Is love really colourblind? Is the easter bunny an athiest?

The things kids notice, and fail to notice, are really really weird. I've been reading the wonderful Peter's Cross Station and have been inspired to look for ways to talk to Asher about race so when Asher mentioned Trisha from his Play School DVD I saw my opportunity. We were at the cafe yesterday morning and he was talking about the DVD and I asked him what Trisha looked like. He replied that she wore a purple shirt, which is quite true, but not quite what I was expecting. I agreed that she did and then mentioned that her skin looked quite dark brown and asked him if he'd noticed. He said he hadn't so I then started chattering about how his daddy had dark brown skin too, and I had very light brown skin and he and Kiran have medium brown skin. I don't think I did particularly well, but at least I've broached the topic. He's barely noticing gender, so the fact that he doesn't notice 'race' isn't that surprising to me. I'd like him to hear about this stuff from us, rather than hear things of dubious veracity in the playground.

The other topic thats been on my mind a lot recently (particularly with all the chat about Richard Dawkins in the media) is kids and religion and, more specifically, lack of it and how that fits in with a childhood in a nominally Christian country. I'm an athiest and Sanjay is (he's lying on the couch and I just asked him) an agnostic. My parents are nominally Christian and Sanjay's parents are Hindu, or Sikh (the distinction is blurry to me) and I'd like my kids to understand their cultural heritage, but I'm not keen for them to be indoctrinated into a belief system. So, with all this in mind, when we walked past the local church on Sunday and Asher mentioned that there were a lot of people around I chirpily told him that the people had been in the church because it was Sunday, and that on Sunday people who were Christians sometimes went to church to pray to god. I reminded him that he had been to the Gurdwarra with his Grandpa Sham and told him that that's where Grandpa Sham went to pray. The poor kid didn't really understand what I was blathering on about and just said "Mm-hm" in an agreeable tone and that was that.

Luckily the Easter Bunny is about as religious as the Tooth Fairy (or Santa Claus, I guess) so we can get into the easter spirit with massive amounts of chocolate and perhaps sugar fuelled tantrums.


Kiran update

Yeah, they grow and change so fast when they are little!

At 5 days shy of 9 calendar months I've realised that the little Kiran is doing a few things that are new this week. The big one is the pointing finger. He presses buttons on Asher's toys with his pointing finger and he is just learning to pick up tiny things with pincer grip.

The pincer grip is really helpful, because the kid is still subsisting almost entirely on breastmilk and I'm hoping a newfound ability to pick up Cheerios will encourage him to eat more of them. Because he's a healthy, active baby he needs lots of food and because I don't pump milk, mostly because my milk seems to have problems with high lipase levels, the kid needs me around pretty much all the time (at the moment he feeds 3-4 hourly around the clock. Like a newborn). It would be revolutionary to be away from the little guy for 6 hours without worrying whether or not he'll consent to taking a bottle this time.

The other thing that's kinda new is that he has started cruising a bit more. He's been taking the very occasional steps while holding on to the couch but today I was lying on the couch and he came right up so he could blow raspberries in my face (and so, like any attuned mother I moved my cushion and changed ends. Kiz followed me up the other end).

Stay tuned for a post some time in the next week on how an athiest and a nominal Hindu handle Easter.


Quote of the week

Scene: getting ready to go out to the park for a ride on the scooter
Sanjay: Asher, where is your scooter and helmet?
Asher: I assume they are in the garage

What sort of three-and-a-half year old 'assumes' things? He was right or course, the scooter and helmet were in the garage.


Happy birthday Clare

For Clare's birthday mum compiled a book with twenty-one letters to Clare from some of the women in her life. She did the same for me for my 21st birthday and it's a lovely thing to have. For Clare, as for me, the sentiments are moving and some of the writing is hilarious. Because I think she is so great, and she is so important in my life I'd like to share my letter to her here:
Little Sister Clare,

I remember when you were born, slippery, blue and surprised. Left on your mother's belly for just a moment before you were whisked away so that the nurses could 'get you started' with a bit of oxygen and suction. I was still a child at the time but clearly saw what a miracle it was to have a new person arrive in the world. You grew into an incredibly sweet little thing, always thinking of others but still managing to do your own thing. The cutest example of your compassion is the time I found you, at around two years old, clutching a photo and sobbing inconsolably. You were looking at a photo of a howling baby Michael and you were sad for the baby.

As you grew into a child, then an adolescent, you continued to be sweet and compassionate, which didn't always make life easy for you. You were torn between doing things your own way and not hurting or even offending other people. And now you're becoming an adult, and I think you really have managed to maintain your integrity to hold on to a certain innocence. You live close to your ideals, you are incredibly caring and you are learning to protect yourself at the same time. You've managed this better than anyone I know, so I don't really have any advice or words of wisdom to share with you. Instead I'll give you three big-sisterly reminders:
  • Look after your health - get a check up occasionally, eat healthily, wear sunscreen
  • Value your friendships - look for the friends who bring out the best in you and then look after them. They will save you many times over.
  • Ask for, and accept, help - this one can be tough. Asking for help without relinquishing independence, agency and personal responsibility is hard and when we need help is often the time it's hardest to ask for it.

I'm so incredibly proud of the person you are growing to be, I'm grateful for all the help you give me, both practical and emotional. I'm in awe of you and I feel smug and lucky that you are going to be a part of my life, and the lives of my children, for the foreseeable future.

Thank you.


Asher and Kiran

First and foremost I want to say happy birthday to my lovely 21 year old sister Clare. I'm so proud of her and so thankfull for the way she rescues me on a regular basis (like yesterday - I have a sprained ankle and two kids to look after!) but I want to discuss that in more detail after our weekend away with her and the family.

Asher and Kiran
Originally uploaded by karmakeda
Sanjay thinks this photo really sums up the way our kids are interacting at the moment. I agree - it makes my heart just melt! The protective big brother hand, the adoring, fascinated look from Kiz. This morning, when Asher and Sanjay left for Kindy and work Kiz cried and cried as they closed the door behind them because he loves following his big brother around so much.

Asher is as good with Kiran as I could have imagined. He's rarely rough with him, and when he is it's almost always done with love and it's just boisteroius play. Kizzy usually laughs like a maniac as his big brother crash tackles him. When Asher does get frustrated with the baby he generally yells rather than hits and as soon as I take Kiran away from his Duplo building/block tower/train tracks it is all OK again.

Kiz is crawling around like a crazy thing and into everything. He pulls himself to standing easily and this week, at 8 months, has started to take a few cruising steps along whatever he's holding on to. The little bear is still not eating much solid food, but these last few days I feel like we've turned a corner there too, with him being a bit more willing and interested. Asher and Kiran happily share a squeesy Vaalia yoghurt and last night Kiz was snatching noodles out of Sanjay's hands and eating them. I'm hoping the solid food thing picks up a bit because at the moment I'm pretty much breast feeding him 3 hourly 'round the clock which is exhausting for all of us (or maybe just for me?). I have certainly lost a fair bit of weight and I fit into all my pre-pregnancy pants (the breast feeding bosoms are another story, and I don't fit into many tops unfortunately) .

Kiz makes his needs known quite clearly. I was putting him to sleep the other night (I usually feed him to sleep. It works for us) and he de-latched, looked at me, and started to vocalise softly and sweetly. I worked out that he was asking for me to sing to him - I started softly singing and he went back to the breasfeed and fell asleep soon after. He also mimics us - he'll say 'gah!' when he wants to comment on something or wants to talk and then will copy me fairly succesfully when I say mum-mum-mum to him.

It's so exhausting at the moment, with lots of night time shenanigans, and so much lifting and carrying of baby K, but I'm so happy with how our two little ones are together.