Letter’s to My Children – September 2021

Dear Ariya,

You are getting into the groove of things with school and your activities. You’re still a white belt at Tai Kwon Do and you go twice a week. You love it so much.

Ballet has started and that’s another activity that you’ve missed so much. You are so motivated to stay in ballet, to work towards pointe shoes. I hope you make your goal. I think it might be a few more years before you make pointe, but I love that you love ballet so much and that you’re sticking with it.

School has been great. You are thriving in 3rd grade. You love your teacher, you love to learn. You’re so smart. And I love that the school’s policy is to not have any homework, just focus on reading. Which you already do, so much reading. You always stay up to read, and I can’t complain about that.

You did catch a fever and that sucked. You couldn’t make it to the book fair, and you had to take a COVID test, but luckily it was negative. What strange times these are, when you get a fever and I immediately panic that it’s covid.

We did head down to Richmond to wish Auntie Anjuanette a happy birthday. You loved seeing Mekhai, Grandma, Uncle Eric, Uncle kashiff and Jayden as well. We just went down for the day, had lunch with them, and hung out at their house before it was time to head back home.

Dear Asha,

You are LOVING Kindergarten. The stories you’re telling me of all the friends you’ve made. It cracks me up. So much drama at such a young age. It’s pretty amazing. There was a moment where I picked you up crying and it broke my heart. But luckily you have an amazing teacher and it was all sorted out.

You’re still white belt at Tai Kwon Do and you are happy doing it. But sometimes I think you’re tired, adjusting to the new schedule of being at school all day. And when you’re in Tai Kwon Do, you sometimes just want to sit when everyone else is standing, and the teacher yells at you to stand up (the teacher is a great guy, but very good at motivating you).

Your days at ballet are LONG. You have class, then we have a break for dinner, and then Ariya has class. Longest day ever of the week. When Daddy is at home to help out, we do a switcheroo, so you don’t have to stay at ballet that long. But yeah, it’s tough.

We did go to the book fair that you had at the school. Lucky girl, getting a few books that you put on your wish list. It was great, you had a craft in your teachers room, saw some friends, played and shopped.

We also had a back to school picnic that the PTO helped set up. You had so much fun playing with your friends on the playground. Ariya was bummed that she didn’t get to see her friends, since they split the grade levels and times. But because of Anika’s bedtime, it was better that we came earlier. She still had fun with the siblings of your friends, and it all worked out.

Dear Anika,

You started school this month! Oh my gosh, it was terrifying. You cried and cried and cried every time I tried to drop you off. I had to walk you in to school every day, and try to sneak out when you were distracted. The first few week was rough. But before you knew it, you were LOVING school. After we dropped off the big girls, you would be so excited to go to school. I don’t know why I worried, I knew you would love it! On the days that you don’t go to school, sometimes we go to the park and spend some one on one time together. It’s really nice, you get to swing and explore all by yourself.

We had our friends over for one last time to play in the pool before we closed it up. Oh man, you girls enjoyed that time so much. So sad, saying goodbye to summer. We loved having the pool this summer. After we closed it up, you would ask for the pool. Sorry sweet girl. Swimming outside is done for now.

We took a 3 mile hike to a waterfall with Daddy and wow, you really impressed me. You were all about exploring, keeping up with your big sisters and wanting to hang. There were moments where you had to be picked up. It was pretty special just hanging out by the water. We’ll have to do the hike again in the spring. It was a beautiful trail!

You went to the dentist for the first time, and that was interesting. Your tongue kept trying to get in the way, but thankfully, there was nothing traumatizing to report. You did such a great job in that chair!

We also went apple picking! We went with some church friends, and you got to hang with your favorite guy, Felix. Ariya made a new friend, and so did I. And of course Asha got to hang out with her good friend Clara, so that’s always fun. It was a great day for picking apples.

Letters to My Children – August 2021

Dear Ariya,

We met your new principal and assistant principal today! We went to your school and had a meet and greet with them, and it was wonderful. They asked you questions, and you surprised me when you said your favorite subject was math. I almost fainted, haha. And then you said music and art. I’m really surprised that you didn’t say reading. Maybe it just goes without saying. Anyway, I know you are ready to get back into school, even with masks on. I’m nervous about it, the Delta variant of COVID-1 is spreading, and you’re still unvaccinated. But I’m confident that your school will do the best they can to keep you safe.

You finished your tennis camp last night, and are kind of obsessed with hitting the tennis ball. We bought you a a racket, just for yourself, and I even picked up a racket for myself! One day, we went to the park tennis courts and just played a little bit. Asha and Anika were great as our ball girls, running around to chase after the balls. But after a while, they were bored. Maybe we can pick a day when it’s just you and me. Better yet, I’m going to look into getting lessons for you at the local country club. I love that you love tennis. I used to play tennis as a kid and won so many ribbons in our local rec center. I wish I took it further. It felt great to play with you, just like my dad and brother used to play with me.

Tae Kwon Do is still going strong! You love it as much as tennis and want to keep doing it in the fall. I’m so proud of you for sticking with this. You’re learning so much and having so much fun.

The next big thing to focus on is a week at Grandma’s! You’re so excited! You can’t wait to start packing for your trip. Your cousin Mekhai and Jayden was there, along with Auntie Anjuanette and Auntie Carmen. You got to have plenty of sleep overs, watch movies and spend time with family, which was nice.

School started, and you were so happy to be back in school. We decided that Daddy or I would drop you off and pick you up from school. Just until we know things calm down with COVID-19. So far, you love your teachers and are so happy to have a schedule. By the end of the first week, you kind of broke down, you were just so tired. The days are long, and you were ready for the weekend. You’re still glad that we’re not homeschooling, so that’s a plus!

Dear Asha,

My big girl, so full of big emotions. I think I’ll be the one full of emotions on your first day of school. I can’t believe you’ll be in Kindergarten. Where did the time go?!?! And when you met your new principal and assistant principal, I was so surprised at how shy you were. You said your favorite subjects were music and art too. Just like Ariya.

We went to the park today. And you were so upset that Ariya found a friend to play with and you were not your usual outgoing self. You are so ready to go to school, make friends, socialize. This year has been pretty hard on you. We’ve had friends over to play, but it’s not the same as being in school, surrounded by all types of personalities. I’m sorry you’re feeling bad and wish you had more friends to hang out with. School will start soon, and I’m sure you’ll make all the friends you need.

You had kindergarten orientation last night. And man, are you excited. You met your teacher, and saw your classroom. Took a tour of the school, met most of your resource teachers. And you got to ride the school bus for the first time! So exciting! I’m still a little worried about the bus riding, with COVID-19 and everything. So, maybe we’ll do drop off and pick up. I’m not sure.

Your first week of school was amazing. I love hearing your stories about the playground and all of the friends that you’ve made in Kindergarten. I’m so proud of you! You are so bummed that you can’t ride the bus, but I promise, when things calm down with COVID, we can re-evaluate drop off and pick up.

Dear Anika,

You climbed out of your crib tonight. It was bad. You didn’t want to go to sleep, I couldn’t get you to settle, I thought you would settle, and then you went and did it. What does this mean?! Do we have to change you to a toddler bed? I’m not ready! I went ahead and gave you Ariya’s old music box. That distracted you enough to settle and the music lulled you to sleep, so that’s a good thing. But man, I still can’t believe that you are 2 and will soon be in a toddler bed.

So, we are dropping you off at Grandma’s for the first time next week, and I don’t know, I’m not as worried as I was when we first made these plans. You had a great time with Grandma and all of your cousins at your birthday party. I think this will be just what you need to spend some quality time with family.

And of course you did amazing. I was so worried, but you had so much fun playing with your cousins, Grandma and aunties. I had nothing to worry about!

Except getting back into a regular schedule. We are back to skipping naps, climbing out the crib, waking up in the middle of the night. So Daddy went and converted your bed to a toddler bed. At least there’s a place for me to lie down on, to try and get you to settle. Last night, you were singing and dancing while lying down. It was 9pm! And you hadn’t even taken a nap! Why aren’t you tired?!?!

So I went ahead and called Kelly Robson with Baby Bliss Consulting. She was the sleep trainer we used when you were a baby, and she is a baby whisperer. She helped me set a routine and schedule for you to go to sleep. We discovered that you won’t settle for naps, and since you’ve gone without a nap for so long, it just makes sense to have an early bed time. As long as you get 12 hours of sleep, you should be good.

You’re also OBSESSED with Frozen. Anything related to Ana and Elsa. You started wearing frozen pajamas and saying Ana, Elsa, Ana, Elsa. You could watch those movies morning afternoon and night. Asha is super happy about that, but I think Ariya and myself are getting TIRED of Frozen 🙂

Next month, YOU start pre-school. And oh my gosh, there will be tears. Some from you, definitely some from me. I can’t take it, my baby isn’t a baby any more! You’re talking so much more, you have so many more opinions, it’s amazing how fast you’re growing!

Letters to My Children – July 2021

Dear Ariya,

We are in the middle of summer, and it feels great. Lots of pool time, lots of playing with your sisters, lots of reading your favorite books. We met up with friends to go to the library, or had friends come over to play in the pool. We celebrated Anika’s birthday and had the cousins over for the weekend. You even had a tennis summer camp at the country club. I think you fell in love with tennis all over again. Tae Kwon Do is still going strong, but I think tennis might be the new competition. I have to say, I’m excited, because I used to play tennis with Niraj mama and Nanu. So, of course I had to pick up a racket for myself and for you, to try and play together some time. And I am excited!!

Dear Asha,

If you had it your way, you would be in the pool every day for sure. you’re such a water baby, but I’m not surprised. I think you’re really missing your friends, and just wishing you could hang out with your friends from pre-school, or have more play dates with different friends. School is just around the corner, sweet girl, and you will have the chance to make so many new friends!

Tae Kwon Do is still going great, although every chance you get, you sit down. I have to laugh every time the teachers say “Asha!! stand up!”. I think by the end of the day, you are just tired. But you love learning the kicks and earning your stripes.

Tennis camp was great. We did run into a problem with another boy. I have to say, I was upset, and your daddy had to talk me down. But it was resolved and you know that if someone does you wrong, or if anyone puts their hands on you and you don’t like it, you tell somebody. Thank goodness you didn’t let it get you down, and you were still excited for camp and playing tennis. We need to get a racket for you, so you can play some more too!

Dear Anika,

You turned two!! And you can say “I two!!!” Amazing. My smart girl. My baby. Daddy’s family came for the weekend to celebrate you, and it was great having Grandma, Auntie Carmen and your cousin Phelix, Auntie Anjuanette, Uncle Kashiff, your other cousins Mekhai and Jayden, and Uncle Eric here! And of course Uncle Eric brought Blue. Blue, the sweet pit bull that just wanted to lick your face.

One day, I took you all to Dinosaur Land. So many memories of taking Ariya and Asha there when they were little. I had flashbacks of when they were little, looking at these HUGE statues, looking so small. And here you are, doing the same thing. The big girls loved it, and I think you love following them everywhere.

I can’t believe you’re two. You’re starting pre-school in a few months, in the 2s class, which will be combined with the 3s class. Oh my goodness. There will be tears. I’m not ready. But I kinda am. Are you? I think you are. You’re try to keep up with your sisters all the time. They include you in their playtime, but there are some times where you just can’t hang with them, and then you try to destroy everything. And the girls definitely do not like that. But that’s ok, you’re too cute for them to stay mad long.

Letters to My Children – June 2021

Dear Ariya,

Summer summer summer time!! It’s summer time!! We have a lot to look forward to. You and Asha were flower girls in your uncle Neil’s wedding to Melanie. There was a hindu ceremony, a catholic ceremony, and the reception was full of smoke, dance performances and lots of deserts. You girls had a ball dancing with all of your cousins! And it was so fun getting dressed up in your pretty Indian dresses, and fluffy western dresses.

Afterwards, we drove to Baltimore, to fly out of BWI to our BEACH VACATION IN FLORIDA! We rented a condo in Siesta Key, which is right outside of Sarasota. And we had a blast. There was white sand that didn’t burn your feet. The water was so blue/green and clear. We basically stayed at the beach all day and all night. What an easy going vacation. I think we explored once by going to a Ringling museum that covered the history of the circus. It was pretty cool, but I think you were ready to go back to the beach. We cooked breakfast lunch and dinner. I think one day, Daddy ran out and brought home some yummy pastries for breakfast. We packed a cooler for the day and would bring lots of juice for you girls, which was always a treat. By the end of the vacation, I think you girls were ready to go back home, be in your beds, and get back to our lives. I didn’t want to leave. I’m already thinking of when we can go back!

When we came back, we planned a camping trip for you and Asha and Daddy! Anika and I hung out for the day, but I knew that Anika would not sleep well in a tent, so we only stayed for a few hours. You had a blast doing a water rafting trip on the river with your friends.

You started Tae Kwon Do as an activity for the summer. You are definitely a fan. 30 minutes, short and sweet, filled with so much physical activity. You have a uniform and started out with a white belt, and can’t wait to work your way up to a black belt, which would be awesome, if you keep up with it. We’ll see how this summer goes.

Dear Asha,

You had a blast as a flower girl during Neil Uncle and Melanie auntie’s wedding. You were not a fan of the Indian dress I bought for the reception. It was pink and fluffy and sparkly. You said it looked itchy so it must be itchy. You didn’t even try it on. That’s ok, I guess I’ll save it for Anika when she’s ready. So we had to improvise. Gotta love Target Cat and Jack Brand. I bought a pretty sparkly pink and blue dress. You had pretty white ballet shoes and you had a ball dancing at the reception. What a fun day and night. Well, it was a long day, since we started at 8am doing the Bharat. And it was sunny and hot. But you girls were troopers, that’s for sure!

The beach was amazing! The waves were calm, it wasn’t too crowded. You were so starved for friendships, you made friends with a little boy that tried to teach you to fish. You and Ariya would float down the beach away from where our towels were, we always had to call out to you to pay attention. I think one time, you both were worried that you were lost. But we had our eye on you the whole time. You loved swimming at sunset. You are such a water baby, you could stay in the water all day every day. There were times when we almost left you. We would never do that, but you were never compelled to leave with us. I think your happy place is in the water, just like mine.

When we got back, you were excited to camp with your friends, Ariya and Daddy. That water rafting trip was super exciting. You were just swimming in the river, no issues. You were not a fan of the water shoes, but there was no way we were letting you go barefoot in the river. There was so much trash in the water!

You joined Ariya in doing Tae Kwon Do. you look so cute in your white uniform and white belt. Your attention would definitely wander during class, but you had a ball with your kicks and your “Hiya!” A great activity for you during the summer time.

Dear Anika,

You were so overwhelmed at Neil Uncle and Melanie Auntie’s wedding. You were happy to see Nani and Nanu, but there was so much family surrounding you. They haven’t seen you since you were 2 months old, at the last family wedding. Your cousins wanted to hold you and dance with you, and you were not having that. You just wanted to be with me and Daddy. But by the end of the night, your cousins won you over. You were a dancing queen on the dance floor. You had a ball.

The beach was the best! We went to the beach in the morning. Went back for lunch, quiet time, nap time. Swam in the afternoon. Had dinner. Maybe swam again in the evening. Rinse and repeat. You didn’t wear any floats, and pretty much stayed in our arms while in the ocean, floating on the waves. You did like playing with the sand. I think there were many times that you tried to eat the sand :-/ That was gross. But you pretty much had a blast.

You also had fun “day camping”. We hung out with my friend Jen and her son Thomas, who’s a little bit older than you, and their dog Champ, while everyone else went on the river rafting trip. You and Thomas had so much fun throwing rocks in the river. It rained for a little bit, so we hung out under the tent, but it was really nice being outdoors with a nice view of the river.

We did go to pick cherries at Marker Miller. That was fun. Ariya LOVES cherries, and Asha was over it. But you just picked any and everything. You just wanted to keep up. the fact that Ariya pretty much polished 4 quarts in a day says it all.

Other than that, we pretty much have been staying at home, playing in the pool and just hanging out. It’s been a great start to the summer.

Letters to My Children – May 2021

Dear Ariya,

The countdown is on. Last month of school. If you were in school, your last day would have been in the middle of June. But since we are homeschooling, I figured the last day would be the last Friday before Memorial Day. I mean, isn’t that one of the benefits of homeschooling? Dictating your own schedule? It’s been tough though. You don’t think the work we are doing is fun. I’m trying to make sure you’re not missing out on anything. I’m trying to make things fun, but you would rather be in your room reading your books. Doing math and science and geography has been tough. I’m not a teacher. I don’t know how to make it fun. I was raised to do workbooks, and just do them and learn. I think you’re learning a ton, but you would much rather be in a classroom with your friends. Don’t worry Ariya, this homeschooling experiment will not continue. We can say we did it. I trust our schools will keep you safe. I’m ready to enroll you in school for the fall.

In the meantime, Nani and Nanu’s 50th wedding anniversary was on May 7th. So we went to Richmond to help them celebrate. We did a zoom call with all of our friends and family. Niraj mama helped coordinate all the way from Singapore! And we found all these really cool old photos of Nani and Nanu when they were young and married. I made a few videos of their lives together, it was pretty cool to see.

It was a pretty light month. Just waiting for warmer weather to come. We started a garden, which is another big experiment for us. Let’s see if anything grows. I think we’ve planted a lot of herbs, tomatoes, squash, beans and lettuce.

This is your last month of ballet, finishing it off in person. You even had a mini performance which was really nice to see. Within the past few weeks, we would hang out with your friend Skylar and her mommy Ms Sharron, go get pizza, walk around old town, hope for ice cream at Red Fox Creamery. Enjoy these warm spring days and get ready for summer.

We opened up the pool, and had our first swim before Memorial Day! That was pretty exciting! And we are planning a beach trip to Siesta Key in June. You can’t wait for some beach time!

Dear Asha,

You graduated from pre-K!! We had a graduation celebration with your teacher and her other students, which also happen to be your friends. And man, your teacher was amazing. What a great party, filled with the pomp and circumstance music, the graduation hats and the certificate scroll. What a special moment. It’s different than Ariya’s graduation from her pre-school, but hey, these are different times. And I think it was still pretty special.

I think you are burnt out with ballet. Zoom ballet is no fun, and you are just done. Especially when you see your sister go into the building to have her ballet classes. I think this summer, we’ll have to take a break from ballet and see what happens in the fall.

Dear Anika,

We went to the Baltimore Aquarium this month. It was your first time, and you had a ball. You were running around with your sisters, staring at all the exhibits. And I was happily taking pictures.

You’re still taking afternoon naps, which is great. You are still such a great sleeper, which I love. I think routine is very important for you, I guess we kind of trained you that way.

You were very apprehensive about your first time in the pool this season. You wanted to be held a lot. I’m sure by the end of the season, you’ll be a little fish, swimming up a storm. We’ll see how you like our beach trip in the summer. Wow, the summer….you’ll be two in a few short months.