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Archive for September, 2007

The things kids say!

Two mildly amusing incidents last week:

What A learnt from the movie Madagascar (One of only about 5 movies he has seen in his young life of 6 yrs):

We came back from work/school one evening last week. This was the conversation.

A: “What is for dinner tonight?”

Me: “Uppittu”

A: makes a face, which is not new. He’s a very poor and picky eater.

Me: “Why are you making that face? You should eat a variety of foods”

A: “I’m not making a face. I was smiling”

Me: “No you weren’t. You made a weird face”.

A: “That is just gas.”

Me: “What does that mean?”

A: Repeats

Me: “I heard what you said. But what does it mean? How is it related to the face you made?”

A: “I don’t know. That is what he says in Madagascar”.

Next:

How S (almost 2 yrs) embarassed her dad: On Saturday, A had gone to a friend’s place for a play date, so it was just 3 of us.  While doing this and that, S started.

S: “My mommy”

Me: “My S”

Repeat few times. And then

S: “My daddy”

PK: “My S”

Repeat few more times. And then mommy and daddy, back and forth. And then I teased her

Me: “My daddy”

a few times. After a brief pause, she realized we had gone through all possible combinations except one. So she said, “Daddy, your mommy?”. And PK looked at me with an apologetic grin.

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Parenting is hard!

I drove home this evening, after first picking up S from her day care and then A from his school. As the garage door opened and I was pulling in, I noticed what looked like cups of yogurt, two of them, lying on the floor, just where I would park the car. I didn’t remember seeing it in the morning, when I backed out. I usually am in a tear in the mornings, trying to meet the bus schedule. I was wondering how it could have gotten there since they come in packs of 6 cups and we don’t arbitrarily drop a few from a pack and not notice. Anyway, there was stuff to be done – hoard all the luggage in (1 laptop bag, 3 lunch bags, 1 hand bag, 1 backpack etc), wash the kids hands and set dinner out for them.

Some background to where I’m going with this: A is a very poor eater. From the time he was around 18 months, he has been like that. So every day I have to remind him to eat all his snacks and lunch (may be I’ve been over-doing it). More than half the time it comes back home and he has to listen to my lectures. I do ask him and pack only snacks he’s ok with. And I make sure I don’t give him any ethnic food for lunch. Just sandwiches (PBJ or cheese), noodles and pasta. I have heard of the stories of kids making fun of desi khana at schools from my other friends with older kids, so I didn’t want him to go through that.

So while the kids were eating dinner, my thoughts wandered back to those yogurt cups and I was just kinda thinking aloud, not really believing he’d do that. I asked A if he had thrown them sometime underneath the parked car. I think he was caught by surprise and admitted to it right away (If he had seen it coming, may be he would have denied it?). I don’t know, I didn’t believe he could do that and I teared up and told him how disappointed I was. He didn’t know how to react because I think he expected me to be extremely angry instead of sad and weepy. Anyway, all evening I have been feeling very down. I didn’t want to scare him with melodrama, so I tried my best to hold back but it was tough. In the last few months, we have caught him lying about small things (like when he ask him to go brush his teeth before bed, if it is later than his usual bed time or if he’s very tired, he just runs the water and comes back and claims he’s done). I read in parenting books that this is normal for kids that age and while we should explain that lying is bad etc, we should not make too much of a big deal of it. Just take it in the stride and move on, while reinforcing at every opportunity the importance of being honest. Now, I’m no saint either (how do I get rid of some of those pesky telemarketers without lying?), so I was thinking it is a part of his growing up. But this kind of deceit behavior? (Am I being dramatic again with the word deceit?). I don’t know what to think. Before he went to bed, he offered an unsolicited apology and asked me not be sad and he won’t do it again. That was at least one step forward.

I have resolved to deal with it by giving him snacks for his lunch, only if he wants and what he wants (as long as it is not all junk food). I won’t make a big deal of it. If he’s hungry he will eat.

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Washington, DC with kids

After 2 days in Shenandoah National Park, we spent a day in DC. Since it was our umpteenth visit to this city, we skipped all the usual monuments and such and focused mainly on kids’ activities. The first evening, we went to the Smithsonian Air and Space museum. It was crowded, but we were still able to see most of what we wanted. A was thrilled to see all the various sizes and shapes of planes and other space vehicles, even though he was pretty wiped out (Long story, our hotel was in downtown but still a very long walk to the museum and we were literally running to make it there before closing time). Then we hung around on the lawns of the national mall, giving some rest to the legs. We ate dinner at Subway since all of us were too cranky to be at a slow serving restaurant and then headed back.

Air & Space museumAt the Zoo

Next morning we went to the National Zoo. I’m not a big fan of animals or the zoo, but this is one I liked. The kids enjoyed seeing the lions, tiger (was sleeping), elephants, panda etc. It was a hot day and the mists were on, which was refreshing. And then we were back at the airport. The return was one mess. First, it was our fault that we thought our flight was @ 2.30 pm instead of 3.45 pm, so we were at the airport by 12.45 pm itself. On top of that the flight got cancelled and they put us on the 4.45 one. Instead of waiting for 4 hrs at the airport, we could have been having fun outside. PK’s comment was that we probably could have driven up in the same time that it took us to finally get home (considering the flight time + luggage wait time + getting to the economy parking lot time + driving back from Logan time).  

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For Labor day, we took an extra day off and went to the DC area. Shenandoah National Park is about 1.5 hrs away from Reagan International Airport in DC. It was a hot day. We took an unearthly 7.30 am flight and reached DC around 10.30 am. We were in Front Royal at noon, had a pizza lunch and entered the park around 1 pm. Skyline drive is the main route (a scenic drive) in the park. It has plenty of scenic overlooks and several trail heads start from this main road. We stopped at a few, but the views were disappointing. It was completely covered in haze/smog and visibility was very poor. There were supposed to be mountains and valleys and we could barely see a thing. We made our way down, after stopping at one of the waysides to buy essentials for the kids (milk mainly and ice to store it). We had a small cooler, so we were all set.

We reached our lodge around 3 pm. There are 3 main lodges in the park. Another option is camping. We stayed at the Skyland resort. Later, we found out, that the Big Meadows lodge is much nicer. The rooms are in a rustic log cabin setting. The kids are used to much nicer hotel rooms or vacation rental homes, so as soon as we walked into the room, A was like “This is it? A bed room and a bath room? Where’s the kitchen?”. PK added unbelievingly, “No TV? C’mon”. A was also very disappointed that there was no swimming pool. Having woken up at 4 am for the early am flight, we were all exhausted and sleep deprived, so we just lazed around in the room. The kids wouldn’t sleep (they had, on the flight and the drive) and so we couldn’t either. In the evening, we went for a walk and saw deer. A, as usual, was scared. It was chilly and we didn’t really have warm clothes, so we didn’t go very far.

Next morning, first stop was at the trail head for Hawksbill mountain, which is the tallest in the park at 4050 ft. It is about a mile’s climb, but a relentless, moderately steep climb. But the weather was perfect. Pleasantly warm and clear blue skies – none of the haze. We got some great views of the Shenandoah valley and the Alleghany mountains. We were back down at the parking lot by 12.30 pm. We drove further south on Skyline drive. Views were very similar from the various view points. We stopped at the Lewis Mountain Picnic area for a quick PBJ lunch and drove some more. We finally turned around at milepost 80, since it looked like it would be more of the same.

Shenandoah Valley from Hawksbill summit

On the way back we stopped at the Big Meadows Visitor Center and Lodge. Both are worth a visit. The Visitor Center has some history information and other exhibits. We saw a lot more deer here. The lobby of the lodge is grand – a huge fireplace, antique furniture and lots of other stuff from the 50s. Then we hiked down to Dark Hollow falls (short 0.7 mile one way). Didn’t look anything like in the pictures since the water volume was very low. Overall, we liked the park. Not very crowded, unlike the other national parks. And small enough that you leave with the satisfaction of having seen and done what you wanted in a short visit.

Dark Hollow Falls Deer

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