Letters to My Children – April 2021

Dear Ariya

I can’t believe you’ve turned 8. You’re such a big girl, and have grown so much within the past year. We have had to encounter a lot of disappointments this year. COVID and missing your friends has been a huge thing. Homeschooling was not what you (or I) thought it was be. But wow, you have turned into such an amazing big girl. Sometimes I feel like I can see into the future and see what you’ll be like as a teenager. So much sass. And a little bit of attitude. But generally, just the sweetest girl I know.

You’ve turned into quite the reader. You are now obsessed with anything Rick Riordan. You’ve read the first book in the Aru Shah series. We gave you the Kane Chronicles for your birthday, which is all about Egyptian Mythology. You also got a copy of the Land of Stories series, and have already re-read the series again a few more times.

April was full of fun things. Anytime the weather turned warm, we hit the road and took an adventure. The bluebells bloomed, so we went for a hike on the BlueBell trail at Shenandoah River State Park. You bought your science journal, drew a few observations, walked along the river, saw frogs mating…It was a very interesting day. I think you could have spent all day along the river.

We went down to Richmond to celebrate your birthday with family. Uncle Eric, Uncle Kashiff, Auntie Anjuanette, Grandma and the cousins came along, as well as Nani and Nanu. Daddy made sure you had a piñata, and a bubble blower. We celebrated at Deep Run Park, where you ran around and played on the playground and danced with your cousins. I’d say it was a good day.

We also made the drive out to Burnside Farms. A farm filled with tulips, a bounce house, farm animals and lots of photo opportunities. Yes, I couldn’t resist. We go every year and we couldn’t go last year because of COVID. I felt like we needed a pick me up so off we went! You’re a pro at picking tulips by the bulb.

I promised you a horse riding birthday party this year, so that’s what we did. We invited a few of your closest friends and went to this new farm called DeVaux Farms. They taught you how to groom the horse, you made a craft, and then you all got a horse riding lesson. Cupcakes shaped like horses topped it off. I’d call it a success.

The Apple Blossom fair came to town, and we were all so excited! We couldn’t go last year, so we more than made up for it this year. Lots of rides, lots of cotton candy, lots of games. I think you and Asha were obsessed with this gravity ride that spun really fast in the air.

Ballet changed from zoom to in person and man were you excited! You had to wear your mask and keep your distance, but man was it great being in the building with everyone else.

Dear Asha,

April has been a weird month. I think you’re starting to miss your friends, miss school. Seeing Ms Mary every week is nice, but it’s not the same thing as going to school 4 or 5 days a week in preschool. You still zoom your ballet classes and I think you’re starting to lose focus on it. Again, it’s no fun when you’re not there in person.

The bluebell trail was so much fun. You were fascinated with the frogs and their really cool sounds. You saw a few frogs on top of each other, giving each other a piggy back ride, haha. I think you could have stayed at the river all day.

For homeschooling, you asked to raise caterpillars and see them transform into butterflies. I think you were fascinated with the whole process. You watched them every day, you were concerned when you thought they were hurt, shaking as a chrysalis. I had to google to make sure everything was ok. When they were ready to be released, we went to the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley because they had some pretty flowers blooming, and we thought the butterflies would make a good home there. You had fun releasing them, and one even landed on your hand! I couldn’t get a picture of that, the butterflies moved too fast! But it was still a good day roaming around the grounds.

Ariya’s birthday celebrations were great as well. It’s always fun when you have cake and family and horse riding. At Deep Run, you were the one that broke the piñata and got all of the candy out! Well, you knocked the piñata off the string, saw the opening where the candy was and then dumped it out for everyone. So smart. And as for the horse riding party, you couldn’t wait for your own turn to ride the horse. I was so proud of your patience! You ask about your own horse riding lessons all the time. But it was definitely fun times for everyone.

Dear Anika,

What can I say. You are getting bigger and bigger and bigger. You’re following your sisters everywhere. You were able to walk the bluebell trail for so long, and you didn’t need much picking up. You loved picking up sticks just like your sister, playing in the water just like them. You’re watching everyone and everything.

You had so much fun at Ariya’s birthday party at the park. I think it was the first time I put you in a swing and you were in heaven. You had fun with the family, as long as they had cake for you. You were dancing up a storm with your sisters and cousins. It was lots of fun.

Your first trip to Burnside Farms! I was happy to get pictures of you in a field of tulips. and you had so much fun. You tried to pick flowers, but it was more like picking the flower petals. But you still had a good time.

And you visited the fair for the first time! You didn’t get to ride as many rides as the big girls, but you still had a great time. You ate a lot of cotton candy and junk food. You tried to play at the games, but you ended up just picking the prize. That’s the way to do it.

The butterflies had you curious. You wanted to get close to it like Asha, but we were worried that you would get too rough. When we went to the MSV, after we released the butterflies, you had fun walking through the gardens though, exploring, playing with the girls. It’s been a pretty good month for all of us.

Letters to My Children – March 2021

Dear Ariya,

Another month of homeschooling. We made more of an effort to get outside more, now that the weather was warming up. We met up with friends a few times, went for walks and hikes outside. We tried to switch it up, but it really was us doing the same thing every day. I did ask your ballet teacher, who is also a Montessori teacher and taught school online if she would tutor you in math. You had such a love/hate relationship with Beast Academy and the thought that math brought you to tears makes me so sad. I get that you’re frustrated, and I know I’m not a teacher, so I thought that tutoring with Ms Abby online would help. And she is amazing. I could always hear you laughing on your zoom calls with Ms Abby, which was really great.

Nothing else much changed. We didn’t have an “official” spring break. We just chose the week that Daddy was off, and had some adventures. It gave you a break, it gave all of us a break, and I think we really needed it. Is it summer vacation yet?

Dear Asha,

Another month of doing the same thing. You did have way more play time than Ariya did, and you waited around a lot for her to be done with her school. You did enjoy playing with Anika but it wasn’t the same. Anika grabs all of the toys you’re playing with. And you do the same (huh, I wonder where she learned it from?) You are always in competition with Ariya. You’ve started reading those BOB books, and man, you are so smart! You’re still doing tutoring with Ms Mary, but you don’t understand why you can’t have tutoring with Ms Abby like Ariya does. And you’re still doing ballet, although I think you’re pretty much over ballet on zoom. You miss seeing your friends and can’t wait to be there in person. You’re in luck! I just registered you for Kindergarten, so in a few short months, you will be in school, riding the school bus with your sister, and in a new classroom and making new friends. I know you can’t wait!

Dear Anika,

Stop time, please stop. My baby, you just keep growing and growing. You’re obsessed with my phone, pushing buttons, dragging and dropping, playing with filters on Instagram. I gotta hide my phone from you now, because you’re always changing things on my phone!

When we went on our hikes, you did not like staying in the ergo carrier. Funny, I remember looking back at the time when Asha was your age, she would actually nap in the ergo, no problem. Not you. You want to get down, you want to walk for a little bit, and when you get tired, you want to be held, but you do NOT want to be in the ergo, or be worn. Girl, my arms are tired of carrying you when we’re hiking! Also, you won’t stay in your stroller when the girls are riding their bikes. You don’t understand why you’re not riding a bike with them. It’s kinda cute, and kinda funny, but also frustrating, because you just want to do your own thing. That’s ok, Anika, you keep doing you.

Letters to My Children – September 2019

Dear Ariya,

September was a good month.  First, we started off with your uncle’s wedding.  Rikin Uncle and Eesha auntie are getting married!  We had to take Friday off, because you know how Indian weddings are.  We went to Pennsylvania for Pithi and Mehndi night. It was great to catch up with everyone, and you had so much fun playing with your big sister, Mala ben.

Saturday, we drove up to Connecticut for the garba.  Niraj mama and Hyeon mami came ALL the way from Singapore with your favorite cousins, Eila and Kailas.  It was so good to have someone to play with your own age.  You loved wearing the same dress with Asha, and we got to dress up too!  We saw all of the cousins perform a dance, how cool was that!

Sunday was the wedding and it was at a botanical garden in New York.  Wow, was it a beautiful wedding.  You had so much fun playing with Eila outside, enjoying nature, making up games, becoming forest children.  You didn’t want to say leave at the end of the night, to say goodbye.  But all good things must come to an end.

We’re still getting into the swing of things with school and your activities.  Since Claire is no longer doing gymnastics, we decided to move gymastics to another day.  We still find ways to see your friend Claire though.  There was an event at Blandy, called Nature Nutures.  It was so cool, there was a woman dressed up as Mother Nature.  You and Asha made a fairy house, and you worked with Claire to do a scavenger hunt.  There was even some stone soup and mud pies to be made, held by the local Tinkergarten group.  So that was a fun afternoon for both you and Asha.

You still have Bollywood dance, which you LOVE.  It’s time to get ready for your performance for Diwali in November, and you and Asha practice all the time.  And then ballet, which I don’t think you’ll ever give up because you love your teacher so much.

School is great.  You love school, you love your teacher.  You talk about your friends at school all the time.  Especially this boy named Luke.  I don’t know who Luke is, but your say his name a lot.  There was the Back to School picnic, which was fun seeing you in your element, playing on the playground.  And then there was Back to school night, where your daddy and I got to meet your teacher and understand what your day really is like.  We like your teacher too, and glad you are in great hands.

We still manage to make time for our other friends that don’t go to your school or activities.  You still go to Balvihar and see Priya auntie and Veer and Jai.  And we have dinner at their house every so often, which is always nice.  We made time to go peach/rasberry/blackberry picking wth Daddy at Marker Miller.  But we all get busy as the school year gears up.

Dear Asha,

School has officially started for you, after Labor Day weekend.  You are so happy with your teachers and your friends in class.  Your best friend Clara from last year is in your class again.  You’re learning so much, and always have fun crafts and reading to do.

The wedding was a success.  You only had school for a day before we went out of town.  Man, were you TIRED.  the whole weekend, you were just done.  You had a great time with your cousins.  Shiven bhai especially, I think he’s your favorite cousin.  But by the time the reception rolled around, you were laid out on the chairs asleep.  Oh man, it was tough getting you girls out of there, because you all were just dead weight.  I’d say it was a great weekend for us all.

On the days that you’re not in school, on top of the Little Gym and Bollywood Dance, we signed you up for ballet.  Finally, FINALLY, you get to have your own activities.  You have the same teacher as Ariya for ballet.  And your friend from school, Emme, is in your class.  It’s the sweetest thing seeing you two play and dance together.

You love love LOVE Bollywood Dance.  It’s kind of amazing, how you practice dancing along with Ariya.  We sing the songs in the car, and you even practice your dance moves in the car.  You’ve got that rhythm, you always find the beat.  Speaking of rhythm and beat, you have a new favorite album, a soundtrack for the movie Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse.  To see you sing “What’s Up Danger” cracks me up.  And I think your absolute favorite song is “Sunflower”. You could sing this song, and this album, over and over and over again.  I think Ariya is sick of hearing it.  I don’t mind though, I like it.

We are still working on your stubbornness.  Girl, you just won’t listen.  And you want to love up and hold Anika all the time.  You might actually love her a little too much.  But that’s ok, it could be worse, you could actually hate her, and that would not be good.  But no problem there.

Dear Anika,

You are 2 months old.  And you are the sweetest thing ever.  You fuss when you’re tired, you wake up crying because you’re hungry.  But once you’ve nursed, you break out in the biggest smile.  I still wear you a lot.  It’s hard trying to get into a routine with you.  You’re basically on the go whenever we drop Asha off at school, or if we take the girls to their activities.  But you do roll with it, and I’m so thankful for that.

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 – 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 – 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 – January 2018

Dear Ariya,

It was tough saying goodbye to all of our family and head back home.  You miss your big sister cousin, Tara ben.  But thank goodness for technology, because you had a chance to do a few video chats.  You grabbed my phone so fast so you could show Tara ben your toys, your dogs, the backyard.  It kind of reminds me of my big sister cousin Priti ben (your Priti masi).  Even though we both have 20 years of difference between our big sisters, they are like our best friends.  I know Priti ben was the first person I went to, to tell almost everything, when I didn’t feel like I could tell anyone else.  I hope you never feel that way, and that you’ll always come to me first.  But if you don’t feel like you can come to me, I hope you’ll have Asha, Daddy or even Tara ben to talk to.

We went to a one of your friend’s birthday party which was Princess themed.  I think you had fun.  You did love wearing your new Frozen dress up dress.  You got to put on lipstick as a game to kiss the frog.  I think what’s funny is that this might be what set off Asha’s obsession with princesses, bows in her hair, and wearing dresses all the time.

We had a few school delays and school closings. But no real snow.  I don’t know if you’re disappointed, but I know I am.  There have been a few flurries, and I made you and your sister put on a coat so we can attempt to play in the snow.  But yeah, there has been no real snow, and Mommy is so sad.

School has been great.  You’re always excited to go, and you’re always happy when I pick you up.  Your favorite things now are playing with legos, doing your puzzles, playing with your  “rocket ship” (which is really either a laundry basket or an empty Amazon box).  And you’re looking forward to your 5th birthday party, which is in April.  We’re still trying to figure out what to do, but I’m sure it will be great.

 

Dear Asha,

You are missing Mexico.  I think you got way too used to the pool and the beach.  Because you started stringing your words together and say “I want pool”.  Also, you’ve been paying attention to Ariya, because you use the same tone and manner when you say “I want Mommy, I want Daddy, I want binky” and you stamp your feet or throw a tantrum.  It cracks me up, but I hope this phase (the tantrums and stomping your feet) passes.

The princess bug has officially hit.  It’s Frozen and Moana ALL.THE.TIME.  You’re in love with Ariya’s Jasmine dress up outfit that she never wore.  I think it’s because you think you  look like Shimmer and Shine, another favorite show that you like.  You wear Ariya’s Belle dress like it’s going out of style.  This is happening a lot earlier than it did with Ariya.  We tried to hold off so hard on introducing Ariya to anything Disney.  But with you, you see your big sister enjoy her dress up clothes and watch her disney movies and shows.  And you want to be just like your big sister.  You love your dresses, you want to wear bows in your hair.

Your personality is so strong. We joke that you’re a terror.  But you really are a force.  I don’t think we’ll ever have to worry about you, you know how to handle yourself.  I may have to worry about anyone that gets in your way.

 

 

 

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 – July and August 2017

Dear Ariya,

I feel like this summer went by so quickly! We filled the days with swimming, playing and more swimming.  Like, a lot of swimming….We took advantage of this pool membership and tried to go as often as we could, and there usually was a babysitter there to help me out.  You love your babysitter Savannah.  And she was a lifeguard too, so she was able to help you swim when you weren’t having your lessons.

In July, we took a trip to Cape Charles, VA.  We stopped off at Nani and Nanu’s house to visit for a little bit, which was nice.  It’s always good to play with your mom’s old toys and hang out.  But we drove a few more hours down to the beach and got to check out the house that we’d be staying at.  Grandma and your cousins and aunties and uncles were coming too! Even Uncle Eric was there!  How exciting!!  The beach was fun, the water was shallow and warm, and I did not have to worry about any waves crashing down on you and your sister.  The only thing that creeped you out were the snails.  There were MILLIONS of them, just buried in the sand.  And the ocean seemed so far away, we had to walk OVER these snails just to get to the water.  Yeah, it was creepy.  But we had a great time.  We went to the aquarium one day when the weather was kind of gloomy.  And we went to the library another day, they had the most fun little corner full of toys and books for kids like you.  You had a great time with the cousins, even though there was a lot of fighting and yelling to share over all of the toys.  But we definitely made some memories and I was there to take photos of pretty much everything.

As soon as we got back home, you had music camp with your friend Asher at SCAA.  We love learning with Ms Karen, and you had so much fun!  This year’s theme was traveling the world, learning about other cultures and singing lots of songs.

And the NEXT week, we did camp at Sonshine, your preschool.  The theme for the week was STEM.  It was pretty cool, the experiments you did.  One thing that was funny was that every day I dropped you off, Asha cried and cried for you.  She missed you so much.  I don’t know how she’ll handle you going back to school!

You also got a big girl bike to ride.  It still has the training wheels on but you’re having fun.  You’re very cautious, and try to ride slow.  It stinks that we’re on a hill, we do have to be careful when you ride around our house.  We may need to take your bike to the park one of these days, so you can practice some more.

August was a great month too.  We got to visit my family in New York.  And THEY had a pool too!  You met a TON of your older cousins on my side of the family.  I bet you didn’t realize how many uncles you had.  And you got to see Mala ben again.  I think you were just in awe of having an older sister cousin. And we were there just in time for Rakshabandhan.  I was able to tie rakhis  to all of my brother cousins (missing Niraj bhai and Akash) that were there, and you were able to tie rakhis to your brother cousins too!  Hopefully we’ll be able to make this a yearly tradition and see everyone next year! Well, we know we’ll definitely see them next year, because we have an Indian wedding to go to!  Rushabh uncle is getting married to Nithi auntie and you get to wear your beautiful indian dresses!  I know you’re excited about that!

I think you’re finally getting the handle of this swimming thing. You even jumped off the diving board and swam to the side in the deep end on your last swim lesson at the pool!  It was so amazing, and you acted like it was no big deal.  You are such a rockstar!  You keep asking about when school will start, when you’ll be in the 4s class, and when you can start ballet. Soon, sweetie.  Right now, let’s enjoy this time together and soak up the last of the summer.

Right now you love giving hugs and you’re such a big helper and such a sweet big sister.  Asha is so lucky to have you, even if it seems like a pain, always fighting over a toy or stuffed animal.  Thank you for being so patient with her.  I know she’s going through phase where you can’t reason with her, she wants what she wants.  But you’re doing a great job of working through your emotions and hers.  You’re getting so big.  I can’t believe that I have a 4 year old.  Where did the time go?

Dear Asha,

You have become SUCH a water baby!  You love splashing in the water and kicking your legs.  We play humpty dumpty you jump off the side of the pool to get wet.  I will definitely have to enroll you in some Mommy and me swim classes when Ariya is back in school.  I know you’ll love that.

You had such a great time at the beach with your cousins.  The sand, the sun.  Oh man, did you love putting the sand in your mouth :-/  I think you even tried to PUT A SNAIL IN YOUR MOUTH.  Yeah, I was not too happy about that.  You were very independent in the shallow water.  You’d just do your own thing, you hated me hovering.

While Ariya was in camp, you were a mess.  I thought we could have some fun times, just you and me, but you were not having it.  So we went to the gym a lot.  And played at home.  I wonder how this year with Ariya in school will be for you? I do have some fun things planned, like music class with Ms Karen at SCAA, and the mommy and me swim class at Kids First. Should be good times.

Your personality is so big Asha.  We joke that you’re such a terror.  I don’t know if it’s a 2nd child syndrome, or what.  But you definitely let your wishes known.  You’re finally saying Mommy (but you say it the way Ariya screams it when she’s downstairs and I’m upstairs, like MOMMMMMMYYYYYYYYYYY.  When you say it, I have a mini heart attack because I think something’s wrong. Nope, it’s just you repeating what you hear), and you wave and say Bye bye, and when daddy comes home from work  in the morning, you say Hiiiiiiiiii.  It’s the cutest thing.  I gotta get you on video starting to talk.  you’re definitely making a LOT of sounds and it’s the cutest thing ever.  But when you’re not happy, you let it be known.  Scratching, pinching, hair pulling.  Poor Ariya gets most of it.  We love you and wouldn’t have it any other way. But, maybe if you could just grow out of this phase soon, that would be awesome. K?

*all photos shot on film