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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.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mamma e' tornata a casa

Mamma e' stata operata di appendicite, ma adesso siamo tutti di nuovo a casa e speriamo che in un paio di giorni tutto torni alla normalita'.

Mamma is back home! For those of you who don't know yet, I had to have my appendix removed on Sunday, but I was able to be home on Monday night already. Appu had a hard time while S and I were in the hospital and even now he is in a very bad mood. He would like to be picked up and I can't do it and he would like to sleep next to me, but I am afraid that he would kick my wounds or climb on me the way he often does in his sleep. S is not getting much sleep, because Appu moans all night, but I hope in a couple of days things will be more or less back to normal. Rohan is receiving excellent care from his acchamma, so he is not complaining much :)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Let's go to the beach

Una passeggiata in spiaggia verso il tramonto. Qui in India andare in spiaggia e' un po' come andare a fare due passi al parco o come andare nella piazza del paese.

It's getting dark and it looks like it might rain soon, but we are determined to go for a walk.

Queste sono foto scattate dal nostro balcone. Come vedete e' quasi buio - sono le cinque passate - e potrebbe piovere, quindi e' meglio affrettarsi :)

Who are those two people there walking ahead?

Ecco Appu con il suo papa' diretti verso la spiaggia.

Sorry, no pictures of mom and Rohan. Niente foto di mamma e Rohan questa volta.

Can you see the rain far away? Look near the beach volley net.


Bisnonna Angiolina - my father's mother - died today. This is the most recent photo I have, from the last family gathering on Easter 2008.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Week twenty one

Appu compie oggi due anni e mezzo. Aguri! Rohan purtroppo invece e' ammalato per la prima volta e continua a tossire, povero.

Today Appu is exactly two and a half! And quite appropriately I have a lot of things to say about him this week. Let me collect them in a list of

proud moments:

While I was packing on our last day in Paris, Rohan started to cry. I was folding some cothes so I tried to calm him down with my voice while I quickly finishing what I was doing, but to no avail. Appu, who was sitting nearby watching his cartoons (what's new) turned away from the screen (!!!) and gently patted Rohan on his back saying something mysterious in a soft voice. My boy...

He finally learned to sing "Head, shoulders, knees and toes" with all the accompanying gymnastics. In fact as I was showing him the moves slowly repeating the words he said "sing song!". Hey, forget the song, HE TALKS!!!

Most spectacularly, he officially learned to count. Not always correctly, but he got the concept, which was of course the toughest part. I guess we can thank all his "educational" cartoons for this, so I can feel just a little less lousy for allowing him to watch them all day during our trip.


Unfortunately we are all still a bit beaten up by the mixture of germs collected in France - in fact it seems nonna Laura can thank us for a nasty cough too - and Rohan is the one who is feeling the worst right now. He coughs and coughs, this is the first real illness and he has trouble lying down. Combine this with jet-lag and you have a recipe for kids awake at 3 AM, super cranky dad with running nose and headache and mom who honestly just doesn't know how to handle this. At least mom gets to sleep in with said jet-lagged kids in the morning. Yay! :)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sono le quattro e venti

It's 4:20 AM and we are all set and ready to go. See you in Chennai!

Stiamo per partire, di buon ora come al solito. Le prossime comunicazioni saranno di nuovo dall'India. A presto!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Week twenty

(Am I counting right?)

Just because we are spending our days in a small badly lit flat watching Dora The Explorer all day, it doesn't mean the kids have stopped their growth. So here is the usual (bi-)weekly update.

Rohan is moving more and more and if I keep postponing writing about it soon I'll have to tell you that he is crawling! But not yet. He is trying to move forward, but he only manages to slide back farther and farther from the desired toy. He tries to push up his butt and then propel himself, like so,

but not much luck yet. He is however able to grab what he wants if given the chance. That has really just happened over the course of this trip, it is true that at this age in two weeks you might get a completely different baby. Look at him!

He has full workouts with frequent milk breaks and he is also trying to sit. He can sit for say one second, but he doesn't give up.

This is mostly a Rohan post, but I want to say something about Rajiv too. First, look at this picture:

When Appu saw it he saddened and said "he's crying", but actually our little hero was not crying at all when the picture was taken. He was saying "pasta!" with the attitude of a guy who is not going to wait one more minute for his food. And he is pointing at the plate, demanding to be fed.

But the proudest Appu moment was when I managed to teach him a very important physics lesson. There are in fact two kinds of magnets, even though they all look the same. Sometimes they attract and stick together ("tac!"), sometimes the repel. But if instead of screaming and smashing your toys on the floor you try both sides of a cart to see which one will stick, you might be able to make a train.

Se non e' zuppa...

(cliccare per ingrandire)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Facciamo l'appello

Come i miei lettori italiani - mamma, ci sei? - avranno notato, sto scrivendo sempre meno in lingua italiana. Me ne dispiaccio, ma ha volte con il poco tempo che riesco a dedicare al blog scrivere in due lingue mi sembra un'impresa impossibile e cosi' mi limito a scrivere in inglese, che e' la lingua parlata, o almeno capita, dalla maggior parte dei miei - tre? - lettori.

Detto questo, non attendo che una scusa per scrivere nella mia lingua madre. Quindi, italiani che leggete il blog - e non siete la mia mamma - per favore battete un colpo! O almeno lasciate un commento :)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Nonna was here

Appu is doing better, thank you for your concern. He still coughs and sneezes but the fever is gone. Today by the way he is absolutely unbearable, so your sympathies should go to the mom instead :) I just finished scrubbing a cushion on which he more or less intentionally poured a bowl of vegetable soup. Argh.

The dad has fallen sick too and is not too happy, but he will get over it. Says the mom who is still feeling fine - for now.

Anyway, my mother left yesterday and we hope she reached home without any problems. We had a nice time with her, in spite of all the sniffles.

At the end of my last post, we had plans to go to the Louvre. We went and it was quite nice, here are some pictures. I'm not big on taking posed pics in front of the main attractions, so no Monna Lisa, sorry, but you can see Rohan playing with his dad in the atrium of the museum.

I know, not your regular Louvre memory shot. How about this, then? No kids though, because they are both asleep in their carriers. Appu is under his dad's jacket, see the bump? Yeah, I know, not really. Sorry...

The next day we went to La Cite des Sciences et de l'Industrie (sorry for the missing accents, I have no patience to find out how to type them right now), where they have the Cite des Enfants, a really cool area for kids. It is supposedly an interactive science exhibition for kids aged two and up, but it really is a huge playground. They book 90 min visits with a limited number of spots, so it is not crowded and in the time of the visit you cannot run out of things to do. Appu had a blast, playing with gears, simple wooden machines, mirrors and the large pretend construction site. Too bad I hadn't charged my camera.

Other noteworthy moments of nonna Laura's visit involved lots of french food, a pasta with pesto, and some cuddling with the littlest one. It turns out that nonna and Rohan share a passion for sleep, warm beds and thick comforters.

A couple more pictures from just before nonna left - and please notice Appu in his favorite pose watching Dora in front of the laptop.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Rohan in the blanket...

..goes "purr purr purr"

Firt time EVER

Yesterday my little owl fell asleep listening to a story. Just to give you an idea of how sick and generally subdued he has been. He woke up almost right away, but I still want it to be noted, for posterity, that the book was "Picnic con gli amici", a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse book just arrived in nonna's suitcase.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Here we are, feverish in Paris

Actually only Appu for the moment, but it is only a matter of time before we are all coughing and sniffing and looking like boiled potatoes.

In spite of this, we are still going to the Louvre tonight. I promised we will be well covered and it is indoors anyway, so it seems harmless.

My mom has arrived yesterday night and Appu was quite happy. Now she has gone to the Musee d'Orsay and I am here in a dark apartment trying not to breath so the kids don't wake up. I need to get out!

For now, this is me and Rohan on a walk to the mall nearby in Place d'Italie - two evenings ago.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tour Eiffel

For our first days in Paris we are keeping the evening for sightseeing, after S comes back from working with his collaborator Jan.

Yesterday we all went to meet Jan in the morning and then I left with the little ones to spend some time at a playground. Have I ever mentioned how much I love gated playgrounds, where you don't have to worry about the kids wondering off to the road? Ok, I am mentioning it now: go parcs parisiens!

After playing near a fountain for a while and leaning on the edge to retrieve some leaves from the water, Appu looked like he had been to war. He was also very tired, so we decided to head back to meet dad and we went towards the gate. There I attracted Appu's attention towards a "nice puppy" who immediately jumped on Appu and hit his hand with a paw. "Ouch" said Appu, looking very sad, and then we were on our way.

I am mentioning this incident because when we met dad Appu immediately said: "Cani, ouch" ("cani" is "dog"). It's the first time that he tells a story, he never before discussed something happened in the past like this. Mommy is very very impressed.

We had lunch with a few people at the institute and then Appu, Rohan and I went back to the flat where the kids enacted their personal version of "mom's hell". My ears are still whistling from two hours of screams and have I mentioned that I think Rohan is teething?

But. Dad came back around 5:30 and we went out. And it was cold and damp, but that's ok.

Note: this picture was only taken because Appu was falling asleep in the darkness of the Champ de Mars and I wanted to wake him up with the flash :)

Appu sinnging "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" looking up at the tower while we were in line for the tickets was the cutest thing!

Appu and Kunju, in their respective carriers, on our way up in the "choo choo" elevator (you have to see it understand why).

Appu wandering around on the Second Level. Is it just me or the slanted cap gives him a very French look?

Crepes on the go on the way home.