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 ?
– I think she will be very hurt and maybe dead
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?
– 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