or dogs at home; you can skip those pages and read them later when the kids are more aware.

For toddlers (ages 1 to 2) one or two big pictures and a few words are ideal as beginner books. No No Yes Yes fits this criteria perfectly. The pictures are big and clear. The book was hand-lettered by the author. Even S who isn't a book reader (at all!) loves reading this one out to N.

I have 3 other books from the same author - Quiet Loud, Big Little, Yummy Yucky which follow a similar pattern as No No Yes Yes. N enjoys reading all of them - he can read them a million times!

Name of the book: No No Yes Yes
Author: Leslie Patricelli
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Recommended for ages: 1 to 3

The IPod and I...

... are recharged and refreshed respectively!
I uploaded a fresh and latest set of songs on to my IPod after about 5 years (yes I am very lazy).
But once I did that I felt alive and active! And I wondered what made me wait for so long - maybe the fact that I didn't use it so much before now.
Sometimes things like reorganizing and de-cluttering do help - at least for me they are therapeutic - especially when you have a sick and cranky (with viral fever) toddler at home.
Cleaning up my closet has the same effect.
What works for you? What helps you recharge yourself?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Is there anything such as "too much excitement"?

Okay! So I am very excited, very very excited about two things.
I am looking forward to one - start painting and two - going to the Strand Monsoon book festival (They have an up to-80% sale).

I am all set with materials needed to paint - pencil, eraser, sharpener, drawing paper, brushes, water colours and oil pastels. This sudden desire for painting was a result of trying to find a new hobby and lack of good paintings for my new apartment. So maybe I can create something that I like and put it up.
Ah! Now you might be thinking "she must be a very talented painter". Not exactly! I am an amateur. But I do have a lot of passion and ideas. And I did go to a few hobby drawing classes when I was in school.

And my other latest passion is collecting books for my home library. So the Strand book sale is going to be an awesome opportunity.
Plus I will be going there with a friend whose company I really enjoy, so that's a double bonus!
And I would love to pick up some good books for N. I am reaching that stage where I could close my eyes and read out all his books.

Thinking about going there is already giving me a high, wonder what'll happen once I get there!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Play Doh fun!

Sunday being a holiday S decided to spend some "quality" time with N.
N took out his latest favourite playing object *Play Doh* and set it in front of S.
S was very amused at the sight of colourful clay and with child-like enthusiasm started playing with it.
I left the 2 of them to take care of the day's breakfast (which by the way was Aaloo Poori).
When  I got back this is what I saw -

This was described to me as a yellow man sitting on a green chair (a chair with no legs to be precise). There is a red table on a white carpet (with carpet like texture) in front of him. 

And here is the table with a cup of tea on it - 

The tea cup was not a regular (read boring) cup like the ones in my kitchen. It was designer as you can see with blue polka dots et all. The cup was made by my sister who was the guest artist.
Another orange man joined the first man for tea but he was soon transformed into a ball to play catch -

I must say I was pleasantly surprised at the creativity!

Sleeping with Minnie

Last night N slept through the night in his room.

Today morning, at around 7 he tiptoed into our room and then climbed up into our bed.

I asked him a very rhetorical question "Did my pumpkin sleep in his room last night?"

"Yesssssss" said N.

"Was it fun?"

"Yessssss. Nini Minnie" ('Nini' means sleep in N's language).

"Who's Minnie?" said S.

N went into his room and brought back a pink-dress-wearing Minnie mouse toy with him (Minnie mouse as in Mickey mouse's companion).

S and I looked at each other and exchanged a glance which felt like "If that's what it takes to get you to sleep through the night in your room, we don't mind you sleeping with Minnie."

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Lady like.... maybe not!

I am a fairly new blogger and so when Arundhati of Arundhati's blog tagged me it took me some time to figure out what that meant.  So I visited IHM's blog who initiated the tag and gained more gyaan about the tagging business. This tag is called 'My sins against gender-stereotypes'.

I loved both their posts - Arundhati's and IHM's!  

My first tag and here is my list - 

1. I have a very visible tattoo on my left shoulder - much to the chagrin of orthodox and conservative family walas both mine and the in-laws.

2. I chose whom I wanted to marry and have no regrets about that- defied a couple of social norms and ended up creating a big drama too!

3. I love cameras and taking pictures - much more than my better other half!

4. I like driving and am confident about driving on Indian roads. Driving makes me feel in control of my life!

5. I DON'T like chick flicks or mush mush movies. I would rather watch a "Dark Knight" or a "Shawshank Redemption" than a "Pretty Woman".

6. I can cook for survival BUT beyond that its a pain. I am not a fan of cooking everyday & every meal, but love doing it once in a while and for parties.

7. I like my financial independence and love working - am on a break right now.

8. I have tried all possible kinds of alcoholic beverages and love my poisons - vodka and rum. I am more of a rum and coke person than a wine lady!

9. I have trekked mountains and rappelled down them with great ease; to the surprise of my male counterparts.

10. I like taking charge and getting things done quick - don't have patience for the slow & lazy race of human beings.

11. I have travelled across 3 continents by myself. Taken a 3 day train journey sitting on suitcases and bags with 27 boys and no girl. Taken a 1 & 1/2 year old on a 14 hour flight and survived it.

12. I have a great sense of direction and a pictographic memory when it comes to roads - that combined with my driving can take me to places I have been to years ago just based on my memory map.

There is girly stuff that I love - maybe I should write another blog for that. OR wait for someone to start a tag about girly stuff that we do :)

And since I am relatively new to the blogging world so can't tag people yet. But I don't mind the blue pants curse - I can add that to this list! 

Monday, July 05, 2010

Aaloo tikki, Wii Sports and a sick child

Thanks to the All-India bandh the 2 day weekend converted into a long weekend!

S being a work-a-holic was all set to go to work today. He had a bath and was getting ready, when after being pestered by me for the zillionth time he called up a colleague. And got to know that the official holiday was declared 2 nights back - he missed getting an email! So the pleasure of an unexpected day off was very visible on S's face. I took complete credit for it!

N's playschool was closed too. The skies were cloudy with a little smattering of rain so I decided to make some Aaloo tikkis for a hearty breakfast; not exactly very healthy though. I did not deep fry them to balance the health factor. Just shallow fried them on a tawa.
My sister made some fresh and yummy coriander & mint chutney (she is here to spend some time with N). I toasted some bread and voila!!

One more picture from another angle.

Sadly N wasn't allowed the ketchup or too much of the tikki. He started the day with a running nose and some fever. The poor kid's voice was all nasal and he was cranky for most part of the time that he was awake :(  So after a dose of medicine he decided to take a nap.

S meanwhile decided to open up his birthday gift and get some action. He got a Wii Sports from me. It includes tennis, baseball, bowling, boxing and golf. It is one of those games where you imitate the actual action of the sport. Say, if you are bowling you have to mimic throwing of the ball with the Wii remote tied to your hand. It gives you some exercise, if not too much.  

S played it non stop for an hour and by the end of it there were beads of sweat on his forehead. He looked at me accusingly and said "Now I know why you gave me this!"
My secret mission was to make sure he exercised a little; especially since he was too lazy to go the gym ;)

Saturday, July 03, 2010

"Witness the Night"

I brought this book yesterday and finished reading it within 6 hours. I took a break in between to go for the movie "I hate luv storys".

The summary on the back cover was very captivating.
Some of it read -
" Durga. A fourteen-year-old-girl, found all alone in a sprawling house in Punjab. Silent, terrified, and the sole suspect in the mass murder of 13 members of her family.

Simran. A whisky-swigging, chain-smoking social worker from Delhi. She is Durga's sole hope, for Simran is the only one who believes that she may be more a victim than a suspect.... "

From the back cover on I was hooked to the book. Page after page it was a compelling read and very well written.
But somehow in the end I felt betrayed. The end didn't do justice to the beginning. The mystery was still not very clear you could reach your own conclusions.

But I would definitely recommend it. It is a very good first time novel by the author Kishwar Desai and it does end on a happy note.

N's 1st movie in the theater...

... happened to be "I Hate Luv Storys"! I know could have been something more child friendly but then this was the best of the worst.

My sister and I planned to take him for a movie over a cup of coffee in the local coffee shop. He had never been to the theater so we decided to treat this as an experiment in "The social behaviour of 2 year olds on their 1st visit to the theater".

We chose seats that had easy access to the aisle - in case of emergencies! For the 1st 15 minutes N was the perfect kid. He sat in my lap and stared at the big screen. He was stupefied by the big screen and the louder then usual sound track.

Then started the explore-your-surroundings phase which resulted in pushing the seat of the bald man sitting in front of us. The man turned back twice and that was enough to send me scrambling. I picked up N and went down to the exit ramp. The next 15 minutes were spent in trying to pacify an irritated toddler and putting him to sleep.

I did succeed at that and could watch the movie in peace for about an hour and a half. At a particular scene where the lead actor was professing his love for the leading lady - there was pin drop silence in the hall. All of a sudden rose a high-pitched shriek followed by a full throated scream. N was up and so I saw the last 15 minutes of the movie from the entry door.

After this experience I think I'm going to hold on taking N to the theater for some more time ~ read a few years!
When was the 1st time you took your kids to the theater? And what do you suggest is a good age?

P.S.- the movie by the way is a waste of time! All glamour and no substance.

Thursday, July 01, 2010


I was watching this movie today "Marley and Me". Its about a couple who have a dog named Marley and how he keeps them together through years of marriage and 3 kids.
The female lead in the movie, Jennifer Aniston, after a tiring, gruelling and nerve wracking day says "Parenthood is the hardest job and no one ever prepares you for it." I found myself nodding in agreement.

It is the hardest job ever - you are responsible for an individual or 2 or more. Responsible to bring them up the "right" way. To make sure they are well-mannered, decent and well-educated.

There are no training sessions, no live samples to practice real-life situations with. Of course we do have parenting classes and support groups. But theory is very different from practical in this subject. Nothing can train you to manage the rush of anger when your little one does quite the opposite of what you say or the feeling of frustration when he pees in his pants for the nth time just before you are all ready to leave for school. It is an emotionally demanding job.

You have to keep up with the enthusiasm of the clients aka your kids. Constant activities to keep them busy, nursery rhymes over and over again, play ball and catch need a lot of stamina.

There is physical strain involved too! Running behind a 2 year old to finish his meal, carrying him godi (in the lap) along with his school bag, bending down to change diapers zillion times a day (when they are babies) - all this along with keeping the house spic and span, getting hot food on the table does take a toll physically, especially if you don't have any help.  

Moreover you don't get any monetary benefits. The rewards in this case are all intangible.

But when your li'l one smiles that toothy smile and runs up to you and hugs you saying "Mama" in that cute voice everything seems worth it! Its hard work but worth it!!


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