Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Bye bye Budida

Budida, our great grandmother, and Mommy's Granny, died yesterday. She was 96 and had had a wonderful life. This picture is of one such recent happy event in all our lives (yes, even mine, because I am actually in this picture, 6 months old in my Mommy's tummy); my Mom and Dad's Indian wedding in February 2008, 8 months after their English nuptials (I am, you see, on the right side of the law). They wanted to have the ceremony at home so Budida could attend. And Budida despite many operations and illnesses, enjoyed every moment of it, as was her wont.

Budida was a lady in charge of her destiny from an early age. She was orphaned young but being the eldest of her siblings, took it upon herself to bring them up. She put herself through university too and then got involved with the Indian freedom struggle, quite enjoying her one night in jail, as a result (that's where Mommy gets her relish for strange situations). Her marriage to a fellow freedom fighter and rising young economist, took her all over the world. She learnt ballroom dancing on the streets of New York, hitchhiked her way through England (on her own, in a sari, in the 1950's) and when she returned to Calcutta, she caused quite a sensation driving 'round in the Buick they'd brought home. But if she drove a fancy car occasionally, she spent more time tramping through rural Bengal spreading awareness about population control and empowering women from the villages with information about birth control. She even wrote a book about it (fortunately Mommy never read it, or I might not have got my little sister). She was involved with charitable causes, specially to do with children's health, all her life. I would tell you more but I am only four and a half and get tired of typing after a while (not like Mommy who types a lot. A lot). But my little fingers will toil on for a minute more because no tribute to Budida is complete without mentioning what an amazing mother, grandmother and great grandmother she was. She was strong, brave, loving and talented (her culinary flair is still talked about) with a real love for life. Mommy said to me yesterday that if she could be half the woman her Budida was then she would have done a good job. I gave Mommy a tight squeeze and said she was doing a great job. And with that, I bid you goodbye; bye bye Bloggies and goodbye Budida, we will love you and think of you forever.


Sunday, 30 September 2012

Charlie's Little Angels

Once upon a time there were two occasionally naughty children called Syon and Ayana. They were actually mostly good. But they were also high-spirited and creative; terrific qualities which sometimes led them into mischief, especially when they were together! Then, one day, Charlie, the F2 monkey came to spend the weekend with them. Syon and Ayana remembered when F1 Monkey had come to visit, and how sad they felt when he had returned to school. This time, they were determined to be so well behaved that Charlie would never want to leave.

All weekend, Syon & Ayana said “please” and “thank you”. They didn’t blow raspberries or shout at each other. They ate every last morsel at mealtimes and even tidied their toys away at night. On Saturday, as Ayana was under the weather, Syon took Charlie with him to the supermarket. They bought all the ingredients they needed for the pizza they were making that evening.
They were making their pizza from scratch. They helped Daddy mix, knead and shape the dough. When the base was ready, Syon, Ayana & Charlie spread the sauce, sprinkled on the cheese and added all the yummy toppings they had chosen. Syon chose mushrooms, Ayana, salami and Charlie, a banana! Nobody else wanted banana on their pizza, so Charlie was gently coaxed into opting for olives instead. The end result was so delicious that everyone was happy (and very, very full)! It was also so much fun to make, Syon decided to share the recipe (at the end of this story) with everyone in the Orange Group.

Then, it was time to snuggle up in their beds for the night. Last Christmas, Syon and Ayana had asked for bunk beds so they could sleep in the same room, as they liked doing everything together. Now that Charlie was part of the gang, he would join them that night in their very special bunk bed (which was sometimes a spaceship, a cave, a pirate ship and a lots more fun things during the day).

But something strange happened as Syon & Ayana lay sleeping; Charlie slipped away to make a phone call. Syon, a light sleeper, heard the scuttle of little monkey feet and the beep of the telephone, and so crept down to see what was happening. He saw Charlie perched on the counter chattering excitedly into the kitchen phone. He could only catch the tail-end of the conversation, “They are little angels, I’m sure they won’t mind!”

A groggy Syon (and a more rested Ayana) woke the next morning to shrill squeals and happy hoots. Their room was packed to the rafters…with monkeys! Big and small, spotty or stripey, smiling and grumpy- every kind of monkey imaginable! Mommy and Daddy, drawn by the noise, was taken aback to see so many monkeys (on top of the two they already had, plus Charlie) in their home. That’s when Charlie with a beaming smile announced that he had so enjoyed his visit he had decided to stay. And not just him, his entire family would be moving in!

Syon & Ayana loved Charlie but they weren’t sure about having a whole gaggle of monkeys to stay…forever! They looked imploringly at Mommy and Daddy as this was clearly a job for grown-ups. Mommy and Daddy gently drew Charlie aside (what they had to say might, after all, offend the other monkeys). They assured Charlie they loved him and even liked his family, but could not accommodate them all, year-round. The monkeys would always be welcome in their home, especially Charlie, who was such a bundle of fun.

Charlie blushed with pleasure at this compliment. Being a clever monkey, he realised that hosting his family of three dozen, was a tough ask for anyone. So, he happily agreed to visit instead, just by himself (every chance he got)!

And Charlie and the Little Angels parted the best of friends, with special memories of a wonderful weekend together.

Charlie's Pizza
500g strong white flour
10g sea salt
5g dried yeast
300ml warm water
30ml olive oil
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 tube tomato puree
½ small onion finely sliced
½ red pepper sliced
Sliced peperoni
Sliced mushrooms
Green olives
Grated cheese
1 banana sliced (optional)
1.          Mix all the base ingredients together and knead for 15 minutes until the dough is elastic and stretchy
2.          Place dough in a bowl, cover and leave to rest for 1 hour
3.          Preheat the oven to 230°C
4.          Roll out the dough onto a sheet of baking paper until it is about 5mm thick.  Cover with cling film and leave to rise for ½ hour
5.          Spread the tomato puree evenly over the pizza base and top with the cheese
6.          Sprinkle the remaining toppings over the top of the pizza
7.          Transfer the pizza to the top shelf of the oven, placing the baking paper/base directly onto the wire shelf (use a flat baking tray to slide the base on and off)
8.          Bake for 12-15 minutes

Friday, 1 June 2012

A big 'sorry' to everyone who's tried to see the slideshow but couldn't, due to the technical difficulties we've been experiencing (and while that's usually IT speak for 'tea break', it really is true in this case:-))! So, while we try to sort this out, please click on the photo below to view our birthday album. It's not as hi-tech as a slideshow but far more reliable (fingers crossed)!

Now the slideshow (on the right) is up and running too. So, take your pick; you can view our birthday photos two different ways. However you do it, I hope you enjoy it!
Birthdays: Daddy & Syon

The Fabulous Birthday Boys

As promised, but much later than intended, here are the photos (new slideshow on the right) of two very important birthdays in our family- Dada's and mine! We had a great time; hope you enjoy the pics!

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

I am 4 Today!

Mommy and Daddy can't believe how quickly time's flown and how big a boy I am now! This will be a year of milestones, they say, with pride, pleasure and just a hint of parental concern. But, bring it on, I say, because I've got so much fun lined up for this year!

I'll be starting 'Proper School', visiting exciting new places, getting involved with new activities, making new friends and most of all, just getting better and better at all the things I already do so well. So, drop in when you can because I'll have so much to tell you, starting with an account (and photos) of my birthday party, very very soon!

Thursday, 26 April 2012

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DADDY!!! We love you more than words can express (so we won't even try). Hope you have a wonderful day and an even better year! All our love, Ayana, Syon & Mommy

Monday, 9 April 2012

Spring in Our Steps

Spring seemed to have followed us home from India as we enjoyed a wonderfully warm spell just before Easter. For a brief space, we were able to spend all our time outside, playing in the Close and enjoying Dada's barbecues in the garden.

One such sunny day, we celebrated Mother's Day with a big bouquet of beautiful dark pink tulips for Mommy (so huge she had to split it into two vases), and a book she's wanted for a while. She loved our presents but she was particulary thrilled to get our handdrawn cards. Syon made her a patchwork handbag card and I drew a pretty pink flower just for Mommy. And we made dinner for her too! With a little help from Daddy, we made a pizza from scratch, topping our homemade crust with cheese, tomatoes, salami, ham and olives. Mommy said it was the best she'd ever had!

But that lovely sunny spell was over before we knew it, and it was drizzling and grey again, even snowing on a couple of occasions!

Despite that the Easter weekend was delightful, with Daddy at home for four days, meeting 'Sashi Mashi' for the first time (sharing a dosa with her at our favourite South Indian restaurant and then chasing pigeons together in the central square) and then, of course, we spent Easter Sunday with the Handley clan which was as much fun as ever.

We bagged a load of scrummy chocolate Easter eggs on our Egg Hunt with Alex and Eleanor 'round Grandma and Grandad's garden (and that was on top of all the other delicious Easter eggs we received from everybody)! Mommy says we have to pace ourselves and make them last till Christmas like always, but this year we know where they're hidden!

One of the highlights of our Easter weekend was the Easter Bunny's visit on Monday afternoon, and you'd never guess what he brought us- a dolls' house, an absolutely gorgeous dolls' house, bigger than us, and for both of us, because the Easter Bunny doesn't believe in gender stereotyping (it is strange how the Easter Bunny, Santa and the Puja Fairy, all seem to agree with Mommy and Daddy on every issue, but when you're as busy playing as we are, you really don't have the time to dwell on these things)!

We love the dolls' house to bits but as with everything else we have devised our own games 'round it. Not for us conventional tea parties and slumber time for dollies. Our dolls' house has beds that fly, science experiments in the kitchen, dolls who climb out of the balcony rather than use the perfectly serviceable staircase and strangest of all, a horse, that has made iself at home in the bathtub!

The Best Exotic Didou-Dadu Hotel

But our fun in the sun started long before the Easter high jinks, with our trip to Bangalore and Kolkata in February-March.

First, we went to B'lore to see our Baby cousin Mia. Mia is an adorable baby with a beaming smile and big dark eyes. We told Ma-sheep that she had inherited Ma-sheep's big cheeks and big feet, much to Ma-sheep's delight. I think the rumpus we created startled Mia to start with but she soon grew used to the din, and even began to join in (this pleased Ma-sheep no end, clearly:-)). Mia took a shine to Syon especially (as he's bigger and she's not used to small people) and he in turn was very protective of her (which was fine with me, I got to do my own thing for a change, while he was mucking about with Mia)!

Meeting Mia was the best bit but we also enjoyed all the good food Ma-sheep served up. Our favourites were the ones beginning with D- dosa, dal and dalmut...with dollops of ice cream!

Our B'lore sojourn was only slightly spoiled by our synchronised, marathon puking in the taxi to the airport, to catch our flight to Kolkata. It was a long drive through crowded streets, and jet lag and travel sickness got the better of us. Daddy thinks it a pity that it's not a sport at the London Olympics this year, because he's convinced we'd be a shoo-in for the gold medal, if it were!

And then we were on our way to The Best Exotic Dadu-Didou Hotel, where every year we have had the warmest welcome, fantastic fun in the sun and the most mouthwatering dishes.

This year was just as good. There was sunshine everyday and visits from (and to) friends and family (Bilky Mashi who was in Kolkata, came up to play with us regularly, adding to the fun). There were presents aplently (beautiful clothes for the summer and terrific toys to keep us entertained in Kolkata and thereafter). There were many afternoons on the terrace riding our singing tricycle. And, of course, those thoroughly enjoyable trips to the Calcutta Rowing Club where we could run to our hearts content, eat our favourite strawberry-vanilla ice cream (and some spicy chilli chicken for the grown-ups that we really took to), and watch the geckos and birds and bugs enjoying the sunshine as much as us!

We enjoyed our visits to Budida and Pishi Dida downstairs although both were unwell this time, 'Binky Mashi' made up for it with her wholehearted involvement in our madcap games.

We also visited lots of groovy great aunts and uncles and a couple of gatherings called 'funerals' which we thought were quite nice too, with the pretty flowers everywhere and all the friendly attention we received, and they always had lovely songs to dance to (but everytime we did that, Mommy and Daddy seemed to take that as a cue to take us home for some reason)!

Poor Dadu was rushed off his feet this time with all the sickness amongst family and friends and not very well himself but he still found the time to play with us on the terrace, at the mall and at the Rowing Club. He was also the principal babysitter when I wanted someone to play with at the crack of dawn, and Mommy and Daddy opted for that truly rare thing in their lives; a lie-in!

Didou, of course, was the organiser-in-chief of all the fun we had (and the feasting). Alo-di, our longtime cook, was her very able assistant and an absolute wizard in the kitchen.

Every meal is a banquet at Didou's place. Each dish is delectable and rarely repeated. You actually have to put in a special request if you want an encore. In fact, Mommy starts a list of everything she wants to eat in Kolkata, months in advance (because, as every gastronome knows, there's no end to the different, delicious dishes you can dip into in Kolkata). Best of all, we learnt to make the perfect 'chapati' from Alo-di this time!

We have just enough time before dinner to tell you about the highlight of our trip to Kolkata this year and that was playing 'Dol'. The Festival of colours ('Dol' or 'Holi') is celebrated in the Spring in India and this year, we were old enough to participate.

Besides the food, the fashion and the get-togethers that are an intrinsic part of any festival in India, the festival of colours has a very unique and especially enjoyable feature (specially if you're kids who like messin')- the water fights! Masses of people come out of their houses to fling vividly coloured powder and buckets full of coloured water at each other. The colours are not harmful but they do take quite a few showers to wash off, so for days afterwards people go to work and school in exotic shades of pink, blue and green!

Because we are so young, we had to settle for a watered-down (haha) version of the mass waterfight but it was like nothing we'd ever experienced before and a barrel (literally) of laughs!

The whole family trooped to the terrace armed with buckets, pistons and packets of pink powder. And then when everyone was present and accounted for (except Dadu who pretended to have work so he could sneak up after the worst was over), we let loose!

No-one was safe. Everyone, including Dadu who joined us late, was drenched and a very pretty pink when we were done. Syon didn't think he was wet enough, so, kept pouring water over himself or sticking his head under the tap till the grown-ups decided he was begging for a proper dunking, but somehow I got caught up in it too, and we ended up as wet as two half-drowned kittens.

We didn't want it to end, but unfortunately, like all good things, it did, and we had to get washed and dry for lunch, but only after we'd been promised a waterfight on every visit!

So, now, we must say adieu, as we've got to get on with all the wonderful things we've planned for the next few months. And if, sadly, you aren't able to be with us for some of these, then do drop in on our blog where we will (when we get a moment) post reports and photos of the non-stop action that is our lives!:-)

P.S. Check out the films below, and watch this space for our new India-Easter-Etc. slideshow!

Saturday, 11 February 2012

A Special Day

Well, we are all down with Writer's Block this week (that's like Flu in our house!), so although we would like to write about the wonderful time (and we did indeed have a fabulous day) we had at the Aunties Michelle's wedding last week, we are struggling to find the snappy sentences that would do it justice.

All we can offer you in these desperate times (after all, WB in our household is a very serious malady, sending us up walls and round the bend, hunting for those elusive magic words) is a cliche- that pictures speak a thousand words (and can sometimes take the load off a worried wordsmith's weary shoulders).

So, we've bunged on a tome of a slideshow (teeming with toddlers:-)), to share with you all the fun we had that day. There are captions though, don't forget to read those (best we could do in the midst of our phonetics famine).

Hope you enjoy the photos, and if you do, please leave a comment because when we are a little bit blue, we like to hear from you...

Friday, 30 December 2011

Syon & Ayana's Excellent Adventure (aka 2011)!

It's been a while since we talked, hasn't it? Too long. And with just a day to go before 2012, we have barely enough time to tell you what we did this marvellous year.

Our lives seem to have got jammed in fast forward mode since summer and busy toddler twosome that we are, we haven't had the time to sit back and reflect on the fun we've had, never mind write about it! We've had such a fabulous time and it's gone by so quickly, we really have struggled to keep you updated or even keep track for ourselves!

But now, we plan to do just that in the same joyous, breathless, full-on fashion in which we've lived the last few months.

The summer was devoted to great day trips with parents and grandparents. Grandad and Grandma took us to some amazing places like The Deep in Hull and the seaside at Bridlington. And then, Didou arrived and we were out and about having fun every weekend. Riding toy trains, fire engines and donkeys in Derbyshire, picnicking in Sherwood Forest, exploring Hampton Court, feeding the swans at Windsor and best of all, visiting Whipsnade Zoo!

But then it was time for Didou to leave and with cold,grey days just 'round the corner,we thought we'd had all the fun we could possibly have this year.

When suddenly, in mid-September, something happened that totally changed the way we lived from day to day- hanging out with Mommy, reading, playing, drawing, play-acting and nattering about everything under the sun- Syon started school! So while Syon was off having fun at school, packed full of woodland trips (which even Mommy and I got to join a couple of times), Halloween and Christmas parties, and a Christmas play in which he did a star turn as a Peekaboo Penguin (but that's another story we hope to get 'round to telling you some day)!

I made the most of the downtime by catching up on the sleep I'd lost all these months rushing around with Bro! While I slept, Mommy did some very important research on pre-WW I England by getting up to speed with Downton Abbey in the single kid-free hour she got in the afternoon.

When October came round, unbeknownst to us, there was more fun to be had! First, we got introduced to 'Dora Puja'. We went to Leicester one Sunday to see the 'Puja Fairy' and we saw not one but many beautiful sari-clad Puja fairies in the community halls and temples we visited. We also had some top-notch nosh at our last halt in a Leicester temple where the temple food was (as always) yummy, plentiful and absolutely free for everybody! We also danced to the Dhaki's beat (the Puja drummers) for the first time that day and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

And then it was Halloween, with all the dressing up fun it brings (I was a trendy toddler witch this year and Syon, a very dapper skeleton). And the swags of sweets, Daddy carving the scariest pumpkin, and Grandad and Grandma joining us for dinner and chocolate muffins (which the two of us had baked) made Halloween a real treat!

Then, my big day dawned and my parents threw me a wonderful Diwali-birthday combo party for my second birthday. The first one (on my first birthday) had been so well-received that Mommy & Daddy sent out invites asking people to come dressed in their best Indian gear again. Everyone looked really nice. I wore a very pretty orange and cream ghagra outfit that Didou had brought from India for me and Syon wore a bright, stripey kurta. Amongst our guests, our friends Freya and Evan's mom looked marvellous in her mauve sari and gold accessories and received the best-dressed prize for her terrific effort.

Daddy, as always, cooked up a scrumptious storm, and to top it all, we had a cake with my (literally) good-enough-to-eat photo on it!:-)The evening ended on a high when we followed up two rounds of sparklers for the kids in our diya-lit garden with a twinkling sky lantern that we sent floating off into the Milky Way (or maybe the motorway) to mark my very special day. And what a day it was- full of fun and food and fireworks, gifts and good wishes. Most of all, all my friends and family were there to celebrate my milestone with me, either in person or in spirit (if they lived in India)!

And then it was Christmas, with the festivities, as usual, starting a month early! We shopped, tucked into yuletide treats and attended the Christmas lighting-up at Grandma and Grandad's village. We spent a day at the Lincoln Christmas market and met Santa in Nottingham. We drew, posed for (though Daddy will spin you a yarn about how we barely sat still!) and posted Christmas cards, and received them by the sackful. We decorated our tree with colourful baubles, some of which we'd made ourselves.

Before you knew it, Christmas Eve was upon us. We had a wonderful day, just the four of us, playing, eating (delicious prawn cocktail and lovely spiced roast pork courtesy of Daddy), singing and doing Christmassy (and non-Christmassy) things that both toddlers and grown-ups with well-developed inner-children enjoy!

We left treats out for Santa and his reindeers that night in the hope that a suitably appeased Saint Nick would leave us a gift or two (we hadn't been as angelic as we'd meant to, this year)! To our delight and amazement, we woke up to stockings stuffed with presents and a veritable mountain of gifts underneath our tree. The list of things we got from everyone is so long and wonderful that we won't go into it here (hopefully, our TY cards will find their way to you soon enough).

Christmas and Boxing Day with Mommy, Daddy, Grandma and Grandad and the rest of our English clan were splendid. We played with the new toys we'd received (and with some old favourites), chatted, sang, and sampled Grandma's brilliant baking. Then on 27th evening, we travelled to Uncle George's for the last of the family Christmas parties and ended the night having so much fun with our cousins that we didn't want to come away (the cocktail of olives and pickled onions we quaffed kept us going long after our bedtime)!

And now, it's bedtime again (a boring, recurring theme in our lives, unfortunately), and as we mean to squeeze as many fun things into the last day of the year as we possibly can, we must get some shut-eye. So, thank you for being our friend through 2011 and though it's goodbye for this year, we know we have so much to look forward to, with you, in 2012!

G'night folks and farewell 2011!

P.S. Do check out the new slideshow of all the fun we've had this winter, its summer counterpart should be up and running soon too!

Monday, 10 October 2011

Monkey in the Middle

Three weeks into Pre-school, Syon was given his first school project- a report on the weekend he spent with a toy monkey he brought home from school. Part fact, part fiction, it's gone down really well at his school, so we thought we should share it with you!

Monkey had always prided himself on spreading cheer wherever he went. With an infectious grin that could melt the hardest heart, and a shock of tangerine hair that stood straight up and put smiles on the faces of everyone around him, Monkey was always a hit with the families he visited.

What he hadn’t anticipated, when he asked to spend the weekend with 3 and a bit year old Syon and his 22 month old sister, was how BIG a hit he would be with them! So, he packed his little suitcase like always, without any inkling of the hair-raising experiences in store for him, and got ready to go on another one of his mini-holidays.

When Mommy and Ayana came to pick Syon up from school that day, Monkey shook hands politely (he was a very suave monkey), hopped on the buggy board with Syon whom he already knew well from the time they spent together in school, and rolled home with them.

And that’s when everyone’s world turned upside down!

Ayana had grown in leaps and bounds over the previous year and was able to join her big brother in any activity. Syon considered her his very best friend. So, Ayana was a little taken aback when Syon chose to play with Monkey that afternoon and not her!

Her own feelings about this interloper in their midst were rather mixed. She wanted him to go home so she could have Syon back, but she also wanted to play with Monkey all by herself. She was surprised at how sorry she felt for herself because she was the happiest little girl in the world. Syon, who loved her to bits, was so immersed in playing with his new companion, he hadn’t even noticed how blue she was feeling.

The next day, Mommy and Daddy took Syon and Ayana to the Goose Fair. Monkey was their Guest of Honour on this, their first ever trip to the Goose Fair, and Syon made room for him in his much-loved Bob the Builder backpack. Ayana, not to be outdone, slipped on her own Peppa Pig rucksack, and they were on their way.

The sky was clear, the sun was shining, and despite the nip in the air, it was a lovely day to be at the Fair. Syon, Ayana, and Monkey rushed around happily, picking all the rides they wanted to try.

Syon got to pick first and he decided they would all ride on a lovely, red fire engine with real bells you could ring as you went ‘round. Tired, after the fun but frenetic ride in the fire engine, they took a candy-floss break before moving on to more thrills and spills. Then, it was Ayana’s turn to choose and she chose a giant, musical, green teacup for their next adventure. Another magical ride and many shared giggles later, the clouds had begun to roll in threateningly (almost out of nowhere) and it was nearly time to go.

But not before Monkey got to pick one last treat. With his keen eye for fun, Monkey plumped for a game of hook-a-duck with a turn each for Syon & Ayana (Monkey himself abstained as rubber ducks were amongst his best friends and he didn’t want to snare them with pointy hooks). The kids enjoyed it thoroughly though and each won a nice little toy to add to their growing collection at home.

Just then the heavens opened up! A flustered Mommy and Daddy rounded up the kids, their bags, their toys and were just about to herd them all to the tram stop when they realised that Monkey was missing!


As big fat raindrops tumbled down, there was a mad scramble to find Monkey before the next tram rolled in. Syon looked in his Bob bag, just in case Monkey had jumped in to keep dry. Ayana, the smallest in the family, looked under the Hook-a-Duck stall to ensure Monkey hadn’t taken cover there. Daddy did a circuit of the fairground and Mommy checked her capacious handbag to make sure Monkey wasn’t hiding in it.

Downhearted and deflated, they all piled into the tram wondering where poor Monkey had got to. No-one noticed the telltale bulge in Ayana’s Peppa Pig bag, because the occasional packet of raisins or a bangle or two aside, nothing was ever in there.

Monkey knew they were worried about him but couldn’t pop his head out to reassure them because he couldn’t find his way out of the bag. He wasn’t entirely sure how he’d got in there either. One minute he was perched on Syon’s shoulder, egging him on to hook a duck, the next minute, they were in the middle of a deluge and he was being bundled into Ayana’s little pink bag by unseen (tiny, little, soft) hands.

But who would put Monkey in the WRONG BAG?!!

It was only when a still-upset Mommy was shaking out all the bags and hats and things to dry before bedtime, that fateful night, that Monkey finally escaped from his Peppa Pig prison. Syon was elated to see Monkey, his parents were relieved but someone with tiny, little, soft hands looked a bit guilt-ridden and shifty.

The next morning, Monkey, being the gentleman he was, explained that it had all been his fault. In the confusion of being caught in that sudden shower, Monkey had dived into the pink bag thinking it was Syon’s blue and yellow Bob the Builder backpack. Mommy and Daddy told Monkey they were just glad he was safe (and dry) but they were concerned that Monkey was colour-blind (how else could you account for his confusing pink with blue and yellow?) and they suggested they all ride into town for an eye-test.

Gallant Monkey, who was fairly sure he knew what had happened, agreed to go through with it, to shield the little scallywag with the soft little hands whom he’d grown very fond of (as fond as he was of Syon).

So, the next day they all piled into the car to visit the optician. Monkey was nervous but determined not to rat on anyone. At the optician’s, a big man with great, big, misty glasses and cold hands placed Monkey into a huge, black chair that totally dwarfed him. The man asked Monkey in a booming voice to identify the colours he could see before him. Monkey was so very frightened he couldn’t get a single colour right but he was determined not to spill the beans, so he soldiered on, resigned to his fate.

But when the man brought his face inches from Monkey’s and cackled, “This monkey will definitely need glasses!”, big wet tears began rolling down Monkey’s face. Suddenly, little sobs could be heard from the other end of the room, as if there was an echo there.

Mommy, Daddy and Syon turned to see Little Ayana crying her eyes out. “Oh Monkey”, she sobbed,” I didn’t mean for this to happen! I just wanted to be the one who saved you from getting wet in the rain yesterday, that’s why I slipped you into MY BAG. I wanted you to love me best. I’m so sorry!”

As Mommy and Daddy drew her into a loving embrace to comfort her, Monkey (who now no longer needed glasses) hopped off the scary chair to give her a special Monkey squeeze. “Don’t worry Ayana”, he said, “I love you and Syon equally. You are amongst my favourite little people!”

But most importantly, Syon hugged Ayana and told her that there was nobody in the world more important to him than his little sister (not even a very special visiting monkey)! And they all went home happy, munching on chocolate chip cookies.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Snippets From This Summer

We've been so busy doing (and saying) entertaining things this summer, we've had no time to write. And now, Didou's here, we're out and about even more, with less time (can you have less than zero?!) to blog.

So finally, we've deputised Mommy to update you because it really has been ages since you heard from us. But Mommy hears everything we say and is the best person for the job (it's not like she's got anything else to do!), so she's agreed to put together some soundbites from this summer for your amusement (we hope)!

Take it away, Mommeeee...

Mommy: As the children asked me very nicely (they even threw in a 'please' or two!) to post an update of their activities on their blog (and because they do keep me very busy, whatever they might think!), I have patched together snatches of my conversations with them over the last 3 months.

Some of you would have read these on my Facebook page, others might have heard me relate them, and a select few amongst you would've been lucky enough to have heard them holding forth on life, the universe, and everything, with your own ears!

Here's some of their chatter and a new slideshow (which I agreed to throw in at water-gun point!) of their splendid summer (so far)...

My 21 month old daughter came running to me the other day, "Look Mommy, there's a man at the window!" I turned to see the window cleaner and was about to reassure her when she laid a firm hand on my arm and said in a soothing voice, " He's not naughty Mommy, you do NOT have to hide." Our role reversal was complete, 30 years sooner than I expected! (August 2011)

Whatever my 3 year old son has to show me these days, whether it's one of his wonderful Lego creations or something far less attractive (slugs, scabs and worse!), is preceded by a Ringmaster’s sonorous “Ladies and Gentlemen”, then presented with a dramatic flourish, and a proud “Tadah!" (August 2011)

Embarrassingly for my husband, ANY loud, reverberating noise makes our 20 month old daughter exclaim, "Daddy's trumping again"! Poor Daddy, he's not that bad! (July 2011)

I asked my 19 month old daughter her name and she beamed and said proudly,"Ayana Hanky"! (July 2011)

In my quintessentially Bengali Mom way, I was telling my kids how I hoped they'd 'live down the road' from me when they grew up, when my little boy piped up anxiously, "We can't live down ON the road, Mom. We'd get run over!" (June 2011)

Even before my 19 month old daughter started speaking in sentences, she had mastered all the really essential phrases, like 'not me!' to defend herself against accusations of wrong-doing (when she was innocent and especially when she was NOT!). But sometimes, she gets her timing wrong, like the other day, when she yelled 'Not me!' BEFORE tipping her beaker of juice over in full view of everyone! (June 2011)

A line in my 3 year old son's favourite episode of 'Bob the Builder' about a cowboy who could ride anything, 'even a tornado', had my little boy rolling with laughter. When I asked him what was so funny, he looked at me as if I was slow and said incredulously, "Ride a tomato? A TOMATO?? No-one can ride a tomato!" (June 2011)

As I tidied my son, the table, and my daughter after another messy meal, my son kept pestering me to clean his little sister first, who, having insisted on feeding herself in her usual fiercely independent way, was looking like The Swamp Thing. I finally gave in and cleaned her to the delight of her brother who pronounced, with a broad 'I told you so' grin, "See Mommy, Sis is pretty when she's clean!" (June 2011)

My son looked me up and down yesterday and asked; "Are you a Little People (a child)?" on account of my height. When I explained that I was a small-sized 'Big People', he nodded sagely and said (in the same tone of voice I adopt when advising him), " You must eat more!" (May 2011)

My one year old daughter really minds her P's & Q's at the table. She always makes it a point to bid adieu to the bits she doesn't want before she drops them on the ground under her high chair. 'Bye bye Chicken', 'Bye bye Tomato' you can hear her chime in her pretty baby voice before the unequivocal SPLAT SPLAT SPLAT of her dinner hitting the floor! (May 2011)

My son informed me that the cream that we'd been applying for a skin complaint of his was turning him into a horse, and that we should be careful not to apply too much because while he didn't mind becoming 'a little neigh', he didn't want to grow too big to live in our house! (May 2011)

S&A: Mommy's had to go, to mess about with dirty dishes which she seems to enjoy doing lots of! But she's promised that if you write to us to say you enjoyed these snippets, she'll stick more on, every few months (alongside our own more literary efforts, of course)! Hope you like the slideshow too.

Cheerio, for now...

P.S. The slideshow will be on as soon as Mommy can string it together. Watch this space!

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Shiver Me Timbers!

...Can you believe it (mommy says she can't), I'm 3 now?! It doesn't feel all that long ago that I was embarking on my blogging enterprise and welcoming you into my world. And yet three years have passed since then. Most of it has been marvellous, with a few sticky moments (e.g. landing up in A&E when dropped on my face on concrete by an older playmate, and the like).

You've been with me all the way, holding my hand and smiling your encouragement (I say 'smiling' because while quite a few of you drop in on my blog fairly regularly, very few of you say anything; but I can understand that, I'm shy myself:-))!

I'm certainly not complaining, it's been a wonderful adventure with my family and friends (both real and virtual). I wouldn't call it a roller coaster ride (everyone's favourite life-metaphor); I couldn't possibly call it that, as I've never been allowed on one, but it has been the merriest carousel round ever! So, thank you, thank you, for tagging along with me through my toddler years and adding that extra dollop of fun only a blogging baby can have.

To mark this milestone (my 3rd birthday, and not my long and heartwarming association with you my blog-buddies, though we shall celebrate that too, one day), I had the bounciest, jolliest pirate party ever! I've posted a slideshow so you can see for yourself, but there are things the pictures won't tell you (mostly because my parents missed some V.I.P's- Very Important Photos!)...

It was a lovely, sunny day for a shindig and when everyone had gathered and thrown on the pirate paraphernalia (skull and crossbones hat, eye patch and cutlass!) we'd got for them, we kicked off the festivities with an easy-peasy treasure hunt that even the tiniest tike (aka. Sis-sis) could enjoy. Grandma and Grandad had hidden the little packages of chocolate doubloons very cleverly 'round the garden so that it would keep us canny Corsairs busy just long enough for Mommy and Daddy to serve the first round of my buccaneer's banquet!

Once we'd each found our share of hidden treasure, we trooped into the dining room for a mouth-watering Mediterranean morsel or two (a morsel is a misnomer because at our house, it's never a 'nibble' but a 'gobble' with the vast quantities of food we dish up) courtesy of Daddy!

This was followed by a sumptuous spread of sweet treats; wibbly-wobbly jellies with our names on 'em, chocolate crunchies with nautical stars sprinkled across, ice cream and strawberry gateau, gingerbread pirates with chocolate chip eye patches Mommy and Daddy had painstakingly iced on the previous night, but best of all was my favourite chocolate cake sitting in the middle of the Corsair-cloth draped table with a huddle of ol' sea dogs atop it, caught in the act of discovering hidden treasure!

The birthday candles were pirates too ( with a couple of wax galleons as backdrop). It looked splendid lit up for that split-second before I blew it all out and carved up a very big chunk (for myself, I'd hoped, but alas)! Despite the amazing amount of chocolate cake I quaffed I managed to keep my beautiful, blue pirate top and shorts (a much loved gift from Ma-sheep) in tip-top condition which my Great-great Aunty Nellie was quick to notice and commend!

Then, all the kids and some of the adults tumbled back out into the sunshine again to set sail on my bouncy galleon. As the adults sedately sipped their drinks, we weathered mighty storms, routed rival gangs of rovers (armed with water guns and looking suspiciously like Aunty Michelle), quelled a perilous mutiny (engineered by my sister, no less) and more!

When we'd had enough (or rather the adults had had enough, because we kids can never get enough of the bouncy castle!), we sat down to look at the treasure-trove of gifts my friends and family had lavished on me for my birthday.

I snagged skittles, and a golf set, sweets and smart clothes (Wu-wu underpants give me wings! Wings, I said, not wi..!). I also got some great reads,a fun board game and cracking creative toys like Lego cars (perfect in every detail, G&G will know what I mean!), engrossing jigsaw puzzles and spacescapes (and my favourite 'naughty' toy- a water gun!)

Mommy & Daddy gave me an awesome castle with knights, dragon, Trebuchet et al, a hobby horse I've named 'Button' (Sis-sis got one too), and much more! I loved it all so much, I've even persuaded Mommy to keep some of the ripped-up pirate wrapping paper that G.G. Aunty Nellie thoughtfully bought me!

And before you knew it, it was going-home time. As I handed out the buccaneer balloons that had decked the hulls (hoho) and the loot bags, I thought to myself- what a wonderful, wonderful party, I could do with having another one very soon!

P.S. Thanks also to those who couldn't be there for my party, their wishes and long-distance kisses made my actual birthday (a couple of days later) very, very special!

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Eggsiting Events!

Who doesn't love a good milestone, especially when there's a chocolate Easter egg or two tucked away behind it? Well, Sis-sis celebrated one such milestone a couple of days ago when she participated in her first ever Easter egg hunt (she was about four months old last time so she had to 'sit' it out)!

All the 'big people' in our family hid scrummy chocolate eggs in Grandad & Grandma's garden, and then us, 'little people', sniffed them all out! Sis-sis found just as many as us bigger kids (Cousin Eleanor is over four and I'm almost three) with a tiny bit of help from the grown-ups. The chocolate eggs we amassed on the hunt was on top of the delicious array we'd already received from all the family. My favourite is the chocolate dog I got from Grandma & Grandad. Sis-sis got a chocolate 'meow' from them but she likes it such a lot, I don't think she means to eat it! We gave Eleanor and Alex yummy eggs too with their names on it. We didn't just get eggs either, we got two cute tops from G&G, and we got a big box of Lego and a JUMBO dinosaur puzzle from Mommy and Daddy (instead of eggs which they know we'll get plenty of without their help)!

We had also taken along our new bouncy castle and all four of us had a hopping good time on it! The rest of the day we spent stuffing our faces with all the good food Grandma had made for us. In fact, Sis-sis set a record for the most olives ever eaten by a one year old!

The next big event is Daddy's birthday. That's tomorrow and we can't wait to give him the card we've made for him. We've got him little gifts too but we really couldn't think of anything really exciting because he always says he's got everything he needs (in us)! Anyway, Mommy says it's the thought that counts and that she might chuck in a nice meal to make it a good day for him. After all, someone as old as Daddy- thirty six(!!)- deserves a great birthday!

So, it's toodloo-pip-pip for now whilst we enjoy ourselves and I'll catch up with you again after my big day- my 3rd birthday party- on Sunday!

Sunday, 10 April 2011

'Spring'ing About!


Spring's not just in the air, it has landed! In fact, Summer seems to have come early, with the beautiful, bright, warm weekend we have just experienced.

To celebrate the onset of gorgeous, golden days, we decided to bring out that very special joint Christmas gift from Mommy and Daddy which we hadn't been able to use till now because of the cold and clammy Winter weather- our very own bouncy castle!!

Daddy blew it up whilst Mommy kept us curious kittens out of his hair. And then we were off, springing like spring chickens (which is what we are!) on our tremendous new toy! Hope you enjoy this film of the two of us having the boisterous, bouncy time of our lives (and if you're under five, come and have a go yourself)!

Note: Watch this full-screen, by clicking on the button on the lower, extreme right of the clip.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Just to say...

...we are back. We are bursting with tales to tell. And we shall tell ALL, we just haven't found the time yet. But we have put together a nice little slideshow of our wonderful, sunny holiday in Kolkata a week or so ago. Hope you like it!