Tag Archives: kids

RAYA or EYES ON CARS IN CARS

in 2006, Disney release Cars. It was a triumph. John Laseter for all his faults and just misogynistic approach to everything, was still considere a genius then.

One thing he did was true first principles.

What I remember is before Cars, everyone a Car in any animated effort, was humanized, the headlights were the eyes.

They made send and were a cute hook. But they failed to give the cars fuller life.

Laseter shunned that. The windshield became the eyes and it took Cars to new levels. It also eliminated what was so much u used space that otherwise detracted form bringing cars to life.

With RAYA, which we enjoyed, I feel like Disney and Awkwafina have reimagined dragons (instead Imagine Dragons reference here).

And for what animation brings to life and then reimagines, #iamgrateful and #iamthankfulAlso, tell me when Jaanu stops doing this when we sit together. So I can prepare my heart for it.

My life will never be the same the day his instinct is to let go not hold on. Never.

https://variety.com/…/raya-and-the-last-dragon-box…/

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SNOW DAY or HOW TO MAKE AN EXIT

It snowed last night. It snowed today. It will snow tomorrow.

#iamgrateful and #iamthankful for our neighbors who came by and inspired us to upgrade the sledding on our front lawn. Tomorrow my plan is to have them hit a turn on the street and then go down that hill too.

Fully chaperoned all the way of course.

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EASY LIKE SUNDAY MORNINGS or LEARNING TOGETHER, SEPARATELY

Based on our schedules, it tends to make sense for me to take the kids in the AM most days. So I get the kids up and ready for school M-F (Priya does pickup because, teamwork).

It’s always a hustle. We have it down to a tight routine every am and there’s rarely drama beyond what you’d expect from a 4 and 7 year old going to school. They’re great. And somehow, the routine works.

But I still hate that I have to drive them forward. Get dressed. Brush. Eat. Get ready to leave. It’s just “go” from the moment we wake up.

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So Sundays I just don’t push. (Which is what made last Sunday tough; the leash was as long as a leash could be.)This Sunday morning was perfect. Khan Academy Kids for them, Deacon King Kong for me. And a great slow ramp to the day.

And the three of us just hung together, quietly, hoping to let Momma get a few more minutes of shut eye. Asking questions. Math for Jaanu. Reading comprehension for Anaiya. We were together. Doing our own separate food kinda learning.

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#iamgrateful and #iamthankful for how good they are with their daily routines, for my sanity those days and for what it enables us to do on Sunday mornings. My favorite mornings. Straight into Pancake Breakfasts.

PS: If you want to do something nice for a random person, but this $8 book on Amazon. Mikail is a good dude, a good father, and made some magic happen for a random kid on his FedEx route:

https://www.amazon.com/Rangoul-Mikail-Farrar/dp/1643987917

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PAINTED BIRTHDAY DREAMS or A NORMAL FEELING SUNDAY:

“I just want things to feel normal.”

We’ve all had that thought. I don’t know if we’re ever going back. Life never does. It moves forward stubbornly and relentlessly as hard as we try to saddle it, slow it, turn it. It keeps moving forward.

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We have to find ways to, at best, ride it and guide it. Create a new and even more wonderful normal. Well do that.

Today though, for Anaiya’s 7th birthday, we created a sense of that old normal. And it was great.

Jaanu set the stage by cleaning the garage and making it “spic and span” for his sis. Yeah. He did that.

Tito Foi, Dadiji and the spirit of Dadaji kicked it off with a visit and some QT.

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Then, thanks to the birthday party hosted by Nanaji and Naniji, we created a little art studio in our garage (heaters worked!) and everyone had a good time.

Painting. Oh man. I tell you. Anaiya picked out a specific paint by numbers for each kid who came. For them. For a reason. And that warmed my heart. We were limited by the size of the garage and space we could create, I only wish we could have delivered on her full invite list.

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That aside, I have rarely been more proud of Anaiya as it was one of those moments. Those life defining moments. She realized that her birthday is about celebrating the people who make her life full. She not only picked paintings but helped each kid get set up and my heart is full.

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We had some fun ideas too. Like having each kid stand on the ledge in the garage so we could trace their outlines and name them. I love that the neighborhood kids are locked in, age 4-8, on our garage wall forever. And finally, who doesn’t love apple cider with bourbon on a cold day.

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#iamgrateful and #iamthankful to the fam and friends who made today wonderful. So wonderful it felt … like a normal Sunday in January for all of us.

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For the kids who joined us, I’ll say it: I love ya, and thanks for blessing our house with your energy and blessing Anaiya with your friendship.

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And for this amazing kid, I’m happy she felt the love. Love you, Magic.

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WORKING ON PRONOUNS or SOMETIMES THERE IS MORE THAN HE AND SHE

I bought a book for the kids a while back called “Peanut Goes for the Hold”.

In effect, it’s a book about pronouns.

Peanut isn’t a he. Peanut isn’t a she. Peanut is a they or a their.

Jaanu used to call Peanut a he. No matter how I read the book, with more open pronouns as it was written.

Jaanu always talked about Peanut as a he.Until today. Where it clicked.

Sometimes, they, are they.

#iamgrateful and #iamthankful for that small acknowledgement.

A small step like this at age four has profoundly positive ramifications and impacts on his perspective at age fourteen and forty.

It’s not about how we see or how we choose to refer to other people. It’s getting to a place of seeing them as they want to be seen, and calling them how they would like to be called.

Luv ya, Bud.

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SCAVENGER HUNT or DOCUMENT YOUR GOOD DAYS

After being up until 5am on work and life; up at 7am with flower shaped cranberry muffins. Pancakes. Oven baked fried chicken. Homemade disinfecting cleaner. Homemade foaming hand soap. And a splurge on basement and backyard play equipment that should delight the kids and help them through; help them navigate through, all of this. Full house cleaned. A work proposal and a creative piece of content out tomorrow morning faster than I’ve ever seen this stuff turned before. And ready with a schedule and incentives to exercise for the first time in 5 weeks starting tomorrow. Tonight, wrapped up by 830pm.

But the highlight was this scavenger hunt we put together. The kids worked together. Each solved 3 clues. It was fun. And great to see them troubleshoot together.

Going to finish my scheduled work, grab a beer, and should be asleep by midnight. For the night. #iamgrateful and #iamthankful I wanted to make today great and I think we pulled it off. You don’t always have good days so celebrate them when you do. Document them so you remember they’re possible.

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PDA | Butting Up Against the Limitations of Language or Thank You, My Children

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I’ve been trying to write this post for 3 weeks. I’ve tried many different hooks and patterns. I’ve tried to be simple. I’ve tried to be poetic. i’ve tried analogies. I’ve tried to be detailed. Yet every time I got about 350 words deep, I’ve leaned my head back away from my laptop, frowned, selected all of the text in the editor, and hit “delete”.

Nothing I can write does my feelings and my appreciation for you, justice. Nothing.

I have no words. There are no words. Language is limiting. As I understand it, there are over 1,000,000 total words in the English language, over 170,000 in current use, and on average, a person uses 30,000 of them.As I told your Mama when I proposed to her: “even 1,000 poets, writing 1,000 words a day, for 1,000 years can’t capture what moved me to propose to her”.

Now; for the second time in my life, I find myself verbally helpless; trying to find a way to bridge how I feel with the few words available and the even fewer words I know.

I don’t know how to capture what I’m feeling in words; in a way that you will read them at some point in your future and understand the weight of the feeling and the sentiments behind them.

But what I know, is that it won’t be for a lack of trying.

Anaiya. Jaanu. Buhboo.

For all of my worth as a human being: thank you.

There will come a day in your future; maybe a few, where you’ll wonder if you are up to the task. If you can pass some obstacle in front of you. If you can conquer some challenge. If you can go some Seussian places you want to go.

You will wonder. You will pause. You will hesitate. You will question.

And when you do, I want you to read this. And then, I want you to call me. On the phone. Over whatever device is in vogue when that challenge presents itself. And when I’m past my life while you’re still living yours, close your eyes and picture me. Reading this to you.

There is absolutely nothing you can’t do. Because at age 6 and age 3, you took the greatest punch the world has seen in over 100 years. You took something that crippled towns, cities, states, countries. You took a haymaker that brought humankind to its knees. In days. To our collective knees.

You took that. And you brushed it off your shoulder in a way that would make Aaliyah, Jay-Z, Barack Obama proud. You wiped a drop off blood of your lip in a way that would make Bruce Lee, and every Saturday afternoon Kung Fu theater hero (as well as your Dada Fua) proud. 

There has been so much discussion about the lockdown the world has experienced post COVID-19. Coronavirus. Corona – why us? There’s been some discussion about how resilient and adaptable human beings are. How if you had told us 3 months ago the way we’d be forced to live now, we’d never have been able to imagine it; and we certainly would have denied it would be possible .But when it happened, we adapted, and here we are.

Yes. Adaptable. Resilient.

But none of us are doing this adaptable thing, this resilient thing, with your grace.

And that is precisely where I lose all ability to express myself.

I want to tell you how one night you went to bed, ready for the next day. Your ordinary next day. An Alexa alarm. Breakfast and drop-offs. School and play time. Somewhere between 9 and 10 hours, a super majority of your life, for a super majority of your days each week, you were immersed in a world that we got glimpses of when we opened your backpacks, checked logs and updates from your teachers, hears mentions of when you had the time, energy and interest.

One night you went to bed, ready to do all the things we told you that you had to do. When we dropped you off at daycare. When we celebrated your first day of school  Make friends. Play nice. Listen to your teachers. Eat your meals. Be strong when you’re being bullied. Find strength when we aren’t there and when you feel like nobody else is, however fleeting. Do all these things because they are the most important things for you to learn now.

One night you went to bed knowing the next day was going to be filled with all those things.

And when Alexa woke you up that next day, we told you that wasn’t happening anymore. We told you that schedule, that way, wasn’t going to be the way. For a while.

If that had happened to me, I’d have needed a lifetime to plan, and a lifetime to prepare, and a lifetime to adjust; and I’d go through the motions and I’d do what I’m supposed to do.

But I don’t think, ever in my life, that I have operated with your grace. How can someone be so strong, so unwavering, so staunchly making progress, while doing so in a way that seems so effortless, so natural. You see, when I look at you, I don’t remember the way our life was 5 weeks ago. Because when I look at you, and observe you act, and watch you interact — I am only convinced that the way we’re living now is the only and obvious way we have been living all along.

When I look at my calendar. When I talk to people at work. When I read the news. Tonight is Sunday. Week 5 of quarantine. Poised for an even longer and more isolated road ahead. Into a new normal. Never returning to the way life was before. And it can be overwhelming.

When I look at you, though.

It’s Sunday.

What are we doing today, Buhboo?

Thanks for grading our worksheets, Buhboo!

Yay, we get to watch a movie, Buhboo!

I didn’t like my dinner, Buhboo, but I’ll eat it for you, Buhboo!

When I’m with you, it’s Sunday. It’s just Sunday for you.

And you’ve found a way to make it “just Sunday” for me too.

You can’t see your friends. Except, maybe from across the street. You can’t hug your Nana, Nani, Dadi, Tito Foi. Your Mamu is living with us, upstairs, in the guest bedroom and the best you can do is let him know when you’re downstairs so he can step out to get the tray of food we’ve left outside his door.

You can’t go to the park. You can’t go for ice cream. You can’t go to Charlie Brown’s (yeah, by the way, we need to talk about how for most of your childhood your favorite restaurant was a terrible chain restaurant that indicates you share a palate and a thirst for ambience with people born in the 1940s).

You can’t go to school. You can’t go to Tae Kwon Do. You can’t go to Dance Class. You can’t go to Bagels 4 U. You can’t go to Genus Boni. You can’t go to Shop Rite and you definitely can’t get the free cheese handouts there and at Whole Foods. You can’t … do … everything that brought you joy.

Yet you’re still, full of joy.

You are. Absolutely full of joy. It is because of you, I wake up with a bounce in my step excited about what we’re going to do today. Because of how you ask your questions, I focus on what we can and will do today; not what we can’t or can no longer.

“Buhboo, what’s our plan for tomorrow?”

What an absolutely beautiful question; Warren Berger would adore it. “What is our plan for tomorrow” is more intrinsically hopeful than “What are all the things we can’t do tomorrow that we could have done 5 weeks ago?”

It’s been 5 weeks, and you’re still asking beautiful questions.

You’re making me see the beautiful.

Your laughs fill our house. Your cries do too; but if we were to put them on scales, there would be no contest in terms of which direction we’re tipping.

I’m also watching you grow.

Anaiya: Yoga. Dance. Math. Reading. Mentoring. Eating. Breathing. Guiding. Defiance (I mean, you absolutely hate to lose at a level that would make Michael Jordan proud.) Love. The way you clutch my arm, at bedtime, at wakey time, and at so many times in-between, and hold it like it’s the last arm you’ll get to hold and hug on earth. I can’t help but feel that some of that has nothing to do with me, actually; you’re holding my arm so tightly because it’s the one place where all that’s been taken away from you is manifesting. And riding your bike with no training wheels. Yeah, that happened.

Jaanu: Dance. Gibberish. Letters. Tracing. Troubleshooting. Putting away dishes. Cleaning. Defiance (I mean, you absolutely hate being told what to do.) The way you proclaim to every person who’s ready to hear you that they are “the greatest in the history” is tagline and catchphrase I hope you never lose. I can’t help but feel that you’re expressing that as a way of defining a new baseline for history, and helping people find positivity and feel special in this altogether new way of being.

I’m words, sentences, paragraphs in; and as you can see, I’ve written so much, and I’ve said so little that captures how proud I am of you. How honored I am to be your Dad, your Buhboo.

1,000 poets. 1,000 words a day. 1,000 years.

Even when, as a family, we experience the most extraordinary of losses, you find a way to bring love, to comfort, to hug and support — videos weren’t designed to have this kind of impact and sincerity. You have managed to make video feel human and intimate.

Consolation is something you give to people. After loss. After disappointment. Right now, as I read what people write and say and share; I feel an excessive amount of consolation. I see a world full of people acknowledging loss and disappointment and sadness; and from that, trying to force a rose to bloom from concrete.

Consolation is what I see and hear in every interaction.

Except the ones I have with you.

With you, it’s “just Sunday”.

With you, it’s “what IS our plan?”

With you, it’s not resilience. Or adaptability. Or perseverance.

With you, it’s not about the new normal.

With you, it’s just what’s next. Your ability to make everything that is, seem natural; and to make what’s next, seem possible. Is what makes me, so uncontrollably humbled and so infinitely proud, and so eternally enamored.

Thank you.

So when that hill, or that mountain, or that sea, or that valley, shows up in your way. I want you to call me. On your phone. On your <<unnamed device>>. On your memory.

And I want you to hear me. Loudly. Clearly.

The world handed you the worst the world has handed anyone. And you flicked, brushed, dusted, and resumed.

Thank you, my children. Thank you, my kids. Your Mama and I wish the rest of the universe had you to wake up to, you to bring tomorrow’s schedule to, you … to look forward to.

Because then, they’d all be as happy, as proud, as hopeful, as we are.

(And just as speechless.)

How much do I love you? More than anything.
How long will I love you? More than forever.
When will I stop? Never.

Ever.

 

 

 

 

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FIRE or REAL LOVE

Sorry folks, but I’m all ahead of all things Frozen 2 for the kids. Tickets bought. Songs already memorized (as much as possible). I’m fired up and ready.I’ll tell you though … this line nails so many things. It’s beautiful.

Elsa: “You can’t just follow me into fire!

“Anna: “Then don’t run into fire!” #iamgrateful and #iamthankful for Disney. And these movies about strong women and strong female bonds.

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MY $.02 | The Chicken and the Egg of Priorities and Choices

I run a couple of small businesses right now. I also advise two others. Much of my time is spent helping the people I work with identify priorities.

What should they be focused on? What is their priority?

It is the priority that dictates the choices we make. More often than not we’re in position to make choices based on our priorities. I’ve worked with people who cherished such constraints. So much so that they would create them artificially (I believe creating artificial constraints is an incredibly powerful force, depending on the constraints you dictate of course). I have my own philosophy on creating constraints that I’ll write about at some point — as time permits.

If we focus on the priority we can be motivated in good times (or when there is no other choice). We can also be demotivated because of the constraint that we’ve committed so much time to; that may not be working out as well as we had planned.

There is always then a discussion about whether or not we have the right priority. That’s an easy discussion. Because often times, it’s easy to change. Simply adjust the priority and you either have new goals that are more attainable or, you at the very least, have no priorities that can be invigorating purely because … they are new.

These are easy discussions at work. At home, they are sometimes not so easy. The choices we make are more permanent. Which is why I think it’s most important to realize that before the priority, came a choice.

Instead of the priority dictating the choice in our personal lives we must never forget that it is our choices that dictate our priorities. To go to college (and beyond). Where we live. What career we choose to pursue (and what environments we choose to work within). Who we marry. And perhaps penultimately, whether we choose to have kids.

Each one of those choices dictates another set of priorities. And along the way, each one of those decisions elevates a set of priorities and clarifies a future set of choices.

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Of all the choices, the most unique one is the decision to have kids. Whereas all other choices are ones that are designed to make you better, to advance your self — I’ve often told the people I love, the people I work with, the (few and far between) people who (stumble into) asking me questions about life — I’ve often told these people that the two most selfish decisions you make in your life should be (1) the career you choose (and as a subset, the jobs you take and the people you choose to work for) and (2) the person you choose to spend the rest of your life with.

Those are the two most selfish decisions one can make. And if made selfishly, they end up being the most valuable decisions and personally advancing decisions you can make.

KIDS--An--HalloweenKids, however, are something else. They become the most selfless decision you can make You have to embrace and realize that more than anything else, all decisions from the moment of conception or birth forward, are made with their life, their livelihood, their success, as the top priority.

I often hear parents talk about life with kids as a limitation and restriction on

KIDS--Jaanu--Halloweenchoices. I don’t feel that way. I never have. And after this past year and this past few weeks as time to reflect around the annual approach of important Indian and US holidays — I realize kids aren’t restricting.

They were my choice. They were more honestly our choice. Our BEST choice.

And they will always be, as a result, our top priority going forward. Ourselves, dutifully, practically, deliberately, in service.

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SIBLINGS

This past Saturday, after a fine lunch, the kids and I made our way back to the car. I placed them in their car seats enough to hold them while I went back to load the stroller in the trunk. As I was a-stroller-folding, I heard Jaanu crack up. Then again. So I peeked through the trunk and into the backseat to see…this. This will be my favorite picture forever. Hard to see it topped. I love it because it’s emblematic of a sibling relationship. At the very core, the hands. This reminds me of my sis and me, Anu Kiran. Those hands might as well be ours. And though as we have aged and grown, we’ve experienced different facial expressions and body language. Sometimes smiling like this, sometimes angry, sometimes sad, sometimes tired and sleeping, and often times with one feeling one way and the other another way. Sometimes we are facing in, sometimes up, sometimes away. But you know what never changes? Our hands. I always have yours in mine and you always have mine in yours.

#iamgrateful and #iamthankful that you are my sis. And that you are always there to reach for my hand and have been since the day I was born. I hope Anaiya is to Jaan what you have been to me. If so, he will have no greater blessing. I wanted to be the first to say HBD. May it be momentum to make this year and all that follow, wonderful. Love you, Tito!

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