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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Should we pierce Lila's ears?

We probably will, but I am still a little undecided. I just know that it has to be done either now, as soon as possible and before she can notice too much and try to take the earrings off, or much much later, when she is old enough to decide for herself and care for her own ears.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Isn't it how we all feel?

"There is so much books I need to read and I don't have plenty of time", Rohan said.
(As an answer to "Would you like some toast?")

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

An old video from Appu's babyhood

This is from when Rajiv was little, maybe about five months old. We were still staying in a flat in Waterloo - we didn't move into the house until after his first birthday.
I had not posted this video earlier because I took the first part with the camera tilted by 90 degrees ("portrait"), which is a silly thing I often do without thinking. Now that I have found that editing movies is fun, I am correcting a lot of these mistakes, so that history will not have to do without my masterpieces.

Here you go:

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Saturday morning

Papa' and sons at the pool. Rohan was a little uncertain at first, but it turned out he is not well, so that explains it. He still had fun though and he finally got to wear his clown fish swim cap in the water - as opposed to around the house.
Rajiv loves the water but rejects any kind of swimming instruction. Here however, you can see give the kick board a try for about a minute.

Photos by Reji.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Why Rosalind

To celebrate her three month birthday tomorrow, I intended to write about how we picked a name for our baby girl - formerly known as Picu. I started writing and it seemed only right to make a few comments about her brothers first, but then the thing got a little bit out of hand and it has now become an extensive monograph on the subject of naming my children.

Here it is, if you have the stamina. (Otherwise just jump to the end for some photos)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

You can(not) stand in an artist's way

As is the trend these days, I made sure the kids have a little corner of their own where they can write, draw, paint and generally express their creativity - and plenty of supplies. And yet we don't really seem to have art time very often around here.



Thursday, August 16, 2012

Baby feet through the years

The original and only Piccolo Rajiv! 12 June 2007, less than one month old.
Rohan, with puppy socks. 14 July 2009, three weeks old.
Our latest addition to the Feet Hall of Fame. Viola, 18 June 2012, almost one month old.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Lila smiles in her sleep

All babies do, I know, but how many parents have a movie to prove it? I thought so.. :)

Plot: It is bed time. Baby Lila has fallen asleep in her playmat (!!!). Mamma bothers her a little to make her smile, but she keeps sleeping. Rajiv reads Kipper's alphabet book for his brother and declines to be interviewed for this movie. Baby Lila keeps sleeping, but finally agrees to show us her famous sleeping smiles.

Sorry for the background noises.

* * *

E' ora di andare a dormire. Lila sorride nel sonno ma non vuole essere disturbata. Appu legge per Rohan e - anche lui - non vuole essere disturbato.

* * *

Monday, August 13, 2012

Three brothers

Last week we had company. Jayadev, velliamma and velliacha staid with us for a few days and I don't need to say how excited the kids were to have their cousin here for the first time. We had ups and downs, the way you would expect when you have three boys but not three exact replicas of each toy car, but we also had a lot of fun.

We hit a low when Rohan asked me to send his cousin back home, but even while he was saying that he was also already elaborating on how much he was going to miss him after he was gone.. That's when I thought of taping a huge long sheet of paper to the floor so that they boys could color together. I was really proud of my craftiness, until I heard the first "He is coloring on my picture!" scream.

They also played pirates, cars, puzzles, cars and other fun stuff, being very loud most of the time. Just like brothers.

I thought I would show some drawings that Jayadev made while he was here:

In the first he is with his two little brothers and in the next picture you can see that there is a car for each of them - at last.. :) The boys got to choose their hair color and Appu is wearing a shirt of his favorite color, which I think is a really nice touch. Appu and Rohan were quite happy with all of this.




Friday, August 10, 2012

Self-portrait with baby

School readiness

Tomorrow is going to be a big day for our Appu! He is going to take a "school readiness" test, to determine whether he is going to join first grade this term. This is something that is apparently a fixture of the German school system (Rajiv is in preschool at the German School here in Chennai) and, as far as I understand, is a way to make sure that a child is not pushed into a formal school environment before being ready for it. Rajiv will probably not even know that he is being "tested", so there is no pressure on him, or at least that is the intention.

I really like the idea of evaluating the overall development and maturity of a child before making the transition from organized play to a classroom. As far as I understand the test is not about checking who already knows how to spell and add, it is instead about observing the children and making sure they are able to concentrate on a task, have adequate fine motor skills, feel secure enough to face a new environment and so on.

Appu can read very well and can do some simple arithmetic. He used to have a lot of trouble holding a pencil and in fact never even wanted to draw or color, but in the last few months he seems to have suddenly figured it out. Now he can write legible words in huge sloping letters and he even enjoys it, provided nobody is asking him to do it. He is curious - exhaustingly so - and likes to learn new things. He also has that annoying habit that little kids have of remembering word by word everything they hear. He doesn't mind spending the whole day at preschool now, but he does need a few hugs from his favorite teacher to get through the day.

Is Rajiv ready for school? If school was tailored to each individual there would be no need to ask this, but because that is not how it works I think it is actually a very important question. Rajiv's teachers think that he might enjoy a little more challenge, which is why they are thinking of making him join the bigger kids' class, but they are not sure he is emotionally ready. Neither am I, in fact. I think tomorrow's evaluation will be fine, but then we will have to talk more with the teachers and see if we want to just go ahead with it or maybe find some sort of middle path. This might be possible and is probably the main advantage of being in a small private school with very few kids.

Does it sound like I am overthinking this whole school readiness thing? I just think it is so important to get it right and I am glad that the school we have chosen takes this holistic (I hate this word, by the way) approach. Most of all though, what I am thinking is: I am officially the mother of a big kid now, a kid who might be starting School soon! Amazing..

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Back to work

As of August 1st I have officially gone back to work, so to speak, even though I haven't spent any time in my office yet.

I am working from home and not that much. This is an aspect of being a researcher (in a purely theoretical field) that is confusing to anybody who has a regular kind of job, because it seems as if I am allowed to do nothing all day and still get paid. That is almost true, but the catch is that if I don't produce any original work at some point, it is highly unlikely that I will get my next - still very temporary - employment. So it is not as relaxed as one might think.

It is also quite hard to be creative and smart when you have just had a baby. There is a nearly universal agreement on the fact that, in technical terms, motherhood fries your brain. That's bad news when you need to be brilliant to do your job and you were not nearly as bright as you would need to be even to start with.

I started teaching my course and that is at least something concrete I can do, so it's a very welcome task. Viola is too small to be in daycare yet, but it's not too much of a problem and she seems to cope well with my short absence while I am in class. S even managed to get some work done while holding her asleep in his arms. I normally don't do that well, so I prepare my lectures at night while she is sleeping.

Which reminds me that I should be doing exactly that right now, instead of blogging :)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Lego Olympics

This is totally off topic, but if you are a Lego fan then you should check out the videos in the Guardian's brick-by-brick series.

The gymnastics one is really neat -

- and I love how they did the water in the pool here (the snack is also brilliant):

Monday, August 6, 2012

Today's new word: ROVER!

The only thing more amazing than seeing the first photos sent by Curiosity today was looking at them together with my children. Rajiv in particular is old enough to - just barely - know the difference between pretend rockets and real ones and so he gets what the excitement is all about.

Both of them were especially fascinated, of all things, by the images of the NASA people celebrating after the landing. Rajiv said he wanted to be at the party too and when I explained that those were the people who had worked really hard to make it all happen he said he also would like to do something like that. So we decided that maybe when he grows up he can be one of the people building the rocket that will take a person to Mars. Note here how I am subtly steering him away from the plan of being such a person himself, because I am the mom after all, and Mars is kind of far away. Anyway, he said he is going to build a really fast rocket. I told him it should be fast but most importantly very safe. Not a problem: "I'll put some seat belts", he said.

We looked at lots of images and animations of the rover. By the way, do you know how hard it is to explain to a three year old and a five year old why we don't have a real video of the landing? And Rajiv would like to know how the rover manages to send the photos to us. Uhm... that should be an easy one too.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

We miss Canada

Always, and especially when something reminds us of it, like this picture that Meaghan, the kids' former nanny, just sent me.

April 2011, Rohan and Rajiv sitting on the tree stump in Waterloo Park, about a fifteen minutes walk from our house. Sob..

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Apple fractions before bed

The time just before bed, when everyone is tired and the kids are dragging their feet and not doing what they are supposed to do, trying to annoy us as if making as really angry was an Olympic sport, is never easy. Today it was quite bad. There was screaming, crying, fighting, nagging, yelling and threatening - and there was a hysterical snack request after the lights were already out and the teeth sort of brushed. That last one was just one of those Rohan moments, but we all pretty much contributed to the rest. In the end we read a book quickly, we had some hugs and a little bit of singing (please don't ask), some more screaming and then with a bit of effort it was finally all quiet.

It's really a pity, because bed time could be the best moment of the day. Unfortunately, sometimes getting the children ready for bed is just too draining for us to be able to really relax with them when all is done. When it is good though, it is more or less like this:

Notice the book, "Apple Fractions", one of Appu's current favorites. And no, we don't only read math books to the kids, I promise.

The next photo is a little mysterious, but I think it had to do with demonstrating the size of a certain kind of apple that tastes like a pear (or the other way around, I never remember that part).

Rohan in the mean time, is already holding the next book, just in case we forget to read it to him for the seventh day in a row..

And Rohan's favorite, at last: "Eat my dust!". Papa' looks a bit tired at this point..

..but maybe Rohan is even more sleepy?

Nope, papa' is definitely the sleepiest.