Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Uma the wiggly-pants and Muppets.

"Jelly-belly giggling, dancin' and a-wigglin' --
Honey, that's the way I am."
---Dr. Teeth & the Electric Mayhem

The above quote, from the original Muppet Movie, could easily be little Uma's motto. From the moment she wakes up, until the second she gets stuffed into her much-maligned sleepsack, she Wiggles.

As if to make up for her otherwise rigid routine (she loved to go to bed at 8pm even as a newborn), Uma's arms and legs are in constant, stochastic motion. (see video above).

Roughly around the time that Uma discovered how to wiggle, the Muppets entered our lives. During Uma's newborn days, when Rohan was bored of being at home, he fell in love with the Muppet movie. After the first viewing, he reported that, at the end, there was "a big CRASH" when the ceiling fell in. I asked him if that was his favorite part.

But he shook his head. No. He liked "the frog, playing the guitar, sitting on That Wood."

This led to the Muppet movie soundtrack taking up residence in our car stereo, being played on repeat constantly. At one point, Mike and I were able to answer each other with Muppet Movie lyrics. And I found myself muttering for no reason, "Tadpoles don't have feet."

Uma discovered her feet at a very early age, (around 3 months), astonishing the pediatrician (video #2 below).

With all the wiggling, they were hard not to notice, i suppose....

Monday, August 15, 2011

Rohan's World of Racing: A Brief Encyclopedia and Vent.

Life at the Das/Gage house is currently incomprehensible without a short guide to Rohan's realm of car racing. Since roughly December 2010 (when "Santa" put 10 small Hot Wheels cars in Rohan's stocking by entering the house through the window where this stocking had been hung), Rohan's obsession, formerly focused on basketball, turned to car racing. Disney-Pixar's heavy-handed marketing of the Cars movies has not helped.
  • Nasty cars: NASCARs
  • Vertible: Convertible
  • Formula One car: any car with exposed wheels and a single driver's seat with no roof
  • Tinna-tinna-tinna: sound supposedly made by cars during a race
  • Dirt-and-Sand: surface used for off-road racing
  • Bean driver: a small, dry red mung bean taken from the kitchen and placed inside a toy car as if it were the driver.
  • Nose cone: part of a Formula One car, also Rohan's diaper
  • "Door flew out!" "Window flew out!" "Parts flew off!": Common events during a race
  • Bonk-honk-honk: sound of a crashing car during a race.
  • "Hoaxen-hoaxen", "Hoaxity," "Marcity," "Hoke-hoke", "Caboose," "Roll Cage," "Noisy white car," "Regular green car", "Very green car": Some of the names of Rohan's toy Hot Wheels cars.
  • Gray gari: Our own Honda civic
  • Other Driver: Anyone sitting shotgun
  • Knobby tires: Tires required for Dirt-and-Sand racing (see above)
  • Studebaker: large passenger car or van
  • Monaco race: Rohan's favorite formula 1 track, featuring a tunnel and a hairpin.
  • Mika Hakkinen: One of Rohan's favorite formula 1 racers
  • "Canic": mechanic
  • Gear shifter: the thing he is not allowed to touch until he is bigger.
For the last 8 months, our TV has been tuned to the Speed channel, a cable station seemingly designed for little boys who love motorsports -- NASCAR, formula 1, motocross, supercross, off-road racing, monster truck jam every morning at 7 AM, drag racing, etc.

I did not know what most of these things were before this year. I never thought my brain, once teeming with signaling pathway sequences, RNA-protein binding motifs, and developmental patterning genes in chick and mouse, would suddenly be straining to remember what is a monocoque, what does the yellow flag mean, and which driver (Button? Alonso? Vettell? Michael Schumacher?) won the Hungarian Grand Prix last month.

I never thought I'd be trying to get Rohan to brush his teeth by saying, "Your teeth need to be clean, like Mika Hakkinen's teeth! Mika Hakkinen has super clean teeth!"

As with any topic, Arlington's libraries have helped educate parents and son alike. Still, there's only so many times I can read racing books (glossing awkwardly over the part where Ayrton Senna dies in a horrible crash) at bedtime, longing for the classics I remember from my childhood. Last bunch going back to the library tomorrow!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Uma is real.

Uma's story is like the story of the Velveteen Rabbit.

There was first Abstract-baby. Being our second baby, we knew some of her potential cutenesses and qualities, and so Abstract-baby was loved in quite a concrete way even while she was abstract.

The stuffed Velveteen Rabbit was loved just as much, and then it transcended its stuffed life in a fire.

Almost exactly a year ago, I lost Abstract-baby temporarily in an early miscarriage, and it was extremely difficult to write about Abstract-baby, our wishes to realize her, or even the (arduous) process of growing her while parenting a very REAL and VERY energetic 2-year-old (Rohan).

Unlike Rohan's case, we didn't give the baby a name until she was in our arms. We had agreed-upon ideas, but only after the caesarean birth did I say to Mike, "Uma Kathryn?"

Uma= incarnation of goddess Durga, and loyal daughter of the Himalaya mountains.
Kathryn = Mike's maternal grandmother, Kathryn "Kay" Krouse.

Uma was born on June 18, 2011, and emerged squawking like a free bird, not crying like a baby. Immediately, she peed all over two receiving blankets, and the doctors and nurses marveled at the thickness of her umbilical cord.

Uma became Real, like the rabbit, in seconds, loved instantly by her family. Though this blog may not be updated as frequently as in the past, since parenting two is more than 1+1, this post is proof that we love our daughter powerfully, uniquely, and have loved her for far longer than she has been alive.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Waiting for Baby

For the last 9 months, Rohan has been dutifully growing up and discovering the world. However, his parents have been distracted by Rohan's imminent sibling, Baby Girl Gage. Not sure of his reaction to the news, we didn't tell him until after the second ultrasound (mid-January), when we knew it would be a baby sister. We were lucky to have "practice" siblings around -- he played with his twin cousins at Christmas, and solicitously fed "pancakes" (coasters) to then-4-month-old-T.

With the narrative help of Karen Kubler's books "Waiting for Baby" and "My New Baby," we broke the news with little fanfare. As he watched my belly grow, Rohan would say, "Ekhane?" ("in here?")
I'd reply, "Ekhane akta baby achhe." (There's a baby in here.)

Sometimes, he hides under a blanket and pretends to be the "baby in the belly".

Most amusingly, he hides his Duplo figure he calls the "bad noke" (bad guy) under his shirt, and has me pull it out. "Baby bad noke!" he giggles. (photo at right of "baby bad noke" after popping out of belly)

He'll pretend to drive a car. "I'm driving to the hospital to get the baby out!"