Saturday, January 24, 2009

Hooray for Chaddis !!!

If you ask Aiden what is one of his favorite memories from the India trip, I am sure he would say being able to go native every now and then. Since most floors are made of ceramic tiles and there's no carpets to worry about, it's a lot easier to let them go without diapers. Parents in India use chaddis (briefs) when they are potty training the kids. The chaddis help provide a little bit of protection, especially so with the boys (or else the ceiling would get sprayed) but at the same time it helps air the babies' bottoms a bit. One day Aunty Baizin decided to try Nathan's chaddis (briefs) on him. It took him a little while to get used to it, but after a while he loved it. Having never been without diapers before, he had never experienced the feeling of pee running down his legs. So, naturally, he was a bit perturbed the first time it happened. His cousins Christian & Nathan did their best to demonstrate to him how it's done by pointing their popots towards a tree and peeing. Christian especially had an endless amount of pee and could pee on demand.
Here's Aiden dressed in chaddis doing Ring around the roses with his cousins. It's one of his favorite ways to play and since returning back to the States it's normal fare for him to get Mommy & Daddy into the act.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Cousins are kewl

If you ask Aiden what's the one thing that he misses most about India he'd probably say hanging out with his cousins. He'd wake up early morning and go straight for the first victim making sure they knew it was time to wake up and play with him. He has a lot of friends in the US from his playgroup but none that live with him. So for him this was like having a playgroup at home all the time. All his cousins are older than him and he liked playing with all of them. But his favorite was Nathan, the one most closest to him in age. At first Nathan was not too excited about him. He probably thought who's this new punk stealing my thunder, but by the end of the trip Nathan warmed up to him and they were good buddies.
Here's a video of him roughhousing with Christian & Nathan. His aunties trying to be protective of him can be heard in the background asking the older kids to be gentle with him, but you can make your own judgement as to who needs the protection.

Life is a beach

We live about a 5 minute walk from the beach in Goa. And when you look at the pictures above, you would think that we would have been at the beach every single day. But for some reason or the other we kept getting distracted and only made it there about half a dozen times. But when we did make it there, Aiden went absolutely nuts. He just loved being on the beach, period. As soon as we got there he would make a mad dash to the water, as if it were a swimming pool. Within a few minutes he'd be soaking wet and we'd have to change his clothes. If we let him, he would play with his beach toys all day. In his excitement, he would treat sand like confetti and throw it everywhere and at everyone. He ate a bunch of sand as well but didn't seem to mind it at all except when it got in his eyes. At the end of the day it was quite an ordeal to clean it out of his curly top. As you can probably tell his curls were more pronounced in Goa than normal. We think it's because of the humidity in the air. Everyday was above 90 degrees with 90% humidity. If there's one one thing that he didn't like about going to the beach, then it was the part about the sunscreen.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Outsourcing playtime

Our next destination was Bangalore, the outsourcing capital of the western world, to visit with the Quadros'. This was Aiden's first experience with what it must be like to live in a true community setting in India. The Quadros' being very popular wherever they go have a ton of friends and that means a ton of kids running around the place. Most of the kids were older to Aiden so he was like their new toy. He particulary bonded with this one boy from the neighborhood. He followed him all over the place copying his every move. Cousin Kiara let him play with all the other kids but kept a good eye on him and made sure everyone knew exactly who had first dibs on him. She also gave him his first piano one on one lesson. We had a bunch of people over one day for a party and it being the Christmas season, everyone sat around and sang carols.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Cave Hunting

After a short stay in Goa to recover from the long journey we made our way to the ancient caves of Ajanta & Ellora. These caves dating from 200 BC to 1100 AD are cut from the volcanic lavas of the Deccan trap in a steep crescent shaped hillside in a forested ravine of the Sahyadri hills. After the seventh century, the jungle took over and the caves lay unnoticed for centuries until in 1819, a party of British army officers chanced upon them while of all things tiger hunting. One of the tigers they were hunting sought refuge in one of them. So really the credit should go to the tiger.

Everywhere we went in India there were animals and Aiden's fascination with them grew each day. He does a few animals sounds and signs like dog, cow, monkey, horse, tiger etc but any animals that he does not recognize are put in the dog category. All along the road he would go ruff ruff whenever he saw goats, sheep etc. He was so excited when he saw this sculpture of a cow and wanted to ride it. Little did he care that it was a centuries old treasure that probably should not be treated like a pony.
It was so incredibly hot that we had to bring out the spray bottle to keep Aiden from overheating. But you wouldn't guess that it was hot if you looked at these folks who were dressed in full winter clothing. They were from Ladakh which is near Kashmir in the Himalayas and it's always freezing cold there.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Back from the homeland

Happy New year every one. We just got back from a wonderful month long vacation in India. In the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks a few of our friends and family were a little worried about us embarking on this trip with the little one. But we have to say that we always felt very safe wherever we went. It was a bit alarming though to see gun totting cops wherever we went, especially at the pristine beaches in Goa. Our itinerary was very packed. Starting on Dec. 5th, we flew straight to Goa from San Francisco via Mumbai, spent a couple of days relaxing at home with Maizin, then took off on a 4 day trip to check out the ancient caves of Ajanta & Ellora. From there we flew to Bangalore to spend a few days visiting the Quadros' and returned to Goa in time for Maizin's birthday. The next three weeks were spent in Goa celebrating Christmas and New Years and then before we knew it the vacation was over and it was time to head back to the States.

More details will follow in subsequent posts, but here's a couple of pictures to get you started. Angela enjoys a bit of R&R time at Saba's beach shack and Aiden gets spoon fed by Madhuri while sitting on Dada and catching up on the news. That's pretty much how the entire trip went for him. He went from the somber life that he lived in the States with his Mom & Dad to a sudden explosion of being the center of attraction everywhere he went.