Monday, March 10, 2008

Family Fun

Until six months ago, the most adventurous ride I'd been on would have been a giant wheel (in the Hyderabad Exhibition).

But now things are different. It's hard to go to Disneyland every Sunday (as we do now) and get away with saying, "I won't do that ride, or that one, or that one. I'll do the little kiddie carousel though."

Summy was taking Kiran on all the little roller coaster rides that she is allowed to ride on, and she always wants the biggest ones. I stayed on the sidelines, "watching the stroller", until one day the two of them persuaded me to go on a tame little coaster. ("It's okay, Mama. I'll be right next to you and hold your hand.")

Slowly she worked us up to "Space Mountain", which is a relatively small roller coaster, except it's in total darkness, only lit up by "stars". It is very fun once you do get used to it!

And now, Kiran and I have started to take turns to go on rides that Summy is too short to go on. Yesterday we tried the Maliboomer, which is a kind of ride called a Space Shot. They put you in a chair with your feet dangling, with a plexiglass shield that goes around your head so that the nice residential city of Anaheim is not disturbed by your screams as you are shot up 180 ft in 4 seconds and then dropped down into a free fall. Despite sounding and looking scary, this is fun as well. Summy lived vicariously through our rides, unable to meet the 52 inch height requirement even while trying her best to stand on the tippiest tips of her tippy toes. But she did go on the kid version of the same ride, called Jumping Jellyfish.

You'd think having children would make you feel older, but the opposite is also true. Children give you a second chance at being a kid.

As George Bernard Shaw said, "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.".

Thursday, March 06, 2008

A Guide to Making Friends

Very useful for shy people like me:

1) Keep an eye out for a person who seems interesting.

2) Once you spot an interesting person, walk up to them. Step right in front of them and make eye contact.

3) If they don't say anything, continue to stare closely at whatever it is they are doing, and comment on it.

4) If they do not respond to this, bounce up and down while saying "Look what I can do!". If you can do cartwheels, do a cartwheel or two now.

5) If they still haven't said anything, it's time to stop being so very subtle. Say "Will you be my friend?".

It always works for Summy, so it should work for any of us. Right?

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Cabbages and Edamame

I'm still at home while I'm working on learning new things and writing new exams. Life is pretty laid-back and the only things I have to do are cook and study. Still these things somehow stretch out to take the whole day and I find less time to do things like updating this blog.

One thing that I've learned to love in the last six months is to cook.

Maybe it's the fresh veggies from the farmers market: I take pleasure in buying veggies every Saturday and making sure they are eaten up before the next Saturday rolls around.

Maybe it's the extra time I have to think about what to make: While I'm driving around I'm making up dishes in my head like cabbage with potatoes and soybeans or edamame (which doesn't taste so bad, by the way!).

Maybe it's the computer that's right next to the kitchen, so I can put bokchoy, broccoli, and potatoes on the counter, wipe my hands on the towel, google for the unlikely "bok choy dal" and "broccoli alu curry", and amazingly have recipes turn up.

Whatever it is, it's a good thing I like to cook because now I have to turn out lunches for the little lady every day.

It's much harder than I thought it would be, considering that at home she eats anything that I cook (and when I ask, she almost always tells me that it's good). But I used to send lunches that came back uneaten no matter what they were, and I finally understood the moms who agonize about what to pack for lunch.

For now, things are all right, as I figured out that lunches need to be a little more gourmet than jelly sandwiches or pasta and tomato sauce. Current menu items are carrot or tomato fried rice, garnished with cilantro, pasta with cheese sauce and broccoli, chickpeas with seasoning, chapatis and yogurt with soybeans on the side, cherry tomatoes, vegetable pulihora (!!!) and occasionally Maggi. She's eating these now, but next week might be a new challenge.

At home though, she is a pleasure to cook for, as is Kiran. They'll both eat anything I cook and relish it, no matter how strange it might sound. Thank you, you two!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Monthly Journals

I am terrible at keeping up Summy's blog these days. But Summy has been helping out with a different kind of journal at school.

The teacher sits the kids down at the table, one at a time, and has them draw a picture from their life, anything that they like, in their own special monthly journal. Then the kid talks about their picture, and the teacher writes it down verbatim. At the end of the month, the teacher sends the journal home. It's up to the kids to decide whether they want to do the journal that day or not, so they are not forced to sit down and do this even when they have "writer's" block (just like I frequently get blogger's blogck).

I'll post excerpts and pictures from the journals once Kiran comes back from the South Pole next week and brings the camera back with him. Not the South Pole, really, that's just Summy's slip-up for Sao Paolo. ("When are you coming back from South Pole, Daddy? - I'm making fun of what she said, but she's pretty savvy: She can pin-point the Brazilian city on the world map.)

P.S.: Thanks to all those who had visited and left kind comments about Summy and her art on my last few infrequent posts. It made me happy and proud of her.