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So, D asked me the other day why men can run around outside without a shirt?

After all they have nipples and make part of their chest and that's a private part - her observation as she has been informed at school that you shouldn't show your private parts to anyone other than parents and doctors with her permission.   
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On Saturday, D's friend was here. They took over the living room floor and built a village with a forest and a farm surrounding it and were sorting the animal collection accordingly. There was one that looked like a bobcat. Then we discussed the difference between a lynx and bobcats and we couldn't really figure it out.

On Monday, the news broke out that the bobcat at the DC Smithsonian Zoo escaped. It returned with minor injury on Wednesday. And Petula Dvorak came up with an excellent piece titled, The Ballad of Ollie the Bobcat: Back in her cage, just like the rest of us

A little bit to laugh during some times that have been anything but amusing. 
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 Woot! OK! Now, I am excited over a cord for the second monitor! Of course, I won't get to actually use it till next Monday (as tomorrow is work at home day - where did the week go?!?!?!) BUT

  • Confirmed with the IT guy I was ordering the right product - turns out I had ordered the right one but theCompany sent the wrong product. No wonder I was so confused! I had blamed it all on busy September blues.

  • Got the cord free - used company credit card reward points!

  • Be delivered today to my home as used colleauge's Amazon Prime account - and Amazon is now testing out same day delivery in Arlington - so shipping is also free!!

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See this I don't understand. Daughter's in bed rubbing eyes, fighting sleep but stays put and not a sound is made for nearly 45 minutes. You think you can breathe again and throw some wild parties! And then the door opens, a pitter-patter is heard, eyes blasted with the bright light outside and her biggest concern of the moment, "mommy, you told me tomorrow's plan. But what are we doing day after tomorrow?"

So innocently, so sweetly she asks. And I am stumped. I want to cry. But this little darling spent the last 45 minutes of her time processing everything. I always forget not to get her excited about the next day. I know, I never can settle down. But she gets greedy and wants to know the day after. I have no plans. Day after, she goes to camp, I go to office. Maybe we'll go see M&M - I didn't tell her the last bit because she will latch on to it and call him & his mom tomorrow and confirm it!

Did I mention she calls her friends now during the day because it's night in India and in the mornings she calls her grandparents and her aunt/my sis?! She has already asked for a phone for herself - we said we will revisit when she is 12.

And just in less than a minute she was out. sigh.
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So, I was good. I didn't bring coffee to work today. But you know what I saw on my way? to work? today? A starbucks is now on my way to work! It's coming soon! The station I get off at has two exits. By one exit, there's a starbucks across the street. I take that exit on my way home so that cuts the temptation. Plus, I would have to cross the road and then cross another two sides to get back to work - it takes too long - the lines are also too long in starbucks too. See, laziness has its benefits in keeping temptation at bay.

So, clearly Starbucks got in my head and am not alone. Because clearly there are a lot of lazy people around. In just this one block by work there are already 3 starbucks! Not counting the other two in the block next to us. So, they saw a need to capture us. Because the new one coming soon is right as I get out of my usual stop and in the direction of walking to work (it's on the same road as the one I can so easily avoid due to laziness!!)!!

Maybe a good thing if summer ends soon because I usually only get the frappucinos! And I will not crave it on a cold day!  
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When we were at Chipotle yesterday, D noticed something that wasn't in our line of sight and said, "mommy, that man doesn't care. That man doesn't care that he's making his world dirty. He's littering."

The trash can was but ten feet away.

Littering is D's biggest pet peeve. She has been throwing things in the trash since she could walk - supported and independently. We never had to teach her this. She just did it. If she couldn't find trash, she put it in my bag till we got home. She has stood on a train station platform in Mumbai yelling at people to not put trash on the tracks (and not to cross to get to the other platform across the tracks).

It must be something that runs in the blood. Because it's my biggest pet peeve. It's the easiest way to care for the planet - and from young I never could let go of even banana peels outside a trash can. I would carry the trash home.

I remember N & my first over night train ride in 2007 together. He has a very romanticised notion of train travel in India. People who know me, know how much I love trains. What I never loved is all the trash you witness strewn out the train for miles and miles - people just throw stuff out the window. In all fairness, they didn't have proper trash collection back in the day and most matter thrown out the window was organic matter. Today however, a lot of it is plastic and inorganic things. Anyway, by 2007, there were trash cans in the compartments. We used one of the plastic bags we had as a collection and kept it till it filled. The other family we shared the births with  just stared at us as if we were from Mars while they lived their normal lives of throwing stuff out the window. And people complain that the trash is full and not picked up. No one pauses to think that maybe they brought too much trash with them.

But it also reminds me of my story of when I had no choice but to litter. It was 9 years ago, when sis and I moved with our parents to India to help them resettle and for me to get ready for my wedding. I still remember when it happened and so here it is for your amusement.
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Oh it was such fun adventure yesterday! It all started Wednesday night! I was clearing the sink of dishes - either to dishwasher and washing the pots and pans. As I was in the act of loading the dishwasher, I saw that the coffee filter lid (of the steel coffee filter) was on the move. I thought I had a few extra seconds. But nope it slid into the sink drain and got comfortable. It fit perfectly, the grooves matched the grooves of the drain. It was happy. We were not. I used a butter knife. But the water that was trying to drain helped it only get better settled.

Following morning, I tried:

  • hot water - to realise that would only expand it, right?! So, it didn't work.

  • wanted to try ice - alas our ice box was empty

  • Put some oil in the sides - didn't work.

  • Tried the plunger - but that only made it worse?

  • Got the vacuum cleaner out, didn't work.

So, I took the problem to my family circle for entertainment and posted on FB for help and got:

  • Use an ax - we umm didn't have an ax (camping ax neither) at home. We did try a drill to drill a hole but then realised, right not a mason jar top a SOLID stainless steel. And of course, the drill ran out of battery

  • Inform management and let them deal with it - perks of renting, their equipment they handle it so we don't damage it in our experiments. Well, some strange reason none of them showed up!

  • magnet - we didn't have a strong enough magnet at home.

  • Super Glue multiple twines/wires to the inner lid surface and yank them all together - very creative and would love to give it a try but we didn't know where we hid the super glue safely from our 6 year old!

  • Unscrew the pipe and push it out - we didn't want to do that and figured that's what the management/maintenance staff would have to do.

  • Use Jedi powers - well. yes. of course.

  • Apple cider - all I had was apple cider vinegar

Problem solved

So, guess which one did the trick?
answer behind the cut )
But there it is. It felt good and we had such fun! A little relief from the work piled up!
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For an upcoming field trip to some national monuments in DC, D informed me that they have to pack their lunches in a disposable bag/container. So, she came up with some helpful ideas we don't have any disposable containers and she shared:

"Mom, I can use the ziplock bags for lunch. Not the Trader Joe's Bag [the paper shopping bag] because I wouldn't be able to finish the food!"
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So, we have food involved at school usually with a ton of sugar and sugar for birthdays, travel days, festive celebrations, and any excuse for having cookies. But on PI day, you know the mathematic term that sounds like PIE, there is no actual pie at the school celebrations! WHAT!? And look the children didn't cry their eyes out for having no sugar and junk! They looked happy and enjoyed the games!! The world is still rotating and no one's life has come to a halt.

Except for those stuck on the metro trying to get into DC this morning. They are suffering significant delays due to some tunnel fire (where I get off at work)!

But oh my, you can have events at school and not have the world come to an end! whoa! who knew?!

But, we are going to have Pie this evening at home! 
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We catch ourselves. Our daughter must think us weird. She does get annoyed! Out of nowhere we blurt it out. we wonder and look all weird and somber. Wonder if our parents do this time to time. She will be sitting by us, or laying down in bed with us sitting by her side. And we wonder in amazement completely enamoured... when did she get so big?!
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So today, D & I met up with our friends Lori & 3 year old daughter S at the spray park. Lori has a month old boy. awwwwww... omg!! No, it doesn't make me rethink not having a second one. Over that. But it's always such a wonderful moment seeing a newborn. Such bliss. So, held on to him for some time so mom could have lunch and other things. He of course, started crying for mommy-boobs. He was crying because his sleep was disturbed, you know usual baby stuff.

And all I had to hold him over my shoulder, sway a teeny bit and he fell asleep! He actually fell asleep!! And stayed asleep for at least half an hour and continued to sleep after transferring back to mom! Like what they say babies are supposed to do as a newborn!!! I couldn't believe it! I wanted to bring him home! lol... well, no. I can't do changing diapers - well, I can. But you know, if given a choice, not again.

And no, D never did what babies are supposed to do. She never fell asleep just like that. sigh.
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Every summer I do this. I shock people. I surprise them. Catch them off-guard and throw them off. I get perplexed looks. It’s hilarious actually. And here I think I am being helpful. And then I remember the daze of being in a new city. In some cases, a city ten times bigger than what you are used to. A new train system. Might be your first time using public transportation.  You are having to figure out how to get tickets, staring at the map as if it’s magically going to speak to you and tell you where you need to go. In some cases you are handling numerous kids, some seniors needing assistance. You become completely oblivious to the world around you and you are fully focused to conquer this mountain.

And in that daze, here comes this tiny soft-spoken creature answering the questions that are boggling your mind. And that can be a scary thing! I have learnt to not do that. But gently ask if they need help and give them a minute or two to recover and then accept assistance. But I get them every single time. I swear I look decent. I swear I brushed my teeth. But I always get them, tourists.
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Yesterday afternoon, D comes over to the kitchen to ask me, "mommy, why do you always ask me to stop singing, "let it go" loudly? She hasn't sung it in weeks, so this question was so out of the blue!!

Me: Because it's loud and it disturbs me and possibly our neighbors. And when you sing it multiple times it gets tiring.
D: But Elsa in the movie sings it so loudly.
Me: Well, does Elsa have any friends/family in the whole big castle?
D, reflecting over it, says: No, she is all alone and so she can sing it loudly. But no one wants to be with her. They tell her to go away. And she is afraid Anna will hurt her.
Me: Not really. She thought no one wanted to be with her. She thought she might hurt others, especially her sister whom she loves, if she stayed, so Elsa ran away from everyone. Anna got worried for her sister and went to look for her.
D: Elsa was rude. She didn't use her words and share her problem. She didn't tell anyone where she was going. She was being very rude! And with great assertiveness & strong emphasis, she says, Mommy, I am never going to watch the movie again. She was not nice. But I will ONLY see the video of the song, let it go!

lol....sigh... I swear, she saw the movie twice on our flight back from India back in AUGUST 2014 and saw the music video twice since then months ago! 
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So, I went to the store to get yogurt and bought a bagful of groceries, while N & D went to the library. I come home and this is what I see. No hello, not even a glance. Eyes glued on to the TV screen and hanging on to N tightly!

IMG_20150124_155619

So, we got to watch The Snow Queen. Later N shared how it all came about. They were at the library, where D sat on the kids' table and "read" her books and N sat on the couch and read his books. There are a row of three computers where it turned out there was a parent and daughter watching Frozen. Well, D's eyes were there. Who can resist Elsa!?

N then read her some books. She wanted to show him something and took him to the audiobooks (for kids) section and picked one out. The DVD section is also right next to it. D has never ventured there. But she apparently walked down the aisle, looked at some of them and picked this movie out and brought it home to watch.

I guess an ice palace, a young girl, and the word "snow" fit the criteria for Frozen! Never knew that Frozen was based on the story, the Snow Queen. Anyway, we loved the movie. I liked this version a lot more as it seemed to focus more on the morals of being loving etc. with no distractions about the dating/marriage subject. Nothing fancy, but I liked the simplicity of it.




And these days this is how we are at 4pm. Absolutely love it! She drinks her sometimes cocoa/sometimes plain milk and snack, while I have tea/hot cocoa and my snack!
Tea time

Starbox

Jan. 17th, 2015 09:38 pm
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Franchises, you love them and you hate them. Someone in the school gym was asking other moms/nannies what franchises their kids are following. She obviously meant cartoons-disney stuff.

We haven't really directly introduced D to any movie-related-franchises. We are cheap like that and can't afford to really go buy her one movie-themed-paraphanolia after the other. Even if it's cheap at Target. Which also means D doesn't have access to tablets. She believes tablets are medicine - the pills you swallow. We ourselves don't own any. We did update ourselves with one recent technological advancement and that is a smartphone, which only I have and is not attached to any data plans. So, it's mostly a camera & phone (in India). We did follow the no-screen time till 2 years old strictly - mostly because it fit our budget.

During our travels since D was 6 months old, before we went on a road trip, well, mostly flying, N would grab straws from a popular-coffee chain - they have green straws (it just so happened it was a franchise). And she absolutely loved them! She was completely immeresed when N connected more than one together! Summers in DC, I would often panic when D was under 2 especially, that she would suffer from dehydration!! The only way I could get her to drink water was to stop at this popular coffee chain and get her water in their see through cups with a green straw.

It became kind of a habit. This past year, we can't walk past this coffee-chain without collecting some straws and have to quench a sudden thirst that she has and her water bottle (even when full) has some apparent problem that she can't decipher. It keeps us going through short & long road trips. Each and every bag of mine has at least 3-4 straws, that SHE collects.

She has also learnt its name. She had been calling it the baker-shop (because it has croissants) that has green straws. So, now that she knows the name, we got our daughter hooked to a franchise, Starbox. 
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It was December 1995 issue, never forget. Just 6 months before high school graduation. National Geographic. A special. It confirmed and inspired me to decide my major and show an actual interest in pursuing college. She was Dr. Jane Goodall. I didn't read the whole article. Just the part she wrote. Her thoughts and her wishes for the world. It changed my life. It instilled in me what I wanted to do.

Sure, I have not saved the world as my ambition was back then! ha! Nowhere close! Idealism went into deep hibernation once I actually started college and looked at all the problems we face. But I always am grateful for her words. Her kindness, her beliefs. She instilled in a deep sense of hope for a better future. That we can achieve better if we put our minds to it. We are capable, no matter which part of the world. That we are no better than the other, just a bunch of human beings with strengths to help problem solve.

Anyway, that's all serious and an utopia.  Just watched this and had to laugh!

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This morning while getting dressed,

D: Mommy, when will I be 4.5 years old?
Me: in two months.
D: And then when will I be 5, and after that how old will I be?

So, we counted till we got to 30, when she stops and asks,

D: so, then I will have to be in a different house! I will be too big for this apartment!
Me: Yes, you will likely be in your own home and with a job doing whatever you wish!
D: And when I am 20, I will go to college?
Me: Yes

To which she says, "where I will learn how to be an astronaut? I can't wait!"
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As we were saying goodbyes, my aunt asked D if she could come to her school. D promptly refused saying it's only for children and you have to be 4 years old. She then asked if her friend, her grandson could come to Arlington and go to her school. She thought about and said no! She thought some more and told her, "no, he can't come! Because my mom only likes having one children!"

She obviously thought it would mean he would be adopted by us! ;) But all were amused!
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D has these toys of a playground and little people kids of all colors. I noticed that over time she segregates boys and girls. I found out from the teacher that they don't segregate by gender. They are open to play however and with whomever they'd like. On certain days I do notice the girls hanging out together and the boys generally all over the place. Some days I see a mixture.

Anyway, I sat down with her to play. She had me "watch" the boys while she "watched" the girls. I asked her why the boys can't play with the girls. Her response, "because boys can't handle it." And that was the end of her explanation.

Last summer when D first started preschool over the summer session, she was with 5 boys and 2 other girls (who were often not around due to summer holidays). The regular preschool session there is a general 50-50 at any given day. In the beginning half, I noticed she would play a lot with the boys, generally they seem to do their own thing. Since return from Christmas/New Year break, she has been playing a lot more with the girls. She talks a lot more. I know the two boys she has known since summer are boys with little to say. It's so much fun to watch the dynamics! I would love to just for an hour to be a fly on the wall!


As we walk home from preschool she often sees the SUVs/4WD cars that have their spare tires hanging on the back. She asks at least once every now and then why they are there. Today she said, "mom, the cars with the wheels not he back are Jeeps." One of them is a Jeep and the others are Honda whatever models.   
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This morning hubby and I headed out to office together. We get to the elevator and see Santiago - a building staff. He teaches N a spanish word every time they meet. So, they are now able to greet each and ask each other how they are doing in Spanish. This morning's new word was "frio". He said, "Esta e frío." and translated it for us. N was all excited to learn the new word. We got in the elevator and I got thinking and turned around and said, "Wait! He kept saying it's cold today. Maybe he sees us with no sweaters and was also informing us to go get sweaters!"

So, we got off the next floor down, got home and got our sweaters! We were ever so grateful as the temperatures had fallen drastically!!  Apparently temperatures dipped down into early 40s (fareinheit) at night and was wavering about 50F this morning as we had left!! brrrr...

And of course, now the AC is working!

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