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Monday, December 14, 2009

Rohan goes forth

Rohan ha iniziato a gattonare! Un pochino, pochi centimetri alla volta e in uno stile tutto suo, ma bisogna considerare che non ha neanche sei mesi. Cosi' ora comincia una nuova fase delle nostre giornate, in cui il principale compito dei genitori sara' tenere lontano il piccolino dai pericolosissimi giocattoli del fratello maggiore. Urra'...

Little Kunju is crawling! Nothing spectacular, just a few centimeter at a time, but he is definitely moving forward and now it's a matter of days before he gains the strength and confidence to sprint around the house. Already today morning he was proceeding "fast" towards some pieces of puzzle and I barely managed to put them away - thus saving them from drool - before the little one landed on them.

Our next months will be spent keeping Rohan out of danger, saving him from Rajiv's toys with small parts and saving Rajiv's toys from the little brother's curiosity. I am also looking forward to see if when Rohan is a little more obviously mobile Appu will take a greater interest in him as a playmate. I hope so, even if that means getting a helmet for little Rohan :)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Just to cheer myself up

I am not in the mood for light blogging these days, but I think I should try anyway and maybe the mood will improve :)

One thing I have done to that end is buying a Christmas tree. You know, one of those artificial ones that can be folded and put in a box. I also got a few cheap decorations, just to get started. I thought I would assemble the tree and decorate it with Rajiv one of these days, because in Italy normally the tree is put up around this time, but we decided to take the tree to Calicut next week instead. That way we can have it for Christmas itself and maybe we can even put some presents underneath.

Normally for an Italian baby the first Christmas would be a very exciting event - for the relatives I mean: all the baby really wants is to eat the tree... Rajiv hasn't had a real Christmas experience yet and it won't happen this year either, but I like the idea of having a few things here and there to remind myself of what season it is. Christmas for the children will come in due course.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Week twenty four

This has been another horrible week for me, in so many ways. I will surely talk about it in future posts but right now I prefer not to talk about it, so please respect that in the comments.

So let's move on to the kids, which is why you are reading this anyway, right? :)

To start, Rajiv has been promoted from "butterfly" to "dragonfly". It's a big thing, it means he now gets to hang out with older children at daycare and I am sure he loves that.

The daycare sends a daily update by email, just a couple of sentences about something that the child did or said, or learned. Today's update says:
While playing a game, Rajiv heard the instruction that he had to touch something in black colour. Some of his friends touched their hair. Rajiv realised that he could not do that, so he ran after his friend to touch her black hair!

Sometimes these updates leave me speechless. Who is this amazing kid that pretends to be my son?? But seriously, fancy Appu knowing the color of his own hair... or Appu playing an organized game, for that matters! I am soooo proud of him!

In the meantime, Rohan's main occupations are drinking liters of toxic pink stuff (antibiotics, they tell me) and trying to crawl. The latter is a source of great frustration for him. He can position himself on hands and knees, but then no matter how hard he tries he is unable to move forward. He rocks on his knees trying to jump forward and a couple of times he actually managed to swing his legs ahead between his arms, like a gymnast. I don't see a future for that technique, though.

Another small but important milestone: I am now carrying Rohan mostly on the hip, like a big boy! And I do carry him a lot, because he is often crying these days. Part of it may be the frustration from his failed crawling efforts, sometimes the floor might be too hard for him, who knows. He also has a cold and an almost healed ear infection, and a tummy surely bothered by all the medicines. And he is also teething, but you knew that already...

Friday, December 4, 2009


Rohan is doing better. We went to the doctor today and his ears are looking good, it seems, just a little pink but not "angry red" like last time. Go antibiotics!
By the way, our little one is over 7 Kg now and about 71 cm "tall", if you care for stats.*
The rest of the family is doing fine and hopefully I won't have anything to report for a while on the health front.

*Well, if you really care for stats I might as well tell you that the big brother is around 13 Kg and if you find a way to measure his height (other than in his sleep, I mean at the doctor's office) please don't hesitate to inform us. :)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A truckload of pictures from France - Part IV

It's over, this is the last batch!!!

Ecco le ultime foto del viaggio a Parigi. Come accennavo nel post su Notre Dame, dopo aver rinunciato a visitare la cattedrale abbiamo deciso di prendere due biglietti per il pullman a due piani che fa il giro delle attrazioni di Parigi. Una di quelle cose che senza i bambini non mi sarei mai sognata di fare, ma invece e' stato bello e dopo tanti giorni di metropolitana siamo riusciti a vedere un po' di Parigi in superficie!

Al secondo piano dell'autubus solo le prime due file di sedili sono coperte e il resto e' aperto. Ci siamo seduti nella prima fila, cosi' eravamo riparati dal vento, con il vetro davanti, e avevamo una buona visuale, ma eravamo comunque all'aria aperta. Era una mattinata soleggiata e non fredda, proprio l'ideale. Non ho fatto molte foto della attrazioni turistiche, ma la mia postazione mi ha permesso di fare un servizio fotografico completo a Appu e al suo papa'.

Purtroppo non abbiamo finito tutto il giro, perche' Appu ben presto ha cominciato a spazientirsi e man mano a diventare isterico, cosi' poco dopo l'Arco di Trionfo abbiamo abbandonato il tour e siamo tornati a casa in metropolitana. Per fortuna i biglietti erano validi per due giorni e abbiamo potuto passarli ai nostri Amici Emiliano e Ilaria per il giorno dopo.

These are pictures from our tour on the open bus, after the failed visit to Notre Dame. Remember? We couldn't do the whole tour because Appu was bored and tired and started acting up quite violently, but as long as it lasted it was nice. As it is usually my style, not many pictures of the attractions here, but lots of pictures of Appu (and dad)!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A truckload of pictures from France - Part III

Bear with me, we are almost done. :)

Ancora foto da Parigi, ma abbiamo quasi finito, promesso! Questa volta il tema e' "La visita suggerita dalla nonna".

Nonna Laura ci aveva raccomandato di andare a vedere le gallerie Lafayette, rinomati e immensi grandi magazzini, per far vedere a Appu le luci. Purtroppo Appu dormiva quando siamo arrivati, ma ha visto le luci uscendo. All'interno siamo subito andati al reparto giocattoli, abbiamo giocato con i trenini, abbiamo scoperto che Appu odia con passione le scatole musicali (boh?) e abbiamo comprato un puzzle di legno con i numeri. Poi siamo andati a cenare al ristorante del piano, che in teoria doveva essere particolarmemte adatto ai bambini. In realta' non era niente di speciale e anzi la caratteristica principale era che avevano finito tutto, si poteva scegliere solo tra due panini. Pero', forse anche per questo, era completamente vuoto, cosi' ci siamo sistemati regalmente in mezzo alla sala, abbiamo sparpagliato tutta la nostra roba su varie sedie e abbiamo mangiato i nostri miseri panini - ma non importa - mentre Appu componeva il suo puzzle nuovo. Tutto sommato, un successo.

This is the Galeries Lafayette edition! It is the largest department store in Paris and nonna Laura had recommended that we took Appu to see the lights outside.

Quite impressive, I must admit, but I liked even more the Christmas displays. It was all animated with threads hanging from robotic arms that could make the characters move in a very realistic way. Too bad Appu missed it because he was asleep when we arrived, but at least he saw the lights when we left later.

The store is huge. We spent some time on the children's floor, in the toy area. Appu played with a train table and gave us his opinion on various toys. He hates music boxes it seems: when I picked one he didn't just force me to put it back, like he sometimes would, but probably not trusting that I would put it exactly where it was he went around the store until he found a store attendant who could take care of the matter. My son with an OCD...

In the end we bought a wooden puzzle (and a small music box, but Appu must not know this) and then we went to have dinner at the restaurant for little people on the same floor. The restaurant was not very special, if not in the fact that there was almost nothing to eat, but at least it was almost empty, so we could spread our stuff around and camp comfortably in the middle of the room. Appu worked on his new puzzle and Rohan mostly looked at his dad.

Appu composed his puzzles, then he took them apart and started again a few times.

Then it was time to put everything away ("Taia!") and we left, quite happy overall wit our little pre-Christmas celebration.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Week twenty three

A few illnesses later, we are still here. Appu is better now and, even though his parents have taken turns feeling quite sick over the past three days, I think we can say that the virus has now been expelled from our household for good.
This is little Appu on Saturday morning, still feverish and weak :(

But no more!

Rohan however is not doing well at all, piccolo. Just when on Sunday night we thought the worst was over and we were ready to pass out go to sleep, the little one started to cry and we had another virtually sleepless night. It turns out that he has a quite bad ear infection. We had just given a course of antibiotics a week ago for a mild infection in his left year, but the doctor says that maybe the infection was resistant to that particular antibiotic, so we are trying another one now.

Thinking about it now, we probably should have checked his ears earlier. All the problem that we thought were due to mommy separation, like the fact that he had trouble drinking from the breast and wanted a bottle instead, were probably just due to pain swallowing and sucking.

But I don't want to write another health bulletin here, so let's move on to more cheerful stuff. Ear infection or not, little Rohan is becoming stronger every day. Look at these push-ups!

Look at this cuteness!

Rohan has also started to speak (if you know what I mean...). Earlier he used to say mostly "a" and occasionally some "m" sounds, but as of this week we have had an explosion of "ta ta ta" and even some "g", more rare.

Now let me conclude with a few pictures of Kunju with his acchamma, who has taken great care of him while mamma was out of commission.

Here Rohan is being shown pictures of his cousin Jaydev to inspire him to greatness.

"Aiyo! Both fists in the mouth?"

Achamma 1 - Rohan 0

Uhm... Achamma 1/2 - Rohan 1/2

Nothing tastes as good as a clean saree...

And the best picture, in my opinion, is this one.

Friday, November 27, 2009

A truckload of pictures from France - Part II

Ancora un po' di foto parigine. Le prime in Rue Mouffetard, vicino all'istituto dove lavora il collaboratore di S. Le altre foto poi documentano i nostri inutili tentativi di andare a visitare Notre Dame.

The title of this installment of pictures is "Let's go at least to see Notre Dame".

This is Rue Mouffetard, a nice street featured in the touristic guides for the French atmosphere of the market and all the little food stores. It is also very near the Ecole Normale, where S's collaborator works, so we went there often.

You will remember that Rajiv was sick for most of our trip, and soon his dad joined him, so we didn't spend much time outdoors. Plus, the weather was rainy and not very inviting. However, from the map it seemed that Notre Dame shouldn't be too far from Rue Mouffetard, so one day we set out to reach it on foot from the office during S's lunch break.

It wasn't a bad walk and we stopped here and there, but it was longer than we had expected.

By the time we reached the Seine and we could see Notre Dame S said firmly "Now take this picture and let's go back". So this ended our first missed visit.

I was however quite impressed, very unusually I must say, so I decided we should try and go back.

We got our chance on the last Friday of our visit. S had already decided to take the morning off to do something touristic one way or another and, since the weather looked great for a change, we decided to take the Metro to a nearby stop and then walk to Notre Dame. This time I wanted to go in and see the gargoyles on the roof, as a basic plan of action.

But. The weather was so good that it seemed we owed it to Appu to make him play somewhere outside, after his long confinement at home. Just by the cathedral there is a little park, so we thought we could spend a half hour there.

Appu walked around very happily, but he also appeared to be looking for something.

He walked for a few minutes, moving quickly and looking carefully around. I followed.

Then he said: "Slide? Where!" To which I replied, feeling very sad: "Mi dispiace Appu, lo scivolo non c'e'..." ("Sorry Appu, there is no slide") "Non c'e'!", he echoed. He seemed sad and yet satisfied that his investigation had yielded the correct result. There is no slide.

But if that is the case, we might as well leave. And as quickly as he had walked in, he headed back for the gate and left. We ran after him ad caught him on the sidewalk, but at this point he didn't seem to be in any mood to go and see the interior of a Gothic cathedral.

We look around still undecided and we saw a stop of one of those sightseeing buses with the open roof. It seemed like a good way to use our sunny free morning and so we bought two tickets and hopped on. Bye bye Notre Dame, see you next time.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

What a week

Exactly one week ago we took Rohan to the doctor to check whether his cough would require antibiotics, and the doctor immediately checked his ears. This has always felt like an empty ritual to me, checking children's ears no matter what the initial complaint, probably because in Appu's case it never led to anything. However, to our great surprise, it turned out that Rohan indeed had an ear infection. It was even more of a surprise because he was as cheerful as usual and the doctor herself couldn't believe it.

We went home with our bottle of antibiotics, feeling that this continuous sequence of colds and fevers and the like was rather vexing. S himself was still suffering from a dragging mix of running nose, headaches and general feeling of having been run over by a truck. The late night spent with the jet-lagged kids had not helped.

In such spirits we still were when on Saturday morning Appu woke up with a fever. There had been some cases of Hand Foot And Mouth Disease at daycare, so I immediately looked it up online and found with a sinking heart that the virus could bring 7 to 14 days of vomiting, aches, intestinal problems and general misery. I was therefore almost happy when I realized that I wasn't feeling that good myself. Could Appu and I have something completely different from the dreaded HFM?

Then it turned out in an exciting twist that I had appendicitis. Appu's fever wasn't forgotten, but he seemed better the next day - albeit troubled by my hospitalization. I had surgery and it went well, so we were happy. We were still giving Rohan his antibiotics, but not quite remembering why anymore.

I had a hard time feeding Rohan and ended up pumping milk to be given to him in a bottle for most of his meals. The first two nights where rough, but after a couple days I was able to sleep next to the children again and this was a huge improvement for everybody. I am recovering very fast, although unfortunately I am still unable to care for Rohan by myself because I cannot lift him or hold him AND he has a habit of kicking my belly :) Thankfully acchamma is here.

Then, today morning Appu woke up and threw up yesterday's dinner. My first thought was: "Great, now he can't go to daycare and he will be miserable here at home". That's because a mamma unable to pick him up, roll with him on the bed and have random collision around the house has been a big challenge for Appu - and a big source of frustration for mamma. However, when he vomited again, and again and again, we started being a little more concerned.

We went to see the doctor and she concluded that scary things are to be ruled out. It is most likely food poisoning or a virus (probably the latter). We are to watch for changes though, because you never know. In the meantime we have an interesting night ahead - will the antiemetic work? - and we can look forward to a new wave of barfing flu - who is Appu going to give it to first?

Anyway, I don't really think we are unlucky. That would be insulting to people who have actual big health problems. But it's not fun either.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A truckload of pictures from France - Part I

Ho ancora un sacco di foto di Parigi da mostrarvi. Questa e' una prima parte, non proprio di Parigi, ma delle nostre giornate a casa aspettando il ritorno di papa' dal lavoro.

I still have a large backlog of pictures from Paris to show and the time has come to dump them here and be done with it.

We will call this first installment "What to do when you are stuck at home all day?"


You can sit on the purple sofa and be miserable.

You can be idle and look cute.

You can plan an outing to the park wearing your super duper rainsuit, but beware, you will still catch a cold if you jump in the puddles :(

You can put together giant puzzles - that your napoleonic mom will have ordered for you from France before the trip - on the floor.

Lacking this, you can always eat your sleeve...

... or your socks, and have a good time.

You can climb on every raised surface in the flat to try your mother's nerves.

You can play soccer in the otherwise useless long corridor.

You can read - and taste - your favorite books.

You can fly planes, even when you are feeling too feverish to even hold them.

And if that doesn't work, you can still eat them.

Then, when your dad comes home, you can call somebody on skype together, looking grumpy all the way.

Or maybe you can just take a well deserved nap. After all, it is hard work to do what you do.