Monday, September 19, 2011

What could possibly prompt me to resurrect the blog after months of silence?

Well, it shouldn't be hard to guess :)

Some of our relatives have already received the news and at first I thought that I would wait to be further along in my pregnancy before spreading the news. After all, I am only 4 weeks pregnant, which means that there is no guarantee at all that this mustard seed sized lump of cells will hang in there for the distance.

Obviously though I changed my mind about the early announcement. The reason is that I really would like everybody to know that we are very excited and very happy at the idea of having another baby. It was discussed at great length and it was planned. If this time it doesn't work out we will most likely try again.

All this to say, I know three kids sounds like an excess to many people, but please be happy for us and show it next time you see us :) Just like the other two times...

Monday, July 11, 2011

Sunday morning: bike and flip flops

Yesterday morning Rajiv woke up and, as we have recently agreed to do, went to the next room to wear his daytime clothes before requesting me to get out of bed. This time however, he found an unexpected treasure. Mamma had carelessly left the new flip flops - intended for a later use - buried under a bunch of other stuff, still wrapped up in the package they came in. None of this could stop Appu, of course.

So I hear: "My flip flops! They were lost! But I found them!". Indeed. I slowly get out of bed and ask Rajiv to please be quiet so that Rohan can sleep a bit more. He is usually quite good at that, but not when there are such exciting news to share.

Rohan was initially on board with trying out the new footwear, until he realized there was no way to wear them without having something between his toes. He suffered it for a while out of respect for his older brother, but it's just not for him. Anyway, before a knew it - and before I could change into my daytime clothes myself - Rajiv was out of the front door.

So here is how it happened that we were out on the street before 8 AM on a warm but overcast Sunday morning.

Not much later, we met our Chinese neighbours who recently moved in. I wish I knew how to write the name of the little boy, so I wouldn't have to call him The Chinese Neighbour. He still only knows very few words in English, but my kids don't care one bit, as long as he shares his dinosaurs with them.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


It's been a while since I last wrote and I have so many things I need to post about - like Rohan's birthday, that just went by! - that I don't know where to start.To get out of this negative loop, let me break the ice by sharing a couple of random pieces of information about my boys:
  • Rajiv can recognize "The Goldfish" painting if he sees it and knows it is by Matisse. He also knows it is called "The Goldfish". But he always tells me it is a picture of a hat. Can you see why?
  • I told Rajiv that I was born in Italy and so was he, whereas Rohan was born in Canada. Since then Rohan keeps saying "me too, meee tooo! I born Italy toooooo!"
  • We tried to grow beans in a cup. We got two cups, one for Rohan and one for Rajiv, then we filled them with soil and put some beans inside. Rajiv's beans sprouted and grew really fast, so we transplanted them into a pot outside and they are surviving so far. Rohan's beans never sprouted. For a while I gained time telling him that they were hiding, but secretely I dug them up and they look just like when they were put in there, no change at all. Sigh..
  • It's summer. Appu likes to wear big explorer's hats. Rohan tolerates the hat - sometimes - but what he really wants is sunglasses, because the sun hurts his eyes. Appu prefers to wear long sleeve shirts, even when it is so hot that most people would rather not wear anything at all. Rohan doesn't mind wearing shirts of whatever kind (but if they have a firetruck or a frog it is obviously much better), however he really doesn't like wearing pants or underwear or anything that might cover his lower bum. Mamma thought insists on the pants - at least outside.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

No, grazie

Mamma is cutting pizza into small pieces that will cool faster and places them on the plates in front of two little boys who are sitting at the table chewing like there's no tomorrow. Mamma keeps cutting, kids keep chewing.


Rajiv- There'a bee in the house!!!
Mamma- No, Appu, it's just a big fly.
Rajiv- Oh. It will not sting. It will just bother us.
Mamma- That's right it won't sting us, just bother us a little.
Rajiv- Yes! It will think we are food, but we will say "no", and the fly will say "o-k"..

Mamma opens the window and pushes the fly out, just in case.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

For papa'...

... who should be landing in Chennai in a few hours.
(In fact he is the one who took the photo, last week)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Bye bye Papa', see you soon...

Today papa' is going back to India and that means you can probably expect more frequent posting for some time.

The kids are at daycare today and said their goodbye to papa' when he dropped them off in the morning.

Here they can see them getting ready for school.The first step is convincing the kids to surrender the balloons left over from the birthday party.

Next is convincing Rajiv to wear his new blue shoes that fit just right instead of the green ones that are still too loose and make him fall.

Then, out of the door. But wait... too much light... "I want my sunglasses!" (Too bad, I think we left them at school last week..)

And now they are almost ready to go. Note the birthday banners still on our fence. Nothing is cleaned up right away at our house, it's a matter of principle.


And just like that, he was gone...

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Sorry, we are busy

I know I haven't posted in a long time, I am sorry about that, but we are really overwhelmed.
Things we are doing right now:

  1. Organizing a yard sale for TOMORROW to get rid of stuff we won't take with us when we (sigh!) move
  2. Arranging for someone to rent our house after we (sigh!!) move
  3. Organizing (can you say 'disorganizing' in English?) Rajiv and Rohan's joint birthday party for NEXT WEEK - and our guests don't know that they will be our guests, yet
  4. Arranging for packing and shipping of the stuff that we do want to take to India
  5. While doing all this and deeply covered in too much stuff, still shopping for a few essential children's books that we don't own yet (ok, that's just me: dad is innocent)
  6. Doing some of the work that we are actually paid to do?
  7. Planning a week in Paris on our way to India at the end of August. Ehm, this doesn't sound so necessary, does it?
Meaningful - so to speak - posts will resume as soon as I don't need two Starbucks Double Shot Vanilla drinks a day to keep going :)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Our street is a zoo

To continue along the line of my "Our House Is The Center Of The World" narrative - see the previous installment here - let me tell you about the few meters around our front door.

Now that is spring we spend more time outside, and so do many other fascinating life forms. There are some creepy ones too, but even leaving those alone, there is plenty to see. Like here:

Let's zoom in a little.

Aha! A large crowd of ants hanging out on the sidewalk. You'd think that's where they live, but it seems unlikely because if you come back in half an hour they will be gone. Then maybe tomorrow they will appear at the other end of the street.

Appu and I think it is a fascinating phenomenon, but Rohan at first seemed to disagree. Here you can see him trying to get us to go back inside the house.

Failing that, he joined us at the ants', taking his yellow bus with him.

A few minutes later he decided to put his hand and part of his body right on top of the ants and so our attempt to connect with nature ended with me shaking Rohan trying to get as many ants off him as possible. They were literally everywhere.

Rajiv remained outside a little longer, using tiny sticks to make a series of bridges for the ants. It was quite cute, but a little disappointing for him, because the ants just didn't want to walk on the new bridges.

I will spare you the details, but there are many other interesting things going on in front of our door. Sometimes there are ducks - or geese - and we get to say goodnight to them - many times in a row.

We see worms in the garden when we pull the weeds and I know there are often toads in there but I never came across one with the kids. The best we could do was going on a snail safari, a couple of days ago.

We read a book about snails, where we learned that they prefer to put their heads out when it's getting dark. We also learned that they are slimy, the have only one foot so they are very slow and they have a strong tongue to eat leaves. So one evening after it had rained and after we had gone for a walk with the wagon we decided to go looking for snail.

There were so many! Rajiv and Rohan remained "safely" in the wagon while we walked to the end of the street and back moving the snails to the side so people wouldn't accidentally step on them. We even saw two tiny baby snails with almost transparent shells. Any we saw many many leaves with wholes on them, a sure sign that our little friends like the local cuisine.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Piccolo Rajiv (The Book) - is here..

When the movie? :)

Anyway, maybe you recall I had decided to get a hard copy of the now abandoned "Piccolo Rajiv" blog. I received the book from Blog2Print a couple of weeks ago and I am very happy, in spite of some obvious flaws.

Here are a few snaps.

Front cover - with the trademark baby feet...

... and back cover: I thought this image from the Canadian winter would be appropriate.

A couple of random images of the inside. There are two options while making the book: you can choose to maintain the exact formatting of the pages as they appear on your blog or you can ask the software to rearrange the photos to fill the space better and reduce the number of pages. I chose the latter to save some money and I don't regret it for a second (I am no designer anyway, so it's not like the perfection of my layouts needs to be preserved at all costs) but while sometime the optimized layout is perfectly fine,

sometimes it is not.

But who cares, right? My only real complaint is that there have been a couple of instances where the text has ended up hidden by the corner of a picture. I should have spotted that in the pdf preview, so it's my fault, but to be honest I just didn't want to spend the time. After all the whole point of using Blog2Print was that it required zero work on my side, and I tried to remain true to that principle to the very end :)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

It is, in fact, a horse

Tre video di "tanto tempo fa". Nel primo Rajiv va a cavallo su una borsa-cesta che era stata in teoria acquistata per contenere i libri presi in prestito dalla biblioteca per i bimbi (14-11-2010). Nel secondo Rajiv e la sua amica Kalena esprimono tutta la loro gioia dopo essersi fatti dipingere la faccia ad una fiera in occasione di Halloween (31-10-2010). Nel terzo Rajiv, piccolissimo!, gioca a nascondersi in una casetta giocattolo nel nostro primo appartamento in India (settembre 2009: Rohan era gia' nato ma aveva pochi mesi e si vede solo per un attimo sdraiato sul aterasso mentre Appu gli corre davanti). Quest'ultimo video e' uno dei preferiti di Rohan, che non si stanca mai di rivederlo.

Three old videos that I never ended up posting.

In the first, Rajiv rides his new horse (I had bought that bag/bin to finally contain the tide of the library books, but one should never underestimate the imagination of a child when he feels that the untidiness of his environment is being threatened). This was the middle of November in 2010, just about six months ago.

In the second video you can see Rajiv and his friend Kalena express all their joy after having had their face painted at a Halloween event. October 31 (obviously) 2010.

The last video is the oldest, dated September 2009 when Rohan was just a tiny baby - you only get a glimpse of him lying down on a mattress while his brother plays peek-a-boo with and practices his alien language. It's not a great video: bad lighting, bad camera, abrupt ending. It is however, one of Rohan's favorite videos and he never tires of watching "Appu in the house" :)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Hello papa'

This was last Saturday. It seems so long ago, it's easy to get used to having papa' around :)

We were waiting next to the window to see if we could spot the car. We stayed there for a while and so I decided to take a little video to kill some time. And right away papa' was here!

Cuddle cuddle..

..check mail.. the box..

..and crash.
So we watch a bit of a movie

and then we go outside to try the new balance bike (that just means a smaller than usual bike with no pedals and no training wheels).

It was a bit rainy, as you can see, but one week later the weather has really come around and I am off to spend a little bit of early morning (well, ok, it's 8:30, but still morning) time outside with the kids. See you soon :)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Un anno fa

Un video dell'anno scorso in India a Ooty, il giorno del terzo compleanno di Rajiv.

A video from last year, that I never ended up uploading. It was taken on the day of Rajiv's third birthday, so it seems appropriate to post it now. Rajiv and Jayadev are being cool in their new sunglasses and Rohan makes an appearance through the window.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Our window is better than a movie theater

Depending on your preferences, of course.

If you like garbage trucks - we do, especially Rohan - then you can spend all Tuesday morning, and sometimes the afternoon too, waiting for the recycling truck to come, then the regular trash one and the one collecting the yard waste and the truck for the organic waste. In fact you might even consider inviting some friends over and have a party! (No, we haven't done that -yet)

If this had not been enough, one morning - not Tuesday! - we spotted a garbage truck parked for a full ten minutes in front of our neighbours' house. It turns out the driver needed a quiet place to stop and have breakfast. Did he suspect the eyes of all toddlers on the street where directed on him? I think he saw me pointing at him through the window, but I bet he is used to it.

Even better, one morning we woke up to the sound of various different kinds of "thump!" and "clang!" and it turned out that we had a small bulldozer and a few other marvelous machines just a few meters away from our house!

They were changing the pipes directed to the sewer. Well, this time we did have a party. Rajiv waited patiently for his brother to wake up too and found himself a cozy spot to observe the work from inside.

Meanwhile, I called our friends from down the street who might have missed it. By the time Meaghan arrived to stay with the children there were five children between one and five surrounding the hole in the ground. I went to work and left them all there to have fun. By the time I came back home, Rajiv knew all about black pipes.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Childcare update

I think I haven't mentioned this yet. We are transitioning from having a nanny to having both children in the daycare center near home that we - Rajiv especially - love so much. Rohan is still too young to go there, as they generally only take children older than two and a half, but now that he is almost two they are willing to make an exception. It will be only for a few months though, until we leave Canada. It's too bad for the boys, because they really like it.

Rohan already knew Appu's school from having dropped him there in the morning several times and picked him up some times too, so he was well prepared for it. In fact it almost seems as if he has been waiting for this opportunity all along :)

Normally the first day it's easy to leave a child at daycare, because there are children and toys to play with, but then once the child realizes that he is going to be there the whole day without his parents he becomes more tense when he enters the daycare and it takes a little while to adjust. This anyway has been our experience so far after every change of care. But so far, Rohan seems to really like his new school - although admittedly this is only the third day. We were told that he gets a bit sad about an hour before we pick him up, but that's because it's hard to go the whole day without "latte".

I was a bit worried of how Rajiv might react to having to share his special school, teachers and friends with his brother, especially given all the fuss we are making about this. But Rajiv is not the kind of boy to point out this sort of thing. If it does bother him, he will "misbehave" in some way and it's up to us to understand. So who knows what he thinks now? It did help, I hope, that yesterday Rajiv got to be the center of attention because of his birthday and he got a card from all his friends, so he knows they all still like him :)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

******* 4! *******

Today is Appu's birthday. In case you missed the dragon reminder on the sidebar, I just thought I'd put it here too. He is four! He is a big big boy who can talk and argue, has his own ideas and can correct his mamma's English pronunciation. He likes numbers - yesterday I could lure him away from the tv by saying "Hey, I'm going to read a new math book, anybody interested?. He likes seeds and flowers and can recognize daffodils, tulips and dandelions.

He loves maps. He knows where to find North and South America on a map, where Canada and India are and he can find Australia too. He knows some places are very far away and you need to take two planes to go from India to Canada: the first is a "sleeping" plane and everybody is quiet - this was my stroke of genius, I admit - the next is a "waking" plane, where we have fun (you can imagine how much fun..). He also knows that when here it is night in India it is morning time. Now how many four year old kids can grasp that?!?

(Did I mention that bragging is not only allowed but required in birthday posts?)

He likes new clothes, as in clothes he hasn't seen before, they don't really have to be new. He likes to choose what pajamas he is going to wear and we now have a pretty large collection for him to mix and match. Some favorites are the very soft one, which is still too big but he can wear it if he doesn't run in it (or he'll trip), the Thomas one, the monster pajamas and his purple ones that say "Little Brothers Are Awesome" - not really for what it says, but because purple is his favorite color.
He used to love his super dog pajamas and the spiderman ones, but now they have become short and it's ok for Rohan to wear them because Appu is growing. He is four!

He is learning to read all by himself, by which I mean that I don't even try to teach him, but he is the one who asks how to read a word or stops while speaking to see if he can figure out what sounds are in a certain word. He likes to have books read to him too and is now ready for some longer stories, but sometimes what he thinks the book is about would leave you speechless.

He is not afraid of being in a dark room, but he doesn't like to enter the room if the light is not on. Smart, I say.

He can get dressed by himself, but he still has some trouble with zippers and buttons and sometimes socks can get tricky, but he always has the tag on the back. He also can help Rohan and he does a remarkably good job, if Rohan lets him.

He can pee standing up! And he loves to pee outside on the grass, by the way, laughing like a silly appu while I tell him "Careful! Not on the shooooooes!".

He can climb like a monkey and go fast on his tricycle.

He likes all sort of music and makes up his own songs too. If I show him a video of some musicians he wants to know their names. He told me that the CD we played last week in the car has the same song (one of Bach's cello suites) that we heard from a video in the computer. He likes to play music but is not a very disciplined student.. :) He has a nice bow hold and likes his cello but we don't practice much - my fault. However, maybe that's why he still likes it, because there is no pressure whatsoever - see? How to turn any parenting shortcomings into great insights.

You probably already know that he likes trains and the only reason why I didn't make this the first item in my list is that there is going to be a special train post soon. But I like how he plays with his little Thomas trains making up stories as he goes. I also must be the only mom (or not?) who has to sleep with several trains in my bed: the little puppies are allowed to bring two trains or cars each to bed and sometimes we still have yesterday's trains too.

He can fit inside his new carry-on luggage.

He can eat without making too big a mess, unless he wants too :) And he can carry a bowl without spilling the content. Sometimes he likes to blow on his own pasta, sometimes he doesn't and he needs mamma's help. He prefers English words and really would like to know how you say "rotini" in  English, but apparently mamma is part of a big Italian conspiracy and just won't tell him.

He likes to do work, like mamma and papa', with paper and pencil. When he grows up - like, now? - he would like to work at mamma's "ufficio".

I'm sure I left out some really important stuff, but I am also sure that by now you couldn't care less and your eyes are already crossing, so let's just conclude with a picture. Not the best or my favorite, just the most recent mostly in focus photo in my hard drive.

Happy birthday Big Piccolo Rajiv!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Papa' is coming!

Papa' ha appena telefonato dall'aeroporto e sara' qui tra un'ora.

Papa' has just called from the airport and will be here in an hour. Appu has decided that the best way to wait for him was to take downstairs his own suitcase and his brother's. Maybe in case papa' needs to leave right away? He had a small accident while pulling his suitcase and banged his foot on a piece of furniture. Normally that would require a kiss, but this time he said that maybe papa' can give it to him, when he arrives.

Friday, May 13, 2011

What is it?

Well, if you are curious you are not the only one: apparently yesterday when the package arrived the two little monkeys tried to open it with (unsharpened) pencils.

I can't tell you what it is yet, but I can show you a pictures of the little brothers in their new Thomas pj's. Too bad they just couldn't sit still, this is the best I've got.

And by the way, papa' is coming tomorrow! We might open the box with him when he arrives, unless he prefers to crash directly on a bed.

Edited to add: ..we did both :)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Momma is 4 and has blue hair

When I picked up Rajiv at his preschool on the day of the concert, they gave me a little paper bag with some Mother's Day things and a plastic cup with three small seedlings growing in a little bit of soil.

Now the seedlings are only two and something must be done urgently before they die off. I don't even know what they are supposed to grow into, but a couple of clues lead me to suspect them of being sunflowers. Yikes! What am I supposed to do? I guess moving them out of the plastic cup should be a priority... On the other hand, if these little plants survive life under my "care" they will be surely ready for the big world outside, just like my children :)

Anyway, let me move on to the real subject of this post. Because we were going to the concert when I received all these things - plus a little bit of drama with Appu who seemed to have had his hand smashed by a door but then at a closer inspection was in fact ok - I just put it all in the car and I was very proud of myself when I remembered to take the seedlings in the house, but I didn't think twice of the bag.

Then a couple days ago I opened it. It contained a candle in a glass cup, all decorated with glitter by Rajiv himself, and then the real treat:

Now, first of all I would like to point out that the teacher who wrote down Rajiv's answers should have written "mamma" with an "a", because that's how I spell my name. It's incredible. I always get my name spelled wrong abroad and now even my mommy name has to suffer the same insult.. :)

I don't need to comment on the rest, except for the last line. Within myself I am debating whether this means that I am spoiling my children with too much shopping activity - for them and not. But leaving that question aside, it is funny that Rajiv should rate our shopping outings so highly.

What do you think our shopping looks like:

Like this?

Or maybe like this?

I will let you guess.

No, ok, I'll tell you: It's a little bit of both.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Friendly Mosquitos

Today I was going to write a post about all the nice conversations that I am having with Rajiv these days.

We talk about how he is going to play a bigger cello when he grows up and he tells me, with a dreaming expression on his face, that his cello is going to grow too.

He asks me why I am putting the melon in the organic trash bin and I say that it has gone bad. So he says, "Yeah, he was pushing the vegetables, that's not nice!". That's right.

He asks why he can't watch a lot of videos. I tell him that watching too many videos hurts our eyes. Surprisingly, he seems to agree immediately. He says the videos bite our eyes, just like mosquitoes. But the mosquitoes don't bite our eyes, only our body. I remind him that if he stays under the blanket the mosquitoes won't be able to bite him.
He agrees and adds: "And Rohan is going to catch them!"
Me: "And papa'?"
Rajiv: "Papa' will zap them!"
Me: "That's right, we don't want mosquitoes!"
This must sound too harsh to him, because he says that maybe they can stay, if they are nice. No biting. And maybe they are hungry and they need something to eat. How about noodles? But really small ones, which we don't have - so they can't sit at the table next to Appu - but they have small noodles at their home and really small bowls too, so they can eat there, or maybe bring them over. They can't eat apples though, because there are no really small apples: that would be silly. There are no small trees, because birds live in them and they are not small..

I wish I could remember the rest, but right now I don't unfortunately. We had a rough night with Rohan being sick and I was not even sure I would feel like writing about something nice. But maybe there aren't many other things you can do when you have only slept a couple of hours.

Rohan was really cute and affectionate today morning, by the way. I hope he is feeling better. I'll check with Meaghan soon and maybe I'll just go back home and stay with him today. Or maybe I'll try to work a little when I still can, we'll see.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

How old are you? - Part 2

The next day:

- I like how you guys filled the new basket with your toy cars. It's really full.

- Yeah, I think it is very heavy..

- It is, let me try.. Aaaargh.. No, I just can't lift it, we might have to wait for papa' to come and help us..

- Yes! Papa' is veeery strong.. ..he is thirteen!

Monday, May 9, 2011

How old are you?

- Mamma, are you five?

- No Appu, I'm thirty. (internal voice: gasp! how did that happen!)

- Oh, good! You are not five! (????)

- Yeah.. Thirty is a lot.. It means I'm not a kid, I'm a mamma! (says with moderate enthusiasm)

- And papa'...

- Papa' is thirty-two.

- Yeah! Papa' is thirty-two! (Pause...) I'm going to be five and then I'm going to be thirty-two, like papa'.

Note: In case you are getting confused, he is not even going to be five yet. He is going to be four - in a week :)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother Day weekend

We are not doing anything special, in case anyone is wondering. We are just having a quiet weekend of playing, cleaning, jumping around, doing loads and loads of laundry, having tea parties with a ghost that lives out of our window - and is not scary - and doesn't know how to sit but, if asked, can lie down on the couch - if we move the toys first.

Now I'm sorry but I have to go, we are off to fish in the attic.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Spring Concert - Caution: Very Long

As promised, more about the concert.

This is *very* long, but if you want you can jump to the end of the post for some videos.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Concerto di Primavera

May 8th: Edited to add: read more and watch videos here.

Yesterday was the Big Day. It was a bittersweet experience, at least for me and maybe for Rajiv too, but I plan to tell you more in another post. Right now I am at the office and I really can't write for too long, so I'll just show you a few pictures.

The two brothers entering the building. Rajiv was a big help in keeping Rohan safe in the parking lot and inside while my hands were busy lugging around the cello, the bench, the food for the potluck and so on.

We were a bit late but we still made it in time for the tuning. Phew!

This is Genevieve, by the way, Rajiv's teacher.

This was during the concert. Genevieve sat in front of the smallest kids to help them out.

And after :) It was a long tiring loud day, which by the way had started at about 4:30 AM for both me and Rajiv - long story - and even though he did have a nap in the afternoon, at this point he was touchy and ready to collapse somewhere. I just had to make sure it was the bed :)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Chicha's wedding

With the fact that I didn't tell you much about our trip - and just showed you our photo album instead - I almost forgot to share the little video I took at Vijay's wedding in Guruvayoor.

As you will see, I better hold on to my job, because it's unlikely I could make a career as a wedding reporter. I must say though, that I could have been placed in a more favorable spot (you know, somewhere where I could actually see the couple) had I not wasted valuable time looking everywhere for my husband to make sure that he didn't miss the ceremony.

I later discovered that he was there, just on the other side. Unfortunately, he is not in this video, but almost everyone else is. Even the - by then - married couple, in the last few seconds.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

It is Spring

Sabato, davanti a casa.

Even though it doesn't always look that way. This was last Saturday.

Preschool physics: experiments with magnets

Appu osserva che due calamite dello stesso polo, che quindi si respingono, si attraggono quando viene interposto tra le due del metallo - in questo caso una moneta. Naturalmente la sua descrizione del fenomeno e' in termini leggermente differenti :)

Maybe you remember that Rajiv learned how magnets can attract or repel when we gave him his first toy train, during our trip to Paris last year. Toy trains being the brilliant toys that they are, here is another important physics lesson:

Rajiv observed this himself, I just made him re-enact the whole thing for his dad's benefit and for the camera. Just so you don't think that he has a lab report due every evening :)

Monday, May 2, 2011

To Vancouver or not to Vancouver?

Sono molto indecisa. Verso fine maggio c'e' un venerdi' di vacanza, S sara' qui e potrebbero essere i giorni ideali per una gita sull'altra costa del Canada, che pare sia splendida. Andare o non andare? Si tratta di un lungo viaggio in aereo e non so se ne abbiamo voglia. D'altra parte pero', questi sono i nostri ultimi mesi in Canada: chissa' se si riproporra' l'occasione?

Very undecided. Should we plan a trip to BC for the Victoria day weekend - with papa'!! - or should we just stay home and rest?


Apparently I had forgotten one more thing that happens in May: it's the day of the Federal Elections here in Canada! Well, I can't vote, so maybe I have that excuse.

I love Canada for so many reasons. One is that our elderly hippy neighbor who keeps his long white hair collected in a ponytail and drives a Harley, has a banner in his yard supporting the conservative candidate. And the couple across the street has a banner supporting the liberal candidate. And it's ok, everybody is still friends.

It might be because, like my quebequois friend from grad school put it once, the most aggressive event around here is the annual pillow-fighting event in Ottawa.. (I think it was a joke, I don't think they really do it - but I know that in Roma sometimes they throw chairs at each other in parliament, so even if they do the pillow fighting thing in Ottawa, they still win hands down)

May is a Big month

Little Rajiv will be four in two weeks! Birthday party preparations are underway. He said he would like a party with trains and laughing cars - these would be the giggling troublesome cargo cars of Thomas, I think. I have thought about the possibilities of this party more than I like to admit, but in the end I feel that I will be incompetent as usual, and it won't matter one bit :)

And papa' is coming to Canada, just in time for the birthday! These days you can't say "May" in this house without a little voice squeaking "Papa comin'". I wonder what Rohan thinks May really means - a place maybe? I doubt he understands months yet.

And this Wednesday is the day of the Spring Concert! For which we haven't practiced and we even missed the dress rehearsal last week, because I'm that kind of mom.. I'm a little apprehensive, especially because I just found out that it's a potluck event and I need to sign up to bring something. It is tempting to tick "napkins and paper cups", but that seems lame, no? No? Uhm...

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Sono un genio..

Ho convinto i bimbi a mangiare i broccoli cuocendoli semplicemente al vapore e lasciandoglieli intingere nella salsa teriyaki. I bimbi adorano intingere - qualunque cosa in qualunque altra cosa - e adesso Appu mi chiede ogni giorno se ci saranno i broccoli per cena - ma non ho ancora ripetuto, per non rovinare l'effetto ottenuto con tanta fatica :)

Those in the photo are my two little boys, eating STEAMED BROCCOLI dipped in teriyaki sauce. Why didn't I think of this before?

Why they need to eat standing up, I don't fully understand, but it might have to do with being able to hunt for the best piece in the steaming basket - or maybe they just want to make it clear that they are free to leave at any time, who knows.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Piccolo Rajiv - The book

My next extracurricular project is going to be turning the old blog into ink and paper format - just in case the apocalypse comes and Google crashes and all blogs disappear into digital dust.

Seriously, this is something that does generate some anxiety in me. Even before we moved here to Due Fratellini I had been pondering the question of what would be the most time-economical way to get the blog in book form. After all, one of the reason why I started this in first place was that one day my kids could read it if they want to.

Then yesterday, completely by chance, I came across Blog2Print. It seems to be a service designed especially for Blogger, which is the platform I use, and it is just very easy to use. You give the address of your blog and within less than a minute you get a tentative preview of your book. Then you can make changes - like choosing the photos for the cover, deleting posts or adding extra content.

It is never going to be as neat as a photo book made on iPhoto, but as I said it is so easy that one might overlook that. Just for information, printing the full blog in hardcover format would come to about $60 + shipping. It sounds like a lot, but for the number of pages is really not that bad.

Anyway, I think I would like to do this. I will let you know how it goes :)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Before the Zambonis

Questo video si colloca subito prima dell'apertura delle uova. I miei bimbi decidono di giocare a nascondino.. :)

Sorry, earlier I got so caught up in writing about my ineptitude with the Zambonis that I forgot to show the prequel to the story. Here it is. And for the last time - this year - Happy Easter :)

The Best Laid Plans

Cliccate sotto su "Read more" per video e foto.

In Case you are wondering - and I know you probably are not, really - I am intentionally borrowing the title from a book about Canadian politics that I haven't even read yet - but it looks good ;)

I thought about what to do for Easter for a while and in the end we did absolutely nothing special, as you well know. One thing I wanted to get right, though, was the eggs. I didn't want to get really good - and really expensive - chocolate, because:
  1. The kids really don't know the difference
  2. If we want to keep collecting the Thomas Wooden Railway we have to save money somewhere -- even if just symbolically
  3. I wouldn't know where to find really good Easter eggs here - because I'm a European snob
So the choice was restricted to whatever the Valuemart in front of my office had to offer. The boys love Kinder chocolate, but recently I have been very disappointed with the little gadgets found inside them. Not like those of my youth..  The thought of an oversized version of them popping out of the big Easter Kinder eggs left me cold.

Then I saw he official CHL eggs, which promised a pull back Zamboni inside every one of them: Perfect!

If you are not Canadian you might not know what any of this means, so let me explain.

The CHL is the Central Hockey League and ice hockey is of course the most popular sport in Canada - did you think it was curling???

A Zamboni is a large machine, looking a little like a road sweeper, that resurfaces the ice on an ice rink: meaning, it peels off the top layer of ruined ice and leaves behind nice smooth ice. All Canadian kids love Zambonis, just like kids everywhere love all sort of large and mean machines. Why this thing is called a Zamboni was a mystery for me for a while, until I googled it and found out that this machine was invented by Frank Zamboni and his company is still leader in the market. I'm afraid You have to be Italian to understand why all this sounds hilarious..

Anyway, Rajiv has recently become a Zamboni enthusiast, thanks to an episode of Caillou he watched in which Caillou gets to ride on a Zamboni after his skating class. For a few days after that, the toy bulldozer that Appu rides around the house turned into a Zamboni.

So I thought: this is great! We get to do the ritual cracking of the eggs with some cheap chocolate, and who cares about that anyway, and then inside there will be two nice small pull back vehicles that the kids can play with for the rest of the day. While I take rest.

If you have reached here without falling asleep, below the fold you will get to watch a video of the actual egg cracking. Papa' was with us on Skype, which was nice.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I got it!

The photo album arrived yesterday. It looks quite neat, thank you Apple!

Rajiv and Rohan were very excited to see it. Rajiv took it to school today and I am very curious to hear how it went.

By the way, the only person who tried to answer my little quiz was achamma, so she "wins" a copy of the book, to be delivered, together with the grandchildren, next time we are in India. :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Vigilia di Pasqua col sole

You are going to hear a lot about Easter on this blog. Not because it is my favorite holiday or anything like that, but I had four full days to spend at home with the kids and I'm going to share the joy. Only the good parts, I promise: I will spare you the synchronized wailing contests and the I-want-to-go-out-in-the-rain-without-shoes moments.

Unfortunately I don't have any photos of the egg hunt with Kalena on Good Friday - but maybe I can get the video from Anna Marie? Anyway, let me tell you about our Saturday instead, in every boring detail.

I'm not sure you can tell from the photos, but the weather was really nice, the warmest we had so far. I sort of overdressed the kids, just in case, but I wasn't wearing a sweater and I never missed it.

We played for a while on the street in front of our house - it's a dead end, so it's very quiet. Appu insisted that we put together Rohan's new tricycle, but in the end Rohan preferred to walk.

Appu had a blast on his own big trike and kept riding back and forth on the sidewalk.

I asked him to take a photo of me and Rohan and I think he did a great job!

One of the highlights of the afternoon was finding two badminton rackets abandoned on the curb in front of some students' house. They were there to be picked up with the trash, but we rescued them and there was a soft ball too! What more could you want?

We also got a chance to play a little bit with our neighbor Kyle, after a long time.

Then we took mamma's bike with the buggy attached behind for the Rohan and Rajiv to sit in and we went for a short ride. We went through the park and to the office, to pick up some stuff I had left there, and then we went to the grocery store.

My idea of happiness, looks something like this:

If only there was another big bike in this photo...

But let me conclude with a little video, taken earlier while playing on our street.

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