Friday, March 23, 2012

The Things I Never Thought

I never thought that viewing a tiny picture of you could change my life in such monumental ways. That day I considered another young mother’s life changing choices for the very first time. Through her, I have you. Because of you, daddy and I added a new demension to our relationship. Because of you, I no longer have a casual acquaintance with my ethics. Because you test everything I believe in, I’ve had to find firm conviction in my feelings and my sense of right. Because of you, I’ve had to discipline and enforce consequenses that I do not always like, but because raising you is my responsibility, I follow through. Through your eyes, I’ve rediscovered the wonder of the world, where everything is new and deserves explanation – nothing is taken for granted. My laughter as well as my frustration come far more easily because of you and my creativity is once again at the forefront of my daily experience. The sound of your voice saying the word Mudder, or Momma resinates in my soul and your expression of affection, given freely, is the most precious gift I receive every single day. All of these things I never thought would become part of my daily existence were set in motion, the day I first laid on eyes on you five years ago today. I Love you!


PS. I also never thought I'd witness daddy listening and singing along to Disney Princess CDs on his car stereo even when his own princesses are not in the car with him :)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Spring Is Coming...."Isia cheat"!

Happy Holi!

Leaving for work the other morning, long before the crack of dawn, I was slightly impressed with myself. Noticing the bright moon at the horizon line, nearly full and glowing, the thought popped into my head that Holi time is upon us again, recalling that it falls at the first full moon in early March. I think I am finally getting the hang of our relatively new Indian holidays and can proclaim that we have celebrated them long enough to now consider them tradition.

Because I associate Holi time with a change in climate, it is a long awaited celebration in the rainy and wet part of the country we are from, and never comes too soon. About this time, the whole family gets a bit cantankerous, pent up, solemn and eager to cast off our heavy clothing at the first signs of the coming of spring. We all suffer from an internal struggle, unable to spend more than a few minutes outside due to the cold and wind, but equally drawn to the out of doors every time we spot a break in the rain. This week, in fact, we awoke to two inches of snow on Monday, a major contrast to the exceptionally balmy 60 degree day predicted by the week’s end.

Kicking off the celebration, we had a parade through the house with musical instruments, shaken, pounded and strummed to the beat of Indian music, which set the mood for frolicking and feasting. Still a bit young to handle gulal, we tried a new type of rebellion for the girls. Colored bubbles. M.E.S.S.Y. I guess that is kind of the point, and they had a blast blowing them and getting dirty, which leads me to believe that perhaps we will go for the real thing next year. Doused in pink and purple ooziness, we managed to get the giggling girls back indoors without a single stain on the carpet and were thankful for the heavy dose of rain that came immediately after, rinsing the driveway clean.

In the kitchen, we attempted a couple of new dishes, adding to our repertoire of Indian delights. I invited our friend Kris over to experience Holi and upon entering the house, slyly assigned her a spatula, recipe, pre-measured ingredients and Devi for cooking duties. Together, they made the Mattar Paneer that was fab-u-lous. It is Devi’s favorite, not necessarily for taste, but because I think she loves to watch the curdling of the milk when I make the paneer. Treya and I made a new dish called Taheri. It is a Northern Indian, rice, cauliflower and potato dish, and with our rainy and cold day of celebration, provided that slightly heavy comfort food that sticks to one’s ribs and keeps you warm inside. I also tried a new recipe for Tandori shrimp that was grilled to perfection by Pat. Delicious? Yes, but maybe requires at least one more green chili for a bit of extra kick next time. In addition, Devi asked for mango lassis, cucumber pickle and garlic naan and Trey asked for samosa with cilantro chutney. Pat stepped out right after dinner and brought home Gulab Jamin for dessert from the local Indian restaurant, which is like heaven to a girl with a sweet tooth like mine! With full bellies and the aromas of India permeating our clothing and hair we lounged, wallowing in the contentment of our gluttony.

Treya helping mommy cook Taheri

With the frivolity of the holiday also comes the sense of rebirth, firsts, and an eruption of newness and change. All these things are true for our family too. Treya recently had a speech evaluation, once again reminding me of the unfailing truth of a mother’s gut feelings. I just knew there was something not quite right.

Having only heard English for one year, Treya was praised for her vocabulary and ability to string words together; however, it was discovered that she does have some speech issues. Left unchecked, it is questionable whether they would ever correct themselves, as they are A-typical 3 year old speech patterns. For example, she tends to replace consonant sounds. Saying lellow for yellow is a typical sound replacement, but Treya also says pable for table, in addition to others, which are uncharacteristic sound replacements in the English language. She also tends to pick a consonant sound and replace all words strung together with that same sound. For instance, she will say “tine tore tinnah” for “time for dinner” even though she can pronounce the words “for” and “dinner” just fine when they are said alone. Color recognition, as well as intangible words and the “W” questions prove to be difficult for her as well. Although it would be impossible to score her evaluation against the American standard, when broken down into segments, we found her vocabulary scores just below a 3 year old level, which is excellent considering she has only heard English for such a short time, but her ability to mimic mouth movements scored at about 18 months old. Whether these issues are the result of learning English as a second language or the lack of verbal stimulation early in her life, we will never know, but her speech needs to be addressed, never the less. So speech therapy begins for the Jelly Bean mid March and she is excited to learn, as her biggest frustration continues to be communication.

Last week, we toured the elementary school where Devi will attend school next year. Gulp. Yes, this puts a lump in my throat, as it is hard to believe my baby girl is old enough to attend. The good news is once inside, I felt totally comfortable (and a little excited for her) as we walked the halls, checked out each kindergarten room and met each teacher. This school requires uniforms, goes a full day and emphasises the sciences, which is a perfect fit for our Dev-meister, who does best with this kind of structure.

Just last night, at her request, we had a very long conversation about the medical science behind urine and bowel movements; where it comes from, what is it’s function; and why everyone has it. Ending with the ever important question “When we say the word urine, is it considered potty talk?” Another deep question was posed while driving in the car one day. “Mom, where did the world get the words dark, black and white?” And yesterday, she asked why we don’t make cheese from the milk from our own cow, like they do in Germany. How it is that she thought every residence in Germany houses their own cow, I’m not certain, but the wheels spin in that child’s mind at an alarming rate. Sometimes I feel I should use my free time boning up on random trivia, (or start watching Jeopardy) just to stay prepared for what may come next.

Because I've had so many request photos of the Indian fare we prepare.

Long before children entered our lives, and for reasons that I can no longer remember, we started yelling “Forsythia” whenever we would spot one. Around here everything is gray or shades of gray until March when these bright yellow bushes begin to blossom - the first sign of spring color. Now, with two kids, the game is gotten even more fun; however, patience during the hunt is not always there. Occasionally, after long moments of quiet driving, Devi will yell “Forsythia....I cheated”, having not really spotted one. Because Devi is Treya’s puppet master, you can pretty much guarantee, if Devi says something, so will Trey. Funny thing is, Treya now thinks the game is “Isia-cheat” and belly laughs heartily everytime she says it. No matter, I suppose, cheating or not, the whole family is filled with the spirit of Holi, welcoming a change of season; welcoming SPRING! Isia-cheat!