Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Trials with my toddler!

Serene turns 18 months this Saturday and last night, I was looking at Eli and thinking- gosh this was how small Serene was at one point in time.... Its difficult to decide which stage is more fun, when they are cute cuddly babies or over energetic toddlers who amuse you with their antics!
Serene is at the "discovery" stage now.. as she grows taller and more independent, every object around her is given its due( and sometimes overdue!) attention.She now reaches the knobs of my gas stove... so I have taken to cooking only when they both are down for their nap.My beloved suede chaise lounge in the living room today got a protective coat of Vaseline mixed with diaper rash cream on it! any of you out there who could provide tips on how to get rid of the stain- I'd be grateful :-)
She has also become very observant- it suddenly puts such a huge responsibility on us as parents and she watches our every move and mimics it! the other day she started picking her nose- causing P and me to get into an argument about WHOM she learnt that from! Consensus reached was: she probably saw someone at the park!
Arguments with the husband also need to be handled very carefully now... she understands the change in tone and looks very startled.P and me, if we have to argue, now smile and each other and do it!!
I was reading an interview with First lady Laura Bush last night.She is a trained teacher and author to children's books.She has said that you should read to your kid when they are 1, 2 years of age- they absorb like a sponge at this age.So all you parents out there, take some time out of each day to read to your baby.I do it with Serene and can already see the difference it has made.She recognises so many pictures now and knows when exactly to turn the page.. its amazing!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Picnic in the park turns into a damp squib

We had a great weekend.Serene got to attend her first birthday party.A friend's daughter turned one and we were invited.It was a "princess theme" affair and did I have a tough time keeping my over active toddler away from all the lovely decorations!It was a treat to see both little girls looking gorgeous in their frilly pink outfits.. Eli thankfully snoozed through it all in his carseat, must remember the formula portion I fed him that afternoon :-)
Sunday, after church- we decided to picnic in the park.This would be another first for Serene.. We decided to do buffalo wings and spicy chicken breasts marinated in cilantro/limejuice/cumin/peppercorn/yoghurt and greenchilly paste!Off we set with our grill and drinks and reading material!
P decided to get adventurous and try out his new tent in the park.As soon as he unravelled it, it looked like a complicated affair, so I wisely buried myself in the "Chicago tribune"! ofcourse Serene was a great help, running all over the tent and putting bits of it in her mouth :-) 15 minutes of further tangling the net and he decided he needs "a break!" - so cooled off with some lemonade while his little helper enjoyed her apple juice.We suddenly hear thunder... I asked P if he'd had the foresight of checking weather conditions before we set out.. ofourse, people- you don't expect me to take the blame for this one- I was too busy getting the food ready! P sheepishly pulled out his blackberry and there we saw... scattered thunderstorms.. Nice, I proclaim!I hate getting wet in the rain and am also a typical mother who will put her kid under the shower, but oh.. the rain coming down on them on a hot sunny day will definitely give them a cold!! There was another family barbecuing nearby and the husband assures P that in his country, they have a way of telling if its going to be a heavy downpour.. don't worry- he says- this one- tiny drops!! OK>>> P decides to go ahead with heating up the grill, despite my grumblings getting louder and louder.. for 2 minutes, the sun even comes out, making him grin evilly at me.And then.... the water comes gushing down as the heavens open up on us! Gosh! it was terrible.We must have made a cartoonish sight as I ran across with Serene on my hip and my beloved newspaper under my other arm( some great deals in the flyer's!).P following closely behind with Eli in his carseat ... the tent and the grill getting soaked through and through.Luckily, our car wasn't parked too far and we quickly bundled the kids in, Eli screaming his head off as we had to pull the bottle out of his mouth when it begun to rain.
P ran back to bundle the rest of the stuff into the trunk.By the third and last trip, it had actually stopped to rain... so he decides to get brave again and ask me if he can actually continue the grilling while we sit in the car.I think it was the thunderous look on my face this time that made him decide to forgo his ambitious plan!
So, people- that was our lovely picnic in the park... we returned home like wet rats!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Magics of Multitasking!

Believe me, I did not understand the meaning of this word until I had children.... a word so oft used ( and abused! remember that time when you multi tasked between your outlook and yahoo i.d's in the office!) in the corporate world.
The other day, Eli and Serene decided to get hungry together.. now my kids are of the brand which bring the roof down when their tum-tums growl... I made up a bottle for Eli and then Serene yelled and I stand there wondering, OK, now what??? where do I get that third hand to magically appear from!for a minute, I was most tempted to join them in their wailing tirade :).But, the one above as usual helps you through and in a minute- I had Eli in his bassinet and I was feeding him with my left hand.Serene was in her high chair and I was spooning her lunch to her with my right hand.I then got really ambitious and continued sipping my cuppa java with the right hand between feeding her!! Don't believe me- check out the pic for yourself!
Multitasking is such an important need of my life right now..like as I bang away at my keyboard, I am also playing ball with Serene - the throw and fetch game keeps her amused for hours and lets me do something else at the same time.
Casual phone chats with friends are no longer a means to unwind- as I stand chatting with Leena( besides the caffeine, she's my other daily fix!),I almost feel guilty about not doing anything else!As the brain and mouth carry on the conversation, the eyes and hands are racing all over- ok- what needs to be done- fold laundry,do dishes,pick up toys( for the zillionth! time)...
Even television viewing isn't downtime anymore... commercial breaks are used for keeping away clothes in the closet, folding that omnipresent load of laundry yaada yaada yaada!Infact last week, as I was watching "Hell's kitchen"( hey.. just this one.. else I'm NOT sucker for reality shows!), I even managed to clean the washroom.. 1st commercial break- slightly long one- finished tub.2nd break- short one- did sink! 3rd break- finished loo!!! after end of show, mopped the floor!! tra lah lah lah! now if that's not multitasking, then what is!!

Double stroller-life saver :-)

My maternal aunt was here from India for 2.5 months to help me through the delivery and looking after 2 babies.That she was a godsend is an understatement.. Thanks, Aunt Maria- you rock!After recovering from my post delivery blues, she and I enjoyed taking both kids for varied outings- shopping,the park,downtown sites etc.As time drew near for her departure, i started panicking about:
1) how will I manage these 2 by myself?
2) even if I resolve point # 1( no choice there!) how will I take both kids out by myself....

Spoke to P and Aunt and the consensus reached was- Chris.. baby.. you need that double stroller..
Decision made- it was time to go get one.I first started scouting online and let me tell you folks, I was SHOCKED! the number of choices out there are un.. freakin.. believable!It would have been easier to decide on a set of wheels! oh yes, it also doesn't help to have a husband who loves playing researcher before any purchase! this involves visiting websites,comparing options,reading reviews online(go get a life guys)talking to his oh.. so helpful colleagues... every evening, he would come home with newly found pearls of wisdom.. "the weight of the stroller is the most important factor" said one during their coffee break.Another genius cautioned P about the size of the wheels... too small and they won't turn around quickly enough. You also gotta make sure they fit through the entrance way of your grocery store,train station entrance blah... blah.. blah... A seemingly simple purchase became rocket science what with us touring Target,Walmart and speciality baby stores every weekend.God, I think- if my babies first set of wheels is such a difficult purchase, I hope they decide to walk for the rest of their lives!
I should have taken pictures of our various visits to these stores- so we would enter the store with the babies in 2 separate strollers- then aim for the double stroller section- remove both babies and try them into all the sample strollers in the store.In one store,Serene decided that crawling between the strollers was more fun than actually sitting in one... here she was in and out between the wheels! in another,I managed to pick up Eli with amazing speed just before he could bring up lunch over one sample stroller!
Then also came the tedious task of measuring the stroller width and comparing it to the sizes of the entrances of our regular hangouts...
Finally... oh finally.. Thank you God... we found our perfect machine..the baby trend expedition double stroller. its light, folds in a snap and even has speaker output for an MP3 player!Ofcourse, these amazing features were duly noted by the husband.I was overjoyed with the orange/black/grey color scheme that would match my present wardrobe perfectly- yes, meanies- I am mostly attired in black nowadays to hide the baby flab :-).
Did I forget to mention its best feature that prompted this purchase:this is a jogging stroller!!! After paying for it, I felt 10 lbs lighter already :-)

Father's day- June 2008

This was a special Father's Day for us... 2 kids within 2 years of marriage is no mean feat and I wanted to make the day as nice as possible for Daddy-O.The poor guy has forgotten what it is to get something for himself.... he always make grandiose plans.... the hi-fi digicam,the vacation to Europe... and all those electronic gadgets the boys love.However, his wish list always takes a backseat to 2 kinds of diapers, a fancy double stroller,the crib,the toys, the books,the nanny.. and so on!so, I was determined to get him at least something from his wish list.After his sports bike got stolen(yes smartypants.. it was chained to the fence.. the jerk who took it actually hacksawed through the link!), I knew he has been lusting after a nice bike that he could use to get himself to the train station( or.. even to work downtown, in his more ambitious moments!).We took Serene to Gymboree a few weeks ago( another expense!) and there P took off to a fancy bike store nearby- came back with this "I got my hand caught in the candy jar" look on his face.. Hey Tee( when he calls me that, I start bracing myself!) he says" there's an awesome bike in that store.Yea, but I told the guy I can't afford it.After all, we have other expenses coming up this month.. my mind started ticking, I was like"yes" now I know what to get him for Father's day.I kept a deadpan expression and was like, yeah, wish we could afford this love.. but we can't.Conversation closed.P believes that's the end of it.
Come father's day-I hand him this really cute card with a springy dog on the cover and "Papa" written in bold- P likes the kids calling him papa.He opens the card and out fall 100's of $ bills.. "This, I say is for the bike".Now, take off and go get that bike and don't you dare spend the money on anything else... P is thunderstruck into silence( a rare occurrence!). Are you sure Tee.. we have .... expense and we have .... expense."GO" I say, we need to live life a little too!Wow, the look on his face was priceless... most of father's day was spent on him scouting for the "perrr fect" bike and then having it customized.We had planned a barbecue in the park ,however did I forget to mention that the jerk also stole our gas cylinder for the grill! we couldn't locate any small cylinders last minute, so ended up barbecuing at home itself.Late evening was spent poring over the train schedule,planning a routine exit from home to ride to the train station etc etc( we'll see how long the 5 am alarm lasts!!).
Here is a pic of P on his shiny new bike.I also invented this great new marinade that I used over Cornish Hen;it was awesome.

1Cornish hen
Minced ginger/garlic- 1 tablespoon
honey-1 teaspoon
Srilankan Sambal Oelek(chilli garlic paste)- 2 tablespoons or as per taste- KEY INGREDIENT
Thick Yogurt-2 tablespoon
salt- as per taste
Freshly ground pepper- as per taste
lemon juice- 1 tablespoon
balsamic Vinaigrette- 1 tablespoon

Mix everything very well- cut up hen into 4 big pieces- make slits for marinade to seep through.I kept it overnight for optimum flavor.keep spooning reserve marinade when grilling to keep the meat moist.

Serving options:

Peas pilaf'
Fresh green salad

Introduction to my blog


My name is Christine.I am presently based in Chicago with hubby Praneet and our 2 babies- a girl named Serene Anastasia aged 17 months and a boy named Eli John aged 2.5 months!This should tell you how busy my life is right now :-) thought it would be fun to share the trivia of my day to day life with the public- in today's fast paced world.. where folks are scared of having 1 baby, here I have 2- who are just 14 months apart!LOL.... actually, right now I feel like one of those companies who show you Utopia to lure you in and once the noose is around your neck- the real story unfolds!
OK<>so, I pro.. mise( and no fingers crossed) that there will be no sugar-coating.. I will say things as they actually are!
I work with project management for an I.T company and am presently on maternity leave.I'm really thankful for the choice of profession at this stage in my life...being organised surely helps when single handedly caring for 2 little ones...
The most amusing part is the looks I get when I take them out.. they vary from pity( 2 babies... aah you poor thing!) to awe( wow.. you're brave. you go girl).. to irritation( WHAT were you thinking of) to sympathy( was that steamy half hour even worth it!).. ok ok, before the husband yelps,half hour is just just an analogy for time... hee hee hee.