Letters to My Children – August 2019

Dear Ariya,

August is an exciting month.  You start the first grade this month!  You found out who your teacher was, and was so excited to meet her. We found out that you know a few friends from last year, including Ethan from music class and little gym (back when you two were babies), and Addy from pre-school.  The first two weeks weren’t too bad, pretty basic stuff, just a refresher on what everyone knows.  Your teacher knows that you are an avid reader, so she gave you a chapter book to read, a book from the series the Magic Treehouse.  We’ve started reading the 2nd Harry Potter book, a Chamber of Secrets.

You’re still doing gymnastics and Bollywood dance.  and next month, you start ballet!  I think you’re pretty relieved not to do soccer this season.  And I can tell how much you love gymnastics, you’re doing handstands and cartwheels all over the place!  I think the one downer is that your friend Claire will be ending gymnastics, so you won’t get to see her at class anymore.  We’ll just have to try harder to make a playdate happen.

Dear Asha,

You finished up camp at preschool the first week of August.  And you’ve been restless ever since.  You miss Ariya when she’s at school.  You can’t wait for your school to start.  Don’t worry, September will be here before you know it.  In the meantime, we did have orientation and you got to meet your teachers and see your new classroom.  That was pretty exciting.

You also started the Little Gym!  You have been BEGGING for the little gym classes since last spring, and now that you’re finally there, you can’t contain yourself.  This has been probably one of your most favorite things to do.  I’m so happy that you get to do something for yourself, instead of getting dragged to all of Ariya’s activities.

You also started Bollywood dance with Ariya.  You’re young, and it’s tough to hold your attention for a full hour.  But you did great at your first class!  Keep on dancing!

Asha, you try my patience like no other.  I love you so much, but wow, you are so stubborn, hard headed, and you just don’t listen.  What am I going to do with you?  I have to keep reminding myself that these qualities will serve you well when you’re older, but right now, I wish you’d just listen to me and do what I say when I say it.  Why does everything have to be a battle of the wills?  Please tell me this is the longest phase of our lives and it will get better?

Dear Anika,

What can I say, Anika, you are just the sweetest little doll baby.  Your smile fill me with such happiness.  You still won’t sleep on your back, and still want to be held all the time.  I’m actually wearing you right now in one of my wraps.  Even your daddy has started using the wrap, when we discovered that you’re not a fan of the ergo carrier.  You sleep so soundly when you’re worn in a wrap.  You do sleep for long stretches at a time when you’re in our arms.  And sometimes, if we’re lucky, you’ll stay asleep if you’re swaddled and in a swing. But it would be great if we could start putting you in your crib….  We keep trying.  You keep growing.  We all love you so much.

Here are some pictures from Grandma’s visit, and Nani and Nanu last month along with this month’s photos:

Letters to My Children – July 2019

Dear Ariya,

July is finally here!  In addition to some really cool camps that you got to do (Needle Arts Camp at the Discovery Museum, Intro to Dance with SCAA, and The Little Nature Camp), we’re having a baby!  You are so excited to meet your baby sister, Anika.  You’ve already told me about all the things you’ll do to help me take care of you.  You’re going to be such a great big sister.

The camps were amazing.  I knew the Needle Arts Camp would be one of your favorites.  Your aunt, Priti Masi, bought you a sewing kit a long time ago for Christmas.  And I bought you a sewing machine for your birthday.  But I think you’ve always been frustrated by the limitations of the plastic needles.  So this camp was perfect.  You learned how to thread a needle, make puppets, and now you have instructions how to make other things.  You were so excited every day when I picked you up.  And Asha was happy your camp was at the discovery museum, because I would take her there to play while we waited for you.

The Intro to Dance camp was great as well.  It was with your favorite teacher, Ms Abby.  The camp taught you ballet, jazz and tap.  You’ve never learned jazz or tap before, so this was a great introduction.  Of course the camp was during baby Anika’s big day!  I didn’t get to see your big performance, but your daddy went and recorded it.  You were amazing!  I think, if it was up to you, you’d sign up for jazz and tap for the year.  But since I told you that you could only do 2 things starting out, you’re sticking to ballet and gymnastics for the school year.

The Nature Camp was amazing!  I think this was the one camp that you can’t wait to do every year.  You learned a lot about nature.  You played in a mud pit and threw mud at each other, you canoed in the stream, caught bugs in the meadow.  So much outdoor fun.  Your best friend Asher told you about this camp, and thank goodness he did, or else we never would learned about this camp.

Anika came on July 10th, unexpectedly.  And I think you thought that I’d go to the doctor’s office for a check up and come back with the baby.  You didn’t realize, and I think we did a poor job of explaining it to you, that I would stay at the hospital for a few days with the baby to make sure everything was ok.  You were pretty emotional and didn’t understand why I couldn’t come home with you.  It was tough explaining it to you and Asha.  And one day, you’d be calm and cool, and Asha would be an emotional mess.  And the next day, you would be emotional and Asha was the cool calm one.  So weird.  But once we came home from the hospital, it took an adjustment.  Luckily, Nani and Nanu were here, as well as Daddy to help with the transition.  And you became so in love with your baby sister.

Dear Asha,

There was so much excitement in our household.  You didn’t understand why I was washing the baby’s clothes, or getting her room ready.  You didn’t know why we were cleaning all of the baby’s toys, but you were ready to help.

On the day of Anika’s birth, your daddy was post call and did not get a lot of sleep.  And we needed some help taking care of you, and taking Ariya to camp.  Our friend Niki was so sweet to take you to the pool to play with Asher and Marni while dropping Ariya off at dance camp.  We had to wait until Nani and Nanu came up from Richmond.  You know something was happening, but I don’t think you really understood that baby Anika was coming.  But you were so ready to give her the toy that you picked out, a baby Shark stuffed animal that sang Baby Shark.  I think you picked it more for yourself than for your sister, but surprisingly, all 3 of you love that stuffed animal!

You couldn’t wait to hold Anika at the hospital.  You and Ariya both loved on Anika, and tried to gently give her hugs.  You were both smitten with her.  But you had a really hard time not being the baby anymore.  The transition was tough for you.  Anytime your daddy or I held the baby, you’d want attention.  In a way, you regressed.  You stopped using your words when you wanted something.  You wanted hugs all the time.  And you couldn’t understand why we were always holding the baby, and why we couldn’t cuddle or play with you like we used to.

We tried to organize fun things for you and Ariya to do, while Nani and Nanu were here.  You saw the Lion King when it came out, and Nani came with you and Ariya.  Nanu and Daddy took you and Ariya to the pool.  You went to the kid zone a few times with Ariya, while Daddy, Nani and Nanu worked out at the gym.

Luckily, Grandma came to visit with your cousins Mekai and Phelix.  It was chaos, and you loved it.  You ran with the boys and Ariya, you got to play with Grandma at the pool.  And Grandma got to bond with baby Anika too.

Dear Anika,

Well well well.  You arrived a few days early, quite unexpectedly.  The plan was for you to arrive on Friday, July 12th.  The plan was for Nani and Nanu to come on Wednesday or Thursday, just go get used to the girls’ schedule before I went to the hospital.  But something told me that things would not go according to plan.  I had a stress test scheduled for Wednesday July 10th. And on Tuesday night, I thought to myself, maybe I should ask Nani and Nanu to come earlier,  JUST IN CASE.  Your daddy was working Tuesday night, and of course didn’t get any sleep, so Wednesday, he was delirious.  Which, of course.  He was post call for Ariya’s birth and for Asha’s birth.  It’s like you girls are giving Daddy a taste of what it would be like, sleep deprived nights worrying over you girls.

So, during Wednesday’s appointment, the sonogram showed that apparently I had been leaking amniotic fluid, because there wasn’t much left.  Which mean I had to go to the hospital as soon as possible.  I was in a panic.  Nani and Nanu had to drop everything and drive in from Richmond.  We had to line up childcare for Ariya and Asha.  Luckily we have awesome friends, and our friend Niki was able to take Asha to the pool and Ariya to dance camp and gymnastics.  Daddy and I went to the hospital around 11am.  Of course I didn’t have a big breakfast, because I had been managing my gestation diabetes and trying to be healthy with a half english muffin with peanut butter and 1 egg.  Well, I couldn’t eat anything for the rest of the day.  We were hooked up to the fetal monitor and everything looked great. And my favorite doctor, Dr. Leonoard, who delivered Ariya and Asha, also delivered you!

C-sections and the recovery was tough, but to finally hold you in my arms made everything worth it.  You were born at 5:42pm, and weighed 8lbs 5 oz and were 20.5 inches long.  I thought you’d be this huge baby, because Ariya and Asha were both about 6lbs.  But you were still so tiny.  So much hair, just like Ariya and Asha.  And from the start, you were lifting your head and looking around.

We were so happy to finally take you home.  But that 4th trimester is a real deal.  All you wanted to do is be held by Mommy and Daddy.  Poor Nani and Nanu, they would try to hold you, but you would cry and cry and cry.  And your cry is a wail.  It’s a shriek.  It’s loud and insistent and surprising to come out of such a small little body.  I think it took 2 weeks for you to finally get comfortable and let others hold you.

I think I panicked the first time Daddy had to go back to work and Nani and Nanu left for Richmond.  They stayed for 2 weeks, and they miss you and Ariya and Asha, but they were ready to get back home, to their routine.  And we had to make our routine.  I think I’m getting the hang of it.  Baby wearing is key.  You love to be held, it’s the only way you’ll sleep.

We did learn that you had a tongue tie, so we had to get that lasered off.  But after that, breastfeeding has been a breeze.  You are growing and thriving.  We are all so in love with you, your smile, your baby coos, everything about you.

                            

Letters to My Children – May 2019

Dear Ariya,

We celebrated Apple Blossom the first weekend of May.  Your daddy ran the 10K and we went to the fair.  Your favorite part is the cotton candy, with the rides coming at a close 2nd.  You and Asha went nuts over the rides.  And since I couldn’t ride any rides, I just ended up taking lots of pictures, as usual.  It’s a great family tradition that we have 🙂

The countdown is on. You’re ready for summer, and your class is doing the ABC countdown till the last day of school.  Which makes you pretty excited every day to go to school.  A for stuffed Animal, B for bubbles, C for Crazy hair and clothes, etc.

You also had field day.  I missed my chance to volunteer but it looked like a lot of fun!  Outdoor games, a bounce house, water guns, etc.  I think you had fun.

You’re also wrapping up soccer, with maybe a month and a half left to go.  You like seeing your friends at soccer, but going to practice and the games are like pulling teeth.  Once you’re there, you have fun.  But you don’t love soccer like you do ballet or gymastics.  I think maybe we might have to take a break from soccer next season.  We need to pare down the number of activities you have anyway.  I feel like we’ve over scheduled you.  It’s like you don’t know how to just BE.

Ballet is wrapping up and it’s time for your yearly ballet recital.  Nani and Nanu came to visit, and to see you on stage.  Asha loved watching you perform as well.  And when your performance was done, you loved seeing all the bigger kids perform as well.  It’s a pretty amazing time watching all of the dancers perform.

We also went tulip picking with our friends.  you loved the tulips so much you just HAD to save the bulbs.  I don’t have much of a green thumb, so we’ll see if they last until October when it’s time to plant.

Dear Asha,

Pre-school ended this month.  We had a mother’s day lunch and a father’s day lunch with your class.  It was so great seeing you play so well with your friends.  You’ve come a long way this year.

You also had soccer with soccer shots.  We didn’t go to as many soccer lessons.  Vacation, nap time, etc. It was my mistake planning to go at 3pm, when you’re usually so tired.  But you were awesome at chasing after the ball.  And listening to the coaches was tough at first, but you got it after a while.  I think after the baby comes, we’ll have to look into signing you up again in the fall.

Asha, you’re such a big girl now.  So big, that you get your own big girl bed!  We are re-painting your old crib/toddler bed for the baby, so went furniture shopping and picked out a full size bed with a book shelf attached for you.   In the mean time, you and Ariya helped paint the crib for the baby, which took a lot of work.  But you did it!

Tulip picking was fun for you, you were with your best friend Aliyah!  But you were pouting because you wanted to pick ALL the flowers, not realizing that Mommy had to PAY for all of the flowers.  and then you’d leave the bulb in the ground and just snap the flower off.  But that’s ok, we still had a great time!

 

 

Letters to My Children – January and February 2019

Dear Ariya and Asha,

Well, it is a new year.  We started off the New Year celebrating my birthday in Alexandria.  We went to the ICE exhibit at the Gaylord Convention Center at the National Harbor.  It was soooo cold.  This year they did a Charlie Brown exhibit which was pretty cool.

Ariya, it was time to go back to kindergarten.  And oh man, you were not feeling it.  Getting back into the routine of school was not easy.  You hated waking up for school.  You would come home from school saying you were bored.  You would talk about missing pre-school and Ms Jeanne’s class.  We had ballet as an activity but I guess it wasn’t enough. You have been asking for gymnastics, so I’ll eventually sign you up.  I think you’ve outgrown the Little Gym, so we’ll try Shenandoah Tumblers or East Coast Gymnastics.  We’ll see.

And Asha, you want to do whatever your big sister does.  You follow along in her footsteps.  You wear Ariya’s old ballet slippers when she puts hers on.  You want to do ballet, just like her.  And you hear her asking for gymnastics, so you want the Little Gym.  I’m sorry Asha, but the schedule just doesn’t work out.  But we’ll figure something out.

You two are OBSESSED with the Greatest Showman, a movie/musical.  Of course, I downloaded the album and now that’s all you two ever want to listen to.  It’s kinda cool to see you, Asha, know all the words to A Million Dreams.  I mean, wow.  You two love listening to the album while I do dishes and just dance dance dance.  It’s the cutest thing ever.

Daddy and I had some special news to share with you two.  You both are going to be big sisters!  We’re having another baby girl, due in July.  And you two are just so excited.  Ariya, you keep giving me hugs and rubbing my belly.  Asha, you keep sticking out your belly and saying that you have a baby in there too.  It’s the cutest thing ever.

Nani and Nanu went to India.  We wish we could go too, but Nani promised she’d bring back some pretty Indian clothes for you both.  We ended up going to Richmond for a weekend in February to see Auntie Anjuanette, Uncle Kashiff and Grandma.  And Uncle Eric was there!  What a special treat, seeing everyone.

It’s been a long winter.  We’ve had a few snow days, a few really cold days, a few delays.  I think we’re all going stir crazy, wanting some warm weather.  So we’re planning a trip to Las Vegas to hang with Daddy while he’s at a conference.  And then we’re driving through the desert to Palm Springs.  We rented a house with a pool, and I can’t wait for all of us to just soak up some sun and play in the water, and go explore.  April can’t come soon enough!

 

 

 

Letters to My Children – August 2018

Dear Ariya,

And now it’s on.  The countdown till Kindergarten starts. You are so excited for school.  you are ready.  You mention your old school, and your old teachers and friends.  You miss them.  But you’re looking forward to the new adventure that Kindergarten holds.

In the meantime, we’re soaking up the sun and pool and trying to enjoy the last of summer before school starts.

Kindergarten Orientation and Meet the Teacher was a success.  You were scared about riding the school bus, but after a quick trial run at orientation of riding the bus, you were sold.  I wasn’t sold, I was nervous for you.  But the look on your face when you walked towards the bus stop said it all.  You were ready.  Your school bus driver is so nice.  You made friends immediately.  I couldn’t have asked for a better start to Kindergarten.

You loved kindergarten SO much that on Friday, when I jumped on your bed and said that tonight, you can stay up, tomorrow you can sleep in BECAUSE IT’S THE WEEKEND, THERE’S NO SCHOOL……what was your reaction?  You cried.  You cried because you wanted to go to school.  My mouth dropped wide open.  Amazing.  You love your teachers.  You love gym, art and music class.  You love playing on the playground and eating lunch with your class.  I’m super excited for you.

You’ve started reading these BOB books that Azusa Auntie gave you for your birthday.  Wow, the confidence you have, you are a rock star! I’m so proud of you.  You WANT to learn, you LOVE to learn.  Every day you ask for homework.  You wish your teacher assigned homework.  We do your fun sheets when you’re in the mood, but I don’t push it. I love that you love learning, and I want to keep this momentum up.

 

Dear Asha,

It’s the last month of summer fun before you start Preschool!!  We’ve been going to the pool as much as we can.  It’s weird having Ariya in school, with just the two of us at the pool.  You loved it.  You would live in the pool if you could.  Every day, it’s all about the bathingsuit, noodle and country club.  But all good things must come to an end.

You’ve become more opinionated about what you wear, the clothes you wear during the day, and at night.  You have your favorite pajamas, some that you’re outgrowing.  The purple elsa nightgown is your absolute favorite.  But man you are growing.  That nightgown is a 2t, and you’re already wearing 3t dresses and 4t shorts/pants.  It’s crazy how much you’re growing, you’re so tall!

Preschool orientation was a piece of cake.  You’re used to preschool because that’s where Ariya went.  You’re used to your classroom because that’s where you go for bible school when we go to church.  You start after Labor Day and I know you’re ready to start school.  And I’m so excited for you.  Great things are going to happen this year for you!

    

 

Letters to My Children – July 2018

 

Dear Ariya,

The countdown is on….for beach week!  It’s our annual beach trip with the cousins!  Your Grandma, Auntie Anjuanette, Uncle Kashiff, Uncle Eric, Mekhai and Jayden were with us for most of the week and it was glorious.  It rained…alot.  But there were pockets of time when the sun was shining, and we would race to the beach.  We did spend the day at the aquarium.

The waves were fun.  You tried boogie boarding for the first time and you loved it.  You were so sad that we didn’t have our own boogie board.  I think next year, we know what we’ll need to bring to the beach.

Mekhai introduced us to youtube kids, and you were hooked.  What is up with the obsession of watching OTHER kids play with their toys?  It just boggles my mind.  But you loved it.  Watching the tablet, watching youtube kids, was an addiction.  When we came back home, we had to wean you off of it, because wow, did it put you in a cranky mood.  20 minutes of tablet time was never enough.  You wanted more more more.

 

Dear Asha,

We spent a lot of time at the pool.  You watched Ariya and followed her lead.  You started taking a deep breath, putting your head under water, kicking.  I had to sign you up for swim lessons, because you were getting it.  You wanted to jump off the diving board after Ariya (with your noodle, of course).

The beach was great.  you loved playing with the sand….a  little too much, if you ask me.  You would eat it.  I don’t know what the big deal was with sand, but you wanted to eat it.  Drove Daddy and me crazy, but you loved eating sand.  You were a huge fan of the water and the waves.  Spending time with Grandma, your auntie, uncles and cousins were great too.  You got to stay up late, and sleep in.  There was a bunk bed and you always wanted to sleep up top.  But Daddy and I thought you were maybe a bit too young to sleep up top by yourself.  You were not happy about that, but you did love sleeping with Mommy in the king size bed.  Poor Daddy had to sleep with Ariya because she didn’t want to sleep by herself.  Maybe next year, you two will be able to sleep in the same room together.

 

Next month will be the last bit of summer before kindergarten starts for Ariya and pre-school starts for Asha.  Let’s soak it all in.

 

Letters to My Children – June 2018

Dear Ariya,

Summer summer summer time!  It’s summer time! It’s been a wet start to summer, raining a lot.  But we managed to spend a lot of time relaxing.  Mostly going to the pool whenever we can.  I was worried at first, trying to manage you and Asha.  You’re so close to really *getting* how to swim, and Asha does whatever you do.  You don’t wear floaties, she won’t wear floaties.  You jump off the edge, she jumps off the edge.  But we got the hang of it.

You also tried tennis camp for the first time.  AND YOU LOVED IT.  I used to play tennis when I was younger, so I’m pretty excited that you’re into it.  You thought coach Jaime was the best, and you made so many friends there too.  Afterwards, we’d go to the pool and enjoy some time in the water.

Your uncle, Rushabh (my cousin) was getting married at the end of the month.  It was your first Indian wedding, and first wedding that you could remember.  I would get out our wedding album, and we would watch our wedding video.  We even went shopping for Indian clothes for all of us.  You had a blast playing dress up.  But even you couldn’t handle the craziness that come with an Indian wedding.  You got some mehndhi (henna) done.  We did pooja at Rushabh uncle’s house with a priest and you got to spend more time with your cousins and uncles.  The garba was that night, and you were TIRED.  You didn’t want to dance much.  But you played a lot with the fun uncles.  The wedding was early and you were CRANKY.  But after a nap, you were ready for the reception and you were a dancing queen.  It was so much fun on the dance floor with you!  Now you know what an Indian wedding is like, and I’m sure there will be more Indian weddings in the future.

After our weekend in New Jersey for the wedding, we came back to you doing another summer camp.  It was a theater camp, singing, acting, dancing.  And you loved it!  I wonder if you’d be interested in doing it as an activity throughout the year.  But I wonder if maybe you’ll be overloaded with too many activities, especially with you starting Kindergarten.  Plus, I don’t want us to get burnt out.

I know the summer will fly by, I just want to soak up every bit of it with you.

Dear Asha,

Summer vacation is like any day for you.  Except, you’re excited to have Ariya home every day.  It’s been nice sleeping in, not rushing to go to school, being able to stay in our pajamas.  You are obsessed with the pool.  It’s all about the pool.  You won’t wear your floaties or your swim vest, which makes me crazy.  Because you think you can swim, but you can’t.  You’re so independent, or at least, you think you are.  You just want to keep up with Ariya and do everything that she does.

Every time we dropped Ariya off at tennis camp, you cried and screamed to go with her.  And then you wanted to go to the pool, even though it wasn’t open.  You just HAD to go with me to the gym, or to go grocery shopping or to run other errands.  No fun at all.  That’s ok, your time will come.

I think Rushabh uncle’s wedding had you in a daze.  You were up, you didn’t sleep much, and you watched a lot of Netflix on my phone.  I think my phone was dead pretty much the whole weekend because you and Ariya were glued to it.  You weren’t in the mood to play with anyone at all.  And you hated wearing the Indian clothes.  Oh my goodness, how you hated it.  And Daddy hated you in it.  You kept tripping over your skirts., you tried to take your clothes off a couple of times.  I knew I should have just put you in one of your favorite party dresses, but I couldn’t help it, you were just so cute in your Indian dresses!

I’m loving the time that we get to spend together.  Before you know it, the summer will be over, Ariya will be in Kindergarten and Asha will be in pre-school.  And I’ll miss you two. I’m trying to soak up all this time, all these moments with you two.  The fighting.  The playing, the laughter.  The tears.  All of it.

     

 

Letters to My Children – April 2018

Dear Ariya,

You turned 5!!  My big girl, how you’ve grown and keep growing! Let’s see, how did we spend your special day (week) celebrating you?  We started off with Strites Donuts for breakfast.  I dropped you off at pre-school with a whole bunch of cupcakes that we baked for your class, and Asha and I had her swim lessons.  We picked you up and dropped you off at your swim lesson.  (Asha was not happy, she was ready to jump in with you!).  Then Daddy and I took you two to Chuck E Cheese. Which was great, because on a Wednesday, it was practically empty. You had so much fun.  Then we came home to cupcakes and presents.  Your actual birthday was pretty much perfect.

On Friday, I took you to see my hair stylist.  You got your first hair cut!  Really, it was a trim, but still, you got the whole deal.  A great hair wash, head massage, trim, and blow out.  And your hair was SO LONG even with your hair straightened!  Afterwards, we went to get a manicure and pedicure.  I think you got bored pretty easily because after they were done with you, they started on me and you were just ready to get out of there.  So I couldn’t really enjoy my mani/pedi.  But oh well, it was all about you.

Your birthday party was at the Little Gym. And all of your friends and their siblings were there. You and Asha had a great time, and I think your friends did too. It was a beautiful day to celebrate your birthday.

What are exciting month.  We ended up taking a short trip to Baltimore.  We went to the Baltimore Aquarium and the Port Discovery Children’s Museum.  And oh my, that children’s museum was AMAZING.  You had so much fun, you didn’t want to leave.  We did promise you that we’d come back one day soon.

We celebrated Holi this month with Namaste Shenandoah at the Hindu Cultural Center location.  It was so great.  Your daddy had to work but we still went and had a ball.  It was too cold to break out the water guns and water balloons but we still had fun with all of the colors.  And you know I had a great time capturing everything on camera!

Dear Asha,

You keep growing and growing and growing.  You’re talking more, you’re stringing more words together, you’re asking more questions.  You’re more independent, or trying to be.  You think you can do anything.  You’re following Ariya around, wanting to be just like her.  It’s really amazing.

Swim lessons are a success.  While frustrating for me (since it’s an Advanced Mommy and Me class, and you want nothing to do with me in class), you are having a ball.  You use the noodle and are swimming on your own.  You love jumping in the water, but you forget that you can’t really swim by yourself.  But you’ll get there!  You’ve been asking for the beach and the pool, wanting to wear your swim suit every day.  You are persistent.  Don’t worry, summer is right around the corner.

You’ve started wearing Ariya’s old ballet leotards and ballet slippers.  And it’s the cutest thing.  When Ariya gets ready for ballet, you insist on wearing your new ballet outfit as well.    It’s pretty serious, you want to go to bed in it, you want to wear it all day.  It’s pretty hard to convince you that it needs to be washed.  It’s a struggle.

Bed time has been rough.  You’re still trying to drop that nap, but you need it so desperately.  So either you fall asleep in the car when we’re going home from Ariya’s swim lessons or on the way to Ariya’s ballet lessons.  You fall asleep on the way to Ariya’s soccer lessons. It’s such a late nap, that you won’t go to bed.  I keep reminding myself that this is a phase.  This is a phase.  We’ll get through this.

Letters to My Children – December 2017

Dear Ariya,

December has gone by so fast!  Asha’s birthday was in the beginning of the month, but since Daddy had to work, we celebrated it when he came home.  We had a few cupcakes, opened a few presents.  She’s now 2!  And you both love her new presents.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this, but I decided to create a Destination Imagination team for you and your friends.  I thought it would be fun to try something different, have a new challenge, learn something new. Your friends Sei, Veer, and Elizabeth are on your team. The tournament is in March, and we have so much work to do!

Christmas vacation started after your Christmas program at Sonshine Learning Center.  We left for Richmond to celebrate Asha’s birthday at Nani and Nanu’s house.  Grandma, Auntie Anjuanette, Uncle Kashiff, Jayden and Mekai came to help celebrate.  Even the neighbor’s daughter came over to play with you, how fun!  The cake was the best part, as always.

That night we went to Lewis Ginter’s Botanical Gardens to check out all of the holiday lights.  Wow, It was sooooo cold, but the lights were beautiful! And you had so much fun with Grandma, but I think getting hot chocolate was at the top of your list.

Christmas was a whirlwind.  Nani and Nanu came to visit while we celebrated Christmas Eve.  I think both you and your sister loved your presents from Santa.  Your favorites change from day to day.  One day you love the Frozen puzzles, the next you love the Ice cream counter that Asha got.  The work bench has been a huge hit with both you and Asha. Too bad we couldn’t have enough time to play with your new toys, as we had to leave for our trip!

We travelled to Canada on Christmas day to spend time with our family.  The last time you were in Canada, you were 1 1/2 years old!  And my aunt, uncle, cousins and nieces had not even met Asha!  So it was a fun Christmas party.  You got to wear your pretty Indian clothes, which made you so happy!

The day after Christmas, we left for Mexico!  You were so happy to hang out with all of your cousins, but I’m convinced that Tara ben is your best friend forever. The plane trip wasn’t so bad, but it was a long day of travel!  Our hotel was beautiful, and our room was a suite with a kitchen, patio, king size bed and jacuzzi tub. It was very helpful having all that space, because your sister took a while getting used to her routine in a new place.

All the swimming that we did! The sandcastles we built.  The dancing we did with the instructors, the New Year’s Eve part that we let you stay up for.  It was amazing that you and your sister lasted as long as you did. You eventually fell asleep in your stroller with your sister as we all rung in the New Year.  I think you’d say this trip was the best.  The hardest part was leaving our family, but we made sure that we’ll video chat and call every so often. We’re even planning our next trip to see them!  Don’t tell Daddy that, because he thinks I’m always thinking of our next trip.

Ariya, you are my sweet, smart, soulful, funny, emotional, first born.  You’re having a hard time dealing with disappointment but we’re working through that.  Your first reaction is to scream, huff, stomp your feet and slam doors, but you always apologize after you take a time out and some deep breaths. You also have no patience, and love instant gratification, just like your mommy.  I know where you get it from. You’re growing up so fast.  And I’m trying so hard to keep up with you.

Dear Asha,

You’re 2!!  Where did the time go?  How are you now 2???  You are so strong willed, loving, affectionate, playful.  You feel your emotions 100%.  You learn everything from Ariya.  Your love for dresses, for playing dress up with her princess dresses.  You want to brush your teeth like Ariya, get your hair brushed like Ariya.  You miss Ariya when she goes to school, and you’re so happy when we pick her up.

You loved your Frozen themed party. The cake was a masterpiece, it was a cake of Anna.  and it was so delicious!  You were happy to have your family around you to celebrate.

Our travels to Canada and Mexico were a struggle.It’s hard, being confined to a stroller, confined to a plane seat, confined during security and customs.  But you survived.  And had a blast!  You watched Moana and Frozen over and over again.  You now know how to say “I want Anna!” (Frozen or Moana, I still have a hard time figuring that out) or “I want Mommy” .  You were a bit standoffish with meeting your cousins and aunties and uncles, but by the end of the trip, Tara ben and Priti Masi had won you over, and you would go over to them, play with them, sit in their laps.  I’m so happy you gave them a chance, because they love you and your sister so much!

Your vocabulary has grown so much.  You  learned to say “pool”, “goggles” (for swim goggles), “beach”, “boots”, “socks”, “shoes”.  And so much more.  It’s crazy how much you’re trying to talk.  Amazing.

We ended the year in Mexico on an amazing resort in Playa del Carmen.  Who knows what 2018 will bring?

Letters to My Children – November 2017

Dear Ariya,

Diwali happened!  You loved seeing Nani and Nanu come up from Richmond to help celebrate Diwali with us.  Your favorite part is dressing up.  But what was fun this year was that Grandma and Auntie Carmen came!  And our friends that aren’t in Balvihar came too! You played with Sei and Hideshiro, Declan and Ayden, Sheya and Feye.  And who could forget Asher and Marni!  You miss Asher and Marni so much. Hopefully when the holidays are over, we can find a time to all hang out!

Let’s see, what else happened. It was election day (time to vote for the Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, and our delegate) and school was out.  So we made a day out of it and went to the Air and Space Museum near Dulles.  It was cold and rainy.  But seeing all those airplanes and rocket ships was pretty cool.

This past April, I went to a film workshop and we went over flash photography and lighting.  So, I got this GREAT idea to bring all of my lighting gear to our friends’ house and having a “photoshoot”.  When your friends are around, you don’t have a problem posing for the camera, and I loved every second of it!

You’ve been practicing for your Thanksgiving feast.  You and your classmates dressed up as pilgrims and sang songs.  It was the sweetest thing ever.  Asha had a ball and really enjoyed dancing to all of the songs!

We drove down to Richmond for Thanksgiving.  We stayed and Nani and Nanu’s house, and while you love seeing them, you were so excited to play with your cousins at Auntie Anjuanette and Uncle Kashiff’s house.  And Uncle Eric was there!  And Grandma!  so much fun!  But the fun didn’t stop because then everyone came back to OUR house so we could celebrate Phelix’s birthday!  You were so excited to have Jayden, Mekai and Phelix there to play with you.

Your baby sister is turning 2 in a few days.  And you’re in heaven picking out presents for her. I think you’re just picking out presents that you would love to play with.  But that’s ok, because sharing means caring! I think you’re having a hard time understanding that we’re going to have a party for her a few weeks later, at Nani and Nanu’s house, and not on her actual birthday.  Daddy has to work on her birthday, so maybe we’ll do something small.

Dear Asha,

So, you weren’t a fan of Diwali.  You woke up from your nap so cranky, and how dare we make you dress up in pretty Indian clothes! You played with my phone pretty much the entire time.  You did love the Indian food, and were happy mixing the rice and daal up.  And when the stage was open and full of kids dancing, you were all over it! I think you even tried to take the stage backdrop down!  That’s when we knew it was time to go.

We’ve been going to music classes at SCAA with Ms Karen.  And you love it so much.  You’ve been saying YAY every time we go.  And you’re singing your baa baa baas with the microphone.  You’re definitely enjoying music class, dancing with scarves, and playing with the instruments.  I’m so glad I can do this with you.

You loved seeing Ariya perform with her classmates at the Thanksgiving feast.  I could see you dancing a long and spinning in circles.  I think Ms Jeanne thought you were going to steal the bells, and tried to lure you away, but you were not having that!

Your schedule was so out of whack for Thanksgiving weekend.  Weird naps, weird bed times. But it was all worth it, to spend time with family.

I can’t believe you’ll be 2 soon.  Where did my baby go?  I’ve been looking at a lot of pictures and videos of you as a baby.  It just makes me wish I could go back in time, just for a second.  Let’s see, your favorite things right now are to tell me animal sounds.  “What does the cow say?” “MOOOOOO” “What does the horse say?” “NEIGHHHHHHHH”  And you love saying No, even when your joking, I guess.  Like, if you’re taking unzipping your coat when we’re outside, and I ask “Are you unzipping your coat?” you’ll say “Nooooo” with the cutest smile.  And you love it when Ariya says her favorite joke, because you’ll join in on the punch line.  Ariya will say “Knock knock” and I’ll say “Who’s there?” and she’ll say “The Interrupting cow” and I’ll say “the Interrupt-” and you BOTH will say “MOOOOOO”.  Yeah, she got that joke from Home.  And you both love it.

Soon, we’ll be getting ready for the holidays.  And spending time with family.  And we can’t wait!

 

*all images taken on film except for the last 3