Thursday, May 24, 2007

A New Friend

An imaginary one called Foofoo! It's a baby girl rabbit that Summy "found" in the fridge yesterday morning. She said she didn't want Foofoo to freeze, so she cupped her hands and brought her into the car and to school.

She talked and sang to Foofoo all through the car ride. When she got out of the car at school, she "carried" "her" in. In her classroom, she walked to her cubby, opened it, put "Foofoo" inside, and closed it again.

In the evening, when I picked her up and was about to drive back home, she remembered that Foofoo was still in the cubby. I expected a tantrum to go back to pick up Foofoo. It's bad enough that I go back into the classroom almost everyday to get one forgotten thing or the other. Her teachers probably already think I'm a little funny, without me taking Summy in just to get an imaginary bunny out of the cubby.

But luckily, it turned out that imaginary friends are easier than that. All she had to do was sing, "Little Foofoo, little Foofoo, come out from the cubby into the car" and Foofoo "magicked" herself into the car.

Here's to imaginary magic baby girl bunny friends! :)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Bike to Work Week

It's National Bike to Work Week, as I found out from this post of Sara's.

Now that I've finally learned the joy of riding a bike, I wish I could ride it somewhere, instead of going around in circles in our neighborhood. I've been reading about people who bike to work, and this seems to work well in a city.

Even in my own suburban office, right down my aisle are two people who ride their bicycles to work. But I don't think I could ride eleven miles each way to work. I do hope to see a lot of people on their bicycles though.

I love driving my car. But riding a bicycle really is something else!

It's fun, gliding down slopes, cruising around curves, puffing up hills.

It's slow, and you can look at the flowers in the yards and wave to people as you pass by (Theoretically. As a beginner, if I let go of my handlebar to wave, I'd be landing on my face.)

It's cheap, and all you have to feed it is some air. The only power source of the bike that needs to be refueled is yourself.

It's exercise, but it doesn't feel like punishment.

It's green. Whether you are pro-environment, or for some reason, against it, it feels good to have so much fun with so little guilt.

Now if only I could take my bike somewhere, and make it useful. I am still working on riding it well, before taking it out on missions. But if you have a bike, and if you live close to work, or close to somewhere you'd like to go, maybe you can take this chance to ride your bike there. It would be nice to put a lot of bikes on the road this week. It might remind people that bikes are fun, that they are everywhere and sharing the road with cars (watch out, and drive carefully!).

Here are some bicycle riding and safety tips.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


Summy is a vegetarian, like Kiran and me. She knows that she is not supposed to eat meat at school, where they give her something meatless when everybody else is having meat or chicken.

She doesn't seem to mind it, though she probably gets curious sometimes. I had a lot of trouble explaining this vegetarianism to her.

First, I just told her we don't like to eat meat. By that, she must have assumed that it doesn't taste good. So when the topic of what others had for lunch came up, she would scrunch up her nose is say, "Yuck! Meat is icky, right?". I can't have her telling her friends their lunch is yucky while they're eating it.

So I expanded a little bit, carefully, and told her meat comes from animals. And we don't like to eat animals, even though there are others who do eat them. But it's still tough. And she'll probably still get in trouble if she tells her friends she doesn't like to eat animals. The kids might not be offended, but the parents might be.

It's actually the same dilemma that we grown-ups have, having to tell that we prefer to be vegetarian for "animal" reasons. From experience, it is hard to explain this without sounding uppity, without offending people, or without having them go defensive.

Luckily we have religion to the rescue. People will argue if we did it because we thought it was the right thing, but they'll let it pass if they think it's got anything to do with religion.

Summy has found an even better way. She came home one day and said "We are allergic to eat meat" as if she had it all figured out.

But this isn't just for meat - it's for everything that she doesn't like. For example, she now says she is "allergic to eat" bananas and chocolate (which, strangely, she doesn't like). The other day, her baby doll in her school cubby had to be replaced with another one, because the old baby doll was "allergic to being in a cubby".

How much before Summy becomes "allergic" to baths, to bedtimes and so on? I don't give it very long.

Expansion of Vocabulary

Ours, that is. We learn so many words from her, and we say them the way she says them.

When she was a year old, she used to say "booy booy" at the sight of any creature that moved. Ants were booy booys, birds were booy booys, dogs were booy booys. So we called everything booy booy too.

Then for a year or two, she said "lullow" instead of "yellow". That was so cute, how could we correct her? Instead, we started saying lullow ourselves (until she grew out of it and started correcting us "Yellow, not lullow.")

We still do this: "automakit"; "mostiquo"; "obvisly"; and so on. We get a little sad when she starts to say the cute words right.

No Worries

She learns all these things that her teachers say to the kids in school, and repeats them.

I guess when one of the kids in the class does something - say, puts paint in his hair - and the other kids complain to the teacher about it, the teacher says back - "Is he putting the paint in your hair?". When they answer "No", I guess the teacher says "Then don't worry about it."

Now she keeps saying this to me. Being bad with memory, I've already forgotten about a couple of instances, but this morning, I said that it looked like it was going to rain. She said, "Are you the raincloud? Then don't worry about it."

The way I put it, it seems flat now. But this morning when she said it, I laughed my head off.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Happy Mothers Day

To all moms who are reading this.

Special wishes to my own mother. We have always been friends, sung songs together, shopped, and laughed a lot. Love you so much, Amma.

For Mothers Day, Summy woke me up grinning, and gave me two beautifully hand-signed cards, and a large frame and an album full of pictures of her and us. Thank you so much, Summy bunch.

Kiran spent long nights picking out digital pictures (we haven't printed out any in two years), and snuck out to print them, frame them and album them, in order to give me a real surprise. Thank you so much, Kirru.

We went to IHOP and had a big brunch. They played together and let me go on a long bicycle ride by myself. Dinner was brought home. I was sent out to a movie with a fellow-mom to enjoy myself.

I feel pampered and happy.

Spiderman 3

I have so many usernames and passwords at work and otherwise, and the inevitable finally happened. I forgot a login.

Last week the username was in my head, this week it's been replaced by a new byte of information, probably the name of a minor character in Spiderman 3. So I don't have access to Kings and Cabbages, my other blog, any more. I can't post to it. People could put in cheeky or spam comments on it and I couldn't delete them. So I disown that blog for now.

So I'm writing about my movie experience here. Yesterday a friend and I went to the 8:30 show of Spiderman 3.

We were ten minutes late, and my friend really likes movie experiences to be whole, from the start of the trivia quiz to the very end of the movie. But I like my movie experiences to be wholesome too, which means I had to stop to get popcorn and soda. Anyway, we sneaked into the door that had the Spiderman poster next to it.

I have to say the movie had taken off to a fast and interesting start. Usually other multiplexes would still be running trailers at that time, but here we were deep into a plot already. We were a little lost about the story, but how much could we have missed in ten minutes?

My friend and I were quick to figure things out. Less than an hour into the movie, as the end credits were running up the screen, we smartly put things together and realized that we were probably in the wrong show.

It was the 7:00 show. We solved our whole movie problem by sneaking into the 9:45 showing of Spiderman, watching the trailers, and the movie right upto where we had seen it before, and left.

On the surface, it might seem that we were too incompetent to figure out the right theater. The tickets said room 9 - we read them upside down and went into 6. Actually, that isn't true. Room 6 was playing a different movie. But room 7 was playing Spiderman, and we figured that 7 was close enough and went into 7.

Thinking back, we were lucky we ever made it to the Multiplex, instead of driving to DSW Shoe Warehouse (which was right next door) and watching the shoes.

But the important thing is, we accidentally discovered the perfect way to watch Spiderman. The last hour. We knew enough from the Spiderman trailer to figure out what was going on, and it was short enough so we were not bored. Re-watching the first half of Spiderman added nothing to the entertainment, and it wasn't because we knew how it ended.

If we had to do it again, I would skip the first part of the movie, and see the last parts of one or two other movies instead, and make the most of it.

This has little to do with Chinuku and everything to do with my junk drawer "Kings and Cabbages", but here it goes temporarily.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Ready to Read

Sameera read her first book, her long time favorite "Biscuit".

Recently she has been sitting with her books for more than 15 minutes at a time and "reading" them very intensely. Finally, yesterday, something in her head must have gone "click" and she realized she could read. Yesterday morning, she read the word "Apple" and said "Look, it's says 'APPLIE'! It has an e in the end!"

Last night, I started to read "Biscuit", but she put her little finger under the words and started to read them herself. She went on to the very last page with a little prompting from me, a little knowledge of phonics, and a little bit of guessing. (she can recite that book by rote anyway).

What a great feeling it must be, to be able to make sense of the words by herself. She read three more beginner reader books this morning, with prompting from me.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

First Bicycle Ride

I've looked forward to this for a long time, even dreamt about it. Finally, we got a new bicycle, and went off to the local school parking lot to practice. Kiran looked forward to teaching his girl how to ride a bicycle.

After an afternoon of practising, she took off onto the sidewalk and went for a ride in the neighborhood, all by herself.

And by she, I mean me :), because it wasn't Summy who was learning to ride this last Sunday, it was me.

I wasn't exactly learning to ride, because my father taught me this years ago, running behind me as I sped on a sloping road. But I never did get the confidence to go for rides by myself when I was smaller.

Kiran recently got himself a motorbike, and he's even riding it to work. He was having so much fun that I wanted to ride my own bicycle. This Sunday, after a quick refresher course by Kiran, I did go for a ride by myself around the local roads. It was great!

Summy, ofcourse, has her own bicycle with training wheels which she's been riding for a year. She's the athletic kind of girl (I've never been) and is good at this kind of thing.

So this week, in the national bike month, we became a family of bikers.