Friday, July 22, 2011

Gulab Jamun

Weeks have passed since my last post.

My toddler has grown a size in clothing faster than I could blink an eye. 3T-4T. Record temperatures this summer, and my air conditioner barely keeps up. Global warming naysayers are roasting in it, I'm sure. The heat is intensely consuming and drawing a breath of "fresh air" feels more like inhaling fire and broken glass. We live in the city. Which means we're surrounded with concrete and moving cars, and that causes an increase of heat. Attitudes have increased as well and that includes my son's. He's cranky; he wants to play outside, but its too hot to be out longer 20 - 30 minutes before he turns beet red and is ready to come in.

We've been going to granny's a lot (my mom) during the hottest parts of the days, where the air conditioning is full blast cold and hugs from granny are readily accessible. We cook, play games, play music, water plants with granny and play in the baby pool with his cousins. He can chase birds and bunnies, eat granny's homemade pumpkin bread and sit in grandad's lap. Their basement often turns into the boys running around in circles, chasing each other and kindly including my little one even though they're much older. There's a media area so I can watch horribly awesome reality TV shows and my son can get to know his cousins, the way that boys do. Play fight. There's also a child's size drumset, which was purchased for my first nephew when he was younger. Now it's for my son and of course being the music lover that he is, he loves playing. He bangs on the cymbals and stomps the bass drum, creating his own music from his own tiny toddler mind. Along with the drumset, my parents have a piano. Both of my nephews are taking music lessons, so whenever my son sees one of them practicing, naturally, he has to join in. He dances for a bit but when he feels like it's his turn to play piano, he lets it be known. He taps my nephew's leg and points. His cousin then lifts him up on his lap and they enjoy playing piano together. He loves it there. All of the grandkids love it there.

I don't recall the house being nearly as fun as it is now back when I was living there. However, I was a "tortured" music obsessed teenager who hated the world and thought everyone was dumb.

Lately, tantrums have been on the rise. Daily, play time quickly turns into,

"No! Put it down!" I scolded him.
"No!" he yelled back. He often hits at me, which leads to time-out.
"Yes!" I insisted. Ususally at this point he throws whatever the object is, usually parts of the vacuum, which he has been oddly intrigued by lately. This is often followed by him collapsing right into the floor (or sidewalk) as if it were a featherbed while screaming, kicking and thrashing his head back and forth ferociously.

I assume this increase of tantrums is the result of three things for sure:

1. Terrible Two's are approaching quickly. (3 months away)

2. It's hot outside. Really hot. Heat associated tantrums are to be expected.

3. With the extreme heat comes lack of outdoor fun. (Boredom)

Breakfast time keeps getting earlier and earlier each day. I guess he figures at least eating is fun.

Along with his physical growth, his mind is rapidly developing as well. He's recently started smelling his food before he takes bites. For fun and nourishment, we went out to eat Indian food the other day for lunch. The entire ride there we told him all about food. He said "ooo!" and "ahh!" as I explained some foods. I'd like to think it was about the food but, who knows with his toddler mind.

As soon as we opened the door to the restuarant he screamed.

"YUM!!!!!" he shouted.
"I know, monkey! Mommy and daddy think it's yum too!" I said. He pointed to all the colorful food before him. Shalimar lunch buffet is awesome. Lots of yummy food for not very much money. I made his plate, filling it up with Palaak Paneer, goat curry, and lots of naan.

He loved it.

At first he was a bit surprised by the new flavors. (We've gone out for Indian food before but he probably doesn't remember. He was quite a bit smaller, but it enjoyed it nonetheless.) His face scrunched up and turned red after his first bite of goat curry. He looked at me and looked at it, and in his moment of palate clarity he shouted, "yum!" He pointed to the plate and grabbed as much naan as his tiny hands could hold. Dipping it in various things, mimicking us as best he could. He stole some Tandoori chicken from my plate and lit up with excitement like he got away with something yummy. And he did. Smiling ear to ear, I could tell he was having a blast. After he finished almost as much food as he could handle, we had dessert. Mommy and daddy had Kheer and our little one had Gulab Jamun. He has a new favorite food. The fact that it's soaked in honey is a super plus for him, he loves honey.

Ending our wonderful new meal experience at Shalimar made me want to take him so many more places to experience new food. Also, air conditioning is nice and why not combine that with good food? His tastebuds are new, and he loves new experiences. And he loves food. Somehow, most adults lose this ability to gain experience from something as simple as a new meal.

Watching my son grow is something phenomenal that I'm so humbled to get to experience. Everyday something is delightfully, and sometimes frustratingly, new. His smile is more mature, his curls are a bit longer, his face is losing his baby chubs, and his stance and movements are more sturdy and sure footed. He knows what he wants when he wants it. He can open a bag of chips, a box of raisins and as I found out this morning, he can unscrew a bottle of juice. And drink from it. And spill it. And get everything sticky, all with cute innocent, bright eyes and a mischievous smile. In the midst of it all, sometimes I have to stop and think, I get a second childhood.

And that's lucky.