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Shortcut Mein Update

I’ve been asked many times what I was up to in the last 5 months . And each time, I’d say, “Nothing…just regular routine…nothing new”.

But thats not all true, of course 😀

A LOT happened in the last few months . I’ve been meaning to do individual posts for all of them but since I’ve put them off for so long, I regret that I don’t remember the entire sequence of events. I’m quickly jotting down the remnants of those events in my collapsing memory. So here goes (In no particular order. That would be too cruel on my poor brain) –

The twins finished Kindergarten with flying colors. Well, they ought to ! After all, they spent an entire 12 months doing just KG! ( Their session started in India in the first week of July ’13 and ended here in Chicago in the last week of June ’14).

Their teachers were pleased with the English, Math and overall obedience of the two . I howled and wailed that they must have got my kids mixed up with someone else’s but they wouldn’t listen. To prove their point, they gave the kids medals for perfect attendance and slapped a certificate at me which declared me the parent of the month!

I kid you not!

Our gifts

Our gifts

I got The Egg. Though hand-painted and exquisite, it kind of epitomizes what I really deserve!!

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We finally had Summer!! Not the dusty, hot summer of India, but a quaint, dainty summer which lasted exactly 90 days. The temperature never dipped enough to make you sweat, unless you ran or did some major physical activity ( It was hot enough for the Americans to shed their clothes and their inhibitions, though!) Overall, it was the Spring of India passed off as Summer of Chicago.

The sunny weather was the perfect opportunity to make use of the swimming pool on our terrace top. The twins splashed and jumped and had the greatest time of their lives. Whenever we entered the pool area, people already in the pool would look at the twins, grin and decently come out one by one. So the kids had the pool to themselves most of the time (The people here can be really, really kind towards kids). I did my best to teach them to swim, but they were too enamored by the water to pay me any heed 😦

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Shobby and his “Zebu”

 

The other water source was the beach of Lake Michigan. Enough sand was dragged back home for me to make my own private sand castle.

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Digging sand for the castle

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The twins undertook the Summer Reading Challenge to read and record the amount of time they read each day. It was a wonderful way to spend the summer vacation and the twins loved the visits to the library which was conducting the challenge. Apart from selecting books, they had book-reading sessions, crafts, lucky draws, etc each week. The twins won books and binoculars in the lucky dip 🙂

The library also conducted workshops on puppet-making and introduction to the insect/reptile world (which was seriously good). They got to touch real live pythons and alligators and black widows !

 

With Puppets and Miss Annie

With Puppets and Miss Annie

Picking up the python

Picking up the python

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The BF’s parents came down for a visit and it was YAY! time all around 🙂

After a long time, I could take a siesta without worrying about the kids. The moment the kids spotted their grandparents at the airport, they forgot they had a Momma or an Abu. For the next two months, they only spoke to Dada and Dadi. Just as well 🙂 . Sometimes, it is good to have the kids off your hands, even if its for a little while !

Once the in-laws came, it truly felt like home once again 🙂 .  Me and the MIL would cook together, all of us would have our meals together, there would be talks and discussions, jokes and spats,  just like old times. I think I spent more time with them here than all those years back in Pune when we would all meet for hardly a couple of hours each day!

The in-laws would go for long walks around the neighborhood.  FIL made more friends around the area than people I know!

Keeping an eye on their grand-kids

Keeping an eye on their grand-kids

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We finally visited the Niagara Falls.

It was Amazing! In fact, “Amazing” doesn’t even begin to cover the experience! It was mind-blowingly magnificent!

The power of nature at its best!

The twins drove me nuts on our drive till the falls. It was a long way and they were rather fidgety, being unused to getting strapped to their car-seats. The lack of movement, couple with the long distance made them eat the brains of the only person on their row. Me!

Lui : Mumma, have we reached?

Me : No, not yet.

Shobby : When will we reach??

Me : Maybe in another hour.

2 seconds pass by.

Shobby : Mumma, have we reached?

And so the loop went on. Somewhere towards the end, I lost my head and asked the BF to pull over. “Anything wrong?” he asked. “Yeah, I just want to leap off this window and jump into that river below”, I said. The in-laws found it funny! But of course! They weren’t the ones enduring those pesky , ranting, whining kids!

Desperately waiting to reach the falls

Desperately waiting to reach the falls

The Falls

The Falls

The torture was well worth it! One look at the falls and I realized the insignificance of our existence. Tonnes of water cascading down the gorge, the terrific sounds, the multiple rainbows over it, it was too beautiful! Almost exhilarating, yet bringing us down a bit. Nature’s creations are supreme. Nothing man-made can come any closer (SubhanAllah).

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The rainbow

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Since the In-laws were with us, we made a trip to the Water-park capital of the world – Wisconsin. I thought the title was exaggerated, but you have to visit the place to believe it! I think I have never seen so many water parks (and I’m talking about really large ones here) on one road! The resort we were staying at was called Kalahari, with a jungle theme and loads of indoor/outdoor water rides and an indoor theme park. The indoor water park even had temperature controlled water, so it wasn’t cold, a little on the warm side. In the toddler’s section, there was actual warm water flowing/splashing around!

We had great fun there. Even the MIL got down into the pool to play water basket-ball 😀

The friendly gorilla :)

The friendly gorilla 🙂

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The climbing wall

The Kalahari trip was by far the most entertaining. Apart from the time we spent in the water, we all also got to do a lot of indoor fun activities like the sky-walk, go-carts, bowling, ferris-wheel, climbing walls, carousal and a dozen other arcade games.  It was nearly midnight before the twins agreed to be dragged back to our rooms!

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The in-laws visit also gave us an excuse to go sight-seeing around Chicago, something we’d been putting off for reasons unknown. We covered all the tourist sites, except the museums. The kids aren’t too fond of museums yet and they get irritable if we spend too much time on one! So we did the rounds of Millennium Park, Buckingham Fountains, Architectural Boat tour (Where they take you on the Chicago river and give a brief description/history on the landmark towers/buildings in downtown), Magnificent Mile and the likes.

Overall, it was an amazing two months, not only because the parents were with us, also because we got to spend a lot of quality time together as a family. Thats precious 🙂

On the boat tour

On the boat tour

At the Buckingham Fountain

At the Buckingham Fountain

At John Hancock

At John Hancock

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And then, the school started! The kids are in Grade 1 now, older and much wiser than before. They give me enough reason to take refuge in my blog once again 😀

New Academic year begins!

New Academic year begins!

Thats it folks. A quick summary if there ever was one 🙂

I’m a house-wife, still. I did get my work permit, but didn’t have the time or inclination to hunt for a job. InshaAllah, with the in-laws back home and the kids back in school, this might just be the right time to think about a profession again.

So wish me luck.

Adios.

 

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Another PTA

Wrinkles.

Yes, this is exactly what I noticed after visiting the twin’s school for the parent-teachers meetings. There were deep furrows on the brow and not so pretty trenches from nose to chin.

I hated those dratted meets when I was a kid and guess what?? I hate them even more now that I’m a parent. This just goes to show that only the teachers enjoy these sessions where they make the everyone else feel like lab rats 😐

Anyhow, had a meeting at the twin’s school today. There wasn’t much to do as I reached 5 minutes late and the speeches had begun. Got a seat in the last row from where I couldn’t see anything up ahead. The speeches went on and on and on. I think I zoned out after a while. There were some small performances from a group of kids, which just made me realize that my kids weren’t selected for any of the performances (the school had given an off to all other students). Oh well! Lui-Shobs weren’t meant for the stage, I guess. Must have inherited that gene from their father.

After nearly an hour and a half, I got my chance to meet up with the class teachers (yep, there were two of them).
When I said, I’m Lui and Shobs mother, the first teacher gave a big grin, shook her head from left to right, probably remembering something severely naughty about the twins and just told me that the kids were doing fine.

Wow. Some consolation that.

The second teacher was a lot more direct. When I told her I was Lui and Shobs mother, she gave a big grin, shook her head from left to right and Wait! Thats all the similarity between the two teachers! After the secret smile, she proceeded to dump a list of issues about the twins. “Lui is too talkative” (yeah! Tell me about it 🙄 ), “She disrupts the class with her tales” (YAAAWWWNN), “Poor writing skills” (MUST ask Lui to start writing her own blog) .

With Shobby, she was more lenient. “He doesn’t write much”, “He doesn’t colour much”, “He doesn’t recite much”. This came as a shock, since Shobby is forever scribbling, colouring and reciting at home. I mentioned the same to the teacher. “Then he must be doing a lot at home and getting bored in school. Please stop him from doing all that at home” (Huh?!! Didn’t see this one coming 😐 )

The one point on which the two teachers agreed wholeheartedly was that the twins are social animals. I mean, they are socially active. They talk to everyone, play with everyone and share their lunch boxes with everyone.  Unlike some other kids, they don’t stick to one particular friend (I think they do enough sticking with each other and revel in the luxury of being with other kids 🙂 )

Overall, there was no need for me to break out in cold sweat as I awaited my turn.

But still… PTA??!! Not enjoyable.

The only concern from my side is that Lui writes mirror images. Her ‘5’, ‘2’, ‘7’, ‘B’ ,etc are all written in opposite direction. It could just be a temporary thing or it could be indication of something more serious. Anyone encountered this problem before? Any suggestions?? Is this worth worrying about?? Any input will be most appreciated.

P.S : Any suggestions/home remedies  for those damn wrinkles would be appreciated too.

P.P.S : I mean it 😐

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Dear Lui and Shobs,

Of all the things I wanted to put down regarding your admission to Nursery, I’ll just be honest and selfish and confess that my first most sentiment is that ……….. I survived.

I survived your first day at school.

Your  FIRST DAY AT SCHOOL!!!! Yoo Hoooo!!

😀

(Ok, I’ll quit the Maori dance. But only because the image of your FAT momma dancing ain’t all that pretty, is it?!)

After all the dress-rehearsals, practicing how to sling the bag over your shoulders, hanging the bottles around your necks, opening your lunch boxes, it was finally time to take you where you would have to do all of this and more by yourself. Needless to say, I was a jittery mass of nerves, worried if my babies could handle themselves without the protective arm of their family around them! Lui, my darling, you threw my worries to the wind when you helped your brother with his bag yesterday morning. It filled my heart with pride to know that you, my little angel, were there to look after your little (by a margin) brother 🙂 . Shobs dear, you couldn’t have asked for a better sister, even if  you had asked God for one personally 🙂 !

The very first day, both of you woke up early when I called out to you, which was totally out of routine. Your sheer excitement at going to school was so infectious, I could actually breathe at the thought of letting you both stay away from the house, albeit for a short while 🙂 . Believe me, I’ve been having much trouble in that department lately. Every time the topic of your schooling came up, I used to get choked up, breathless, an invisible knife would pierce my heart and my guts would coil up and ache :(. I’m sure your Abba felt the same, but he’s too stoic to word it, so I’ll just let you both know that your parents were crying themselves silly over you 😀 . Contrary to our sentiments, you both were cheery, chirpy, full of enthusiasm and VERY cooperative. What else could a mother ask for?!

It took me less than half an hour to get you both dressed up and ready. How fast is that?! Once the nanny came, we all headed towards the school. Believe me, I couldn’t stop praying throughout, though on hindsight, I wasn’t really sure what I was praying for, except that God should keep my kids safe and happy in this new place. Though it is a matter of only 3 hours, it would be a time when you would be away from your comfort zone, where you don’t have spongy sofas to jump over, water to spill all around and people to boss over 😀 .

It has been 8 days now since your school started. The first few days, you had either me or your nanny for company. The next week, you were there by yourselves. There are teachers and other kids at the school, of course, but none that you know. Dropping you in the school van was an exercise in self-control. Part of me wanted you both to get into that bus and get going. The other part wanted to bundle you both back home to warm cups of milk and cookies 😦 . If you were apprehensive, I was petrified !

The only time you both kicked up a fuss was on the third day, when you realized that your mom or Abba were definitely not getting into the vehicle with you. The first day, after I packed you in, you both were too dazed by the turn of events to question my absence. On the second day, you pleaded with me to join you. But it was on the third day that Lui, my doll, you clung on to your father like vine. You refused to let go and even after he settled you in and closed the door, your chubby arms popped out of the window, beseeching your father to take you back in his arms. Like the weak-hearted mother that I am, I just watched from the window of my room and sent a silent prayer your way. That day was very difficult on both of us. Your abba called me up a million times to see if I was calling up the school and getting minute-by-minute feedback of you two 🙄 . So disturbed was he that that night he even broke his own rule of No-Chocolates and bought you two big bars of Dairy Milk!!

The next two days were better, a breeze actually. Last Friday, you two even waved me good bye after jumping into the van 🙂 . I swear I did a little hop as I went back home. Nothing gladdens the heart more than knowing that your child has taken a liking to school. I know the place you attend has some very good teachers. Your class teacher is a very gentle young woman and I know how well you both gel with her. It will take you both some time to realize that your parents wouldn’t be attending school with you, since you both keep requesting me and your abba to come to school with you. It will take some time, but I’m not in any immediate hurry for that to happen. The needy mother in me loves the fact that you still crave for me.

In fact, I’ll confess here that I’ve followed your van till the school, seen the driver and the teacher in your van escorting you inside and never once did you both turn to look back or try to escape. You walked in calmly and if the teacher’s reports are anything to go by, both of you have got on exceedingly well with the rest of the children. I know you two are very sociable. I know that you both love other little children. But the faint worries that I do have , are about how other kids will treat you two. For that, I’ll just have to wait and see.

We are getting into a routine now, thought at times, I’m still skittering around, totally apprehensive and have a lump the size of an ostrich egg in my throat. I’m queasy, scared, exhilarated and over the moon. I’m also sad, morose and a tad upset that my tiny little babies have grown up to be nursery kids!!

Last week, we had some fun doing up your lunch mat. The lunch mat was the school’s idea. They gave us drawing sheets and asked the parents to let their children doodle over the sheets and mark their identity. We could later add the child’s name in one corner and then get the sheet laminated. In the first three days of school, I saw a lot of submitted sheets, where it was obvious that the parents had worked on it and not the child. I wanted you both to have nice colourful lunch-mats, but I also know that you both suck at doodling 😦 . You would have torn the sheet to bits before even drawing a single line! So taking inspiration from TheMadMomma, we three came up with this :-

Lui's mat

Shobby's mat

I really should have clicked the snaps while we were at it, but we were so immersed in our fun that it never ‘clicked’ me at that time 😀 . Luckily, I remembered to take a snap just before I had to submit it to your class teacher. The pic was taken at the Lamination center right opposite your school. As expected, she loved it 🙂

Here are a few pictures from your first day at school :-

Lui on the slide

Shobby showing off his stunts

Lui calling out to Shobs to join her. He didn't 😦

I want you both to enjoy these days as much as possible. I want you to make friends and enjoy the company of children your age and height 😀 . I want you both to find new friends, but not lose the friendship that blooms between you two. When I had once asked you Lui, “who plays with you in school”, you promptly replied, “Shobby”.  I felt glad then, that my children have each other for company. But I also want you two to learn that life may not always send you on the same boat. You might both take up opposite paths as you grow up, but for now, stick together. You are a family, the two of you and you fill my heart with pride with everything you do.

No matter how this year goes by, you’ll still be my much loved babies. Frankly, even when you grow up to be parents yourself, I’ll still call you my babies. So just get used to it, will ya 🙂

Have fun, munchkins.

(I confess I’m having it since I had you both.)

Fi-Amanillah



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Guess Where We Are Off To ??

Packed up and ready to go.

Okay, so thats didn’t come out right.

 How about if we smile for you all??

Say cheese 🙂

There, thats better, isn’t it??

 

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The twins started school 😐

Please give me some time to wipe my tears before I do a post on this humongous turn of events.



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