Leaving Chennai, part 1 – Parks

At the end of this week, we leave Chennai for Mangalore. We are leaving more than just a city – it’s been our home for the past 5 1/2 years. When you leave a place where you have been for so long, memories abound. Like I did for the house we are leaving, I’m going to do some photo posts of places we have visited and things we have done that will forever be embedded in our hearts.

Parks is the topic for this first post. I’ve got thousands of photos of park outings, but I’m choosing the best ones to show you. These are from about 6 different parks that we have gone to regularly over the last 5 years.

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Logan at 19 months.

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2 years old.

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So handsome.

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Lila at 11 months old. She had just started walking and loved the park.

July 14

This was to become our favorite park, being only a 5 minute drive away. Because of that huge tower, it is aptly known as “Tower Park”.
Logan, 2 1/2, Lila 15 months. You can almost see Scarlett popping out of my tummy.

Aug 07

Learning to slide on her own.

Jan 32

This is one of my favorites. Lila, 21 months; Logan, 3 years.

Mar 19

I recall that this day was sweltering.

Apr 71

One of their favorite things to climb – the snail. Lila, 2 years.

May 24

The main fountain at Tower Park.

May 26

Scarlett, 6 months old.

June 25

A good view of the tower. It has a ramp to walk up that circles the tower all the way to the top. but it has been closed to the public for years. I’ve always wanted to see the view from up there.

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It’s a rare occasion when daddy can join us. Scarlett was 14 months old.

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Who knows what lands this snail has taken them too?

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Valentine’s Day, 2011.

Feb 116

First time alone on the swing. 15 months old.

Feb 134

Such fun, carefree times.

March 209

The day Logan graduated from preschool. Lila, almost 3; Scarlett, 16 months; Logan, 4 1/2 years.

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Trying out the skates she got for her third birthday.

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Fun times with daddy.

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Sweet.

May 117

My climber. Nothing can ever stop her from reaching the top.

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First time up in a tree.

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Scarlett, 1 1/2.

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These next few photos were taken at the beautiful botanical gardens.

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Time for some tricks. Lila, 4 years; Logan, 5 1/2 years.

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Spiral slides are such fun.

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Their favorite way to use the snail now. Logan and Scarlett are sitting on the antennae.

And that brings me to the end of the park photo collection. We will have one last goodbye trip before leaving. Of all the parks in the city, we have used this one the most, and I shall miss it.

The Little Joys of Summer

Summer is arriving to India once more. We didn’t think we’d be here for another summer but here we are all the same. Despite the heat and daily temperatures of 30 – 32C, it isn’t technically summer yet. It’s not even technically hot yet, seeing as in a month, temperatures will reach highs of over 40C.

Since we are leaving at the end of the month, lots of prep is going on. We promised the person who bought the dining set that we’d have it varnished for them, so today the person who is working on it took all the chairs, meaning there was nowhere to sit for school time.

So I gave the kids the day off from school, and this is what they did this morning.

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I can’t think of a greater summer joy than sitting in the warm sun, wet from water play, eating a large bowl of ice-cold watermelon.

Scarlett’s Accident

(This is a backlog post. It should have gone up June 3.)

There comes a time in every child’s life when they experience something that can make a mother’s heart stop.

With Logan, it was his premature birth and 10 day hospitalization. With Lila it was the time she drank turpentine at 2 years, 1 month old. Scarlett had yet to do something to freak me out severely (other than running off in a bookstore and hiding when she was 18 months old), but that changed last week.

I will have to begin with some background.

It was Monday, a rather stressful day for me because it is grocery shopping day. I used to shop alone with Scarlett while the other two were at school, but now with the arrival of summer holidays, I have no choice but to shop with all three kids.

Logan was already fussing when we got to the mall because we were only doing grocery shopping, and he wanted to go to the arcade and toy shop. He has no patience for shopping so he was running around, touching everything – every display, every shelf, every food item. He broke candy bars, crushed bags of chips and grabbed everything he could. Normally he is fairly obedient and can manage a trip to the store without too much wildness, but this day his hyperactive nature had taken over and it was all I could do to not yell at him right there. (He has ADHD.)

He continued to be wild during lunch and rest time, and on into the afternoon. He was mean to the girls and kept making them cry. Any sort of punishment didn’t faze him at all.

I finally decided to take the kids to the playground near our house, hoping that some outdoor play could burn some of his energy and tire him out. Yet he continued to be wild. Several times I had to pull him aside from his play as he was biting and pinching the other children. He even bit his own lip when he fell as he was racing up the slide.

The whole time I was keeping half an eye on the girls as they climbed the jungle gym. They are both quite good at it, so, while I stay near them, I don’t have to be right there. At one point I had to go to Logan again, and I didn’t see Scarlett follow me, nor did I see her climb the straight metal slide (not the ladder but the slide) until she was at the top.

She learned to climb the slide some time ago (barefoot), but I’m always next to her as there are no safety rails and she hasn’t yet figured out how to turn from her climb to sitting without putting her butt over the side. I’m sure you can guess what happened next.

It was almost like seeing something in slow motion. I saw her at the top of the slide. I saw her begin to turn, and then I knew she was going to fall. I was too far away to get there in time to catch her. I left Logan and forgot his naughtiness as I ran to my baby.

The slide was about 6 feet at the highest point and she fell from the top, landing in the sand flat on her chest and tummy, hitting her lips hard on one side. Horror stories that I had heard of kids dying from falling off a slide filled my mind, and I struggled to push them away so I could focus on Scarlett. At first she cried while I carried her to a bench and tried to clean the sand off her face, but then she was quiet, scarily quiet. She just sat on my lap and looked at everything. I kept asking her questions but she wouldn’t answer. I managed to round up Logan and Lila, and we rushed home. All I could think of was getting her home, putting ice on her ever-swelling lips, and helping her recover from the shock she was in.

She wouldn’t let me put ice on her lip, nor did she want me to get the sand out of her mouth, both of which made her cry. I was afraid she had some internal injury since she was so quiet. I called Glad, who was working on the other side of town, and told him what had happened.

He asked some questions and then reassured me that she was probably fine but to keep an eye on her.  I held her close and told her how sorry I was that I hadn’t been close enough to catch her. I couldn’t do anything but rock her. After about 30 minutes (from the time she fell) she began to move around. I put a video on for her and then went to my room to cry. The guilt I felt was massive. How had I not noticed her following me? Why wasn’t I paying more attention? Why hadn’t I been right there to catch her? It was awful.

Finally I realized I had some hungry kids on my hands so I forced myself to get up and cook dinner, even though I wasn’t very hungry and could hardly stand to look at food. Surprisingly, Scarlett ate a good dinner! I thought she might just have some yogurt because she could hardly open her mouth, but she figured a way to slip the food in on the side that wasn’t sore. (Fried chicken liver, French fries, and cucumber slices.)

Afterwards she was perky and climbing around, even jumping! She was fine as I showered everyone and got them ready for bed. I let her lie in my bed and she went to sleep quickly.

Glad kept checking in every hour, and he was sure she didn’t have any internal injury, since she was breathing well, had eaten and didn’t throw up, nor was she complaining of any pains other than her massively swollen lip and a sore chest. I, however, was still freaking out inside.

I kept her in bed with me all night. At one point she scared me by waking up and just sitting there and staring straight ahead. After what seemed like forever, she told me she wanted water and to get up, but it was only about 4 in the morning so I convinced her to go back to sleep.

In the morning her lip looked scary. The top one on the right side was big and puffy, the bottom about half the size. Above, below, and on her lips were all the tiny scratches that had scabbed overnight. Scarlett herself was perky as ever, ate a good breakfast, had a normal bowel movement, and showed every sign of being ok internally. But just to be safe, Glad took her to the hospital for a checkup.

I didn’t feel relief until they got home. The doctor had confirmed that she had no internal injury, and her lip was going to be just fine. The swelling went down rapidly over the next two days, so fast, in fact, that we could see a difference from one hour to the next. Now, exactly one week later, all the scabs are gone and there is no evidence that she had such a bad fall.

Since that day I’ve made sure to stay right next to her at the park whenever she is climbing. She is daring, like Lila, and will climb on most anything, so I can’t let her out of my sight. She may be a good climber, but she is still a toddler and doesn’t have as good balance as Lila does.

I shudder every time I think back on that moment when she fell. I’m thankful she fell from the 6’ slide and not the higher spiral one that she so loves. I’m thankful I wasn’t far when she fell, so I could pick her up right away. I’m thankful she wasn’t seriously injured. And I’m most thankful she is still here.

What has your child done to freak you out?

School? What School? We’re Still Home.

So after the bliss of sending them off to school yesterday, today the rain gods decided I needed to have them home longer. Heavy rains are predicted for this whole week, and when the rain is heavy, most schools close, especially the preschools and primary schools. So I woke to a message from Logan’s school saying it was closed, and a call from Lila’s school. The counselor was trying to call Glad but he kept hanging up on her and trying to go back to sleep (it was barely 7 a.m.) so she called me. He then had no choice but to get up and send a message to all the parents about school being closed – and then he went back to bed. Ha.

I do have a topic I want to write about but I’m gonna stick it in a separate post, a new My Thoughts on India post. Look for it soon. For now, here comes a photo update of random stuff that hasn’t been posted yet from October.

Logan made a new friend.

My girls have a stick obsession. Lila will collect sticks at the park and often looks like she is aiming to start a bonfire.

She was “fishing”.

 I did a test run of my fruitcake recipe and it turned out much better than expected, thanks to some tricks I learned about making fruitcakes. When I do my Christmas batch, I’ll write it up.

I snuck a photo in a toyshop that forbids photography. Naughty, naughty. 🙂

Scarlett is now without a bed, thanks to Lila for jumping in her bed and breaking the frame beyond repair. We had to throw it out. She is now on a mattress on the floor, and will most likely be there until we move as we are not investing in any new furniture this year. So far she is ok with it.

Goodbye to yet another faithful friend. It was used by all 3 of my kids but I guess it just couldn’t take the strain any more.

 I found this shirt for Scarlett. It sums her up completely. Logan and Lila think the caption is refering to the cupcake on the shirt. Ha.

 This one really doesn’t need an explanation.

So here’s to more rain, no sun, and being driven crazy. It is only 9:30 a.m. and Logan is asking every 5 minutes when we can go to the mall like daddy promised. In between he is making up fake words to “Jingle Bells” and teasing Scarlett. Save me already!

School Holidays + Monsoon = Perfect Recipe for Pulling My Hair Out

It is pouring rain, yet again, as I sit down to write. The kids are taking a late nap since they got up late. You see, school is out and the winter monsoon is here. Logan’s last day of school was last friday and Lila’s was last tuesday; both have holidays until the 28th with school starting again on monday the 29th.

Watching the rain.
We had grand plans for what we would do with 2 weeks of holidays. We were going to go to multiple parks, have picnics, go to the botanical gardens again, and perhaps even the zoo, plus a few malls. Ha. Wendesday morning the pouring began and it has yet to let up. Oh it stops for a short while but then it pours again. There is nothing quite like being woken at 5 a.m. by a thunderstorm and Scarlett crying to get into your bed.
So we have been housebound since wednesday. Not fun. The temperatures have dropped too, and I find myself wearing a sweater all day. Yesterday the high was supposed to be 29 deg.C but I don’t think it got up to there. Today is even cooler. Yet in the house we still need the fans, albeit on low or else it feels hot from the humidity. The evenings have cooled down enough that we no longer need the air conditioners. (And if you are thinking that is hot, summers around here get over 40C!)
They insisted on the hoods, even though it isn’t that cold.
Every few hours the rain starts and stops, slows and speeds up. This has resulted in flooding in the city, since the storm drains are never clear enough to keep floods at bay. While the summer monsoon is more sporadic, with ligher rainfall and still warm enough to make you want to run outside and cool off, this rain is colder and soaks you through.

Yesterday afternoon it cleared a little and there was even a hint of sun, so we went to the mall near our house. Of course it had to pour while we were there, but at least it was a change. And we barely made it home in time before it began raining again!

Here are a few pics from the mall.
Matching outfits – while they will still let me. 🙂

Wow, I just realised how much Scarlett looks like I did at that age!

 They always want to visit the jewelry shop that has a fish tank in the floor.

Feeding the fish.

I think they are Koi and there were some new ones, huge black catfish that were a good 12″ or more.

 Our next stop is always Landmark. They sell books, toys, stationary, movies, games, etc. and they have a Lego display for the kids to use. I snuck these photos cause I wasn’t sure if they had a no photography rule.

“Mommy, come see what I made!”

 The mall routine always involves multiple escalator rides, and then they want ice cream at some point. When I can afford it, I take them to a nice ice cream shop that sells scoops by weight and they have some amazing flavors; when I can’t, we go to McDonalds. Ha. Cones are cheap (rs.15 each) and they don’t care that there is only one flavor available.

She was looking so cute I took too many pics.

Today I tried to clean the house a little and the kids made sure to really be at each others throats, hence the late nap. I’ve been trying to keep them busy but they only last so long and then are begging to go outside. The problem is that there is nowhere dry to go play; parks and playgrounds are flooded, as are many streets. Walking is not an option. So I will again today put on music and try to get them to dance or run, and they will jump and fall all over each other on a mattress on the floor, and I will pray my sanity stays intact long enough to survive another week.

Here is a cute video I got of Scarlett last week. Notice how she has also inherited daddy’s singing ability.

I love how she goes up a key at the end and then goes back to the song. In case you didn’t catch that, she is singing “Old Macdonald” but it is her own version. She is saying “had a, had a cow, EIEIO, had a, had a pig, EIEIO. Neigh, neigh here, neigh neigh there.” Then repeat. 🙂

Memories Captured – October Linkup

“I did it, Mommy.” I’m starting to hear these words a lot more from my kids, especially Logan. For so long he didn’t want to do things himself; he never went through that “me do it” toddler phase. It was always “mommy do it” instead. Logan has recently learned to button buttons after much hard work and many tears. I actually didn’t realise that he could’t do it, because he never wore shirts with buttons and when I got him some button pj’s, I did them for him until daddy began asking why Logan didn’t do it himself.
Scarlett is at that stage now. Every day I hear “I do it self.”  Anything and everything she wants to do on her own. Here they are doing some paint with water books last Saturday after our big outing.

Another place I hear it a lot is during homework. Lila doesn’t want any help at all, unless she just can’t manage. 

Logan will still ask for help but has learned to do it himself.

Of course, the playground is a great place to do things yourself. Scarlett learned to swing on the jungle gym.

And Lila climbs to the very top.

Scarlett’s latest trick.
This kind of independence is a beautiful thing.

This linkup is brought to you courtesy of These Little Waves.

Lazy Saturday

It’s been a while since we had a lazy day. I often spend saturday cleaning and the kids spend most of it watching t.v. or playing, but they had been asking to go to the large park next to Lila’s school so we went this morning.

Since it is so close to home (5 minutes by auto) we left at 10:30 and spent a good 2 hours playing there. Being October, the weather has cooled down considerably. During the hotter months you don’t want to be out after 11 a.m. but today the high was not too bad at 35 deg.C, so long as we stayed in the shade. (If that sounds terribly hot to you, remember that our summer this year was 43 deg.C. and extremely humid.)


Logan is getting bolder with climbing.
This one has always been a monkey. 🙂

This is the first time they’ve climbed this on themselves.

She stuck with her favorite – the swings.

“Mommy, come take my picture.”

 After we finished at the park, we headed across the street to a bookstore/giftshop and picked up a few discount books – some paint with water books, a book of poems, a Richard Scarry story (they love those), and a special Winnie the Pooh one that I am saving for Christmas. They’ve been asking for that one for a while and I grabbed it now because it was the last one there.

The whole time Logan was asking for strawberry ice cream and I was wracking my brain trying to think of a place in the immediate area that served ice cream. Then I remembered a place that was only a short distance away that we had seen numerous times but had never been in. It is a small shop that serves ice cream sundaes and special drinks, but the attraction is that it is called Ice Age and is full of the movie characters.

Mommy dino!

 Scarlett found the 3D wall art scary and refused to let me put her down so I had to hold her the entire time we were in the shop. She does love the Ice Age movies though. I guess these looked to big and real for her.

Enjoying their strawberry ice cream.

The opposite walls were all mirrored so it looked much larger than it was.

Best way to get a group pic.

Lila says goodbye to Mama dino.

And upon arriving home at almost 2 p.m., all kids went straight to bed and are still sleeping now. No cooking (yet) today. Yep, it was snack foods for breakfast and ice cream for lunch. Not bad, huh? I will make them a good dinner – homemade pizza.

Memories Captured – July Edition

It is again time to link up some favorite photos via These Little Waves monthly photo meme, Memories Captured.
Sitting in a tree is such fun … especially the first time you do it.

I love hairstyles. Maybe one day she will have the patience to let me do french braids.

Blue day at school for Lila.

Daddy and his girls. They love him to bits!

On a recent rainy afternoon we made a tent in between the dining table and the couch.

Even daddy crawled in when he got in from work.

What special memories do you have this month?

Memories Captured Linkup – May

Today I am linking up with These Little Waves for their monthly photo meme.
Whether she is coloring …

wearing my shoes…

or just looking cute, she melts my heart.


Just woke up. (18 months old)

 This morning we went to the park early – left by 9 a.m. to get some time in before the real heat hit. Lila and Scarlett learned to move the swings on their own.

So cute.

He has yet to figure out how to swing.

Little Joys

Summer is upon us, suddenly, overnight it seems. It isn’t yet hot enough for air conditioners but the fans are in constant motion, we are guzzling water, juice and popsicles.

When I was out shopping with the girls a few mornings ago, I picked up a popsicle mold. I had thought about getting one long ago but I think it was the heat that morning that told me to go for it. Ha. I can blame it on the weather.
Well, I brought it home and made some popsicles with the Tang I had in the fridge, and the kids enjoyed them after their nap.

Orange Tang popsicles, right next to my cold coffee.

Her first “on my own” popsicle.

What is better than one popsicle? Two, of course!

I’ve made some every day since and the kids ask for them at odd times, but I figure, why not? It is juice, they get to cool off and get some liquid in, and I get some peace and quiet for as long as it takes them to eat one. The only rule I made is that they must eat it on the balcony so I don’t have to clean drips off the floor.
Aside from orange, I have made grape and banana ones. The banana I mixed with milk and a little cinnamon so they were a little more like ice cream. Yum!

                                                         The little joys of life!

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