March-April 2012

April 30th  Luca tries to reach 2.5m on his toes

Luca threw a ball up above his large 2.5m-high closet.

–         Maman, ma balle elle est au-dessus.  Elle est coincée [mumy, my ball is stuck up there]

–         Well, how can you get it back?

He stretches his arms up, somehow convinced that by getting on his toes with his arm up and can reach 2.5m. He stretches all he can, reaching for the top. After a few seconds he turns to me, surprised that he couldn’t see his ball all the way up 2.5m

–         Je suis trop petit, he says very surprised … Je vais chercher un tabouret dans la cuisine [I’m too short…. I’m going to grab a stool in the kitchen]

He carries his little plastic stool from teh kitchen to the bedroom and sets it right by the closet. He climbs up on it and reaches up.

–         Je suis encore trop petit… Je vais prendre un outil [I’m still too short… I’m going to grab a tool]

He grabs a plastic hammer from his toolkit, climbs back up on the stool, reaches up with the hammer

–         C’est encore trop petit….  Je vais essayer un autre outil [still too short…  will try another tool]

And he repeats with other tools, still surprised that it doesnt work…

–         Luca, I say, we’ll need a ladder for that.  I’ll grab one downstairs tomorrow.

–         Mais l’échelle est elle plus grande que l’armoire. Tu vas faire comment ? But the ladder is taller than the closet.  How will you do it?

–         I will stop before the top and reach for your ball

–         Tu vas aller dans le trou de l’échelle? Will you go through the holes of the ladder?


April 28th Maman, pourquoi toi cravaille?

For the last 2 months, every time I come back from work, Mia asks the same question :

–         Maman, asks Mia, t’es ou toi?  [where are you ?]

–         I was at work

–         Ahhhh, she says, as if all the details from the day suddenly made sense


April 10th  Les bisous qui me genent

–         Luca : Les bisous qui me genent, je les prends et je les pousse

–         Maman : Some kisses bother you ?

–         Oui.  C’est les bisous qui piquent.  Ils me genent. Il y a qque chose dedans.  Si il reste dans le bisou il me gene, alors moi je l’enleve pour pas que ca me gene.


April 8th  Mes cheveux

Luca : « Mes cheveux il faut les brosser comme ca (en avant) et apres comme ca (en arriere). IL faut faire ca pour enlever les boucles »


April 1st  Padi parties in Russia

–         Papa:  Luca, are you going to get married when you grow up

–         Luca: Oui (Yes)

–         To whom?

–         Mia [of course]

–         You cant get married to mia. She’s your sister, you cant marry your sister

After a few back & forth, it was established Luca couldn’t marry his sister

–         Papa: So, who will you marry?

–         Luca: Hummm.  Tonton Etienne  [definition of marriage: spend time with somebody cool who plays with me]

–         Well, you cant marry tonton Etienne.  He’s already married to tata mathilde.  Who else?

–         Tata Mathilde

–         [Anand gives up and changes topic] Where will you live?

–         A paris

–         Will you have kids?

–         Oui (yes)

–         Who will take care of your kids?

–         Farida.  Et moi je ne vais jamais aller au travail  (Farida [the nanny].  And I will never go to work)

–         Pourquoi ?

–         Je ne vais jamais aller au travail, comme Padi  (I will never go to work, like Padi [Luca’s grandpa]) 

–         Like Padi?

–         Oui

–         But Padi goes to work Luca

–         Non, Padi il va en Russie. (no, Padi goes to Russia)


March 30th Can’t carry myself

I hear a “hahaha in Luca’s room. It’s 10pm. When I open the door to check what’s going on, Luca is sitting in his bed.

–         Luca: Maman, pourquoi j’arrive pas à me porter?  (why cant I carry myself ?)

–         Maman: What do you mean you cant carry yourself ?

–         Quand me m’attrappe comme ca [he puts his arms around himself], j’arrive pas à me porter [he moves his shoulders up and check if the rest of the body is moving up too]   (wen I catch myself like that, I cant carry myself up)

I try to explain a few rough, inarticulate words to explain gravity to my child. But I basically laugh at the question and tell him I don’t know why.

Of course, he asks the same question to his dad in the morning.  Anand puts his arm around himself and jumps up and down to the kitchen saying

–         Papa: see, Luca, I can carry myself

–         Luca:  Maman, papa he can carry himself. 

Ah, the papa hero….


March 29th chasing the cold in bed

–         Luca: maman, pourquoi le froid dans le lit il se sauve? (why does the cold in my bed runs away ?)

–         Maman : what do you mean ?

–         Quand je viens au lit, le froid il est la. Apres, le froid il part par la couverture et le chaud il vient. Pourquoi le froid il part ?  Moi j’aime bien le froid.  (when I come to bed, the cold is here.  Then, it goes away from the blanket and the warm comes.  Why does the cold go away?  I like the cold)

–         It’s because your body is warm so you warm up the blanket and it becomes less cold

–         [incredulous]  Mais quand je viens, le lit il est froid.  Apres il se sauve.  Alors moi je bouge vers le froid, mais le chaud il vient encore.  Et je bouge vers le froid encore, mais le chaud il vient toujours  (when I come, the bed is cold. Then it goes away.  So I move towards the cold, but the hot comes again.  And I move towards the cold again, but the hot comes always)

–         [mamand blank]

–         Moi j’aime bien le froid et la pluie, he concludes (I like cold and rain)


March 28th Almost fallen

–         Luca : Maman, j’ai failli glissé mais après, mais après, mais après, j’ai remis mes jambs debout. [pause].  C’est dur ca, de glisser et remettre ses jambes.


March 26th The cap did not fall back

–         Luca: Maman, le bouchon de Mia je l’ai lance jusqu’en haut et il n’est pas tombé (I threw Mia’s cap but it did not fall back)

–         What do you mean it did not fall back ?

–         Luca: il est pas revenue  (it did not fall back)

–         Hum.  You threw it up there and it did not come back?

–         Yes. Je l’ai lance et il est pas tombé. Il est sur le frigo  (I threw it and it did not come back)

I walk to the fridge and the cap of Mia’s bottle is stuck on top of the fridge.  I stretch to grab it

–         Est ce que tu es grande jusqu’au frigo?  (I you as tall as the fridge)

–         Yes, I can catch the cap on top of the fridge

–         Et moi je suis grand comme le frigo ?  (and me ? am I as tall as the fridge ?)

–         Do you think so?

–         Non.  Moi je peux attrapper jusque la [he stretches out on his toes].  Mais bientôt je suis grand comme papa.  Papa il est grand comme le frigo ?   (no, I can catch up to there. But soon I am as tall as papa)


A few hours earlier, we had measured Luca.  1.03m.  Waho.  He tried to make sense of the meter (80, 90, 100, 110, 120cm) and couldn’t find 103.  Confusing.


March 15th Mia should be scolded but I crack up

–         Maman: Mia, I’m done with you today.  Either you finish up your plate, or you’re done with dinner and you go to your bedroom to play.  What do you want?

–         Mia: Huuuu.  Clementine


March 10th Luca takes a photo of Mia

Luca is trying to take a photo of Mia with his little camera (a real one, gift from Manali and Kedar).

–         Luca: J’arrive pas a voir mia, elle bouge trop (“I cant see Mia, she moves too much”) [pause, while he tries to focus the camera on his sister].  Mia, arrête de bouger trop! (Mia, stop moving so much!)


March 9th Ap’es, c’est fini

Forwarded the article to my mum, a quite representative French lady. She said “clearly, this lady never came to my house when I was raising 3 kids”.

Sophie says “clealry, I am more an American mom than a French one”.


This weekend, Mia decided she wouldnt sleep for her nap and would instead talk and sing to her brother (in the same room) so he couldnt sleep either. She grabbed anything she could reach and threw them across the room.

When we showed up at 4pm to wake them up, we were dead serious and ready to scold the little girl

–         Mia, have you slept at all?

–         No

–         Why did you not sleep?

–         C’est comme ca (that’s the way it is)

Anand and I just couldnt resist – we burst out laughing in front of her. So she just learned that she can skip her nap, make sure her brother does the same, throw toys and stuffed animals across the room, and get away with it by cracking up a joke. Now that’s French education at its best.

–         Mia, you need to sleep now

–         Une histoire. Ap’es, c’est fini [one more story, after it’s over]

Jan-Feb 2012

Sunday, Feb 26th sending maman’s friends to the pediatrician

From: [] On

Sent: Sunday, February 26, 2012 3:41 PM

To: Bethany Rogers; Anand Krishnan

Subject: Re: Hello – help with Dr recommendations


Bethany –


So I’m forwarding to Anand who had a good surgeon for his knee and plenty of recommendations. I hope you’re not in pain and fix this quickly.  Luca is sitting next to me and he recommends the following “She can use my doctor. Tell her to go see Dr Varille [his pediatrician] ” 


Feb 20th Luca’s first visible nightmare

Luca is obsessed with Sharks.  He’s got books, pictures.  So today we went to the aquarium by the Eiffel Tower.  It has 13 sharks of different kinds, including the same as in the book.  Luca stayed 1h30 in front of the glass window, staring at the sharks, and attended a “conference” by a man who just talked about everything about sharks.


By midnight, I was hearing him crying in his bed.  He was sitting up, drenched in sweat. Couldn’t articulate what was wrong.  After 5 min of calin and asking questions, I had to put him in time out so he’d calm down (I feel bad about it still). We talked about what he had in mind “the shark was in the water.  He comes to the boat and…. [blank]”.  Did the shark attack the boat? “no, sharks are nice”.  It was likely his way to get the bad dreams out of his head.  I gave him a shower and shampoo (he was literally wet from head to toe), changed the pajamas and sheets and the little boy went to softer dreams.


Feb 18th Kids play

Mia, vient, says luca.  We race!

–         No says Mia.  No race

–         Viens, Mia, race!!

–         No… she replies, busy playing with her dinette

–         Viens Mia.  Je t’aimmmmme.  Je t’aimmmmee a la folie.  You want to race with me ?

–         No

–         Mais je t’aime (but I love you….)


He comes back and sticks a few stickers in her back

–         No..!!  she fights it.  It does it again and I hear again

–         No!!! Maman, luca sticker back!!!  (luca puts some stickers in my back)

And I was just thinking – a few more years and he’ll put some worms and other gooy things in her back


Having failed to convince his racing partner to run a bit, Luca sat down to draw on his Flash McQueen drawing book. He finished to colour every car in the book, a good 10 of them.  Then we challenged him to draw more carefully, slower, within bounderies.  In less than an hour, he had made tremendous progress.  He came back with a rose he had painted in red and green, and went on colouring small details of his book – a garland of balls which he painted in 6 different colours.  Every time he’d come and show us and one of us would comment and compliment him when he had done a good job “whao, that’s very well done, luca, you’ve painted this one slowly and carefully and it is beautifully done within the boundaries”.  An hour later, as the 2 of them were clearing up the table, Luca took one of Mia’s “crabouillage” (whatever results from a 2 year old painting random circles and shapes) and he exclaimed “whao, Mia, that’s very well done! Good job mia”.  And taking one of his paintint congratulated himself “whao luca, well done!  Good job luca”.


Feb 11th  Mia & Luca each reach a book to patti and thathat on the phone

Pati’s on the phone. Mia is reading out loud for Patti and Thathat the story of the Lion King.  Here’s my notes: “Bebe symba, scar mean, mufasa, run elephant, hyenas, papa dead, moon, regarde stars, papa in sky papa dead, pumba and timon dancing”


Luca’s turn, with the book of Cars “Flash Mcqueen, have an accident, have to get team, he’s going to California but he’s sleeping, the truck opens and he goes and he’s tangled up, that’s what happens, toe truck is called mater but flash has a boot so, goes to see Doc, doc says repairs road, then what happens, not so good the road, races doc and falls in the cactus tree and mater picks him up, then repairs the doc, flash Macqueen races so fast, sally guido and luigi are happy, they go and they wake up the tractors and the mean tractor goes whaooo, piston cup in doc’s garage, flash mc queen sees doc racing so far, then they go to California, chick hicks pushes the king, flsmcqueen sees and he pushes the king to finish line, then they go back to radiator spring”


Feb 8th Mia goes to the kiddy pot for the first time

–         Maman caca?

–         You want to do caca?

–         Yes

–         Ok, you have a diaper

–         No, pot

–         Ok [I put her on, mostly because I’m OK if going to the pot becomes a bit of a game

–         A book!, she asks and I bring her a book.


–         I’m done maman!  She screams across the house

And she indeed pooed for her first time on the kiddy pot.


Feb 7th Luca buys maman some flower – “maman repair?”

When he was walking back from the park, Luca saw a flower store and asked his nanny if he could “take” some flowers for maman.  She indulged and they returned with 6 red roses from Luca and 6 white roses from Mia.  As I showed Mia the flowers from close (thorns, leaves, petals, she took 2 flowers and pulled the petals away.

Oh non, Mia, you broke my flowers!

Maman repairs?

No I cant repair the flowers

Maman repair?

No, I repeated, flowers live Mia.  If you break them apart they are dead and I cant repair them

She starred at me, “Maman no repair flowers” she concluded with a mix of disappointment, incredulity and provocation.


Feb 6th – pipi in bed


De : Anand Krishnan []
Envoyé : lundi 6 février 2012 13:35
À : Sophie Krishnan;
Objet : When you need to go pipi…


so Luca still pees at night in his sleep but is big enough now that his diaper can’t keep up with the volume and his bed is a little wet in the morning. This is despite emptying his bladder right before sleeping. So we have a conversation about bathroom calls in the night ..


He explains to me that he can feel the pee coming, but it’s night so he lets it go in his diapers.

I say ….“but if you feel the pipi coming during the night .. you can call me and I’ll take you to the bathroom. Then it’ll go in the pot like it’s supposed to”

“But it’s night” he says waving his arms in indignation “The pipi comes at night” he repeats.

“Well … that happens to everyone” I say.

“The next time you need to go pipi at night, you stand up and you go “PaaaaaaPaaaaaaaaa” and I’ll come and get you and take you to the bathroom. Ok?”.

He doesn’t look convinced that this could work.

“What do you think happens when Papa needs to go pipi at night?” I ask , hoping an example will bring clarity

“he ….. wakes up” he proposes, looking uncertain

“Yes… Yes” I say, nodding eagerly. “And then?”

“he stands up in his bed” he adds looking more sure of himself.

Not exactly the right script but atleast he’s headed in the right direction.

“And ???” I urge. “What happens next?”


“then Papa says ……LoooooooCaaaaaaaa……


So if you’re worried about me wetting the bed. Rest assured, my son takes me to the bathroom so I can go pipi.


Feb 1st The going-to-bed routine

Like most kids, Luca doesn’t like going to bed.  It starts with a long negotiation on brushing teeth, going to the loo, putting on a diaper.  Then we choose a story to read.  It’s hard to choose a book.  We read one, Luca on one leg, mia on the other.  Another story!  Another story! I usually cave in for another one, so if Luca chose the first, Mia chooses the second or vice versa.


Mia is typically happy to go to bed, joining her “tetine doudou” (pacifier and her teddy bear) who are laying there waiting for her.  She asks for her “cabane” (actually a gigoteuse – sleeping bag-). She puts her head in the corner of the bed, and quickly turns herself in the width of the bed, legs up because the bed is too small (in its width. She’d be perfectly fine if she slept with her feet down the bottom end). “Bisou calin” (kiss & hug” she asks, I lean over, give her a kiss and a hug. Sometimes, she puts her arm around my neck and pats my back.  I do the same to her and she laughs.


Luca wants to jump in his bed. By that, he really means the following – he bends his knees and I carry him up in a fake propulsion. Lands in his bed and usually asks to come right back out because “je veux pas faire dodo. Je suis pas fatigue” (I don’t want to sleep, I am not tired). We argue, he wont have a bisou-calin unless he’s laying down in bed. So he lays down, grabs his dodo (a big stuffed chicken). I put his blanket over him and pull his “cabane”, a blanket I put over his cribb so he feels hidden in a shelter. There used to be long negociation over how big the cabane had to be. He’d prefer to cover the crib entirely and I argue that he’d suffocate inside.  We settle at a half covered crib, which I open back up after he is asleep.


I turn on the music, we sing Twinkle Twinkle little star.  Luca argues that I shouldn’t leave because he doesn’t want to go to bed. Sometimes he asks for more bisou calin or for water, requests that Mia copies immediately after. I close the door.  They talk and tell each other stories.  I hear laughs but I don’t go back in and let them fall asleep in their world. .


Feb 2nd Mia waves papa goodbye

Papa came from his home office to kiss the girl goodmorning. Instead, she walked to him, extended her arms and said “calin” (hug), which she got, gave him a kiss on the forehead (she avoids the scruby bearded cheeks), and finished it all waving her hand with a “bye papa.  Good luck.  See you tomorrow”.


Jan 26th The Calendar

Luca’s quite an organized person.  And he likes to know what’s ahead. When he goes to bed, he asks “après le dodo, Farida elle vient” (wil the nany come when I wak up?).  “Luca à l’école?” (luca goes to school?)

So on a suggestion from the nanny’s mentor, we bought a calendar.  Luca chose one with wolves. And we got a bunch of stickers to add to the calendar.  Large stickers for Birthdays, smaller ones for Luca going to the theatre on Wednesdays (dark blue), Tonton Etienne’s visits (purple), Seb’s visits (pink), Mamijo and Padi in paris (yellow), Maman travelling (orange), Papa travelling (red), no school (green).

It took us a good 2hours to clarify most of our activities.  We drew the seasons on each month – a snow man for the winter, flowers in the spring, sun and boat in the summer and orange trees for the fall (very traditional, I should have listened to the 4 seasons’ song by Grand Corps Malade for better inspiration). So months, season, days are starting to come together in his head.


It is working quite well. when tonton Etienne showed up a few days later, Luca told him in the first few minutes “you are purple”.  Tonton Etienne looked up his sweater and said “no, my sweater is grey Luca”. “no, non, sur mon calendrier tu es purple” (on my calendar you’re purple)


Jan 24th Flowers for papa

As Anand is on the phone working with his team, he hears the tippertoe tippertoe tippertoe tap of his little daughter running to his office.  “Papa, papa! flower. For you” says Mia. The little girl has prepared a flower in playdoh for papa, and Luca has done the same for Maman.

–         Papa look! Says mia

–         Shhhhhht, papa tries to silence her. 

–         Flower!  For papa!  Pretty.

–         Shhhht!! Repeats papa, before he asks his team for a brief time out so he can bring her back to the kitchen

Luckily, Farida arrives to swing mia away.  But in that battle, the flower broke down in pieces.

Half hour later, the call is over and Anand goes to her daughter

–         Hey Mia, have you prepared a flower for papa?

–         No

–         Don’t you have a flower? A red and green flower?

–         No

–         Should I go in the kitchen and see if there’s a cute flower for papa?

–         No

Topic is over.  Little girl is hurt, and refuses to believe that a work call could be more important than a flower made of playdoh…


Couple thoughts on kids and parents

On parents – The perfect father, involved in the raising of kids, makes it much more difficult for the dynamics of the couple. It does help to be several adults to raise a child, not least of all because they are helpless at first and then exhausting with their creative ideas resulting in mini disasters. However, it was probably much easier when the support for the child’s mother came from her mother / aunts, and other women who just understood… Men don’t think about children and education the same way and I think it makes couples’ lives much harder.

On kids – kids are not carefree until they live home.  They are very stressed out. They don’t understand what’s going on. What do you want for dinner tonight? No, pas manger. Well, I really didn’t mean we’d eat now…  Another example: aren’t you very happy you’ll go to school next year?  IAre there lots of kids in school?


Jan 18th Mia in the hospital

Mia has a lung infection.  She’s in the hospital, in stable condition. Doctors say it’s not anything serious and we just need to ride it out.  She’s taken care of and hopefully she’ll be out sometime this weekend. 

The poor little monkey can’t breathe without being tubed up on oxygen. She has aerosol (steroids) every 4 hours. She’s tied to a bunch of wires (oxygen measurement on her toe, oxygene pipes to her nose, electrodes to her chest).  She complains every time she sees a doctor and says “mal” (pain) when she moves.  Her cheeks and nose hurt from the pipes and the bandages they put on her face.  I explained her cheeks hurt because of the stickers, and she replied “Ya veux pas stickers” (I don’t want stickers). She’s too tired to cry and has a creepy, tiny voice. The first day, she was strong enough to fight it off “mia fachee, mia pas contente” she’d say. But now She doesn’t want to play, barely talks, just to say “mal”, “luca?” or “Ya veux Farida”, “Ya veux maison” “ya veux dodo” (pain, Luca?, I want my nanny, I want to go home, I want to sleep).  It’s heart breaking to watch. She looks exhausted and doesn’t want to eat, and when she does she pukes it all out after her long coughing series.

So we’re hanging in there, not too worried but tired. Anand has taken all nights and most of the day shifts, which basically means he hasn’t slept in 3 days.  I relayed him yesterday and he crashed in bed back home.


Let me bet she’ll be very worried upset next time she has to go to the doctor…


Jan 2nd– back to Paris

A short note from your husband and the monkey to give my wife & their mommy a boost to get through the first workday back from vacation

Mia says – I’d love to say something nice here but I’m too busy showing my nanny my new-found temper tantrums. Right now I’m not happy with the way she peeled my cle-ment-tine and I’ve told her that Maman would have done a better job. I did call my dad and give him several kisses before heading to the park. Now I’m trying to decide what other fight to pick.

Luca says – I’m just chilling mom, because my sister is busy raising the roof. Plus Farida bought me a cadeau. Plus she told me I was being so nice for not screaming my head off in parallel with Mia. Then I asked her if I could have some chocolate.

Augusta says – the power cutoff … it wasn’t me… I found it that way

Anand says – I was doing really well until I decided to attack my medical bills. Let’s do a romantic joint visit to the Osteo on Wednesday. I’ll wait until after your turn.

Cheers. Anand


Jan 1st No papa bisou

Papa is dying to get kisses from Mia

–         Can papa have a bisou?

–         No papa bisou, she replies, and turns her head away

–         Can papa have a bisou?

–         Manger fromage.  Chocolat.  Pleeeeaaaase?

Dec 2011

Dec 25th – Mia is a wacco

Mia, don’t put this in your nose, says papa about the pointy, empty plastic capsule from which we squirted salt water in her nose to flush it out

–         Nose, repeats Mia, pointing the capsule in her nose

–         No, Mia, repeats papa.  It is dirty now; you’ve been playing with it. Don’t put it in your nose

–         Mouth, says Mia

–         No, not in your mouth either

–         Hummm. Dans fesses! She says  [in my butt!!], directing the capsule to her diaper


A few minutes later, she’s sitting at the table and I am struggling to make her eat some fresh tortellini which I bought in an expensive export store.  She’s been playing with it but not eating much (maybe ½ tortellini in 10 min).  She was clearly not hungry but instead trying to test all she could do before getting fired.

–         Mia, you have 2 choices:  you either eat your pasta, or you go play but then you’re done with dinner.  What do you want?

–         Hum.  Banana!  She exclaims.

I had to walk away to burst out laughing


–         Mia, Maman is not happy. You’re taking way too long to eat.  So I am going to count to 3 and if you’re not done then you’ll go to your bedroom. One…

–         Two, three, go!!!  She exclaims, recalling in perfect order what we say outside when we’re racing together.

Maman leaves the room part 2, to burst out laughing some more…


And best is the following – we have a big part of this conversation recorded on video J


Dec 24th Joyeux Noel Email to mamijo & padi


On celebre la nativité chez la soeur de Hemal dont le mari est catholique et marque donc le coup.


Delhi pareil à elle meme: le bordel ambiant, coloré, épicé, corrompu.  Mia s évertue à dire “shhhht” aux rickshaws dont les klaxons ne se calment jamais. Elle s’inquite pour le Sabzi- wallah (le vendeur de légumes avec sa chariotte et son vélo), qui crie “”yeelleeee” en passant devant les appart. Elle signale “sabzi-wallah” et demande “pourquoi il crie?”. Luca voudrait savoir où se dirigent les vaches qui lentement traversent l’entree du parking du shopping mall où Louis Vuitton et Dior viennent de s’implanter.  Le parc Vatika, au bord duquel votre B&B se trouvait et où courraient 2-3 courageux en sandales et pantalon de flanelle, est maintenant le RDV matinal de plusieurs joggeurs équippés de vraies baskets et pantalons de jogging (ca reste un parc dont on fait le tour en 12 min en marchant, donc pas épuisant mais c’est un début). Ils courrent en conversant dans leur telephone portable, doublant des armées de jeunes et grand-meres en séance de marche respiratoire ou yoga. Les familles de jardiniers qui entretiennent le parc ont déménagé à l extremité du parc, à coté de la route, et leurs gamins pied-nus et habillés de chiffons observent à travers la grille les enfants en uniforme qui se dirigent vers l’école qui jouxte le parc. 4 lignes de metros Bombardier sillonnent maintenant la ville, et signe que l’inde est bien en avance sur l’Europe, 2 wagons y sont exclusivement réservés aux femmes. Anand ne peut pas m’y joindre, la classe.


Luca adore sa cousine qu’il utilise pour faire des “sandwichs de mia” (un de chaque coté de la plus petite et on serre fort).  Il profite de sa grand-mere pour se faire lire des histoires de moogli et de la jungle et regarder d’interminables shows de musiques ethniques. Lors de notre promenade a Dilli Haat cet apres-midi, il a achete une flute en bois qui me casse les oreilles depuis 3 heures “je fais de la musique maman. Tu danses oui ou non?”, me demande-t-il, impatient. On visite de vieilles tombes et des chateaux en ruine, mais il veut surtout faire la course. Mia ravie d’avoir sa maman sous la main 24/7, me fais des bisous et des calins toute la journée et veut tout faire toute seule.  Elle a choppé la creve mais Pappu nous a sorti 2 médicaments miracle, surement ayurvediques – on ne veut surtout pas savoir ce que sait. Les enfants mangent meme plusieurs plats locaux tant que ce n’est pas trop épicé, des rotis ou dosas surnommées “indian pizzas”.


Dec 23rd – Look at my finger

Luca has been toilet-trained now for about 6 months. It started as a ‘joint’ exercise where Sophie/me would have to read him stories while he was sitting on the throne. And it has since become increasingly personal. At home, he now wants the door closed and us to go away until he calls for one of us to come in and do the honors. Well, that works at home, where he has a kiddy sized toilet seat to sit on. Today we were at the mall in Vasant Kunj.  After lots of running around and a large meal, Luca tells us his belly hurts. “Caca” I ask? “Yes” he says and off we go looking for a restroom. We find one, I plunk him down on the seat and offer to hold him up, so he doesn’t fall in. “No” he says, “I can hold on without help”. “You’re sure about this? Because I don’t think you really want to run your hands all over the seat in a public restroom. Let me hold you” I propose. “No” he says. And this goes on for a bit. Before we finally settle for a compromise. I will stand in front of him and he will hold my legs to ensure he doesn’t fall into the pot. He holds on and lets his rear end loose. Some noise and a minor explosion follow out the rear end. “Wow” I say and look over his shoulder “No No No” screams a red-faced Luca. “Il ne faut pas regarder” (You can’t look)So I promise not to. But there’s another explosion of sorts – the Indian diet wreaking havoc with his belly.  I am a bit concerned and Luca doesn’t seem convinced that I can hold up my end of the bargain. “You look at my finger” he says, sticking his right index out. “Look at it carefully ok?” he says, moving his finger in a slow circle. “Yes” I say, and do so dutifully, conscious that the little guy is trying to find a moment of privacy on the throne and I am clearly hindering that. I keep my eyes on his finger as requested, and he continues to trace slow circles and zigzags in the air. While he’s doing this, I can hear him multi-tasking – I can hear him grunting with the effort of voiding his back-end. I look up briefly and he has the same puffer-face look I recall from when he was younger and still ok with pooing in a diaper in plain view of his parents. This caca is taking its toll.  After a few more finger circles, Luca decides he need both hands so he can hold on to something and .. you know .. really give it a go. “Now you look at my foot” he says “Ok” I say, and he starts wigging his left foot. I keep my eyes locked on his little wiggling shoe. More grunting ensues. I don’t look up.A sigh and then… “I’m done” he says. And I clean him up. Of course he wants to check out his ‘output’ before hitting the flush. “I’m very proud of you Luca” I tell him as we wash up. “You told me you needed to go, and then you went .. .like a champ” We walk back to the table where everyone else is just finishing up their dinner

“J’ai fait un beau caca”  (I did a beautiful poo) announces Luca to all present. And then he goes back to harassing Mia and Sam.


Dec 22nd Luca races, and competes with a man in Vatika

Since we’ve arrive, Luca has had one obsession:  run faster than everybody.  So we spend our time racing. It’s a bit dangerous at times, especially in the streets of Delhi.  So we tell him to wait till we find a sidewalk, a park or a safe area. He races papa, maman, mia, thatha, sam. Any willing person.

Anand has turned this to a full blackmail tool. To run faster than papa, luca has to eat more and sleep long.  So luca now eats full plates and doesn’t even whine to go to bed.  Because he will run faster than papa tomorrow then.

As for mia, she insists that she is “stronger”, which in her language just means strong I think. “Too heavy” means heavy, “too big” means very big, “Mia too fast” means “Mia runs very fast”.


We headed to Vatika today, a fairly large park where the kids can easily run.  We chose a patch a grass, well maintained. A 35-year old gentleman was working out there.  In the last 3 years, the level of physical activity in the park has visibly increased.  When Anand and I used to come 3-4 years ago, we used to see a lot of people walking and 1-2 guys running around with gear barely fit for a walk – loose pants, some sandals or light walking shoes at best (converse-like), a had and gloves. Nowdays, there are 4-5 runners, fully equipped in running shoes and matching running pants and top.  Some of them run at a good, regular pace with a light step. The dude we came up to was one of those well-trained men, quite fit and about to start a 45-min exercise session.

We ran back and forth for a while, from bench to tree to patti or thatha. The kids were having a good time. Then they saw that guy running back and forth in a 30-meter band.  He was practicing laps and would do jumps or push ups in between.  Luca ran along side him for a lap. The man was smiling. He started his push ups and both mia and luca, dutyfully trained in park monceau, got down on their knees and started up count their own push ups (mia’s account for a doggy-style yoga position, where she moves her but front to back to front).  One, two, three, five, seven, eight.  The man lost it.  He laughed in the middle of his set.  He stood up and started jumps. My kids, unimpressed, started the same.  And counted it for him.  He took off for another running lap and Luca followed him. 1, 2, 3, go he’d say and run as fast as he could. After a while, the guy turned to me and asked “how old are they?”.  He looked half curious, half worried that such little ones had solid stamina to go through a few laps with him.


Dec 21st mia d provokes parents

I thought I’dtake her to the doc to check her ears today.  She keeps putting her fingers in them. I was wondering this morning, but now I think it might be a game.  She blocks both ears with her fingers and walks around. This morning she insisted she wanted to eat on her own (everything’s got to be done “mia toute seule”, meaning on her own).  She had an unpeeled clementine in front of her.  The peeling was laborious, with fingers going through the clementine. I tried to help her out and she got upset “non, mia toute seule” but I couldn’t put back the skin so she got upset and squeezed the hell out of her clementine. Mia, this is a betise, I said.  You need to…. I looked at her and she was blocking her ears with her 2 fingers, watching me with a smile…  She’s not even 2 years old, is she really already up to that level of parental provocation????…..


I put her down to bed that night, she was exhausted

–         A cat, maman!  Says Mia, pointing to the end of her bed.

–         Where?  I cant see a cat?

–         A cat!  Regarde, a cat!  (look, a cat)

I look hard and long. There’s a shape behind Mia’s plastic bed wall, which looks like 2 pointy ears.


Dec 20th .  Luca is planning to torture his sister, and considers death

–         Can I cut Mia?  Asks luca, pointing at a knife

–         Certainly not, that would be a big betise

–         I will put a knife in her mouth

–         How, no, you’re certainly not doing that

–         I will cut her hand

–         Luca, if you hurt Mia like that, she could die

–         Je vais la prendre, la écraser, la taper, la faire tomber, la piquer  (I will take her, crush her, hit her, push her down, poke her)

–         And what will she say ?

–         Aie

–         I think she will be very hurt and maybe dead

–         [blank]


As we stroll around D7, Luca points to a dead pigeon on the street, his belly wide open after he’s been hit badly by a car

–         Why is he sleeping?

–         He’s not sleeping, he’s dead luca.  He was not watching where he was going, he was walking on the street and a car came and hit him.

–         He will wake up?

–         No, he is dead

–         Like Mufasa (the Lion King’s father in Walt Disney)

–         Yes, like Mufasa.  He was hit and he is dead now.  That’s why you have to be very careful when you cross roads


He looks around “Why are there no sidewalks here?”, he asks. As we cross the next street, mia stops right away. 

–         “No green”, she points out. 

–         I know sweetheart, but in India there aren’t always green and red men. 

Mia wait, she confirms

It’s funny because back in Paris, she’s been very careful about crossing at the green too. To the point where if the man turn red as we are crossing the road, she’ll drop my hand and run back to the sidewalk.  And confirm “betise, maman”…


Dec 19th  Mia hears the sabzi walha

Mia hears the sabzi walha carry his chariot of veggies down the street from the apartment and scream a “yeeeeh!!” to be heard. 

–         Pourquoi il crie? [why does he scream?]

–         He is calling for people who want to buy vegetables

–         Pourquoi il crie? She repeats, unclear about my explanation

–         He is a man who is trucking some veggies if you want some.  Do you want some carrots?

–         Pourquoi il crie? She repeats, still confused

–         Well, he says “sabzi and bananas”, “sabzi and bananas”!! 

–         Sabzi and bananas?

–         Yes!!! “sabzi and bananas” I repeat, delighted that she finaly understood my point

–         “sabzi and bananas”?  “sabzi and bananas” ?

–         Yes, he is the sabzi walha

–         Sabzi walha?


As we stroll around D7 together, Mia sees the cart of veggies. 

–         Look, I say, this is the sabzi walha with his cart of veggies

–         Sabzi and bananas? She says to the man, pointing at him and his cart


Dec 18th another trip to India

This is our 5th long plane trip with the kids. And we’re starting to know the drill:  Luca spends the better part of the prior week talking about his trip.  He tells it from beginning to end, in a linear fashion, describing all the bits he remembers – we’ll go in a taxi, we’ll give our bags to the lady, we’ll put our hands up (security), etc.

The day before we leave, Luca packs a backpack.  He got it for his birthday from Farida but it had stayed at school till now with a change of clothes.  So we got it back for the vacation. When I came back home from work, Luca had packed up his back.  He told Anand “I’m going to pack my bag.  Not like Tchoupi (a book he has where a bear called Tchoupi stuffs his bag for the vacation with too many toys which cant fit in)”.  within 15 minutes, Luca had packed his bag closed.  To his papa’s delight, the backpack was perfectly, orderly packed up.  Books in the main compartements, cars in the front pocket.  Sleek and zipped up.

Here comes the day.  We wake up the kids and they eat their breakfast at light speed. There is no whining, so screaming, just 2 very cooperative children. And the routine goes:  we check in, then we head to the window with the best view on planes. Mia points to “luca plane”, then sees another plane “maman plane”.  Within 5 min of walking we each have our own plane. Cool.

In the plane, Luca watches movie after movie. Or rather, he watches the smurfs, and the smurfs, and the smurfs.  As he gets to know the movie better (re-watched the first part3 times), his laughs get increasingly loud, both at the joke and at the anticipation of the joke. One of the smurfs gets to eat some soap and says “beurk”, which cracks Luca up almost to tears.  The whole plane would know the scene was coming up.

Meanwhile, Mia doesn’t sleep. We had a 6-hour flight to Abu Dabhi, a 4-hour layover and another 4-hour flight to New Delhi.  She didn’t sleep the whole time and entertained herself quite well with every potential object or person in sight. As we passed the last door to exit Delhi’s airport, Mia finally crashed on my chest, exhausted from this 18-hour trip door to door.

Coming out of the plane in Abu Dhabi, luca looked at the plane. “A plane is like a pigeon, he said.  It can fly”.

–         Yes, you’re right. Can it flap its wing like a pigeon?

–         Nooooo!  He says, laughing.  I want to fly too.  Can I fly

–         How would you fly?

–         I will take the wings of a pigeon

–         And how will the pigeon fly?

–         He will take the wings of the plane

–         Can he flap the wings of the plane?

–         [blank]

–         Are the wings of the plane too big for the pigeon?

–         Yes… he said after some hesitation

–         Then how will he fly?

–         I can carry him in my arms


Dec 14th « Tu te souviens pas ? »

–         Luca, which one is your toothbrush ? asks Anand, handing a yellow and a green toothbrush

–         C’est la jaune.  Je te l’ai deja dit. Je t’ai déjà dit avant.  Tu te souviens?  (it’s the yellow one, I’ve already told you before.  You don’t remember?)

–         Tu me l’as deja dit?  Tu m’as déjà dit quoi ?

–         Tu te souviens ?, Luca asks again, with his arms open and his palms up, insistant.  Tu te souviens pas? J’ai déjà dit avant.   (you remember ? you remember ?  i told you before)

Papa looks like he doesnt remember.

–         La brosse à dents de luca elle est jaune, explains Luca diligently


Dec 14th Mia cooks her first cake for real

For the past few months, since we started making cake together and after the prior experiment, Mia had been stuck with mixing her own, small bowl with a selection of ingredients which I knew she would have fully eaten by the end of the dough preparation.

But we needed to make a cake for school, on top of our regular weekly one.  So Mia got tasked with her own cake to make, working in parallel to Luca.  And I have to report it worked quite well – while they both certainly eat a good 3-4 spoonful of raw dough, they left enough to make 2 tasty yogurt cakes.


Dec 13th Maman gets punished

I left to the US for work for a week. I hadn’t left home for more than 1 year without the kids. I came back at 6:30pm and expected to hear some feet running on the wood floor and saying “maman, maman”.  Instead, I was ignored for the main part of the evening. I guess this is their nice way of saying that they’d rather have mumy stay home.  


Dec 11th Mia and Luca know their alphabet

Since we bought letter magnets for the fridge, Mia, and Luca to a lesser extent, have been learning their alphabet.  Luca is less interested but loves teasing her sister about it. So here we go:

A for anand or apple, B for Baby or bird, C for Claire, D doudou, E Etienne or Elephant, F Fahuda (Mia’s pronouciation of Farida the nanny), G Gaurav, H nothing, I India, J nothing, K kangoroo, L Luca, M maman and mia, N Nara, O olive, P papa or parking, Q queen, R renard, S Sophie, T turtle and thatha, U nothing, V Velo, WXY nothing, Z zoo.


Dec 5th Je t’aime à la folie

–         Maman, maman, says Luca.  Je t’aime beaucoup.  Je t’aime à la folie!

–         Moi aussi  à-la-folie, says Mia


Dec 3rd Mia throws “tennis”

We played tennis with balls for kids in Grancey.  Since then, when Mia throws a ball, she says “tennis!”


Dec 2nd Santa Claus comes

The kids had dinner (pizza and ice-cream, of course), brushed their teeths and were playing in their bedroom when….  Oh, said tonton Etienne, Santa Claus came.  Santa Claus brought some cool gifts: Tchoupi books, puzzles, umbrella, playmobile, and 2 trotinettes matched with helmet and elbow protections. My comments will fit in 2 sentences:  it was hard to put them to bed. For the following week my kids only ‘walked’ in the house on trotinette, equipped with helmet, backpack and elbow protection.


Dec 1st Preparing for Santa Claus

With our trip to India planned for the last 2 weeks of December, we celebrated Xmas ahead of time.  That took a bit of explaining to Luca: “We’re going to India, there’s no santa claus in India (Oh, why, he’d ask?  Children in India don’t get gifts?).  Well, they have gifts over Dewali. But the rain deer doenst come all the way to india.  So he knows you’re going to India and he might come this weekend instead”.   Luca looked a bit puzzled but accepted an early arrival of Santa Claus


A few days ago, with Amazon packages pilling up in the dining room (we should have at least taken them out of sight in the office), Luca asked if this was Santa Claus.  Amazon = Santa Claus, virtual Santa Claus at its best…


Anand is going to have a hard time going forward.  He leveraged a direct line to Santa Claus to report any wrongdoing or whining from the kids, who were half horrified at the idea. With Santa Claus 15 days early, we’ll have to use another lever for blackmail.


We’ve decorated the room a bit, we’re ready